The Two Witnesses at the Ready; Curtain Call Fallen World
Following the soon coming Rapture of Body of Christ, the Tribulation period of 7 years will begin on earth. This will be a time of travail and destruction as never witnessed on earth before. The book of Revelation of Jesus Christ describes it in detail. At the half way point of this period of time there will appear 2 Witnesses that will proclaim the word of God non stop for a period of 1,260 days. Revelation 11:3-12 KJV. These individuals will be Moses and Elijah.
Moses and Elijah are the 2 Witnesses. Moses is the Law and Elijah is the Prophet. Read and Study Matthew 5:17 KJV; 7:12, 22-40 KJV; John 1:45 KJV; Acts 13:15, 24:12-28 KJV; Romans 3:21 KJV.
People who falsely conclude that John the Baptist is one of the Witnesses spoken of in Revelation have taken the scripture Matthew 17 out of context and have misunderstood the rest of the Bible as it applies to the 2 Witnesses. See notes below for additional information.
For those who claim that Enoch is one of the Witnesses, they also lack solid evidence and only take one aspect in that Enoch never died but was raptured. However, Enoch was not a prophet and is not mentioned in scripture as fulfilling this role.
Why does the identify of the 2 Witnesses matter? There are some like writers at Got Questions . Org who claim Christians should not be dogmatic on who these 2 individuals are. I strongly disagree with this. Although this is not essential doctrine by any means, there is a great deal that requires defense and justification on why these identities are important and that primarily be the DOCTRINE OF THE LAW the DOCTRINE OF THE PROPHETS as they both apply to profound depths to The Time of Jacob's Trouble. For an in-depth study on the importance of The Law and The Prophets, please do your own research and see my additional notes below.
The scales will be removed from the eyes of the chosen remnant of Israel and the heart of those who follow the AntiChrist and The False Prophet and Satan (The UnHoly Trinity) will also be severely cut to root by the identity of Moses and Elijah.
The disciples then want to know why the teachers say that Elijah was first to come. They had seen Christ in His glory; they had seen Moses and Elijah; but they were not to say anything about it until Jesus died and rose again. Jesus’ answer was that “Elijah comes and will restore all things.” That is the future; that is the “not yet” of the Elijah prophesy of Malachi. But then Jesus added what we call the “already,” by saying, “But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize Him.” He was speaking of John the Baptist, of course. The teaching about John in no way teaches re-incarnation. The Lord simply is saying that John came as the fulfillment of the prophecy that “Elijah” should first come. But it was not yet time for the fulfillment of all things, and John did not turn the nation around, because He was captured and put to death. The point is that Jesus will also be seized and put to death. Jesus was telling the disciples that before the crown there was the cross. And both John and Jesus had to suffer at the hands of wicked people.
Matthew 17:10 "And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?"
Christ confirms the specific and still unfulfilled prophecy of (Mal 4:5-6): "Elijah shall truly first come and restore all things." Here, as in Malachi, the prediction fulfilled in John the Baptist, and that yet to be fulfilled in Elijah, are kept distinct.
But John the Baptist had come already, and with a ministry so completely in the spirit and power of Elijah's future ministry (Luke 1:17), that in a typical sense it could be said: "Elijah is come already" (Matthew 10:40 Phil. 1:12, 17), where the same thought of identification, while yet preserving personal distinction, occurs (John 1:27).
You see, even the disciples had listened to these Israelite laws and dogmas and believed a certain amount of all this. They knew that (Malachi 4:5), said Elijah would come before the Day of the Lord. Some translations say one like unto Elijah.
Matthew 17:11 "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things."
“Elijah truly shall first come”: Not the Tishbite, as the Septuagint version wrongly inserts instead of prophet; not Elijah in person, who lived in the times of Ahab; but John the Baptist, who was to come in the power and spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:17).
Between whom there was a great likeness in their temper and disposition; in their manner of clothing, and austere way of living. In their courage and integrity in reproving vice; and in their zeal and usefulness in the cause of God and true religion.
And in their famous piety and holiness of life; and in being both prophets (see Matthew 11:11), and that he is intended is clear from (Matthew 17:10).
“Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things”: He did not mean by this that Elijah was yet to come, for he tells them immediately (Matthew 17:12), that he had come; but he meant to affirm that it was a true doctrine which the scribes taught, that Elijah would appear before the coming of the Messiah. To "restore" means to put into the former situation (See Matthew 12:13).
Hence, it means to heal, to correct and to put in proper order. Here it means that Elijah would put things in a proper state. He would be the instrument of reforming the people, or of restoring them, in some measure, to proper notions about the Messiah and preparing them for his coming.
Before the coming of John the Baptist, the views of the Jewish leaders were erroneous, their expectations were worldly, and their conduct were exceedingly depraved. He corrected many of their notions about the Messiah (see Matthew 3), and he was the instrument of an extensive reformation, and thus restored them, in some degree, to correct views of their own system and of the Messiah, and to a preparation for his advent.
Matthew 17:12 "But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them."
“Elias is come already”: That is, John the Baptist has come, in the spirit and power of Elijah. (see Luke 1:17).
“But I say unto you”: A way of speaking used by Christ, when he opposes and contradicts any of the tenets of the Scribes and Pharisees (see Matthew 5:22), "that Elijah is come already". The person that was signified by, and prophesied of, under the name of Elijah: for Christ refers not to the late appearance of Elijah on the mount, but to the coming of a certain person some time ago; who came in the power and spirit of Elijah, and was the forerunner and harbinger of him, the Messiah.
“And they knew him not": That is, the Scribes and Pharisees, who believed that Elijah would come before the Messiah; and yet when he who was designed by him was come, they knew him not, they did not know him to be the Elijah; they knew him under the name of John the Baptist, and seemed pleased with his ministry for a while, but afterwards rejected his doctrine and baptism.
They did not believe what he said, nor repent upon his preaching to them. They rejected the counsel of God he declared, not being baptized of him. They treated him with indignity and contempt, charging him with having a devil, and were well pleased when Herod put him to death.
“Likewise also shall the son of man suffer of them”: Christ takes this opportunity to confirm what he had said in the preceding chapter, concerning his sufferings and death. And his meaning is, that as sure as John the Baptist had suffered indignities, and death itself, so sure should the son of man suffer like things. If not from the same individual persons, yet from that generation of men.
Matthew 17:13 "Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."
“Then the disciples understood”: By his saying that Elijah was come, and by the account he gave of his ill usage, it was clear to them, “that he spake unto them of John the Baptist”; and that he was the Elijah that was to come, and was come.
So that this observation, that according to prophecy Elijah was to come before the Messiah, was no objection to Jesus being the Messiah. But on the contrary, since he that was intended by Elijah was come, and had done his work and office, it was a confirmation of the truth of his Messiahship.
Moses and Elijah Consideration notes
Moses and Elijah are seen as possibilities for the two witnesses due to the specific miracles that John says the witnesses will perform. The witnesses will have the power to turn water into blood (Revelation 11:6), which duplicates a famous miracle of Moses (Exodus 7). And the witnesses will have the power to destroy their enemies with fire (Revelation 11:5), which corresponds to an event in Elijah’s life (2 Kings 1). Also giving strength to this view is the fact that Moses and Elijah both appeared with Jesus at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:3–4). Further, Jewish tradition expects Moses and Elijah to return, based on the prophecy of Elijah’s coming in Malachi 4:5 and God’s promise to raise up a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18), which some Jews believe necessitates Moses’ return.
(2) Enoch and Elijah are seen as possibilities for the two witnesses because of the unique circumstances surrounding their exit from the world. Enoch and Elijah, as far as we know, are the only two individuals whom God has taken directly to heaven without experiencing death (Genesis 5:23; 2 Kings 2:11). Proponents of this view point to Hebrews 9:27, which says that all men are appointed to die once. The fact that neither Enoch nor Elijah has yet experienced death seems to qualify them for the job of the two witnesses, who will be killed when their job is done. In addition, both Enoch and Elijah were prophets who pronounced God’s judgment (1 Kings 17:1; Jude 1:14–15).
The Law and The Prophets
The connection of why God uses The Law in unison (simultaneous performance of action) with The Prophets can best be summarized in the scripture of 2 Kings 22,23 KJV when the young king Josiah discovered Deuteronomy (the Law) and was horrified, broken hearted and yet had a prophet proclaim what was going to happen to make it relevant to the moment. Here below I've posted excerpts from Milner S. Ball, "Law and Prophets" for more detail:
- 1.simultaneous performance of action or utterance of speech.
