The Two Witnesses = Two Lampstands = Two Churches


#1

I’m reading Revelation chapter 11 and was curious about who the two witnesses are.

According to Rev 11:4 and Rev 1:20, the two witnesses are actually two churches.
In letters to the 7 churches (Rev 2, 3) only 2 churches are not rebuked: Smyrna and Philadelphia. I’ve read online that these two churches are the Catholic and Orthodox church since they are the only churches that comply with the New Covenant (celebration of the Eucharist). Are there verses in scripture that support the correlation of these two churches?

Also, the two churches are given certain powers:

  • power to shut up the sky (keys to the kingdom of heaven?)
  • power to turn water into blood (authority to fight against the church’s enemies?)
  • power to plague the earth (?)

They are to prophesy for 1260 days (1260 years?).


#2

The Apocalypse of Saint John uses symbolic language in many ways, so we must be careful about novel interpretations.

Though the image of the “lampstand” is used both in Rev 1-3 and in Rev 11, they are not the same thing.

In Apoc. 1-3, they are symbols of the seven Churches.

In Apoc. 11, they refer to individual witnesses (Apoc. 11:10 refers to them as “two prophets”; a Church cannot be equated with a prophet, even if the Church has a prophetic mission or prophetic gifts.)

Traditional Catholic exegesis understands the passage as referring to a miraculous return of Elijah and Enoch, both of whom were assumed into Heaven and will return at the end of time.

Alternately, Moses has been suggested as one of the witnesses, as some of the powers ascribed to them resemble the plagues that God inflicted on Egypt through Moses.

More modern scholarship, which takes an orthodox-preterist perspective (i.e., much of Revelation was written before 68 AD, and is a prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman Empire) has proposed Peter and Paul as the two witnesses, as they were both martyred by Rome.

Moreover, I’m not sure how “Smyrna and Philadelphia” can be interpreted as referring to Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Do you have a source for your claims? :slight_smile:


#3

Question ? I know that the Pharisees and Scribes believed that Elijah would return prior to the Messiah. After the Transfiguration Jesus makes it very clear to his disciples that Elijah did return as John the Baptist. Is the belief that Elijah and Enoch will return at the end of time found in Scripture or does it come from Apostolic Tradition? Thank you.


#4

I believe it was small-t tradition. The Revelation/Apocalypse of John is very ambiguous about who the two witnesses are. It’s very symbolic and very easy to misinterpret (thus the continuing Protestant claim that the “whore of Babylon” refers to the Catholic Church). John may have had two people in mind, or he may not have. Remember, in Jewish law, the testimony of two eyewitnesses was the bare minimum required to convict a person for transgressing the law. And actually, this was the case in most Christian-majority countries until very recently with the advent of forensic science. So John is saying that there is enough evidence to convict the world for its decadence and refusal to follow the Triune God - yet no one will pay attention to the evidence that is more than abundantly clear (seen by everyone) and instead will attack anyone who stands up for the Truth.


#5

Thank you! :thumbsup:


#6

I was reading Walid Shoebat’s interpretation of The Two Witnesses here:
shoebat.com/2016/02/28/94146/
(the description of the two witnesses are further down in the page, SO WHO ARE THESE TWO WITNESSES?)

He mentions that St. Paul compares an olive tree to a church (Romans 11), and that in Revelation lampstands are also churches. Therefore, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to equate the two witnesses as the two churches

“These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth” - Revelation 11:4

As far as why he believes the two churches Smyrna and Philadelphia are the Orthodox and Catholic church is because they keep to the new covenant, which is the celebration of the Eucharist.

I don’t think he directly says, Smyrna = Orthodox, and Philadelphia = Catholic. It’s more of me trying to interpret how these two churches in revelation equate to the Orthodox and Catholic church.

**Note: These two churches in revelation are the only ones where it talks about “those who say they are jews, but are not.”

I don’t really understand who these people are today.


#7

Personally, I do not think that the “two witnesses” are symbolic images for two churches. There is only one true Church of Christ, not two. The others subsist to varying degrees within the Catholic Church, to a fuller or lesser extent.

