Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] Two men lie dead in the street. For three and a half years, they’ve stopped the rain and condemned the world. The crowd around them cheers, sparking a celebration of their death. A party atmosphere breaks out and quickly spreads around the world. Their corpses are immediately seen around the globe through social media. People share photos taken next to their remains. All of the calamity that they’ve apparently brought on the world has finally come to an end.
The Bible paints a vivid picture of a powerful scene that lies ahead.
Who are these two individuals? Are they really the source of international troubles and tribulation that the world will soon see? Join me on Beyond Today as we examine: “Who are the Two Witnesses?”
[Announcer] Join our host Steve Myers and his guests as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Steve] The book of Revelation tells the story of four very powerful men and prophecies of the world that lie ahead. Bible prophecy tells us, the time of the end will be defined by world war, natural disasters, financial crises, and religious confusion. Jesus Himself predicted these future events, forewarning that everyone around the globe will be affected by these things.
Now if you’re honest, look at the challenges we face around the globe today. It’s not too hard to foresee the stress, trouble and adversity that this world is facing right there on the edge.
With humanity in turmoil, everyone will want answers to the seemingly insurmountable problems. But watch out! Christ said you could be fooled by those who come with apparent solutions. According to Jesus, deception will be rampant around the world. It will be a trying time on a global scale. As this scenario hits home, each one of us will feel the effects.
How can you be sure not to be taken in by deception? That’s exactly what Jesus Christ warned about.
It will be a challenging time, when it seems there’s nowhere to turn. But then, two men—a powerful political leader and a great religious leader, will come onto the world scene, seeming to bring answers to a world in crisis.
Stepping up to take on the world’s problems, these two men will help form a unified worldwide government that will enforce peace. They seem to be able to rid the world of those that oppose them and the apparent progress.
People will sigh a breath of relief when these two revive failing economies with a controlled system of buying and selling. Even more surprising, they’ll actually be able to work out differences between the world’s religions. Somehow, they’re able to unite mankind under a universal religion that unifies people around the world.
These men will gain the trust and support and love of the entire world as troubles seem to turn around and countries begin to hope for prosperity. Now in response, people around the globe will pay homage to these two men. Mankind’s outlook changes to one of hope for the future.
Sounds unreal, doesn’t it? Yet, this is not just some fantasy. The Bible promises that these events will actually happen in the future. Scripture describes the extent of the authority that one of these men will have. Revelation 13 portrays that man as an exceptional political leader: “…And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him” (Revelation 13:7-8). Just imagine that kind of power!
Now, add a second captivating personality. Together, these two individuals will not only be a political machine, but they’ll combine for a double dose: military power with convicting religious authority. That combination of religion and politics will be so overpowering that it will change the global landscape of world government, politics, worship and faith.
Consider the extent: Even atheists will become religious converts because these figures perform impressive miracles—miracles of biblical proportions. These things haven’t been seen since the days of Elijah the prophet.
Now can you imagine the impact? Seeing powerful, verifiable miracles? It will be hard not to believe it when you see it with your own eyes.
Once this impressive authority is established, these two men will actually have the power to call out and even kill anyone who does not obey and fall in line with their form of religious worship.
This new leadership will have extraordinary dominance and forceful authority. The people and the nations of the world will recognize that their own prosperity, their peace and their wellbeing is tied directly to whether or not they follow and obey these two villainous leaders. Even formerly powerful nations of the world will give up their control and yield to this new emerging world-ruling power.
But that’s not all…
While all this is going on, there will be two others that appear on the scene. In some ways, they seem like the first two. They too will act with authority and with power. They’ll also perform great miracles, but they’re very different from the first two.
Instead of selling a message of hope in exchange for obedience; they’ll deliver a message of condemnation and claim to be testifying on behalf of the true God. Revelation calls them the two witnesses.
Will people believe their message? Like a lawsuit presented to the court of this world, these two witnesses will directly oppose the ideas and evidence of the first two. Instead of giving false hope, they will clearly expose the sins of humanity and its leaders. They have a very different force behind them.
By divine authority and command, they will act with power against those who oppose them. They’ll bring drought on the nations who reject their message. Deadly punishment will be brought down on those who try to harm them. Their warning message will testify to the people of the world of impending doom unless they listen, repent and change their actions.
Two sets of powerful men—both claiming authority. Faced with this dilemma, who will the world choose to follow? Who would you follow?
