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Jesus Messiah Fellowship

Light To The Nations

Who Are The Two Witnesses

And I will give power unto my two witnesses
and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred
and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth (Rev 11:3)

By Cohen G. Reckart, Pastor

1.)  Introduction
2.)  Different Opinions
3.)  Looking Behind The Scenes
4.)  A Look At The Text

Estimated 25 Million Martyrs put to death
because of Jewish, Gentile, Catholic, and Protestant hatred against those seeking Messianic restoration.


Introduction

I am convinced that the identity of the two witnesses is not the issue of Rev 11.  I am also convinced that as long as there are different levels of spirituality of those seeking to understand the book of Revelation, there will be as many different opinions.  In all of my Ministry (over 25 years), I met ten or less who were focused on the religious system and nation the two prophets are prophesying against and not the identity of the prophets. As of this writing, there are millions out there still deceived, who have missed the entire purpose of this chapter even being in the book of Revelation.  And as long as deception is the cause of spiritual blindness, there will be all sorts of theories and opinions as to who the two witnesses are, rather than WHY THEY ARE IN JERUSALEM in the first place.

Different Opinions

The Catholic Church doctrine on this subject, is that the two witnesses are Enoch and Elijah. Most of Protestantism holds the same theory and merges it within their doctrine of Dispensationalism.  These two are suggested because Enoch never died but was translated into immortality because of his walk with God.  Elijah also did not die but was translated into immortality because of his walk with God.  These are selected for several reasons:  1.)  They say the Scripture reports that it is appointed unto men ONCE to die and then the judgment.  Since neither Enoch or Elijah died, they must be reincarnated in mortal human bodies, give up immortality, prophesy again in Israel, be killed, and then die ONCE to fulfull this Scripture.  2.) Only Moses turned water into blood and only Elijah shut up heaven that it rain not, so they reason who else could invoke these powers except  Moses and Elijah are reincarnated to do them again?

There are other opinions concerning the identity of the two witnesses.  Some claim that God put into their mind they were Elijah and Moses.  Elijah because of aforementioned in #2 above, and Moses, because he was the only one to turn water into blood and smite the earth with plagues as found in Rev 11:6.  The idea is that God could do it for Moses but never again for another Prophet.  Therefore Moses must be resurrected or reincarnated again (Moses died he was not translated into immortality). These teach that  Moses must prophesy against Israel in Jerusalem for their apostasy. Their evidence that the witnesses are Elijah and Moses is the transfiguration of Jesus, when in a vision the Apostle Peter saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.

Another theory is that the two witnesses are the Old and New Testaments as sacred writings, and the writings of the prophets within them will prophesy against Israel and the goings on at the new rebuilt temple by the antichrist.  The Bible will be clothed in sackcloth which is said to be a black binding or cover, a figure of pending death and woe.  They teach that the Old Testament is one witness and the New Testament is the second witness:  also that the one olive tree is the OT and the other is the NT;  That they are killed, that is the OT and NT rejected, and their dead bodies (Bibles thrown down) laying in the street of Jerusalem, that this means Israel will reject both the OT and the NT for salvation and after this, they cannot be saved.  Dead for three days and ascend up to heaven:  these teach this means only that God will not work through his Word any longer toward the Jews during the last three and one half years of the tribulation;  and ascend up to heaven means God will rapture the Bible (OT and NT), and the world will be without salvation thence afterward and no person in all the world can then be saved.

I read also where many claim the two witnesses are John the Baptist and Jesus, both of which became martyrs in Jerusalem for the Word of God.  And, it is said that the time John and Jesus prophesied together (3 1/2 years), although not at the same time, was the 1,260 days of three and one half years which they say was the length of the Ministry of Jesus.  And, they report that both John and Jesus were raptured to heaven.  Now we know Jesus went up, but John?  Not a word of Scripture for this.