For me, the reference to the two lampstands and olive trees are images lifted from the Old Testament Book of Zechariah. In this text, the “witnesses” are Zerubbabel, heir to the Davidic Kingdom of Judah, and Joshua the High Priest. These two figures led the ancient exiled Jews out of their seventy year long Babylonian Captivity back to the Promised Land where they oversaw the building of the Second Temple.

As such, the two witnesses represent the secular arm (Zerubbabel, heir to King David) and the religious arm (High Priest Joshua). The following commentary on Revelation 11:4-14 is from The Catholic Biblical Association’s 1942 book, A Commentary on the New Testament, page 668-669:

**11, 4-14: The Two Witnesses. The symbolism of this section is in general sufficiently evident with the exception, perhaps, of the two witnesses. Some have thought them to be Elias [Elijah] and Henoch [Enoch]; others Elias [Elijah] and Moses; others Josue [Joshua] and Zorobabel [Zerubbabel]. They have many of the characteristics of all the great prophets of Israel. But from the allusion in 4 to Josue, son of Josedec, and Zorobabel, John seems to imply that the two witnesses are the representatives of the civil and religious power among the children of God. Cf. Zach. 3, **4

The prophecy, therefore, presages the coming of two eschatological figures in the mould of Zerubbabel/Joshua, whose task it will be to lead the Church out of what private revelations refer to as the “minor chastisement” or 'three days of darkness" and into the Era of Peace predicted by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, during the First World War.

Just as the two “olive trees” of the exilic period of the Old Covenant restored the divine worship of the Jewish Temple, the “two witnesses” yet to come will spread the gospel and the power of the Church throughout the world so that a Second Pentecost can be ushered in.

In private revelations, two such figures are widely predicted: a so-called ‘great monarch’ and an ‘angelic pontiff’.


#8

St. Bonaventure and Ven. Holzhauser both developed a typological reading of the Old Testament, which interpreted it as being replete with ‘types’ that foreshadowed similar events that would transpire in the New Testament era.

Based upon this theory, they both interpreted the time we are living in at present to be the fulfillment or ‘return’ in the life of the Church of the Babylonian Captivity period of the Jews.

"…In the sixth age three things take place - excellence of victory, excellence of teaching, and excellence of the prophetic life…No one knows how long that time of great peace will last…The seventh time or age, that of quiet, begins with the shout of the angel who “swore through Him who lives forever and ever that there would be no more time; but in the days of the seventh angel the mystery of God will be completed” (Rev 10:6-7)…

In this age there ought to come a life through an order which will possess the prophetic life. This age is double. Just as in the Lord’s Passion there was first light, then darkness, and then light, so it is necessary that first there be the light of teaching and that Josiah succeed Hezekiah, after which came the tribulation of the Jews through their captivity in Babylon. It is necessary that one ruler, a defender of the Church, arise…

It was said to the angel of Philadelphia, the sixth angel: “He who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who opens and no man closes, closes and no man opens, says this - ‘I know your works, and behold I have placed an open door before you’” (Rev 3:7). And he said that now for the first time the understanding of Scripture would be given and that the revelation, or key of David, would be given to a person or a large group, but I think rather to a large group.

In the seventh age we know that these things will take place - the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the city, and the granting of peace. Likewise in the coming seventh age there will be a restoration of Divine worship and a rebuilding of the city. Then the prophecy of Ezekiel will be fulfilled when the city comes down from heaven (Ezek 40); not indeed that city which is above, but that city which is below, the Church Militant which will then be conformed to the Church Triumphant as far as possible in this life…"

- Saint Bonaventure (ca. 1217 - 1274), Minister General of the Franciscan Order, Seraphic Doctor (Collation 16:17-19. Translated by McGinn, B. Visions of the End, pp199-200)

And now we turn to Holzhauser in his Commentary:

"…The Sixth period of the Church - the status consolationis - begins with the Holy Pope and the Powerful Emperor and terminates with the birth of Antichrist. This will be an age of solace wherein God will console His Church after the many mortifications and afflictions she had endured in the fifth period. For all nations will be brought to the unity of the true Catholic Faith.

