"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, this book reveals the future, which begins with a series of judgements that punish the godless nations for their rejection of His only begotten Son and His redemptive plan.
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 the 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, and they will return to earth 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 is 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.
The authority these two witnesses will receive from God comes from the Holy Spirit, and during the 1260 days, the two will be able to perform some specific miracles: "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."
It is not God's will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, and the truth that these two witnesses will be proclaiming, will be words of salvation to any that will hear and believe. But the rebellious hearts that withstand the testimony of these two witnesses and who rejoice when they are finally murdered by the Antichrist, will testify to their defiant disobedience to God's sovereign will.
The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, will empower God's two witnesses during the Great Tribulation. And this is the same Holy Spirit that indwells us: "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. May we stand firm on the authority of God's Word, and as we read of these two men, may we be encouraged to 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, 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 will empower Your two witnesses during the time of Jacob's Trouble. Thank You that Your same Holy Spirit currently indwells all believers, and that "Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world." In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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