Revelation 11 – Part 2 of the Two Witnesses

Watch For Wildlife. Large SUV in Front of a Deer in Deep Forest at Night. Road Danger at Night. Deer Crossing. Wildlife Photo Collection.

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 have as much identity speculation as does a deer that might dash across the road in front of someone’s car during the time of the year when bucks have lost their horns. We can speculate on size, possible weight of that particular deer, shade or color of its coat, how it loped across the street, or whether a couple of deer crossed prior to this particular deer as the buck tends to lead from behind. Whatever is one’s guess, we really don’t know the make and model of the daring deer that challenges the front end of one’s car, SUV, or truck.

The same is true as to the identities of the two witnesses who proclaim Christ in Jerusalem for 1260 days; up to the point where the beast from the abyss declares war on them. They are slain and their bodies remain in the heat of the Middle East sun for 3 ½ days as a witness to the power of the anti-Christ or the beast. We might insert here that this is during the Tribulation Period and most likely during the first half of this 7 year period of time. WHY? This is when the beast from the abyss makes his power insertion and entrance to the world scene declaring him-self to be god. It is an interesting puzzle to sequence and fit each event such as:

  1. The arrival of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse;
  2. The revealing of the man of evil;
  3. The false prophet;
  4. The false and acceptable one world church (council of Popes perhaps;
  5. The opening of the 7 Seals;
  6. The 7 trumpets and their messages;
  7. The 7 vials or bowls of plagues poured out on those who…
  8. …take the Mark of the Beast (when does this happed?);
  9. The church? Is it here or raptured?
  • The 2,000,000 man army that moves against Jerusalem;
  • The rebuilt Temple of Judaism;
  • The agreement of peace between the anti-Christ and Israel;
  • The return to Israel of the Lost ten Tribes (pending, already happened or a spiritualized symbolic event)
  • The beast that rises out of the sea with heads and horns… is this spiritualized? A combination of global or European uniting of nations?
  1. Existence of a one world government?
  • What about the question as to when the King of the North and the King of the South wage wars against each other? Who are they and when does this happened? What about the “rumor” of forces coming from the North and East?
  • Is Armageddon [Har Megeddo] the battle ground or simply a staging place for the massive armies preparing to attack Jerusalem?
  • Why might these forces from the south, north, and east unite? Against whom?

Beautiful view of Jerusalem city, Israel

It is easy to understand the confusion when these and many more mentioned factors such as the drying up of the Euphrates River, the armies from the East and the North need to FIT into this same period of *time. However, one may think it is beyond human minds to conceive of these this occurring within a 7 year period of time plus the return of Jesus Christ at the sounding of the 7th trumpet, Mount of Olives splitting north and south along recently discovered fault line that runs through the center of it. [I wonder if John of Revelation was also a gifted seismologist or if he simply wrote what the angel told him]?

*Daniel, Jude, Revelation, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Malachi only to mention a few books of the Bible that address the above issues of End Time.

These questions and other Tribulation issues will all be answered during this series on End Time, but drinking from a fire hose is very difficult. Therefore we will reduce the water flow and sip at each item pulling them together as best as scripture will allow. This approach is the Learning Curve; i.e. awareness first, beginnings of understanding, comprehension of the puzzle pieces that match, building the framework around the entire puzzle first, the desiring to fill in the spaces with pieces that logically fit together.

The Two witnesses:

Some denominations and seminarians want to think it is not limited to two key prophets/witnesses. This is clearly mistaken as scripture identifies the masculine terms of “they, them and these.” They are men… there are two of them.

Many speculate that the identity of one of the witnesses is Elijah. Malachi 4:5 tells us… “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. The obvious question from this verse is what or when will be the “great and awesome day of the Lord?” This great and awesome day of the Lord piece of the puzzle fits well with the 7th trumpet. We can consider Joel 2:31, Leviticus 23:36-37, Revelation 11 and Jeremiah 16:14-16 just to mention a few passages pointing to this same event. What is that event? When Christ sets foot on the Mt. of Olives, it splits along natural east-west fault lines pushing massive mountains north and south [Zachariah 14:4]. This is when Christ and heavenly hosts declare earth as now his kingdom. This will stir up the leaders of other nations. They will put aside their warring differences and attempt to attack this “self-declaring king” in Jerusalem; i.e. Jesus Christ.

