Christian Churches of God
The Witnesses (including the Two Witnesses)
(Edition 5.0 19950923-20000708-20070906-20081228-20130121)
This work deals with the identity of the Witnesses and poses the only source of biblical identification. The two viable alternatives are discussed as well as the option that involves time travel. This perhaps overlooked solution is nevertheless an important and exciting possibility. Various terms are used for the Two Witnesses that stand on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the Last Days. The terms are the Two Witnesses, the Two Lampstands and the Two Candlesticks. They are also referred to as the Two Olive Trees or the Two Golden Lampstands that stand before the God of this Earth.
Part 1: The Two Witnesses
The Witnesses are two lampstands who stand before the god of the Earth. They constitute a very powerful spiritual force. They each hold a lampstand as each of the seven churches hold a lampstand. So they are very powerful instruments of God. In Part 1 we will delineate the possibility of who they are and will deal with the concept of the period from 1996, which marks the end of the Time of the Gentiles. In Part 2 we will deal with another aspect of the Witnesses that covers a much larger field of prophecy.
We will commence the thirty years’ countdown which will then finish off this Jubilee and finish off the 2,000 years of the forty Jubilees of the Last Days (see the paper The Last Thirty Years: the Final Struggle (No. 219)). The year 1996 was the 3,000th anniversary of David’s entry into Jerusalem. There are all sorts of significant points that arise from 1996. It will take thirty years through to 2026 to finish off the Millennium and the times of the demons, and prepare all of the nations to put them back for the treble-harvest year prior to the Jubilee of 2027-28.
The Two Witnesses will take up within that period. It appears quite certain that the Two Witnesses will commence their prophecy over the next thirty years. Later on we will examine when the likely scenarios of their ministry are and what the sequence of the wars of the end are. This paper is concerned with the Witnesses.
The measurement of the Temple is referred to in Revelation 11:1-2.
Revelation 11:1-2 And there was given me 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. 2 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. (KJV)
This process of measuring the Temple is a specific activity of the Last Days prior to the activities of the Two Witnesses, who are referred to in Revelation 11:3ff. There is no gap, and it is no accident that it goes on immediately into the matter of the Witnesses. The measurement of the Temple is the activity that precedes the advent of the Witnesses. We are the Temple of God. That measurement of the Temple is the determination of those who are in the Temple of God, and those who are fit to remain living stones of the Temple of God. Those who are unfit – and there are vast numbers who will be determined to be unfit – will be removed.
The measurement of the Temple and the whole process of the removal of the three shepherds in one month is explained – as is the whole sequence of the symbolism of the process of Ezekiel 34, and the various texts that deal with those concepts – in the paper Measuring the Temple (No. 137). However, this paper is specifically concerned with these Two Witnesses and the alternatives, and there are a number of alternatives as to who they might be.
Revelation 11:3-4 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (KJV)
One thing that is for sure is that the Two Witnesses are not dead, and they are not killed until their task is finished. That task immediately precedes the coming of the Messiah, and they are resurrected.
The claims that are made for the Two Witnesses are quite often bizarre. There are people who have been attributed as being the Witnesses over time. Quite simply, the Witnesses are not dead now and the world will be in no doubt when they are on the planet. The Witnesses do not make false prophecies. They are not people who have been ministers of any church on this planet in the twentieth century and who are now dead.
The measurement of the Temple takes place in accordance with a sequence of activity, which precedes the period of 1,260 days, or forty-two months, or three and one-half years. They are all the same timescale, expressed differently. We might thus deduce that two periods are meant, or we are dealing with two varying scales of time in the texts of Revelation. One scale or period, on a year-for-a-day basis, reflects the 1,260 years of the tribulation on a year-for-a-day basis, and the other scale represents the lesser actual period of three and one-half years. We know that there was an actual period of tribulation of 1,260 years from 590 CE to 1850 CE, which saw the Church persecuted by the hierarchical church termed the Church of the Whore. This is the system referred to in Revelation 7:1-18.
The period of the Witnesses is given as 1,260 days when they are clothed in sackcloth. This period equals the period for which the court outside of the Temple is trodden underfoot together with the Holy City, which is Jerusalem.
