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Chapter Four of this Commentary. Part 6.
The Sixth Trumpet of Revelation
Also called "the second woe."
Chapters 9, 10, and 11
of the Book of Revelation
Scene 9 Revelation 11:5-6
The Extraordinary POWERS of the Two Witnesses
Prophecies for the 21st Century
IV. The Powers of the Two Witnesses.
A. "And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes; if anyone would harm them, thus he is doomed to be killed." Revelation 11:5 RSV
This image of four cones of scintillating, semitransparent textures in tones of orange and
yellow, in sizes from the smallest at the center to the largest on the outside, with a powerful white light in the center and gaseous vapors flowing down over the earth from lower, narrow orifices, is interpreted as an artistic representation of the plagues the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 are empowered to bring on humanity during the 42 months of their ministry.
1. Reflecting on this verse, we observe that it is somewhat like a rhetorical parallelism. That is, the second affirmation is a virtual repetition of the first, with “thus he is doomed to be killed” of the second referring to the “fire” that “consumes” in the first.
a) First affirmation. "And if anyone wants to harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes…”
b) Second affirmation. “…if anyone who wants to harm them, thus he is doomed to be killed."
2. Let us keep in mind that the Two Witnesses manifest themselves on earth through the church fully faithful to Jesus Christ, its only Head, with her fully faithful ministers (evangelists, bishops (elders, pastors), deacons, and teachers), according to the evidence presented in Scene 6 of this Sixth Trumpet.
The Two Witnesses always have “foes,” that is, “enemies” in the world. “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4
It is generally conceded by the thoughtful and objective that a large part of the world’s citizens prefers to be a “friend of the world,” and, in reality, is just that! Consequently, that same portion of the citizenship is a conglomerate “enemy of God,” though many in that category might resent being thus classified. Those who are, indeed, enemies of God are, by inference, enemies of the church conceived by him and established by his Son, and, thereby, are, on a personal basis, enemies of its biblically qualified administrators and messengers.
Positioning ourselves in the “little while,” where we are projecting the fulfillment of the Sixth Trumpet prophecies, we see that those who “love the World” and “the things in the World” (1 John 2:15-17) multiply at an alarming
Any human being who would appeal to the powers given by God to the Two Witnesses of Revelation as justification for Christian individuals and churches to make carnal warfare, to physically persecute, torture, and kill those they accuse of being “heretical enemies of God,” err tremendously and inexcusably in their understanding of the Two Witnesses, who absolutely do not symbolize warring Popes and Bishops of Roman Catholicism, nor Protestant leaders of the same worldly, carnal mentality.
“Church fully faithful… with her fully faithful ministers.” This and similar expressions are used throughout this study to distinguish this “church” governed only by the New Testament (“New Covenant” of Christ. Luke 22:20) from apostate churches that have abounded all during the Christian Age (Common Era). 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 4:1-5. Some of these have warred carnally among themselves and/or with secular entities, even having their own armies, physically persecuting, even torturing, and killing. Actions totally contrary to the nature and norms of the spiritual church-kingdom “not of this world” established by Jesus Christ. John 18:36; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-20
rate in that period, for Satan deceives “the kings of the whole world” (Revelation 16:13-14), uniting the angry “nations” (Revelation 11:18) to war against God and his people “at the place that in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.” Revelation 16:16
Timeline from the thousand-year span of the Millennium in its waning stage, through the Transition period to the “little while” when the nations of the earth are again deceived by Satan, a time that includes the Forty-two Months of the ministry of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 and ends with Harmagedon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Ministry of the Two Witnesses is also identified as the "SECOND WOE."
More precisely, we position ourselves exactly in the period of time identified as the “forty-two months,” equivalent to “one thousand two hundred and sixty days,” when the Two Witnesses, “wearing sackcloth,” will proclaim their prophecies and give their “testimony.” A time leading to Harmagedon, the final showdown between Good and Evil, God and Satan, and their respective followers.
