Christians have been taught by most modern-day writers to view prophecy in one sense only, the so-called Futuristic. This means that most of the book of Revelation (beginning at Rev. 4:1) is all yet future. I once agreed with this approach. However, I am now firmly convinced that this line of thinking has caused one of the greatest Biblical oversights in the Church today. God has shown me clearly that the book of Revelation, Daniel and other pertinent, prophetic Scriptures were written with the Law of Double Reference in mind. (This is not a sales pitch, but you do need to acquire a copy of The Two Witnesses to see a broader scope of this reality.)
Revelation 11 primarily discusses the identities and functions of two "personalities" referred to as the two witnesses. I believe that I was under the Holy Spirit's direction during these studies because of the uncommon compulsion I had to read and re-read this passage until it finally dawned on me that this Scripture is referring to two large groups, not merely two individuals. (Most authors believe these to be Moses, or Enoch, and Elijah.)
Eschatology scholars and many others will react negatively to what I just said if they have already made up their minds as to who the two witnesses are. Please let me explain why I believe my position has credibility:
On the face of it, the expression "two witnesses" certainly implies only two people. But the fact is, more than any other Scripture, the book of Revelation uses many words with metaphoric implications, such as "horns", "beast", "leopard", "bear", "lion", "dragon", "woman", and "child", just to name a few. And not one of these, even other writers agree, has anything to do with the literal sense of the word. They have all kinds of meanings, some refer to certain individuals and some to certain nations. Examples: "child" refers to Jesus Christ, the "dragon" is Satan, and "woman" alludes to Israel.
After reflecting for some time on these facts, it finally occurred to me that the "two witnesses"
might also have a meaning other than the literal sense only. I then decided to explore the
possibility. Once my mind was open to this possibility, it was immediately very clear to me that
many of the characteristics of the "two witnesses" are more like two large masses of people than
just two individuals. I won't go into a complete explanation here, for to do so would be to
re-write The Two Witnesses. But the reader needs to have the Scripture and some brief
comments at hand now in order to consider what I am suggesting. I have underlined a few key
words which on careful analysis implies nations, not merely two persons. Rev.11:3-12:
3 "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.
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.
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.
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 was crucified.
9 And they of the peoples and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not permit their dead bodies to be put in graves.
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 tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
11 And after three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them who saw them.
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up here. And they
ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them."
Since my views will likely be new to the reader, I would suggest several readings of the above passage, keeping firmly in mind as you read the possibility that two masses of people are being discussed here.
To really grasp what the apostle John revealed here about the two witnesses, every single word and phrase must be carefully scrutinized from a Biblical perspective. That is, one needs to go to all the places in the Bible where the key expressions here are found. That's what I did in preparation of writing The Two Witnesses. Here are a few examples of what I learned about some of the words underscored above:
Let me now present the identity of the two witnesses: they are Great Britain and the United States of America. Somewhat paradoxically, but just like God to do it this way, I came to this position long before reading several books which added confirmation to my convictions.
(There are two very enlightening statistical books I would recommend to those who wish to investigate this further. These books do not attempt to present G.B. and the USA as the two witnesses but they clearly show that still 90% of missionary work reflects the influence of these nations.
OPERATION WORLD by Patrick Johnstone and
LET THE EARTH HEAR by Paul E. Freed.)
The very thing which troubles most people who would resist my evaluation of the two witnesses is ironically the very thing which adds the most credibility to my conclusions! Some feel such a belief as mine is preposterous due to the rampant ungodliness and immorality which pervades in England and America today.
The fact is, this exactly fits the Biblical description the apostle John gives in verse 8 when he said the dead bodies of the two witnesses would be found in a city spiritually known as "Sodom" and "Egypt".
Most interpreters say this "city" must be Jerusalem because that's where the Lord was crucified.
But I believe we must see this "city" metaphorically, not as a single town, because John so
pointedly qualified his meaning. If John had meant Jerusalem, there would be absolutely no
reason for his descriptive words "...which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt." (In the Old
Testament, "city" is often used to describe entire nations. See Jeremiah 21:9 as an example.)