Excerpts posted below
DABAR: PROPHECY, LAW AND OTHER MIGHTY ACTS Amos wrote: The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy? (3:8) A similar formula is found in Jeremiah: If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak anymore in his name," there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. (20:9) God roars. It is impossible not to prophesy. When God utters his dabar, prophetic speech-like hardened hearts or silence-is one of the possible, irresistible consequences. Josiah's action is another. When the Book of the Law was read, he established its words. No more than the prophets were he and Israel drawn by reward. Josiah acted as he did for the same reason that the prophets spoke: he could do no other. As in other instances of prophecy and law, so in Isaiah 6: the dabar that exerts pressure upon people and events erupts in speech. There is a proleptic tremor in verbal form of events in the process of taking place, opening evidence and prelude to further acts of God. So had Pharaoh's heart been hardened "to show you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth." (9:16) The Pha- raoh's refusal of immigration to the Israelites was produced by the word that would then work signs and wonders.38 The dabar bears also, within its power, its own possibilities for being known or not known. Understanding is a function of the word and not of the priviliged or inside status of its hearer. So much is clear from the foreclosure of understanding and perception in Isaiah 6.39 The hardening of hearts and its baneful consequences are visited upon insiders. The insider no less than the outsider-especially here the insider-is excluded.40 Pharaoh was an outsider. In Isaiah 6 the heart of the insider is to be made fat, a theme repeated and subse- quently developed: Stupefy yourselves and be in a stupor, blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink! For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes . . . and covered your heads . . And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying "Read this," he says, "I cannot read." (29:9-12) For both reader and nonreader, initiate and naive, insider and
The prophets could scarcely employ the rhetorical form of the lawsuit disentailed from an affective, promissory quality of law deeply engaged with effective, responsive human conduct. Lawsuit language seems to belong to a universe of discourse of human possibility and aspiration materially at odds with performative utterances that harden hearts preparatory to guaranteed doom. Was prophecy deliv- ered in a hope-invoking, human-empowering form that ran counter to its doom-announcing, predestinating substance? I do not think so for the reason that I do not think that the legal discourse available to the prophets was exclusively characterized by sanguine expectancy and conditional human choice for the future. Prophetic substance and legal rhetoric were not necessarily in conflict. Consider the Deutero- nomic history and particularly the story of Josiah in II Kings 22-23. III. II KINGS 22-23 Josiah, at the age of eight, ascended the throne of Judah, the southern kingdom of the divided land. His rule continued 609, overlapping the early years of the prophecy of Jeremiah. In 621, while Josiah was still in his early twenties, the Book of the Law was discovered during restoration of the temple. Upon hearing the book read, the king rent his clothes and set about reforming the nation "that he might establish the words of the law which were written in the book." (2 Kings 23:24) The discovered book was some portion of Deuteronomy.17 Although it came to light after the period of classic prophecy and is not the only biblical collection of legal material,'8 it is representative, embodies sources that antedated its discovery and is likely reflective of law and attitudes about law that would have been typical of the world of Isaiah.19 In a word, I think it justifiable to rely upon Deuter- onomy in exploring the compatibility of legal rhetoric and prophetic discourse. At first glance Deuteronomy appears to contrast radically with classic prophecy and to support the sense of law as a bridge to a bet- ter, future world. Deuteronomy is utopian, hortatory, programmatic. It sets before the people the choice of blessing and curse, life and death, and they are urged to choose life. (11:26; 24:17; 28) The law is accessible and can be done by the faithful who are exhorted to whole- hearted obedience.20 "[M]uch that the prophets announce Yahweh's work becomes the task of man."2" Law is a bridging gift, the covenant partner's enabling means of expression.22 Drawing from the past, it posits a future.23 Whether holding off or bringing in the Messiah, it makes room for human initiative and seems thereby to be disqualified as a rhetorical resource for prophecy commissioned to ex- clude human action and future possibility. For it to stand, my reading of the Isaiah text must be supported by establishing a compatibility between prophetic substance and legal- rhetorical form not immediately apparent from the surface of Deuter- onomy.24 A closer look is in order and reveals, I believe, that law could be more foreclosing and less bridging than might be supposed. That is, I propose