We could say, and it has been said, that the 1,260 years through to 1850 saw Jerusalem trodden underfoot, and the whole system over that period saw the Holy City and Israel trodden underfoot. From 590 to 1850 there was no coherent state for Israel and the land was variously fought over by Europeans and Muslims. That prophecy did not see two men standing in Jerusalem. The Seventh-Day Adventists put up the argument that the Two Witnesses are the Old and the New Testaments. They say that those Testaments were stamped into the ground in the French Revolution and they declared the Bible dead, and that that system finished at the end of the French Revolution. However, that was not the end of the period and they were not taken up to Heaven. Nothing happened from 1850. The French Revolution was in 1793 and not 1850 anyway. Modern churches, including the Adventist movement, try to claim that these things are past so they can avoid the issues of Revelation because Revelation is a pretty horrific document. Others have developed concepts of ‘places of safety’.
This period of the Witnesses involves two prophets who cause rain to cease during the period of their prophecy. (Now, it must be noted that it rained during that 1,260-year period.) The Witnesses prophesy clothed in sackcloth for the period of three and one-half years.
Revelation 11:5-14 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 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.
That city is obviously Jerusalem. The Adventists have a problem here because Paris was not where Christ was crucified.
9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
The people of kindred tongues and nations make up a very large number of people. Obviously, it can only be done in the days of mass communication, as the whole world sees these people lying in the streets and they are not allowed to be buried. This is perhaps a reference to the old tradition that a person is not legally dead under Judaic law unless he or she has been dead for three days and three nights. It is also possible that we are looking at a prophetically condensing timescale of times, then years, then days.
10 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 dwelt on the earth.
This has never happened before. So it is obviously an event in the future.
11 And after three days and an 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.
The Witnesses are resurrected after being legally dead for three and one-half days.
12 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. 13 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 affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. (KJV)
There are a number of propositions in this text. The first is that the Witnesses cannot be killed until they have finished their task. They stand before the god of the Earth, who is Satan (2Cor. 4:4), and they are there to witness against him and this world’s system. Nothing is condemned unless it is condemned in the mouth of two witnesses. That is a biblical proposition. The world cannot be condemned unless it is condemned in the mouth of two witnesses, and that is why there are two of them and why they stand together against the god of the Earth. It is at the end of the 6,000 years of the system of this planet that Satan and the demons are then condemned through his system.
Those seeking to kill the Witnesses are killed in similar manner. As the people try to deal with the Witnesses they are dealt with in like manner. That is the biblical principle of: how we judge, so shall we be judged; and that is what happens to these people. God deals with them in the way they judge the Witnesses. This system of judgment is introduced with the Witnesses. This is the restoration that commences the system of judgment, which will be implemented and enforced by Messiah at his return. This is the power of Elijah, who had the power to call down fire from Heaven against the priests of false gods (1Kgs. 18:1-46) and those who would harm him (2Kgs. 1:10-15) or indeed show disrespect to God’s appointed messengers as we see with Elisha also (2Kgs. 2:23-24). Elisha had power over the waters (2Kgs. 2:19-22) and over rain. Heaven is shut up because of the sin of the people evidenced in the mouth of two witnesses (1Kgs. 8:35; cf. Lev. 26:19; Deut. 11:17). This power of Elijah was quite significant. It was used in a number of ways and it had various applications.
1Kings 8:34-36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. 35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them: 36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. (KJV)
We are looking at two divisions of the elect: the servants of God (inner wheel), and the people of Israel, which is the outer wheel of the chariot.
Leviticus 26:19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: (KJV)
This is a punishment for sin. The Witnesses simply bring the sin of this planet back on its head.
Deuteronomy 11:17 And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you. (KJV)
Elijah shut the heavens according to his word.
1Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. (KJV)
It is quite clear that Elijah understood that he had the power over rain even to the point of whether or not there was dew on the ground. It is important that we understand who Elijah was because there are significant prophetical implications for the origins of Elijah as well.
