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Chapter Four of this Commentary
The Sixth Trumpet of Revelation 9
Also called "the second woe."
Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11
of the Book of Revelation
Scene 8 Revelation 11:3, 7
The WORK of the
Two Witnesses is to Prophecy and Bear Witness
The intriguing group of prophecies in Revelation 11 on the “Two Witnesses-Two Prophets” is already being fulfilled in our times of the 21st century according to all the textual and historical evidence compiled in these studies. This portion of Revelation
is definitely for the 21st century! In these highly technological times, the Two Prophets have the option of prophesying and giving testimony by means of the sophisticated medium of the Internet, in addition to other advanced technologies of social media and personal communication. They do this through their faithful and competent collaborators all around the planet Earth. This Internet site is an example.
III. The focus of Scene 8 in this wide-ranging “Drama of the Two Witnesses” is on their work. What do they do and how? “And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” When they have finished their testimony…” Revelation 11:3, 7
A. Their principal work is to prophesy.
"And I will grant my Two Witnesses authority to prophesy." Indeed, they are also called the "Two Prophets." Revelation 11:3 and 10. Since the instructions and explanations given to the apostle John proceed originally from God the Father (Revelation 1:1-2), he would be the one who gives authority to the Two Witnesses to prophesy.
What prophecies would the Two Witnesses proclaim for the period of “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” during which, “wearing sackcloth,” they would carry out their assigned work?
1. Reasonably, they would be the prophecies specifically for that particular period. Numbers of them are revealed in several texts of Revelation itself and some in relevant prophetical texts of other New Testament books. For example:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2:1-10; 3:1-13 and Jude 1:8-16, especially 14-16. At least parts of these texts are applicable to the “little while” that immediately precedes the Second coming of Jesus Christ, during which the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” transpire.
Prophecies about events, situations, personages, and political-secular entities, as also religious ones, of that period fraught with danger for God’s cause and his faithful people on earth.
Prophecies of torments for citizens of earth who do not have the “seal of God.” Revelation 9:1-6. Prophecies on the "three plagues" of the “Second Aye” (Revelation 9:17-18) and about the “seven plagues, which are the last,” so painful and devastating, brought to persuade the hardheaded, hardhearted violent unbelieving to come to their senses and repent. Revelation chapters 15 y 16
Prophecies about the severe judgments of God that will fall on the heads of the recalcitrant unrepentant. Revelation 11:18-19; 16:17-21. Prophecies on the Satanic work of the “three foul spirits like frogs,” the battle of Harmagedon, and the final defeat of all who rise up against God. Revelation 16:12-16; 19:11-21
Prophecies of a “lake of fire and sulfur” for all the enemies of the Sovereign God Creator who adamantly refuse his terms of pardon and salvation. Revelation 20:10, 14-15
This particular category of prophecies on “divine, righteous, just judgment and vengeance against the totally depraved, incorrigible unbelieving, unrepentant; on the second death,
eternal prisons, everlasting dense darkness,” etc., is an unrelenting, great mental and emotional torment for atheists, humanists, Darwinian evolutionists, hedonists, social engineers, the totally sensual, secular, and materialistic, the coldly indifferent, uninterested, the morally depraved, those who follow unnatural lifestyles, all of whom are, effectively, at war with the Creator God and all he stands for.
And their kind is multiplying at a phenomenal rate, especially in this 21st century. They are empowering themselves, as well as being empowered, by political and social leaders, to such a high degree that they actually are establishing new parameters for large segments of societies and cultures. Even deciding the outcome of elections. And going so far as to enforce their perverted wills on dissenting souls, gloating over their triumphs, and fanning evermore the fires of their earthly, carnal, sensual passions and agendas. Revelation 11:10. This they are able to do because multitudes actively back them, while others, though not in agreement, are indifferent or largely passive.
2. Will God bring, by means of these “Two Witnesses,” new prophecies for the period of the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days?” That is, prophecies in addition to those already registered in the New Testament, particularly, in Revelation.
Maybe. But, nevertheless, maybe not. My personal conviction is that no such new prophecies would be proclaimed. It is founded on the following considerations.
a) The New Testament teaching that prophecies would “come to an end” when the “new covenant” of Christ had been completely revealed.
“But as for prophecies, they will come to an end.” Thus, about the middle of the 1st century, does the apostle Paul instruct the Christians in Corinth and, by extension, all Christians of that time and across the Common Era. The big question is: When would “prophecies… come to an end?” Paul’s answer: “…when the complete comes.” 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
The next big question would, of course, be: What is “the complete?” Given that the word “complete” is neuter, that is, impersonal, it would not have reference to Jesus Christ in his Second Coming. What it does reference must be determined by its context. The context is not that of a timeframe such as the Millennium or the “new heavens and new earth.” Rather, contextually, it is the precise counterpart of that which was “only in part,” and that which was “only in part” was “knowledge” and prophesy.