It is just within these time parameters that the Two Witnesses exercise the special powers conferred upon them by their Sovereign God during the crucial stage of the unfolding of his “mystery,” that is, his plan for his spiritual Kingdom on planet Earth. As the Millennium of religious liberty wanes, this spiritual Kingdom on earth, synonymous with God’s true church governed solely by the “new covenant” of Christ, faces increasing resistance, menacing hostility, and dangerous material-physical-legal-social-cultural confrontations provoked by aggressive atheistic types, purely secular, sensual elements, and resentful, angry scoffers tormented (Revelation 11:10) by the Prophecies and Testimony of the Two Witnesses, also called the Two Prophets.
Guided by the implications of the clause: “If anyone would harm them,” I deduce that some enemies of God, perhaps many, will become physically aggressive toward the Two Witnesses. That they will determine “to harm them” materially, bodily.
Not able to literally harm Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, for their abode is in Heaven, their alternative would be to attack those church members on earth who are boldly and tenaciously faithful to them. In particular, members who speak publicly on behalf of the church, to wit: evangelists, teachers, and elders (bishops, pastors) who proclaim and defend the Word of God, “whether the time is favorable or unfavorable,” the “forty-two months” falling among the most “unfavorable” of times. 2 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 Timothy 5:17
3. So then, in the context of this vision, "...would harm them" signifies, logically: An attempt to physically wound, even kill, members of the true church. However, the Two Witnesses have been given an extraordinary POWER: They are authorized by God the Father to kill, if they so decide, any human enemy who would try to harm them! “Fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes; if anyone who wants to harm them, thus he is doomed to be killed."
In this image, a lone human figure in silhouette, representing all humans on earth during the 42 months of the ministry of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11, watches in amazement and fear as plagues are brought down on the earth by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Plagues
symbolized by fire, smoke, and sulfur. The doves represent the Holy Spirit and to the right, in the deep darkness, Satan himself looks on.
That the Two Witnesses would literally kill some of their enemies on planet Earth? No doubt about it: That is the very action God authorizes Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to take. Both are clearly authorized to summarily execute the Death Penalty on unrepentant, intransigent, irredeemable elements bent on eliminating the Two Witnesses. When “there” is “no remedy,” when all efforts at restoration and reconciliation have been exhausted, “the wrath of the Lord” may fall suddenly and terminally on the guilty. 2 Chronicles 36:16
And the Two Witnesses in heaven can activate their powers without having to come down from Heaven to the earth. How? By means of providential actions, through agents on earth who can be used for such purposes. In the same way that the Sovereign God Creator has, from remote times, used pharaohs, kings (for example, Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel chapters 2, 3, and 4) and king Cyrus (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra chapters 1 through 6), princes, emperors, generals, armies, judges, and even nations (the Roman Empire, the ten developing nations of Europe represented by the “ten horns.” Revelation 17:12-17), to punish evil, idolatrous, rebellious people of every category, free enslaved peoples, impose religious liberty, etc.
During the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (“forty-two months”), God the Father gives Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit the authority and extraordinary power to providentially intervene in order to protect the faithful citizens of the spiritual Kingdom from physical aggression or violent death at the hands of obstinate atheists, scoffers, the obscene, malicious, and purely carnal-secular who are dead set on harming them.
This graphic by atheists is on the Internet. The “ADULTS” they reference and call “STUPID” are Christians, Muslims, and Jews, whose “IMAGINARY FRIENDS” would be God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, saints, and angels. Do atheistic Darwinian evolutionists have any “imaginary friends?” Actually, their thinking is filled with a plethora, for example, the fantasy creatures they believe existed millions, even billions of years ago as “links” in their convoluted, endless chains of creatures from the infinitely small to the enormous across all kinds of species. Their imagination is on fire when they find the smallest sliver of bone and turn it into a full-blown perfect “link.”
These “enemies” may well shamelessly afront true Christians during the time of the “forty-two months,” despise them, humiliate them, deny them privileges and liberties, curse them, blaspheme against them, puff themselves up with great indignation and anger against them, vehemently denounce them in all kinds of public meetings and court cases, fine them, even close or destroy their meeting places. But they will not be allowed to kill them, perhaps with the exception of rare cases, until the time for them to die has come according to the predetermined will and plan of God. Revelation 11:7
Because these faithful witnesses on earth, be they many or few, must continue alive, prophesying and giving “testimony” until they have finished their special work (Revelation 11:7), completely carrying out the mission assigned to them by God until the very end of the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”
a) "Fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes."
