The Two Sackcloth Witnesses
of Revelation 11
Part 1

Click or Tap Icons to Share! Thank you!
Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
December 23, 1998

Last Updated :
February 2, 2024

God's CrossWord Puzzle, Prophetic Pairs, Divine Inspiration Of God's Word, Zerubbabel's Mission, Christ's Seed Preserved Presence Of God's Anointing, Levitical Priesthood, King Saul, The Spirit Removed, Moses, Elijah, John The Baptist, Jesus, Our Candlestick, Burn Up The Wicked, Joy Of The Holy Ghost

As I point out in a number of articles, such as "Famous Forties: One Of God's Special Numbers?", God's Word is like a great CrossWord Puzzle. When we first accept the Lord, and begin to study His Word, our puzzle is almost blank. We may have the word "Salvation" filled in, but not much more than that. While we may possess all of the "Word Clues" which are needed in order to fill in the rest of the answers -- that is to say, to fill in the remaining blank spaces in our understanding -- it isn't until we begin to study and work with those clues, or verses, by the power and anointing of God's Holy Spirit, that we can begin to make progress towards completing the puzzle. It is for this very reason that the Apostle Paul admonished his readers in the following manner:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV

As it is commonly known to many students of the Bible, many of the events which occurred during the New Testament era, were hidden in the writings of the Old Testament Prophets. I like to refer to these Scriptural links as "prophetic pairs". The ones which I find particularly exciting, are those which bear a strong resemblance in their Scriptural references. Sometimes, these similarities are quite obvious, while at other times, a bit of mathematical juggling is necessary in order to reveal their common denominators. I share a small list of such Biblical jewels -- which I discovered during the course of my studies -- in "Famous Forties: One of God's Special Numbers?". As I point out in said article, the very fact that these prophecies were written literally hundreds and hundreds of years apart, by authors who never knew each other, is an amazing confirmation of how one and the very selfsame Spirit inspired their words. Consider the following verses:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
2 Timothy 3:16, KJV

"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
2 Peter 1:21, KJV

". . . My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer."
Psalms 45:1, KJV

One prophetic pair which I mention in the aforementioned article, is found in the prophecies of the Book of the Prophet Zechariah. In the fourth chapter, the Prophet writes about the following Angelic encounter which occurred to him sometime around the end of the "Seventy Years of Captivity" in Babylon:

"And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
Zechariah 4:2-6, KJV

In the previous verses, Zechariah is being given a special message to deliver to Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel -- whose name means "sown in Babylon" because he was born during the Jews' "Seventy Years of Captivity" -- was the son of Shealtiel, and the grandson of King Jehoiachin. As you may know from some of my other articles, King Jehoiachin surrendered to King Nebuchadnezzar after the Babylonian king laid siege against Jerusalem. He was held as a prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years, until the time of his release by King Evilmerodach, as we can determine by the following verse:

"And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,"
Jeremiah 52:31, KJV

As the following verses reveal, Zerubbabel was the leader of the first group of exiles who returned from Babylon. He was eventually appointed Governor over Judah. Along with men such as Ezra, Nehemiah, Joshua and the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, he was responsible for overseeing and inspiring the construction of the Second Temple. Not only that, but he was a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ. While rebellious King Zedekiah and his sons were slain by the Babylonian forces, in His Divine Wisdom and Foresight, the Lord had Jehoiachin taken to prison, where the seed of Judah -- and thus the lineage of Jesus Christ -- would be preserved until the captivity had ended:

"Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God . . . Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD."
Ezra 3:2, 8, KJV

"And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God . . . Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts . . . In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts."
Haggai 1:14, 2:4, 23, KJV

"And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;"
Matthew 1:12, KJV

Thus we see how important Zerubbabel was to the Lord's plan of Salvation for the world. In the previous verses from the Book of Zechariah, through the graphic example of the seven lamps and the two olive trees, the Lord wanted Zerubbabel to know that he must not depend upon his own human strength and wisdom in order to complete his task. Rather he must depend solely upon the spiritual anointing and power of the Lord. This symbolic presence of the Lord's Spirit and Power with the children of Israel, was first given to Moses by the Lord in the Book of Leviticus, as we see by these verses:

