Two Witnesses

In the last days, Saint John the Revelator will "prophesy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings." John was then given "a reed like unto a rod and the angel stood saying 'Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and them that worship therein." This temple is the church and the seven spirits are the lights of the church. The altar holds the true worshipers that have sanctified and presented themselves as a sacrificial offering. John was also told "But the court which is without the temple leave out and measure it not, for it is given unto the Gentiles and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." Those that are not ready, have not sanctified themselves and filled their lamps with oil at the time of the wedding feast will be numbered with the transgressors.

The two witnesses burst forth on the world scene during the first half of the seven year tribulation period. They may have their own ministries already for by this time the restoration process has already been taking place; when the first trumpet had spoken, the elders had already been called to lay their crowns at the feet of Jesus. Beware of any who call themselves the two witness or the Elijah to come, they are only trying to draw the elect unto themselves. When the time comes they will speak, but not of themselves.

The angel goes on to tell John that "I will give power unto my two witness and they shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and threescore days (42 months), clothed in sackcloth." Levitical sackcloth these days could be 501's. The saints are offering prayers before this time upon the golden altar, the prayers come back to earth in the form of earthquakes and lightnings and the seven trumpets are about to sound. The 144,000 servants have the seal of the living God in their foreheads, a great multitude stood before the throne clothed in white which have come out of the great tribulation. Abaddon is revealed, the sixth angel sounds a trumpet and looses the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates, an army of 200 million comes forth and a third of mankind are killed, those left do not repent. By the time the power is given to the two witnesses, the seventh seal has already been opened, the mystery of God is finished and it is during the second woe.

Witnesses are called before truth can be established. In court jurisprudence, the presence of a witness to something is considered good evidence but the presence of two witnesses is conclusive. Documents of importance need the signatures of at least two witnesses. The two witnesses of Revelation are not named but from their description they may be readily identified as "the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth," as found in Zechariah. Zechariah was also visited by an angel, maybe even the same one that spoke to John. The angel spoke to Zechariah who said to him, "What do you see? And I said, I have looked and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it and his seven lamps thereon and seven pipes to the seven lamps which are upon the top thereof." John saw a similar vision "in the midst of the elders stood a lamb as it had been slain having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven sprits of God sent forth into all the earth." The seven candlesticks are "the seven churches." These churches are still here in the last days for they are exhorted to "hold fast until I come."

Now John was shown these seven golden candlesticks with one like the Son of man in the midst of them. Zechariah then saw "two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spoke to the angel that talked with me saying, what are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, know not what these be? And I said, no, my lord. Then he answered and said unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord of hosts."

Now who is Zerubbabel? During the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah and said: "Let not your prophets and your diviners that be in the midst of you deceive you, neither harken to your dreams which you caused to be dreamed. For they prophecy falsely unto you in my name, I have not sent them, saith the Lord. For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you in causing you to return to this place." Seventy years later, Cyrus, king of Persia fulfilled the word of the Lord through Jeremiah by making a proclamation that the Jews would be able to leave Babylon (Persia) and build the temple at Jerusalem. We need to make a parallel here of the seventy weeks of years that Daniel saw of which the seventieth year was split from the rest to represent the last seven years of the tribulation period. Now, in the prophecies of Revelation and Zechariah, we are not discussing the physical temple that was rebuilt in the time of Ezra but a spiritual one that is represented in the seven candlesticks. The governor of Judah, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel was the one that led the children of Israel out of Babylon to Jerusalem to lay the foundation of the house of the Lord in the sixth century B.C.

As it was then, so it shall be. Ezra tells us that when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building the temple, they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers and asked to build with them because they also were seeking God. Zerubbabel along with Jeshua the son of Jozadak who directed the workmen and the others told them that they "have nothing to do with us to build a house unto our God, but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus has commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah and troubled them in building. And hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose..." Ezra goes on to say that when Zerubbabel and Jeshua began to build the house of the Lord, the prophets of God were with them helping them.

Popular eschatology throughout church history has identified the two witnesses as Elijah and Enoch, or sometimes Elijah and Moses, but always Elijah. These are the only three Old Testament characters that were translated to heaven. We know through scripture that Enoch and Elijah were translated and through tradition with the assumption of Moses. It was Moses and Elijah with Jesus at the transfiguration. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologica: "Elias was taken up into the atmospheric heaven, but not in to the empyrean heaven, which is the abode of the saints: and likewise Enoch was translated into the earthly paradise, where he is believed to live with Elias until the coming of Antichrist." As we see by the scriptures in Zechariah, it is also in the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel that these things will come to pass and Joshua (Jeshua) is mentioned there also to Zechariah even before Zerubbabel as the high priest. It will be in this tradition that the remnant will be taken out of Babylon the Great in our day. And what of Joshua? Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus, is this a type of the Lord Jesus helping Zerubbabel or another type of one of the witnesses?

