THE TWO WITNESSES
"Candles at the Wall" by Jewish artist Eizen.
Click the image above to go to the Israeli Poster Center.
The two witnesses are showcased in the two Shabbat candles.
And two candles are presented on our dining tables in Christendom.
The theme of 'two witnesses' is seen in both Old and New Testaments.
A study by Gavin Finley MD
endtimepilgrim.org - 2006
THE TWO WITNESSES. WHO ARE THEY?
COULD THEY BE CONNECTED WITH THE
NATION OF ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH?Revelation 11:3-4The subject of the two witnesses who are featured in the Book of Revelation is very heavily discussed by evangelical Christians. Just who are these two who act as God's witnesses at the climax of the age? As we can see, they are witnessing right inside the Tribulation period. Are they Elijah and Enoch? Are they Elijah and Moses? In Revelation 11: we see that they are represented by two prophets who appear to be individuals. But are they more than two men? Is there more to the story?
"3 And I will give power to my two witnesses,
and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands
standing before the God of the earth."
Here in this scripture from Revelation 11 we see that the two witnesses are two olive trees. So what might be the wider story here? If they are two men then are they acting alone? Or do the two witnesses oversee the two main streams of the witness God's covenant people will be concerned with in the end time?
Let us begin with the standard discussion of this subject. If the two witnesses feature two men then who are they? Who are our candidates for these two witnesses? Elijah and Enoch are certainly good candidates. The prophet Elijah bore witness before God on behalf of the kingdom authority of the nation of Israel and the Old Covenant. And Enoch bore witness to the personal fellowship with God which is in fact the personal priestly ministry of God with individual men we see the New Covenant and exemplified in the "ekklesia", the called out Assembly, the true Congregation/Church) of YHVH-God.
To our knowledge neither Elijah or Enoch have seen physical death. Enoch knew God and entered into sweet fellowship with Him. He took a stroll with God and ended up walking right on up into heaven with Him. And Elijah did not see death either. He was caught up to heaven in a fiery chariot. Both these men went up into heaven alive in their physical bodies. Could they return to earth again to take up their end time role as the two witnesses?
Moses is another candidate for one of the two witnesses. He, along with Elijah, was seen at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor. But unlike the other two Moses did in fact die. In fact there was a dispute between the angel Michael and Lucifer over the burial of His body. (Jude 1:9)
If two men do return from heaven and are the two witnesses is this all there is to the prophecy?
Or might this prophecy of the two witnesses in the end time drama be a bigger story than we have been told?
TWO WITNESSES OF YHVH-GOD ARE SEEN IN BOTH THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.The scriptures give other accounts of a twofold witness. And the two olive trees are a connecting key to our search for an understanding of the two witnesses. As we saw above, the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation saw the two olive trees. John was told that the two olive trees were the two witnesses. He was also told that these were two witnesses who "stand before the God of the earth".
THEY ARE SEEN IN VISION BY ZECHARIAH AND ALSO BY JOHN IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION.
THEY ARE DESCRIBED AS "TWO OLIVE TREES WHO STAND BEFORE THE GOD OF THE EARTH".REVELATION 11As we shall describe further into this article, the prophet Zechariah saw the two olive trees just as John did.
3. "And I will give power to my two witnesses, ....................
4. These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands
standing before the God of the earth."
Zechariah asked what the two olive trees were.ZECHARIAH 4The prophet Zechariah received this answer.
4. "What are these two olive trees .......?"
ZECHARIAH 4In both the Revelation and the Zechariah accounts we see the same thing.
14. ....... These are the two anointed ones,
that stand by the Lord of the whole earth."
The two olive trees were "two witnesses" or "two anointed ones"
"standing before the Lord/God of the earth."
Zechariah gives us a lot more information. As we shall discuss, Zechariah saw the two olive trees issuing two flows of anointing oil into a golden bowl. From the bowl seven pipes were dispensing the oil into the seven lamps on the golden lamp stand. We know that the golden lamp stand with seven branches is the true symbol of Israel. It was fashioned according to the instructions YHVH-God gave Moses.