After condemning the world and denouncing its people for three and a half years, finally, the world’s religious authority and its malicious political leader will kill the two witnesses who opposed their authority and exposed the sins of the world. The world will rejoice and celebrate their death. They’ll give each other gifts for refusing to listen to their message and choosing to side with the apparent winners.
Between these two sets of men, who would you choose to follow? Now imagine that you’re faced with that choice. Now don’t be too quick to think you know who stands for God. Don’t forget what Jesus said: Appearances can be deceiving. Is “seeing believing?”
The answers to these deceitful world leaders will be very enticing. After all, who wouldn’t want to bring unity to the world’s people after millennia of religious strife and political chaos? Who wouldn’t want to see a resolution to the economic turmoil that the world has suffered through. You see, these leaders will bring to the table what seems to be the solution—what people have been hoping for.
On the other hand, the message of the two witnesses will be one of destruction and condemnation. Could that be the right message? They’ll tell people they need to reject the words of hope brought by the world’s leaders. Well, what could be wrong with hope? Yet, the two witnesses blame not only the leaders, but the people—telling them they need to change. However, tragedy follows in their wake. Certainly, these two can’t represent what’s good, can they? Well don’t be so sure.
In Matthew 24:24, Jesus said that in the end time, these events will appear to be so confusing and messages so conflicting, that if possible, even the elect could be deceived. That’s true Christians—and even you could be deceived. What can you do? What should you do?
Jesus warned that something must be done now. We need to make sure that we know the true story of what will happen straight from the Bible so we can be prepared and not caught off guard.
The book of Revelation has much to say about what these four men—pairs of two powerful people—who will impact the world in the end time.
The two who end up murdered in the street are known in the Bible as the two witnesses. They’re God’s two witnesses.
They will stand up and testify for God and His Word and His Way at the time of the end. They’re the ones who will oppose the world’s political and religious leadership and convict the world of its sins. You can find their story in Revelation 11.
The other two men—those two leaders that convince the entire world that they have the answers to their problems—are pictured in Revelation 13 as wild animals, as beasts. One beast—the political leader—is said to come from the earth. The other wild animal—the religious leader—comes as a beast from the sea. What can it mean? How can we make sense of this strange picture from the Bible’s final book? And how can you keep from being deceived?
You need to have the answers. You need to know where to find them, because so many people will tell you that they hold the key. How can you be certain? Where can you begin to look for the true answers—the real solution?
Well there is only one place you can find real answers and true hope for the future That’s in the Word of God—His Holy Bible. The answer isn’t some great secret that’s hidden away. It’s right here, in plain text, black and white—right there in your Bible.
It reveals how to identify the true witnesses of God and how you can be prepared for what lies beyond today.
There is a reason that God calls them “My two witnesses” in Revelation 11:3. These two men will represent the Almighty. They’ll bring His message to do His will. And as they bring God’s case against this world, they’ll also fulfill the role of prophet.
Now on the other hand, two other men will lead the world in the exact opposite direction of God. The result will be that most people will mistakenly fall for this great corrupt leader, his evil political system and a counterfeit religious power. Now imagine that level of deceit! Revelation 13:8 says: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him.”
Now put yourself in that situation for a moment. There’s mass confusion as the world is in chaos. Two sets of men are delivering powerful but rival messages. Both sides are performing impressive miracles. Both have loyal followings. Both claim to represent God. How will you know who really represents God? Who will you follow?
You see, God doesn’t want you to be blindsided. He wants you to be equipped right now, to make a right choice when that time comes.
How can you evaluate whether someone truly represents God, or not? And how can you be absolutely sure?
Well, did you know that God has laid out simple straightforward guidelines so you can identify a true representative of God and who is a counterfeit.
Remember, these two deceptive world leaders will be able to perform legitimate miracles. It will look good. It will look spiritual. It will appear to be right. It’s not that hard to believe they might be able to make some correct predictions as well.
Well now what do you do? What if a man arises, claims to be of God and what he says actually happens? Should you believe him? That is the scenario that lies ahead.
These two pairs of men, the world leaders and the two witnesses, will both claim to speak on behalf of God. Both will do amazing wonders. Predictions will come to pass. But, how do you determine who truly represents God?