Elijah was a Gileadite. Gilead was a clan or family of the territory of Gad (1Chr. 3:14) who were resident in Gilead. They resided to the east of Jordan. Remember, there were three tribes that did not go into the Promised Land and their inheritance is outside Israel – and that had implications for the Last Days. The external inheritance rests in Manasseh, Gad and Reuben. Taking the occupation of Israel as a forward prophecy (which is certain from the fall of Jericho; see the paper The Fall of Jericho (No. 142)), Gad is a major tribe outside Israel in the Last Days. They send armies into Israel along with Reuben and Manasseh to take up the inheritance. Gad and Reuben take up in different areas. Reuben, Simeon and Gad are in the south and their inheritance was outside of Israel. Manasseh was in the west. So there are two tribes in the south and one in the west in the Last Days going into Israel. Those tribes appear to take up their inheritances as part of the groupings under the birthright covenant given to Ephraim. They were separate residents in the midst of both Ephraim and Manasseh with whom they fought under Jephthah (Jdg. 11:4).
The name Gilead is most probably derived from the name rugged country, being adjacent to the fertile plains of Bashan. Its area was understood to be bounded by the Arnon on the south, the Jordan Valley on the west, the south-north part of the Jabok and the desert to the east, and the limit of Bashan a few miles south of the Yarmuk on the north. The inheritance of Gad was a country more rugged than Manasseh. The inheritance of both was outside of Israel proper being beyond the Jordan. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible holds that Gilead is evidently a tribe parallel to Reuben and Dan, and equivalent to Gad. The preoccupation with Ephraim and Manasseh takes no account of the inheritance of Reuben and Gad and their positioning within Ephraim, or the importance and significance of their inheritance outside of Israel in the Last Days as symbolised by the crossing over to take up Israel in the first instance under Joshua. That was a prophecy as well as an historical fact. In its broadest sense it extended further north into Bashan and even beyond the Yarmuk.
As a result of this vagueness, the territory of Manasseh is sometimes mentioned as overlapping into Gilead. However, it is usually only the tribes of Reuben and Gad that were settled there. So Reuben and Gad occupied the same lands. It appears that there was an independent kingdom set up in Gilead under Pekah, son of Remaliah, from the twenty years assigned to his reign in 2Kings 15:27. This appears to have occurred ca. 750 BCE in the latter part of the reign of Jeroboam II. He ruled there until 735 BCE. He killed his predecessor with the aid of the Gileadites (2Kgs. 15:25). He then attempted to unite all the surrounding regions against Assyria. The Assyrians defeated him and carried away all the Israelite population of Gilead (2Kgs. 15:29), and from that time it was no longer part of the kingdom. So they were carried away into captivity because of their opposition to the Assyrians before Israel itself was taken into captivity. Gad and Reuben and the eastern area elements of Manasseh went into captivity before Israel went into captivity.
Elijah can thus be identified as a Gadite, coming from the areas of inheritance of Israel beyond the Jordan. This has significance for the Last Days if we assume that the symbolism of the inheritance outside of Israel has significance for the Witnesses and the allocation of tribes. If we are looking at this function of the Last Days in prophecy, it does not come from Ephraim or Manasseh. Elijah was a Gadite. From the power we see given to Elijah over drought, fire and the elements, we can see that the Witnesses are thus in the power of Elijah as promised from Malachi 4:5-6.
Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (KJV)
The power of this prophet is not only in the matter of the performance of miracles, but also concerns the re-establishment of family relationships on the Earth so that it might be saved. John the Baptist was a forerunner to this prophet, but he was not that prophet.
Matthew 11:12-14 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. (KJV)
Thus John was Elijah. Yet there would be another who was also of the spirit of that prophet (see also Mk. 9:11-13).
Matthew 17:10-12 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. (KJV)
However, John the Baptist was not Elijah by his own testimony (Jn. 1:21). Christ said that he fulfilled that function, but it will occur in greater power in the end days under another Elijah.
The restoration of all things will occur under that system of the Last Days (Mat. 17:11). The Witnesses have those powers. The restoration of all things includes the Jubilees and the New Moons together with all of the structure of the Kingdom of God, and all the understanding. No teacher on this planet has done all of those things to date. These things will happen.
Christ did not commence to teach until John the Baptist was put in prison. When John finished his ministry, Christ then commenced to teach. God did not give Christ charge until John finished. In the same way, Messiah will not come until the Witnesses are finished.
There are two alternatives in dealing with the Witnesses.
