THE MESSAGE

Discovering that ancient English people were here in America around the 8th century would have been sufficient evidence to confirm my convictions about the second of God's two witnesses, but there's even more.

As a Christian visiting a foreign land for the first time and you wanted to leave an inscription on a cave wall for future generations to know you were there, what would you say? The visitors chose a brief message of the Gospel! It told of Jesus being born of a virgin and that He was the Savior of mankind. Also of interest was the fact that on the winter Solstice (believed by the discoverers to be the day the markings were inscribed), a ray from the sun pierces through a certain notch on a nearby mountain, landing on the markings in the cave. (This fact may cause some to think the early visitors to America were sunworshipers. Not so. They were people who loved Jesus and, by God's providence, also very smart!)

Obviously these were Christians who were thinking of their Savior on the day which had traditionally been set aside for remembering Jesus' birthday. I like their idea. What a fantastic 'calling card '--- a giant-sized Christmas greeting left indelibly inscrolled in a cave where a sun beam just happened to fall only on that day. The Scripture in Malachi (Mal. 4:2) about the "sun of righteousness" who would come with "healing in His wings" must surely have been on their minds. The T.V. program speculated on the route and method the visitors used to get here, which really isn't all that relevant. The important fact is, they came!

But why did the ancient Irish come? What motivated them? I think, although likely hidden from their own minds at the time, they came to put a "seal" on America. That little record would indicate God had chosen this land; God's plan being He would some day take this first tiny gospel message and later expand it into the world's most prominent and influential Gospel base. There may even be an inference of God's sovereign influence here in the name of the area where the seal was placed: West Virginia --- virgin land of the west.

But why did God keep this secret so long? Perhaps because of the prideful tendencies in man. If a person, or a nation, thinks of himself as "God's anointed", the natural tendency is often to develop a self-righteous attitude. God's way has always been for humble people to wear His mantle. Therefore, I would offer the suggestion that God designed the circumstances so that the people of America would not know all the facts surrounding their inheritance. God's "witnesses" can accomplish His goals without understanding everything about their own background.

STILL NOT ENOUGH PROOF?

Now I realize there will still be skeptics who have all kinds of reservations and unanswered questions about this matter. Sorry, I don't have all the answers. But for those with honest doubts, I will say a few more things.

The reservation I personally had (after learning who really "discovered" America) was this: Even if there were ancient-English Christians here in the 8th century, the Christian influence wasn't effective until after the 15th century when Christian settlers began to arrive. After 1492, America's Christian "witness" is easy to see. But how does the 8th century discovery of America, by ancient Irish, correlate with the fact it was much later before America began her 'prophesying' to the world?

A satisfactory answer came to mind when I noted how Elijah's 1260 literal-day prophesying seems to parallel America's prophetic days. Biblically, we know of only a few incidental situations of Elijah's 1260-day preaching period --- those things God felt were of importance to us. Similarly, it is not important that we understand all God has in mind when He works things out in an entire nation He plans to use in special ways. Not knowing all the specific details of those ancient English peoples who came here and left their "mark", and the long lag time from then until 1492, should not worry us. If God thinks we need to know about this seeming paradox, He'll eventually reveal it. It's that simple. Our God is a faith-God. He always gives just enough information to identify things, to make reasonable judgments based on the sound facts of the situation, and then once we sense, "This is of God!", we, by faith, must move on from there. This may be a simplistic viewpoint but it sufficiently satisfies my curiosity. I hope it does yours.

NATIONAL RIGHTEOUSNESS

The next day after I concluded the above remarks went like this: My customary morning activities is to rise early (between 2:00 and 4:00 A.M.), spend time in prayer, have breakfast and then work at whatever project is going, which right now is this manuscript. During my quiet time I read two or three daily devotionals, one of which is "Days of Praise", published by the Institute of Creation Research in San Diego, Ca. Dr. Henry Morris, the Institute's president, writes most of the one-page commentaries. Because of the precise place I am now writing in this book, the reader can understand my amazement at the topic of that morning's devotional. It was called "National Righteousness". Although I am truly awed at the timing of this, I shouldn't be shocked, for I've learned God has been faithful throughout the writing of this book to provide confirmations as I go along --- and I praise Him for it!

I was so impressed with Dr. Morris' comments I think it is worthwhile to include his remarks here. He said:

"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34)

"Modern Christians place great emphasis on personal salvation, but we must remember that God is also the God of the nations. That being so, our own nation, so greatly blessed of God in the past, may well be in great peril, for 'the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God' (Psalm 9:17).

