Who are the Two Witnesses of Revelation

The two witnesses described in Revelation, chapter 11, are prophets, who will prophesy during the great tribulation, for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, striking the world with plagues, and famine, as they stand against the kingdom of the beast, who will bring his armies into Jerusalem, to trample the city, and kill the followers of Christ. The Apostle John describes them below:

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 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 strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. ~ Revelation 11:1-13

In order to understand who the two prophets are, it is necessary to examine the description of the two prophets.

  • Two Olive Trees – Revelation 11:4 – The two olive trees can be found in two other passages in the Bible. The first is in the Old Testament, in the book of Zechariah, in chapter 4. They are described as “…the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.” The second passage is listed below, wherein they are described as the nation of Israel (the cultivated olive tree) and the gentiles (the wild olive tree):
    • I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

      Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

      For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ” The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” ~ Romans 11:11-27

  • The Two Lampstands – Lampstand are described in the New Testament as the church.
    • You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:14-16

    • The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. ~ Revelation 1:20

  • Prophets – Revelation 11:10 – the two witnesses are called prophets. Therefore, they are the prophets of the church, just as Silas (Acts 15:32), and Agabus (Acts 11:27-28). But are they two individual prophets, or is the number “two” symbolic of two groups of people? It would have to be more than two prophet, based on Psalm chapter 79, which describes this period of persecution in Jerusalem, while showing that the amount of martyred saints in city are more than just two individuals:
    • O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps. The dead bodies of Your servants They have given as food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, And there was no one to bury them (Revelation 11:9). ~ Psalm 79:1-3

  • The Beast will have them killed – Revelation 11:7 – This is also described in Revelation 12:3-4, and Daniel 8:9-10, because the two witnesses are Christ’s messengers/angels, as described in Revelation 1:20, and Revelation 8:1-6. The angels and stars are one and the same, and a third of them will be cast to the ground and trampled during the great tribulation. And in return, a third of mankind will be killed with fire.
    • The stars are the messengers/angels:
      • The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. ~ Revelation 1:20

      • When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.  ~ Revelation 8:1-6

    • They strike the earth with plagues:
      • 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 strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.  ~ Revelation 11:6

      • So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
        First Trumpet: Vegetation Struck
        The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
        Second Trumpet: The Seas Struck
        Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
        Third Trumpet: The Waters Struck
        Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.  ~ Revelation 8:6-11

    • A third of the stars are thrown down to the earth, because they are the two witnesses who are killed:
      • And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth… ~ Revelation 12:3-4

      • And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. ~ Daniel 8:9-10

    • And in return, a third of mankind will be killed with fire:
      • And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. ~ Revelation 11:5

      • Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed — by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. ~ Revelation 9:13-19

In Revelation, chapter 5, John sees in his vision of the place where God dwells, twenty-four elders around God’s throne. These elders described themselves, as stated below:

…You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth ~ Revelation 5:9-10

Therefore, they are elders of the church, both Jew and gentile, because they are from all nations. Paul described the elders of the church as gifts, given to the church by Christ, to edify believers into maturity and unity in the faith, and to prepare them for ministry work (Ephesians 4:11-16). Some of these elders are prophets. During the great tribulation, the prophets of the church, both Jew and gentile, will stand against the kingdom of the beast, and be killed, and then they will be raised from the dead when Jesus appears in the clouds immediately after the tribulation, and calls his elect to meet him in the clouds, as stated below:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. ~ Revelation 11:7-13

 

What does it Mean to be “Born of Water”?

The Christian concept of being born of water comes from the Bible’s passage in the gospel of John, chapter 3:

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” ~ John 3:1-8

To understand what it means to be born of water, as Jesus told Nicodemus, it is necessary to find out what the Bible has to say about water, in relation to Christians.

Paul described the water as, “the word” which cleanses the church; which would be, Scripture.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. ~ Ephesians 5:25-27

Jesus also mentioned this in the gospel of John:

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. ~ John 15:3

Paul, in Titus 3:3-6, also described the Holy Spirit as having the same effect when sinners are regenerated. He also described regeneration as being “made alive”.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) ~ Ephesians 2:1-5

Therefore, the word of God, and the Holy Spirit, work together to regenerate sinners into children of God, by cleansing the hearts from sin, and making them new creations. That is why the Apostle John described Jesus as coming by water and by blood.