However, this does not explain the BEFORE in the great and awesome day of the Lord.” Since it is the slaying of these witnesses that reveals and establishes the evil one (dragon/beast) as a power who sets up his throne in the Jerusalem Temple, we are most likely looking at the termination of the two witnesses at the end of the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation and the beginning fo what the bible identifies as Jacob’s troubles; Matthew 24:15-22.

But, what about the identity of the two Tribulation Witnesses? The answer is similar to the deer that darts in front of our speeding car in the spring. It has no antlers so we can’t be sure. The Children of Israel were led out of 400 years of semi-captivity in Egypt. They were established in Goshen by the son of Jacob… Joseph. This is *lower Egypt along the forks in the Nile River that feed into the Mediterranean Sea. This second return to Jerusalem (Israel; Zion) is another exodus from where they were scattered then migrated back in the 700’s and 600’s B.C. by the Assyrians, Babylonian’s, Medes and Persians.

*Over the history of Egypt there were often an upper and lower Egypt ruled by two different Pharaohs. When united they were ruled by one Pharaoh.

Some religious sects identify these two witnesses as the 144,000 witnesses described earlier in Revelation {Revelation 7 & 14). Others try to persuade the bible student it is Elijah’s spirit in John the Baptist that returns to earth. Let’s think this through a bit more logically.

There are two men who never died according to scripture: Elijah who was taken up in a fiery chariot [II Kings 2:11] and Enoch [Genesis 5:22 & 24] who walked with the Lord and was no more.

Now turn to Hebrews 9:27. Some theologians try hard to convince themselves that this is not applicable to these two witnesses. They try to drive a wedge between Hebrews 9:27 and the two witnesses who are finally slain by the evil beast from the abyss. Why complicate understanding? Just as the judgement days, the pouring out of the vials, the blowing of the trumpets, and the Millennial Reign of Christ is fact. Why not consider the puzzle piece here as the two men of God who had never died. We actually don’t know for certain, but the pieces of our Tribulation time and two witnesses puzzle fits together nicely.

In all fairness we should acknowledge Luke 1:17 where it points out that John the Baptist will come in the spirit of Elijah. This timing is after the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist was a forerunner and contemporary of Christ. This being said, a good bible student must allow for this possibility when we add Matthew 11:11a to this mix of guesses and speculate.

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.

Then, it is just as possible that the two witnesses are or will be men of that day; known to the social media during this time of the Tribulation. We don’t know so anyone’s conclusion even if supposedly supported by scripture is still debatable. What is important is one’s personal relationship to Jesus Christ. Avoid the Tribulation period altogether and be a part of the Rapture.

Dr. jStark

Two witnesses – Part 1

Diving DeepWe are about to delve deep into what many think is the theme of Revelation; Apocalyptic times; the detail of previous chapters in Revelation. In a sense, this is correct. In another sense, this is where well-meaning commentators and messages on End Time go array. Where there is little or no supporting scripture, insights will be shared, but where other scripture offers supporting specifics, the facts will be shared. You decide. Better yet… let the reader double-down and do his or her own research of history repeated and scripture eschatology.

Quick Review:

In the first thirteen verses of Revelation 11 we have the remainder of the parenthesis which began in chapter 10. When reading this portion the careful student of the Word of God will be reminded of the passages relating the measuring of Jerusalem in Zechariah 2 and the measuring of the millennial temple in Ezekiel 40. We also read of the measuring of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, in Revelation 21.