"Our nation was founded by men who had strong faith in God, and its laws were based on the laws of God. The schools all honored the Lord and His Word, taught the truth of special creation, and enforced Biblical morality among the students. Today, God and anything associated with Him are banned from the classroom, His laws are no longer taken seriously in the courts and legislatures, and evolutionary humanism is, in effect, the state-endorsed religion. Divorce and immorality are affecting most of the nation's homes; business and finance are ubiquitously plagued with greed and dishonesty; the sins of homosexuality, drunkenness and drug use are rampant, and atheistic communism is an imminent threat at our gates."

"God would even have spared Sodom, though, if there had been ten righteous (Genesis 18:32), and America has evidently been spared thus far because it is still the nerve center of world missions and Christian literature, as well as aid for the sick and needy. The modern revival of true creationism is centered in this nation, and serious Biblical interest is growing in many places, yet worldliness, apostasy, and compromise are eating away at the heart of American Christianity, and there is great need for a revival - not of religious emotionalism, but of genuine commitment to the integrity and authority of God's Word. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD"

(Psalm 33:12). End.

Now, what would you think if you were writing a commentary of your convictions that there are two Biblically-prophesied, anointed nations of God, and then woke up to read the above concepts of someone else at a point when you were trying to say something to inspire belief among your readers? Well, it was a bright word for me that day, the kind I've learned to expect from God. He's gracious. He's a confirmer. He's totally sufficient and faithful to prompt us onward if and when we are faithful in our ministry in His Kingdom.

Now, I'm not saying Dr. Morris interprets the two witnesses as I do but his comments cogently explain a deep, Biblical principle --- one which just happens to fit my interpretation concerning the two witnesses. The main difference between us is that I have gone so far as to state my belief that the principle is set forth in God's Word in the form of a prophetic proclamation, not just seeing a general spiritual law --- that "righteousness exalts a nation"---which would apply anywhere.

CHRISTIAN ROOTS

There has always been a sister-like union between England and America. And, like sisters, we haven't always been in perfect agreement with each other. But just let someone else interfere with that relationship or try to hurt the other in any way, then, traditionally, the invader has had a fight on his hands! Note these quotations from some quite old history books. (Sorry, title and authors unavailable.)

"The very purpose of the Pilgrims in 1620 was to establish a government based on the Bible. The New England Charter signed by King James 1 confirmed this goal: '...to advance the enlargement of Christian religion, to the glory of God Almighty...'. The goal of a government based on the Bible was further reaffirmed by individual colonies such as the Rhode Island Charter of 1638: "We ... submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and to all those perfect and most absolute Laws of His given us in His Holy Word."

Those absolute Laws became the basis of our (USA) Declaration of Independence and the writing of our national Constitution. A walk through the halls and monuments in Washington D.C. still portrays the evidence of these truths as excerpts from the Scriptures are displayed in many areas. In a Supreme Court Justice room, the ten commandments were inscribed above the judges' seats, with the American Eagle's wings protectively surrounding them. (I heard this was recently removed. Many ungodly people in authority today are methodically getting rid of the reminders of our nation's Christian heritage. However, that doesn't destroy the reality of our history. They can never do that!)

Further evidence of God's guidance in the establishment of the USA as a particular and 'peculiar' nation for His good pleasure is revealed in history books relating the true motivations of the early English settlers of the Jamestown expedition. It said, "...first to preach and baptize into Christian religion, and propagation of the gospel, to recover out of the arms of the devil, a number of poor and miserable souls...". This book (again, I don't have the reference) also related how the first permanent English settlers in the New World had landed at Cape Henry for the occasion, and their chaplain, Rev. Robert Hunt, led them in prayer, dedicating the land to God. About two weeks later they established Jamestown, England's first overseas colony. (Isn't it interesting that English people did this, and very near the site where the ancient English pilgrims had left their "mark" approximately seven centuries earlier!)

In their book, Peter Marshall and David Manuel present a beautiful historical picture of the Christian roots of this nation. Even though these authors nowhere imply that Great Britain and the United States represent the two witnesses of Revelation 11, I think their views lend credibility to the idea. Like Dr. Morris, they see the principles behind "national righteousness". Now, back to the Bible's description of the witnesses:

THE "FIRE" AND THE "RAIN"

5. "And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner."

6. "These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire."

Historically speaking, verses 5 and 6 are somewhat easier to see than some of the other passages we've covered. Once the identities of the two witnesses are known, the ensuing verses help clarify and further substantiate who they are, as well as provide information relative to their historical functions.

