On March 12,2013 this barefoot person, clothed in sackcloth was seen praying in Vatican City in St. Peter’s Square. Apparently no one knows who he is or where he came from. It is interesting that sackcloth is the attire that Old Testament prophets wore. It is also noteworthy that just prior to the coming of Jesus to the earth, there will be “two witnesses” sent by God Himself to testify before the world, that Jesus Christ is Lord.
“And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11:3
An important point can be made here about the individual in the picture. Other than his clothing, he apparently wasn’t there to draw attention to himself, such as announcing who he was or what his purpose was for being there. And oddly enough, when he left, nobody seems to know when he left or where he went. The question of course on the minds of most Christians is: was this one of the two witnesses prophesied in Revelation eleven. We may never know, but if he is one of the two, as time goes by, the entire world will come to know him very well.
The Scripture is clear, there will be two of them, however having said that, it doesn’t say that they will both appear at the same time. One could possibly come, maybe even several years before the other arrives and once the two of them are together, they will have exactly, “….one thousand two hundred and sixty days….” To witness to the Jews of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Revelation 11:3.
God doesn’t do anything by chance and you can be sure there is a specific reason for the time they are allotted to give their prophecies and testimony. “When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.” Revelation 11:7. Thus, when they have finished their testimony the Antichrist will be given the power to overcome them and kill them. ”And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Revelation 11:8.
“The great city,” mentioned here is identified by the last part of the above verse: “where also our Lord was crucified.” This is obviously a direct reference to Jerusalem. The question then is, why did the writer refer to Jerusalem as Sodom and Egypt? There are two good reasons John referred to Jerusalem in this manner. First, it is referred to as Sodom because Sodom as well as Gomorrah were spiritually dead cities. Present day Jerusalem I believe, is spiritually dead as far as recognition of Jesus, the true Messiah. These two witnesses are sent to Jerusalem as part of God’s plan to begin the revival process and bring the Jews to salvation.
Secondly, I believe it is referred to “Egypt” because the Lord led Israel out of Egypt, freeing them from bondage. Jesus, the Messiah died in Jerusalem to free all mankind from the bondage of sin. In fact, Micah likens the bondage of our sin as being cast into the sea, a metaphor of Israel crossing the Red Sea, but also a prophecy concerning the salvation of all Israel: “He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.” Micah 7:19 & 20.
The children of Israel were made to wander 40 years in the wilderness because they didn’t believe the Lord actually provided for their physical and spiritual salvation as David wrote, “They did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation.” Psalm 78:22. And again David writes of their unbelief and the penalty they paid for that unbelief , “The wrath of God came against them, and slew the stoutest of them, and struck down the choice men of Israel. In spite of this, they still sinned, and did not believe in His wondrous works.” Psalm 78:32 & 33.
But now, a new dispensation. The Christian church is gone, and now God is about to make good His promise to Abraham, and all Israel will be saved. The two witnesses have come to proclaim to them that Christ is the Messiah, and that He and only He can be their salvation. But it will take a powerful testimony from these two, to begin the salvation process in their cold hearts. So what kind of testimony can be so compelling that they should accept that testimony as truth?
After the crucifixion of Jesus was completed and His body was laid in the tomb, Scripture tells us that certain women went to the tomb “bringing spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Luke 24:1 – 3.
Of course they didn’t find the body of Jesus since He had already risen, “And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, ’Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen.” Luke 24:1 – 6
Again, in Acts 1:9 -11, when Jesus was taken up to heaven in the site of His disciples, that “two men” appeared to all who were witnessing the event, “Now when He had spoken these things, and while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’”
It is my opinion that the “two men” in the tomb of Jesus, are the same two who appeared when Jesus was taken into heaven. Further, these are the same two witnesses that we are discussing in this writing. What could be more compelling to their Jewish brethren then to testify to them that they were there, and they saw the crucifixion and resurrection! After all, I believe this is the reason they are called the “two witnesses!” But wait a minute, anybody today could come along dressed in sackcloth and make the wild claim that they were sent back by God Himself to testify of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Why would anyone believe such an outrageous statement?
I believe these two will make the bold claim, as proof of who they are, that if they are killed, God will raise them up after three and a half days. Don’t you think that would pretty well validate their claims? It certainly would be an eye opener wouldn’t it?
“When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.” Revelation 11:7 – 10.
It should be obvious to the reader what is going on here. The claim by the two witnesses that God will raise them up is not taken seriously by the world’s populace. So, in order to show the world how bogus their claim is, after they are murdered by the Antichrist, they lay their bodies in the street with 24 hour camera surveillance. But! “Now after three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.” And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.” Rev. 11:11 & 12.
Can you imagine how absolutely stunning this will be? This single event will possibly be more momentous as far as a visual witness to all of mankind than the resurrection of Jesus Himself, since the entire world will be witness to it. And it will clearly demonstrate the resurrection power of God.
Continuing on with this story, we see that it doesn’t end with the resurrection of the two witnesses. “In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Rev. 11:13
According to the above verse, one tenth of Jerusalem will be destroyed by an earthquake, killing seven thousand people. But, “the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.” You can be sure that the number, “seven thousand” of the people that are killed is no coincidental number and has a meaning. We are also given the exact portion of the city that will be destroyed (10%), and after studying some commentaries on this particular event, there seems to be no enlightenment from Bible scholars as to the significance of the two numbers. Guess we will have to wait and see.
What is known, is that these two are apparently successfull in their witness for the Lord Jesus Christ, as those who survived the earthquake “gave glory to the God of heaven.” It will be at this point, I believe, that the Antichrist will break the seven year peace agreement he has with the Jews and rise up against them and like Hitler, will try to annihilate the Jewish people. And like Hitler, he will want to be able to identify who the Jews are. I believe that Hitler was a forerunner of the Antichrist, kind of like an unholy John Hitler made the Jews wear stars on their shirts and had each one tattooed with a number on his/her arm to make identification easier. The Antichrist will demand that everyone in the world that is loyal to him, wear a number on his forehead or hand. Thus anyone not willing to show this kind of allegiance will be rounded up and killed. the Baptist if you will. John was a forerunner of Jesus and warned the known world at that time of the arrival of the Messiah.
Hitler made the Jews wear stars on their shirts and had each one tattooed with a number on his/her arm to make identification easier. The Antichrist will demand that everyone in the world that is loyal to him, wear a number on his forehead or hand. Thus anyone not willing to show this kind of allegiance will be rounded up and killed. ”He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name….Here is the wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” Revelation 13:16 & 18.
The “beast” will then go into the temple and demand that everyone bow down to a likeness of himself. This may be a statue or a picture, or both. Hitler had pictures of himself placed all over Germany and occupied lands. To my knowledge he didn’t demand that people bow before his picture, but it is evident that he thought quite highly of himself and should he have won the war, I’m sure that would have been the next step.
Everyone in the world will readily accept the mark or the number; everyone that is, except the Jews. They know that God would never require them to bow down before an idol and so, they refuse. As a result of this refusal, Jews by the millions (again), will be murdered by the beast. “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark, and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb….” Revelation 15:3. The Song of Moses can be found in Exodus chapter 15. The fact that they “sing the song of Moses,” identifies them as Jews. The Christian church is already residing in heaven (Revelation 5:9) where they are sing a “New Song,” before the throne of the Lamb.