The First Alternative
The first alternative is that the words are literal, and that Elijah is transported forward in time to complete the task of preparation for the Messiah, and is one of, or precedes, the Witnesses. So, the possibility that Elijah and another person (yet to be identified) can be brought forward in time cannot be dismissed. There are only two people in the Bible who did not die, and the Bible is quite specific about their being taken. Philip was also taken by God from the vision of the Ethiopian but he did reappear and die later (Acts 8:39-40).
If Elijah is one of the Witnesses, he must be joined by another to stand in Jerusalem. The most likely candidate can be determined from Scripture. The only two people that have been taken prior to death from the biblical narrative are Elijah and Enoch. If this is correct, then the prophet of Jeremiah 4:15 precedes them, because neither is of Dan-Ephraim as that prophet is. Enoch was the first taken. His function was to witness to the generations before the Flood. One was taken from the other side of the Flood and one from this side of the Flood, because the Witnesses needed to expand and expose the continuum of the Satanic-rule and destruction. The Earth was judged and destroyed on the righteousness of Enoch. The reason Enoch is important is because the pre-Flood existence concerned the Nephilim and the destruction of the Earth up to and through the Flood. The destruction of the Earth in total will occur at the end of the 6,000-year period. So we had one elimination under the Flood judged against Enoch.
Genesis 5:18-32 And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: 19 And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 20 And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. 21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.25 And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: 26 And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: 27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. 28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: 29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed. 30 And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: 31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died. 32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (KJV)
The world was not destroyed until Methuselah died. God sent the Flood in the year of his death. Being the son of Enoch, Methuselah was raised in righteousness and allowed to live out his days, and the Earth was not destroyed while Enoch’s son and grandson were alive on the planet. It was in Enoch’s great-grandson that the Lord raised up the next vehicle for saving the lineage of Adam. Enoch was the father of Methuselah. He was not, for God took him; but no man has seen God (Jn. 1:18). Enoch likewise was not a spirit being resurrected from the dead. Christ was the first-born from the dead (Col. 1:18). So Enoch was not taken ahead of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the head of the resurrection. He was the first resurrected being and the first human to become spirit. Therefore, Enoch was not taken as a spirit being. Thus Enoch is either dead or he was transported through time. This can only occur if time exists as a non-linear proposition. Elijah was also taken. He is normally held as being dead, as are all people other than Christ. The spiritual realm does not extend to humans until the resurrections (see the papers The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143) and The Eternal Kingdom of God (No. 144)).
2Kings 2:1-17 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. 5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. 8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
This was not to disillusion Elisha, because he had to believe with all of his heart that he did have the full power of the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish the things that he had to accomplish. There is no room for doubt in faith in an exercise of the power of the Holy Spirit. If the Witnesses doubted anything at all, they would not exercise the power that they are going to exercise. They are exercising their power through faith in the Holy Spirit.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
Elisha did exactly the same thing Elijah did. He was testing his power in the Spirit in the reverse direction, demonstrating that he had the power and authority. He was doing it before the priesthood of Israel. They were watching from afar and looking basically to witness the transference of God’s power. They wanted to see what was happening with Elijah and what would happen after Elijah went. What happened was that the authority was transferred to Elisha.
15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. 17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. (KJV)
This is the first story where conceptually we have the three-day sequence after Elijah has gone.
It is highly significant that the spirit of Elijah here rested on Elisha. Thus the spirit of Elijah was noted as being transferred and transferable. So the mantle was an important concept. This spiritual power was then noted as being given so that Elijah’s power could manifest itself in other people. That is the significance of that text with Elisha. Elijah is noted by some writers as having communicated after his translation. This is another matter for delineation.
This power of Elijah was also transferred with his mantle. The prophets sought Elijah for three days after his disappearance. This is significant. The period after the death of the Witnesses is also three days plus one half day. The three-day period relates to the sign of Jonah and was found in the year-for-a-day principle with the ministry of Messiah. The final example is on the death of the Witnesses. The first alternative then is that it is Elijah and Enoch transported through time. That might sound ludicrous, but if we are looking for the Witnesses in the Bible they are two people that were taken and they did not die, which indicates that they may very well be transported through time as the Two Witnesses. Do not be surprised if we see the chariot of Elijah simply drop Elijah and Enoch in Jerusalem. That is an alternative. It is certainly an explanation, which is otherwise absent and removes an incongruity.
