Revelations Two Witnesses Continued
A Type Of The Second Coming
To make a full circle, let’s go back a brief moment to where we began. One of the most important lessons from the Mount of Transfiguration is that it represents a miniature picture of the glorious second coming of Jesus.
Referring back to this experience, Peter identifies the event as a sample of Jesus’ coming. “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 2 Peter 1:16-17.
Remember that Jesus stated that some of His disciples would not experience death before they saw the kingdom of God coming with power. We know of course that these disciples died long ago but they were given an advance peek of what it will be like when Jesus Christ returns.
A number of exciting insights can be gleaned from this remarkable story. Consider the parallels:
There will be two categories of saints when Jesus returns: the resurrected and the living. Moses, who died and was resurrected (Jude 1:9), is a symbol of the large class of people who will awake from their dusty graves when the Lord calls them “The dead in Christ shall rise.” Elijah represents the other class of people who will be alive when Jesus returns. Like Elijah who was caught up into heaven by a fiery chariot and Enoch who walked with God until he walked right into heaven, they will be translated with new, glorious bodies without ever tasting death.
During the transfiguration, Jesus, Moses and Elijah are wearing white garments, the same kind that the redeemed will wear. Clouds of glory also accompany them; Jesus Christ left in the clouds and said He would come back in the clouds. And even the voice of our Father in heaven was heard on the Glorious Mount, just as it will be when Jesus Christ returns on the right hand of the Father (Matthew 26:64).
Six Days To Come
There might even be some significance to the fact that this all happens six days after Jesus makes the promise. After Christ told the disciples they would see His kingdom come, He tarried six days before He took them up the mountain. I believe this yields some very fascinating and relevant truths.
However, before we go on, both Matthew and Mark record this period as six days. But Luke mentions that the delay was actually eight days. Many antagonists like to point at this and say, “Contradiction!” But that is just not so. Matthew and Mark who are both Jews, recorded time differently than Luke who was Greek. Luke includes the day Jesus spoke of the event to happen and the time it took for them to return home, and he also gives a rough estimation, “about eight days.” No, there is no fire or smoke here; these three accounts match up just fine.
But after six days, Jesus takes the disciples up. In 2 Peter 3, we are told, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (NKJV). After the fall of Adam, God promises that Jesus Christ would come to defeat the devil; and when Christ did come, He said He would come again. If we can approximate the date of creation to about 4004 BC, we know that for 2,000 years, God preached His message through the patriarchs, men like Adam, Methuselah, Enoch and Noah. In 2004 BC, Abraham was born. For the next 2,000 years, God reached out with His gospel through the Jews, the Hebrews. And they faithfully waited for the Messiah to come through their descendants. Then roughly in 4 BC, Jesus Christ was born, and for the last 2,000 years, God has shared His good news through spiritual Israel, being the Church. If you add these three 2,000s together, you get 6,000. If we apply the theme Peter writes about, well, that should give you goose bumps! Psalms 90:4 reaffirms, “A thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it has passed.”
We should also note that the Lord says the righteous will live and reign with the Lord for 1,000 years; a Sabbath of rest. After this time in heaven, God creates a new heaven and a new earth upon which the New Jerusalem will come down. This could certainly be wrong, and date setting is prohibited in the Bible, but I believe that the plan of salvation is encompassed in seven thousand years. It is very possible that it is going to happen this way.
If we are running in overtime right now, we should not be surprised. We should be thankful, because the Bible says the Lord is longsuffering and not willing that any person should perish. God is going to do as much as He can, but with all that is happening in the world today, we ought to be trembling that we are living during the sunset of the sixth day. The millennial Sabbath is no doubt soon to begin!
Six: A Bible Theme
The story of the transfiguration is not the only story in the Bible in which a six day period is invoked. For instance, in Job 5:19, “He will deliver you in six troubles, yes in seven no evil will touch you.” In addition, Athaliah reigned for six years before Josiah was coroneted. When Josiah came forth from the temple, Athaliah was slain and he was crowned; the trumpets even blew, and afterward the Sabbath began.
Hebrew servants were released after six years of servitude. They also sowed the fields for six years and left the land desolate on the seventh. Likewise, the earth will be desolate for a thousand years, a time when the gospel will not be sown. Jesus says, “I am the Sower. The Gospel is the seed.” When He comes in Revelation, it is with a sickle to harvest.
