Sunday, May 3, 2015
Two Witnesses Series #5 – Part 57 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
In the last four parts of this series we laid out the Old Testament foundation that defines the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11:4…these are two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. The Prophet Zechariah was shown in a vision that the two olive trees were two anointed ones – Governor Zerubbabel and Priest/Prophet Joshua – who would lead the captives back to Israel to rebuild their temple and city.
To find out how the New Testament defines the Two Witnesses we first must understand the ministry of Jesus and His apostles. When we were last together we found out that Jesus…was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…Matt. 15:24.
The Prophet Jeremiah said…my people have been lost sheep….their shepherds have led them astray; they have turned them away…Jer. 50:6. What is the prophet trying to convey?
The House of Israel is comprised of the twelve tribes of Israel. God is lamenting through the prophet that the shepherds He appointed to keep His sheep safely on the path of righteousness have not done so. Instead, these kings, priests, and prophets that God put in charge took care of themselves, by eating sumptuously, while clothing their own bodies with the grandest of materials, and building grand cities – never sharing the wealth that God had bestowed upon them with His people.
The Prophet Ezekiel explained it clearly when he said…the weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost, but with force and cruelty you have ruled them…so they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered…Ez. 34:4-5.
The metaphorical language in this text describes how God’s shepherds did not teach His people the oracles of God – how God desires to heal their bodies, provide food, as well as protect them from danger – instead they made them personal slaves of their kingdom, treating them with contempt. So the sheep got lost in the grip of paganism – oppressed and possessed by demon doctrines. Without a shepherd – sheep lose their way!
God blames the religious leaders – earthly shepherds – for this tragedy and His judgment will come upon those who scattered His sheep, who became the lost sheep of the House of Israel. God prophesied through Ezekiel…I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment…Ez. 34:16.
When Jesus began His public ministry He said to His apostles…do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans…but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…Matt. 10:5-6.
Did you ever consider that the 12 apostles of Jesus were also of the 12 tribes of Israel? They are lost sheep…hmmm…interesting thought. The 12 apostles are commanded to witness the way of salvation – the deliverer has arrived – to their own people first. Later they would be sent to the Gentiles.
The 12 apostles are descendants of Abraham, and also Jacob who sired the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus gathered together 12 lost sheep, who represent the 12 tribes of Israel, to witness to the world that He is the promised Messiah. The 12 apostles represented the old covenant of Abraham – the first covenant with promise that was received by faith. This covenant between God & Abraham was sealed by circumcision – blood upon the seed…Gen. 17:11.
We found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote–Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph…John 1:45. While the apostles witnessed with Jesus for 1260 days, they served the Law of Moses. They represented the old covenant with the promise of a Messiah. Yet…if the first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second…Heb. 8:6.
Of the two olive trees in the temple of God, one symbolizes the Law – the apostles represented the Law while they ministered with Jesus. If the other olive tree symbolizes priest and prophets, what qualifies the apostles to represent the priest and prophets in order to fully define the Two Witnesses of Revelation? Stay tuned…
God’s sheep question the doctrines of men…sheeple follow without question…