“I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands, standing before the Lord of the earth. If anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. If anyone desires to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, that it may not rain during the days of their prophecy. They have power over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.”
These two witnesses are in a state of mourning – they wear sackcloth. The holy city has been desecrated and trampled underfoot, but only for a specified period of time. God’s people will not always be disregarded. The church of Christ is oppressed and Christians are kept down, but only in the will of God, for He reigns supreme and is calling out of this world, those who will be His people, the holy temple of the Lord.
John is asked to measure the temple, but not the outer court, which has been given to the nations of the world. The inner court of the house of God is for the true priests of God, set apart for His service. The outer court are nominal worshippers.
God raises up two witnesses to prophesy before the Lord. They are like lamp stands of witness or testimony to the Lord, as the lamp stands in chapter 1 of this book. They are like productive olive trees that bear fruit to God bringing cleansing and healing to the nations. They have the same powers as the patrician prophet, Elijah and if opposed, have the power to destroy enemies. Those who oppose them are or desires to harm them, they are put down by the words of the gospel and the Word of God.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”
These are the faithful witnesses who speak for Christ in a corrupt and perverted world, which is given over to the Antichrist. They witness against him and his influence and God preserves their witness in the world. They are two – not many, but enough to be a testimony to the truth of God. They have the power and authority to preach the gospel of the grace of God to the peoples of the world. They carry on through the apostasy for they are faithful servants of God through the many generations of this time. They have the boldness of the spirit of Elijah and the same access to the throne of God in prayer.
They have protection from the Word that proceeds from their mouths.
“Isn’t my word like fire? says The Lord; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
The defence of the gospel is the Word of God and the Christian witness fights with this sword of the Spirit in defence of the faith, doctrine and the honour of the Lord. It enlightens from idolatry, evil, immorality and superstition. It is a light to the eyes of humankind and leads in the paths of peace.
Power is given to them to bind or lose in heaven and earth, hence the power of the righteous saints of God to apply the will of God who sends the rain of the gospel on the Earth.
“Most certainly I tell you, whatever things you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever things you release on earth will have been released in heaven. Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.”
“The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn’t rain on the earth for three years and six months.”
The witnesses for the Lord must have the spirit of Elijah, wholly given over to the Lord and faithful to the Word of God. The spirit is fearless and prays the prayers that mirror the will of God. We can do this because we know the mind and heart of the Lord. Elijah could control the big things in life because he was kept by the power of God and was kept separate from the world.