We believe that it is in the spirit and power of Elijah that at least one of these witness will come and the model he will follow in denouncing the exploitation and oppression of the four-headed beast and the anti-christ. Moses and Elijah are never mentioned in scripture as the two witnesses but the belief has persisted throughout history nevertheless. If a prophet like unto Moses is also to come and he is one of the two witnesses, it is possible that in the tradition of Zerubbabel and in the Lord's name, one or both will come in the spirit and power of Elijah. Whoever they are, they will have their own identity, their own names and it doesn't matter anyway. The important thing is to know is that they will in fact come and we can reasonably assume that they will be opposed by Babylon and the beast and hated by the world for the trouble they bring.

The angel spoke again to Zechariah saying, "Who are you, Oh great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it." We now see here that Zerubbabel will come again, the angel is talking in a future tense not in the past. Zerubbabel holds the plumb line like John saw with the reed like unto a rod that separates truth from error in measuring the temple, being able to recognize the captivity of Babylon and show the people the way out of her and even the great mountain is laid low before him. The headstone suggests the chief cornerstone and will be filled with grace.

Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me saying: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, his hands shall also finish it and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me unto you. For who has despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven, they are the eyes of the Lord which run to and fro through the whole earth. Then answered I and said unto him. What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, know not what these be? And I said, no my Lord. Then said he, these are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

Zerubbabel is a type of one of the two witnesses, he could be a collective and represent the prophets or apostles in the last days or both and he could be a distinct figure apart from them all. What should be understood is the fact of the rebuilding of the temple in a spiritual sense, that this represents the restoration in the last days that comes with the Elijah ministry and that not all will be chosen to take part in the construction but only those who have come out of Babylon.

The Old Testament book of Haggai is devoted to this subject and reveals more about Zerubbabel and Joshua, the son of Josedech the high priest and the remnant. Haggai urges those coming out of Babylon to make the rebuilding of the temple the highest priority in their lives. Even in the midst of hostile neighbors, the restoration was to continue until it is finished. The New Jerusalem will ultimately come down to earth and we are given the task at hand in the rebuilding of the church of God in the restoration process. It is a call to action for us in these days.

You have sown much and brought in little, you eat but have not enough, you drink but you are not filled with drink, you clothe yourselves but there in none warm and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag full of holes. Go up to the mountain and bring wood and build the house and I will take pleasure in it and I will be glorified. You look for much and lo, it came to little and when you brought it home, I did blow on it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that is waste and you run every man unto his own house.
It makes me sick to see those that learn these things and then go back home to business as usual. Take the restoration to heart people, help us build the temple in these last days so that when Jesus comes and fills it with His glory, that you are among us. His word will be accomplished, he will find faith in those that hear His voice and his church will be restored. It is up to you to be the person that He wants you to be, to do what you can to be take up the cross of Jesus by humbling yourselves, getting out of Babylon and do not be found as among the adversaries of those that are called to be among the workmen.

Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord, and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest and be strong all you people of the land, and work, for I am with you. According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so my spirit remains among you, fear not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once, it is a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations and the desire of all nations shall come and I will fill this house with glory. The silver is mine and the gold, the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former and in this place will I give peace saith the Lord of hosts.

Back to John the Revelator, the angel described the power of the two witnesses:

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devours their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Like the two witnesses to come, it was Elijah that called down fire to consume the messengers of King Ahaziah and it was Elijah who was responsible for a drought, "there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." It was Moses who called down the plagues upon Egypt, turned water into blood and slew the firstborn. Calling down fire from a prophet today may be in the spiritual sense of stretching out their hands against their enemies to destroy them through a curse of God in their circumstance. It does not have to be a literal fire for the enemies of God to feel the heat. The baptism of fire that the church will go through may not be literal fire but hot enough. Turning water into blood may be in terms of war. To have literal fulfillments may be too obvious for the world to believe unless it is in a spiritual sense. God is certainly capable of doing these things but the more subtle approach leads the world to accept these things by faith through the Holy Spirit, not by sight.

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them and shall overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds shall see their dead bodies three days and a half and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them and make merry and shall send gifts one to another because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth. And after three days and a half, the Spirit of life from God entered into them and they stood upon their feet and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither! And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake and the tenth part of the city fell and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand and the remnant were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past and the third woe comes quickly.

[Revelation 2; 4; 10:11; 11:1-14, Zechariah 3-4, Ezra 1-4, Haggai]

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