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One of the things that the Two Witnesses in The Revelation represent is spiritual authority, or spiritual power. Spiritual authority and power are generally regarded as evil today; but that is because the world is in rebellion against the authority and power of God. Jude said that evil people will "despise authority". (Jude 8) But Jesus promised that we would receive authority (or power) when we have been filled with his Spirit. (Acts 1:8)

The devil tells people that they do not have to follow anyone, least of all God, and when he has convinced them of that, then he reveals himself to be the real master of their souls. As Bob Dylan's song puts it: "You're going to have to serve someone. It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord; but you're going to have to serve someone."

As we seek to serve the Lord, and to become his instruments here on earth, we begin to realise that there is a great spiritual dearth around the world. There is a great lack of (and need for) spiritual authority.

There is no shortage of people trying to pretend that they have spiritual authority. There are lying signs and wonders everywhere. There are people amassing weapons, and amassing wealth, in an effort to promote their various doctrines. But the real power and real authority that can only come from God is sadly lacking. And this is because such authority can only come through total submission to God, and through a deep hunger for more of his Spirit.

This authority and power that is so badly needed today, is represented by the Two Witnesses in The Revelation, who, without wealth, and apparently without a political base to work from, manage to gain the attention of the entire world. It may well be that they do not succeed in getting a single soul to follow them; but they do succeed in making themselves heard, and making the world know that the message they have to deliver is really from God. That is the spiritual authority and power that is needed in the world today. And we believe that it can only come through total submission to Jesus Christ.

The teachings of Jesus appear to be calculated to create failures. We cannot get popular support by hiding all of our acts of charity, as he tells us to do. We cannot become rich by refusing to accept gifts from people who are not worthy to support us. We cannot impress religious people if our fasting and praying must also be done secretly. We cannot win the friendship and respect of leaders and relatives if we refuse to use titles of respect (e.g. Sir, Your Honour, Mum, and Dad). We cannot win members if we offer them a life of poverty and social ostracism.

Jesus tells us to teach people to give up everything, and to lay down their lives in sacrifice and service to one another and to God. Our experience is that no one wants to hear such a message today. And because of that, it is tempting to alter the message, so that we can at least have a small organisation to show for all of our efforts throughout a lifetime of serving God.

But this is where the vision of the Two Witnesses must come into our calculations. Would you rather be the founder of a huge religious organisation, or would you rather be one of the Two Witnesses?

Obviously, if there are only two witnesses, then we cannot all be one of those two. But what they represent is genuine spiritual authority and power. The choice we are offered is this: You can either compromise the message in an attempt to create an easier way (for yourself and for those who choose to follow you), or you can have God's anointing on your ministry, to the extent that, like it or not, the world will know when you have spoken that what you have said has truly come from God and not just from your own wild imagination. The choice is really up to you.

True spiritual power cannot be generated by any amount of human wisdom. Talk is cheap; but spiritual authority is not.

The Apostle Paul said, "My authority was not with human wisdom... but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." (1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

We have taught for some time now that an evil generation seeks miracles, and that such sensational entertainment will not be given to it. However, it does not mean that miracles in themselves are wrong. The true role of a miracle is to act as an official endorsement for a true messenger of God. But a true miracle cannot be achieved by any other means than through total submission to God. The miracle will not, in itself, convert anyone. But if it is a genuine miracle, it will not leave people unchanged either. They will know that God passed their way.

In today's world, where lying signs and wonders are eagerly sought after by religious leaders and followers alike, a genuine miracle is likely to have just the opposite effect. It will infuriate the godless rebellious masses. The Two Witnesses will be able to do amazing and irrefutable miracles (not the lying signs and wonders of today's religious showmen), but it will not make them popular. Far from it!

The Bible says that the Two Witnesses will be able to call down fire from heaven on their enemies. And yet when some of the original apostles suggested doing that to people who had refused accommodation to them, Jesus rebuked them. (Luke 9:54-56) Paul said to the Romans, that if we would love our enemies, we could, just by loving them, heap "coals of fire" on their heads. (Romans 12:20-21) This is the way to truly call down fire on our enemies.

Our own understanding is that the Two Witnesses spoken of in The Revelation really are able to literally and physically destroy their enemies, and they will do so with the full authority and power of God. However, we also understand that the way to "train" for such a ministry is not to go around cursing people. The way to train for it is to go around loving people... blessing them that curse us, and just generally turning the other cheek. The more we love our enemies, the more we infuriate them, and the more spiritual authority we experience. It is up to God to choose when to turn that love into a consuming flame that will wipe out our enemies.

For most of us, we will never see that day come in this lifetime. We will go to our graves loving enemies who appear to triumph over us with their lies and deceptions. But we will go to our graves with the same authority that the Two Witnesses will have.

Throughout the three and a half years of the Tribulation, Christians will be slaughtered for their faith. The Bible promises us that; and we should not shy away from such a truth just because it is uncomfortable for us. Even the Two Witnesses themselves will be killed in the end. But this violent and hateful reaction from the world will only be because they sense that we do have the authority and power of God in our lives.

Yes, we need to cultivate the vision of the Two Witnesses, and we need to be prepared to risk everything to have the same spirit that they will have. We could compromise and we could, as a result, achieve worldly success; but for every shortcut that we take, we will be forced to sacrifice more of the anointing that only God can give. Compromise will make us lukewarm and useless to God.

We can build our own little empire, or our own little sanctuary, or we can turn loose of it all and build the eternal, invisible kingdom of heaven. We can go for recognition and success in this life, or we can gamble it all on the life to come. Please join with us in gambling it all on the life to come.

(See also Miracles, Charismaniacs, and Divine Authority.)

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