TWO LAMPSTANDS, THE
THE TWO LAMPSTANDS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Jesus said the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached to all nations as a witness and then the end would come. This tells us that just before the close of the Church Age there will be a tremendous empowering of the witness of the Kingdom.
We find in the tenth and eleventh chapters of the Book of Revelation just such a scenario. There is an empowering of the Kingdom witness. As soon as the Divine testimony has been given to God's satisfaction the Christian witness is destroyed from the cities of the earth. Finally the end of the age arrives.
THE TWO LAMPSTANDS
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14—NIV)
Notice that it is the "gospel of the kingdom" that is to be preached just before the end of the Church Age.
At some point during the very early centuries of the Christian Era the Gospel of the Kingdom of God coming to the earth was changed to the gospel of the going of the Christians to Heaven. While there is no emphasis whatever in either the Old Testament or the New Testament on the believers making their eternal home in Heaven, the change in the Gospel has persisted to the present hour.
Now, however, our eyes are being opened to the fact that the Bible tells us about the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, not the going of the believers to Heaven.
So just before the end comes the Gospel of the Kingdom is to be renewed and preached "in the whole world as a testimony to all nations."
When we turn to the tenth and eleventh chapters of the Book of Revelation we find the Lord's Word being fulfilled. The Gospel witness is empowered and the testimony is borne to the nations of the earth, and then the end comes in that the witness is overcome. Soon after this the seventh trumpet sounds and the saints are called up into the heaven. The end of the Church Age is here.
The tenth and eleventh chapters of Revelation should be one chapter, I believe, for they tell of the events leading up to the sounding of the last trumpet, including the preparation of those who will participate in the great harvest outpouring of God’s Spirit.
I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. (Revelation 10:10—NIV)
If we would be part of the end-time revival we must eat the word of the Lord. It is not enough just to learn the Bible, we must partake of the Word of God so it enters our personality and becomes part of us. The Words of God are sweet as honey, but when they work in our inward parts they are bitter. A sword divides between our soul and spirit and our adamic nature is brought down to death.
Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings." (Revelation 10:11—NIV)
The last-day revival is the "again prophecy," the spring rain that will come just before the harvest of the earth. The Book of Acts describes the fall rain, the former rain. This was a time of planting the Divine seed. The spring (latter) rain will bring the harvest of the earth to maturity, both the wheat and the tares.
The prophecy will concern "many peoples, nations, languages and kings." From my point of view, this is the witness Jesus spoke of when He said "This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a witness to all nations."
We who are Pentecostal are accustomed to the prophecies in the assembly that build up the Body of Christ. But now we are referring to prophecy like that of Jeremiah and Ezekiel—prophecy that affects the nations.
The purpose of the Christian assembly is to build the lampstand, the testimony. When the lampstand has been prepared it will be a light for all people.
Our God is a God of preparation. He knows well in advance all He is going to do and He prepares for it.
So much power will be given to the saints of the last days that they must be prepared to receive it. When God gives great power to people there always is a chance they will abuse it or that they will be destroyed because they could not resist the temptation to take the glory to themselves. Also when Divine Glory exists in abundance among the Lord's people it is very easy for Satan to come into the midst and lead some astray. This is because so many voices are speaking in the spirit realm and inexperienced believers cannot always determine what the Lord is actually saying.
Because the end-time dispensation of authority and power will be exceedingly mighty, the bearers of the Divine testimony must be carefully prepared in advance.
I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there." (Revelation 11:1—NIV)
The above verse means God is going to examine those who will be part of the end-time testimony.
The temple of God is the Christian Church. The altar is the Altar of Incense.
There were two altars that were part of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The large altar in the Courtyard was the Altar of Burnt Offering. All animal sacrifices were made on this altar.
The Altar of Incense was a smaller altar and stood just before the Veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
Inside the Holy Place were the Bread of the Presence (Table of Showbread), the Lampstand, and the Altar of Incense.
The Bread of the Presence represents Christ being born and formed in us.
The Lampstand represents the Holy Spirit and is associated with Pentecost.
The Altar of Incense is the place where we bow in death to self and cry, "Not my will but yours be done."
Directly over the separating Veil were two sets of fifty rings joining together the curtains from which the Tabernacle was constructed. One set of fifty rings was gold. The other set of fifty rings was bronze.
This means that as the Church passes from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age (as in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation) there will be a double Pentecost (two sets of fifty—"Pentecost" means fifty) of Deity (gold) and judgment (bronze). This is precisely what we see in Revelation Eleven.
Many of the Christian churches have been at the Lampstand during the twentieth century. Now it is time to move forward to the Altar of Incense.