But we also see the golden lamp stand showcased in the New Testament. John the Beloved saw the seven candlesticks in the opening heavenly courtroom scenes of the Apocalypse. (Rev. 1:12-18) And right there in the midst of the seven candlesticks John sees Someone with His hair as white a snow and eyes a flame of fire.
John falls down at His feet.
He has seen the Son of Man.
GOD HAS ALWAYS CALLED FOR TWO WITNESSES.As we have seen, our search for the two witnesses quite clearly takes us to the top of God's order of things. John the Beloved in the Book of Revelation takes us on a tour into the courts of heaven. And we get a glimpse of the Apocalypse and the judgments of YHVH-God as they relate to the thresholds of history upon this earth. Here are some further scriptures that specifically mentions "two witnesses". Again, we see that they relate to God's holy order and His righteous judgment.
THE END TIME DRAMA WE SEE IN REVELATION IS A COURTROOM CASE.
AND THE ANCIENT OF DAYS IS SEATED UPON THE THRONE.
First we hear from Moses.Deuteronomy 17:6Then we hear from our Apostle Paul.
"At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death;"2Corinthians 13:1In other words, before judgment can come there must be a testimony given by two witnesses. This is a testimony by two reputable and worthy observers who were on the scene at the time of the events and are actually a witness to what was going on. This is absolutely necessary in a court of law. And as we see in the Book of Revelation, the heavens were opened into the Day of the Lord. And John saw the courts of heaven come into session. He saw the Ancient of Days seated upon His throne. And He was attended by His angelic hosts.
"In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."
So the End-Time is not a haphazard or chaotic affair. The Sovereign of the Universe is in control of events. But He is doing more than that. YHVH-God is presiding at court! In the Book of Revelation John the Divine sees the heavenly court set in readiness. And He sees the Ancient of Days take His seat for the execution of the Judgments that will be seen in the Apocalypse.
So the 70th Week of Daniel is not the chaotic shambles it has been presented as by our Bible prophecy teachers. Pre-tribulation dispensationalist preachers have long misrepresented the Biblical truth here. The final seven years of this age is not just a chamber of horrors. YHVH-God is on the throne! And He is the One who is exercising sovereign oversight over holy history. He sets the limits over all of the critical end-time events. And all of His witnesses, every last one of them, will be there!
THE TWO WITNESSES AS SEEN BY THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH.
This wonderful image is from the Jewish Cervera Bible.
Spain circa 1299.
Here is another clue from the prophecy of Zechariah in which specific mention is made of two anointed ones who stand before the Lord of the whole earth. They must relate to the dual anointing of God for kings and priests. Our scripture passage is in Zechariah chapter four. Zachariah saw two olive trees. Both of them were supplying the oil of anointing to a bowl. That bowl supplied oil to a seven branched candlestick or candelabra. Here is our scripture.ZECHARIAH 411 Then answered I, and said unto him,
1 "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'.
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." In Romans 11 our Apostle Paul speaks again of olive trees. We hear of "natural branches" and "wild branches".
This is in reference to Israel and the Church.
Clearly both are identified with the olive tree.
And the olive tree is a symbol of Israel.
Are there any more clues from scripture regarding a twofold witness and unity in God? Yes indeed. We have the two offices of the Order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek served as priest of God most High. He also served as king of Salem or Jerusalem. We know that our coming Messiah presides over these two offices of priest and king. The psalmist (King David), sees YHVH/God speaking to David's Lord the Greater David. God says,"You are a priest forever. According to the Order of Melchizedek." Psalm 110:4
THE TWO STICKS OF EZEKIEL 37.In Ezekiel 37 we have another prophecy of two becoming one. We have the prophecy of the two sticks uniting and becoming one stick. In this prophecy we see dual anointing and dual authority in YHVH-God. They are the authorities of Judah and of Joseph. The meaning of the prophecy is abundantly clear. They are both destined to become united to and become one.
