Sept. 6, 01

Over the last few weeks I have found myself dealing with various people who have claimed to be special messengers sent to rid this world of sin and depravity and pronounce their judgment as they see fit. One of the major elements of their dissertations and teachings has been their relentless pursuit of the belief that they are indeed, one of the two witnesses that are outlined in Rev. 11. Along with this outrageous assumption, there seems to also be a distorted belief that they are somehow better than other men are and that their mission is one of the highest importance in the hour in which we are living. These are the two ever-present signs of danger that seem to rear their ugly head when "messengers of delusion" come upon the scene. This isn't the first time that I have had dealings with them.

We are told in Phil. 2: [3] Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. [4] Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Now this doesn稚 mean that we are doormats and should allow others to walk all over us, but it does point to how we should view ourselves in terms of ambition and more properly, in humility. Remember that Christ did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped.

PHP 2:5-11 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Now let us look at the portion of scripture that speaks about these two witnesses from Revelation 11:

[3] And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." [4] These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. [5] If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. [6] These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. REV 11:7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. [8] Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. [9] For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. [10] The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. REV 11:11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. [12] Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

Every time that I have had dealings with people who have claimed to be one of these two "witnesses," I have always included the above portions of scripture for them to peruse and consider. However, somehow that doesn稚 seem to do the trick you know. Over so many years of believing these things, a distorted mind is quite difficult to change its misguided pathway. I have asked the question, "Will you or have you been able, to keep the rain from falling from the sky?" "Can you truly turn the waters to blood?" Usually there isn稚 an answer to these questions. They just know that they are on a mission and that "all these things will be answered at the proper time."

What I have seen can go one of two ways:

The person or person(s), reacts very angrily, and throws missiles of judgment at me, claming that this is what God has called them to, and no one must stand in their way. There may well even be prophecies that they will mention that somehow "proves" that their belief is indeed substantiated by others. Some may even go so far as to include records and testimonies from their mother and that their birth was unusual in some way or another and that they were somehow "destined" to be one of these two men.

The other reaction that I have seen is one almost more insidious than the above-mentioned account. This one takes the stance of a false humility that is very deceptive. They claim to be a lowly person; one who like Paul, is "the chief of sinners." They also claim to have a different name in heaven than their earthly one. This name of course, adds credence to their belief, and elevates them to a position of heavenly grandeur. Prophetic words will include these names, along with this false sense of humility that is really pride of the highest order and design. I believe that they truly do believe what they have said. The enemy has deceived them for so long, that what they have heard from him has become "truth" to them, over a period of time. They are lonely, confused, but very dangerous people. They are loose cannons upon the land. They may well pretend to be accountable to others, but only those who would support their distorted beliefs.

Also, as many of us have seen, when words and teachings have been sent to us from these individuals, one will usually see a spirit of annihilation and judgment that is ever-present. Almost always, the aspect of God痴 mercy is absent. Often they don稚 have any feelings of sorrow about how cities and individuals might be destroyed. After all, this is God痴 plan, isn稚 it? Don稚 get me wrong here, God痴 judgment is coming and it begins first with the household of God. But it is never "all-destructive" and there is always a sense of hope somehow wrapped within its message.

Finally, one of these individuals was concerned about how unity within the body of Christ has become destroyed. Actually, this is quite a very noble pursuit, but it is disguised with other things. Their idea is for us to give homage to the Virgin Mary and to include her with Christ as a "co-redemptive" plan for mankind. She is placed on equal footing with Christ, and the "Queen of Heaven" is of course the mother of Jesus. So, if we don稚 follow this guidance then we have missed out. We then have erred and unity of course will ultimately fail. My friends, this is not how unity will come. It can only ultimately come as come together in Him ONLY.

I値l leave us with this portion of scripture to dwell upon:

2PE 2:17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. [18] For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. [19] They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. [20] If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. [21] It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. [22] Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."


Stephen Hanson