The Two Witnesses
Issue No. 259
In Revelation 11 we see that the Temple is measured just prior to the description of the Two Witnesses. You might say that measuring the Temple introduces us to the Two Witnesses, because they are the same. This Temple is, of course the one in the New Jerusalem, not in the Old Jerusalem. It is a spiritual Temple, not a physical temple in Jerusalem. It is the corporate body of people who ascribe to the New Covenant and who are identified with the Sarah company, rather than the Hagar company.
They are the ones being built up as a Temple over a period of time, generation after generation of “living stones” built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus being the chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-22).
Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is part of this Temple. At least, not in the sense of Rev. 11. The Two Witnesses are the “lamp stands,” which in turn are The Seven Churches—but not every individual in those Seven Churches qualify. Revelation 2 and 3 says, “to him who overcomes,” implying that many do not overcome.
It was the same with Israel of old. The whole nation was “the church in the wilderness,” but the majority of the Israelites were unbelievers and did not live up to the terms of their calling. Many are called, but few chosen. Those non-believing Israelites could not claim salvation by their genealogy, but only by faith (along with everyone else).
It should also be pointed out that it takes time to measure the Temple. In the outworking of this prophecy, it indicates that the Temple is built and measured over a period of time, because it is not until the final generation that ALL of the “living stones” needed to complete this Temple are actually quarried and shaped in His Image.
Faith has become one of the most misunderstood words in the Bible. Many today think it is synonym for the church or denomination. (For example, they ask, “what faith are you?” That is, in which denomination have you placed your faith?)
To be a basic “believer” in the New Testament sense, one must have faith that Jesus is the Christ and died for our sin and rose from the dead for our justification.
Overcoming faith, however, goes beyond this. There are those who have placed their faith in the Old Covenant, and those who are of the New Covenant. Hagar is the Old Covenant; Sarah is the New (Gal. 4:24). Those who claim Hagar as their “mother” cannot bring forth “Isaac,” the son of promise. This is true not only in regard to Judaism, which claims Jerusalem (“Hagar”) as its mother, but also for the Christian Zionists, who have placed their faith in the ability of Jerusalem-Hagar to bring forth Isaac.
Everyone has faith. The difference is where that faith is placed through whom the promise will be given. Men’s obsession with making the Old Jerusalem the center of the Kingdom of God is an indication that they have placed their faith in Hagar. Thus, they (as the body of Christ) desire to marry Hagar and bring forth children through her, rather than Sarah. All of this is evidence of an Old Covenant “faith” that is flawed and incapable of bringing forth “Isaac.”
Moses and Elijah—Joshua and Elisha
The Two Witnesses are the true Temple of God that is being measured in Revelation 11. Their ministry is that of Moses and Elijah. More than that, their ministry is that of Joshua and Elisha. It is all four, because Moses and Joshua form two parts of a single ministry; while Elijah and Elisha form two parts of the other ministry.
When God first called Moses, He gave him a few signs to confirm his calling. These signs tell us also the essence of the Moses ministry and message. They are given in Exodus 4. The first sign is in verses 2-4,
2 And the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” 3 Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail.” So he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand.
The staff represents authority that is given by the Word of the Lord—that is, by His Law. (His Word is His Law.) If we cast His Law to the ground, it turns into a serpent (judgment). When we grasp it and utilize it according to the mind of God, it gives us spiritual authority to do the work that is set before us.
This is illustrated in Num. 21:5, 6. The people revolted against God and Moses, saying of the manna, “we loathe this miserable food.” In so speaking, they were expressing their rejection of the Messiah, for Jesus said in John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven.”
Hence, the scribes and Pharisees overthrew the Law of God by means of their “tradition,” that is, their carnal misinterpretations of the Law (Mark 7:9). By legalism, they became lawless.
The second sign given to Moses is in Ex. 4:6 and 7,
6 And the Lord furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again; and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.
Leprosy is a biblical type of mortality (slow death). The sign speaks of going from mortality to immortality. To really understand this, one must know the law of cleansing lepers in Leviticus 14, for this law teaches us the way God brings us into immortality. It takes two doves to complete this process, showing us the lawful basis of the two works of Christ.
The third sign is given in Ex. 4:8 and 9,
8 And it shall come about that if they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last [second] sign. 9 But it shall be that if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.
