THE FOUR WITNESSES OF END TIMES
By Adauto Rezende
After finishing his writings to the seven churches, John starts to receive the revelation for the last days of humanity. He mentioned in chapter eleven the ministry of two prophets sent by God who will prophesy for 3 ½ years to the world. I will comment on their divine work on earth before the second coming of Christ to establish the millennial kingdom. Their very hard task to preach at a time when people are so contaminated by sin, and yet, God gives 42 months for humanity to listen to His voice as He did when sending the prophet Jonah to the evil city of Nineveh. However, Jonah’s mission and ministry were much shorter and with different results than these last two prophets.
After having concluded their mission, in chapter thirteen, John introduces the two men sent by Satan (with God’s permission) who will receive authority to govern the world for 3 ½ years as well. There are an antagonism and a great contrast with these two pairs of leaders. I will also point out the results of their mission, comparing the time period during their assignment. After analyzing these individuals, we will see an incredible co-relation between the two pairs of witnesses, the godly one and the evil one, with the two last churches in chapter three, namely Philadelphia and Laodicea. In order for you to get a better understanding of it, I encourage you to read the referred chapters of the book of Revelation in this same study.
1. THE TWO SETS OF WITNESSES MANIFESTING TWO VOICES IN THE WORLD
The antagonistic messages and the parallel between good and evil
1. The biblical narrative of the two divine witnesses:
“I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. ‘ Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.” Revelation 11: 1-12
NINE RELEVANT POINTS TO REFLECT ABOUT THESE TWO WITNESSES
a) They are witnesses of Christ. (v. 3- my two)
b) They will speak God's words to the world. (v. 3- they will prophesy)
c) They will have a divinely determined mission with a specific period. (3 ½ years) (42 months ÷ 1260 days v. 3- v. 7 and 3)
d) Their garments represent sorrow, intercession, regret, pain in the soul. (v. 3 - They will dress in sackcloth)
e) They will have divine authority. (v. 3 and 6 - I will appoint my two witnesses)
f) They will have the authority and power to perform signs, miracles and wonders. (v. 6 - the angels working with them 8: 7-12)
g) They will be killed after their mission is completed. (v. 7 – the beast will overpower and kill them)
h) They will expose the hearts of men. (v. 10 - two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth)
i) They will ascend to heaven for eternal glory. (v. 12 - “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud)
AFTER EXACTLY 3 ½ YEARS OF DIVINE WARNINGS THROUGH THE TWO PROPHETS, GOD’S PROGRAM WILL TAKE IT COURSES
Jesus spoke to the Jewish leaders about the future antichrist as they had rejected the true Messiah. Consequently, the devil will bring his false-messiah:
“I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.” John 5: 43
If you do not hear the voice of God, you will inevitably hear the voice of the devil. If you do not believe the truth, you will fatally believe the lies.
“Now the appearance of the wicked one is According to the effectiveness of Satan, like all power, and signs, and wonders of lying, and with every mistake of injustice to those who perish, because they have not accepted the love of the truth to be saved. And for this reason, therefore, that God sends them the operation of error, to give credit to the lie, in order to be judged all those who did not give credit to the truth, on the contrary, they delighted in the lie. ” 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12 2.
THE TWO SATANIC WITNESSES
“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” Revelation 13: 1-8
“Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.” Revelation 13: 11-17
“Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16: 13-14
13: 1b The dragon is Satan
“The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12: 9
“But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” Revelation 19: 20
NINE POINTS TO REFLECT ABOUT THESE TWO INDIVIDUALS:
a) They will have satanic authority. (13: 4 and –12 - He gave authority to the beast... He exercises all the authority of the first beast.)
b) They will be the voice of the devil. (- 13: 14 - seduces those who inhabit ...)
c) They have a mission with a specific period of 3 ½ years. (13: 5 - authority to act 42 months)
d) They will show signs and wonders before men. (13: 13 - And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven)
e) They are proud and arrogant. (13: 5 - The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words)
f) They will blaspheme the name of the Lord and exalt that of Satan. (13: 6, 4 - a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies… It opened its mouth to blaspheme God,)
g) They will expose the hearts of men - Humanity will not worship God, but they will worship Satan (13: 4 - People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast.)
h) They will not die – (19: 20 - The two of them were thrown alive)
i) They went down to their eternal destinations. (19: 20 - The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur)
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE LORD
It is important to mention that even in the midst of all these cataclysms and battles between good and evil, God is in total control. He knows all things when nothing has been yet created. God is not caught by surprise, the entire story is already written. The devil and every human kingdom are subject to God’s will. Jesus made this truth very clear to Pilate:
“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above...” John 19: 10-11
The Lord is in control even when evil seems to prevail:
“For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority until God’s words are fulfilled. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” Rev. 17: 17-13-14
In the last moments in this world, humanity will have to make a choice. They must choose between two true prophets sent by God or two false prophets sent by the devil. They have to listen to two voices a divine voice from the true prophets and a satanic voice of the false prophets. They will have to choose between two masters: Jesus or Satan, and they will also have to choose between two types of churches: a faithful one and a fake one. In addition to these options, Jesus had also warned his followers:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7: 13- 14
• Two paths (broad and narrow)
• Two gates (wide and small)
• Two groups of people (a big crowd and a few ones)
• Two masters (Jesus or the devil)
• Two destinations (heaven or hell)
I will challenge you with some questions. Let’s imagine that you would be listening to the true prophets and the false prophets:
Which one would you listen to: The Lord’s prophets or Satan’s representatives?
What type of reaction would you have when God’s prophets deliver the divine message for you? Whom are you going to follow Jesus or Satan?
Whose voice are you going to obey: God’s voice or Satan?
What will be your destination when your time comes to die: Heaven or hell?
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