The "fire" that "pours from” the “mouth" of the Two Witnesses in Heaven upon their enemies on the earth possibly symbolizes the "plagues" and other punishments brought on those who attempt to harm faithful servants of the Lord.
In this image, fire spews forth as from a mouth, billowing into massive red and orange flames, an illustration for the vision of Fire pouring from the mouth of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11.
Esteemed reader, do you remember the “three
plagues” of Scene 1 of the Sixth Trumpet? When
it unfolded, we were watching when “fire and smoke and sulfur came out of” the “mouths” of “two hundred million” horses and “a third part of humankind was killed,” that is, a third part of the fanatical enemies of God. Revelation 9:15-18. “Fire” from the mouth of two hundred million horses. A plague of “fire” that kills “a third part of humankind.”
Indubitably, this is a fulminating example of the extraordinary powers Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit possess, in their role as the Two Witnesses for "forty-two months," to corporally punish on planet Earth those who dare to physically rise up against them, that is, in the persons of their faithful representatives on earth, angrily determined to “harm them.”
b) “Is not my Word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29. Though the Word of God is certainly “like fire" in some of its applications, nevertheless, in and of itself, the “fire” of the Divine Word is not likely to detain, with rare exceptions, the hardened, furious enemies of the Two Witnesses.
It does not make them desist from harsh, violent attacks. On the contrary, the Word of God, with its prophecies, warnings, and recriminations, greatly
TORMENTS them! Revelation 11:10. And we will see this amply confirmed in Scene 10 of this Sixth Trumpet. It does not “kill” them. Rather, it incites them to angrier bellicoseness against the Two Witnesses and their representatives on earth.
I conclude, therefore, that the “fire” that “pours from the mouth” of the Two Witnesses, devouring their “foes,” is not the rhetorical “fire” of the Word of God but a kind of physical punishment that results in the literal death of perhaps many.
c) Well now, if the servants of God on earth cannot count on such divine protection during the extremely difficult and dangerous “little while,” and especially during the “forty-two months” when the Two Witnesses prophesy “wearing sackcloth,” it seems reasonable to infer that the fierce, implacable enemies of the Lord would defeat them prematurely, silencing their testimony before the time determined by the Almighty.
Without that providential protection, the faithful ministers of the spiritual Kingdom would not be able to give their “testimony” in the midst of a very hostile world population that adamantly and belligerently refuses to hear the Divine Message for all of humanity during the Common Era, especially prophecies and testimonies that infuriate them. However, the task assigned to them is to prophesy and testify to the multitudes of the unbelieving and immoral for “one thousand two hundred and sixty days,” and this means that they surely will need the providential protection of God until they have finished their “testimony.”
d) Of course, the faithful citizens on earth of God’s spiritual Kingdom (John 18:36) do not possess, neither inherently nor by divine concession, certainly not by inference, this tremendous “authority” and empowerment to physically punish, even kill, the enemies of the Two Witnesses. While Christians may petition God in prayer to intervene, the real power to take physical and/or material reprisals belongs only to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
For this reason, I find it altogether inconceivable that this "fire" that "consumes” the “foes” of the Two Witnesses would pour forth directly from the true church on earth faithful to Christ, as determined by her own will, in particular, by that of her principal administrators. After all, this is a violent and destructive power, a power to let live or cause to die, incompatible with the benign, peaceful, loving character of the true church and her ministers of the New Covenant.
Let us forever keep in mind a fundamental norm of the authentic church of the Lord, namely: “…we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
Furthermore, the Sovereign Creator admonishes us: “Beloved, NEVER AVENGE YOURSELVES, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19. The last clause is repeated and emboldened with the purpose of making it stand out even more in our minds and hearts. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Left. A painting by Raphael of Pope Julius II, nicknamed the Warrior Pope, the Fearsome Pope. 1503 – 1513. A Pope with his own earthly army which he used to protect and consolidate his Papal States. Warring against secular powers such as Naples and France. Shedding the blood of many humans like any other tyrant of his times. Was Jesus Christ ever a “Fearsome, warrior, leader of earthly armies?”