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually. Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the LORD continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations. He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually."
Leviticus 24:1-4, KJV

Thus we see that the olive oil and the lamps which the Lord commanded to be burned continually, represent the presence of the Lord's Spirit, Power, and Anointing. It is for this reason that when the Levitical priesthood was instituted, not only was the tabernacle and everything therein anointed with oil, but beginning with Moses' brother, Aaron, the Lord instructed Moses to anoint him, and his sons, with olive oil as well. Consider the following verses which are found in the Book of Exodus:

"And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them. And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons."
Exodus 29:4-9, KJV

"And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations."
Exodus 40:12-15, KJV

As I mention in "The Children of God and Politics", later, even though the stubborn Israelites rejected the Lord's direct rule over their lives as their only true Eternal King, when they began to have earthly kings to rule over them, the Lord instructed His Prophets to anoint them with olive oil as well. Consider the following verses which are found in the first Book of Samuel:

"Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me. And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people . . . Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?"
1 Samuel 9:15-17, 10:1, KJV

The purpose then of physically being anointed with oil by one of the Lord's Prophets, was to show that the Lord's Spirit rested upon a certain person, thus providing them with spiritual insight, strength and wisdom to do the job the Lord had given them to do. Just as a person can receive the anointing of the oil of the Spirit, the Lord can remove it as well when a person displeases Him. Such was the case with Saul. In fact, due to his own sins, even King David feared that the Lord might remove His spiritual anointing from him. Consider these interesting verses:

"But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him."
1 Samuel 16:14, KJV

"And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul."
1 Samuel 18:12, KJV

"Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me."
Psalms 51:11, KJV

So you see, it is indeed possible to lose the anointing of the Holy Ghost if we are not careful. As I mention in other articles such as "Elijah: Where Are the True Prophets of God?", and "Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?", when the Lord pours the oil of His Holy Spirit upon a person, unlike stubborn King Saul, when such a person yields himself to the Lord, he can be wonderfully transformed into a powerful beacon of light and truth, which will not only blind the adversaries, but like a laser beam, will also burn up their evil works of darkness.

Such was the case with many of the Old Testament Prophets and holy men. When Moses returned to Egypt following his forty years of humble exile, and following his encounter with the Lord on the top of Mount Horeb -- also known as Sinai -- at which time he received his spiritual anointing, the whole world eventually heard about the mighty wonders which had been performed by his hand before the proud pharaoh. At the time the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments for the second time, Moses petitioned Him that He would show Himself. The Lord's presence was so powerful, that we are told that Moses was only permitted to see the Lord's back parts, as we see by the following group of verses:

"And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen."
Exodus 33:18-23, KJV

It was the very next morning that Moses began his second forty-day period on top of the mount, while he received his instructions from the Lord. We are told that he performed a complete fast, and that once he returned to the congregation below, his face still radiated the awesome spiritual energy of the Lord; so much so, that he was forced to cover his face with a veil. It was only during his actual encounters with the Lord, that he removed it. Consider these verses which are found in the Book of Exodus:

"And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him."
Exodus 34:28-35, KJV

Moses, of course, was followed by many other mighty Prophets of the Lord. Hundreds of years later, when the Prophet Elijah held back the rain for three and a half years, evil King Ahab and all of Israel were humbly brought to their knees. Please consider this group of verses:

"And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word . . . And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth . . . And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain."
1 Kings 17:1, 18:1, 41, KJV

"But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;"
Luke 4:25, KJV

"Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."
James 5:17-18, KJV

When Elijah later called down fire from Heaven by the Power of the Almighty, in order to devour his sacrifice to the Lord, and thus vindicate himself as a true Prophet of God, the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal quickly grew weak in the knees before being destroyed by the same, as we see by this group of verses:

"And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there."
1 Kings 18:36-40, KJV