A type of this period was the sixth age of the old world, from the deliverance of the Israelites out of the Babylonian Captivity, and the rebuilding of the City and the Temple of Jerusalem, down to the Coming of Christ. As God gladdened His people by the rebuilding of the Temple and the Holy City; as all nations and kingdoms were subjected to the Roman Empire; and Caesar Augustus, the most powerful and excellent Monarch, after vanquishing all his enemies gave peace to the world - so will God pour out upon His Church the most abundant consolations…"

Here now is Holzhauser’s description of the Monarch and the Angelic Pope (i.e. the modern day Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two witnesses):

"…This is the lofty description of that mighty monarch sent by God. He is described as a ‘mighty angel’, for none can resist him, the envoy of God. He will ‘come down from heaven’; that is to say, he will be born in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The ‘cloud’ with which he is clothed signifies humility, with which, from youth upward and without any great parade, he walks in the simplicity of his heart. The protection of God is thereby indicated, that, on account of his humility, will encompass him.

The ‘rainbow about his head’ denotes that he will bring peace to the whole earth. The ‘solar lustre’ of his brow signifies the splendour of his glory, his honour, his holiness, his talents: so that all princes will follow his example. The ‘fiery pillars’ at his feet symbolize the vast extent of his power, and the fire of his religious zeal. ‘Open Book’ means that he will rule with justice…

The spread of the Church over all countries will take place by the instrumentality of this strong monarch, and before the destruction of the world, Christianity will be preached to all nations of the earth; as this is foretold in Matthew and Isaiah and in Micah. To this wide diffusion of Christianity allusion is made when John is obliged to measure the Temple of God (Revelation 11.v.1).

And John saw one sitting upon a cloud, with a golden crown upon his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. This is the second vision respecting the mighty monarch; the crown is that of the [restored] holy Roman Empire; the sickle in his hand, his unconquerable army…

And another angel came out of the Temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat upon the cloud, 'Thrust in thy sickle, and reap, because the hour is come to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe (Revelation 16.15). 7

This second angel of the Lord is that great and holy Pope, who, moved by God, will cry out the sanctuary of the church to that mighty monarch, to root out the tares of wickedness; for the harvest is over-ripe…Instructed by a divine revelation, the holy Pope will, by communicating the same, stir up the hearts of [other] rulers…that animated by one spirit, they will all adhere to the mighty monarch…"


#9

Holzhauser actually lived through a period of transition to our present world order, which began in 1646-48 during the Westphalian Peace Congress and consists of sovereign nation-states as opposed to the Imperial ‘Christendom’ of the preceding centuries.

He published a book of “Visions” in 1646, which was read publicly in the presence of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III and Duke Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, who were soon to participate in the negotiations of the Peace of Westphalia beginning that year. One of those visions is relevant to our discussion:

books.google.co.uk/books?id=vGtPAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA127&lpg=PA127&dq=bartholomew

**"…In one of his visions, Holzhauser saw two mighty thrones, whereupon sat respectively the supreme representatives of the temporal and spiritual power, and which overshadowed the whole earth; thus realizing, on a more gigantic scale, the medieval theory of the papal umpirage and imperial advocacy…

The next two visions, have clearly reference to the future triumph which the Church, after the tribulations and anguish she has had to endure for the last three centuries, is yet destined to celebrate on earth…"**


To the hawk-eyed, this description of a future Monarch and Pope may remind folk of Chapters 3-4 of the Book of Zechariah which describes Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel, the Jewish Prince and Governor, as the two figures who would lead the Jews out of their captivity in Babylon and return them to the Promised Land under the guiding hand of the liberating Persian Monarch Cyrus the Great, where the Second Temple was to be constructed.

After King Cyrus had permitted the Jewish exiles in Babylon to return to Jerusalem, Joshua the High Priest travelled back to the Holy City along with Zerubbabel, who was appointed governor of the Persian province of Judah by King Darius I of Persia.

*Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”…

And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then 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 of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”…

“These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth.” Then I said to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?” And a second time I answered and said to him, “What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil is poured out?” He said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
(Zech 3-4)*


Joshua stood for the spiritual power of the Jewish Priesthood, Zerubbabel for the temporal power.

John of Patmos based his description of the Two Witness upon Zechariah.


