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being given to the Gentiles, to be trampled under foot forty and two months-for the space of forty and two prophetical months, or twelve hundred and sixty days. But that at the conclusion of that period, true religion would again revive and be established. "And I will give power unto my two witnesses :" these are spoken of in terms of as complete equality as are God the Son and God the Holy Ghost; and therefore, in this instance answer the description of these blessed, glorious persons; and the appellation of witnesses is also precisely that affixed unto these highly exalted beings. Jesus Christ is styled the "faithful witness," (Rev. i. 5;) his works bear witness of him. (John x. 25.) He likewise himself remarks, It being written in the Jewish law, (viii. 17,) that the testimony of two men is true, that He is one who bears witness of himself, and that the Father who sent him beareth witness of him, rendering the title of witness even applicable to paternal Deity. The very end for which Christ was born, and the very cause for which He came into the world was, that he should bear witness to the truth. (John xviii. 37.) The Spirit of truth, which is the Holy Ghost, he testifies of Christ. (John xv. 26.) "It is the Spirit that beareth witness of him, because the Spirit is truth.” (1 John v. 6.) And he "witnesseth in every city." (Acts xx. 23.) It is He also who beareth witness to our spirits that we are the children of God. "And we are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost." (v. 32.) And when a celestial voice was heard from heaven, proclaiming,
"Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord," the Holy Ghost bare witness to the consoling truth; "yea, saith the Spirit, they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them."
We therefore conceive, that the title of God's two witnesses is strictly applicable to God the Son and God the Holy Ghost: "And I will give power unto my two witnesses”—this again completely corresponds with the scriptural relation of these hallowed dignities. All power is given to the Son of God, both in heaven and in earth; all power is also given to the Holy Ghost:. He is the gracious Giver of all spiritual gifts and graces, and has power to dispose of these to every man severally as He will: "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth." That both filial and consoling Deity are authors of all prophecy is scarce needful to remark: "And they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."
The chapter on which we are now commenting, commences by stating that the holy city should be trodden under foot of the Gentiles forty and two months. Pity is an attribute of deity itself; can we therefore suppose, that during this afflictive era, He who died to save the world, and who never willingly afflicts his people, is an unmoved spectator? that He, who in tears pronounced the prophecy contained in the chapter under comment, remains unmoved during the period of its accomplishment? When Jesus beheld the city, he wept over it, saying, If thou
hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes; for the days shall come upon thee that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Or can we suppose that He, (that is, the Holy Ghost,) who intercedes for saints with unutterable groanings, is unconcerned at these sad, dire events? These therefore may, we think, with strict propriety, be figuratively said to prophesy, or in other words, to behold the fulfilment of these particular prophecies to which this relation alludes, clothed in sackcloth during the sad, distressing period of their accomplishAlthough these are the two olive-trees and candlesticks, the two benign bright luminaries, standing before the God of the whole earth, notwithstanding their transcendent elevation, they are pitiful and merciful, and with deep concern behold the sorrows, which, in their boundless wisdom, they have seen fit should take place upon our globe. But if any man will hurt them, (that is, the cause which they espouse,) fire proceedeth out of their mouths, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
Dr. W.'s comment is as follows: "We learn from the word of God, and the history of the
church in all ages, that God will avenge the blood of his servants, the prophets and preachers of his word, on those who persecute them; its being here said to be done by fire, proceeding out of the mouth of the witnesses, is agreeable to the style of prophecy," (and certainly could not be said of any human being or of churches.) "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, (Jer. xxiii. 29. v. 14.) 14.) miah was not literally
and it shall devour them." "This prophecy of Jerefulfilled upon the people of Judah by fire, notwithstanding that all these judgments with which God threatened them by his prophet for their rebellion and idolatry overtook them in the end, in another but no less effectual manner. And as they were not to be destroyed by fire, so neither is it necessary that the persecution of God's servants, the witnesses, should be punished in that particular manner, to fulfil the prediction before us. It is sufficient to that end, if they are punished in any, especially in any remarkable manner; and we have many examples of remarkable judgments inflicted on the persecutors and oppressors of God's people, recorded in Scripture and church history, which are too numerous to be here recorded. Notwithstanding, as the officers of Ahaziah, and their men, who were sent to apprehend Elijah, were consumed by fire in like manner, whereby the prediction will have a more exact and literal accomplishment; and there are grounds to believe that their punishment, their temporal punishment, will be
closed in that manner, when they shall have filled the measure of their iniquity, and that judgment which is prepared for them comes to be put in execution; but whether they shall be destroyed by fire or otherwise, the denunciation is repeated, to denote that vengeance will not fail to overtake them, in one manner or other, sooner or later; most probably in this world, but most certainly in the next."
A literal interpretation is always preferable to a figurative one; and if we are right in concluding the two witnesses (as we have already done the two olive branches revealed to Zechariah,) to be representative of the filial and consoling Deity, in the comment we shall now in all humility presume in continuation to offer, there will be far less reason to have recourse to figurative interpretation, than in that just stated; and if we consider the witnesses as representing the Head of the church in conjunction with its members, it will nearly do away the necessity of any figurative interpretation. If any man will hurt the two olive trees, the two candlesticks, the two anointed luminaries, standing before the God of the whole earth-if any man will hurt the faithful members of Christ's holy church, he hurts, as it were, the apple of his eye. If any man hurts his weakest members, even one little one, who puts his trust in Christ, better, far better would it be for him to have a millstone slung round his obdurate neck, and be cast into the sea. If any man hurt and oppress the glorious cause of Christianity, the glorious religion which they the witnesses have in