The vision in the opening verses of chapter 11 clearly involves Jerusalem and the future temple in the last days. Throughout the Bible when God speaks of measuring anything the thought is implied that He is marking it off as that which belongs to Him. When one purchases a piece of ground or is about to take possession of a property, it is a very common thing to measure it and mark off its border lines. Many may live in the same neighborhood but occupation is defined by surveyor stakes.

In Zechariah 2 we are told that the prophet beheld a man with a measuring line in his hand, to whom he put the question, “Whither goest thou?” The answer was, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof” (Zechariah 2:2). And in the fourth verse the angel who is interpreting the visions for Zechariah said to another angel, “Run, speak to this young man (Zachariah), saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her” (4-5).

The Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:1-13)

The vision in the opening verses of chapter 11 clearly involves Jerusalem and the future temple in the last days. I think we may say that throughout the Bible when God speaks of measuring anything the thought is implied that He is marking it off as that which belongs to Him. When one purchases a piece of ground or is about to take possession of a property, it is a very common thing to measure it and mark off its border lines. Many may live in the same neighborhood but occupation is defined by surveyor stakes.

In Zechariah 2 we are told that the prophet beheld a man with a measuring line in his hand, to whom he put the question, “Whither goest thou?” The answer was, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof” (Zechariah 2:2). And in the fourth verse the angel who is interpreting the visions for Zechariah said to another angel, “Run, speak to this young man (Zachariah), saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her” (4-5).

Chapter 11 begins with John being put into action. Up to now, he recorded what he saw or was told. Now he is told to “measure the temple of God, the courtyard, alter and very interestingly, measure them that worship there. He is restricted to the Temple area and those within it. He is also told NOT TO MEASURE the outer courtyard “as this is given to the Gentiles” (nations outside Israel). However, once again we are not given detail as to what it means to “leave this outer courtyard” unmeasured. The theme is obvious…”measure(d).” Thayer (G3356) offers three possibilities as to the meaning of measure:

  1. Measure a space or distance
  2. Metaphorically to judge according to some standard or rule.
  3. Mete out; dole out some form of punishment.

JIV NOTE: In Zachariah the man is measuring Jerusalem and in Revelation he is measuring for the Temple of God.

The one common denominator is measuring of something as it is to be during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ; i.e. Jerusalem (with many towns) or the Temple of God and worship. This being so, then why is John told to measure “them that worship there?” Commentaries offer many ideas with some worth consideration in a serious bible study. You be the judge as to which is a plausible reality and to which is spiritualizing.

Robinson’s Word Pictures:

To quote him: “Perhaps measuring as applied to “them that worship therein” (tous proskunountas en autōi) implies a word like numbering, with an allusion to the 144,000 in chapter 7 (a zeugma).

The Summarized Bible avoids discussing this curiosity.

Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible:

He considers the Temple as a figure of speech meaning the Church. He writes…to take a correct estimate of their character; of what they professed; of the reality of their piety; of their lives, and of the general state of the church considered as professedly worshipping God. This obviously is a post Tribulation view of scripture, OR PERHAPS,

(*JIV) a measure of those who come to worship at the Feast of Tabernacles during the Millennial Reign. What is in their heart; a feeling of obligation or one of desire to worship Christ? Barnes is not specific enough to conclude which fits his intended conclusion. *Jim’s Introspective View

Adam Clark’s Commentary on the Bible:

He suggests without much insight or commentary that this must be a time when John the Revelator was still alive and the Temple had not yet been destroyed. There arise many problems with this position as history reports the Romans utterly destroying the Temple in 70-72 A.D. Simply put, this means John’s vision in spirit to heaven must of occurred before 70 A.D.Patmos island

(JIV) John wrote the Book of Revelation while on the Island of Patmos; (banned there by religious authorities). He would have been a contemporary of the Apostle Paul and Paul would still not have met his fate under the rule of Nero around 65 A.D. This doesn’t fit with the fact that after this vision of End Time, John ends scripture with warnings to not take from or add to these revelations. The timing of this would be in the early 90’s A.D.

John Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible:

He suggests a similar theory as does Albert Barnes (above). However he adds: “it lays down the plan of a Gospel church, which should be gathered out of the world, and separated from it; it shows who are the proper materials of it, what officers are to be constituted in it, and what ordinances are to be administered,…” John Gill is spiritualizing this portion of Revelation 11 as if this is futuristic. It is set as an example after which the Gospel Church is to pattern itself.

(JIV) He does not allow for the Rapture of the Church. He determines the church is to separate itself from the world and somehow the Tribulation and future Millennial Reign must simply fall into a sequential place IF at all!

There are so many other ways to look at these End Time events. One can look up the views of John Wesley, John Calvin, Billie Graham, Dr. John F. Walvoord, John Macarthur… just to mention a few.

WARNING: Be well aware that these men will express opinions that agree with their doctrinal and denominational positions. Read and study this for yourself using these references as points of interest and knowledge gained. Ask yourself, do their thoughts fit with other scripture and your own personal studies?

Revelation 1:3… [ERV]

“Great blessings belong to the person who reads the words of this message from God and to those who hear this message and do what is written in it. There is not much time left.”

 

Rev Dr. James W. StarkDr. jStark
February, 2016

Truly an Aha – moment

AHA Moment

                                                         AHA

I was recently reading in the Compendium of World History that it was not uncommon for some Ashkenazi Jews (Israelites) to adopt European or sometimes called Christian names. They did this to hide their Jewish revealing names from those who were killing, harassing, and/or deporting them. However, they did something else to help keep their Israeli identity recognizable between themselves. They began the spelling of each “adopted European or Christian name” with the first letter of the tribe from which they originated.

Levi, Judah, Benjamin, Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Manasseh and Ephraim (Joseph). Joseph is dropped from these identities in exchange for his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. L, J, B, R, S, D, N, G, A, I, Z, Z, M, E. For some perhaps God-given reason the above and future persecution of these people, is the reason. The name Joseph is usually dropped from the naming or listing of tribes in the Old Testament therefore his offspring territories in Israel were identified as not the territory of the Tribe of Joseph but the Tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. Land in Canaan was allotted by Joshua to Manasseh and Ephraim, not Joseph.

Note that not one tribal name repeats or has the same first letter. This is not inclusive of all Israeli families in exile or within the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. However, many of them have totally forgotten over time this self-identifying code within each adopted name. Therefore, amongst themselves, this kept their tribal connection recognizable by other tribes but an enigma to outsiders. Sadly, it also became an enigma to their grandchildren and later descendants. So Letterman could mean from the tribe of Levi. Johnson could mean from the tribe of Judah. Gibbons could mean from the tribe of Gad….

What are the odds that humans would have 12 children (males) with one of these children (Joseph) having two of his own sons yet not repeat use of the first letter in naming each newborn son, Ephraim and Manasseh? Is it a coincidence that Jesus from the Tribe of Judah is another Bible code? It would be reckless to state that all names point to a coded descendant from a Tribe of Israel, but it would also be just as reckless to deny the probability of God’s hand in even the names given to these descendants of Jacob (Israel).

It would be insane to think this universal to all exiled tribal sub clans in the world today, but God had a reason for the naming of each tribe. Thinking a bit outside the box this could easily be one of those God-given reasons; Abram to Abraham; Jacob to Israel; Saul to Paul (apostle)… God (Jesus) changed names of others several times in scripture

Isaiah 43:1
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
John 10:14-15
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
John 10:3
To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Exodus 33:17
And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

The FACT that the descendants of Israel in exile did this is a fact of secular history. The fact that the names given to each son of Jacob, without repeating the use of first letter, is quite unusual. Even the fact that Joseph had two sons who were adopted by Jacob as full sons of Jacob did not have names that broke this none duplication of first letters. Sure, it could all be another bible coincident. It would be turning a blind eye to ignore the possibility of God’s hand even in these names. Several times in scripture God renamed people for a reason.Dr. jStark