#10

Emmet O’Reagan, a Catholic blogger and theologian who often writes articles on eschatology, referred to this same theory in one of his posts:

unveilingtheapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-two-olive-trees-of-zechariah.html

**Bearing these insights in mind, we can now back to discuss the significance of Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel in the interpretation of the Two Witnesses of Rev 11. First, it should be noted that symbolically speaking, the Roman Catholic pontiff is the best modern day equivalent of the Jewish High Priest, since for Catholics the pope is the Pontifex Maximus (Latin “high priest”). The Jewish High Priest was the top ranking priestly official in the Temple at Jerusalem, and was tasked with performing the sacrificial rituals in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Given that the role of the High Priest in Judaism instantly brings to mind the role of the Bishop of Rome in Roman Catholicism, it is no great leap to suggest that Joshua the High Priest in the vision of Zechariah can be equated with a pope in an eschatological context.

There are also some parallels between Zerubbabel and the Great Monarch, given that he was the rightful heir to the lost kingdom of Judah. The Great Monarch of various private revelations is similarly described as the rightful heir to the now lost French Monarchy or the Holy Roman Empire - which ended with the abdication of Emperor Francis II in 1806. So given that the Two Witnesses of the Apocalypse are based on the coming of the High Priest of the Temple of Jerusalem and the heir to the lost Davidic kingdom after a period of desolation, this would further suggest that these two end-prophets are in fact the Angelic Pope and Great Monarch of Catholic prophecy - who are foretold to restore the Church from a state of apostasy before the coming of the Antichrist…

In the Book of Revelation, the salvation, power and kingdom of God (i.e. the Second Pentecost) arrives once Satan has been thrown down from his adversarial position in the heavenly court, and cast to the earth. In Zechariah’s vision, Satan has been allowed to test Joshua - and his sins are visually represented for all to see in the soiled priestly vestments. But just as Satan is thrown down from heaven after accusing the Christian brethren day and night in Rev 12; Satan is rebuked in Zechariah’s vision, and Joshua the High Priest is allowed to wear clean robes at the end of the Babylonian exile.

The Book of Zechariah describing Joshua the High Priest changing from garments soiled by the apostasy of Judah, to new clean vestments in the restoration at the end of the Babylonian exile, recalls several similar passages in the Book of Revelation which are related to themes of redemption and the Second Pentecost…

I think the prophecies of the Great Monarch are among the most mysterious. He is almost always linked with the Angelic Pope, who anoints him as king. Given the current secular climate, it is hard to imagine the reestablishment of any of these defunct monarchies. But when the Second Pentecost begins to arrive, perhaps many countries will wish to right the wrongs of the various revolutions, and want to re-establish the Holy Roman Empire. But of course the pope has the power to anoint anyone as king any time he choses, so it doesn’t necessarily have to happen by popular acclamation. It seems that the Great Monarch will remain hidden until the appointed time, but as I argue in the below post, it seems that he is connected in some way to the appearance of the “Great Sign” in Catholic Prophecy, much in the same way the Roman Empire was converted after Constantine’s vision of the Labarum above the Sun:

unveilingtheapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/great-sign-in-catholic-prophecy.html**

I think the true realm that the Great Monarch will conquer is spiritual rather than spatial in nature. His victory will be over hearts and minds, rather than won on the battlefield.


#11

The author makes one error in his article above: The Holy Roman Empire was the German Monarch under the rule of the Austrian Hansburg Dynasty in Vienna, not the French.

Otherwise, I reckon he makes salient and very worthwhile points.


#12

The “Great Monarch” nonsense all came out of the longing for a renewed Roman Empire in Europe. Well, there isn’t one, there isn’t going to be one, and every “great monarch” candidate in European history turned out to be something more like the Antichrist. St. Bonaventure was a great saint, but in this, he came up with silliness.

Zerubbabel wasn’t a king. He was a Jewish bureaucrat serving a pagan state. He served as governor of Judea under King Darius of Persia. He was of the Davidic line, but he was just another governor or satrap, with no more power than any other governor in the Persian Empire. He did serve God and Israel wisely; but he didn’t rule bupkis.

So by this analogy, you wouldn’t be looking for a “great monarch” at all. You’d be looking for a “grand vizier” or “great bureaucrat,” like the OT Joseph or Zerubbabel. A “superb subordinate,” if you will.

And no, none of the earlier Revelation commentaries get into this kind of “great monarch” silliness, much less the idea that Smyrna and Philadelphia breathe fire and control the rains. I also don’t think I’ve ever heard of any Byzantine commentaries getting into that, and they still had the Roman Empire right there!

