FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
The ‘beast that ascends from the bottomless pit’ and the Two Witnesses/Prophets–Part 2
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not: for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread underfoot forty and two months.” Rev. 11: 1, 2.
As Satan’s work of deception exponentially increases by the day, “knowing his time is short” (Rev. 12: 12) we will periodically cite all the time prophecies in the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8: 14, beginning where the Bible tells us to begin its reckoning: at the start of the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9: 24-27. Based on a day for a year of prophetic time, the 42 months mentioned above is the same as 1,260 years, etc. Sacred and secular history describes this prophetic period as the Dark Ages of over a thousand years.
During the Dark Ages the two witnesses were in a state of “sackcloth,” or obscurity. But God gives them power to endure and maintain their testimony through that dark and dismal period. But who of what are these witnesses? Revelation 11: 4 give us more description: “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” Another eminent commentator gives us the same Biblically-sound interpretations by E.G. White and others. Uriah Smith says, and we quote from his book Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 534-539:
“Evident allusion is here made to Zechariah 4: 11-14, where it is implied that the two olive trees are taken to represent the Word of God. David testifies’ The entrance of Thy words giveth light;’ ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.’ Psalm 119: 130, 105. Written testimony is stronger than oral. Jesus declared of the Old Testament Scriptures, ‘They are they which testify of Me.’ John 5: 39.
“Says George Croly]: ‘The ‘Two Witnesses’ are the Old and New Testaments. . . . . The essential purpose of the Scriptures is to give witness to the mercy and verity of God. Our Lord commands, ‘Search the Scriptures, . . . they are they which testify [bear witness] of Me.’ This was [originally] addressed to the Jews, and described the character and office of the Old Testament. [“New Testament-only Christians” deny themselves of knowing Christ as revealed in the whole Old Testament!] The New Testament is similarly pronounced the giver of testimony. ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.’ (Matt. 24: 14).’ – G. Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John, p. 164.
“These declarations and considerations are sufficient to sustain the conclusion that the Old and New Testaments are Christ’s two witnesses.’
VERSE 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
No angel much less can mortal man literally hurt the Word of God! So what does this mean?
“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 upon the earth? Elijah shut heaven so that it did not rain for [literally] three years and a half, but he did it by the word of the Lord. Moses by the word of the Lord turned the water of Egypt to 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 in their pages to take place, so often they will come to pass. An instance of this the world is yet to experience in the infliction of the seven last plagues [after the close of earth’s probation, and only upon those who “worship the beast and his image.” Rev. 14: 9, 10; 16].
VERSE 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. 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 is crucified.
“When they shall have finished their testimony,’ that is, ‘in sackcloth.’ The sackcloth state ended, or as elsewhere expressed the days of persecution were shortened (Matt. 24: 22), before the period expired. A ‘beast’ in prophecy, denotes a kingdom, or power. (See Daniel 7: 17, 23.) The question now arises, When did the sackcloth state of the wit [two] witnesses close? And did such a kingdom as described make war on them that the time spoken of? If we are correct in fixing upon A.D. 538 as the time of the commencement of the sackcloth state, forty-two months being 1260 prophetic days, or years, would bring us down to A.D. 1798. About this time, then, did such a kingdom as described appear, and make war on them, etc.? Mark! This beast, or kingdom, is out of the bottomless pit—no foundation—an atheistical power—‘spiritually Egypt.’ (See Exo. 5: 2: ‘Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey and let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.’ Here is atheism. Did any kingdom, about 1798 manifest the same spirit? —Yes, France; she denied the being of God in her national capacity, and made war on the “Monarchy of heaven.’ – George Storrs, Midnight Cry, May 4, 1843, Vol. IV, Nos. 5, 6, p. 47.
“In the year 1793, . . . the gospel was, by solemn act of the Legislature and the people was abolished in France. The indignities offered to the actual copies of the Bible were unimportant after this; their life is in their doctrines, and the extinction of the doctrines is the extinction of the Bible. By the decree of the French Government, declaring that the nation acknowledged no God, the Old and New Testaments were slain throughout the limits of Republican France. But contumelies to the Sacred Books could not have been wanting, in the general plunder of every place of worship. In Lyons they were dragged at the tail of an ass in a procession through the streets . . . .