Not just any “knowledge” or any “prophesy” but “knowledge” and prophecies of the “new covenant” of Christ Jesus which, in the 1st century, was in the process of being revealed as “all truth” by the Holy Spirit through the medium of supernatural gifts. John 16:13; 1 Corinthians, chapters 12, 13, and 14; Jude 1:3. We see that all-important counterpart clearly in the statement: “For we know only in part, and prophesy only in part, but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.”
The revelation of the complete knowledge of the “new covenant” of Christ was completed in the year 95 CE when the apostle John received the prophecies and visions of the book of Revelation. Jesus Christ himself closes the book of Revelation with the following dire warning:
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19
Confronted by these strong truths and strict warnings, I definitely would not anticipate additional prophecies from God to the content of the New Testament. If he prohibits, on pain of “plagues,” adding to “the words of the book of this prophecy” of Revelation, I deduce that the prophecies revealed in this book, plus those of other books of the New Testament, are sufficient to cover the Common Era through its termination at the end of the “little while.”
As a matter of fact, they do indeed astonishingly and wonderfully cover an incredibly wide range of material-political-spiritual conditions and events during this Era; of peoples, powers, and varied entities. What more could we ask or expect?
Despite this firm, finely stated doctrine on the “end” of “prophecies”, “many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1. As in the 1st century when the apostle John wrote these words, even so across the entire Common Era. The 20th century was plagued by them. Even today, in the “enlightened” 21st century, there are still many self-named “prophets” and “prophetesses” who confidently assure anyone who will give them an ear that they speak on behalf of God, inspired directly by the Holy Spirit.
The basic proof of their falseness is the fact that their prophecies go unfulfilled. Let anyone who disagrees show otherwise. Another piece of evidence is that their prophecies do not harmonize with the inspired prophecies of Christ’s “new covenant.” How could we think they would, how could we allow ourselves to be deceived by them? For we are clearly taught that “prophesies” would “come to an end” when “knowledge” and “prophesies” brought through supernatural, spiritual gifts would be “complete,” as they irrefutably were by the end of the 1st century.
Dear reader, have you noticed that the many prophecies made in the 20 century and, up to now, in the 21st, simply tend to be wafted quickly away on the unstable breezes of religious sensationalism and sentimentalism, disappearing into the realm of the forgotten?
Take those of a plethora of Pentecostal, Evangelical, and “Independent” prophets and prophetesses who were so recklessly bold as to fix exact dates for the Second Coming of Christ, shamelessly flouting his teaching according to which “that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:34. There they are: A great collage of them! And many more of earlier times. To mention only a few of the more outstanding:
John Wesley, Elena White, William Miller, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze “Judge” Rutherford, Pat Robertson, Harold Camping, Hal Lindsey, Tim Lahaye, Jerry Jenkins, Harold Whisenant, and Billy Graham. In the Spanish-speaking world: Yiye Ávila, Jorge Raschke, Luis Palau, and César Castellanos,
And take that tremendous number of failed prophecies made by the founders and leaders of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, popularly known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. A long string of failed prophecies, beginning with that of William Miller on the Second Coming of Christ and the End of the World for March 21, 1843. Culminating with that of the establishment of an everlasting earthly paradise the Watchtower leadership programmed for the Fall of 1975. A spectacularly failed prophecy which they conveniently forget and go on spreading their false doctrines as if that disastrous failure had never taken place. The older Witnesses who know about it certainly are not going to bring it up to new prospects and those of more recent generations may not even be aware of it. Hush, hush! Go away!
For these reasons, among many, I accept as divinely inspired only the prophecies written in the New Testament. My conviction is supported by the indisputable fact that, to my knowledge, no self-styled prophet of modern times has suggested that his “prophecies,” allegedly inspired, be incorporated into new versions of the Bible. Think about it carefully! Why has none of them suggested, even insisted that it be done? Obviously, because they themselves dare not pretend that they have the very same power of divine inspiration that the true and only apostles of Jesus Christ had. That they are, in every spiritual aspect and power, equal to the prophets Paul, Peter, John, and the rest of the authentic prophets of the 1st century.
b) All considered, surely it is evident that an abundance of detailed prophecies for the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” are revealed right there in Revelation and other pertinent texts of the New Testament, and this really is, to me, an irrefutable fact. With what pretext would I, then, ask or expect that more be added?
c) Having, then, presented conclusive evidence that new prophecies in addition to those we have in the New Testament would not be brought by the Two Witnesses for the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” of their ministry in “sackcloth,” how would those Two Witnesses prophesy if they did not proclaim new prophecies revealed to them by divine inspiration? I humbly offer my own answer to that worthy question.
