ESV - 3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.
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All the biblical information we have about the two witnesses is contained in Revelation chapter 11, verses 1 to 14. This account is placed within the second woe (Rev 11:14) which occurs when the sixth trumpet is sounded (Rev 9:12-13). The disciples also asked when Jesus was coming back again. He told them that no one knows about that day or hour, not even in the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matthew 24:36). But Jesus told us that we could be fully prepared and ready for his second coming by remaining alert and keeping watch. Jesus said "when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door (Matt 24:33). The book of Revelation plus other passages like Matthew 24 & 25 give us lots of information about the end times. Several old testament prophets also spoke about the "day of the Lord" and what would happen in the last days. The big issue with interpreting these "signs of the second coming" is deciding what passages are intended to be symbolic and which are to be taken literally. The apostle Paul knew the Old Testament prophets and the teaching of Jesus. He thought the end might come during his lifetime (1 Corinthians 15:52). Peter also thought that the end of all things was near (1 Peter 4:7). Then the scriptures are completed with a great narrative in the book of Revelation that provides us with many signs that will precede the Lord's second coming. Many of the events recorded in Revelation follow a time sequence. Events are introduced with words like "then" (Revelation 6:15) or "after this" (Revelation 7:1,9) which are like time signatures. Jesus starts the process by being the only one worthy to open the scroll and break its seven seals (Revelation 5:5-10). Briefly the events unfold as follows: Revelation 6:1-15 First Seal - white horse, ride with bow, given a crown, bent on conquest Second Seal - fiery red horse, rider given power to take peace from earth and make men slay each other. Given a large sword Third Seal - black horse, rider holding scales, food is costly due to famine Fourth Seal - pale horse, rider named Death, Hades close behind, given power over 1/4 of earth to destroy by sword, famine, plaque, wild beasts Fifth Seal - souls under the altar, slain because of the Word of God and their testimony, calling for God's judgement to avenge their deaths, told to wait until all destined believers have been martyred Sixth Seal - sun turned black, moon turned blood red, stars in sky fell to earth, sky receded like a scroll, every mountain & island moved from its place, people desperately try to hide from the wrath of God After this (Revelation 7:1-8) John saw an angel holding the seal of the living God says "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God... 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. After this (Revelation 7:9-17) John saw "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They came out of the great tribulation, washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night. Seventh Seal - silence in heaven, then seven angels who had seven trumpets prepared to sound them. Revelation 8:6 to 11:19 First trumpet - hail and fire mixed with blood hurled down upon the earth, 1/3 of earth, trees, grass burned up Second trumpet - huge mountain, all ablaze, thrown into the sea, 1/3 of seas became blood, sea creatures die, ships destroyed Third trumpet - great star, blazing like a torch falls and turns 1/3 of rivers and spring bitter, many people died Fourth trumpet - 1/3 of sun, moon & stars struck so 1/3 of day and night without any light Fifth trumpet - locusts come out of abyss with power to torture for 5 months, everyone without seal of God Sixth trumpet - 200 million horsemen, killed 1/3 of mankind by fire, smoke, sulphur Seventh trumpet - 7 bowl judgements unleashed
The two witnesses are Moses and Elijah, representing the old and new covenants, and announcing the second coming of Messiah. They will be sent after Satan is cast out of heaven, resurrects the antichrist's body, enters the temple, and declares an end to animal sacrifice just before Passover. Moses and Elijah will arrive here on the Feast of Firstfruits at the halfway point of the antichrist's peace treaty (midway in Daniel's 70th week). As the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, the 144,000 Jews will be sealed 49 days after the arrival of the two witnesses, and that will be on the Feast of Weeks, the same day the bride was sealed during the barley harvest (Acts 2). http://wayofthetabernacle.com/rapture.htm
Revelation 11 tells us about the two supernatural witnesses and their purpose at middle of the seven year tribulation. I believe they will be Enoch and Elijah as neither physically died as Hebrews 9:27 says all man is appointed or has a reservation to die once. Enoch is pre-diluvian and Elijah is post, both having been caught up alive by GOD.
The Bible tells that the two witnesses are two 'olive trees' and the two 'candlesticks', which points to the two witnesses as being symbolic, not literal people (Rev 11:4). In my opinion, these two witnesses represent the Word of God (the OT and NT), the Law and the Prophets - a symbol of Moses and Elijah. In the OT we see a similar vision that contains only one candlestick and two olive trees (Zechariah 4:2-3). Zechariah is being told that “This is the word of the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). In Zechariah’s time there was only the OT and thus only one candlestick. The Word of God in the Bible is a light unto the world (Ps 119:105). Revelation 11 tells that they prophesy in sackcloth for 1260 days. In Bible prophesies one day=one year (Ezekiel 4:6). So, these 1260 prophetic days are 1260 literal years which corresponds with the period of time between 538 and 1798, when the Roman Catholic Church made it illegal to own or read the Bible. God's Word was kept in darkness for 1260 years, hence the term 'prophesy in sackcloth'. Many millions of Christians died because they chose to obey God's Word rather than bow down to Rome's authority. What about the two witnesses being dead for three and a half days? (Rev 11:9). In 1793, France outlaws the Bible and religion – 3.5 years later France votes the Bible and religion back in. The two witnesses laying dead for three and a half days (years) prophesy is fulfilled. God's Word is portrayed with a dual image. The two tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written, the double edged sword of the Word, and Jesus was the combination of two natures, the human and divine. In Revelation 11:5-6 God is again likening His Word in the Bible with the ministry of Moses and Elijah. Through Elijah, God stopped the rain and also consumed the soldiers (2 Kings 1). Through Moses, God turned the water of the Nile into blood, and brought the plagues upon Egypt. Jesus after He was resurrected he talked to the disciples about Moses and the prophets (Luke 24:27). The two witnesses are the Law and the prophets! When will they begin their work? They have been working for thousands of years!
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