THE TWO WITNESSES
By Dan Luehrs
"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" (Revelation 11:3-4).
These verses have always been a great controversy for the Church. Some are saying these two witnesses are Moses and Elijah or Enoch. I believe it's neither! I believe these verses are telling us that great power is coming to the faithful in the Church; to those who have learned to be obedient to the word of the Lord. When Jesus told His disciples that they would be His witnesses throughout the world, was He just speaking of them? No, He was speaking of all Christians that would receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
To understand these two witnesses let us look first at the two olive trees spoken of here. This phrase is only used one other time in all of Scripture and it will give us the understanding that we need. It’s found in Zechariah 4:2-5,12-14:
"And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I said, "I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it; also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side. So the angel who was speaking with me answered and said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, No, my lord. ...What are the two olive branches which are beside the two golden pipes, which empty the golden oil from themselves? So he answered me saying, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord. Then he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth."
What Zechariah saw was fresh oil flowing into pipes from two olive trees into a holding bowl above a lampstand. From the bowl there were seven little pipes flowing into each lamp, so that their flame would never go out, being fueled with fresh oil flowing from the trees.
The literal meaning for the two anointed ones is; "sons of fresh oil!" Jesus is called the Christ or "the Anointed One." He is one of the two trees. Then who is the other? We are called Christians, that is, Christ's-Ones, or "the anointed-ones." The Apostle John said, "And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you..." (1 John 2:27). We are anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit for the same reason Jesus was, that we might give it away to others as He freely gives us! Freely we have received, freely we must give it away. The anointing is what gives life to the Church.
When Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter was saying you are the Anointed One with power from God on high! Jesus, Himself, said He was the Anointed One in Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor…” Jesus then replied to Peter. “…Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus is saying that upon this rock of truth, “that I am the Anointed One, and with this authority My church shall be built and nothing can overpower my anointing!” For too long the Church has been doing things without the anointing power of God! That is all about to change with the sons of fresh oil coming to the forefront.
It is also interesting to note here that, the words “anointed ones,” is the same root word for Benjamin, "ben, bane" (meaning; a son as a builder of the family name). Through the anointing, God shall build the family name. It’s the anointing that destroys the yoke of bondage in peoples' lives and remove their burdens. (See Isaiah 10:27). I do not believe that this is a coincidence, but given to us so that we might understand our times and calling better; that we might bring the glory of the Lord into all lands.
TWO IN HUMILITY AND UNITY
The two witnesses were clothed in sackcloth; this speaks of their humility. We know that Jesus was the most humble man ever to walk the earth. Now, His witnesses must have His same likeness in order to walk in His power. In the past few years, God has been doing a great stripping of His people that are going to be anointed with great power. He is stripping them of their pride and fruitfulness, so that they will not be tempted to take the glory that only belongs to Him. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time" (1 Peter 5:6).
Two is also the number of witness. To have true unity, one must humble himself before the other. This is how lasting marriages work. In John, chapter 17, Jesus prayed that we might be one with each other and that we might be one with Him. Such unity is hard to comprehend. Never the less, it shall come to pass.
"FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:31-32).
There will be a people in such unity with Jesus that He will grant them even greater power than He used upon this earth. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father" (John 14:12). We have yet to see this power in the Church, but be assured, it is coming!
THE COMING OF ELIJAH
Many believe that Elijah is one of the two witnesses because he called fire down from heaven. The Scriptures also say that he must return. What they fail to see is that Elijah has come already and he will still come again.
This was a great stumbling block for many of the Jews, because they were waiting for Elijah to come before the Messiah came. Jesus said in Matthew 17:12, "But I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished..." John the Baptist was that man. But was he really Elijah? No! But he came in the spirit and power of Elijah.
"And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).
If God took one person to call one nation to repentance, how many more people would it take today to prepare the way of the Lord before the whole world? Many! This is why Jesus said, "... Elijah is coming and will restore all things" (Matthew 17:11). The spirit and power of Elijah will be upon the end time Church before the coming of the Lord. He loves people so very much that He will not leave them without a powerful witness before He comes again.
LIKEN UNTO HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION
"And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them" (Revelation 11:7).
These two witnesses will be killed when they have finished their prophesying. Whether this is a physical death or death to self is yet to know for sure. When Jesus died on the cross He said, "It is finished!" Before the Apostle Paul died, he said, "I have finished my course!" No army could take their lives. God kept them by His power, as He does ours. Then why must these witnesses be killed? They shall be likened unto His death, for as much as they lived for His glory and power, so they shall also be raised as He was.
"For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (Romans 6:5).
These witnesses shall also be raised from the dead in three and a half days just like He was; then they shall be caught up unto the clouds just as He was. The true rapture shall take place right before the world's eyes! "And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them" (Revelation 11:12).
NOW POWER AND AUTHORITY HAVE COME
"And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne" (Revelation 12:5).
For some time now, the Church as been with child. She is in great agony of soul. The baby she is carrying is the power and authority of the glory of God, or the apostolic anointing. Everything in the spirit must be birthed, just as it is in the natural. Most praying people sense that something is about to break forth, and many believe it is going to be another great awakening. This is true, but it shall be much, much more! For this son shall rule the nations. Some would say that this is Jesus who is born in this verse. But according to Revelation 2:26-27, it is the authority of the overcomers. Jesus said, "And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father." Jesus is saying, "Just as I received all authority from my Father, these shall have My authority to do My works in the earth." -- "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). This son will be caught up to the throne. The throne speaks of the authority given to this people; we are to be sitting in heavenly places with Him, now!
"And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come..." (Revelation 12:10),
Notice, "now the salvation have come!" I thought we had salvation? We do, but this is talking about great deliverance power coming forth to set mankind free from the power of sin, bringing restoration to the world. Peter and the writer of Hebrews wrote about this full salvation. "Who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5). -- "So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him" (Hebrews 9:28). This time, His power is going to be revealed through His body, the Church. Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost and said:
"AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN UPON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE, AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BENEATH, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. THE SUN SHALL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS, AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. AND IT SHALL BE, THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED" (Acts 2:17-21).
The power of the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out before the Great Day of the Lord begins. What will the outpouring look like? Prophecy, visions, and dreams. Is that it? No! Greater wonders and signs shall be seen with fire, blood and vapor of smoke. "AND IT SHALL BE, THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED!" Many shall turn to the Lord through these powerful ministers that the Lord is going to release.
SATAN IS CAST DOWN
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death" (Revelation 12:11).
They overcame Satan! Who is "they?" The sons that were born to the woman in verse five that had power and authority given to them, because Satan was cast down! "And they (demonic powers) were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven" (Revelation 12:8). Do you see here the Church has risen to the rightful place of authority given her and the angels are helping her rule in the heavenlies?