We see here that the three signs are progressive in nature. If the people would not believe the first, then the second sign should be given. If they refused that one, too, then the third sign would be applied to them.
They should believe the Word of the Lord when they hear it. In hearing, they should be obedient to the Law or Word of the Lord and understand that disobedience would bring consequences (judgment). That is the first sign.
If they were too dull of hearing or too rebellious in their hearts to be obedient, then they should understand that their hearts were leprous and that they were unclean in the sight of God. The antidote to this is Christ in His two manifestations—first the dove that is killed (at the cross), and then the dove that is dipped in the blood of the first and released into the open field. The second dove is pictured in Rev. 19:13 as Christ with His robe dipped in blood, being released into the “field” (that is, the world).
If they refused to hear either of the first two signs, then they would be brought to faith by means of judgment.
We can see that this applies not only individually to those of every generation, but also in the greater historic sense. The first sign depicts the law given by God to Moses, but not fully explained yet. To believe God meant to believe the Word (Law) that He had spoken.
The second sign depicts the Gospel of Christ in the New Testament, wherein the two comings of Christ were shown to be necessary in bringing men into immortality. This is the greater light of the Word given to men, and all were expected to believe this as the path to immortality.
The third sign is the Age of Judgment (“blood”), where the pressure of judgment is applied to the people in order for them to learn righteousness, as Isaiah 26:9 says,
9 For when Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
And so, after showing Moses this third sign, nothing further is said about whether or not the people will believe. It is assumed that the people will certainly believe the third sign. And indeed, when all unbelievers are brought before the Great White Throne, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ.
This, then, is the essence of the ministry of Moses that is given to the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11:6,
6 . . . and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague as often as they desire [not by carnal whim or fancy, but by the mind of Christ, of course]
In the present application of this (prior to the Great White Throne), this “plague” is to be applied primarily to cover the land with the blood of Jesus Christ. As 1 John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” The judgments of God are limited prior to the Great White Throne.
The Moses ministry speaks primarily of the law and of teaching the basic foundations of Truth given to Moses. The Law teaches us what sin is, for as Paul says, “through the law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). When we know that God considers certain actions and attitudes to be “sin,” then those who believe His Word may have opportunity to learn obedience.
Moses was able to bring the church in the wilderness to the Jordan River, but only Joshua could bring them across into the Promised Land.
It is not that Joshua suddenly cast aside the Law in favor of “grace.” Rather, Joshua shows a progression into a greater ministry necessary to bring us into the Kingdom. Joshua, or Yeshua, is a greater type of Jesus Christ than was Moses, but even Moses was a type of Christ (Acts 3:22).
In fact, the two also picture Old and New Covenants. The Old Covenant was not evil, but it was inadequate and could take us only to a certain point. The New Covenant was necessary to finish the job, and anyone who continues in the Old Covenant (justification by obedience, rather than by faith) will find the goal impossible to attain.
So God spoke to Joshua (1:7, 8), saying,
7 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law of Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night; so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you have success.
Moses prepared the way for Joshua by teaching the people the Laws of God. Joshua then came as the greater type of Christ to do His work. We know, of course, that there are two works of Christ, the first being the “death” work, and the second being the “life” work. So the simple analogy of moving from Moses to Joshua is also somewhat complex. Joshua himself was of the tribe of Ephraim, whereas Jesus came the first time of Judah. Hence, Jesus could not lead us into the Kingdom at that time as Joshua did. It requires Him to return as Joshua the Ephraimite, son of Joseph to complete this work.
Remember that Joseph’s robe was dipped in blood (Gen. 37:31), foreshadowing the work of the second dove in Lev. 14:6.
There are many layers of prophecy in the relationship between Moses and Joshua, but if we focus more narrowly upon our current study, we see that it is only under the New Covenant that “Jericho” can be overthrown in order to bring about the Kingdom of God.
This overthrow must be done lawfully, for if men such as Achan violate the sixth commandment, stealing what is not theirs, the entire work fails until correction is made.
Prophetic Fulfillment of Moses and Joshua
Jericho is a type of Mystery Babylon. It stands in the way of the Kingdom of God until the appointed time arrives to bring down that great city. In the days of Moses it took 40 years of wilderness training to bring Israel to the place of obedience and knowledge of the divine law that was necessary to establish the Kingdom.