Some have become so frustrated with all these different versions and opinions that they feel the solution is to spiritualize the whole event and say there never will be two actual witnesses, that this is some figure of the Church, perhaps representing the Jewish segment (one witness) and the Gentile segment (second witness).  After all they reason, is it not taught by Paul there is one olive tree in the NT and in it are grafted together Jews and Gentiles, the two witnesses of grace?  But since when does spiritualizing the Scripture all of a sudden have the ring of truth?  Did not the Jewish and Catholic mystics spiritualize and by this method fabricate several heresies?

And there are even more theories all of which want to be heard, expressed, and thrown on the table of confused theology for consideration.  But is all of this necessary?  Is there a greater event going on in the text that we should focus upon and quit fussing over the identity of the witnesses?  I think so, and that conclusion led me over twenty years ago to look behind the identity of the witnesses to their Ministry and what they are prophesying against.  What I found was a shock.  And if you honestly take a look, you also will be shocked, that instead of God RETURNING TO THE JEWS, he has instead sent his last two prophets to that nation to rebuke them, expose their religious system as profane and apostate, and to condemn them for their final and conclusive rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord, King, and Messiah.  Why else would God care to prophesy against this city, nation, and religious system unless it was utterly profane and without any redeeming value?

Looking Behind The Scenes

What is lost in all of this effort to know who the two witnesses are, are answers to the questions 1.) WHY ARE THEY PROPHESYING?  2.) WHO ARE THEY PROPHESYING AGAINST?  3.) WHY ARE THEY IN JERUSALEM PROPHESYING AND NOT ROME?  And, is it not reasonable that in the Church, which is noted to have Prophets, that God could raise up two actual men?  Could God do again by new and different men what he did for Moses and Elijah? Why must Enoch and Elijah be reincarnated to die?  Is *reincarnation* once a person possesses immortality a NT doctrine?  And Moses:  is it reasonable that he die TWICE when they have already said it is appointed ONCE for a man to die and then the judgment? And, the idea that John and Jesus turned water into blood and smote the earth with plagues before ascending to heaven?  Where is this found in the Scriptures?  

I would propose to all who read this, that if God wanted us to know the identity of the two witnesses he would have told us.  And also, if they were two men to be raised up in the endtime, we would not know their names anymore than we would already know the actual name of the antichrist.  Should not our focus then be on why they are in Jerusalem prophesying and not on who they are?  Are we being led on a wild-goose chase to identify the prophets when we should be wanting to know what it is in Jerusalem that antichrist is doing that God hates and these two witnesses pronounce judgment against.  And should we know something about the religious system then in Jerusalem against which these two prophets are prophesying, and when they are DEAD, the religious followers of the Jerusalem cult will rejoice and exchange gifts?  Looking behind the scenes at the religious perversion (identified as Sodom and Egypt) being masqueraded in Jerusalem as a revival of the way of God, will give us insight on why these two witnesses are even in Jerusalem where our Lord was crucified.

A Look At The Text

Please notice that the word *witnesses* comes from the Greek and means *Martyr*.  So their deaths for their prophecies is the focus and not who they are.

Greekÿ3144. martus, mar'-toos; of uncert. affin.; a witness (lit. [judicially] or fig. [gen.]); by anal. a "martyr":-martyr, record, witness.

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Elucidation:  There is no reason to spiritualize the two men who will be martyrs after they conclude their prophesying for 1,260 days or three and one half years.

4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Elucidation:  The 2 candlesticks mean only tthat they are prophets of God filled with his Spirit and a curse to the spiritual darkness of the time.  The phrase *two olive trees* can mean nothing but that they were anointed of God for this Ministry.  Each man representing an olive tree.  This is first found in Zech 4.  Here the olive trees are suggested to be Joshua the high priest in chapter three and Zerubbabel in chapter four.  Their anointing and mission was to restore to Israel the ancient worship of God in true holiness and righteousness. Joshua and Zerubbabel were considered by God to be the two upon earth who stood by him, that is why the olive trees in Zechariah are on each side of the Menorah or candlesticks which represent the seven Spirits or attributes of God (see Isa 11:2 and count them). Taking this then as a clue to interpretation of Prophecy rather than a vision, the conclusion is evident.  The two witnesses will be anointed of God to *restore* something ancient of God (I believe this is the original message of Jesus concerning the Kingdom and salvation by the new birth of water and Spirit in Jesus' name Acts 2:38.  And this being rejected for a final time and the Prophets abused like the saints and Apostles of the early Church, they shall have authority to pronounce judgments upon Israel, Jerusalem, and the world.  That these are in the second *WOE* (Rev 11:14), may also indicate they are the reasons of some of the events found in the seals, trumpets, and vials.  And that they do this within 1,260 days, a time parallel with other tribulation events *seals, trumpets, and vials* suggest this connection.