This view was the original view of the time of Christ and also of the early church. The Expected Witnesses were Elijah and Enoch and that remained so until the twentieth century and the nonsense in some of the Sabbatarian Churches and others.
The Second Alternative
The second alternative is that the Witnesses in the Last Days exercise the same powers of Elijah. That is the traditional view in the US Churches of God. The first view is not the traditional view in the US but was the original view elsewhere. The modern US view is to say they are two prophets and living on the planet today. They must be alive at the moment, given the time-frames and the requirements of the Law. In order to be prepared, they have to be over thirty years of age to commence to preach – otherwise they have broken the Law. Therefore, they have to be over thirty before they teach and it’s thirty years from 1996 to 2026, and they have to take up their ministry three years before 2026. At the very latest they will be on the planet by 2023. That means they have to be alive now and had to have been, at the very least, one year old in 1995.
The two prophets appear and exercise these powers, being nominated as prophets in the Last Days. The text notes that they are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the god of the Earth. They thus confront Satan. Remember, Satan confronted Christ first. Satan was judged by his judgment of Christ. However, in this case, the Witnesses stand before the god of the Earth and they confront Satan. The same metaphor is used in Zechariah 4:3,11,14. We see the first section relates to the construction of the Temple using the seven spirits of God.
Zechariah 4:1-10 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, 2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake 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.
This is one of the most important single verses in the Bible: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. Nothing will happen on this planet through force or power or any magnitude or combination of those elements. It will happen through the Spirit of God and that is why God will do the work in the Last Days through two individuals speaking in the Spirit of God.
7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
What is the headstone thereof? It is Messiah.
8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath 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. (KJV)
This lampstand was the first single lampstand of the Tabernacle seen in Exodus 25:31 and in the second Temple. 1Maccabees 1:21 and 4:49 show that in the second Temple they had a single lampstand of seven lamps. We can see a depiction of that lamp on the Arch of Titus in Rome. When the Temple was sacked and the armies carried away the artefacts of the Temple, they carried away the great lampstand of the second Temple. That event was engraved on the arch depicting the sack of the Temple. So there was one lampstand or candelabra in the Tabernacle, and the second Temple had this one candelabra of seven lamps.
In Solomon’s Temple there were ten lampstands as we see from 1Kings 7:49 (cf. Jer. 52:19). There are two different concepts involved. So there was one candelabra with seven lamps and then the ten lamps. The Witnesses themselves are two lampstands that stand on either side of the great lampstand which was Messiah. That is the significance. Messiah was the central lampstand, the eighth. From Messiah came the seven churches. From the seven churches we then find the two lampstands of the Two Witnesses, making ten in all. That tenfold structure was the thing represented in Solomon’s Temple. The second text refers to the Witnesses, who are then lampstands in their own right. Solomon’s Temple showed the sequence of the ten as they stemmed from the first of the seven. So the ten lamps in Solomon’s Temple signified Messiah, the seven churches and the Two Witnesses. The Two Witnesses had to perform the functions of the Sardis and the Laodicean Churches, both of which failed. Thus God demonstrates that it is not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts (Zech. 4:6).
The Temple is the Church of God. The question is repeated by Zechariah (cf. Zech. 4:11) as though he had not been answered in the first instance. This signifies a second activity or sequence.
Zechariah 4:11-14 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? 12 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? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. (KJV)
Notice it says stand by the Lord of the whole earth. They don’t stand by the Lord. They stand by the God of Heaven and they stand by Messiah who takes over as the Lord of the whole Earth. They are talking about the lampstands and they stand by the Lord of the whole Earth, yet, as witnesses, they stand before the god of the Earth. So they stand before and confront Satan, but they are standing on either side of Jesus Christ who takes over from Satan’s position. This is another text that shows that Satan, as the Morning Star, is replaced by Jesus Christ as god of this Earth.
