Ronald McCowan and Sim Fryson: The two witnesses
An interesting article entitled "The Bible -- only God could write such a Book" by Evelyn R. Smith was published in the July 29, 2012, issue of the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
In addition to her experience in coming to appreciate the word of God as infallible, the writer commented on the two witnesses found in Revelation Chapter 11. We would like to comment further on these two prophetic witnesses by using the biblical principles of comparing and verifying text with text (Isaiah 28:9,10), using the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 10:1-11) as well as the New Testament and by using the King James Version of the Bible.
First, John the Revelator gives us time periods of "forty and two months" (Rev. 11:2,3) and "a thousand two hundred and threescore days." Both periods represent the same time frame or 1,260 years using the day in prophetic time as a year in actual time (Numbers 14:34).
This time frame is mentioned in Rev. 12:6,14 and elsewhere in the Bible and represents the time during which the church of God was persecuted and the fourth beast of Daniel 7:25 thought "to change times and laws" (538 A.D. - 1798 A.D.). It is during this time that the King James Version of the Bible was authorized (1611 A.D.) and the events of Rev. 11 take place.
The two witnesses are characterized in Rev. 11:4 as having the Holy Spirit. They also provide light (candlestick) as the word of God as stated in Psalms 119:105. Rev. 11:5 also tells us that fire comes from the mouths of these witnesses to devour the lives of their enemies.
This chapter also points out that the two witnesses have the power to prevent rain from heaven, but they have the power over "waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues." This verse alludes to Moses.
We look to Malachi 4:4, 5 where we're told to remember the law of Moses, which is a view to the Old Testament and the promise "I will send you Elijah" and the "day of the Lord" point to the future and the New Testament. The characterization of the two witnesses in Rev. 11:2-6 shows they represent the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
In Rev. 11:7 the beast that kills the two witnesses is the devil (Rev. 20:2, 3). This verse highlights his success in temporarily "silencing" the testimony of God's word. The next four verses of Rev. 11 show how and when this occurs.
Sodom was seen as immoral (Exodus 16:46-66) and Egypt as godless (Exodus 5:2), and in Rev. 11 they symbolize a specific nation. What great nation is known for outlawing public and private worship, outlawing the Bible, closing, desecrating, and pillaging churches, the Cult of Reason, the Reign of Terror, and the slogan "kill the wretch?" In the French Revolution (1789-1799) these anti-religious changes were legislated and thus symbolically "our Lord was crucified," Rev 11:8. Three and a half years later this legislation was rescinded allowing the word of God to be revived and to ascend in importance and power.
This profound prophecy of Rev. 11 tells of the power, testimony, illumination, and Holy Spirit-filled nature of the word of God and furthermore the temporary fall and subsequent rise of not one but two, the Old and New, testaments. As we are admonished in John 5:39, we should "Search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are (the scriptures) which testify of me." Ronald McCowan is a local physician and Sim Fryson is an Elder at the Shiloh Seventh-Day Adventist Church.