5 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.

Elucidation: *Fire proceeding out of their mouth* can only refer to judgment by means of prophecy, so that to prophesy fire from heaven (Rev 8:5-8) would mean the fire came because of what was spoken out of their mouth.  They speak fire from heaven and it falls.  Fire then is seen to come out of or the result of what they say with their mouths.  And, would it not be reasonable that the false Talmudic priesthood then upon Moriah in those days will also summon fire from heaven from a space station using a laser beam to try and deceive the people that God has returned upon them and revived animal sacrifices (Rev 13:13) used as proof the two gadflies wailing in the streets are antisemites.  Is it possible that this contest between Law and Talmudic Phariseeism against Grace and New Testament Salvation will have its final show-down in Jerusalem where this conflict started so many centuries ago at Calvary and concludes the present Church age?  If not, why then after this show-down is it said in Rev 11:15 that the kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of Christ and then he will reign for ever and ever?  Why is nothing said that Israel was converted into the Kingdom of God?  And if converted, why is wrath still poured out on Jerusalem and the Temple destroyed with an earthquake?  Why would God punish Jews for something the Gentiles did?  And, would not all of these at this time already have the mark of the beast and could never be saved.  They didn't flee to Petra?  Was not then this show-down in Jerusalem a sign to the remnant of saints world-wide who had not taken the mark or worshiped the image of the temple recently rebuilt, that the millennial is imminent and for a final time God rejects Phariseeism which today hides and masks itself behind what is called Talmudism?  Why else would the two rivals call fire down except it be for validation of one or the other's religion and or faith as being the authentic one approved by God?  And We KNOW THE WINNERS ARE NOT THE TEMPLE MOUNT TALMUDIC SETUP!  Does God really approve the Phairsees and animal sacrifices after all in the end?  Is it true as some suggest that the Law IS NOT ENDED at all at Calvary?

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.

Elucidation:  This can refer to none other then the events within some of the seals, trumpets, and vials.  And it gives us some clue why God is pouring out his vengeance upon Jerusalem, Israel, and the world.  And it is not because the Pope is there plopped down on a throne in the new rebuilt temple celebrating Mass, and a choir of monks singing the Avi Maria.  If Rome is God's target, why will the winepress be stomped out in the valleys around Jerusalem and not rather Rome?

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.

Elucidation: The beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit (the grave), Rev 17:8, is the resurrected beast that had a wound by a sword (war) and yet after a long period of time is resurrected or come to life again. This beast or Kingdom/nation, for the word beast means a nation or Kingdom in prophecy (see Dan 7:23).  This beast is unique:  *it was* that is it once existed;  *it was not* that is it ceased and was naught;  *and yet is* that means has come back or REVIVED again into existence.  This can never fit the Catholic Church.  And to say it is the Roman Empire revived is a joke to long told to avoid the obvious truth.  This can refer to none other than Israel re-established in 1948.  Because of the seven hills some jump to the conclusion it is Rome.  But wait: Jerusalem also sat on seven seven hills in the time of Christ and the Apostles 1.) Mount Olives;  2.) Mount Ophel; 3.) Mount of Evil Counsel;  4.) Mount of Offense;  5.) Mount Moriah;  6.) Mount Calvary and;  7.) Mount Zion. This is further identified as Jerusalem and not Rome in the words:  *And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth Rev 17:18.* The identity *great city* is not speaking of some ancient greatness, but in the very endtime of this prophecy.  The city and nation that lives again after the wound by the sword (war 70AD Titus and Jerusalem).  And in Rev 11:8 the great city is identified as the place where Jesus was crucified.  That can be none other than Jerusalem.  See the next verse in the text.  Are there *two* great cities or ONE?  And is Jerusalem the *one* mentioned?