a reconciliation of juridical form with prophetic substance by examining the preclusive side of pre-exilic law turned up by the Josiah text and the story of discovery of the Book of the Law. II Kings is part of the Deuteronomic corpus that includes the several books from Deuteronomy through II Kings.25 This larger Deuteronomistic work presents a theological history of Israel from the conquest of Canaan to the fall of the state. It is composed of edited, revised writings selected from diverse sources, some very early. The compiler or school of compilers had before them some form of Deuteronomy to which chapters 1-4 were then appended as an intro- duction to the story of Israel in Palestine. The work was completed during the exile and may be described as an attempt to understand the calamity that had befallen this people.26
history. The discovery of the Book of the Law in Josiah's reign is the Deuteronomist's discovery of an explanation for what happened to Israel.30 Confronted by the recovered book, Josiah sent to Huldah. Her opening word was: "Thus says the Lord, 'Be- hold, I will bring evil upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book which the king has read.' " (22:16) This word de- livered to Josiah becomes a statement-the central dabar-of the Deuteronomistic history.31 The unleashed dabar of the law here oper- ates in a manner similar to the active dabar in Isaiah 6. Like the prophetic words, the words of the Book of the Law are potent, preve- nient, predetermining. Several observations are to be made: A. Blameworthiness and Community The violence visited upon Israel by God had been preceded by the violence done by Israel to the covenant. The default of idolatry was an offense to God, and the default of injustice was an of...
Isaiah proclaims what is going on in what is happening. The outcome cannot be affected by the disclosure, cannot be affected by human intervention, cannot be altered by human response to the an- nouncement. His prophetic commission is a word to harden hearts, preclude understanding and remove the ground for repentance and forgiveness. Response is deactivated in the face of and by revelation. There is a distinction in this respect between Isaiah 6 and II Kings 22-23. In the story of Josiah, the Book of the Law stirred the king and nation to action. It affected the heart. (22:19) This is a distinction without a difference. The law contained and had become curse; there was to be no alteration of the decreed destruction.36 Huldah had announced that Josiah would be rewarded: "I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered...
peace, and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place." (22:20) But even this bleak promise was not to be fully kept. At the age of 41, Josiah was slain in battle with Neco, Pharaoh of Egypt. He was granted the "favor" of dying before the exile. The reform he successfully led did not affect the outcome for Jerusalem. As Huldah had also announced at the start: "Thus says the Lord, Behold I will bring evil upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read." (22:16) If readers are concerned with theodicy, which do they judge to be the more violently perverse: the hardening of hearts that prevents re- pentance or the stimulation of repentance that does not avert punishment? D. Revealed Mystery Isaiah and the Deuteronomist make declarations about events past, present or in the making: the work of the active dabar of God in history. This presence is mysterious but not secret. It is announced.37 The doom prophesied by Isaiah and announced in the II Kings story of Josiah may be thought by the reader fair or unfair, just or unjust, but it can scarcely be thought a secret. There is revealed mys- tery rather than concealed secret. The offense and difficulty of the texts are their plain meaning, not some hidden, elusive sense. The single, limited conclusion to be drawn for present emphasis is that, in the Josiah story in particular and the Deuteronomic history as a whole, law functions as active dabar. It is a word that does not return empty, a form in human speech of the dabar of God. To this extent there is fundamental affinity between law and prophecy. And to this extent the potent declaration of doom in Isaiah 6, as a report from the lawsuit of God, is cast in a sympathetic rather than foreign or countermanding idiom. There is no conflict between the substance of the prophecy and the rhetorical form it takes as rib
Jerusalem in 587.27 The story of Josiah is a critical episode in the larger history. He was a young reformer. With appropriate piety he both rent his clothes upon hearing the Book of the Law and sent for word to the seeress Huldah.28 After reading the law to the people, he led them in renewal of the covenant and set about giving effect to its injunctions by destroying alien worship, centralizing religious practice in Jerusa- lem, and keeping the Passover. All of this faithfully obedient, sweeping and effective reform, however, did not forestall punishment for the faithlessness of the prior generation and the offenses of Manasseh. "Still the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, by which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of the provocation...