This is He who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood… ~ 1 John 5:6

Jesus came preaching the gospel of peace with God, and by shedding his blood in order to establish this peace (Ephesians 2:14-17). When those whom God draws to Christ hear the message of the gospel, they are regenerated. As Paul stated:

…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

And John stated:

…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. ~ John 1:12-13

And the Apostle James stated:

Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. ~ James 1:18

As the Apostle Peter stated:

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. ~ 1 Peter 1:22-25

This is the doctrine of regeneration. It is fulfillment of the promised made by God through Jeremiah.

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. ~ Jeremiah 31:31-34

This promise is fulfilled by the preaching of the word (Romans 10:14-17), and it is performed by the living word of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit within the hearts and minds of sinners.

Are Christian Obligated to Keep the Law of Moses?

Yes or No, and Why?

No. Christians are not required to keep the law of Moses, because Christ has free them from the law by nailing it with him to the cross.

…you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. ~ Colossians 2:13-14

For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. ~ Galatians 2:19-21

Christ has become the new master, in place of the law, by making a New Covenant, and therefore, abolishing the old covenant, which was not able to cleanse anyone from sin.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. ~ Hebrew 8:7-13

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. ~ Hebrews 10:4

Does the New Covenant require Christians to keep any of the Old

Covenant Commandments?

Yes. That would be the law of love. For in so doing, the righteous requirement of the love is fulfilled.

…’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. ~ Matthew 22:37-40

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.  ~ Romans 13:8-10

Believers are required to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law of Moses. But not through keeping the law of Moses. Instead, the law is fulfilled simply through obeying Christ – the new master – which Paul calls, walking in the Spirit, and Christ calls, abiding in him – the true vine.

Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. ~ Romans 3:31

…what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:3-5

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. ~ John 15:1-6

What about the Sabbath?

That also includes keeping the Sabbath.

…let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. ~ Colossians 2:16-17

In order to understand why Christians are not required to keep the Sabbath, it is necessary to understand the symbolic significance of the Sabbath. The origin for the word “Sabbath” is the Hebrew word “שַׁבָּת/shab·bäth’“, which means intermission. Its root word is “שָׁבַת/shä·vath’“, which means “to repose, i.e. desist from exertion; used in many implied relations”. Therefore, as it is already understood, the Sabbath has to do with rest from labor, just as God rested from his six days of work on the seventh day.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. ~ Exodus 20:8-11

And just as God rested, on the seventh day, from his labor, there remains a rest, for those who come to Christ, from their labor of law keeping.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30

And just as God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, he also provides his chosen people with every blessing in Heaven, just as he gave them to his Son, to be holy.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love ~ Ephesians 1:3-4

And just as all of God’s work was completed on the seventh day, he also has made those who belong to his Son to be completed in him.

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. ~ Genesis 2:1-2

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. ~ Colossians 2:8-10

And just as God made man on the sixth day, and rested on the seventh day, because all of

lampstand1
Menorah

his work was completed, he also made believers complete in his Son, the true vine, as seen in the menorah – the lampstand with seven lamps; six springing forth from the main branch (Zechariah 4:1–10, Revelation 1:20, Revelation 4:5). Christ is the true vine, from whom all the members spring forth, and are made fruitful (John 15:1-6). Therefore, by themselves, they are mere men, but through Christ, they can do all things (Philippians 4:13).

Therefore, the Sabbath day is symbolic of the work that Christ would accomplish for his people. The ceremonial law is summed up in the ten commandments’ third command – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8).” That is why Paul said that the Sabbaths are “just a shadow of what was to come, and that its substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17)

What about the dietary laws?

That also includes the dietary laws, such as not eating meat with blood, and not eating unclean foods. This was explained by Paul, below:

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. ~ Colossians 2:16-17

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. ~ 1 Timothy 4:1-5

 

…whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. ~ Leviticus 17:10-11

The life of Christians comes from Jesus’ blood, which was shed for them, as the atonement for sin.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. ~ John 6:53-57

Therefore, just as Christ fulfilled the law, he also fulfilled its Sabbath.

What purpose does the law serve?

The law was given to show mankind their sin, and their inability to live up to God’s righteous standard, for the purpose of leading mankind to Christ. As Paul stated below:

…whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  ~ Romans 3:9-19

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. ~ Galatians 3:19-26

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. ~ Romans 7:7-14

Also, any teachings, and behaviors, that are contrary to the teachings of the New Covenant can be corrected with the Old Covenant law.

Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. ~ 1 Timothy 1:5-11

Below is an example of how the law of Moses can be used to correct someone who is contradicting the teachings of the New Covenant:

Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:34

Therefore, it is wrong to cheat Christians to keep the law of Moses. This is why Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia, and corrected the believers in Colosse. False teachers were leading Christians astray, by telling them, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved (Acts 15:1)”, as they are now. Therefore, as Paul also warned the believers in Philippi, let the warning stand firm today:

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  ~ Philippians 3:1-11

 

The Saints – Who are they? & How does one become one?

First, what is saint?

Is a saint a person who has been given supernatural gifts from God, and has earned their place, with Him, in Heaven – according to Roman Catholic tradition? Or is a saint, someone who has been made a god by God, according to Catechism, Profession of Faith, 460?

The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature“:78 “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”79 “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”80 “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”81

In order to know what a saint is, it must be determined by the true source, which is Scripture. In the Old Testament, the Hebrews word for saint is קדש/Kodesh and קדוש/kä·dōshe’ It means, a sacred place, person, or thing; rarely abstract, sanctity, and is also used in reference to God. Its root word is קדש/Kaw-dash. It means, to be (causatively, make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally). Old Testament examples of these kind of people would be priests, such as Aaron.

…they envied Moses in the camp, And Aaron the saint of the LORD ~ Psalm 106:16

Also, the righteous people who will reign with Christ on the earth:

the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever. ~ Daniel 7:18

New Testament examples of saints are those who were called out of darkness into the kingdom of light, in Christ; both Jew and Gentile. Also, described as “called to be saints”.

To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 1:7

giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love;  in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. ~ Colossians 1:12-14

you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10

In other words, saints are servants of Christ. Also known as “Christians“.

The Greek word for saint is “ἅγιος/hágios/hag’-ee-os“. It means, sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated). Its root word is “ἁγνός/hagnós“, which means, venerable or sacred. 

How does one become a saint?

The Apostle Paul stated plainly:

…the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, ” ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” ~ Romans 10:6-13

And Jesus said…

…as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ~ John 3:14-17

Therefore, understanding what a saint is, is not a complicated matter. Instead, it is very simple. A saint is a follower of Jesus Christ, and the evidence of sainthood is a life of holiness, righteousness, and loving obedience to Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love ~ Ephesians 1:3-4

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments… ~ 1 John 5:3

The saints are also labeled as “the elect“, “the church/ekklēsia/ek-klā-sē’-ä/out-called“, and “believers“…etc. These are just some of the many labels for saints. Yet, all of the labels refer to the same group of people, which are Christians.

Also, their place in Heaven is not achieved through merit, because salvation cannot be earned. Instead, it must be acquired through faith in the mercy of God, demonstrated through the sacrifice of his Son, for the sins of the world. It is a gift – freely given by God, because of his love for mankind. As the Scripture says…

…by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  ~ Romans 3:20-26

Therefore, the followers of Christ are the saints, who will inherit the earth.

If we endure, We shall also reign with Him… ~ 2 Timothy 2:12

…You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth. ~ Revelation 5:9-10

War on Consciousness Pt. 32 – Media Manipulation

propaganda

What one listens to, obeys, and meditates upon day and night, is what will influence him (Psalm 1:3, Matthew 6:22-23, Galatians 5:16-24). Therefore, one must make a choice concerning what he will abide in. Will it be the world, and its philosophies and traditions of men (1John 2:15-17, Colossians 2:8)? Will it be the media, and its multitude of lies and propaganda, that brings people under its influence? Or will it be the word of God, that leads people to the light of truth, and makes them wise concerning salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, so that he will be complete, and thoroughly equipped for every good work (2Timothy 3:14-17)?

Remember that those who do not abide in Jesus, the true vine, in whom there is no darkness, will be plucked out by the Father, and thrown into the fire of his wrath and burned, and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever (John 15:1-6, 1John 1:5, Revelation 21:7-8). But those who abide in Jesus will be like trees that bear their fruits in their season (Psalm 1:1-3). It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit which they will bear, and they will not be controlled by the sway of the spirit of this world, which is the spirit of antichrist (Galatians 5:16-25, Ephesians 2:1-3, 1John 4:1-6). The media will not dictate their actions, or their morality. They will be grounded in the faith of Christ, and they will not be deceived (Matthew 6:22-23, John 8:12). Instead, they will have discernment; knowing good from evil, truth from error, and true teachers from deceivers.