THE TWO AUTHORITIES OF MESSIAH IN JUDAH AND IN JOSEPH.
Ezekiel saw two sticks that became one. (Ezek 37)
There was the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph.
They appear to be the two authorities of YHVH-God upon this earth.
The image to the right is from Batya Wooten's book.
Out of Judah comes the Lawgiver, ruling from the Throne of David. (Gen.49:8-12)
He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, our coming Messiah.
Joseph's coat of many colors is seen out in the nations. It is covered with blood, even the blood of God's martyrs. But out of Joseph comes the ministry of grace in the Gospel. The Light of Israel goes out into the nations. Joseph brings salvation to his brothers, and the world. He feeds them the Bread of Life.
So, might the first witness represent God's law and His righteous rule? Melchizedek was King of Salem/Shalom. And so we are focusing in here on His Kingdom. The Throne of David is in the royal Jewish tribe of Judah.
Judah was separated from Israel in the breach of Jeroboam. Judah became the southern kingdom who went off into captivity in Babylon. These people, the Jewish nation, returned from their exile. They restored the royal and holy city of Jerusalem as a city-state. And the Jewish people know their heritage. They know and remember their earthly roots in Israel.
And what of the other witness? Looking back to the two sticks is it connected to the Gate of Joseph? Might the other witness be concerned with the ministry of God's grace and His mercy? Melchizedek was Priest of God Most High. (Gen.14:18) And God has sworn that our coming Messiah is "a priest forever according to the Order of Melchizedek". (Psalm 110:4)
And so we are focusing here on the High Priesthood of Christ. God in His mercy and grace makes covenant with individuals. This is not a bloodline matter. They come to God by the faith that was first seen in Abraham. The New Covenant sees God's righteous law written into the hearts of men. This is a work of grace. Salvation comes by God's grace through the exercise of a mans faith in God. Redemption is available through the atoning blood of the promised Sacrifice Lamb. This is the Gospel. It is the priestly ministry of the true Church, the Congregation of YHVH-God.
It certainly appears that the end time witness of God's Elect will be two-fold. There is a priestly ministry of the Gospel going on right now. And there will be a kingdom ministry, a "Gospel of the kingdom" seen in the end-time. This important end time covenant business relates to the returning Messiah, His High Priestly ministry and His future rule upon earth in the coming Millennial Kingdom. Priestly issues are involved. And so are kingdom, (or political), issues. Messiah will return to wrap up Church and State. This is why the nations, (and their hired churchmen), are raging as we approach the end of this age.
Here is another clue indicating that the two witnesses may be more than just two men. YHVH-God has said in Daniel 9:24-27 that He will reopen up a set period of time, the final week of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel. This time has been written in the Word of God and set. This time has been set and determined for God to resume crucial blood covenant dealings with His covenant people. Daniel tells us that these covenant issues are twofold. They relate to
1. His Holy City, (Jerusalem)
1. His Holy People, (His Congregation, His Church).
THE BREACH OF JEROBOAM SPLITS ISRAEL INTO TWO PARTS.
BUT THEY ARE DESTINED TO BE RE-UNITED IN THE APOCALYPSE AT THE END OF THE AGE.
"Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying:
'What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!'
So Israel departed to their tents." (1Kings 12:16)
After the death of Solomon, Israel split into two kingdoms. Judah in the south, the royal tribe, included the city of Jerusalem. Within Judah is the House of David with the Throne of David. The Throne of David is the key to the raging of nations. This is the essential target of all anti-Semitism.
