Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Two Witnesses

by Michael C. Garrett

Revelation 11:– In the Book of Revelation sometimes it talks about 1,260 days, sometimes it talks about ‘time, times, and half-a-time’ - 3½ years. And, ‘forty-two months’ is 3½ years. It uses different ways, but it always describes 3½ years. In the end-time, the real horrible part of the end-time, is going to last 3½ years. And a part of this, the Gentiles overtake Jerusalem – remember Jesus said, ‘When you see armies surrounding or encompassing Jerusalem’? He says this in Luke 21. ‘Know that the abomination therein is near.’ And the ‘abomination of desolation’ is when a Gentile representing Satan walks into the temple and claims that he is God!

A little background – 2 Thessalonians 2:1 – “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, …”  - by our gathering, remember, we’ll be caught-up in the clouds and meet Jesus in the clouds!? Verse 2 – “…the day of Christ had come.” – that’s the Day of the Lord! Remember, all the major prophets talked about it! 75% of the “minor” prophets talked about it! The Book of Revelation talks about the Day of the Lord, and HERE Paul, who also, besides being an evangelist, and then an apostle and a writer of the Bible, he also was a prophet. And here he speaks about end-time prophecy. He talks about ‘the day of Christ’ the Day of the Lord is at hand. Verse 3-4 – “Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, …” – this is the great false religious leader – “…so that he sits as God in the temple of God …” – a temple which does not now exist.

“…showing himself that he is God.” – that is the abomination that makes desolate. And it doesn’t happen until the Gentile armies surround Jerusalem, and overtake Jerusalem. Verse 5-7 – “…only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.” – those that believe in the false religion of Satan, they’ll keep going that way ‘until he is taken out of the way,’ – the son of perdition. Verse 8 – “And then the lawless one [the wicked one] will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” – the second coming of Jesus Christ! Verse 9 – So, in the end-time, despite all the chaos that’s taking place, there will arise a “holy” man who in the end actually claims that he is God! In the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, he is called the great false prophet. So, this is what Revelation 11 verses 1 & 2 is talking about!

Verse 2; Revelation 11 - ‘…do not measure the court but it will be under the power of the Gentiles.’ “And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” - 3½ years. Verse 3 – Now, see all the context, all the things that’s going to happen… and now… we read about something that is spectacular! “’And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.’” – meaning very simple affair, they won’t be all dressed up in fancy robes and headdresses. They won’t be dressed up in tuxedo’s. They’ll be very simple clothes. Who knows maybe it will be sweat pants and a sweat shirt!?

Verse 4 – “’These are the two olive trees …’” – meaning they are filled with God’s Spirit. “…’and the two lampstands …’” – meaning, from them shines the light and the truth of God. “…’standing before the [g]od of the earth.’” – Now, this is not the Almighty Creator God, the god of the earth is Satan! And they’re not bowing before Satan, they’re standing against him! This ‘god of the earth’ is indeed Satan the devil! Verse 5 – Now, I don’t know if that’s literal or an analogy, I don’t know if fire literally comes out of their mouth like a dragon, I don’t know. Or, if someone tries to hurt them, they just speak the word and boom, their dead. They will be protected. Verse 6 – “’These have power to shut heaven, …’” – the atmosphere. The clouds, rain. “…’and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.’” – I have often said, that the two witnesses will do much like Moses and Aaron did back in the days of Egypt. They will have that type of power! These ARE the two most powerful prophets ever in the history of mankind!