Discernment does not come from the media, and its websites, television programs, radio shows, or even podcasts. Nor is discernment acquired through being taught by wise teachers, theologians, or revered philosophers in or outside the church. Instead, discernment comes through following Jesus Christ, by studying God’s word for one’s self, and by being instructed by the Holy Spirit to correctly apply the word of God to one’s life, and being one who obeys God’s commands without partiality (Hebrews 5:12-14, 1John 2:26-27, 2Timothy 2:15, James 1:21-25). But in order to do this, one must sanctify the Lord in his heart, and trust his clear teachings from Scripture, more than anyone, and more than popular opinion; even popular Christian opinion (1Peter 3:15, Romans 3:4). One must be willing to separate from the crowd when Scripture reveals that the group he is apart of is not following God but men who appear godly, yet leavens the truth of the gospel with a little leaven, which leavens the whole gospel, or who change the nature or character of the true God (Galatians 1:6-10, Galatians 5:7-9, 1John 2:21-23, 1John 4:1-3, Romans 16:17-19).

There is only one God, and there is only one gospel, and no group, no matter how godly they may appear, has the right to pervert the gospel, nor change the true teaching of who God is. Nor is any website, television program, radio show, nor podcats, an authority on truth. God’s word alone is the authority (Matthew 4:4, John 17:17, 2Tiomthy 3:14-17. Nor does any preacher or philosopher have any authority to subject the clear teachings of Scripture to his own private interpretations, regardless of his high reverence among Christ’s church, because men, or any well respected group, has no authority to validate truth (2Peter 1:20-21). Scripture alone validates truth, and Scripture alone validates, or disqualifies, men. Therefore, if they speak not according to the true God, and the true gospel of salvation, and, instead, reject correction from Scripture by clinging to their private interpretations, it is because their is no light in them, and they are antichrist (Isaiah 8:20. They are not of God, but of the world. If they were of God, they could not bear bad fruit, but would only bear good fruit, and they would prove it by submitting to the church’s correction from Scripture (Matthew 7:15-20, Romans 16:17-19, John 3:7-9, John 4:5-6).

Good fruit is not only the teaching of the true God, and the true gospel, but it is also submission to the truth (John 15:14, John 14:6).

The world says that a little leaven, concerning the true God and the gospel, does not leaven the whole lump, but God says that it does (Galatians 5:7-9, John 4:1-3).

One must decide, “Who will I believe?” and “Who will I follow?”

Let it be the word of God, because this is the covenant that God has made with his people:

Hebrews 8
10    For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
11    None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.

And remember…

John 15
4    Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5    “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6    If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7    If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8    By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9    “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10    If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11    “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

1John 2
24    Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
25    And this is the promise that He has promised us — eternal life.
26    These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.
27    But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
28    And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

James 1
5    If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

2Timothy 3
14    But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15    and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17    that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Test All Things Pt. 8 – Gnosticism

By Terrence Straughter

 temptation

I John 4:1-3 NKJV

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Gnosticism

Related articles are listed below:

  1. Have you come across a different Gospel and a different Christ?
  2. War on Consciousness Pt. 13 – The New Age Movement
  3. War on Consciousness Pt. 15 – Arts & Entertainment

The Catholic Calvinists Pt. 2 – John Piper

piperlarge

The Reformed Calvinist teacher, and internationally known author, and speaker, John Piper, has shown himself to have Roman Catholic tendencies. Piper is a former student of Fuller Theological Seminary, which has trained a number of emerging church leaders, such as Rick Warren, Tony Jones, and Rob Bell. The seminaries’ faculty has consisted of heretical teachers, such as it’s former president, C. Peter Wagner, of the New Apostolic Reformation John Wimber, of the Vineyard Movement, and the universalist, Thomas Talbott. John Piper has also attended the University of Munich, which was known for being under the control of the Jesuit order, during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, because it is one of their many tools during the Counter Reformation. The University of Munich is also the same college that the former pope, Benedict XVI, attended.