Sigh. I think I’ll stick with the Fathers of the Church on this, rather than relying on Walid Shoebat or even the good St. Bonaventure.


#13

Cool it mate! :smiley: :wink:

Yes, this may be total nonsense and way off the beaten track. But I think there is no need to get worked up over a bit of innocent speculation based upon St. Bonaventure’s interpretation of Revelation.

Actually though, I must correct you on one point: the Holy Roman Empire was alive and well when St. Bonaventure espoused this theory and its earlier attestation pre-dates Charlemagne by at least a century. Longing for the bygone days of Constantine seems to be a more likely candidate for its origins. So I don’t think it arose from any desire to restore the Holy Roman Empire given that this only collapsed in 1801 (well, 1919 if you date it to the Fall of the Habsburgs).

That is more of a modern re-interpretation of much older material by some disaffected monarchists of a weirdly ultra-traditionalist bent.

The important thing about the prophecy, at least of St. Bonaventure, is that he did not predict an “emperor” or “king”. He predicted a “ruler” that would defend the Church. It need not be a royal figure, simply a political leader.

As far as Zerubbabel is concerned, he successfully managed to restore the Temple and Divine Worship. That is the significance of his role and the reason why Zechariah designates him as one of God’s “olive trees” and “lampstands”. If Sacred Scripture praises him and God chose him for this task, who are we to discredit? St. Bonaventure merely believed that a future “ruler” would arise to fulfil the same role for the Church and the evangelization of the world. He may be sincerely wrong but why question the judgement of the venerable Doctor by calling it a “nonsense”?

By the way, who is Walid Shoebat? :stuck_out_tongue: (joking)


#14

First off, you should remember that the Greek text doesn’t say just “witnesses.” The words “dysin martysin” also mean “two martyrs.”

Insofar as the two lampstands/witnesses/martyrs represent anybody besides the two prophets and their corresponding NT guys, Ss. Peter and Paul, they are generally held to represent the Jewish and Gentile Christians together as one Church (“the light of the world” which is not to be set under a bushel basket, but put up on a “lampstand”). Oecumenios talks about this in his Greek commentary, and Primasius talks about it in his Latin one.

There is also another meaning. The two lampstands represent the OT and NT, which give knowledge that illuminates the whole world, and pour out an unfailing oil of knowledge. Tyconius and Primasius both talk about this.

All the Church has the power to pray for protection against her enemies, to pray for justice from God (which will consume the damned and the demons in eternal fire), or to convert her enemies (which consumes them with fire in a different way!). The bishops of the Church all have the power of binding and loosing, which can make the rain of sacramental blessings stop falling upon the earth. (Tyconius and Primasius both talk about this too.)

St. Primasius has a very nice little moral interpretation of the two witnesses. After he talks about “the Church that preaches and prophesies on the basis of the two Testaments,” he goes on to talk about the “two kinds of witness. On the one hand, there is the witness of one’s manner and character. This witness occurs in the heart and is known by God alone… Also there is the witness of one’s deeds, which is accomplished publicly in the view of all, when the opportunity of persecution arises.”

But in general, those are spiritual or moral meanings. The literal meaning is that there really will be two witnesses running around preaching at the end of time, and all the Fathers talk about that. They will oppose the false signs and wonders of the Antichrist with real signs and wonders.

Whoever “Pseudo-Hippolytus” was, he has the gentle thought that “even in the last times, [the Lord] shows his care for mortals and pities them. For even then, He will not leave us without prophets, but will send them to us for our instruction and assurance, and to make us give heed to the Adversary’s coming…”

There’s a powerful minority opinion that one of the Two Witnesses will be Jeremiah, whose death is not recorded in the Bible; some Jewish traditions say that he was taken up to Heaven. St. Victorinus pointed out that since Jeremiah was never a “prophet among the nations” during his lifetime, this would be a nice fulfillment of the Lord’s declaration in Jeremiah 1:5. (Although the OT’s distribution among us Gentiles would seem to take care of that one!)

Hope this helped!