We of the Pentecostal churches know the glory of Pentecost. The outpouring of the Spirit of God is a joyous experience. It is attractive and brings people into the Presence of God.
We do not know much about the Altar of Incense. Most of us have not been there yet. The Altar of Incense is our last experience before we pass through the Veil into the Presence of God.
Today there are multitudes of believers who have experienced basic salvation, and a somewhat smaller number who have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Now God is seeking those who will move forward to the Altar of Incense. When God looks for people to bear the end-time testimony He considers His whole Church, but particularly those who are worshiping at the Altar of Incense.
But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. (Revelation 11:2—NIV)
God is not going to examine the Outer Court, the people of the world, at this time. This means the nations of the earth will trample the holy things of God underfoot until the time of their judgment arrives. As always, judgment begins with the house of God and then is administered to those on the outside.
We are to eat the scroll containing the Word of God. Then we are charged with prophesying concerning the nations of the earth, including many peoples, their languages and their rulers.
Following this we are examined, especially if we have moved past Pentecost and are worshiping God at the Altar of Incense. All of this is preparation for our role of bearing witness to the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
Now we are ready:
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." (Revelation 11:3—NIV)
The "1260 days" refers to the forty-two months or three and one-half years of the seventieth prophetic week. The kingdom clock stopped ticking when Christ was crucified, that is, after sixty-nine weeks. The Christian Era has been for the purpose of creating the second lampstand, the Body of Christ.
Because we are at the end of the era "the mystery of God will be accomplished." Christ will be formed in the saints. The saints are the second lampstand. The prophetic clock will resume ticking and the seventieth week of Daniel will be fulfilled.
The first half of the prophetic week will be devoted to the preaching of the Gospel to every nation, the last great witness before the end of the Church Age. The second half of the week will see the rise of Antichrist and the consequent great tribulation.
In order to be properly harvested wheat must have the spring rain and then hot sun. Too much rain ruins the heads of wheat. Too much sun would destroy the heads.
Too much rain of the Spirit ruins the believers. They become soft and foolish, unable to endure the rigors of Kingdom training. Too much pain and suffering makes them gloomy and fearful. There must be a balance.
The witness will be "clothed in sackcloth" meaning that the message will be one of repentance. "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."
The two witnesses of Revelation Eleven will reveal in themselves the new age that is at hand, the Kingdom Age. They will demonstrate the powers of the coming age, the rule of the rod of iron. It also is true that the new age will proceed from the witnesses.
The Kingdom Age will enter the earth through Jesus Christ and His saints. The saints then will be the judges of those who persecuted them during the period that they were bearing the Divine testimony.
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. (Revelation 11:4—NIV)
The end-time witness is symbolized by two lampstands and two olive trees.
The reference is to the fourth chapter of the Book of Zechariah. There we see one lampstand and the two olive trees.
The meaning of the one lampstand and the two olive trees is as follows:
So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6—NIV)
"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit"!
God was saying the restored Temple of God, of the time of Zechariah, would be completed by the Lord Himself and not by the efforts of the flesh.
So it is that the Church, the eternal house of God, will be completed by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, not by the ambitions, plans, and talents of the flesh of man.
Unlike the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the Lampstand of Zechariah does not need to be filled every day at evening in order to burn through the night. There is a continual source of olive oil from the two olive trees, representing the Holy Spirit, flowing directly into the Lampstand.
The Lampstand of the Tabernacle symbolizes Christ Himself. It was hammered into shape from a talent of refined gold. There was no wood in it, indicating that it symbolizes Deity. Wood speaks of the flesh of man.
Christ is the Light of the world—of the world! "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."
In the Book of Revelation the seven golden lampstands are the Christian churches. Jesus said we Christians are the light of the world and our light is our good works, the good works caused by the fact that Christ has been born in us and is being formed in us.
The reason there are not eight lampstands, Christ and the seven churches, is that there is only one Body of Christ. The Body of Christ comprises the overcomers, the Church within the churches.
When the Bible says "I will give (there is no Greek noun following the word give) to my two witnesses" it is referring to those who have been prepared. They will be empowered to prophesy concerning "many peoples, nations, languages and kings." There is no scriptural basis whatever in the Old Testament or the New for the current concept that two Old Testament patriarchs will be introduced into the Church age to perform the task of bearing witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. If two such men were to be raised from the dead or descend from Heaven it would certainly say so at least once in the Old Testament or the New Testament.