For example, verse 5 lets us know that if anyone attempts to hurt one of the two witnesses (GB or the USA), it will result in "fire" coming out of their "mouth" and the offender himself will, in "this manner", be killed. This simply means that those who would attack or attempt to destroy GB or the USA, would themselves be defeated in the same way they had purposed to kill us. In short, their attempts would backfire! If they would send bombers (as Japan did in WW2), they would be destroyed in like manner by our retaliatory defenses; i.e., "fire" would come out of our "mouths".

A similar thing could be said of Germany's strategies against England. History records that Hitler could never mount a death-blow offense against England. This was a real frustration for Hitler. In fact, the retaliatory "fire" from the combined forces of the two "sisters" back-fired against him and his regime was destroyed---just as the above prophecy predicted! Other war conflicts could also be cited but these are the two best examples to get the idea across.

Verse 6 carries this same concept further. All blessings come from above but God often distributes the control of certain blessings into selected human agencies. Having the "power to shut heaven" simply means God has allowed the blessings (physical and spiritual) to flow from our shores into the lands of many other nations. For example, America's history of philanthropy has always amazed me. Giving money, food, clothing, shelter, health resources, and providing military assistance against others who would strip poorer nations of their assets, are, historically, British and American attributes.

In general, no nation could have a better ally than either GB or the USA. If a country had one---or better, both---on their side, they would automatically reap certain benefits just by being their partner. Why? Because God blesses those who support 'God's anointed'. It's a spiritual law. God promised Abraham that He would bless those who blessed Israel. In like fashion, He has blessed those nations who joined the British and the Americans in their endeavors. Thus, having the power to control the "rain" (blessings) during the days of their prophecy, means as long as a portion of their "1260 days" remains, the two witnesses will still hold much of the control of God's blessings upon this planet. This responsibility obviously escapes the awareness of today's politicians. (O God, give us some Spirit-filled leaders!)

The last part of verse six says that the two witnesses can "smite the earth with ALL PLAGUES, as often as they will" (i.e., as long as their desire lasts to do it.) The essence of this is that we have had God-given physical and spiritual powers right in our hands (military, mercantile, Bible-publishing capabilities, missions, etc.,) and, for the most part, unaware of it! How much military control? The Scripture tells us: enough to turn the "waters to blood" as we have seen the need to do it, against those who would attempt to destroy God's anointed. ("Waters", by John's own definition, means PEOPLE.)

It is quite obvious that both the ungodly and the godly have enjoyed the blessings God gave us. Even in the midst of pervasive apostasy and extreme wickedness within our nations today, God is still blessing us abundantly. Why does God do this? Because of a group known as "the remnant" --- the remaining Christian believers who comprise the true Church. They still hold the mandate of the Gospel in their hands! Take the followers of Christ out of these lands and the current decadence would intensify dramatically, as will indeed happen one of these days! God said He would not destroy Sodom if there were even ten righteous people left there. The principle still applies.

But, I believe the main reasons God specially chose these two nations were:

(1) to demonstrate that "righteousness does indeed exalt a nation" and,

(2) that they would be God's main national witnesses (bearing testimony) to the rest of the world. This would be achieved in three ways:

(a) through regular worship services held openly throughout our lands---including hundreds of radio and television broadcasts;

(b) the witnesses would be international providers of God's Word, Christian literature, plus radio, television and numerous other worldwide distributions; and

(c) they would send missionaries forth throughout the world.

THE APOSTASY IN GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA

Some people refuse to accept my concepts of the two witnesses because of the ungodly extremes which now pervade our societies. They just can't believe we are "Christian" nations. Well, in a sense they are right! I recently learned that less than 4% of the people in England attend church regularly anymore! While church attendance is much higher in the USA, this does not excuse the fact that Americans have also become very backslidden from God. But in spite of these facts, we must also face the reality that the Gospel is going forth at an unprecedented rate, via radio, television, the printed page, and through missionaries on the foreign field. And the preponderance of this work, Biblically called The Great Commission, originates within the confines of the 'British factor' and/or the USA.

THE BRITISH-FACTOR

When one thinks of the British, there is an ever-persistent question which says, "Where are those who represent the British side of the two witnesses"? That's a good question in light of the fact that, historically, GB set up their regimes all over the world (even attempting that here initially). It was called the British Empire, or the British Commonwealth. Well, early Americans would have no part of it, hence, the Revolutionary War and eventually America's Declaration of Independence.

It was God who determined that America would be separate from Great Britain; an ally to GB, yes, but not under her. I think of our former relationship like an older sister who so-dominates a younger sister that both have trouble learning that the younger is her own person. But just as any loving, yet over-powering, older sister must eventually come to her senses and let her baby-sister grow up, such was the case with Great Britain. Once GB understood her status, she reluctantly became resigned to be what she was --- a protective, older 'sister'.

