On a different note, in post 95 to post 104 - What are the hallmarks of those who are chosen? I discussed what is known thus far about the chosen at the time of the end. It is a complex subject and difficult to understand. Only some will master this new song, (Rev 14:3), and they will not fully master it until they are called to heaven. But now the time has come to shine a spotlight on that part of the new song that can be mastered now.
Who are the two witnesses whom Jesus empowers to prophesy amongst those serving at the altar of God's house?
As to who they will turn out to be, Paul had said: For the eager expectation of the creation is awaiting for the revealing of the sons of God, (Rom 8:19), which won't happen until after the two witnesses are killed, raised, and called up to heaven at the time of the blowing of the 7th trumpet, (Rev 11:11,12,15). And talking about this, Paul had said: ...and just as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly one ... Look I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep in death but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised up incorruptible and we shall be changed, (1Cor 15: 50,51,52). The two witnesses are already doing their work, but they have not yet been named.
The reason no one is sure about the identity of the two witnesses is that we are not meant to know who they are. These ones will be adopted as sons of God and brothers of the Son of man. It would be easy if we knew who they were, but when the Son of Man comes in his glory, neither the sheep nor the goats know who these ones are (Mt 25:38-40,44,45). Neither do they themselves know.
Neither did Paul know. All he knew was that the Pentecostal Spirit was a token of things to come, but he and those whom he addressed were still eagerly awaiting the adoption as sons, (Rom 8:23). The problem with NT Greek is that translators have rendered Kione Greek, aorist verbs, as past completed tenses, and it makes people think that this adoption as sons has already occurred when it hasn't. And other than a few well-known named individuals such as Abraham and Isaac, (Mt 8:11), we don't know who is at the base of the altar, (Rev 6:9-11). And we don't know who will complete that number. But we do know that prior to the 7th trumpet, the ones completing the number of 144,000, will make up the body of the two witnesses that Jesus causes to prophesy for 1260 days, (Rev 11:3).
What Jesus said to these potential adoptees at the last Passover he celebrated with them is recorded at Mt 26:26, 27,28, 29 & Mk 14:17,16,19,20,22-26. The two accounts are identical, except at Mk 14:20 it adds the detail that indicates more than just the twelve were present at that celebration, Mark being one of those present. Jesus had just told them that one of them would betray him and this shocked them. It says: They are shocked and say to him one by one, surely it is not I, is it?. Most translations have grieved here. The Greek word 3076 rendered grieved, first occurs in the LXX at Gen 4:5, where Cain is shocked that God looked with favour on Abel's offering and not his. The rug has been pulled from under their feet and so they anxiously ask, It is not I is it?. And Jesus says: It is one of the twelve who is dipping with me in the one bowl. By saying it is one of the twelve (Mk 14:20), he indicates that others, including Mark, were present at that meal, (cf. Ex12:4).
The account at John similarly indicates that more than the twelve were present. The secret disciple whom Jesus loved, being one of them ( Jhn 21:20,21,24). And it is quite possible that the Passover was celebrated at his house, as it appears that Jesus had made prior arrangements with a close friend who, unlike the twelve, knew he was going to be arrested that night. Jesus had told his disciples, Go into the city of So-and-so and say to him. The Teacher says; my appointed time is near, (Mt 26:17,18; see also Mk 14: 13-15 & Lu 22:7-12). What a strange thing to say, 'go to the city of so-and-so.' Who was this so-and-so? It appears that they had forgotten who he was by the time the gospel accounts were recorded.
This close friend, the secret disciple Jesus loved records all that Jesus did and said that night in great detail, he might have even had a scribe there to record all that was said, (cf. Jhn 21: 24). His account starts with the words: … Now because he/Jesus knew before the festival of the Passover that the hour had come for him to move out of this world to the Father. As I said this is something the twelve did not know, nor did they understand when Jesus explained it to them, as he did that evening, see, Jhn 14:3,5. So whoever this close friend was, he not only understood what was going to happen and why, but also knew what the chief priests planned, (Jhn 11:47,48,49,50,57), which indicates he was privy to what went on behind closed doors of that circle. No wonder his name was withheld.
Anyway, his account of the last Passover starts at Jhn 13:1 and continues to Jhn 18:1. All he says concerning the actual bread and wine ritual is: So while the evening meal was going on, the Devil, having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon to betray him, (Jhn13:2). Again we see that this intimate friend of Jesus knew things the others didn't, (Mt 26:14,15). According to his account, nothing out of the ordinary was said or done during the actual Passover celebration. And he goes on to report all the important things that Jesus did and said that evening. But he does not mention the extraordinary supplementary statement recorded in Lu 22:28-30).
According to Luke's account, Jesus had also said: However, you are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials and I make a covenant with you, just as the Father has made a covenant with me for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus either said this, or he didn't.
For the following reasons, we now know that this supplementary statement is pure fiction.