All of the cardinal doctrines of Christianity are found both in the Old Testament and the New. We Christians have added fables and notions that are destructive of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
It is to bear such a witness to the ends of the earth that the Christians churches have been baptized with the Holy Spirit. Remember too that he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8—NIV)
We know from the four references in the Scriptures, three in the Old Testament and one in the New, that God is waiting for the earth to receive the spring (latter) rain. The spring (harvest) rain of the Spirit is described in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. The fall (planting) rain of the Spirit is described in the Book of Acts.
The two Lampstands represent Jesus Christ and His Body. The two olive trees speak of the double portion of the Holy Spirit by which the saints of the last days will be empowered to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to every nation as a witness. When the witness has been concluded, the end of the Church Age will be upon us.
The reason the witnesses will cause such destruction is that they will be portraying what the world can expect when the Lord Jesus descends from Heaven with His saints and holy angels. Remember, they will be bearing witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The rule of the Kingdom of God will be with a rule of iron, smashing to pieces all resistance.
The world of our day has been told many times of the love of God. The nations need to realize also that God does not permit disobedience to His will. He is very good but also very severe. The God of the Old Testament is the same God as He who is announced in the New Testament. Even the righteous are saved with difficulty!
The outpouring of the Spirit will be for the purpose of bearing witness. This is so hard for us to understand because we are accustomed to the idea of preaching being for the purpose of inviting people to accept Christ and be saved. The concept of preaching being for the purpose of bearing witness of the coming of a kingdom that will bring justice to the meek and destruction to the wicked may be new to us.
But this is exactly what is at hand!
The witness cannot be stopped while God’s will is being performed.
But because there must be a period during which all that has been performed must be tested, and the Bride made ready for the Bridegroom, the period of revival will come to an end. When it does the witness will be driven from the cities of the earth.
The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. (Revelation 12:14—NIV)
Never again, until the Lord returns, will the witness of Christ be seen or heard in the large cities. The remnant of saints will be hidden somewhere, probably in the wilderness areas of the earth.
Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:8—NIV)
I believe the above verse means that the Christian institutions will remain in the cities of the world but they will not have the Life of the Spirit of God in them.
There is no power in the heavens or on the earth that can overcome Christ and His saints, no power that can separate us from God’s love. We understand this.
But the saints (not Christ, of course) can indeed be overcome by Sodom (the lusts of the flesh), Egypt (the love of the world), and Jerusalem (spiritual pride and envy, the desire to be preeminent in spiritual matters, selfish ambition).
Remember, what happens to His brothers happens to Christ.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matthew 25:35,36—NIV)
Was Jesus Christ hungry and thirsty? Was He a stranger? Was He without clothes, or sick, or in prison? No, He was not. But His brothers were and in that sense He was in these distressing conditions.
When the witnessing saints are overcome, Christ Himself is overcome in the sense of the testimony being destroyed.
We can see today in America that the witness of God has been overcome and killed by the love of the things of the world, the lusts and passions of the flesh, and religious self-seeking. There is much Gospel preaching in America but the witness has been killed.
Christ cannot be overcome and killed. The saints who are abiding in Him cannot be overcome and killed spiritually. But the witness can be overcome and killed and this already has taken place in the United States of America.
For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. (Revelation 11:9—NIV)
I believe this means the Antichrist world system will not do away with Christian institutions but will allow them to continue with their preaching, hymn singing, and other activities. But the Spirit of God will not be present. The government will encourage the churches to avoid all that is of the Holy Spirit, such as the gifts of the Spirit and prophetic messages concerning the coming of a kingdom that will govern the world with a rod of iron.
Instead the emphasis will be upon the good the churches can do in the world, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and in general improving the well-being of people.
The Christian "body" will be present throughout the world, but it will be a dead body. The Divine witness will have been overcome and killed. The churches, like Samson of old, will be busy entertaining the world and meeting its needs.
This pattern can be seen today in America where the secular community smiles upon the activities of the church that obviously are benefiting the community. But the secular realm is very hostile toward anything that speaks of the anger of God concerning sin. The love of God, yes. The anger of God, in no manner. The rights and comforts of people must come first, and God will be accepted provided He guarantees the rights and comforts of people. This is the prevailing attitude in America today.
The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. (Revelation 11:10—NIV)
When the Christian churches are moving in the Spirit of God they torment those who live on the earth. We place entirely too much emphasis on God’s love in the preaching that is going on in America today. It is not a true witness of God. God is not telling the American people how much He loves them. God is warning the American people, particularly the Christians, that if they do not turn and begin to keep His commandments our nation will suffer extremely severe judgment.
God indeed is sending His Spirit to the churches and inviting the believers to repent of their worldliness, lust, and self-will. Many are responding emotionally. But the iron determination of the will is not being forged in the paths of righteousness because our doctrine is wrong. We are stressing grace-rapture-Heaven and this is not by any means the emphasis of the New Testament. Therefore the call to repentance is not going deep enough into the Christian people, even though they run to the altar under conviction and resolve to try to do better.
