Reflections on Revelation #182

Day 182

“ 3. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6 These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.” Rev.11:3-6 NASB

 If, as the Bible says, “No prophecy is of a private interpretation,” (2 Peter 1:20) then we need to let the Bible tell us who these witnesses are.  Our first insight comes from Zech. 4:11-14. In this passage the olive branches pour their golden oil into the lampstands. These are the “two anointed ones, who stand before the Lord of the whole earth. The Hebrew word for anointed ‘hayitshaar,’ means ‘who produces light.’ The oil flowing from the olive tree through the golden pipes to the lampstand produces light, and both fire and oil in scripture are symbols of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is given to call humanity out of darkness into the marvelous light of God’s word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105.)

Revelation refers to these two witnesses as the word of God and the testimony of Jesus (Rev.1:2 and 9) – in other words, the Old and New Testaments. This is where Moses drew the power to turn the water into blood, and how Elijah stopped the rain from falling for three years and six months as referred to in this text. Faith in what God said was their witness – and so it will be in the last days.

The two witnesses are clothed I sackcloth for 1260 days. Sackcloth is a symbol of hard times, distress, sorrow, and mourning. The 1260 years covered the time period between 538 and 1798 AD. This included the dark ages when the Bible was suppressed, chained to library walls and written only in Latin. The people were told they were too ignorant to read it. During that time the penalty for having a copy of God’s word (even a fragment) was certain death. The witness of the Bible was in sackcloth.

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