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Written by J.H. Fisher   


 
CHAPTER V—TWO WITNESSES

A little later in my treatise on the book of Revelation, there is much said of the sevens in this book. It is my idea that the book of Revelation is divided into sevens from more standpoints than one.

Like here is seven horses and they are to go say seven miles. So we have in this book seven parallel historical figures. First, we have the seven churches. Second, we have the seven seals. Then thirdly, we have the seven spirits of God running in His great grace work parallel with all the other sevens. Fourthly, we have seven Trumpets, that run as the ministry from Jesus and John the Baptist till the close of this age. Then we have the seven stars, which is another way of setting up the gospel ministry.

Then come the seven vials of wrath to be poured upon them that defile and defame the earth. Then the seven heads of the most horrible beast, that was to kill and to destroy all that dwell on the face of the earth, except those that God protects to keep up the generations of man, and to maintain this last seven travels of the church as laid down in the twelfth chapter of Revelations that we are to consider next. The latter as the bride, the Lamb's wife, is to be clothed in fine linen which is the righteousness of Christ. This Bride glides into a city, the New Jerusalem, exalted into the air, and then comes down out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. The two witnesses are also represented as an angel flying through the heavens having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth. From the creation of the earth to the present time and to the end, there is a division of the sevens from a longer standpoint, from creation to the end of the age. That seven will run out at the exact time that these local sevens run out, as mentioned in the book of Revelations. These sevens are like seven rows of corn. You plow one row through, then take another row; one at a time.

Jesus foreknew the full history of the world and especially of the church, and he and his apostles foretold us in concise and condensed figures the history of the world till the end of this age before they left us.

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." Rev. 1:1. Notice that he says, "things that must shortly come to pass." Yes it was just a short time till all or part of the things of the book of Revelation were going on. It would be well if every student of the book of Revelation would get the first chapter by heart. The Waldenses could say many of the books of the bible by heart. I want to commence here with the Eleventh Chapter of Revelation. But first I will say that the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth chapters run parallel with each other covering the twelve hundred and sixty years that is mentioned in each chapter. These two witnesses in the eleventh chapter, were to prophecy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth. See v. 3.

The woman that is mentioned in the twelfth chapter was to flee into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days. That awful beast that came up out of the sea, mentioned in the thirteenth chapter, was to have power to continue forty and two months. This forty and two months, reduced to days by multiplying by 30, equals to the same 1260 days, which are always interpreted to stand for that many years. If you were to trace up the work of a wolf killing two sheep, you would need to trace the travel and work of the wolf as well as the sheep. These two witnesses in the eleventh chapter are God's sheep, and this enemy that was all the time pursuing them was the wolf, and we see him in this ugly beast of nonforbearance, hate and murder. Let us watch this hateful beast, and his hypocritical pretentious to faithfulness as a reason for pursuing these poor harmless sheep, that never raised a hand of resentment but gave themselves to suffer what these money making fellows hatefully put upon them.

Now let us begin to read the record. "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall  prophecy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 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." Rev. 11:3-5.

Now I will see if I can find some place where this was so carried out. A certain self made jealous prophet accused Jeremiah of telling the wrong thing, and finally Jeremiah said to him, "Hear now Hananiah; the Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shah die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month." Jer. 38:15-16-17.

Now here is something to show us that God is not mocked, but when men put in their time telling lies of persecution against poor brethren just to create sentiment of jealousy among them that can be led by artificial influence, God will not be mocked, but will lay judgment to the plumb line. Look and see where Judas went that persecuted Jesus. The wolf persecutes but not the lamb. All of God's children must die, but some die under awful judgments of God, because they have been bitter in persecuting their brethren unnecessarily. Notice how Herod that persecuted Jesus went. Worms ate out his bowels. Saul had persecuted the brethren, but notice he had repented and turned from it. There is forgiveness in repentance. Judas' repentance was not good but was the sorrow of the world that worketh death. The men that threw the three Hebrew children in the fire were licked up by the flames. The men that put Daniel in the lion's den were eaten by the lions. Here is this momentous principle laid down in the book of Revelation. "If any man have an ear to hear, let him hear." "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity; he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints." Rev. 13:9-10.

After King Saul had pursued David so much, he died under awful judgment. Joseph's brethren were forgiven for they found humble repentance. Be careful how you treat the true witness that stands near the candlestick. Ananias and Saphira were struck dead for lying to Peter (and to God). Elymas the sorcerer was struck blind for endeavoring to turn away the deputy from the faith, as Paul came there to teach him. If I dig a pit for my neighbor I must fall therein. "These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy." Here is a most curious thing to me. The droughts are occasioned some way by the wicked disobedience of some of God's people. We must preach this.

God's poor servants will go hundreds of miles to preach to the people, and they often don't get as much as is given to a picture show. Why pray for rain on the wicked country that cares nothing about God and godliness? I have thought that a poor church that does but little for a poor struggling pastor, might put in a little extra crop for said preacher, each one helping on the crop a little would make something to buy him a car with. If it was done in prayer and humility, I would like to have a crop joining the same field. Selah. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven." Even the two wild cows that quietly pulled the cart that brought the ark home must be killed, and I would rather be killed like they were than to be killed like the persecutors of Peter Waldo and John Huss.

