Jesuit Origins of Futurism PROVEN


EDITED BY Rand Winburn

Revelation 11: The Two Witnesses

The Controversy:
    (1) Is the Temple of God a literal, rebuilt Jewish Temple or is it spiritually applied to the Church, the    temple of the Holy Spirit?
    (2) Are the two witnesses literally Enoch and Elijah, or Moses and Elijah, or God’s people through the Ages who witness against the Beast, the Antichrist, in the Spirit of the Old Testament prophets?
    (3) Are the time periods literal or is one day symbolic of one year?
    (4) Are the miracles performed by the two witnesses literal or allegorical?
    (5) Is the great city in which their dead bodies lie literal Jerusalem or spiritual Jerusalem, Babylon Rome?
    (6) Is their resurrection literal or is it allegorical of new witnesses arising by the power of God?

Jesuit/ Futurist Interpretation

1582 Jesuit Rheims Bible Annotations:

        (1) [Editor’s note: The Rheims Bible is silent on the issue of the Temple of God.

            (2) “Enoch and Elijah, who are still alive in Paradise, are commonly expounded [as the two witnesses]……They shall return into the company of men in the end of the world to preach against Antichrist, and to invite the Jews and Gentiles to penance, and so be martyred, as this place of the Apocalypse seemeth plain….All the [Protestant] Heretics commonly contend against our interpretation, incredulous in discrediting it.” [Editor’s note: Limiting the two witnesses to two literal Old Testament prophets who return to earth from Heaven is pure Futurism.]

          (3) They shall tread underfoot the holy city forty two months: “Three years and a half, which is the time of Antichrist’s reign and persecutions.” [Editor’s note: This teaching is pure Futurism.]

          (4)  [Editor’s note: The Rheims Bible is silent on the issue of miracles performed by the witnesses?

            (5) And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord also was crucified: “He meaneth Jerusalem, named Sodom and Egypt for the imitation of them in wickedness. So that we see his chief reign shall be there, though his tyranny  may extend to all places of the world.” [Editor’s note: This teaching is pure Futurism.]

          (6) [Editor’s note: The Rheims Bible is silent on the issue of the resurrection of the witnesses.]

1590 Jesuit Ribera Revelation Commentary:

[Pareus on Ribera, re: Rev. 11]:

          (1) “Ribera acknowledges that here the ‘temple’ signifies the Church of God.”

          (2) “The Papists [including Ribera], indeed, imagine that there are strictly two witnesses and no more….These witnesses, they claim, are Enoch and Elijah, whom they affirm to be alive and in Paradise reserved for this purpose, that they may return to earth and resist Antichrist.”

          (3) “Generally speaking, all the Papists today follow the principle that the 42 months are astronomical months, making 3 ½ years. From this arose the received popish opinion that Antichrist should only reign for 3 ½ years.”

          (4) [Editor’s note: Pareus does not mention Ribera’s view of the miracles performed by the witnesses.]

            (5) “Ribera interprets the ‘great city’ as Jerusalem, the seat of Antichrist.”

          (6) And [the two witnesses] ascended up to heaven in a cloud: “Ribera and the Papists interpret this as the miraculous restoration and glorification of the two witnesses, Enoch and Elijah.” [Editor’s note: Ribera views this as the specific ‘Rapture’ of Enoch and Elijah only, not the general ‘Rapture’ of the Church, but a ‘Rapture’ nonetheless, though Ribera does not use the Latin term for ‘Rapture’: ‘raptus’ or ‘rapere’.]

1867 J. N. Darby Synopsis of the New Testament - Revelation:

          We are here at once in the center of prophetic subjects — Jerusalem, the temple, the altar, and worshippers (chap. 11)…. God gave also an adequate testimony — two witnesses — what was required under the law; and they continue day by day constantly to give witness the whole period, or half-week. The witnesses were in sorrow and reproach, but with power; as Elias and Moses were when the people were in apostasy and captivity…..Nor could they be touched while the half-week of their prophecy lasted; their word brought death on their adversaries…..The beast, now their hour is come, slays them, and their bodies are cast into the highways of the city….but in three days and a half, quickened by the power of the Spirit of God, they ascended to heaven in a cloud, not as Christ did, apart, but in the sight of their enemies…..Thus we get the close of the half-week indicated….This is the first half: man’s wrath, and God’s judgment.” [Editor’s note: Darby teaches a literal rebuilt Temple, in literal Jerusalem, with two literal witnesses, though he does not identify them. They perform the miracles literally, for a literal 3 ½ years, and literally resurrect. Furthermore, we have here the first indication of the origin of the Gap Theory of the ‘missing’ 70th Week in Daniel 9. The Jesuits did not posit 7 years of Great Tribulation. They taught only 3 ½ years under Antichrist. Dispensationalist Darby, however, taught Chapter 11 as encompassing only the first 3 ½ year period of Tribulation under Antichrist. Chapter 12 and following encompass the second 3 ½ year period, thus fulfilling the ‘lost’ 70th Week of Daniel 9.]