In the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11, the Roman Catholic Popes have no example or precedent whatsoever for their political intrigues, carnal warfare, persecutions, reprisals, and tortures of their enemies across many centuries. Evils powerful nations of today will not allow them to practice. They are not the Two Witnesses and have not been granted by God the secular powers they claim to have received. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Julius_II#War_with_Naples
Do these teachings of God for the citizens of his spiritual Kingdom on earth mean they do not have the right to defend themselves within their own meeting places against elements subservient to Satan who come with the Satanic intention of wounding or killing Christians?
As a matter of fact, during the second half of the 20th century and to the present (third decade of the 21st century), some congregations of believers have suffered, precisely, this type of violent confrontation, resulting in members being wounded or killed. There have also been a number of church properties vandalized or burned.
In this photograph, members of a church come into their meeting place, while two men in black shirts with the word SECURITY in large yellow letters on the back stand nearby to detect any suspicious person or activity.
Responding to such heartbreaking events and potential dangers of the same kind (symptoms, let it be noted, of rapidly growing atheism, secularism, and aggressive hostility of bellicose types that hate God
and his people), the leaderships of many congregations have taken the step of preparing and arming capable individuals for the protection of the congregants. With the charge that they act as quickly as possible to overpower, wound, even kill any violent, armed aggressor, there being no other immediate alternative.
Let us be very clear that their role is not to “take revenge themselves” but to defend and protect the congregants. A very distinct, unbiblical, unchristian procedure in open violation of divine directives would be that of forming armed groups of Christians who would go into neighborhoods or out on the streets to carry on carnal battle against the enemies of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Christian faith.
3. Is it conceivable that the Two Witnesses might be two particularly outstanding Christians that would appear during the “forty-two months” of the “little while,” similar in spirit and ministry to Moses and Elijah, whom God would use as instruments to bring plagues on his enemies, killing some of them? In my opinion, very doubtful because of the teaching in Romans 12:9 already cited. Beloved, NEVER AVENGE YOURSELVES, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
So then, if reprisals and vengeance should be channeled through two outstanding personages of the church on the earth, any observer could point the accusing finger, saying that Christians were avenging themselves personally, just the very action their God has commanded them not to take.
Besides, Christ teaches his disciples: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. The contrary of executing reprisals and taking vengeance.
This image of circling red, orange, and yellow-tinted clouds penetrated by many powerful rays emanating from menacing skies and extending toward the earth in darkness, is used to graphically illustrate the extraordinary powers of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during their prophesying, turn waters to blood, and smite the earth with all kinds of plagues.
B. "They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with all kinds of plagues, as often as they desire." Revelation 11:6 RSA. We see, then, that the Two Witnesses, identified as Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, not only have the “power” to kill their enemies but also powers over nature itself. Power to cause unheard-of draughts. Power to contaminate waters. Power to strike the earth with all kinds of plagues as often as they like to. Fearful powers of severe punishments and death.
1. Looking for comparisons, we find that God worked through Moses to bring devastating plagues on ancient Egypt. Exodus 7 - 13. And the prophet "Elijah... prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.” Santiago 5:17; 1 Reyes 17; 18:1. In the light of these two cases, should we deduce that the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 are Moses and Elijah? By no means whatsoever. In the first place, in Scene 6, we established definitively, on the basis of abundant evidence, that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the Two Witnesses, thus effectively eliminating Moses and Elijah as candidates. Additional considerations are the following:
a) To postulate that the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11:3-12 are Moses and Elijah “resurrected” and charged with prophesying and giving “testimony” during the “forty-two months” of the Sixth Trumpet, citing the similarity of events that occurred in their ministries and the actions the Two Witnesses were authorized to execute, has the markings of a very weak argument.
For example, we observe that the plagues and droughts of the times of Moses and Elijah impacted only the two countries of Egypt and Israel, while, on the other hand, the plagues the Two Witnesses are empowered to bring are projected to impact nations in the whole earth. The same is true of the waters they can turn to blood. And the Two Witnesses can kill their enemies with “fire” that “pours from their mouth,” a power Moses and Elijah did not have.
b) Moses died about 3,400 years ago and Elijah, about 3,000.
Neither the one nor the other knew Christ and his church.
They did not know anything about the prophecies of Revelation, or any other book of the New Testament, which is the “new covenant” God the Father and Jesus Christ have made with their church for the entire Christian Age.
They lived under the law given on Mount Sinai.
Certainly, their presence or intervention during the “little while” would merit being classified as a strange and incongruous anomaly.
