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Having brought the ministry of the Two Witnesses up to the present time (2010-11) by the third cycle of 1,260 years, we can now discuss the meaning of Rev. 11:7.
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."
Because there are three endpoints of their 1,260-year ministry, we should see this "war" manifesting in three ways.
The first cycle of 1,260 years ended in 1293-1294 with the rejection of Peter (Morone as well as the Apostle) and the ascension of Pope Boniface VIII. The foundations for this "war" were laid with Boniface's Unam Sanctum, wherein he openly declared that which had already been done in practice--namely, he usurped the throne in much the same manner as King Saul had rebelled and usurped the throne of God in ancient Israel.
Boniface claimed the right as pope to have the power to overrule the precepts not only of the apostles but of Jesus Christ Himself. (I quote his decree extensively in my book on The Seven Churches in the chapter on the Church of Thyatira.)
Yet even before this, while ex-pope Celestine V was enjoying his privacy in his mountain cave after resigning his position, Boniface had him arrested and cast into prison. Celestine did not mind being fed old bread and water in the prison, for he was used to such a diet already. It was the poison that killed him.
Thus Boniface performed a sign of the war that was soon to come. Wycliff had begun his ministry at the same time, translating the Scriptures into the common languages of the people. He was called "The Morningstar of the Reformation." The Protestant Reformation was about to begin.
The first war on the saints was about to begin in earnest, and this coincides with the rise of the Church of Sardis in prophecy, explained in my book, The Seven Churches. It was primarily a war against those who "protested" against Rome's usurpation of power.
The second war on the saints began with the French Revolution, as the beast from the earth arose and began to conquer the world by the power of money and banking. Revelation 13 shows that this beast would also be successful against the beast from the sea (the religious beast of Rome), but the real point of Rev. 11:7 is to show its success against those considered to be "Protestants."
During the two centuries given to this second beast, they succeeded in overcoming most of the Protestant denominations as well. Their tactic was different, however. Instead of persecuting the people directly, or outlawing the formation of those denominations, their agents simply infiltrated their seminaries, learned Christian language, and rose to the top to take control and to subvert them from within.
At that point, it was relatively easy to begin the process of diverting their goals from establishing the Kingdom of God to a more "earthly" goal of promoting "social justice." Jesus was turned into a great Teacher and Example for us to follow, but they discarded the laws of the Kingdom and thus undermined the success of their own self-professed goals.
In my view, the key issue was to discredit the laws of God by re-attaching them to the Old Covenant. In the name of brotherly love, they discarded the divine law as being unmerciful, unloving, cruel, and even evil, pointing to the Old Testament methods of application.
They were able to make a case that the divine law was either uninspired or irrelevant to us today. That is the general condition of the Church of Laodicea today.
Keep in mind that the overall context of Revelation 11 is that it is a time of treading down "the holy city" (11:2) until they are killed in "the great city." The end result is given in verse 8,
"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."
Jerusalem is not mentioned by name here, but it is clearly referenced and equated with Sodom and Egypt. This is because the Witnesses are not killed in the physical city itself, but by a religious viewpoint. It is behind the moral corruption of Sodom, the oppression of Egypt, and the zealous but lawless "traditions of men" found in Jerusalem.
In other words, the death of the Witnesses and the success of the war on the saints lies in the fact that the Old Covenant religious viewpoint prevails over that of the New Covenant. Hence, Old Covenant lawlessness prevails over New Covenant lawfulness.
The rise of modern Zionism is just another manifestation of this war on the saints, for it seeks to re-establish the old Jerusalem, the Old Covenant, the old priesthood, the old sacrifices, the old temple, and the old Talmudic "traditions of men" as the basis of their "kingdom."
Many of the modern Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic denominations, who broke away from the mainline Protestant churches, have been captured by the beast from the earth through a false view of prophecy. It really began with Dispensationalism and has progressed into Christian Zionism.
Such people need to read my commentary on the book of Hebrews called Immigrating from the Old Covenant to the New. Or just read the book of Hebrews itself and realize that the New Covenant is not a temporary convenience during an Age of Grace. Nor is the New Covenant for "gentiles" only, while the Old Covenant is for "Jews." Jesus broke down the middle wall of partition, creating one new man (Eph. 2:14), and we have no business rebuilding it.
Finally, we are now at the end of the third cycle of 1,260 years, as I showed in yesterday's weblog. We can see that the 1,260-year period from 750-751 A.D. brings us to the general time frame of 2010-2011, but as we look at our time with the microscope of history, we can see that there is once again more than a single end point.
Keep in mind that there is long-term prophecy and short-term prophecy. The long-term prophecy in this case is 1,260 YEARS. In no way does long-term prophecy necessarily preclude a short-term prophetic fulfillment. In fact, we are now far enough into this to see that there is indeed a short-term fulfillment taking place. It is observable, though the book of Revelation speaks in generalities and establishes principles, rather than fine details.
The first identifiable short-term starting point occurred in March of 2006 with the 2,520th anniversary of the completion of the Second Temple (in 515 B.C.). We understood then that we were entering into a 3-1/2 year time of building and preparing the vessels of the True Temple in heaven. This first time period ended in September of 2009, if you recall, and the vessels began to be filled with oil on October 13.
A second began on June 21, 2009 in the midst of my West Coast trip, which I wrote about in my weblogs at the time. On June 21, 2009, while in Sacramento, CA, we were led to establish prophetically a three-fold ministry representing the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. We understood that this began a period of 3-1/2 years that would end on Dec. 21, 2012.
Will there be a third cycle later? I do not know. We must walk this out as it comes. We are presently in the beginning of the new Prophetic Year for 2010 that began November 12. The first 76-day period ends January 27, 2010.
It is a time of "death and resurrection," as I explained a few weeks ago. It is now plain to see that this has a connection to the death and resurrection of the Two Witnesses. We are seeing patterns being established, but our knowledge is yet partial while we walk through this. There is much we do not know yet, but I intend to keep you informed as best I can.