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.

Elucidation:  Anyone can see that this is Jerusalem.  And the final show-down between the Lord Jesus Christ and his prophets of the New Testament against Phariseeism masquerading as Talmudism, will take place in Jerusalem.  Even today, it is against the Law in Israel for a Christian Preacher to hold a street service in Jerusalem and invoke the name of Jesus Christ for the purpose of making converts.  A person doing so will be arrested, abused, and possibly killed, the authorities claiming converting Jews to Jesus is antisemitism.  And on this scene and challenging this law against the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ comes these two brave and fearless Prophets of Christian Judaism.  Personally, I believe they will be converted Jews to the Apostolic Acts 2:38 message.  It started in Jerusalem with brave and fearless Jews, why not end there to conclude the final rejection of Jesus and usher in the long awaited and just wrath of God, the guilt of which was laid first and foremost against antichrist Israel and the temple cult.  The blood flowed and the texts below the blood prove it. 


(Mat 23:35; Rom 11:3; 1Thes 2:15; Rev 16:6;17:6; 18:24)


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.

Elucidation:  The whole world has been deceived that those who have rejected Jesus and his finished work of Calvary are still the chosen people of God.  And when two Jews come on the scene to protest the goings-on at Mount Moriah, who shall they find attending the sacrifice of a red heifer but possibly Rev. Irwin Baxter, Rev. Clyde Lott, and Rev. Garner from Porterdale, Georgia; all huddled in an sweet embrace with smug grins, patting each other on the back and approving this historic event.   While somewhere in the city streets comes forth the cry of two prophets that such practices will never be accepted by God, and such sacrifices are just a continued sign from the Jews that they reject Jesus, his vicarious sacrifice, and his blood atonement.

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.

Elucidation:  And with so many deceived that God will return to the Jews after they rebuild a new temple with a rip-proof vail, and after the red-heifer sacrifice when fire is called down from heaven to the Temple Mount;  is it any wonder this same mass of deceived will rejoice when the two last Prophets to Israel and Jerusalem, speaking in the name of Jesus and preaching about the only true salvation in Acts 2:38 ARE KILLED, accused of being antisemites and also because they did not have the seal/mark authorized out of the Temple in their right hand or foreheads?

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.

Elucidation: Here I give a possible event that could happen at the time of the above, given certain facts now existing.  As Rev Irvin Baxter (UPC), Rev. Clyde Lott (ALJC),  Rev. Garner (ALJC), and their holy-land tour party relax board an airplane for the trip back to America,  Baxter, Lott, and Garner work of a report that they saw first-hand a mob killing two stupid antisemites, prophesying against the Jews and them.  But we believe God has other plans to rapidly begin unfolding.  While these "sacred cowboys" discuss their slides and how they can boast their prophecies have come to pass about the red heifer: and how they will prepare their videos to show many Churches the capture of the fire falling from heaven upon the sacrifices: the news breaks over the televison aboard, that the two murdered antisemites who have been dead for three days were allegedly seen alive, but other witnesses claim they have mysteriously disappeared and someone *stole* their bodies. As the airplane engines hum over the mid-Atlantic and frantic telephone appointments are made with big rich Pentecostal Churches who will pay lots of money to be the first congregations to view the videos and hear the reports of Rev. Baxter, Rev. Lott, Rev. Garner.  But a second news-break flashes across the one-eyed devil: THERE HAS BEEN AN EARTHQUAKE IN JERUSALEM,  ABOUT A TENTH OF THE CITY HAS BEEN DESTROYED (Rev 11:13).  THE TEMPLE IS NOW IN RUINS AFTER A WORLD SHOCKING EVENT THERE JUST THREE DAYS AGO WHEN AFTER 2,600 YEARS FIRE FELL FROM HEAVEN AGAIN ON A TEMPLE SACRIFICE. MANY CITIZENS ARE IN FEAR.  PSYCHOLOGIST ARE BEING SENT IN TO HELP PEOPLE COPE WITH THE CATASTROPHE.  PEOPLE ARE IN THE STREETS WITH HANDS TO HEAVEN ASKING GOD WHY.  THE MILITARY IS ON FULL ALERT.  THERE ARE THOUSANDS INJURED AND THE DEATH TOLL IS EXPECTED TO BE IN THE THOUSANDS. SEVERAL PEOPLE WERE SEEN CARRYING PLACARDS SAYING THE EARTHQUAKE WAS THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD.  THESE WERE HURRIEDLY REMOVED FROM THE STREETS FOR THEIR OWN PROTECTION.  REPEAT, JERUSALEM HAS JUST BEEN HIT WITH A LARGE EARTHQUAKE AND THE TEMPLE RECENTLY REDEDICATED HAS BEEN DESTROYED. YOU HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO ACN Chanel 666 NEWS.  