This sequence occurs after the Times of the Gentiles. We know that the Temple was destroyed and the whole system was taken to Babylon. This activity was to last over the entire Time of the Gentiles and affected both Judaism and Christianity. That is why the false church or Whore is also called Babylon the Great and the Mother of Harlots (Rev. 17:5). This prophecy is found in Zechariah 5:1-11.
The Old Testament can stand on its own. The New Testament is an explanation of the OT, not a replacement or an alteration of it. The OT stands on its own if we understand it. We don’t need the NT to understand the Plan of Salvation and the activities of Jesus Christ over time if we understand the OT properly. The NT is needed because it is a proof of the OT and the NT explains and codifies what the OT means. We can make mistakes with the OT if we don’t understand it properly. So the NT quantifies and codifies the exact and precise meaning of the OT prophecies. The false systems are carried there and set up on Her own base. The Hebrew is in the feminine singular. Shinar is the land of Babylonia. The two women denote two systems, either of nations (Companion Bible) or religious systems. The broader meaning is that the systems of Judaism and Christianity were both corrupted by the Babylonian system. That is the real meaning of it.
Zechariah 5:1-11 Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. 3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. 4 I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.
These were not just the houses people lived in; they were houses of worship. The religious systems and the Temples were destroyed. Even the stones of the Temple were destroyed because they were swearing falsely by the name of God. That is the system that took up in the Temple and that which was removed under the witness of Jesus Christ. That is also the system that took up in Christianity and destroyed Christianity as well. All of those edifices – both the Jewish Temple and mainstream Christianity – will be destroyed. That is the meaning. In the end, every single religious edifice and building on this planet which claims to be Christian will be pulled down. The lot will be destroyed, whether they have a heritage classification or not.
5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. 7 And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. 8 And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.
The talent of lead (from Heb. kikkar) is most likely to refer to a round disc which becomes the lid of the ephah. The wind in their wings was the ruach or spirit. Hence they were empowered by a spiritual force. This religious system is given power over the Earth and is addressed by the Witnesses at the end. This system is brought to an end by the first angel’s message, by the Gospel of the everlasting Kingdom of God. This system is destroyed by that message.
10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base. (KJV)
This system was allowed to be taken and removed into Babylon, and the Babylonian system was established because of the false religious structure of Israel.
The period lasts for some seven times or 2,520 years. As we have seen from the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36): The Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms, this period commenced from 605 to 525 BCE and finished in 1914 to 1995/6 CE. This is the end of the Times of the Gentiles. The last phase of the thirty years thus commenced in 1996/7. This period leads up to the coming of Messiah. The Witnesses are an important part of that activity.
The empire of the Beast is allowed to kill them after they have finished their prophecy. Their bodies are left lying in the streets for three and one-half days. These Witnesses perform the same functions that Moses exercised in Egypt. The plagues that Moses inflicted upon Egypt were to deal with their spiritual system as the Witnesses deal with the system of the Last Days.
This process was also effected by Elijah who witnessed against false religion within Israel. Thus, the Witnesses testify against false religion, both within Israel and among the nations. The sequence of their prophecy and the scope of it will be given later. These two people, exercising the power of Moses and Elijah, are yet to take up their positions. The timescale precedes the coming of Messiah. The measurement of the Temple is prior to this function. The Outer Court is trodden underfoot during the period of the ministry of the Witnesses (Rev. 11:2-3).
There is another aspect of the Witnesses which covers a much larger field of prophecy and endeavour than the two great prophets who stand in Jerusalem in the Last Days for 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth. This aspect has been misunderstood and often confused with the two individuals themselves.
The Witnesses are listed by name in the Bible. Who are they and what does the Bible have to say about them?
In Isaiah 43, God names Jacob and Israel as His witnesses.
Isaiah 43:1-13 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 8 Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. 13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? (KJV)
Notice in this text we have Jacob and Israel mentioned as distinct entities.
In this section, we see that God is Israel’s creator (cf. Isa. 44:2,21,24) and redeemer (Isa. 41:14; 48:17; 49:7). God called them by name and they are God’s unique possession (cf. Isa. 45:3-4; Ex. 19:5; 33:17).
God protects His people through all dangers (Ps. 66:12). Here we see that God’s ransom of Israel includes the nations of Africa (Egypt and Ethiopia) and Arabia (Seba). Cyprus was expected to conquer all of these nations (cf. Annotated Oxford Bible, fn. to Isa. 43:3c-7). The ransom here actually represented the salvation of the Gentiles.
