We are in a period of time just before the Great Tribulation. “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 11:1-2). Shortly after the “measuring,” the two witnesses must appear. “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (verses 3-4). These two lamps represent the Philadelphian and the Laodicean eras (Revelation 3). But does that mean one witness will be a Philadelphian and one a Laodicean?
These two men are to prophesy for 1,260 days. That means they start prophesying at the very beginning of the Great Tribulation and continue until the end. The point is, they are ready to prophesy for God when the Tribulation starts. These two men have great power. “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will” (verses 5-6). Would a Laodicean leader have the faith for God to use him so forcefully? If he didn’t have the faith to do God’s warning Work, could he have the faith to demonstrate such power? Where in the Bible can you find God using a “blind” Laodicean-type leader who is about to be spewed out of His mouth to do such a job? (Revelation 3:14-19).
True Philadelphians did God’s Work in both the Philadelphian and Laodicean eras. Even though this is now the Laodicean era, God’s Philadelphia Church still does God’s Work. Only they are willing to “rise and measure the temple of God” (Revelation 11:1), or do God’s Work. So the godly representatives from both eras are Philadelphians. The two witnesses are called two lamps (“candlesticks” is not a good translation). And we know these lamps (two witnesses) are both burning at the beginning of the Tribulation. So it is really the lamps on which God is focusing. The Laodiceans do not have a lamp—so how can a Laodicean be one of God’s witnesses or lamps? These two lamps or witnesses could only come from the Philadelphia Church, where God’s lamp is located!
The Cross: Pagan Symbol or Symbol of Faith?
There was a lamp in the Philadelphia Church (under Mr. Armstrong) during the Philadelphian era. There is a lamp in the Philadelphia Church during the Laodicean era. There is no lamp in the Laodicean Church. A lamp or light cannot come from a Laodicean Church that is in the dark!
The faith of the two witnesses is burning brightly. That is why God works through them with such power. You will never see such power demonstrated in a Laodicean Christian.
Though you and I are in the Laodicean era, we must do a Philadelphia work. The lamp is burning brightly if we do our job. If we say a Laodicean leader is one of the two lamps, or two witnesses, it is a contradiction in terms.
The two witnesses are also called two olive trees. That means they have olive oil, which is a type of God’s Holy Spirit. “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” (Zechariah 4:2). There is a candlestick or lampstand and seven lamps, a type of the seven Church eras.
Notice that the olive trees are mentioned first, before the two lamps (Revelation 11:4). There is a reason why. You must have oil before a lamp will give light. This light is seen in individual saints, but it primarily refers to God’s Work. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). God removed the lamp from the Ephesus era to the Smyrna era. The Ephesus era no longer did God’s Work. The lamp had been moved. So we must always associate the lamp with God’s Work. Who is doing God’s Work today? The Philadelphia Church of God—they have God’s lamp.
During the Tribulation, the two witnesses will be the only ones doing God’s Work—supported by God’s Philadelphians in a place of safety. But remember, the two witnesses represent God’s Work in the Tribulation—that is where God’s lamp is glowing to the world. It is simply the Elijah Work continuing in these two men.
How do we do God’s Work? “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 4:6). It is a hard lesson for men to learn that God’s Work is done not by high-ranking evangelists or money, but by God’s Holy Spirit! God’s Holy Spirit flows through the two witnesses.