John Piper has shown his partiality toward Roman Catholic heretics, such as the mystic Bernard of Clairvaux, who was a major contributor to building the virgin Mary cult of Roman Catholicism, by listing Clairaux as a lover of God, and one of the most God-besotted people in the world. See Piper’s quote below:

Desiring God

Or take hymns! How unabashedly hedonistic they are! Hymns are the voices of the church’s lovers, and lovers are the least duty-oriented and most God-besotted people in the world.

Jesus, Thou joy of loving hearts

Thou fount of life, Thou light of men

From the best bliss that earth imparts

We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Bernard of Clairvaux

The quote above is taken from Piper’s book on “Christian Hedonism”, which is a perversion of both God, and the gospel. One of the origins for Piper’s deceptive philosophy of hedonism is, according to John Piper, the Roman Catholic heretic, Blaise Pascal.

John Piper & Christian Hedonism

“During my first quarter in seminary, I was introduced to the argument for Christian Hedonism and one of its great exponents, Blaise Pascal. He wrote: ‘All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. … The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hand themselves.’ This statement so fit with my own deep longings, and all that I had ever seen in others, that I accepted it and have never found any reason to doubt it. … Jonathan Edwards tied it [Pascal’s statement] to the Word of Christ: ‘Jesus knew that all mankind were in the pursuit of happiness. He has directed them in the true way to it, and He tells them what they must become in order to be blessed and happy’” (Desiring God, location 198, 212, 3761).

The Roman Catholic Blaise Pascal was a brilliant mathematician but he was also a theological heretic and a deeply confused man, spiritually. Though he attacked some aspects of Romanism, he accepted the papacy, the mass, the saints, Mariolatry, and veneration of relics. He was deeply influenced by the blind mysticism of Jansenism and he spent a lot of time in the convent where his sister was a nun and where Catholic mysticism was practiced.

In late 2011, Piper has also taught a form of Roman Catholic Mysticism, known as Lectico Devina Lite on his website, and removed it after a backlash of controversy.

DesiringGod.Org

Update: Formerly I listed Lectio Divina as a third system for prayer. I’ve since removed it for the confusion it has caused. We do not endorse contemplative spirituality. The main point I’d like to recommend is using the text of Scripture as an organizer for our prayers — prayers that are exegetically faithful and gospel rich. I’m sorry for introducing the category.

The former pope Benedict is also in favor of practicing Lectico Devina as stated below:

Zenit.Org

“If this practice is promoted with efficacy, I am convinced that it will produce a new spiritual springtime in the Church,” stated the Holy Father.Pope-620x395

To promote “lectio divina,” Benedict XVI suggested “new methods, attentively pondered, adapted to the times.”

“One must never forget that the Word of God is a lamp for our steps and a light on our path,” he said.

Piper has also practiced Lectico Devina with Beth Moore, at the Passion 2012 conference.

John Piper also talks as though he believes that Roman Catholicism is part of Christ’s church, while also teaching that the pope undermines the faith of his followers. He does this by calling the pope one of the teachers of the church.

DesiringGod.Org

Nevertheless, God’s mercy is not a warrant to neglect or deny precious truths, especially those that are at the heart of how we get right with God. And the teachers of the church (notably the Pope) will be held more responsible than others for teaching what is fully biblical.

Thus, any church whose teaching rejects the imputation of the righteousness of Christ as an essential ground for our justification would be a church whose error is so close to the heart of the gospel as to be involved in undermining the faith of its members.

Piper has also made a public prayer on Twitter for the next pope, as though God might use the office of this age old enemy of Christ, the gospel, and the church.

Twitter.Com/JohnPiper

O Lord of truth and mercy, put in place a Pope most willing to reform the Catholic Church in accord with your most holy word.

What should believers do about people like John Piper, who causes divisions, and offenses concerning the doctrine of Christ, and the gospel?

They must remember that a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

Matthew 7

15    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16    You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17    Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18    A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19    Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20    Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

They must mark, and avoid them.

Romans 16

17    Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
18    For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
19    For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.

They must let these kind of people be accursed.

Galatians 1

6    I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7    which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8    But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9    As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

And they must not take delight in them, nor promote them.

2John 1

8    Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward
.9    Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
10    If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;
11    for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Matthew 7

21    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22    Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23    And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Related articles are listed below:

  1. The Catholic Calvinists Pt. 1 – RC Sproul
  2. Authors of Confusion Pt. 14 – John Piper
  3. The New Christianity Pt. 7 – All Roads Lead to Rome
  4. Little Horn Pt. 3