From Isaiah 43:8-13 we see the following propositions emerge:
· Israel is capable of conversion (v. 8);
· The nations are going to gather together but they cannot defend their gods.
From this point, God declares that there is and will be no other god (cf. Isa. 41:23-24; 48:5).
From Isaiah 43:14 to 44:5 we see the prophecy of the Redemption and Restoration of Israel. Here we see the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel put in apposition. The Redeemer is mentioned more often in Isaiah than elsewhere. From Genesis 48:15-16 we see that the Angel of Redemption was the elohim of Israel (cf. also Isa. 43:1; 54:5; 59:20; Jer. 50:34; cf. also Isa. 41:14; 47:4; 48:17 for the term Holy One).
In Isaiah 43:22 we see Jacob and Israel mentioned again in distinction.
Isaiah 43:22 But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. (KJV)
God does this again in Isaiah 43:28.
Isaiah 43:28 Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches. (KJV)
In Isaiah 44:1 He speaks again to both but this time as one.
Isaiah 44:1-5 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. 5 One shall say, I am the LORD'S; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. (KJV)
Thus, the two are distinct but within the structure of the one people. Also, we see the name Yeshurun (SHD 3484) come into this duality. Yeshurun is derived from the root yashar (SHD 3474) meaning to be straight or even. It has the sense of making straight or taking the straight path. It leads on to concepts of equity and justice.
We see here that God redeemed Israel not for its merits but because of His Covenant relationship with it. God is its king and that kingship will be restored when He who comes whose right it is.
God shows here that He will make Israel as the straight one. Yeshurun is then coupled with Jacob. Jacob is the name of the patriarch, and Israel was the name he came to be called. This name also came to be the name of the nation of the sons of Jacob. The duality is thus apparent.
The Being here is Yahovah, the King of Israel and Israel’s redeemer. He is the Yahovah of Hosts. There are two Beings referred to in Psalm 45:6-7. This Being here is the haElohim referred to elsewhere as Yahovih when the term Yahovah of Hosts is not used of Him.
He declares again here that these are His witnesses.
Isaiah 44:6-8 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. 7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. 8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. (KJV)
This deity is the One True God (Jn. 17:3) and beside Him there is no elohim. All are subordinate to Him. The RSV has the words ending with: “There is no Rock? I know not any”. This appears to have been hidden by the Trinitarians because of the symbolism.
Isaiah 44:8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any." (RSV)
Thus, the single Rock strikes also at the patrimony of Peter argument advanced by the Roman Catholic Church.
The concept here is that God deals with Jacob and Israel as His witnesses against the nations. The duality referred to here is not the duality of Israel and Judah. It is the duality of the physical and the spiritual. Jacob was the named patriarch who became Israel, which means: he shall rule as El. Thus the significance is that the nation is one witness and the Church is the other. For, it is the Church that becomes the body of Israel and shall rule as God or elohim, as the Angel or Messenger of Yahovah at their head (Zech. 12:8).
The concept of Israel as the Church has been examined in detail in the papers Proverbs 31 (No. 114); The Covenant of God (No. 152); Song of Songs (No. 145); Commentary on Esther (No. 63) and Measuring the Temple (No. 137).
It is a profound mystery of God and truth of the Church. For, not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all who are children of Abraham are his descendants.
Romans 9:6-11 But it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named." 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants. 9 For this is what the promise said, "About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son." 10 And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call, (RSV)
Thus Jacob was physical Israel to whom the birthright promises were given, and through whom the tribes were blessed (Gen. 49:1-33).
But he was the physical father of the nation. The spiritual Father was in Heaven and, thus, the nation had to be of two types; and the Gentiles were to be called into the nation Israel and not as Jacob. Paul seems to make such distinction also in 2Corinthians 11:22 and refers to Jews and Israelites.
Jacob was witness for God up until the Church. The Church was witness from the Messiah onwards. This division is represented in the period of the kingship – 1,000 years from David to Messiah and 2,000 years from the Messiah of Aaron to the Messiah of Israel (or the first and second Advents).