The destruction of the Christian witness in the cities of the world will remove that which is hindering Antichrist. He then will be able to come to maturity of authority and power because there will be no voice of the Spirit in the Christian churches to resist him.
Many passages of the Scriptures speak of the final destruction of the Divine witness.
He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:7—NIV)
As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, (Daniel 7:21—NIV)
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." (Daniel 12:7—NIV)
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (II Thessalonians 2:7—NIV)
It is clear from the Scriptures that there will be a tremendous revival during the first half of the prophetic week, and then God will permit Antichrist to rise up and wage his war of deception against the bearers of the witness and against those who heard the witness. The resulting flood of lust and lawlessness will result in the true saints being driven from the cities of the earth.
But the end is not yet.
But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. (Revelation 11:11—NIV)
At the end of the second half of the week great Divine Glory will come upon the saints. This event is described as follows:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1,2—NIV)
At the time of the return of Christ to the earth the Glory of God will fill the saints who have been in hiding. The nations of the earth will come to the spiritual light that suddenly has appeared.
Today the resurrection and ascension ("rapture") of the Church are being presented as an escape from Antichrist and the great tribulation. There is not one verse in the Bible that presents an ascension to Heaven of a godly person, whether Enoch or Elijah or Christ or anyone else as being an escape from trouble. If it has no clear scriptural basis, why is such an error preached?
A little thought will reveal that when the dead in Christ rise and the living saints are transformed they will have no fear of Antichrist, the great tribulation, or any power of the enemy whatever.
As in the verse above, terror will strike those who see the resurrection and transformation of God’s witnesses of all ages. Those who "stood on their feet" will include not only the living witnesses but also the members of the cloud of heavenly witnesses who always have surrounded the earthly witnesses.
What a marvelous sight the resurrection and glorification of the saints will be! But the appearance of them will bring terror and horror to the ungodly. It will not be the righteous who are forced to flee for fear of destruction. It will be the wicked who will see their end approaching.
Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. (Revelation 11:12—NIV)
"While their enemies looked on"!
In terms of Scripture and logic I see no reason why the resurrection ("they stood on their feet") and ascension ("they went up to heaven in a cloud") mentioned in the two verses above are not the resurrection and ascension that will take place at the coming of the Lord.
In I Thessalonians it is said the dead and living in Christ are caught up to meet the Lord the air, whereas it says here "they went up to heaven in a cloud."
I don’t believe there is a real problem. It is impossible to tell from the Greek language when the term heaven is referring to the sky above us or to the spiritual Heaven, the home of God and the angels.
But we have the loud voice and the cloud that fit First Thessalonians. I believe the resurrection and ascension mentioned in connection with the two witnesses are equivalent to all other passages that refer to the historic return of Jesus Christ in the clouds of glory to gather together His saints. Here the emphasis is on the saints as being God’s witnesses. In fact, all the true saints of history including the dead in Christ are God’s eternal witnesses.
"Their enemies looked on." This is no secret "rapture" of the saints. This is the Lord Jesus calling to Himself his army in preparation for their descent in the Battle of Armageddon.
Immediately there is a severe earthquake in which seven thousand people are killed. This is the beginning of the Day of Wrath.
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15—NIV)
The seventh trumpet blows the last trumpet
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51,52—NIV)
What will take place now?
The Kingdom of God will swallow up all governments on the earth. The dead will be judged. The Lord’s prophets and His saints will be rewarded. Those who destroy the earth will themselves be destroyed.
Then the Ark of the Covenant is seen, because the Ark symbolizes the Davidic reign of Christ and His "mighty men," to use an Old Testament figure.
How then are we to view the future?
It is time now for us to "eat the Word of God."
Next we will be judged and made ready for the worldwide witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
We then will bear witness of the Kingdom under an unprecedented anointing of the Holy Spirit, Christ working with us and confirming His Word with signs following.
When God’s work has been completed the special anointing will be lifted. All who bore the witness plus those who heard them will be subjected to numerous temptations. The love of the majority will grow cold. The witness will be driven from the major cities of the earth.
The world will be free from the torment of the prophetic witness until they are saying "Peace and safety have come to us."
Suddenly the remnant of saints along with the witnesses of God of all ages will stand on their feet and then be called up into the heaven.
Now the hour of God’s judgment is at hand and the Kingdom of God will be established on the earth
If you wish to be part of God’s work in these last days, tell Him about it. He will be pleased with your request and will set about to prepare you for the greatest of all interventions of God in the affairs of man.
The time is now!