“And if any man will hurt them (the two witnesses), fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: ….These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will (vv.5-6).
The miracles attributed to the two witnesses allude to the ten plagues that visited Egypt; power to shut heaven, that it rain not is an allusion to Elijah, “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word. ( 1 Ki.17:1-NIV)” On command from Elijah fire came from heaven to consume the Syrians “Elijah answered the captain, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men (2 Ki.1:10-NIV). Moses performed a miracle before Pharaoh, by turning water to blood (Ex.7:20).
“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them(v.7).”
We have this allusion and it refers to Satan who is released from the bottomless pit (Re.20:8). This helps us place the appearance of the two witnesses (Moses and Elijah to give them names) in the post-Millennial period.
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified (v.8)”.
Here we are talking of Jerusalem sanctified by the Messiah whose reign shall gather. It is what we read here: “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth(Is.11:12)”.
Gentiles (Christians from west and east, Coptic, Orthodox Greek, from Iraq, Egypt among other places) worshiping the Anointed One along with the Jews living there made it their spiritual home. After his reign the saints are no longer in the city. It is an empty shell back to the former days. This new city shall be destroyed in a siege lasting three and half years to which was the reference in verse 2b. It also carried a name Sodom referring to the distant period in which the city saw lawlessness associated with other Gentile cities.
“And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies…. shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.(vv.9-10)”
Telecommunication has given news on any part of the world to be disseminated and interactive TV brings images live to every home. In such a global village what we least hold in mind is this: If the world is my village where is my empathy? Why is it more gory details in any accident are dwelt at length and reported? It is because such beastly aspects of violence sell. What is whipping up the profit motive in media moguls to cater to prurient interests rather than allow a healthy debate in matters that affect the common folks? Satan’s handiwork is vry much in evidence. Satan falling like lightening while our Saviour began his ministry was a sign. Wickedness shall become more common and the world is showing it. “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts(2 Pe.3:2-3), In despicable acts the wicked would take delight and reduce holy things to a joke. Similarly the death of the anointed ones sent from God shall be dealt with as news and an occasion for celebration. After the Holy Spirit has been taken out of the way we shall see the hearts of most becoming aliens to fine sentiments. More brutes than human they shall lay much in store for celebrating such events.
“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet;…And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.(vv.11-12)
God shall show the wicked of His sovereign might. They will be awed but it shall not save them.
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake,… (vv.13-14b)”
This earthquake will decimate the city and set panic at the great loss of lives. The remaining numb with fear gives glory to god.. The second woe is past (14a.); Compare this to the destruction of Babylon (Re.18:11) This verse is significant as to the narrative mode of the Spirit. The death of two witnesses occurring in earth time (signified by the time period three and a half days repeated) are now put in God’s Time. What does it indicate? “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth (Re.18:24).” The city is a kangaroo word in which all bloodshed from Abel onwards find place. Thus it has been called Sodom, Egypt and Babylon,
(To be continued)