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Revelation; The two witnesses

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posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 02:15 PM
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I want to offer some thoughts on Revelation ch11 vv1-8

This passage talks about the experience of the church under oppression.

And I'm going to be asking the question; who are "the two witnesses"?

The chapter begins with an echo of one of Ezekiel's visions. Ezekiel was shown an angel measuring out the future Temple of the Lord, and John is now told to do the same.
Ezekiel's Temple was being measured out because the Lord was going to return to it (Ezekiel ch43 vv1-5).
So the Temple in this chapter is being prepared for the Lord's return? So far, so good.

But there's an exception. The court outside the Temple must be left unmeasured, because it's going to be "given over to the nations", which seems to be another way of saying that they will "trample over the holy city".
This resembles the prediction made in Luke, that Jerusalem will be "trodden down by the Gentiles (Luke ch21 v24), which may apply to the Roman conquest of A.D.70.
And both passages can be seen as echoes of Isaiah's complaint, which presumably refers to the Babylonians;
"Thy holy people possessed the sanctuary a little while; our adversaries have trodden it down"- Isaiah ch63 v18
But there's also an echo of a different kind of unwelcome presence;
"Who requires of you this trampling on my courts?"- Isaiah ch1 v12
This is part of God's complaint against his own people, that their lives of immorality and injustice and unfaithfulness have been invalidating their worship.
The implication is that the holy place in this chapter is being overrun in both these ways.

We're told that the "trampling" will last for "forty-two months".
This ties in the event with the Beast, because the Beast is exercising authority (ch13 v5) for the same time-period.
So the "trampling" takes place at the same time as- or is another way of describing- the "war on the saints".
But IF the "war on the saints" belongs to a future time (which is the assumption I've been following),
And IF the "trampling over the holy city" is to be identified with the "war on the saints",
THEN the "trampling" belongs to that future time as well, which means detaching it from the events of A.D.70. It refers to an event comparable to the Roman conquest, not the conquest itself.

On the assumption that the "trampling" is the "war on the saints", we know what's happening from ch13. The second Beast is compelling people to receive the Mark, and putting them to death for failing to worship the first Beast.

But we must come back to the point that the Temple proper escapes all this. It was not "given over to the nations", but measured out for God. So what exactly is meant by this image?

We must consider the New Testament understanding of "the Temple". One of the best explanations comes from Paul, and I can't improve on my summary in a prevous thread.


He's developing the metaphor that the Christian community is like a building, and then he draws attention to the fact that this "building" has a divine resident;
"Do you not know that you are God's temple, and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"- 1 Corinthians ch3 v16
(This is "you" in the plural, referring to the local community. The better-known verse about individual bodies comes later in the letter)
In the context, this is part of Paul's campaign against divisiveness. He's about to observe that anyone who breaks up Christian unity is effectively guilty of demolishing a sacred building.
But the insight has permanent value.
The indwelling of the Spirit within the Christian community itself is enough to make it the true "temple of God".

So the Beast has the ability to persecute the church. He might be able to control the outward structures of the church for his own purposes, as I suggested once before, and gain co-operation from the leadership and some of the members. He could be "trampling" the church in these different ways.

But all these things are nothing more than the "outer court" of the church. That first verse seems to be telling us that the spiritual core of the temple would remain intact and untouchable in the faithfulness of believers. It could not be overrun by the Beast, any more than it could be overrun by the Romans.
They would be refusing to take the Mark.
If Christian meetings, or unapproved Christian meetings, were forbidden, they might be meeting in secret, always wondering which of their "brethren" could be invited without risking betrayal, always fearing hostile and watchful neighbours. ("They're holding a party next door, and it's too quiet")

But there's also a more public response to the Beast, in the appearance of the "two witnesses", given power to prophesy during the same period (described as "1260 days", but this is just another version of the "forty-two months).

What can we discover about these witnesses?
One set of clues can be found in the power they've got available to them.
When the people disregarded the warnings of Jeremiah, and asserted that the Lord would do nothing and that his word was not in the prophets, the Lord's respnse was to say to Jeremiah;
"Because they have spoken this word, behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them"- Jeremiah ch5 v14.
The point being that Jeremiah's warnings of judgement would be vindicated.
That power is visualised in the case of the two witnesses- which implies a similar promise.