This period was also reflected in Saul’s initial force, which he divided into 2,000 and 1,000 and placed under himself and Jonathan. This pointed to the physical and spiritual kingdoms of which he and David were types. David pointed towards Messiah. There is no doubt about the text and meaning of Romans.
The Israelites are now the Church. Thus, it is quite bizarre to apply the text in Isaiah to the text in Revelation 11:1-14.
Revelation 11:1-14 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told: "Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. 3 And I will grant my two witnesses power to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if any one would harm them, fire pours out from their mouth and consumes their foes; if any one would harm them, thus he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. 7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit will make war upon them and conquer them and kill them, 8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which is allegorically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. 9 For three days and a half men from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up hither!" And in the sight of their foes they went up to heaven in a cloud. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come. (RSV)
Here we see that two prophets are being referred to in the way that they prophesy for 1,260 days. They have the power to shut the heavens during the period of their prophecy so that no rain falls, and they cannot be killed until they have finished their prophecy. After they are killed, they will lie in the streets for three and one-half days and then they will ascend.
One can say that there was a dual aspect of this prophecy in that the 1,260 days of the persecution was also over 1,260 years of the system of the Holy Roman Empire from 590 to 1850 CE when it was disbanded. The last Inquisition was from 1823 to 1846 and some 200,000 people were sentenced to death, or life imprisonment and the galleys, in the Papal States alone. Another 1,500,000 were placed under political surveillance (cf. Malachi Martin, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, pp. 250-254).
Here we come to the logical absurdity of these Two Witnesses being the nation and the Church. The nation and the Church are witnesses against the nations, but they will not all be killed in the Last Days, and their bodies will not lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and one-half days.
We know from Isaiah that there will be a great exodus out of the nations to the Promised Land at the end days that will make the exodus from Egypt remembered no more.
Isaiah 66:18-24 "For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 And they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their cereal offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. 21 And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD. 22 "For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me, says the LORD; so shall your descendants and your name remain. 23 From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the LORD. 24 "And they shall go forth and look on the dead bodies of the men that have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh." (RSV)
Thus, the nation will not be killed and physical Israel will exist. It clearly has a job to do in the Millennium. Therefore, terms relating to Revelation 11 cannot refer to the nation and descendants of Jacob.
The tasks of the two types are thus specific. The first task was as a physical witness, and as a spiritual witness over the two thousand years of the Church in the wilderness. The nation Israel was also the people to whom the responsibility was given of which Christ spoke when he said the responsibility was to be removed from Judah and given to a people showing the fruit (Mat. 21:43).
The Witnesses are thus the last phase in this process and they will be killed after they have done their job. This was done in part with Messiah in that he lay for three days and three nights in the tomb and then waited until the morning to ascend as the Wave Sheaf.
The same will occur at the end. As Christ and John were killed for their witness against Judah, so too will the Witnesses of the Last Days be killed. The entire world will exchange presents in celebration of their deaths. This was not and cannot be done concerning the nation of Israel and the Church. If it was, then Scripture would be broken, but Scripture cannot be broken. One is a type of the other.
The Church stands as witness against the world. Most of the elect of the Church have been killed for the Faith over the 1,260-year period. However, not all have been killed and not all will be killed at the end. In the same way, the nation survives. The reason Messiah returns is for the elect’s sake. If he did not return when God cuts short the time of the end, there would be no flesh left alive.
Matthew 24:21-22 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. (RSV)
Those days are cut short for the elect’s sake. If the elect were all in the Church, and hence in the First Resurrection, then it would not matter if the days were cut short or not. He returns to keep those alive of the nation who will go into the physical Millennium as physical kings and priests so that the Plan of God might be fulfilled.
Thus, they cannot die and lie in the streets. The witness is continuous, and at the end it involves two great prophets as well as having that responsibility carried by the Church and the nation over the centuries.
The Church and the nation thus act in the following aspects:
· from physical kingdom at Jerusalem to Messiah and the spiritual kingdom of the Church with the destruction of the physical Temple; and
· from the 1,260 years from 590 to 1850 CE.
They are the prototype of the Two Witnesses of the final 1,260 days or three and one-half years immediately prior to the return of the Messiah.
Christian Churches of God
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