John Ecob 

“And I will give power unto my two  witnesses, and they shall prophesy a  thousand two hundred and threescore  days, clothed in sackcloth. These  are the two olive trees, and the two  candlesticks standing before the God  of the earth” (Rev.11:3-4). 

God never leaves Himself without a  witness. Before the Great Flood Noah  faithfully testified of coming judgment so  that men were warned. 

When idolatry abounded after the Flood  God chose Abraham and his seed to  maintain a testimony to the world of the  only true and living God. For centuries  the nation of Israel were God’s witness  on earth. Their prophets spoke the  words of God not only to Israel but to the  entire world and recorded those words in  Holy Scripture and He preserved those  words eternally. 

When Israel rejected Jesus Christ, God  put Israel aside and scattered them  among the nations while He turned to a  Gentile Church. When Paul met Jesus  Christ on the Damascus road he was  struck blind and Jesus said to him, 

“Rise, and stand upon thy feet: for  I have appeared unto thee for this  purpose, to make thee a minister and  a witness both of these things which  thou hast seen, and of those things  in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and  from the Gentiles, unto whom now I  send thee, To open their eyes, and to  turn them from darkness to light, and  from the power of Satan unto God, that  they may receive forgiveness of sins,  and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts26:16-18). 

Other Apostles bore witness to the Divine  testimony and by Divine inspiration  recorded the Truth of God in the pages of  the New Testament. 

Sadly the Church has allowed tradition to  replace Truth until today Christendom is a  very poor witness to the Truth of God and  His salvation offered freely to all mankind  so much so that Jesus said: 

“when the Son of man cometh, shall he  find faith on the earth?” (Luke18:8). 

The Gentile Church is described as a  “wild olive branch” grafted into the Olive  tree in place of the “natural branches” (Israel) that have been broken off. But  God warns: 

“The (Natural) branches (Israel) were  broken off … Because of unbelief they  were broken off, and thou (Gentiles)  standest by faith. Be not highminded,  but fear: For if God spared not the  natural branches (Israel), take heed  lest he also spare not thee (Gentiles)  (Rom.11:19-21). 

There is surely coming a day after the  last soul has been added to the Church  of Jesus Christ and “the fulness of the  Gentiles” (Rom.11:25) has come in, that all  true believers will suddenly depart this  world – caught up in the clouds to meet  the Lord in the air and then there will  follow seven years of great Tribulation designed by God to bring Israel to  repentance and faith in Christ and to  judge the nations of this world. 

“And so all Israel shall be saved as  it is written, There shall come out  of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn  away ungodliness from Jacob: For  this is my covenant unto them (Israel),  when I shall take away their sins”  (Rom.11:26-27). 

The long night of Israel’s chastening will come to an end in the seven years of great  Tribulation and the nation will again be  God’s witness to the Truth on earth. The  firstfruits of that harvest will be 144,000  Jewish men (Rev.7:1-8) who, immediately  after the Rapture of the Church, will turn  to Christ in true repentance and faith.  These will give a most powerful witness  to the nations. They will proclaim  

“the Gospel of the Kingdom … in all the  world for a witness to all nations; and  then shall the end come” (Matt.24:14). 

At the same time there will be two  preachers at Jerusalem whom God calls  “my two witnesses” (Rev.11:3). These  two preachers will have special powers  similar to those given to Moses and Elijah.  They will have power to call for a drought,  to turn water into blood and to “smite the  earth with all plagues” (Rev.11:6). 

Because these same powers were given  to Moses and Elijah many have thought  that they are in fact Moses and Elijah but  that is not possible. 

Moses died and God buried him. Elijah  was caught up into the air by angels in  a chariot of fire and God concealed his  burial place. 

We know that nobody could enter heaven  before Jesus rose from the dead and all  believers from Adam to Christ died. Their  souls went to Paradise which was part of  “the place of departed spirits” which in  the Hebrew language was sheol. When  Christ rose from the grave and ascended  to heaven He opened heaven for all  believers. The Old Testament saints who  had died were raised and Paradise was  taken to heaven when Jesus ascended  on high (Eph.4:8-10). 

Jesus rose physically from the grave and  because He was “the firstfruits of them  that slept (died)” (1Cor.15:20-23), nobody  could be given a resurrection body  before Him. Scripture clearly states that  

“many bodies of the saints which  slept (died) arose, and came out  of the graves AFTER His (Christ’s)  resurrection…” (Matt.27:52-53). 

