Reading through Revelation – Chapter 11, Part 2, The Two Witnesses preach


Bamberg Apocalypse Folio 027v Two Prophets And Beast From Abyss

Bamberg Apocalypse, Folio 027v – The Two Prophets And The Beast From Abyss


Revelation 11:3-6

NASB

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.


Related passages

Exodus 7:19

19 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

1 Kings 17:1

Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of  the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Revelation 1:20

20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.


thoughts

Careful students of the book of Revelation will probably agree with Alford that chapter 11 “is undoubtedly one of the most difficult in the whole Apocalypse.” A comparison of many commentaries will reveal the widest kind of disagreement as to the meaning of this chapter. 

Dr. John Walvoord

Brethren, I regret having started this project. I see now that it’s  inappropriate for a woman, and someone with limited training. Also, differences in views on eschatology cause pain and dissension. Discussion is good but most of us are so invested in our views that that is nearly impossible, except among those who hold the same ones. Incorrect and imprecise terms or ones that wound – such as “heretical” or “from the pit of hell” – add to the confusion and pain. Today, I offer an exposition by John Gill. His words show that Revelation throws light upon the long history of the Church, not merely its consummation. After this, I will finish my project using works of art and literature.  
 

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

Waldensian motto: “Light Shines In Darkness”

Verse 3

And I will give power unto my two witnesses,…. By whom are meant, not Enoch and Elias, as some of the ancient fathers thought, who, they supposed, would come before the appearance of Christ, and oppose antichrist, and be slain by him, which sense the Papists greedily catch at; nor are the Scriptures, the two Testaments, Old and New, designed, though their name and number agree, and also their office, which is to testify of Christ; but then to be clothed in sackcloth, to be killed, and rise again, and ascend to heaven, are things that cannot so well be accommodated to them: but these witnesses intend the ministers of the Gospel and churches of Christ, who have bore testimony for Christ, and against antichrist, ever since he appeared in the world; and particularly the churches and ministers in Piedmont [Waldensian] bid fair for this character; who were upon the spot when antichrist arose, always bore their protest against him, and were ever independent of the church of Rome, and subsisted in the midst of the darkness of the apostasy; and suffered much, and very great persecutions, from the Papists; and have stood their ground, and continue to this day; and have been like olive trees and candlesticks, imparting oil and light to others. Though they ought not to be considered exclusive of other ministers and churches, who also have bore, and still do bear a witness for Christ, and against the idolatries of the church of Rome: no two individual persons can be meant, since these witnesses were to prophesy 1260 days, that is, so many years, but a succession of ministers and churches; and these are called two, both on account of the fewness of them, and because the testimony of two is sufficient to confirm any matter; and it may be in allusion to the various instances of two eminent persons being raised up at certain periods of time, as Moses and Aaron, at the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt; Caleb and Joshua, at their entrance into Canaan; Elijah and Elisha in the idolatrous times of Ahab; and Joshua and Zerubbabel at the rebuilding and finishing of the second temple. Now the Angel, and who is Christ, here promises that he will give something to these witnesses: some supply the words, ‘I will give it’; that is, the holy city, or the church, to them, to be taken care of and defended; others, ‘I will give’ them a mouth and wisdom, which their adversaries shall not be able to resist, according to the promise in Luke 21:15. We supply the words, ‘I will give power’; that is, authority to preach the Gospel, and strength to profess it, and to continue to bear a testimony to it, signified by prophesying; see 1 Corinthians 14:1.”


The light shines in the darkness

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‘Motto’ is Italian for the words on a heraldic standard, however the origin of the word is ‘to mutter or mumble.’ The sayings of the historic Waldenses (Valdesi, Valdois), and of the Reformation, need a better term – perhaps ‘rallying cries’? 

I believe it’s also good to say that this is true about these sayings:

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Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

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The cry of the Waldensian Church is “Light shines in darkness.” 

The cry of the Reformation, and city of Geneva, is “After Darkness, Light.” 

Each is fitting: the Waldenses lived through and survived the Dark Ages. The Reformation came after that darkness, and brought the light of God’s Word back to all men.

The first chapter of John reveals that Jesus is the Light, and He and His Word can’t be divided. 

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John 1:5

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (Authorized Version)

and the light in the darkness did shine, and the darkness did not perceive it. (Young’s Literal Translation)

and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it. (Green’s Literal Translation)

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Don’t let the work of the Reformation be destroyed – even if the only place it survives is within you. We’ve entered another Dark Age, but in it the Light shines – it will always shine, that is the nature of light.

Don’t idolize men of the past, for they were only men. Love them as brothers, and praise God that He worked through them – and their weaknesses – for the good of His people.  

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2 Corinthians 12:10 2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

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