Verse 7 – “’When they finish their testimony, …’” – probably about 3½  years, “…’the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit …’” – meaning Satan the devil. Remember, it talked about the holy city. Verse 8-9 – “’And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt …’” – Jerusalem. Verse 10 - “…’the earth will rejoice over them, …’” – they’ll have a huge celebration because these two men, they think which has tormented them – but what they don’t get is that these two men represent God – “…’because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.’” Verse 11 – “’Now after three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.’” – And in that time - satellite, television, everyone on the face of the earth who has access to a computer or to a television will see this! And I think Verse 12 is remarkable! I do believe verse 12 is saying – and maybe I’ve got it wrong; maybe someday I’ll figure it out differently, but, until I’m shown by God differently – I believe that these two witnesses, these two candlesticks, will be allowed to be resurrected and be before the throne of God before anybody else is resurrected! Probably not by a whole lot, but that’s  the honor that God shows them for the Work that they do. And notice Verse 15 talks about the SEVENTH ANGEL, THE SEVENTH TRUMP – the resurrection of all the other saints. That’s why I believe just the way that it is written and the sequence, that very possibly, the two witnesses will be the first two people resurrected from their death into eternal life in the Kingdom of God, and most likely, will have an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Now, again, why are we talking about that!?  Let’s go back to Verse 6 – Again, these are a modern-day type of Moses and Aaron about the time when Israel was taken out of Egypt. That happened earlier, and it happens later. As in the physical people of Israel was brought out of slavery and bondage, so these two witnesses will reign upon the earth when the saints will be released from their bondage of sin and death. And they will deal directly. Remember, Verse 4 – “…’standing before the [g]od of the earth.’” Stand directly before Satan the devil and his two henchmen – which the Book of Revelation calls ‘the beast power’ and ‘the false prophet.’ And just like Moses and Aaron went before pharaoh and the false magicians of his day, and they battled back and forth, and they went there, conversed, and said, ‘let my people go!’

Remember – one of the first thing’s that ever happens is the fact – and God says in His Word – He’s going to go out and find the lost children of the house of Israel, and to bring them back home! And so, the two witnesses, will be saying to the leaders of that day, ‘let my people go!’ ‘Let the people of Israel go from their concentration camps, which you have them spread over the face of the earth!’

And, keep this in mind – we read about Elijah and Elisha and this heavenly “taxi-service.” We read about Ezekiel, and how Ezekiel is transported multiple times in this heavenly “taxi-service.” I do believe, in the end-time, the two witnesses (they’re not just gonna spent 3½ years solid in Jerusalem), because Moses and Aaron didn’t spend 3½ solid years just right there with the pharaoh, they came and they went, they came and pronounced certain plagues and then they left, and so the two witnesses will announce plagues, and then they will leave. And then, some of the time when they’re not directly confronting, the end time powers of the great beast and the false prophet, they will be just like Ezekiel, I do believe.

Ezekiel 3:11 – Ezekiel is told, “And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.’” ONCE AGAIN God will send out His prophets, transport them by His heavenly “taxi-service,” and the two witnesses, I do believe, will have opportunities to speak to the children which are held in captivity. Now, the question is: Who are these people!? A lot of them are just going to be physical descendants of the house of Israel. And probably they’ll be younger more than they are older, conditions are going to be so horrendous it’s hard to envision a man of 85 or a woman of 86 or 90 would live through that. Remember – just a remnant will make it out of there. But these two witnesses, empowered by God with His heavenly “taxiservice,” are going to go to the people of Israel – most of which are physical members of the house of Israel. America, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. The people where the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh settled. However, I do believe, that among some of those people will be groups of people who thought they were members of the Church of God, who thought they were doing what they were supposed to do. But did not understand that over the years their religion had been transformed into not a worship of God, but rather a worship of human beings.

And the two human beings which are most worshiped by members of the Churches of God, and to a greater extent Herbert Armstrong and to a lesser extent Garner Ted Armstrong. And there are people right now, they don’t know it, but they would rather serve the name Armstrong, than they would the name of God. And I’ve found out, if you don’t do exactly what an Armstrong wants you to do – “schhwaff.” You’re done! Well, there are people – that even though they say they’re the Churches of God – they’re not really there. O’ maybe at one time they were. And people may say, “God would never say that about a Church of God!” Really, are you sure about that!? –

Revelation 2:5 – “’Remember therefore from where you have fallen; … or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.’” – ‘I will come to you quickly,’ talking about the return of Christ. And there’s another group, He says, “’But I have a few things against you, …’” (Rev. 2:14) – the people in that group didn’t do everything well. He says in Verse 16 – “’Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.’” – those are pretty serious Words when Jesus Christ says, ‘even though you think you are part of the Church, I will come and fight against you!’ Remember, right before that He mentions ‘the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.’ Nicoli, which means to rule with power. Laitans is the same as laity – to overrule the laity with power, “You’re gonna do this! You’re gonna do that!” “I don’t like what you say, ‘boom,’ you’re gone!” That heavy-handed sense of power, and Jesus Christ said, ‘which thing I hate!’ He said to the people of Thyatira in Verse 20, “…’I have a few things against you, … I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, …’” – the Words of God, the Words of Jesus Christ! “…’unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.’” – Once again, we see that principle. ‘In the end you’re going to get exactly what you deserve.’ And then Chapter 3, to the people of Sardis, another Church, Verse 2 – “’Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.’” – this was a congregation of the Church of God! And yet it had decayed and corroded so badly that God and Jesus Christ can hardly recognize it.