But most interesting is when Moses stayed at the base of Mount Sinai. We all know that he stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, like the flood. But the time before that, Exodus 24 says, “For six days he stayed at the base of the mountain.” After that, God called him up to the top to receive the Commandments. This is just like what happened on the Glorious Mount. After six days, Jesus went up the mountain, and Moses met Him there.
The Bible always fits together perfectly! It is just like a puzzle. It’s significant that it says, “after six days.” That tells me that if this is a miniature picture of the second coming of Christ, we are very near the return of the Lord.
The Tranquilized Church
It is prudent to keep in mind that the Glorious Mount happened very unexpectedly. The atmosphere surrounding the mountain was quiet and dark and the drowsy disciples were snoozing. Then, BANG! It happened. Jesus Christ will come as a thief in the night, when many of His followers are unprepared.
There is a clear sober warning for us in this whole experience. At the most pivotal moments of Church history, Satan seems to sedate the saints. Just before this revelation of glory, the Scriptures declare the disciples “were heavy with sleep.” Luke 9:32. When Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane, the Bible tells us that He picked the same three disciples to pray with Him. And they again went to sleep. Likewise, in the parable of the 10 virgins, Jesus warns us just prior to the second coming that “they all slumbered and slept.” Matthew 25:5. It seems at the most critical moments in Jesus Christ’s ministry, the saints are snoring soundly. This is why Jesus warns, “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming; in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.” Mark 13:35-36 NKJV.
When they should have been kneeling with Him in the garden, remembering the glory they witnessed, they fell asleep. And because Peter, James and John were asleep on the Mount of Transfiguration, they lost the full potential of the whole experience. They forgot the Glorious Mount, so they were not ready to follow Jesus Christ to Mount Calvary. I wonder if that haunted them for the rest of their lives: that missed opportunity because they were sleeping when they should have being praying.
A More Sure Word
So how do we stay awake? To the powerful weapon of prayer, we can add the witness of Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets. Revelations two witnesses, God’s Word, can prepare you for anything. In 2 Peter 1:17, Peter refers back to the Glorious Mount. It is the only time that any of the three disciples write about it. But before Peter’s death, he writes passionately, “For [Jesus] received from God the Father honor and glory when there came such a voice to Him from the Excellent Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’ And this voice which came from Heaven we heard when we were with Him on the holy mount.” Verses 17-18 NKJV.
Yet even after Peter reflects on that defining moment in his life, he adds, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto to ye do well that ye take heed.” Verse 19. Can you imagine saying that after seeing Jesus Christ in all His glory sandwiched between the two greatest Old Testament characters, with the voice of God the Father seared forever into your memory? Yet Peter confesses that however great that experience was, he had something more important, more dependable. God’s Word is a light that “grows brighter and brighter until the day dawn.”
Peter saw Jesus Christ glorified; he received a glimpse of heaven. But you and I have something worth more. We have the Bible. Christ tells us through Peter that your Bible is more trustworthy than a vision. If you want a mountaintop experience, you have it within your reach if you reach for your Bible. Nothing is more important than the testimony of Moses and Elijah, the double edged sword, the Law and the Prophets, the Commandments of God, the testimony of Jesus; it is the most precious thing God has committed to us mortals. It is Jesus Christ, the Word who became flesh.
Glowing For God
As a child, I was always fascinated by those pale green illuminating plastic toys you could hold up to a light and watch glow even after the light was turned off. I remember one of those toys was a glow in the dark plastic sword. After exposing it to the light, I could find my way through the dark house just by the glow from my toy sword.
The importance on the message of Revelations two witnesses should now be clear. Jesus Christ our Lord has given us a special warning message in the Mount of Transfiguration. There are some very troubling days ahead, and now we must spend time on the mountain gathering light from God’s Word to see us through the dark valleys. The message from the mountain tells us that Jesus is the One, and that we too can wear the same robes Jesus, Elijah and Moses wore that day. He’s telling us to listen to the testimony of Jesus, and to the laws and the prophets, which point to the fulfilment through Jesus Christ. It’s a picture of Jesus’ imminent second coming, and a warning not to become spiritually sleepy. This mountaintop experience helps to remind us that even when the glory fades, Jesus Christ is always still with us and that Jesus is our only way to heaven.
Seven individuals appeared on the mountain that day: Three from heaven; Moses, Elijah and God the Father; Three from earth; Peter, James and John. And then there was Jesus the bridge, the ladder between heaven and earth.
Read chapter 11 on Revelation Bible Prophecy Study for a verse by verse breakdown on Revelations two witnesses.