Here in the Jewish House of Judah is the burden for God's righteous rule or His Law. The heathen hate it. That is why they are raging against little Israel and against Jews as we approach the end of the age. King David wrote a song about this 3,000 years ago. (Psalm 2)
We also have the Northern Kingdom of the ten tribes. Right back at the breach of Jeroboam the ten northern tribes evidenced their burden and desire to find grace and mercy. The glory of Solomon's reign was fading. Taxes were burdensome. The northern ten tribes went to the King, King Rehoboam, asking for tax relief and relief from the hard labor the tribes rendered to the central government, the kingdom of Israel in Judah. Rehoboam of Judah, was at that time the sovereign over all Israel. Did the lost northern tribes find grace in the eyes of King Rehoboam? No, they did not. And that is why they walked out. They rebelled. The rule over the departing ten tribes was assumed by Jeroboam. He then proceeded to lead the northern tribes into gross idolatry. He set up golden calves for worship. The House of Israel, as it was called, ended up being carried off into slavery by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.. They never returned. They remain lost to this day.
THE EVENTUAL REUNIFICATION OF THE TWO KINGDOMS OF ISRAEL.What happened to the lost ten tribes after their captivity ended? Did they stay up near the Tigris River south of the Caucasus mountains? In the centuries after the Assyrian captivity did the bulk of them drift westwards into Asia Minor? Did they come under the ministry of the Apostle Paul as is missionary journeys went west from Antioch? If the ten tribes were totally lost from the Old Covenant and from the nation of Israel is there hope for them? Might they be found as we come to the unveiling revelations at the end of the age? And could it be that YHVH-God has arranged for them to be picked up in the New Covenant?
THIS PROPHECY WILL BE FULFILLED IN THE CRUCIBLE OF THE END TIME.
We know that late in the first century there were seven churches in Asia Minor. Jesus left us with a valuable clue. He said that He went to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This is a clear reference to the lost ten tribes.
The great divorce of Israel after the death of Solomon was an awful thing.
Since the breach of Jeroboam there have been two houses of Israel.
Both of them are partially blinded.
And they do not recognize each other.
But God says that He will restore both houses.
The Jewish house Of Judah will be saved. (Zech.12:7-13:1)
(They are blind to their Messiah.)
And God will find the lost ten tribes of Israel and their companions. (Ezek.37)
(They, and the Church at large, are blind to who they are in Israel.)
These mysteries will be revealed during the Apocalypse, the unveiling of Christ as Messiah. All this awe and splendor will be seen as the 70th week of Daniel unfolds into holy history. As the 70th Week opens the trumpets will begin to sound. And God will resume His determined dealings with His covenant people. The combined witness of the God of Abraham, Judah, and Joseph will go forth.
THE TWO WITNESSES IN THE END TIME DRAMAAs we come towards the consummation of this age men and angels will see a twofold witness from God. The nations will be under increasing stress. The principalities, powers and angelic rulers will recognize that their time is short. They will pull the strings of depraved and godless men. The end result will be that the nations will be raging. Increasingly they will find themselves coming against God Himself.
First of all, they will also find themselves in a dramatic clash with God's law and His righteousness as their armies press on towards Jerusalem. God Almighty will plead with the heathen as their armies muster at Armageddon. He will plead with the nations with pestilence and bloodshed. The end time drama upon the mountains of Israel involves God's Holy City and the witness of YHVH-God's righteous rule upon this earth.
Secondly, the witness of God's mercy and His grace will also be seen out in the nations. The 6th seal signs of the sun turning to darkness and the moon to blood will see the Holy Spirit outpouring coming to a climax at the very last day. And
"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Joel 2:28-32)
Yes, even in the midst of tribulation, the Gospel witness will go out to the ends of the earth.
Francis Schaeffer spoke of the seemingly irreconcilable dichotomy between God's Law and His Grace.
But God will indeed bring it all together in Messiah at the end of the age.
Yes, YHVH/God's twofold witness will be seen in a magnificent way inside the Apocalypse.
1. The witness of His LAW will go out from His Holy City,
2. The witness of His GRACE will go out in the Gospel from His Holy People scattered abroad.
Then Messiah is coming to wrap things up.
