Tuesday, November 08, 2011
THE DEATH OF THE TWO WITNESSES
The Death of the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:7, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 8:24, 1 John 4:3, 2 Thessalonians 2)
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.
This is the first time that this beast is mentioned here in this prophecy of Revelation. He is called "The Beast", and he is known to the church from primarily two sources. The first source is from the Epistles of 1 John 2 and 4, and 2 John 7, and the second source is from the prophecy of Daniel 7 where this beast is pictured, having ten horns. And from among the ten horns arises another horn, a little horn, who destroys three of the horns and who becomes more terrible than all the rest of the creatures, speaking blasphemous things against the Most High, and warring against the saints of God, and prevailing against the saints of God.
And the saints are given into his hand until time and times and the dividing of time has passed. This little horn is mentioned again in Daniel 8 where God says of him that “he shall destroy the mighty and the holy people”.
From this we learn the following:
In the first place, the beast in Revelation 11 is not the same as the dragon that is mentioned in Revelation 12. He is closely connected with that dragon, but he is not to be identified with him. Nor is the beast in Revelation 11 the same as the king of the locusts of Revelation 9:11, also called the angel of the Bottomless pit, for in Revelation 11 it is a beast with an earthly form, whereas in Revelation 9:11 it was a spirit.
Secondly, here we have the first mention of the Antichrist, who is identical with the little horn from Daniel 7 and 8.
Thirdly, this Antichrist rises up out of the Bottomless Pit, meaning that he finds his spiritual origin there, although he will appear in human form. Just as we may say that the saints are hid with Christ in God, and that their walk is in heaven, so also Antichrist is hid with Satan in Hell and has his origin in the Bottomless Pit.
Fourthly, it is to be understood that the power of Antichrist exists all through the New Testament dispensation.
We read in 1 John 4:3, “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
Antichrist does not just rise out of the Bottomless Pit at the moment when the two witnesses have finished their testimony, but he was already in the world at the time that John wrote his 1st Epistle.
Similarly, in Daniel 7 the fourth beast already exists before the little horn arises. But just like the power of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 culminated in the little horn, so also the power of Antichrist shall culminate and finally rise against the people of the Kingdom of God when Satan is loosed.
Therefore it is in this connection that we now understand that the spirit of Antichrist, although existing throughout the entire New Testament period of time, shall toward the end be allowed to gain strength and make war against the saints of the Most High, and be allowed to overcome them.
Now we need to address the statement that this beast shall rise against the two witnesses after they have finished their testimony.
God tells us in the 2nd Epistle to the church at Thessalonica, in chapter 2, that there is a power that holds back the "man of sin" so that he cannot appear before the God ordained time. He cannot manifest himself yet in his full power. The power which holds him back is undoubtedly the Spirit of God working out the decree of God. The power of Antichrist may not come to its full manifestation until the prophesying of the church shall have been completed.
This implies two things:
In the first place, it implies that the Gospel must have been preached to all nations. It does not mean that the Gospel must have come to every individual still living on this earth, but that it has spread over all the earth and come within reach of all nations. For example, the Gospel may not have reached each individual on the island of New Guinea, which is the second largest island in the world, mostly jungle, and inhabited by many tribes speaking hundreds of different languages. But since Western New Guinea belongs to Indonesia, it is sufficient that the Gospel must have spread to the nation of Indonesia.
In the second place, it also means that the testimony against the wicked world and against the false church must have been finished. The measure of iniquity must be full. The world and the false church must hear the testimony of the true church, must hear it repeatedly, must become conscious of its sin, must know it and reject the Christ of the Bible willingly and deliberately. God has given them up to vile affections, and God has given them over to a reprobate mind, and then the testimony of the two witnesses shall have been finished. And then they may be silenced, and they shall be silenced by the Antichrist, the beast that comes up out of the Bottomless Pit. For we read here in verse 7 that the Beast shall rise against the witnesses and overcome them and kill them. This is a very brief statement of the last end of the Final Tribulation Period that shall come over the church of God. Antichrist shall prevail at last. He shall overcome the saints of the Most High. It does not mean that he shall kill all of them. If the killing in verse 5 implies silencing, then the killing in verse 7 also implies silencing. He silences the preaching of the true Gospel and the true witnesses will be forced into silence because they will not be permitted to speak the truth in the Church. The reality of this will be seen when believers will be put out of the church so that their voice cannot be heard. Believers will be forced to leave their congregations, while many others will depart out when they see the active apostasy that will take place. This is how the two witnesses are killed. And on that sad note we conclude this short study.
By Alfred J. Chompff