But the question remains, is England the only anointed part of the British aspect of the two witnesses? I think not. I believe it applied to Scotland, Wales, Australia, Canada, and all others which came to be a part of the Commonwealth. To get my perspective, think of it like this: witness number one (Great Britain) is like one house with a large dining room. On the dining table are many plates, each plate representing one of the outlying territories which would come under British rule. Collectively, as the empire grew, each added plate became a part of the Commonwealth. That which was shared was not merely the humanistic ideologies brought in by the British influence to the new land (i.e., the physical blessings) but also, and more importantly, God's spiritual blessings which came along because His anointing power was upon them. Over the years, the torch would be carried in succession by different territories at different times, the timing and power being established by the leadership and control of the Holy Spirit, of course. (It is probably only in retrospect that this understanding can really be seen. Some, I suspect, never will.)

The Christian Canadians presently appear to be having a greater zeal for God than any of the other British regions which have exercised their part of this witness at some other point in time. Whether you agree with my identification of the two witnesses or not, surely it is obvious to all that there is an unmistakeable kindred spirit between the Canadians and the Americans. The union is far more than the casual eye would see, though. It is deeply rooted in our ancestral heritage, but even that explanation is not nearly good enough. It is far more important to realize that we are, as nations, deeply rooted in God. It is, and has been, His idea and plan from the start.

Some of you will have strong reservations about all this "plate" business and the like. For now, I only ask that you keep the ideas in mind, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking as you continue to read and ponder the historical significance of this new line of reasoning.

CANADA

Canada recently broke from the "motherland" of England, and has become a sovereign nation. At first, that seemed to disturb my overall concepts on the British-witness factor. But the more I've thought about it, it seems quite fitting that the two 'sister-lighthouses' would end up side-by-side to make their last stand for God as His primary witnesses in the world. That, I'm convinced, is where we are right now. God has used all the 'plates' of the British Commonwealth at certain times and we may yet see revivals break out within some of them. How glorious that would be! However, it is my conviction that, today, Canada and America are the prominent "olive trees" the prophet Zechariah said would empty themselves of their "golden oil" --- the very same the apostle John refers to in Rev. 11 as the witnesses. (When England joined the Common Market of Europe, I believe that union spelled the end of her being the main British "torch bearer". More later on this.)

I hesitate writing at this point because eventually, as the saying goes, 'all good things must come to an end'. That will be the case as the assignment of the two witnesses draws to a close, as depicted in the next verse. But, it is necessary to go on. In fact, the next two verses are perhaps the most confirming of the way I've identified the two witnesses.

THE "WITNESSES" ARE KILLED

7 "And when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them."

Verses 1 - 6 needed word-deciphering to get the picture, but verse 7 is plain and can be taken quite literally. The two witnesses will be killed when their testimony (witnessing) is completed. Exactly who will be killed? As you've seen, witness number one (starting in GB) is complicated, having been spread all over the globe. America, being more localized, is easier to see. So, when the 'testimony' is over, which nation (or nations) of the British witness will be destroyed? (I think England and Northern Ireland will be destroyed later, but for different reasons than that which is predicted here in Revelation concerning the two witnesses. More on that later, too.)

I believe Canada and the USA will be "killed" simultaneously. We sit right next to each other and, in general, agree philosophically, economically, governmentally, and more importantly, spiritually. As such, we are somewhat at odds against the rest of the world, many growing stronger each day in their resentment towards us. And, at some point in time (perhaps not long from now), some country, a representative of the "beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit" (Satan), will rise up to MAKE WAR, OVERCOME and KILL the two witnesses. Let's look a little more closely at these three terms I've underscored.

MAKE WAR

Let me urge the reader to be alert here! Don't miss this point! If you'll really concentrate on what I'm about to say, I'm convinced the next few points will convince you of the absurdity of the view that the two witnesses are only two people.

"Make war" is a very revealing term. The phrase is altogether inappropriate if the inference were only to two individuals. Think about it. It would be grossly misleading to use the word "war" if one wished to convey the idea that only two people were to be destroyed. Let me illustrate: Suppose a criminal plots to kill someone, the terminology used in such a situation, now or in Biblical times, wouldn't be 'make war'. The word war is reserved for conflicts between nations (or sometimes of course, between large groups in a single nation such as the Civil War). I'm persuaded that John's use of this word was carefully Spirit-directed, even designed, to give us a clue as to the proper identification of the two witnesses.

This word war served as one of the main clues to confirm my convictions about national "witnesses" as opposed to only two people as held by the Futuristic-only school. God doesn't waste words nor does He use words to confuse or mislead us, which would most certainly be the case if we take the position that the beast would make war against two God-anointed preachers.