Well here it is—straight from the Word of God: “One of your people, claiming to be a prophet or to have prophetic dreams, may predict a miraculous sign or an amazing thing. What he predicts may even take place. But don’t listen to that prophet or dreamer if he says, “Let’s worship and serve other gods.” (Those gods may be gods you’ve never heard of.) The Lord your God is testing you to find out if you really love him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3, GW).
You see, a true prophet of God will speak according to Scripture—the Word of God.
A true prophet will call the world to change and to live godly lives—just as Jesus, our ultimate example, did.
A true prophet will tell it like it is and not hedge as he speaks the truth in love.
A true prophet won’t only say things people want to hear.
Isaiah, was a true prophet of God. He spoke to a world that was very similar to what lies ahead. Those that heard this message didn’t want to hear the truth. They preferred easy thoughts. “They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies” (Isaiah 30:10, NLT).
The people listening to Isaiah didn’t want to hear from God. They would rather hear lies, even knowing that they’re lies! Now isn’t it fair to say that that same attitude is here, right now?
Instead of a being counterfeit, a true witness, a godly prophet, will tell people the truth about God’s expectations. It will be a message brought in love. One that helps people to change and to come to a right relationship with their Creator. A true prophet will convict people of their sin and direct them to overcome by the power of God.
But that’s not all. Here are a few specific items: A true prophet will teach the proper worship of God—that He should be worshipped on the seventh-day Sabbath, just like Jesus commanded. True ministers will teach the world to obey the commandments and to truly love their neighbor.
A true prophet of God? They’ll tell the world that it needs to repent of it sins and to turn to their Creator. A true follower—will change, and obey the Great God who acts out of love and is ready to forgive all who come to Him.
That’s the kind of message the future prophets of God will bring—the message of Jesus Christ. Like the apostles of Jesus’ day, those two witnesses will not have a message that’s easy on the ears. Their message will cut to the heart of the people. They’ll directly confront a lifestyle of self-gratification and disobedience. They’ll declare the world must repent of its defiance to God. Yet, the people will refuse to listen to the evidence and they’ll choose to do just what they want.
How will the world respond? The reaction will be just like the response to another of God’s prophets: “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! We will do whatever we want” (Jeremiah 44:16-17, NLT).
Now at the same time, the other two ungodly men will counter with their own version of religion. It will seem good. It will seem right, yet it will point people away from the true God of the Bible. Incredibly, their message will be embraced and accepted and impact the entire world.
How could these false leaders succeed in doing that? Deceptive power.
They have the evil force of Satan backing them up. Notice Revelation 13:
“They worshiped the dragon who had given its authority to the beast. They also worshiped the beast and said, ‘No one is like this beast! No one can fight against it.’ The beast was allowed to brag and claim to be God, and for forty-two months it was allowed to rule. The beast cursed God, and it cursed the name of God. It even cursed the place where God lives…” (Revelation 13:4-6, CEV).
Though these end-time leaders promote peace and what seems like a wonderful unified religious system, it is not the true religion of God. It’s not true worship. The system they institute is a counterfeit that’s inspired by Satan the devil. They curse God by counterfeiting His Word and His way found in Holy Scripture. They speak against true religion. They speak blasphemies and persecute and even kill true worshipers of God. Revelation calls these leaders the Beast and False Prophet.
As the prophet Jeremiah predicted: “The prophets speak lies, and the priests take power into their own hands, and my people love it this way. But what will you do when the end comes?” (Jeremiah 5:31, NCV).
That is the question. What will you do?
The fact is, the end of this age will be littered with spiritual and religious deception. Only a very few will understand what’s really going on. So what can you do?
The only way to avoid deception and be prepared is to strengthen your relationship with God now.
Is it possible that you could already be set up for the deception? Do you think that the counterfeit religion will only appear at the end time?
That’s why we have to ask ourselves today: Does my faith follow the true teachings of Jesus Christ? Do I really “know that I know” what the Bible teaches? Do I go to church just to feel good or does my entire life reflect the mind of Christ? Jesus said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath day, and He and His followers will continue to observe the biblical festivals—not religious holidays that people observe today.
These are the hard questions you have to ask. But you’ve got to ask yourself: Do I truly follow His example? We’re told that as Christians, we have to walk as He walked. Do I know how He lived and what He actually taught?
Now’s the time to make sure you’re living by what you read in His Word. So, read about the life and teachings of Jesus and ask yourself, “Does my life mirror His? Am I changing my way of life, to follow Him?” Remember that Christ said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Your eternal life is at stake. It is that serious!
