© September 2002 Asher Intrater
The Two Witnesses
Revelation 11 speaks of two great end-times prophets, called "The Two Witnesses." An image of these two is seen in the two olive branches that give anointing oil to the lampstand in Zechariah 4. A further image is found in the two pillars that stand by the opening of the Temple of Solomon (I Kings 8).
Much speculation is wasted trying to guess who these two witnesses are. The more important question is what they have to say. Their job is to point the way toward the second coming of Yeshua (Jesus), just as John the Baptist pointed the way to His first coming. John said, "He's the one who is important, not me (John 3)."
Dan Juster points out in "The Passover Key" that the two witnesses challenge the "Antichrist" in a similar way to that in which Aaron and Moses challenged Pharaoh. The two witnesses will expose the evil ways of the political and religious leaders, particularly their misuse of authority. As John was beheaded for rebuking sin, so will these two be martyred.
Although there are two individual men who are referred to as the two witnesses, it is worth noting that the primary two witnesses of God throughout history are the international Church and the nation of Israel. Israel and the Church are the two prophetic bodies ordained by God to witness of His purposes.
The two pillars of Solomon's Temple had names: Boaz and Yachin. Boaz means "strength is in him". This refers to Yeshua in whom the fullness of the God dwells in bodily form (Col. 2:9). Yachin means "he will prepare (or establish)." This refers to God's predestined plan that He is working out in history. So the two messages may be seen as emphasizing the incarnation of Yeshua and the sovereignty of God.
However the name Boaz also refers to a historical figure known in the book of Ruth. The story of Ruth and Boaz has prophetic meaning in which Ruth may be seen as the Church coming out of the Gentile nations to be married to Boaz, who is a figure of the Messiah.
The very existence of the international Church is a supernatural phenomenon that bears witness to the purposes of God (Ephesians 2:7 and 3:10). People all over the world, from every different country, have come out of their cultures and out of centuries of paganism to believe in the one true God and in His Messiah. That's amazing.
Not only has the Church identified with the God of Israel, but also with the people of Israel. The end-times church will say along with Ruth, "Your people will be my people (Ruth 1:16)." That evangelical Christians all over the world are expressing their loyalty to the nation of Israel is one of the signposts that Yeshua is about to return. As Christians look forward to the return of Yeshua (to Jerusalem), they will find themselves standing more and more together with Israel. Thus they will be in position to say, "Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20)."
The prophetic call for the Church to recognize the place of Israel is not a racist preference for the Jewish people, but rather a submission to the earthly authority of Yeshua. It is a recognition of Jerusalem as the seat of His authority - No Jerusalem, no earthly authority of Yeshua; no earthly authority, no second coming.
Yet how can the Church be covenanted to Israel, when Israel has rejected her Messiah? The answer is that the primary link to Israel as a nation is through the Messianic remnant within Israel (Romans 11:1-5). The Messianic believers are the spiritual bridge between the international Church and the nation of Israel.
When the international Church (Ruth) recognizes the spiritual position of the Messianic remnant in Israel (Boaz), then a correct order of Biblical alignment will be set in place. By "recognize" we mean that she will see that the Gospel came from the Jews (John 4:22), that God has called her to “provoke Israel to jealousy” (Rom. 11:11), and that she will stand with the Jewish people even as the whole world stands against us. While the Bible does call Israel God's first born and we do see Israel as the elder brother in God’s big, beautiful family, this is not a top/down, hierarchical relationship. It is the one of the most beautiful pictures of restoration we will ever see. After 1,900 years of hostility between the two, there will be love.
Remember, Ruth is the hero of the book of Ruth, not Boaz. And God will use the Gentile believers to play heroic role in provoking Israel to jealousy in the end-times. It will take a great act of faith and humility for the Church to see this connection, because Paul says to miss this mystery (of Israel’s restoration) would lead the Gentiles to pride over the jewish people. (Romans 11:25). Which is exactly what took place for the past two millennia—but it is changing before our eyes.
The name Yachin is a shortened form of "Yehoiachin," who is also a historical figure - the king of Judah who was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar at the time of the Babylonian exile. After many years in jail in captivity, Yehoiachin is released and returned to a position of honor and authority (II Kings 25:27-30).
Yehoiachin's captivity and release are symbolic of the death and resurrection of Yeshua. Thus the Yachin portrait points to Yeshua Himself (likewise being the king of the Jews). Yet it can also be seen as the exile and regathering of the Jewish people. The reestablishment of the nation of Israel is an unprecedented phenomenon in world history and an undeniable testimony of the sovereignty of God.
The reestablishment of the nation of Israel is a necessary prerequisite to the second coming. If Yeshua is to return to take up His throne as the king of Israel, there must be a throne for Him to return to. There must be a structure of government in Israel that will form the base of Yeshua's kingdom in the world to come. Yeshua's authority is heavenly now, but it will soon be incarnate into real government in this world (John 18:36).
Yet how can Israel form a base of Yeshua's earthly authority, if the nation does not believe in Him? One answer is for the gospel to be preached in this land. That's our top priority. Before Yeshua returns there will be a mighty revival in Israel (Romans 11:25).
This problem is also solved as Messianic believers take up places of authority within Israeli society. We already have those who are officers in the IDF, those who are serving in medicine, law, education, etc. This is just the beginning. As Messianic Jews gain these kinds of positions, then Israel will be ready to cry out, "Baruch Ha Ba, Blessed is He who comes!" (Matthew 23:37).
The ministry of the two witnesses prepares the way for Yeshua's return to earth. Their messages deal with the establishment of godly authority on the earth - in the Church, in Israel, and in the Messianic Remnant. Their prophecies will complete the mystery of God and will result in the kingdoms of this world being taken over and transformed by the kingdom of Yeshua (Revelation 11:15).
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