Posts Tagged ‘moses’

The Two Witnesses, Part Deux

A year and a half ago, I posted this blog post about the two witnesses of Revelation 11. I posited that potentially these two would be Elijah and Enoch, since these are the two men that have never tasted death (Hebrews 9:27). But I heard a talk recently that makes me think that a more popular view is correct. Let me explain.

At the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17), two men appear with Jesus. One is Elijah, whom is prophesied as a forerunner of Christ’s kingdom in Malachi. Jesus even references this question from Peter in confirming that Elijah would come back. I think it’s safe to say that Elijah would be one of these witnesses.

The other is Moses. He’s more of an interesting character, because he died before entering the Promised Land, but we don’t know where he is buried. Why? The Lord Himself buried Moses. In fact, Jude 9 tells us that Michael was sent to contend with Satan for the body of Moses. Why would He do this for a dead body? Perhaps because He had plans for that body, and didn’t want it desecrated.

But there’s one other thing that in my laziness I never read until it was brought up in a message I heard today. In Revelation 11, these two witnesses are given two distinct powers: 1) “They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying,” and 2) “They have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.” (Revelation 11:6).

For those of you who know your Old Testament history, who was given the power to shut the heavens and keep it from raining in Israel. Answer: Elijah. Who was given the power to turn the waters into blood and cast plagues? Answer: Moses. Seems rather convenient that these guys have the same power, no?

So I think it’s safe to say I’ve amended my position a bit, and believe that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are Elijah and Moses. It doesn’t mean this is for certain the way it’s going to happen, but the pieces of the puzzle fit rather nicely together if this is how it were to happen. Man, God is awesome. We ought to remind ourselves of that more often than we do.

The Two Witnesses

I was reading one of my study books (Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart by Stu Weber) and it was talking about how God promises restoration for us. Weber quotes this verse in talking about it: “See I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6, NIV

While this verse flows well with the concept Weber is discussing in his book (on the Faithful Friend pillar, if you are curious), it got me thinking about something else. Verse 5 clearly states that God planned to send Elijah back to earth before the “great and dreadful day of the Lord.” That got me thinking about a possible representation of Elijah in the Bible. Where, you might ask? Let me tell you. 🙂

Revelation 11 talks about how God will send two witnesses during the Tribulation to preach for 1,260 days (aka 3 1/2 years) before the beast that comes from the abyss kills them, they lie dead for 3 1/2 days, then will be resurrected and called up to heaven in a cloud by God. There has been a lot of speculation as to who these two witnesses will be. In the Left Behind series, the two witnesses are called Eli and Moishe, a fictional suggestion that perhaps it will be Elijah and Moses who will return to bear witness for the Lord. There is certainly some support for this view; these two were there at the time of Jesus’ transfiguration (Luke 9:30-31), and a cloud came and enveloped them to bring them back into heaven. This would also fit with the verse from Malachi quoted above. So this is entirely possible.

But then I got to thinking about Hebrews 9:27, which says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that face judgment…” Moses already died once, so is it possible that he will die again in fulfillment of Revelation 11? Perhaps, as there is evidence that Lazarus died twice, and Jairus’ daughter may also have died twice. But Elijah never died (2 Kings 2:11-12), so if he is one of the two in Revelation 11 to fulfill the prophecy in Malachi 4, wouldn’t it make more sense that God would send another man who had also never died to endure the same first death and completely validate Hebrews 9:27?

Luckily, there is just such a man, and this is why I find God amazing. If He is sending two witnesses to testify about Him, then be murdered but still live and be called back into heaven, then it is amazing that He allowed two men to never taste death in all of recorded human history (note: there might be some question about Melchizedek, but as there is no definitive record of his birth or death, we’ll stick with the “two men” claim as most accurate). One was Elijah, and we’ve already discussed him. The other is discussed in Genesis 5:21-24, and his freedom from death is verified in Hebrews 11:5. This man is Enoch, father of the last man to die before the Flood and seen as one who “pleased God.” This guy sure seems like he would be a good candidate to return and testify about God’s goodness, and also would help in the fulfillment of Hebrews 9:27. For with the death of these two men, every person in recorded human history would have experienced death, even God personified through Jesus Christ.

So are the two witnesses in Revelation 11 Elijah and Enoch? I’m honest enough to say that I don’t know. It would have been much easier if God had just put their names down, but it is a mystery that is interesting enough to keep it a mystery. However, God has put the possible pieces on the game board for this to be the case, so wherever I am viewing the Tribulation from, either in heaven or on earth, I will be very excited to see just who these men are that are the answer to prophecy!

Lessons From the Torah

WIFE (stands for Woman I Find Exceptional, and how I will refer to my wife from now on) and I are reading through the entire Bible this year, and our daily plan has caused us to just now finish the book of Deuteronomy. Wow, there’s a lot of information in there, including some verses I wish I hadn’t found. But hey, they’re there for a reason. Here are a few of the things I learned from the first five books of the Bible:

1) The Israelites were some messed up people! Every time God would do an amazing miracle for them, they would complain about something else and usually reference it with “Did God lead us here to die in the desert?” Plus, some of the rules that God laid out for them I couldn’t imagine, but obviously He had to set them straight because these issues came up (if you’re wondering what issues I mean, see Deuteronomy 23; I really don’t want to list them here).

2) Moses was an amazing leader. The last few verses of Deuteronomy (I suspect written by Joshua) claim him as so, but just think about it. Can you imagine leading a group of middle-schoolers on a camping trip for 5 days? Now try doing it with an millions of people for 40 years.

3) The old covenant in no way compares to the new covenant. While both made by God, I for one am thankful that I don’t have to give an animal to the High Priest to be sacrificed every time I sin, because the world probably doesn’t have enough sheep or pigeons. Plus, I like being able to have a personal individual relationship with God, rather than having to go through the priests.

4) What happened to Simeon? In Moses’ blessings of the tribes of Israel at the end of Deuteronomy, he mentions every son of Jacob except Simeon. What did he or his people do to get left out of the blessing, and did they ever get back into God’s good graces?

5) Participate in the census. Apparently they’re important. God basically devoted a whole book of His Word to one.