We’re warned that a time is coming when the people of this world will be overcome and devote themselves to evil. Revelation says that “All who dwell on the earth will worship him [worship the beast], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
There are serious times of tribulation and deception ahead, but you don’t have to be swept away. The answers are in the Word of God. Don’t trust any man. In fact, don’t take my word for it. Look to your Bible and read it for yourself. Stay close to God, obey Him, then you’ll find security in the truth.
Now in a moment, I’ll be joined by the Beyond Today panel to discuss how you can avoid being deceived. But first, let’s review what I’ve covered.
The time is just ahead when a worldwide evil political and religious system will be established. It will seem to be good. It will seem to be prosperous, but it will be run by a great dictator and evil religious leader—the False Prophet, who will enforce a perverted system of worship. They’ll be opposed by God’s two witnesses who stand for righteousness and truth. But they will not be believed—and will be killed. Yet, there is so much more to the story.
They will be raised and Jesus Christ will return to earth to destroy the Beast, his political system and the False Prophet and his fraudulent religion. Mankind’s distorted rule will finally come to an end and the wonderful Kingdom of God will then govern the earth in peace and in love.
Before that wonderful time, it’s almost hard to believe that most will be fooled by a great counterfeit. How could the world fall for false religion?
I’m joined by fellow hosts of the program, Darris McNeely and Gary Petty.
How is it that people will be taken in by a counterfeit?
[Darris] Well, when you understand what Revelation 12:9 says, that the entire world is already deceived by Satan the devil…
[Steve] So, now!
[Darris] Now! Religion, false religion, has been with us forever. There is a deception that has already come upon the world and the ability to discern the true God and truth. And, what has been described in your program about the witnesses then, shows the capstone to that deception through these two figures.
[Gary] Something else you even mentioned in the program, it will be such a time of chaos, it’ll be such a time of collapse of what’s happening in the world that people are going to be looking for saviors. And, you’re going to have this Beast and False Prophet come along and they’re going to seem like saviors to the world.
[Steve] I suppose when we talk about politics and religion, they’ll have the answer. When you pocketbook is good, well maybe the religion goes along with it.
[Darris] People will feel it is the ultimate answer.
[Steve] Now the challenge then though, as we consider these things, we don’t want to be taken in by this. So how do you avoid it? How do you avoid being taken in by the deception?
[Darris] How do you keep from being deceived? You keep the commandments of God. Which means that right now, the good question for all to consider is are you really keeping God’s commandments? And do you fully understand the testimony of Jesus Christ and how they work together for true religion today? That’s how you begin today.
[Gary] Jesus even said that if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived at this time. We have to realize, we have to be in that Book, we have to be in that Bible every day. We have to be on our knees every day. Right relationship with God. He will direct us. He will take care of us. But if we drift away, we can be deceived.
[Steve] Now part of the challenge too is, well maybe I grew up in a religious household, but have I ever looked into it for myself? That can be a big challenge.
[Darris] It is. And it’s everybody’s responsibility to make sure they are accountable to God and look and see what the Scriptures say. And again, don’t think that you’re right unless your righteousness squares with what the Bible shows.
[Steve] There will come a time when two men of God, hated by the world, will lie dead in the street. People around the globe will cheer and celebrate their death. But that is not the end of the story.
Just about the time everyone believes that they have been the evil ones—the breath of life from God will enter them and they’ll stand on their feet!
These two righteous witnesses are then resurrected to life proving the testimony of God.
There is no doubt—God will bring judgment, truth and justice. The prophecy of these two witnesses remind us that God always stands by His Word and His promise.
As you seek His will in your life, He’ll stand by you, too. So keep looking for His guidance in your life and always respond to God as He leads.
I hope you’ll dig deeper into the truth of the Bible. Now to help you to do this, we have a free Bible study aid: The Book of Revelation Unveiled. This valuable guide will help you better comprehend the book of Revelation. In fact, you’ll learn about the two witnesses, also the meaning of the seven seals, the four horsemen. You’ll also learn, what is the Day of the Lord, the signs of Christ’s second coming and so much more!
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Thanks for joining me today. Don’t forget our free offers and be sure to tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again next week for another edition of Beyond Today and join us in praying, “Thy Kingdom come.” For Beyond Today I’m Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.
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