"And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth."Revelation 11:3(NASB)
The person and work of Christ is the central focus of all prophecy and the book of Revelation is the full and final unveiling of Jesus Christ and is the climax of God's purpose and plan for His creation. Following the rapture of the Church, the book reveals the future... which begins with a series of judgements that punish godless nations for their rejection of His only begotten Son, His redemptive plan and the Gentile nation's brutal treatment of His people.
As God's wrath is poured out through a sequence of judgements, there are certain supplementary sections that provide additional insight into the 70th week of Daniel and the final three and a half years of tribulation, known as the 'Time of Jacob's Trouble'. Revelation 10:1 to chapter 11:15 is one such interlude, which introduces three messengers from God - one angelic and two human. This parenthesis occurs just as the last trumpet judgement is poised to be sounded.
The two human messengers are identified as "MY two witnesses. The Lord never leaves Himself without witness to the truth, and amidst the terrible events of the Great Tribulation we gain insight into their mission. We are told that God will grant authority to His two witnesses, "and they will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth."
Revelation does not identify these witnesses, although there are many speculations as to who they may be. Some consider them to be Moses and Elijah. They were the two men who spoke with Jesus on the mount of Olives. They probably 'witnessed' His crucifixion; resurrection and ascension, are the men who will return to as 'witnesses', to preach a message of judgement on all who will not repent and believe.
Sackcloth and ashes indicates mourning and misery; lamentation and grief. Their mission was to declare God's message of doom and destruction during the 1260 days of Antichrist's tyrannical reign on earth, following his desecration of the Holy Place in the rebuilt, Tribulation Temple.
It is not God's will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance - but the rebellious hearts that withstand the testimony of these two witnesses, and who rejoice when they are finally murdered by the antichrist, testifies to their defiant disobedience to God's sovereign will.
The authority these two witnesses received from God comes from the same Holy Spirit Who indwells and empowers all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. This is a truth that all who have called on the name of the Lord should know as fact, for His word is truth. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and will empower God's two witnesses during the Great Tribulation is the same Holy Spirit that indwells us.
May we stand firm on the authority of God's Word, and witness faithfully to the truth, during our sojourn on earth. May we never forget that our strength comes from the Lord alone - for it is not by might nor by power, that we overcome in this troubled age, "but by My Spirit", says the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You have told us the end from the beginning and that evil will one day be fully and finally put away. Thank You for sending Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins and rescuing us from eternal damnation, and clothing us in His perfect righteousness. Thank You that sin, Satan, death and hell will one day be fully and finally thrown into the eternal lake of fire and Christ will put all things under His feet. May I be a faithful witness in the position where You have placed me and continue to work the works of God, during my sojourn on earth. Thank You that the indwelling Holy Spirit... Who raised Jesus from the dead and will empower Your two witnesses during the Time of Jacob's trouble, and that He is greater that he that is in the world. Praise Your holy name - for we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and have been made one with Christ - in Whose name we pray, AMEN.