Later, this mighty powerhouse of the Lord performed similar miracles when evil King Ahaziah of Samaria suffered a fatal accident, and sent messengers to bring Elijah to the king. As with the false prophets of Baal, the first two groups of messengers were destroyed by fire from Heaven, as we see by this group of verses:

"Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly. And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight. And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king."
2 Kings 1:9-15, KJV

Of course, as many of us know, when Elijah's ministry came to its earthly conclusion, the Lord chose to miraculously take the Prophet to His Heavenly Abode by means of one final blaze of fiery glory, as we see with this verse:

"And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
2 Kings 2:11, KJV

As I explain in some of the aforementioned articles, while the New Testament does not reveal whether or not John the Baptist performed any kind of awe-inspiring, fiery miracles, we are definitely told by the Lord Himself, that John had indeed been heavily anointed with the oil of the Spirit, just like the Prophet Elijah. Thus, John became a burning light for the Lord. In the Gospels of Matthew and John, we find the following verses spoken by our Lord:

"Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come."
Matthew 11:11-14, KJV

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."
Matthew 17:11-13, KJV

"Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me."
John 5:33-36, KJV

Jesus did indeed have a greater anointing of the oil of the Spirit than did His cousin John. In fact, as I point out in other articles, Jesus was given the Spirit without measure. While John was indeed a burning light in the world, even he admitted that he was not the Light of Lights, but was only sent to prepare the way for the True Light who lights every man who comes into the world. Not only that, but this Light would symbolically devour His enemies like a burning flame. Considering the following verses:

"For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."
John 3:34, KJV

"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
John 1:6-9, KJV

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12, KJV

"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
John 9:5, KJV

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
Isaiah 9:2, KJV

"The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."
Matthew 4:16, KJV

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Matthew 3:11-12, KJV

Of course, the Scriptures also tell us that when we accept Christ into our lives, and are anointed by the oil of God's Holy Spirit, we are symbolically made into His image. We become small parts of the Greater Light. Someday this will become a physical reality when we finally receive our new glorified bodies, so that we will truly be as He is at this present time. For the time being though, we must do as Jesus says, and allow God to place us upon His symbolic candlestick, so that we too can give spiritual light to all those who are in the house. We must allow our flames to burn brightly by the Power of the oil of His Spirit. Consider the following set of verses:

"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:15-16, KJV

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2, KJV

One thing of which I can assure you, is that when the Lord chooses to light the oil of His Spirit in a person's life, whether it be that of His own Son, or of anyone else, the adversaries had better watch out. For as the Apostle Paul wrote:

"For our God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 12:29, KJV

God's Light burns bright, and His Oil burns hot!

However, not only does the oil of God's Spirit provide us with spiritual light, strength and anointing in our lives, but it also fills our lives with joy unspeakable. Rather than be sad and gloomy, we should be filled with the joy of the Holy Ghost. While John the Baptist was a fiery Prophet of repentance, he was also filled with the joy of the Holy Ghost. Once he had seen the true Lamb of God, and the Light of the world, he tells us in his own words that he was filled with joy, knowing that he had fulfilled the purpose which had been given to him by the Lord. I don't doubt that John went to his grave being a happy man. Consider the following group of verses:

"Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled."
John 3:28-29, KJV

"Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
Psalms 45:6-7, KJV

"And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."
Acts 13:52, KJV

"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
Romans 14:17, KJV

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."
Romans 15:13, KJV

"And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:"
1 Thessalonians 1:6, KJV

The previous verses from the Book of Psalms are really quite profound, being as they are actually a prophecy regarding the joyous reign of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that the first two times the word "God" is mentioned in those verses, it is referring to Jesus Christ. Furthermore, when King David writes "thy God", he is really referring to God the Father who has exalted Jesus Christ, His Son, above all of creation. These thoughts are made clear by the following verses which are found in Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews:

"For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
Hebrews 1:5-9, KJV

Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

Click or Tap Icons to Share! Thank you!

BBB Tools And Services

Please avail yourself of other areas of the Bill's Bible Basics website. There are many treasures for you to discover.