Posts Tagged ‘prophecy’

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.

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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!

Why Believe In the Bible?

I saw the video on this last week, but for some reason I’ve put off posting about it. At our Bible study last Thursday we watched a sermon by Voddie Baucham about why the Bible should be believable. He gave a long statement explaining why (and supported by 2 Peter 1:16-21) and broke it down. Here is the statement, followed by some broken down explanations about why the Bible is believable.

The Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitness during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claim that there are writings are divine, instead of human, in origin.

The Bible is a reliable collection: It’s a collection of 66 books written by over 40 authors. It’s reliable because it was written over a period of roughly 1,600 years; it was written down in 3 languages (Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic) on 3 continents (Asia, Africa, Europe) by men who mostly never met each other, yet they tell one single, unified story.

of historical documents: The Bible gives specific names, dates and locations as recorded in human history. There have been over 23,000 archaeological digs directly related to historical events in the Bible, and not one historical event has had to be changed in the text of Scripture based on their findings.

Written down by eyewitnesses: Most of the men who wrote in the New Testament were alive at the time life of Jesus. 2 Peter 1:16 supports this, as does 1 John 1:1-3.

During the lifetime of other eyewitnesses: These things were written down during the time that people who were eyewitnesses to the life of Christ were still alive. 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 says this: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. Verse six says that he appeared to more than 500 people, most of whom are still living. That means at the time of the writing of 1 Corinthians, at least 250 people who were witnesses to Christ’s life and death were still alive. Wouldn’t there be at least one manuscript that would have mentioned something about these writings of Paul being false if he wasn’t speaking the truth?

They report supernatural events: I.e. Jesus healed paralytics, the writers themselves heard the voice of God (2 Peter 1:18), they saw Jesus walk on the water, etc. Again, wouldn’t these stories have been refuted in other manuscripts if they didn’t tell truth?

In fulfillment of specific prophecies: When Jesus was on the cross, he cried out “Eli, Eli lama sabbacthani” which translates “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is the beginning of Psalm 22; in those days they didn’t have chapters and verses–the way you named a psalm (song) is by it’s first line. If Jesus started the song, those Jews who knew this psalm and were at the cross were probably finishing the rest of it in their heads. What else does this psalm say? “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads…I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” This is exactly what was happening to Jesus; he was pointing out the specific prophecies that were being fulfilled, prophecies that were written over 1,000 years before Jesus was born by a man who had never once in his life heard of crucifixion, because it hadn’t even been invented yet!

And claim that they are divine, rather than human, in origin: The Bible claims God is the author, not men. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. How many times in the Bible does it say, “And God spoke to…” “God told…”? This should dispel the notion that the Bible can’t be believed because men wrote it. By the way, if you believe that the Bible is not believable because it was written down by men, then burn your library! Also, burn any other religious text because they were all DEFINITELY written down by men. But rather, the Bible only claims that the Word of God was written by GOD through man.

Whew! Some pretty heavy stuff. If you got through all of that, good for you! In case you want to see this for yourself, here’s the link to the first part of the message, and you can find the rest on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm-rtE5P9E8