During the “little while,” the time parameter that includes the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days,” the faithful servants of Jesus Christ on earth, illuminated by the written Word and providentially guided by Christ and the Holy Spirit (the Two Prophets), would discern correctly “the signs of the times” that occur in the world about them. A feat fully feasible, even very necessary, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5.
They would then apply with unerring precision relevant prophecies, pointing out their fulfillment and making known to the rebellious unbelieving the certain negative outcome of their decisions and actions.
Proceeding in such a way, they would give voice to the prophecies already revealed in the New Testament, infusing them with veracity and realism for the generations of the “little while.”
Let us consider:
(1) If they do not proceed thus, that is, if they do not recite and explain to the general public the pertinent biblical prophecies, if they do not expound and apply them, then, for the unbelieving and rebellious generations of the “little while,” who will know nothing of Bible teachings or almost nothing, nor will they want to know, it would truly be for them as if those prophecies had never existed!
On the other hand, if people on earth who follow faithfully and speak truthfully for Jesus Christ, publicly publish his prophecies during the “little while,” and especially during the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days,” identifying accurately the signs, circumstances, and events that prove their fulfillment, then the Two Witnesses, who are Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, would, effectively, through their servants on earth, be prophesying to the peoples risen up against God and his own people on the earth during those times!
By the way, how many young people, young adults, university students, professionals, government officials, religious leaders, and workers of all categories actually have, in this third decade of the 21st century, adequate knowledge of the prophecies for this time in which we live, understand them, and can apply them with unquestionable certitude?
How many perceive and interpret accurately “the signs of the times” as they are occurring today? How many know enough about current events worldwide, streams of current philosophies, social developments, culture, morals, spiritual, and religious tendencies, to make sound, empirical evaluations?
How many teachers of the Bible, theology, seminars on moral-spiritual issues, the conundrums of church and state, politics and faith, the multitudinous confessions, activities, and currents of present-day Christianity, etc., are duly equipped to treat intelligently and objectively these subjects of “Prophecies” and the “Signs of the Times,” in university-level forums, church Bible classes, conferences, and sermons?
My personal observation is that, with the exception of many Pentecostals and some Evangelicals who have shown themselves to be highly prone to recklessly twist and extravagantly sensationalize most of the abundant content of these two categories of spiritual knowledge, comparatively few outside their ranks give to “Prophecies” and the “Signs of the Times” the great importance that Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the apostles attribute to them throughout the writings of the New Testament.
Does this entire set of circumstances perhaps mean that the world, in general, has already entered the fearful time of the “little while?”
(2) Taking this line of thought and analysis a little farther, let us suppose that a particular group of “signs” points toward the approaching loss of religious liberty in countries that have upheld that precious right for a long time, even for centuries.
I identify the signs, cite pertinent biblical prophecies, make independently verifiable applications, and point out the probable outcomes, for example, persecutions against Christians fully faithful to the Lord, even to the martyrdom of some.
In such a scenario, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit would be manifesting themselves through my person, orienting and prophesying to all who would listen to me. Esteemed reader, please take careful notice. That would be the reality of the situation, without new prophecies being added to those already revealed in the Bible! Is that right?
As a matter of fact, in reality, that is exactly what I am doing by means of this Commentary. Teaching and applying prophesies and visions of the Bible, particularly of the New Testament, without attributing divine inspiration to my own person and without adding to the prophecies of the Bible. While, however, appealing to those in the Bible and pointing to present indisputable signs, to then reason that, for example, the Millennium is, in the third decade of the 21st century, coming to a rapid conclusion for the true people of God on earth.
If, indeed, I am right in this exposition, then it could well be said that the Two Witnesses, who are Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, would be making known through my humble person the prophecies of the Bible applicable to today’s generations. By extension, the very same thing could be said of any other faithful follower of Jesus Christ who would play a similar spiritual role.
(3) An additional observation on this subject: If it should happen in any stage or place of the Common Era that not a single person on planet Earth would cite and correctly expound the prophecies of the New Testament, the result would be the same as if those prophecies never existed for that period of time or place.
Therefore, rationally, the sacred duty of those who know, understand, and can correctly explain the prophecies of God for their own particular time and place should, without fail, make them known. Taking the necessary precautions to avoid fanaticisms and sensationalism that would detract from their divine gravity and solemnity.
B. The work of the Two Witnesses is to give testimony. “When they have finished their testimony.” Revelation 11:7
1. They testify in favor of God, his plan (“mystery”), and his church.
2. They testify against those who are opposed to God, his plan, and his church.
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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.