#15

It’s true that there is only one true Church of Christ. However, in revelation, it says:

“the seven lampstands are the seven churches” - Rev 1:20

If there is only one church, then why does revelation mention 7 different churches?
Perhaps, there is one true spiritual Church of Christ, but all earthly churches can be represented by the 7 churches?

In the book of revelation, “lampstands” are only symbolically used as churches.

So in Rev 11 about the Two Witnesses:

“These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth” - Rev 11:4

What are the olive trees?

“These are the two anointed ones who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth” - Zechariah 4:14

People of the church are anointed:

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One” - 1 John 2:20

Since the two witnesses are the two lampstands (churches) and are the two olive trees (anointed churches), it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that the two witnesses are two churches.

On the 2nd coming of Christ:

“But keep on alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to** stand before** the Son of Man” - Luke 21:36

So at the 2nd coming of Christ, we (Catholics) are to stand before Him.

Why the Catholic and Orthodox churches are the Two Witnesses:

  • They both believe in the Holy Eucharist and the real presence of Christ.
  • They keep to the new covenant by celebrating the Holy Eucharist.

The Time of the End:

“From the time that the regular (daily) sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days” - Daniel 12:11

“but in the middle of the week he (Antichrist) will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” - Daniel 9:27

It looks like at the time of the end, the Antichrist, will stop the “grain offering” (celebration of the Eucharist). Why is it important to the Antichrist to stop the “grain offering”? Is the “grain offering” very important to those who believe in Christ? Yes, it is!

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” - John 6:54

“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” - Luke 22:19

“‘Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘nor will I accept an offering from you.’ For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,’ says the Lord of hosts.” - Malachi 1:10-11


About the Great Monarch and the Angelic Pope, I haven’t read much about it. Are you saying that the Great Monarch and the Angelic Pope will be the Two Witnesses?
How do they fit in with St. Malachy’s prophecy?

I have read a bit about St. Malachy’s prophecy of the Prophecy of Popes and it appears that Pope Francis is the last?

  1. John Paul II - “of the eclipse of the sun” -> When he was born, as well when he was buried, there were eclipses on those days

  2. Benedict XVI - “Glory of the olive” -> The olive tree is a symbol of the Benedictine order

  3. Pope Francis - “Peter the Roman” -> Refers to himself as the “bishop of Rome.” Wears the Piscatory Ring (depicts St. Peter fishing from a boat)


#16

So that means that Protestants, Restorationists, Oriental Orthodox, Nestorians, Messianic Christians and other groups are not part of “the Church,” apparently. And yet, “the Church” is the communion of saints, consisting of all believers living and dead – that is pure exclusion.

St. John of Patmos was actually writing to literal, existing churches in his day. He was not speaking of “future churches.” These were real churches in the Greek world, followers of Christ.

There is not “two lungs” to the universal Church because we are one in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:28).


#17

No, I am not suggesting that the Great Monarch and Angelic Pope predicted in various Catholic private revelations are the Two Witnesses.

What I have suggested is that, if the Two Witnesses are to be identified with Zerubbabel/Joshua as the olive trees in Zechariah’s vision, then this may make it plausible to argue for an amalgamation of the two sets of prophesied figures.

The Monarch and Pope are described, in every private revelation pertaining to them, to be the ones who will spread the Gospel before the End.

This is the same role predicted in public revelation for the Two Witnesses.

To that extent, they could be one and the same but not necessarily.


#18

So that means that Protestants, Restorationists, Oriental Orthodox, and Nestorians are not part of “the Church,” apparently. And yet, “the Church” is the communion of saints, consisting of all believers living and dead – that is pure exclusion.

That’s ~900 million, 20 million (Trinitarians only), 86 million, and 0.6 million in that order respectively… that’s 1,008,600,000 Christians left out (or 1.008 billion Christians).

So that is 1,008,600,000 Christians who are not part of the church you’re referring to; 1,500,000,000 Christians are part of that church (being Catholic or Eastern Orthodox). Over one-third (1/3) of Christendom is missing!

St. John of Patmos was actually writing to literal, existing churches in his day. He was not speaking of “future churches.” These were real churches in the Greek world, followers of Christ.

There is not “two lungs” to the universal Church because we are one in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:28).


#19

If there is only one church, then why does revelation mention 7 different churches?

