(11.5)         And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.


1.   Beloved, during the age in which you and I live, God’s men are not to seek revenge against those who try to do him harm. We are supposed to answer those who oppose us and contend with us, but not seek vengeance. During this age God says that vengeance is His, Romans 12.19. A man who messes with God’s man, or with any Christian during the age of grace, may not get his just desserts while on earth. Then again he may. But you can be sure that judgment will fall very hard on him when he stands before Christ in judgment. Why is this? This is because God has revealed that He does not use His servants during our era as instruments to mete out judgment and justice, but as tools to minister grace to those who hear us.


2.   However, there is clear evidence found in this verse that the tribulation period is not the same kind of age of grace that we currently enjoy. You see, during this time to come, judgment will be swift and harsh. Notice that it says, “and if any man will hurt them.” Friends, this word “will,” which appears twice in this verse, translates the Greek verb qelw, and refers to just thinking about something, wanting something to be so, or wishing something were true.[1] In other words, if someone so much as thinks about harming these two men of God he will be killed, immediately, on the spot, in dramatic fashion.


3.   An enemy would not actually have to touch them. Just having a heart’s desire to make them be quiet, or run them out of town, and fire will come out of their mouths and destroy anyone who has evil thoughts and intentions toward them. Amazing. I say this because the phrase “and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed,” means that “it is binding,” “it is necessary.”[2]


4.   It is this power the two witnesses will exhibit which causes me to conclude that the ministry of these two prophets occurs in the last half of the tribulation. This is because the treaty entered into by the antichrist during the first half of the tribulation period will guarantee the freedom to prophecy without opposition or restraint of any kind. It will only be in the last half of this seven year period that this kind of power to destroy their enemies will ever need to be exercised by these two unknown men of God.


(11.6)         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.


1.   Though this passage does not name the two witnesses, and I am of the opinion that the two witnesses will be two men not known to us, we can see why some conclude from this verse that one of them has to be the prophet Elijah. They so conclude because the prophet Malachi predicted Elijah’s part as a forerunner who tells of the coming of the Lord Jesus just prior to His second coming. Turn to Malachi 4.4-5 and read: “4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.


2.   I also previously mentioned that there are a variety of opinions regarding the identity of the other prophet. Some are of the opinion that it might be Moses. This is because of the power demonstrated here is similar to the signs wrought by Moses in the book of Exodus, turning the water into blood, etc.


3.   Others insist that this prophet is Enoch, for two reasons: First, because, like Elijah, Enoch was translated and has not yet experienced physical death, but will die during this future time when, as one of the two witnesses, he is finally slain. Second, because Enoch, according to Jude 14-15, already had a ministry of proclaiming the coming of the Lord, and it is thought that his ministry in Revelation chapter 11 will simply continue what he began before the flood and before he was translated.


4.   Good folk hold to both persuasions as to the identities of the witnesses. I, however, remain convinced that the two witnesses are too much shrouded in mystery for their identities to be known to us.


(11.7)         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.


1.   Notice. When they have finished their job for God they are no longer immortal. But until they have finished their task nothing can harm them or injure them.


2.   The same truth applies to you and me, so long as we are not disobedient or foolish. Until we have finished our service for God we are invincible. The only things that can happen to us are things God allows to happen. And then, when our tasks and duties are completed, we will either die or God will allow us to suffer martyrdom for His name’s sake.


3.   No wonder the Lord Jesus Christ said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”[3] All things being equal, and setting aside those premature deaths of the saints that result from God’s chastisement that leads to an early home going, you will die when God decides it is time for you to die. Should this produce some moslem type of fatalism? No. The Christian reaction to such doctrine should be boldness to serve the Lord whatever the circumstances happen to be.

[1] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), pages 447-448.

[2] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 836.

[3] Matthew 10.28

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