Elijah was able, on one occasion, to shut up the sky so that no rain might fall, and so can the witnesses.
Moses was able to turn the waters into blood and bring down plagues, and so can the witnesses (but this is in the middle of the "seven trumpets", so these things will be happening anyway).
If they have the powers of Moses and Elijah, does this mean that they are, in a literal sense, Moses and Elijah?
I think not, because they're sharing those powers between them (and they're also sharing the power offered to Jeremiah, which is one too many).

I suggest, instead, that these powers are an indirect way of telling us that the two witnesses are resuming the tasks of Moses and Elijah.
The chief task of Moses was to stand up against the oppression of God's people coming from hostile power.
The chief task of Elijah was to stand up against the temptation of God's people coming from alien religion.
The external danger and the internal danger to the integrity of the community.
The seven churches addressed at the beginning of the book were being warned about the proximity of both kinds of danger.
Similarly the Beast would be offering both kinds of danger, and the situation would require both kinds of witness.
Wearing the sackcloth that indicates mourning and repentance, they would also, presumably, be resuming Jeremiah's warnings of oncoming judgement.

The other important clue is the information that the two witnesses are "the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the whole earth".
The two olive trees appear for the first time in Zechariah, and Zechariah's told to identify them with the two "anointed ones".
For Zecharaiah's purposes, the two "anointed ones" are the king and the high priest. That is to say, they are Zerubbabel and Joshua (though Zerubbabel can't officially be called the king, because they're now subjects of the Persian empire).

If the two olive trees are "the king and the high priest", what does that mean in the New Testament?
The first obvious answer is that both terms refer to Christ.
But the combination recurs in the scene in heaven found in chs4&5.
The elders around the throne are kings- we know that, because they're wearing crowns.
But they're also priests- we know that because there are twenty-four of them, which is the number of the Old Testament priestly families.
These two details symbolise what they later say about God's people, that Christ has ransomed them and has made them "a kingdom and priests for our God" ("kings and priests", in some texts and translations).- ch5 v10

This is leading me towards the conclusion that the "two witnesses" are really a symbol of the church at large
in their two-fold status as "kings and priests" in Christ.
and giving the two-fold testimony of Moses and Elijah.

It's very telling that the Greek word for "witness" has become the English word "martyr".
This is the kind of environment where one leads on to the other.
We're told in a later chapter that the Beast would be able to make war on the saints and to overcome them.
v7 adds the word "kill" to that statement.
So if the "witnesses" are drawn from the church at large (which is all I'm suggesting), then the martyrs too will be drawn from the church at large.

And where is the place where they die?
Allegorically, it is called Sodom or Egypt- a place of sin and persecution.
The place "where their Lord was crucified", taken literally, would mean Jerusalem.
But in the rest of Revelation, the phrase "great city" belongs to Babylon, and therefore to Rome.
So the identification seems to be ambiguous.

One possible solution is to suppose that John's understanding of the "great city" is like John Bunyan's understanding of that "Vanity Fair", where Christian and Faithful were put on trial. That is to say, it does not indicate any particular city, but rather indicates "the World", seen as a city. Thus it would be "the World" that crucified the Lord, and "the World" that persecutes his followers.
In any case, if I've already interpreted the two witnesses as "Christians all over the world", the place where they die has to be "all over the world", if only for logistic reasons.

But the rejoicing of their enemies is premature. We're told by Paul that the "dead in Christ"- implicitly including the previous martyrs- will be raised from the dead when Christ returns. However, this is not the time- and I don't have the space- for a debate about the timing of these things.














[edit on 29-8-2010 by DISRAELI]




posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 02:31 PM
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This is a good assumption however I believe you to have over thought it just a little bit. IMO The two witnesses will as you said "Resume" the roles of Moses and Elijah. "Once their dead there not coming back" read revelations a little closer and notice when Jesus speaks he says "My new name" and also in the book of John when Jesus says "It's to your benefit that I go, for if I do not go the Holy Spirit, Whom proceeds directly from God, cannot come forth and bear witness to you of me and all that is true." or something to the effect of the afformentoned phrase. so think a new Jesus, and 2 new prophects.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 02:34 PM
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The two witnesses represent the Old and New Testament Scriptures. Both are important testimonies to the origin and perpetuity of the law of God. Both are witnesses also to the plan of salvation. The types, sacrifices, and prophecies of the Old Testament point forward to a Savior to come. The Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament tell of a Savior who has come in the exact manner foretold by type and prophecy.


www.benabraham.com...