“On the first of November, 1793, Gobet, with the Republican priests of Paris, had thrown off the gown, and abjured Religion. On the 11th , a ‘Grand Festival,’ dedicated to ‘Reason and Truth,’ was celebrated in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which had been desecrated, and been named ‘the Temple of Reason;’ a pyramid was erected in the center of the Church, surrounded by a temple, inscribed, ‘To Philosophy.’ The torch of ‘Truth’ was on the altar of ‘Reason’ spreading light, etc. The National Convention and all the authorities attended at this burlesque and insulting ceremony.’ – George Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John, pp. 17-177.
Spiritual Sodom. – ‘Spiritually’ this power ‘is called Sodom.’ What was the characteristic sin of Sodom? Licentiousness. Did France have this character? She did; fornication was established by law during the period spoken of. ‘Spiritually’ the place was ‘where our Lord was crucified.’ Was this true in France? It was, in more senses that one. First, in 1572 a plot was laid in France to destroy all pious Huguenots; and in one night, fifty thousand of them were murdered in cold blood, and the streets of Paris literally ran with blood. Thus our Lord was ‘spiritually crucified in His members. Again, the watch-word and the motto of the French Infidels was, ‘CRUCH THE WRETCH,’ meaning Christ. Thus it may be truly said, ‘where our Lord was crucified.’ The very spirit of ‘the bottomless pit’ was poured out in that wicked nation.
“But did France ‘make war’ on the Bible? She did; and in 1793 a decree passed the French Assembly forbidding the Bible, and under that decree the Bibles were gathered and burned, and every possible mark of contempt heaped upon them, and all the institutions of the Bible abolished; the [seventh day] Sabbath was blotted out, and every tenth day substituted for mirth and profanity. Baptism and communion were abolished. The being of God was denied; and death was pronounced to be an eternal sleep. [Ever heard of this teaching? Now you know where it comes from—atheism!] The Goddess of Reason was set up, in the person of a vile woman, and publicly worshipped. Surely here is a power that exactly answers the prophecy.”- George Storrs, Midnight Cry, May 4, 1843, Vol. IV, Nos. 5, 6, p. 47. This point will be further developed in the comments of on the next verse.
VERSE 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
“The language of this verse denotes the feelings of other nations than the one committing the outrage on the [two] witnesses. They would see what war infidel France had made on the Bible, but not would be led nationally to engage in the wicked work, nor suffer the murdered witnesses to be buried, [meaning] or put out of sight among themselves, though they laid three days and half, that is, three years and a half, in France. No; this very attempt of France served to arouse Christians everywhere to put forth a new exertion in behalf of the Bible, as we shall presently see.” – Ibid.
VERSE 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets [witnesses] tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
“This denotes the joy those felt who hated the Bible, or were tormented by it. Great was the joy of infidels everywhere for a while. But ‘the triumphing of the wicked is short;’ so was it in France, for their war on the Bible and Christianity had well-night swallowed them all up. They set to destroy Christ’s ‘two witnesses,’ [or ‘prophets’ in this verses], but they filled France with blood and horror, so that they were horror-struck at the result of their wicked deeds, and were glad to remove their impious hands from the Bible.” – Ibid.
VERSE 11 And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and fear fell upon them which saw them.
Bible’s Witness Restored. – “In 1793, the decree passed the French Assembly suppressing the Bible. Just three years after, a resolution was introduced into the Assembly going to supersede the decree, and giving toleration to the Scriptures. That resolution lay on the table for six months, when it was taken up, and passed without a single dissenting vote. Thus, in just three years and a half [1793-1797], the witnesses ‘stood upon their feet,’ and great fear fell upon them which saw them.’ Nothing but the appalling results of the rejection of the Bible could have induced France to take her hands off these witnesses.” – Ibid.
“On the 17 of June, Camille Jourdan, in the Council of Five Hundred,’ brought up the memorable report on the ‘Revision of the laws relative to religious worship.’ It consisted of a number of propositions, abolishing alike the Republican restrictions on Popish worship, and the Popish restrictions on Protestant.” (Continued next week)