- Neither Matthew, Mark nor the author of the 4th gospel would have missed such an extraordinary statement
- It indicates the opposite of what Paul said concerning the chosen at Rom 8:19
- And it conflicts with what Jesus said concerning those going to heaven to rule with him at Mt 20:23
- And the statement implies that the ones present at that supper, would lord it over the 12 tribes listed at Rev 7:4-8, which is not corroborated elsewhere in scripture
Luke's eyewitness is not named, so the veracity of his statement cannot be checked. From Acts 1:1) we know that the author of Luke, also wrote the book of Acts and that he was a travelling companion of Paul when Paul went to Rome to present his case before Caesar, circa 70 CE, (cf Acts 20:5). So any witness who claimed Jesus had said this, must have been present at that meal and would have been in his 70s or older. This person is not named, but the author of Luke believed him, (Lu 1:1-4). And what he said has been a stumbling block and the cause of much confusion.
In the illustration of the wheat and the weeds, the slaves of the householder had come to him and asked: Master did you not sow fine seed in your field? How, then, does it come to have weeds? And he said: “An enemy, a man does this, (Mt13:28).That man is not named. The slaves then ask him if they should go and pull out the weeds. And the master had said … No; that by no chance while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and I will tell the reapers, First, collect the weeds and tie them into bundles for the burnup and then go gathering the wheat into my storehouse, (Mt 13:27 28,29,30).
The harvest is the conclusion of the system of things, (Mt13:39), But who is the enemy, the man who over-sowed the field with weeds? Is it the same one that put the words recorded at Lu 22:28-30 into Jesus's mouth?
Jesus tells us: … The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man … the field is the world and as for the fine seed these are the sons of the kingdom, but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the conclusion of the system of things, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things ... The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect together from out of his kingdom all the things causing stumbling and persons doing lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace, (Mt 13: 37-41).
But before that happens the things causing stumbling and persons doing lawlessness must FIRST be collected together. The Son of man does this when he causes his two witnesses to prophesy amongst those serving at the altar of God's house for a thousand two hundred and sixty days dressed in sackcloth, (Rev 11:3). Their prophesying causes the things causing stumbling and persons doing lawlessness to be collected together as described at Rev 11:8,9,10), in preparation for the burnup. Note the two witnesses, are dressed in sackcloth just like John the baptist/Elijah, (cf Mt 11:13,14,15; Mt 17:10,11).
But who are these two witnesses?
These are [symbolized by] the two olive trees and the two lampstands that are standing before the Lord of the earth, (Rev 11:4; Zech 4:12-14). And concerning them, at Zech 3:1, Zecheriah says, that Jehovah's angel proceeded to show me Joshua/Jesus the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah and Satan standing at his right hand in order to resist him.
The two witnesses and Joshua are one and the same in the sense that they are Jesus's earthly representatives during the conclusion of the system of things, (Rev 11:3).
Jehovah's angel orders that their filthy garments be removed and replaced with clean ones. And Jehovah tells them: If it is in my ways that you will walk and if it is my obligation that you will keep, then also it will be you that will judge my house and Keep my courtyards and I shall certainly give you free access among those who are standing by, (Zech 3:1-7). The ones standing by, are the angelic persons of Zech 3:1. Even as Paul said: For all who are being led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you do not receive a spirit of bondage again but you receive a spirit of adoption as sons ... not only that but we, [Paul and his companions] ... Yes, we, ourselves groan within ourselves while we are earnestly awaiting the adoption as sons, (Rom 8:14,15,23) And at 1Cor 15:49 he says; Just as we bear the image of the one made of dust we also shall bear the image of the heavenly one. The underlined verbs are aorist overview verbs, which do not determine the time when something is done, i.e. if I say 'John sings,' it doesn't tell you when John sings.
If the ones that comprise the body of the two witnesses walk in God's ways and keep his obligations they will sit at Jesus' right and left hand when he comes into his kingdom, (Mt 20:23; Rev 11:12,15).
But before that happens their befouled garments are removed. The garments of those serving at the altar of God's house are befouled with the teaching of the man who oversowed the field with weeds that cause stumbling and are persons doing lawlessness. Jehovah says to them, ' If it is in my ways that you will walk, and if it is my obligations that you will keep, then also it will be you that will judge my house and also keep my courtyards and I will certainly give you access amongst those standing by [angelic ones}, (Zech 3:3-7). The prophesying of the two witnesses of Rev 11:3,4 and Zech 4:12,14, serves to separate those who walk in God's ways and keep his obligations from those who do not. The one making the necessary adjustment is clothed in a clean marriage garment,(Rev 6:1!), the one that doesn't isn't. He is cast into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be, (Mt22:11,12,13).
World events indicate that we are now in the interim after those under the altar have been given their white robes and are waiting for their number to be filled of their fellow slaves and brothers who are about to be killed even as they had been, (Rev 6:11). But once the body of the two witnesses is on display in the great city that is in a spiritual sense called Sodom and Egypt, (Rev 11:8), the door will be shut, (Mt 25:8,9,10,11,12).
"For there are many invited but only a few chosen,", (Mt 22:14).