Don't know if this is the greatest reference site to use,but it was handy!

This is how some people see it.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 03:34 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

Excellent post and observations on the two witnesses, I enjoyed reading it very much and am looking forward to your next post.

I might add that the two witnesses may indeed be symbolic of the Church itself, they may also be one of the Arc Angels and perhaps even the Holy Spirit himself.

Since Christ had to become incarnated, why should any other member of the heavenly brigade be able to dodge the draft, so to speak, and not have to serve their tour of duty here on the Earth.

If Gods only begotten Son had to arrive on this planet in order to atone for the worlds transgressions, wouldn't the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and from the Son, also have to arrive here after Jesus had ascended, and perhaps even one day have to be incarnated himself?

The book of Revelation is like a living jigsaw puzzle, just when you think you have got it figured out, it throws you another curve. It has been throwing them at me for years.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 03:43 PM
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Originally posted by MY2Commoncentsworth
If Gods only begotten Son had to arrive on this planet in order to atone for the worlds transgressions, wouldn't the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and from the Son, also have to arrive here after Jesus had ascended, and perhaps even one day have to be incarnated himself?

Thank you for your comments.
I'd have to query this particular paragraph, though.
Surely the Holy Spirit is here already? In each Christian? As it says in John, Christ had to leave so that the Spirit could arrive.
I would have thought that was the kind of "presence on earth" appropriate for the Spirit, just as the Incarnation would be the kind of "presence on earth" appropriate for the Son.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 03:57 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Then perhaps the two witnesses are just symbolic of the Church and the final persecution that it will have to endure. Or perhaps the two witnesses will be modern day prophets. Or maybe even Moses and Elias reincarnated.

Don't rule out any possibility, like I said, it is a living Word.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:01 PM
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Originally posted by MY2Commoncentsworth
Don't rule out any possibility, like I said, it is a living Word.

I do try to keep my mind open.
As you know, your first suggestion is the one I went for in the OP.
It seems to fit in with the way that I've been interpreting the other chapters.
I suppose you could say it suits my style of interpretation.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:19 PM
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the two witnesses are a tanden team of persons (probably Angels on their mission of witnessing & prophecy)
i don't believe they are any reanimated persons from the old testament times, that return to life.... although John the Baptist could easily fill in as the 'high priest' and Jesus before becoming Christ might be the worldly 'King' (although denied the throne)


the 2 witnesses: see Wikipedia:


Witness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reliability|Credibility of a witness|See also|Literature & References
A witness is someone who has firsthand knowledge about a crime or significant event through their senses, and can help certify important considerations to the crime or event.
A witness who has seen the event firsthand
is...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witness


their mission is to have conflicting words with the 'beast' authority & hegemony, their mission also is to cause distress & plagues & have power over 'nature' in dealing with the 'beast' Empire & heirarchy of power.

their mission coincides with the evangelizing by the cast of 144,000 that are 'sealed', and for their ministry duration are untouchable and cannot realize 'Death'... but at the completion of the ministry & mission of the sealed 144,000 plus 2 witnesses, all will become martyrs
& the masses that are under the control of the Prophet & beast will rejoice


that does not sound like some poetic entity, or spiritual boby representing the church...
the bodies of the slain 'witnesses' (those who have eyewitness testimony against the Beast{=Satan incarnated} of committing crimes against the Church believers/saints for more than 2,000 years...
will lay in the streets of that great city for 3 days!
this is not figurative language

another thing it wasn't Jerusalem where the Christ was cruicified,
it was the area of death called 'Golgotha'
i am sure that some future death chambers created by the regional authorities within the 'beast empire' to do away with the rebels could all be termed 'Golgotha's'---the place of the Skull... the death alter...
the forerunner of the end-times death city would have been the concentration camps & furnaces of the Nazi regime...

expect a 21st century echo of the (NAZI) death camps that the 144,000 plus 2 witnesses will testify against...and eventually die in themselves!

your scenario suggests that the future seat of the beast government will allow traffic disruptions & mayhem
~(ala' MardiGras atmosphere)~ in the streets as the 2 dead witnesses lay there for 3 days...what a perposterous idea, no they will be interred then slain in a death compound/death camp situation that will be telecast globally, probably by YouTube video & Facebook



[edit on 29-8-2010 by St Udio]



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:20 PM
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Thank you DISRAELI for this post and thanks for that link you sent me .S&F for you.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:28 PM
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Originally posted by St Udio
your scenario suggests that the future seat of the beast government will allow traffic disruptions & mayhem in the streets as the 2 dead witnesses lay there for 3 days...

