The Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation
"Then I was givers a long cane as a measuring rod, and I was told, 'Go and measure God's sanctuary, and the altar, and the people who worship there; but leave out the outer court and do not measure it, because it has been handed over to pagans-they will trample on the holy city for fortytwo months ·But I shall send my two witnesses to prophesy for those twelve hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth ·
These are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand before the Lord of the world ·Fire can come from their mouths and consume their enemies if anyone tries to harm them; and if anybody does try to harm them he will certainly be killed in this way. ·They are able to lock up the sky so that it does not rain as long as they are prophesying; they are able to turn water into blood and strike the whole world with any plague as often as they liked.
When they have completed their witnessing, the beast that comes out of the Abyss is going to make war on them and overcome them and kill them. ·Their corpses will lie in the main street of the Great City known by the symbolic names Sodom and Egypt, in which their Lord was crucified. ·Men out of every people, race, language and nation will stare at their corpses, for threeandahalf days, not letting them be buried, ·and the people of the world will be glad about it and celebrate the event by giving presents to each other, because these two prophets have been a plague to the people of the world.'
After the three-and-a-half days, God breathed life into them and they stood up, and everybody who saw it happen was terrified; ·then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, 'Come up here', and while their enemies were watching, they went up to heaven in a cloud. ·Immediately, there was a violent earthquake, and a tenth of the city collapsed; seven thousand persons were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors, overcome with fear, could only praise the God of heaven." (Rev.11:1-13)
The "two witnesses" (see Rev. 11:1-13) are Peter and Paul, the religious and temporal leaders of the Christian Church on earth. They represent the central figures in the preaching of Christ's Gospel to the world, springing to work for Jesus every time any Bible on earth is opened.
Their work is spiritual. It is conducted from heaven in association with the temporary rule of the Lamb on earth in keeping with the prophecies of Rev. 20:4-6. This is a reign intimately associated with God's thousand-year incarceration of Satan (Rev.20:1-3), a prison sentence virtually doubled, extended to almost 2000 years by the mercy of Jesus (Joshua 10:13-14).
These two apostles (Peter and Paul) have fulfilled the roles structured in the Mosaic template, occupying the offices prefigured for them by Aaron and Moses. In this respect, Paul is the author of most of the New Testament and Peter is the head of Christ's Church on earth.
The sackcloth they preach in is the traditional black sackcloth that covers most Bibles. Their confrontation with the Antichrist can be seen in the preaching of the Gospel across the world (Rev.11:1-6).
When Zechariah defined the offices that would govern the New Covenant, he named only two: the high priest (which we now understand to be Peter) and the temporal leader (i.e., Paul). These he called the two olive branches that stand before the Lord of the whole world (i.e., before Jesus). Zechariah named them "Cornerstone" ('Peter', of course, means 'Rock'), and "Tent-peg" (Paul was a tentmaker) The tents he made reflect the churches he started across the world with his preaching (Zech.10:4; see also 4:1-14; 6:11-14).
These tents fulfill the vision of the tent-dwelling days the wandering Israelites had to endure during their 40-year trek from Egypt to the Promised Land, tents later honored by the Hebrew festival known as the "Feast of the Tabernacles", a festival the people celebrated by living for seven days in shelters made of branches (Lev. 23:42-43).
This celebration tied together the tents of the Godly in the wilderness, their association with the harvest of God and the branching out that structured the tents into a single Church of many parts.
Zechariah gives Paul the prophetic name "Branch". Jeremiah, in chapter 23:5 of his writings, prophesied that "where he (Jesus) is, there will be a branching out". We can see this reflected in Zc.3:8 and 6:12-13.
The branching of churches brings us into the seven-church framework (Rv.1:20) defined by John and the other Apostles. Jesus defined the limits of this "branching out" when He said that wherever two or more are gathered in His name, there He would be as well. The seven churches, a metaphoric number, is represented prophetically, not only in the Book of Revelation, but also by the seven streams Isaiah said God had divided the River into as a pathway for His people (Is.11:15), and by the seven pillars of the house of God invisioned in the Book of Proverbs:
"Wisdom has built herself a house, she has erected her seven pillars, she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine, she has laid her table." (Proverbs 9:1-3).
This branching out of the Church into seven parts allows the seven 'eyes' of God (Zc.5:10) to search the entire world for all the people taken captive by Satan, so that they can be rescued by Jesus from the farthest recesses of the devil's dungeons.
The two offices are closely associated in the Christian Church. The priesthood of Peter brings all of us into the unity of God's priesthood, while the churches structured in the writings of Paul guard us from falling away and sinking back into sin.
The Book of Revelation shows that the two witnesses are to be assassinated at the pinnacle of their preaching. There is good reason to believe Fatima's third prophecy is strongly related to the death of these two witnesses, as well, bringing to the prophecy actual events that overlie and reinforce the symbolism.
As camera's watch, their sudden resurrection and glorification point to the reward of faith, and to the ultimate victory of Christ's saints that the prophet Daniel has promised. Once the "three-and-a-half years" have passed, Jesus will return with all the angels in great glory and majesty, bringing with Him the time of peace that has been promised.
Evangelical Christians term this restoration the "Rapture", assigning to the time of peace a set framework of one-thousand years, a reign with Jesus on our current planet. Traditional Christians, on the other hand, see the peace that follows the 3-1/2 years of persecution as eternal, with Christ rearranging all elements (2 Peter 3:9-13), completely transforming this existance into an infinite and timeless peace in a brand new eternal heavenly city which scripture terms the "Bride".
"Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married'. In the spirit, he took me to the top of an enormous high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. It had all the radiant glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond." (Rev.21:9-10).
"The ban will be lifted. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in its place in the city; his servants will worship him, they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shiing on them. They will reign forever and ever." (Rev.22:3-5).
Intimately associated with these two witnesses is a prophetic period of time defined as "a time, two times and half a time" in scripture. It is also expressed, as we have seen, in the prophetic terms "42 months", "1260 days" and "three and a half years".
All of these are different expressions of persecution, all relating to the same period of time. They have to do with the Christian era on earth. The outer court of the temple has been handed over to the pagans who will trample on the holy city for "forty-two months" (Rev.11:2-3). The bodies of the two witnesses are to lie in the street for "three-and-a-half days" (Rev.11:11). God made a place of safety for the mother of the male child for her to be looked after in the "twelve hundred and sixty days" (Rev.12:6). The reign of the beast is to last "three-and-a-half years" (Dan.12:11).
This time period can be traced back in scripture to the time of Elijah the prophet when heaven remained shut for a period of "three years and six months" when no rain fell, and a great famine raged throughout the land (1 K.17:1; 18:1, 42; James. 5:17; Luke 4:25).
The Christian era is structured into three time periods. These are: 1., the first war; 2, the incarceration of Satan which produces the time of the conversion of the world, and finally, 3., the second war, in which the conversion of the world collapses and brings the era of the pagans to an end.
All three relate to persecution. In the expression "a time, two times and half a time", the first "time" represents the first war at the beginning of the religion when Christians were fed to the lions in the Roman arena's. The "two times" represents the 2000-year era of the Christian Church on earth. It is expressed as "two" times because it is a period extended (almost doubled) by the mercy of God, for it represents the time of atonement and the salvation of many. The date January 1, 2001 ushered in the "half-a-time", scripture's "third day", the time of the end which brings the second war against the Church the tribulation.
This time of wrath will end with the Return in glory of Jesus Christ, and eternal life for all who have made His word their home.
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