All of that was a type of the New Testament Church as well. The NT Church was brought out of “Egypt” (i.e., bondage to sin) through the fulfillment of Passover when Jesus died on the cross. He brought the Church through the Red Sea when He was raised from the dead. He then came down as fire at Pentecost in a greater way than when He came down upon Sinai to give them the law.
The Church was then given 40 Jubilees (40 x 49) years of wilderness training, to give opportunity to write the law into their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This time extended from 33 to 1993 A.D. Then the appointed time came to cross the Jordan and begin the battle of Jericho (Babylon). We were led to go into spiritual warfare in November of 1993. This Jubilee Prayer Campaign lasted 13 years, one year for each time Israel marched around Jericho, ending on October 7, 2006.
This was the work of Joshua, the Ephraimite, operating within the overcomers. A few of them knew of this battle on a conscious level; the vast majority were joined with them by the Spirit but not consciously. Nonetheless, because all are “one body,” what one does, they all do.
This work of overthrowing Jericho-Babylon concluded with the prophetic declaration “It is done” (Rev. 16:17) at a place called Babylon, New York on Oct. 7, 2006.
We expected, then, to see that great city begin to fall within the following year. We particularly expected to see an economic collapse occur, and this began in the summer of 2007 with the “subprime mortgage crisis.”
Even as Moses represents the Law, so Elijah represents the prophets. It seems as though many Christians today love Elijah, but they forget Moses. Yet Malachi 4:4, 5 specifically admonishes us:
4 Remember the law of Moses, My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. 5 Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
“Elijah” ministries are incomplete without “Moses,” just as “Moses” is incomplete without “Elijah.” Together they form The Two Witnesses. If you are missing one or the other, it is only one witness, which may have much truth but which cannot establish the Kingdom.
“Moses” gave the structure of government and laws for the Kingdom to establish the moral standard conforming to the mind and will of God. “Elijah” prophetically applies the law by the word of the Lord in the life of the nation.
Without the law, there is little for Elijah to apply or interpret. Without Elijah, the law of Moses cannot be applied properly by the mind and will of God.
Revelation 11:5, 6 speaks of Elijah in relation to the work of the Two Witnesses:
5 And if anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies . . . 6 These have power to shut up the sky, in order that rain may not fall during the days of their prophesying . . .
In the story of Elijah, he prophesied to King Ahab in 1 Kings 17:1, where we read,
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.”
Then he hid himself for 3½ years. When he returned, the king sent soldiers to arrest him for causing damage, instead of repenting for his sin. Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume the soldiers coming to arrest him (2 Kings 1:10-12).
Under the Old Covenant, this is how it was done. Under the New Covenant, however, a new type of fire is given to God’s people. It is the baptism of fire by which the Holy Spirit comes down to consume “the flesh” and bring life. The story of Elijah is but a “type” of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What is death under the Old Covenant is life in the New.
Elijah establishes the foundations for the ministry of Elisha. It is the same two-step progression that we see with Moses and Joshua. Elijah is the prophetic ministry under the Old Covenant administration, while Elisha shows us the prophetic ministry under the New Covenant.
That is why Elijah does eight miracles, while Elisha does sixteen with the “double portion.”
Together, Elijah and Elisha speak of prophetic ministry by remembering the law of Moses and applying it in the manner suitable to their time.
If Moses and Elijah may be paired, so also can Joshua and Elisha. So even as Joshua’s first job was to overthrow Jericho, so also we find that Elisha’s first job was to heal the waters of Jericho (2 Kings 2:19-22).
Elisha’s prophetic work was thus positive in that sense and is in more accord with Rev. 11:15,
15 . . . The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign for the ages of the ages.
In other words, Babylon must have a “regime change,” and the city must fall, but the people themselves (citizens of Babylon) are to be taken captive and turned into citizens of the Kingdom.
The work of Elisha is greater than that of Elijah, just as Joshua’s work is greater than that of Moses. Overall, it speaks of the Old and New Covenants, the latter being greater than the former.
We are today seeing more of a Joshua-Elisha work than a Moses-Elijah work. All four men are involved, of course, and it is complex, to say the least. It is never easy to know the mind of a complex God. But understanding how these four men inter-relate gives us some idea of the type of work that lies before us.