Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Two Witnesses

Biblegems #130
Question: Who are the two witnesses in Revelation, and what is the time frame of their ministry?

The Time Frame
These witnesses will prophesy in Jerusalem for 42 months, or 1,260 days, which equals 31/2 years (Rev. 11:2-3). The temple in Jerusalem has been rebuilt (Rev. 11:1-2), and Gentiles, not Jews, have control of the city (Rev. 11:2). These witnesses prophesy during the reign of the Antichrist, who is responsible for killing them (Rev. 11:7).

A new international holiday is declared, celebrating the death of these two martyrs. Following the 31/2 days when their bodies are left in the street, a severe earthquake kills 7 thousand people in Jerusalem, and this marks the end of “the second woe” (Rev. 11:14). The third “woe” describes the blowing of the seventh Trumpet and the beginning of the Day of the Lord’s Wrath upon the Antichrist and the rebellious  nations of the earth (Rev. 11:15-19; 19:11-21). The death of the witnesses and the Rapture of the Church take place before God’s wrath is poured out (Rev. 19:1-10).

The Witnesses
A “witness” is someone who can speak authoritatively from firsthand experience. The last OT prophet, Malachi, heard firsthand from the Lord concerning one of these two future witnesses:
         Mal. 4:5-6 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

The Jewish people take this prophecy with such seriousness that every year at Passover a chair is left empty in case Elijah shows, anticipating the arrival of the Messiah.

It seems that God is telling us that during the latter part of the Great Tribulation God will send two witnesses to bring thousands of Jewish people to repentance and faith in Jesus. One of these prophets will have “power to shut up the sky,” which points to the ministry of Elijah:
1Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
Many Jews will recognize this coming of Elijah as the fulfillment of prophecy announcing the imminent appearing of the Messiah.

These witnesses will also be given “power to turn the waters into blood,” which points to the ministry of Moses:
         Ex. 7:20  Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood.

These two witnesses are not some reincarnated appearance of Elijah and Moses. Rather, they are two prophets who will come on the scene during the worst of the Tribulation Period, just before the Rapture of the Church and the Day of the Lord’s Wrath, who will function in the Holy Spirit, exercising power like that of Elijah and Moses.

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Paster Coleman,
    I always found the study of the Two Witnesses of Revelation intruiging. The idea that Elijah will be one of them seems to be universally accepted by all. But the other being Moses, with me at least, has raised some concerns. Students of prophecy in the majority has accepted Moses on the basis of turning water into blood as recorded in Exodus, and therefore the miracle attributed to him.
    But unlike Elijah, Moses died a natural death, even though his body was buried supernaturally. On the other hand, Enoch was translated to Heaven alive as was Elijah.
    Now if Moses is to be the other witness, some problems would here arise:
    Enoch has never experienced physical death, neither had Elijah so far. However, both witnesses will be slain by the Antichrist. For Elijah, this will be his one and only physical death, but for Moses, he would DIE TWICE! First at the end of his earthly ministry to Israel, and again in Jerusalem some three thousand years later. On the other hand, Enoch remains undead, apparently for all eternity, the only man in the entire history of mankind ever to achieve this.
    This is why I believe that the other witness may well be Enoch rather than Moses. Like this, both men would face mortality once only, as appointed to all men, even to Jesus Christ, who died only once, and now sits to intervene for us forever.
    God bless,