Seven is the number of completion, and of the Covenant. For example, there are seven days in the first week of God’s Creation, but only one Creation and one week. There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they represent all possible gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are seven spirits with Christ in the first chapter, but they collectively represent the one Holy Spirit. And so on.

That’s in the most ancient interpretation of Revelation that we have, my friend. The earliest work on Revelation that we know about was by Tyconius, who was a Donatist, but whom we know preached the oneness of the Church with great fervor. We have bits of quotations from his Revelation commentary, but we have pretty much the entirety of his general work on the principles of Biblical commentary. (Which was used and quoted extensively by St. Augustine, even though he was a big adversary of Donatism.) But if you don’t want to believe that, you can read a lot of contemporary and ancient stuff about Jewish numerical symbolism in the OT, and you can easily see how it is used in the NT.

A lot of people, including extremely early commentators like St. Victorinus, point out that the letters to the seven churches echo Paul’s choice [or the Lord’s choice of what survived to become canon for us] of there being seven cities to which he wrote letters. To speak to seven churches was to speak to the whole Church.

Victorinus: "The seven churches, each of which He calls by name, to whom the letters were composed, which are not the only or the principal churches. But what He says to one, He says to all. (cf. Mark 13:37) It makes no difference whether a military troop of a small number of soldiers, or by it the whole army, is indicated.

"Finally, as in Asia, so in the whole world: seven churches as all. Paul taught that the seven named are the one Catholic Church. Indeed, at first, so he might keep this (rule), he did not exceed the number of seven churches, but wrote to the Romans, to the Corinthians, to the Ephesians, to the Thessalonians, to the Galatians, to the Philippians, and to the Colossians. Afterwards he wrote to individual people, but did not exceed the number of seven churches, as he summarized in brief in his preaching to Timothy: “so that you will know how you must behave in the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God. (1 Tim. 3:15)”


#20

[quote=Mintaka] To speak to seven churches was to speak to the whole Church.
[/quote]

So Revelation chapters 1-3 were only speaking of the churches at the time of John and didn’t refer to future churches or events (which the rest of the chapters do)?
And all these churches are Catholic churches since the great schism and reformation didn’t take place then? That makes sense.


As far as the two witnesses being literally two people, I’m still not convinced.

When it mentions the two witnesses, it defines them as:

“these are the two olive trees and (are) the two lamp stands”

When it mentions them as prophets, the verse doesn’t define them as prophets; but only describes them as prophets:

“because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth”

Even so, if we were to literally say the two witnesses are literally two people. Then are the two witness also literally two lamp stands, and literally two olive trees?

First off, you should remember that the Greek text doesn’t say just “witnesses.” The words “dysin martysin” also mean “two martyrs.”

That’s interesting. I also notice that in Rev 1:5 it refers to Jesus as the faithful witness (martyr) as well.

All the Church has the power to pray for protection against her enemies, to pray for justice from God (which will consume the damned and the demons in eternal fire), or to convert her enemies (which consumes them with fire in a different way!). The bishops of the Church all have the power of binding and loosing, which can make the rain of sacramental blessings stop falling upon the earth. (Tyconius and Primasius both talk about this too.)

It also mentions that the two witnesses have the power to “turn water into blood.”
In Chp 17:15, it refers to water as “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (who are controlled by the harlot). Is this to say that the two witnesses have power to wage war against their enemies? If the witness is the Church, then would the Church be justified in waging war against her enemies? (crusades?)

So according to St. Primasius, the Church preaches and prophesies? Since the Church prophesies, couldn’t you say that the Church is symbolic of being a prophet?
And if the two prophets are also the two witnesses, which are also the two lamp stands (churches), and two olive trees (anointed churches), couldn’t you interpret the two witnesses as two churches?

If these two witnesses will be martyred (Churches will be destroyed?), could it be referring to the the great apostasy/falling out? In revelation it does talk about people rejecting Christ and instead “worship the beast and his image.” And if you don’t worship the beast and his image, you will be “beheaded” (Rev 20:4) So if Catholic Churches are attacked and priests are killed, is this what revelation is speaking of?


Just to note, I don’t fully understand the book of revelation and don’t claim to know everything about it. I’m only trying to make sense of it all. So far the Two Witnesses being Two Churches makes sense.


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