Verse 5  And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

    “To hurt the word of God is to oppose, corrupt, or pervert its testimony, and turn people away from it. Against those who do this work, fire proceedeth out of their mouth to devour them, that is, judgment of fire is pronounced in that word against such. It declares that they will have their punishment in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. (Malachi 4: 1; Rev. 20: 15; 22: 18, 19).

             Verse 6  These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

     “In what sense have these witnesses power to shut heaven, turn waters to blood, and bring plagues on the earth? Elijah shut heaven so that it did not rain for three years and a half, but he did it by the word of the Lord. Moses by the word of the Lord turned the waters of Egypt into blood. Just as these judgments, recorded in their testimony, have been fulfilled, so will every threatening and judgment pronounced by them against any people surely be accomplished. ‘As often as they will’ means that as often as judgments are recorded on their pages to take place, so often they will come to pass. An instance of this the world is yet to experience in the affliction of the seven last plagues.”

               Verses 7   And when they shall have finished their testimony; the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. Verse 8  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

    Who or what is this “beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.”? This is the same entity revealed to Daniel, who wrote:

            “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself; and magnify himself above every God, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.” Daniel 11: 36.

   Uriah Smith, in Daniel and the Revelation says:

     A King Magnifies Himself Above Every God. –The king here introduced cannot denote the same power that was last noticed, namely, the papal power; for the specifications will not hold good if applied to that power. Take the declaration in the next verse: ‘Nor regard any god.’ This has never been true of the papacy. God and Christ, though often placed in a false position, have never been professedly set aside and rejected from that system of religion. Three peculiar features must appear in the power which fulfills this prophecy: It must assume the character here delineated near the beginning of the time of the end, to which we were brought down in the preceding verse. It must be a willful power. It must be an atheistical power. Perhaps the two latter specifications might be united by saying that its willfulness would be directed in the direction of atheism

        France Fulfills the Prophecy.— A revolution exactly answering to this description did take place in France at the time indicated in the prophecy. Atheists sowed the seeds which bore their logical and baleful fruit. Voltaire, in his pompous but impotent self-conceit, had said, ‘I am weary of hearing people repeat that twelve men established the Christian religion. I will prove that one may suffice to overthrow it.’ Associating himself with such men as Rosseau, D’Alembert, Diderot, and others, he undertook to accomplish his threat. They sowed the wind, and reaped the whirlwind. Then, too, the Roman Catholic Church was notoriously corrupt in France during this period, and the people were anxious to break the yoke of ecclesiastical oppression. Their efforts  … (click “Next Post” to continue)