Surely John's objective was to indicate that the conditions which prevailed in a local situation
when Jesus was crucified would later broaden to include entire nations where the two witnesses
would die. Do the metaphors fit the nations I've identified? Let's see.
John's words were carefully selected by the Holy Spirit in order to provide us with just enough information to make rational decisions based on careful Biblical analysis of his metaphors. Sodom was most notable for sexual immorality, particularly rampant homosexuality. The outstanding characteristics of Egypt was always idolatry and false religion. Put these facts together and it spells the conditions which prevail today in the lands of Great Britain and the USA! Sexual perversion seems to have obsessed the minds of many in America. Immoralities of all kinds are constantly splashed before our eyes on television, movies, books, magazines, newspapers and in real life. This is what spiritual Sodom means.
Nevertheless, even a cursory study of the foundation of England and America will show that the Christian influence was at the core of the establishment and the on-going plights of these two nations. Have they been perfect or totally "Christian"? Of course not. But to deny the power which the Church and her Gospel message has had upon these two nations is to simply deny the plain facts of recorded history.
In earlier days, part of the undergirding strength within England and America has rested upon the fact that they have resisted (even at the governmental level) the practice of false religions and false philosophies within their shores. When this was in action, all the people were blessed, Christian or not. This is clear evidence that God honors the Biblical principle that righteousness exalts a nation. However, in just the past few years, there has been a breakdown in these walls of protection. Sin and apostasy in the Church is the likely reason for the breakdown. Many labels could be given the ever-growing, spiritual-garbage heap but it all boils down to self-centeredness and the humanistic tendency of people to worship fallen-man's religion---goddess of "mother earth". Amazingly, John capsuled all this with one word---Egypt.
But in spite of all the negative influences upon us in this final hour, don't forget these facts: even the slightest research will indicate that, of all nations, Great Britain and the USA have had the preeminence with regards to emphasis on the Bible, producing its translations, its publications, its dissemination, the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ both here and abroad, the training and sending forth of missionaries, etc. The same can be said of those who finance evangelism. Even in the midst of spiritual Sodom and Egypt, the financial sustenance of outreach is still provided largely by Christian Americans and Christian Canadians. (Great Britain has been spread among many nations at different times. Each of these has played a role in its hour. Canada is an offspring of England and is, I believe, the main, remaining remnant.)
There are hundreds of books to substantiate the Christian influence of Great Britain and the USA. It's amazing to me that no one has seen that this was forecast in the Bible. I suppose God wanted it this way. Perhaps if the Church in G.B. and the USA had recognized their identity as the "two witnesses" it would have generated an element of pride resulting in a failure of the missions God had purposed to carry out through them.
Since writing my book, I have learned that others have also sought to find the British and the Americans in the Bible. Most conclude we are just not there. A few have written that the "young lions" or the "merchants of Tarshish" found in Ezekiel 38:13 might allude to America and Great Britain. It surprises me that they see the metaphors here but not in Revelation 11! But then, no one can really understand God's revelations until the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to them. That's just the way it is. I make no claim to possessing superior knowledge here, only that I have heard from the One who does.
As I said earlier, there is obviously much more in my book The Two Witnesses to firm up my convictions about Great Britain and America in prophecy and it would be helpful if you had all that information before reading the commentary which lies ahead.
But at least you now know the basic fundamentals of my beliefs concerning the identities of the "two witnesses" of Revelation 11, and with this you should be ready to follow my reasoning of the metaphors found in John 11 and Acts 27 & 28.
Even though the numbering system of the chapters and verses in the Bible did not occur until only
a few centuries ago, I'm convinced even this process was at least subject to God's influence, if not
indeed exactly arranged by His inspiration. I could write a small book on the amazing ties I've
discovered between certain chapter and verse numbers. Other sensitive students of the Bible are
also discovering this truth. It was well after I had arrived at my present convictions regarding
prophecy that I realized Revelation 11 and John 11 are inexorably-linked. With the above
thoughts on Revelation 11 fresh in mind, let's now move on to John 11.