Conversely, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are identified personally and intimately with the Christian Age (Common Era), Christ being the Mediator of the “new covenant” and the Holy Spirit, the instrument of its revelation to the church and the world. John 16:13. In Scene 6, we confirmed in great detail that both qualify admirably to be the Two Witnesses. Holding this to be true, Moses and Elijah absolutely are not!
2. "…power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying…”
a) "…power to shut the sky..." That is, the power to hold back the blessings of the heavens above the earth. Not only the rain but also, by inference, all the rest of the blessings that God usually pours out "on the evil and the good... on the just and the unjust." Matthew 5:45
Thus, it is that, if the Two Witnesses so determine, the “sky” will not provide its blessings during “the days of their prophesying!” That is, during the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” of their ministry. God Almighty concedes to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit the "…power to shut the sky..." at their discretion, in accordance with the clause “as often as they desire.” Revelation 11:6
b) My understanding is that the purpose of this particular “power” is to punish, by means of material privations, the hardened, aggressive, unrelenting enemies of God in such a way as to make them halt, though for an instant, and rethink what they are doing. Also, to protect the church and its spokespersons, whose responsibility it is to continue giving “testimony” until the hour determined by God for them to cease the proclamation of the Gospel. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit have the authority to exercise this “power,” wherever and whenever the need may be, to assure that the time of grace programmed for human beings will not be prematurely cut short.
3. "…power over the waters to turn them into blood..."
a) That is, “power” to contaminate the waters. To the extreme of making them sickening and repulsive as a result of bacteria, chemicals, poisonous or radioactive particles, etc., that change their color and consistency. Who would have the
courage to drink water that had the appearance of blood? Contaminated water that could cause all kinds of stomach, intestinal, and renal problems, etc.?
b) When the third plague of the “seven plagues, which are the last” (Revelation 15:1), is poured out, "rivers" and "fountains of waters… became blood.” Revelation 16:4-6. I esteem it altogether conceivable that the third plague of the last seven could be one of the plagues the Two Witnesses have the power to bring on the earth.
4. "…power… to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire."
a) "…with every plague…"
(1) The “three plagues” of Scene 1 of the Sixth Trumpet are a sign of the approaching end of all things material. Revelation 9:18
(2) The “seven plagues, which are the last” occur in the time when “the wrath of God” is consummated. Revelation 15:1
3) It seems totally plausible that "every plague" in Revelation 11:6 would include the three, the seven, and even any other plagues that would occur during the “forty-two months” of the ministry of the Two Witnesses.
b) "…as often as they desire."
(1) Who are the ones who desire? Contextually, the right answer would be: The Two Witnesses. Therefore, what kind of plague and how many times plagues are brought on the earth during the “forty-two months” are decisions that the Two Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, take.
(2) Considering that even the best and wisest leaders of the church on the earth are, due to their fallible human nature, imperfect beings, sometimes willful, short of vision, and inclined, on occasions, to precipitous actions, it is surely logical to conclude that no Christian, or group of Christians, would be fully capable of making unerringly right decisions on matters of such far-reaching and tremendous impact as those to “to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire."
Such a power at the disposal of even the most sanctified, cautious, objective, wise Christians? Bring down on the earth, on human beings, very painful, disastrous plagues as often as they desire? I would posit that their most positive attributes, however excellent they might be, would not qualify them for the exercise of such great power. On the other hand, Jesus Christ, the only Head of the Church, and the Holy Spirit, Comforter of the church, both of them with full knowledge and understanding of God the Father’s plans and purposes, are unquestionably qualified!
(3) Thus, the meaning and implications of the phrase “as often as they desire” shore up my conviction that the extraordinary powers of the Two Witnesses belong, by nature and logic, only to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and not to any members of God’s true church on the earth.
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Scene 10 of Trumpet 6 of Revelation. The Two Witnesses end their testimony in 1,260 days, a period fixed on graphical Timelines of Revelation. No remedy for unrepentant humans left on earth after that period. Why? Their Satanic armor. Limits to God’s marvelous and admirable forbearance and patience.
Category. Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment. Commentary.
Revelation 10:6. Going out into the FUTURE to the LAST DAY of TIME. Looking back at planet Earth in the 20th and 21st centuries.