THE TWO WITNESSES AND THE 1260 DAYSThe scriptures show the two witnesses as key players on earth and before the throne of God. The time of their ministry is precisely known. They minister during the Great Tribulation which is a period of 1260 days. So are these two witnesses two men who will come back to earth after a sojourn in heaven? Are they Elijah and Enoch?
This may be the case. But as we have been seeing, the two witnesses may be joined by a wider company of God's Elect who minister in the dual anointing encompassing these two witnesses. Certainly we can clearly see two distinct and complementary ministry burdens exercised by God's witnesses in the end time. John said that God's two witnesses will be ministering during the 1260 days of the latter half of the 70th Week. The dual witness will go out through God's Elect during the very time frame of the Great Tribulation.
So the two ministry burdens of the two witnesses seem to be,
1. God's righteous rule or His 'Law', (the burden of Messianic believers out of national Israel).
2. God's grace in the Gospel, (the burden of the church).
As we have discussed, the prophet Daniel brings an important point to bear on this discussion.
The angel Gabriel told Daniel that the 70 weeks were "cut out of time" for two distinct purposes.
The witness goes out on behalf of God's Holy nation/Holy City.
And the witness also goes out on behalf of God's Holy People.
THE TWO WITNESSES OF GOD ARE DEMONSTRATED IN THE END TIME TESTIMONY OF THE ELECT.In the last days the scriptures show us only one Elect. God's Elect, His Chosen, are one single united confluent company drawn from both sides of Calvary. They are a "called out company", an "ekklesia", a "congregation" a "church" a "synagogue". And so they come into God's great Congregation. They come from national Israel and from out of the gentile (heathen) nations. Many will fall away in the persecutions under the harlot during the first 3.5 years and under the 666 Antichrist during the second 3.5 years of the 70th Week. But the Apocalypse sees the covenant people of Abraham, Judah, and Joseph come together as a single refined remnant. The remnant of Israel and the remnant Church become one and the same.
GOD'S ELECT BECOME A SINGLE UNIFIED "ROYAL PRIESTHOOD AND A HOLY NATION"
This is the magnificent completed Congregation and Nation of Israel the Old Testament prophet/poets saw.
The wild branches and the natural branches have been grafted back into the olive tree. (Rom.11)
Here is another valuable clue as to what God intends to do in uniting all His people.
God does not say Israel is to become a royal nation and a holy priesthood.
Notice, Moses and Peter "cross over" the attribute 'royal' and apply it to the priesthood.
And they cross over the attribute of 'holy' and apply it to the nation.
Israel has at last become a "royal priesthood and a holy nation". (1Pet.2:9)
Messiah at His coming will do something no one else since Melchizedek has ever been able to do.
He will "lock down" and "cross-link" politics and religion.
Only Messiah can do that. And why?
1. Messiah brings His peace/shalom and into His Holy City, Jerusalem.
(This action on behalf of national Israel is executed in the Old Covenant).
2. Messiah brings His peace/shalom into human hearts.
(This action on behalf of His Holy People is executed in the New Covenant). (Jer.31:31)
Messiah's two fold witness will go out at the climax of this age.
1. The Gospel of the Kingdom.
2. The Gospel of personal Salvation.
Messiah brings national salvation and personal salvation.
He re-unites all His people and brings them home.
Remnant Israel and the Remnant Church are destined to become a single united company. This will happen at the end of the age even as the Light of Israel shines out from Jerusalem to the heathen gentiles out at the ends of the earth. The races, tongues, and tribes have seen a Great Light. And as we come to the end of this age we see that God's work in the faith of Abraham has been completed for this era. All of Gods people have been found. Israel has been restored. And the huge company of Abraham, even as a magnificent wedding party with their lamps, will be passing on up the highway of holiness towards the gates of splendor. (Isa.35)
All of God's covenant people will be coming home.
They will be returning to Israel from the ends of the earth."Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return,
And come with singing unto Zion.
And everlasting joy, shall be upon their heads." (Isa. 51:11)