No, it doesn't, because my scenario does not limit the deaths to one place. I think you missed my explanation leading up to the phrase "all over the world" as the place where the deaths would be taking places. Since I don't limit the deaths to one place, the traffic-jam issue does not arise.

I meant to put in a phrase about "different times and places", but forgot. I will add it in if character allowance permits.

[edit on 29-8-2010 by DISRAELI]



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:32 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Yes, and my mind is always open as to interpretation, as the Bible can indeed be interpreted in many different ways.

Some might argue that there is no such thing as reincarnation. Yet there always seem to be exceptions to every rule.

The Bible says that it is for a man to die but once. Yet Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus already had died once. And he obviously had died again later on in life. The Bible fails to follow up on his story, and makes no mention of a living ascension. So we can only assume that he died again.

Elias, on the other hand, was taken up into heaven on a fiery chariot. He never died. Perhaps he will be one of the two witnesses who will die in Jerusalem before the breath of God is breathed back into him, and he will live to see the second comming of Christ, thus having to have died only but once. Perhaps the same is true of Enoch, who never died either.

Perhaps the rest of the heavenly brigade will be sent down here after having died once already, and will be raptured at the start of the great tribulation, thus allowing them to only have died but once. Perhaps Gods people are the only ones standing in the way of the onslaught of Armageddon. Perhaps they are already here.

Moses however, has already died, and if he is indeed one of the two witnesses, he will have to die again. But there always seems to be an exception to the rule.........just another curve ball...lol...

[edit on 29-8-2010 by MY2Commoncentsworth]



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:35 PM
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The Law(Eternal) and the Testimony. The Testimony is every Word of I AM.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:42 PM
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reply to post by MY2Commoncentsworth
 

Yes, there are various speculative possibilities around Elijah and Enoch and Moses.
But the beauty of my suggestion is that it makes this kind of speculation unncessary. It can be an allegorical interpretation of events which are fairly straightforward in themselves.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:49 PM
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Originally posted by AZsunshine
The Law(Eternal) and the Testimony. The Testimony is every Word of I AM.

Thank you for that suggestion.
Other people suggest "Old and New Testaments", which is a similar approach.
The drawback with that line of thought is that they can't really suffer martrydom.
I'm trying to steer a middle course somewhere between full-blooded allegory and full-blooded literalness (though being aware of the usual fate of those who steer middle courses).



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


just how can 2 witnesses bodies lie in the streets --'All over the world '??

as you suggest...

oh yeah, these are ephemeral & allogorical entities, that only experience a subjective death not a literal mission. testimony, witnessing, death, corpses that do not rot even after 3 days of morbidity.

achtung zombies from heaven


i have been amused and mildly enjoyed your posts, but in my view the events being described are literal not figurative analogs....
an while still following the tepid interpetation by yourself, i have determined that your not very near the truth in the overview




[edit on 29-8-2010 by St Udio]

[edit on 29-8-2010 by St Udio]



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 05:05 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Great post! S+F for you.


BTW if you're interested I started a collaborative story about the apocalypse, the link's in my sig.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 05:08 PM
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To the Law and the Testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

Both the Prophets of Old and the Disciples attested to what they knew and that is regarding the Law and the Testimony of I AM.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 05:12 PM
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I don't know for sure who/what the 2 witnesses are.
But I've personaly met at least a dozen of them. (or so they claimed)



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 05:12 PM
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Reply to St Udio



[comments on the "Olive tree" verse]
This is leading me towards the conclusion that the "two witnesses" are really a symbol of the church at large
in their two-fold status as "kings and priests" in Christ.
and giving the two-fold testimony of Moses and Elijah.

So if the "witnesses" are drawn from the church at large (which is all I'm suggesting), then the martyrs too will be drawn from the church at large.

In any case, if I've already interpreted the two witnesses as "Christians all over the world", the place where they die has to be "all over the world", if only for logistic reasons.

These three extracts from the OP, which you failed to spot the first time round, will supply the answer to your question.



posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 05:15 PM
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Originally posted by subject x
I've personaly met at least a dozen of them. (or so they claimed)

I don't suppose you got the chance to introduce them to each other, so that they could argue out their claims face to face.
And did they claim any of the powers attributed?






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