OVERCOME THEM

The above rationale applies equally well here. To overcome implies tremendous resistance has been involved. Are we to believe that the two witnesses are two individuals who God has so-gifted with supernatural abilities that the beast must use all sorts of offensive forces against them, and finally after great conflict, overcome them? If God had any such supermen in mind, no amount of energy against them would be sufficient. It could only work if and when God's power in them was removed.

But, if the assumption is made that the two witnesses refer to two national entities, then things fall into place. To make war and to overcome two mighty nations makes much better sense.

Think of what is happening in Canada and the USA today. Apostasy is unquestionably upon us. That's one area of the beast's attack. Broad-scaled immorality is at an all time high. That's another area of attack. Greed and materialism is everywhere around us, even in the Church. On another front, hatred is growing against us, particularly in some of the Middle East and some of the Third World nations. Need I say more? Satan (the real force behind the beast) is on the attack at every point of vulnerability within the two witnesses. And, he knows them all! The beast is rising, "making war" and beginning to "overcome" us.

"KILL THEM"

Although important, weapons are not Canada's and America's greatest defense. The apostasy, idolatry, immorality, greed, materialism, etc., within the two witnesses are the forces responsible for weakening our best defense --- Righteousness. As already discussed, the Bible clearly teaches that righteousness "exalts a nation". Neither of the two witnesses has achieved perfection in this area but throughout the ages, the characteristic has been our heritage. And the degree to which that righteousness has been manifest, God has abundantly blessed us.

On the other hand, as righteousness diminishes within a nation, the blessings also diminish. This is happening in our two countries today. Slowly but surely we are being "killed" by these nebulous, satanically-inspired forces. These alone would ultimately spell our defeat and wipe out our positive influence in other nations if allowed to run their natural, downward course to completion. However, our destruction will reach a far more definite climax than a mere "withering on the vine" because of the apostasy and gross negligence on our part. Verse seven says the two witnesses will be KILLED and I'm convinced it means exactly that! Now, no Canadian or American wants to hear that, including me. But according to the Scripture here, the two witnesses will be killed.

WHO DOES IT?

Who will the "beast" inspire to kill the two witnesses? As of now, we can only speculate. I find no clear Biblical reference to it. (Later in the study we'll discuss one candidate in detail, the "10 horned beast", but I feel the beast of Revelation 11 and the "10 horned beast" of Revelation 13 are not one and the same.) I find it very interesting to note that Russia and America are making an attempt at peaceful co-existence to reduce the possibility of a conflict which might result in annihilation of one, or both, our nations. At a time when the devastation-potential is at an unbelievable heighth, we are discussing peace! But then, wasn't this predicted? Note what the apostle Paul said regarding world conditions just prior to the return of the Lord:

"For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes on them, as labor pains on a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape." (1 Thes. 5:3)

Most of the world's leaders are focussing today on "peace and safety". That's a primary topic among all current international leaders. Not long ago we had the largest single-day stock drop in all history. This too was a strong indicator that the "labor" has begun. Actually, the 'labor pains' the apostle spoke of started before the "peace and safety" talks and the stock market tumble. But these facts are strong indicators.

We know labor pains in a pregnant woman begin with slight discomfort at wide-spread time intervals, then grow in intensity with shorter and shorter time spans between them, until finally the baby is born. Such, I believe, will be the case in the breakdown of the Canadian and American strongholds. The "killing" will come by slow, internal blows to our "mid-section" at first, followed by a military knock-out punch by some other nation in the end. That nation could be one which we do not suspect as having such capability today.

It's not even inconceivable that it could be done from within our shores. Who really knows just how much technical expertise is secretively held by any nation in our day? Several nations may have atomic warfare capabilities, just waiting for the right time to set them off. Or it might be done by common explosive devices strategically planted throughout our nations, timed for precise detonation; an awful thought, but it's possible. Folks, we have let our gates down. Our nation is filled with irresponsible outsiders who have no respect for our God or our country. And, unfortunately, many of our people are listening to them!

(Much of the above was written several years ago, but recently, 1/17/91, we entered a war conflict with Iraq (the modern name for ancient Babylon). In light of this, my overall presentation appears to take on more credibility since what is now unfolding right before our eyes was predicted at a much earlier time. The birth pains are here. Oddly, and almost prophetically, and even though he lost the war, the tyrant Saddam Hussein made the comment that the "mother of battles has begun". I agree. But, regardless of who, when or how it's done, and in spite of our seemingly-invincible war strength as demonstrated in the Gulf War, the final hour for the two witnesses is coming. Perhaps sooner than most think.)