Thus Moses and Elias would have risen  with Christ. They would have received  a resurrection body at that time and a  resurrection body cannot perish or be  destroyed. 

However we read of these two witnesses  at Jerusalem during the first half of the  Tribulation that 

“when they shall have finished their  testimony (1260 days), the beast that  ascendeth out of the bottomless pit  (Antichrist) shall make war against  them, and shall overcome them, and  kill them. 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” (Rev.11:7-8). 

Since Moses and Elias have received their  resurrection body that cannot die, these  most likely are two Jewish witnesses from  among the 144,000. They are Jewish  preachers who encourage the rebuilding  of a Jewish Temple at Jerusalem after  the Rapture; they are possibly two of the  144,000 who preach the Gospel of the  kingdom. Just as Haggai and Zechariah  preached to the Jews and encouraged  them to rebuild the Temple after they  returned from the Babylonian captivity  so these two prophets will minister to the  nation. 

After the Babylonian captivity which  lasted 70 years (606 to 536BC) the Jews  had been given freedom by Cyrus the  King of Persia to return to the land of  Israel, these two prophets are described  as  

“the two olive trees, and the two  candlesticks standing before the God  of the earth” (Rev.11:4).

The prophets Haggai and Zechariah are  likewise referred to as “two olive trees” providing oil for the seven golden candle  sticks in the temple (Zech.4:1-6). 

In the midst of the fires of the Great  Tribulation God will have His witnesses.  A fully functional Temple will be operating  for the first half of the Tribulation. Only  at the mid-point of the Tribulation will the  Beast be able to occupy the Temple and  install his idol. The two witnesses will be  martyred and after three and a half days  their bodies will be raised and men will  see them ascend to heaven. 

The Jews are planning this Temple now;  the furniture and priests garments have  been made, priests are being trained and  a Tribulation Temple could be operational  within a few months of a decision to build.  The Holy half shekel has been minted  again and is sold each year. Jews have  been donating it for the maintenance of  the Temple since the 1990s. 

There is sufficient space on the Temple  mount to build the Jewish Temple in the  northern courtyard of the Dome of the  Rock. Gershom Gorenberg, a reporter  with The Jerusalem Report, summarized  the views of Jews and Christians about  the “last days”. In his book entitled, The  End of Days he pointed out that a British  army surveyor had surveyed the Temple  Mount at the end of the 19th century and  this survey was published in England. He  claimed to have found the drains cut in  the rock from the altar so that the blood  of sacrifice would drain away into the  Kidron Valley and it was in the northern  court of the Dome of the Rock. His book  can be purchased on the internet.  

Among Orthodox Jews there is a growing  movement to have the Temple rebuilt  and they have recommenced slaying the  passover lamb each year. 

Israel occupied the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six-Day War. After the War Israel  allowed the Palestinians to administer  it on condition that Jews could pray on  the Mount. The Muslim Authorities have  never kept the agreement and when  Jews pray on the Temple Mount they are  quickly removed. 

Scripture states that 

“It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house  shall be established in the top of the  mountains, and shall be exalted above  the hills; and all nations shall flow  unto it. And many people shall go and  say, Come ye, and let us go up to the  mountain of the LORD, to the house of  the God of Jacob; and he will teach  us of his ways, and we will walk in his  paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the  law, and the word of the LORD from  Jerusalem” (Isa.2:2-3). 

The Bible teaches that Antichrist will  make a seven-year covenant with the  Jews after the Rapture of the Christians  and after the first half of the Tribulation  during which time Israel turns to Jesus  Christ, Antichrist would take possession  of the Temple that the Jews will have  built. He would place his image in the  Temple and demand the worship of the  entire world. Paul wrote: 

“so that he as God sitteth in the temple  of God, shewing himself that he is  God” (2Thess.2:4). 

When Christ returns “immediately  after the tribulation of those days” (Matt.24:29), Antichrist and all who  follow him will be slain and cast into the  lake of fire. Then when Christ reigns as  King of kings and Lord of lords a new  Temple will be built to specifications  given in Ezekiel chapters 40 to 43. The  glory of God’s presence will be there,  lighting up the entire area around  Jerusalem.