Rev. Baxter, Rev. Lott, Rev. Garner, and party all bow their heads in fearful prayer:  asking *WHAT MEANETH THIS JESUS?* Rev. Baxter scribbles some notes for his next EndTime magazine-*Could this be the end?* Then suddenly, a sound like a million thunders shakes the plane and it begins to descend in midnight darkness out of control toward the ocean grave below.  Screaming is heard, and someone ask:  Do you think that was the last trumpet we heard?  But these will not know at this time, they missed it, having joined with antichrist and at the last show-down they were on the wrong team  (do not be on the wrong team when the show-down comes or this story will be repeated in several places, in several ways, by many people).

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.

Elucidation: When it says *remnant* above, it is not meaning a small group of Jews remaining in Jerusalem who were on the wrong team.  The word *remnant* in the New Testament describes the small group of Apostolic Messianic Believers who were saved out of the large number of unbelieving Jews Rom 9:27.  So, the text is showing us that the remnant in the day of the destruction of Jerusalem and all these deaths, will be those who are saved according to Acts 2:38, NOT save Pharisee-Talmudic Jews who still had rejected Jesus. These will glorify God and say he is righteous to have poured out this judgment.

14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

15 And the seventh angel sounded (the last one that signals the coming of the Lord); and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Elucidation:  We can see that the rapture of the Church takes place at the beginning of the third WOE. This is not a pre-trib secret snatch; it is not a mid-trib air ride to safety to avoid the necessity of facing the antichrist;  it is not a pre-wrath escape to miss being here when God pours our his wrath upon the wicked.  The Church and saints in those days will see water turn to blood and many plagues sent upon the world by the prophecies of the two prophets.  Their presence in Israel and in Jerusalem will signal to the remnant of God's elect in those days that the coming of Jesus is near, even at the doors.  When it is over, it is we, the tribulation saints, the remnant remaining who WERE NOT DECEIVED because our names are in the Lamb's Book of Life, it is we who will give glory to God (Rev 13:8, 17:8, 20:15).  So we wait with expectation for the two prophets and the rebuilding of the temple, because to the endtime Church, these signal the end is near. And when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, at that moment, the antichrist and the false prophets will receive the judgments of God and be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 14:10-12, 16:10).  Then, we with Jesus will return with him to reign in the millennial and we shall walk upon the ashes of the wicked Mal 4:3.

16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Elucidation:  Hallelujeh

This concludes this article on the two witnesses.  Again, it is more important to know what is going on behind the scenes in this great prophecy, than it is to know who they are.  And, a last point:  All of the Revelation is PROPHECY.  Just because an event or revelation is veiled in symbolism, is no just cause to deny all or part of an event can be literal.  Symbolism is a manner to convey prophecy.  Not all of the revelation is symbolism.  The prophecy of the two witnesses was given himself by Jesus to John and no spiritualizing was intended or implied.  So, there is no compelling need to spiritualize this event.  For the endtime Church the two witnesses are a benchmark and a firm sign of the soon arrival from heaven of our Lord.  And pointing to this very time frame, Jesus said: *When ye shall see these things begin to come to pass, then LOOK UP, and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth night (Luke 21:28).*

Pastor G. Reckart