"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." But notice they could not kill them till they had finished their testimony. These two cows could not be killed till they brought the ark home to Israel.

None can kill any of God's servants till they finish their course and deliver their last message. "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified." Here the two olive trees and candlesticks were for a time silenced or prevented from their ordinary course. But like the ark was taken by the Philistines, yet the Lord guarded it and suffered it not to be destroyed. I understand this to be at the end of the twelve hundred and sixty years of darkness that had filled the people with ignorance and crime.

The true candlestick of Jesus was with the people called Waldenses in the valleys of France and the Alps mountains. The two great witnesses are the church and the ministry. One answers to the other. They are to give light. The stars are to give light, and are to be held up in the gospel heavens by the right hand of Jesus, so that they are above their persecuting enemies, and just out of their reach. They sway their little pitchfork of death dealing out toward the stars but can not reach them. Sometimes the tail of the beast reaches far enough to get some of the lower ones, and drags them off to his den. The candlestick is to give light. How we need the light. When Jesus is in the midst of the candlesticks, the witnesses fall dead until He touches them. They could not kill the servants of God till they finish their ministry. Then it is time for them to go. When that time came to Paul, he would say, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." Paul was ready to go up higher and to rest forever. But that eternal rest that the children of God enter into, is not altogether what is meant here for this is more of a symbolic thing. The witnesship of the ministry was largely killed said, "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant." God's poor servants long to learn more and more about the real facts of what God has said to his people. While this was going on some other awful events took place. "And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the third part of the city fell (old Rome lost her control over the richest countries of Europe) and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand (even God's children) and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven." Rev. 11:13.
What was this great earthquake? The mighty upheavals in society, in governments, in Christianity. All three of these lines got up and turned around, and began to shake about, learning, moving to different places. People leaving the Roman dominions and fleeing to places where they might be free and rest from the face of the old serpent. "All the continent was plunged into a perfect tumult of controversy. Luther, growing bolder, was attacking the entire system and body of teachings of the Roman Catholic church." Myers, page 523. "Thus one half of Western Christendom was lost to the Roman church." Myers, page 529. Wars followed. This was the great earthquake. It affected the world more than any events had since the days of Constantine.
Many people turning away from popery saw the glorious doctrine of Jesus, that had been kept hid for ages and ages, "and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven." This chapter, like the two coming after this, runs on to the end parallel with them. After the reformation and the two witnesses are restored to their heavenly functions. But the third woe for the two witnesses is yet ahead. "The second woe is past; and behold the third woe cometh quickly." Rev. 11:14.
What is this third woe? The churches of Jesus had some joy, and the two witnesses were allowed a season of rest. But not long before these very powers that had so fiercely denounced the old Roman harlot, turned around began to argue her same doc. trine in a large measure, and to persecute those who were bold enough to say that a person could be saved from sin without a preacher. They wanted to set up human priests. They forgot that Jesus had made his people their own priests and kings, and did not need a religious priest or king. Martin Luther and the German government began to persecute the Aha-Baptists. Luther had translated Matt. 3:1, "In those days came John the dipper." But now he ordered the Baptists killed for immersing all their subjects. Calvin admitted that immersion was the mode and man. net Jesus and the apostles used, but now bitterly opposed all that immersed. The English government also began to burn the Lollards, who were Baptists. It was unlawful to preach without license from the government. What right had the king to meddle with people's religion?

The second persecution of the two witnesses was this third woe. "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." Rev. 11:15. This is looking on to the close of the age, when the kingdom of Christ is to be set up in its last phase of perfection, beauty and heavenly glory, which we are drawing close up to, and the signs are coming to the world very fast. How it should solemnize our very thoughts and prayers. "And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God. Saying, we give thee thanks O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and which are to come, because thou hast taken to thee this great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and thou should give reward to thy servants, the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name, small anti great; and shouldest destroy them that destroy the earth." Rev. 11:16-18. This is so plain that it needs no comment, at least but little will be given here. Notice four things that are to come in the close of this age. (1) Raising the dead. (2) Reward to the prophets and the saints, yea even all both small and great, even those who fear his name. (3) Wrath of God toward his foes. (4) Judgments of God upon them that destroy the earth. This is what is shortly coming upon this earth. Great revolutions are associated with it as can be seen in the next verse, which is the last verse on this subject of the witnesses.

"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." Rev. 11:19. What does this ark mean? It can't mean anything but the full finished testimony of the first and last of true, pure, complete, sweet, holy gospel of Jesus Christ in such glory as was never seen before. The temple is the church, and at the end of this age there will be a revealing of the deep, true, lovely doctrine of Jesus as it was never before seen in its fullness. Then follows the closing up of all this age to the glory of God, and the incoming of the new earth.
 

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