“’Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, …’” – talking about the end-time. And then, the people from Philadelphia they did pretty well. The people from Laodicea, they didn’t fare so well in their evaluation. He says, Verse 15 – “’I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, … I will vomit you out of My mouth.’” – ‘I will take you away from My face.’ Verse 17 – “’Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched. miserable, poor, blind, and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, …’” – ‘You’re going to have to go through some troubles to get your attitude awake!’ “…’and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.’” – that you may see the real truth of God! Jesus Christ talking about different Churches of God, and He’s pretty tough on His evaluation!

There’s little doubt in my mind that some of these so-called Churches of God, which are more in love with themselves than they are Jesus Christ, or they’re more in love with the last name Armstrong than they are of Jesus Christ – in the end-time, they’re going to be left to suffer, to go through a horrible period of self-examination. And somewhere near the end, or as they’re in captivity, these two witnesses in the Spirit of Elijah, in the Spirit of Ezekiel, will go to them of the captivity, and will teach the people the truth, and they will teach them, ‘You were sort-of part of the Church of God, but you had your mind on the wrong thing’s. You should have had your eyes upon JESUS CHRIST and the WORD OF GOD, upon the NEW COVENANT, the PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, instead, you lived in an Old Testament mentality and you worshiped men more than you did God, and because of that you’re not ready to be a part of eternal life.’ And the two witnesses will attempt to teach them, ‘Change your ways, REPENT, REPENT!’ And, some of the people will! But sadly, some of the people will not! But God will have told them. And God will have given them one last chance to get their minds right as it were.

Now, the work of the two witnesses, besides confronting the two human servants of Satan the devil – the “beast” and the “false prophet.” The ‘beast’ is the military/political leader of a future combined countries from the heartland of Europe. And the ‘false prophet’ is a great religious leader, that will be much of the religious impetus and inspiration to those people.

And we’re told in the Book of Revelation and through the Apostle Paul, that this false prophet – that’s the term the Bible uses – will have the power – through Satan the devil, his true leader – to create miracles upon the earth. Now, the miracles in which he creates will probably be flashy things. Like calling lightning from the sky. I don’t know what good it does. At the very same time will be the work of the end-time prophets. And the final two of the end-time prophets will be the two witnesses. And the end-time prophets – including the two witnesses – will also, at the very same time, be going around to different places to the people of Israel, and they will conduct, or through them, miracles – powerful miracles will be produced! Such like that the human beings have ever seen! So the work of the two witnesses will be a POWERFUL moment! Where God reaches out to give an end-time Message to His physical people Israel.

But in the past, the two witnesses have been just, sort-of, categorized just sitting around Jerusalem, hanging out there, for 3½ years. And I don’t think that’s the way it’s going to be. The two witnesses are basically patterned after the historic work of Moses and Aaron. And there were times when Moses and Aaron went to the house of pharaoh and pronounced some decree. ‘Thus says the Eternal God!’ And sure enough, the two witnesses will do that also! But the two witnesses will also say just like Moses and Aaron said to pharaoh, ‘Let my people go!’ ‘Let the people of Israel go!’ And so the two witnesses, in this modern time, will be demanding that the leaders of this soon-coming ‘beast’ power – this ten nation combine – ‘Let loose, let free, the captives which came from Israel!’ Now, I know that’s a difficult concept. We here in America, have sort-of an idea that we are invincible. And for a good portion of our history we, sort-of, have been. And we’ve grown up with that culture and that mentality, that socialization. And in truth, we are just as easily subject to the horrible devices of a collection of enemies as anybody else. If indeed our enemies throughout the world turned on us, we might very well not be able to protect ourselves! Now in the past that might seem unthinkable. With events taking place in the world, the threat of radical jihad, the Middle East is just burning up into a cauldron of hatred! And they hate two people – they hate America and they hate Israel, the country of Israel. And in truth, the country of Israel should more likely be called the nation of Judea. And we are representatives of some of the people of Israel, along with Great Britain, and her former possessions scattered around the world – often called the United Kingdom.        
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