1909 Scofield Reference Bible Annotations:

          “The great tribulation is the period of unexampled trouble predicted in the passages cited under that head from Psalm 2:5 – Rev. 7:14 and described in Rev. 11 – 18. Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev. 3:10), it is yet distinctively ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’ (Jer. 30:7), and its vortex Jerusalem  and the Holy Land. It involves the people of God who have returned to Palestine in unbelief. Its duration is three and a half years, or the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27, Rev. 11:2-3). The elements of the tribulation are (1) the cruel reign of the ‘beast out of the sea’ (Rev. 13:1), who, at the beginning of the three and a half years, will break his covenant with the Jews (by virtue of which they will have re-established the temple worship, Dan. 9:27), and show himself in the temple, demanding that he be worshipped as God, (Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4)….” [Editor’s note: Scofield teaches a literal rebuilt Temple; the great city is Jerusalem; the time periods are literal, denoting the reign of Antichrist. In his commentary on Rev. 20, Scofield lists Elijah as one of the witnesses, but is silent regarding the nature of their miracles. He is also silent concerning their resurrection.]

1973 Hal Lindsey Revelation Commentary:

          (1) “What Temple, then, was John referring to? There can only be one answer – a yet-to-be-built structure! In Daniel 9:27 the Prophet Daniel predicts that the coming Antichrist will make and later break a covenant with the Jewish people of the Tribulation period, allowing them to re-institute animal sacrifices. There is only one place where a God-fearing Jew would venture to offer a sacrifice – in the Temple in Jerusalem!”

                (2) “Now who are the two witnesses going to be? I believe they will be Moses and Elijah!… the coming Tribulation both Moses and Elijah will get a chance to finish their ministries.”

          (3) “During this period of 42 months (equivalent to three and a half years) Jerusalem will see nothing but war…..Before God allows the murder of these [witnesses], however, they will have preached for 1,260 days. Using the Biblical year of three hundred and sixty days, this comes out to three and one half years….”

          (4) “Notice in Revelation 11:16 that the two witnesses have the power to cause drought by withholding rain (Elijah’s most famous Old Testament miracle) and to turn earth’s waters into blood (one of Moses’ most famous miracles). These two prophets will duplicate their Old Testament miracles during the Tribulation period!”

          (5) “The ‘Beast that ascends out of the pit’ refers to the coming Antichrist, a European who will set up headquarters first in Rome, then later in Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem the Antichrist will hear the preaching of the two witnesses. He’ll be so infuriated at their straightforward gospel witness that he will ‘make war against them’ and kill them! Their bodies will lie in the street of ‘the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.’ This is a derogatory reference to the apostate city of Jerusalem.”

          (6) “….all of a sudden the bodies [of the witnesses] come to life again! Right in front of the dumbfounded onlookers the resurrected men rise up to heaven in a cloud!” [Editor’s note: Lindsey teaches a literal rebuilt Temple, in literal Jerusalem, with literal Moses and Elijah witnessing, with literal miracles, for a literal 3 ½ years, who literally resurrect. He follows Darby in viewing this period as the first 3 ½ years of the ‘missing’ 70th Week of Daniel 9.]

1982 Jack Van Impe Revelation Commentary:

          (1) “Now we find that a third temple has been erected. It is probably not the final millennial Temple of Ezekiel 40 through 48, but one which is built during the Tribulation hour and used sacrilegiously by the beast who claims to be God (see 2 Thess. 2:4). This temple, its altar, and the attendants are Jewish…..Notice that this temple has nothing to do with the Church which is already in heaven (chapter 4, verse 1). It is for Jews...”

          (2) “There has been a great deal of discussion concerning the identity of these two witnesses. Most Bible scholars believe they are either Elijah and Moses or Elijah and Enoch…..There is no doubt Elijah being one of the witnesses…..Personally, I believe that Moses will be the other witness because he appeared with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration….”

          (3) “There is no doubt about the literalness of this seven-year period…..One does not have to be a mathematical wizard or a calculus genius to discover that the Tribulation is a full seven years in duration. Take it literally! During the final half of the seven years, two witnesses appear.”

          (4) And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed: “This can be nothing but supernatural power and intervention. The fact that the two witnesses have superhuman anointing is evident from the next verse…..Thus, the Tribulation ministry of these two supernaturally anointed prophets will be but a repeat performance [of the miracles performed in the Old Testament by Moses and Elijah].”

          (5) “Since the Lord was crucified in this city, we know it to be Jerusalem. The term great city is the Holy City (Jerusalem) of verse 2.”

          (6) “A miracle of spectacular proportions is about to occur! Elijah and Moses receive the same treatment as the raptured saints in Rev. 4:1. Hallelujah!” [Editor’s note: Van Impe follows Lindsey exactly, teaching a literal Temple, in literal Jerusalem, with literal Moses and Elijah witnessing, with literal miracles, for a literal 3 ½ years, and who literally resurrect.]

1999 Tim LaHaye Revelation Commentary:

          (1) “Several passages of Scripture refer to the Temple of the end time. In Matthew 24:15 the Lord Jesus referred to the ‘abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel,’ indicating that at the end time, in the middle of the Tribulation period as Daniel predicted, a temple will be desecrated by the Antichrist. In order for this to be fulfilled it must first be built. Likewise, in 2 Thess. 2:1-13 the Apostle Paul predicted that the Antichrist, in the middle of the Tribulation, would defy God by sitting in the Temple of God and presenting himself to the world as God. In order for him to do this that Temple has to be rebuilt.”

          (2) “A variety of fanciful suggestions have been offered  as to the identity of these two witnesses. Because God has not chosen to tell us exactly who they are, we can only offer a suggestion. Some of the most reliable suggestions are Elijah and Enoch, Elijah and John the Baptist, or Elijah and Moses…….it seems more than likely that Elijah is one of the two witnesses……Moses is an integral part of the Jewish family tradition. It seems logical, therefore, that he will become one of the witnesses, for Moses and Elijah combined represent the entire Old Testament to the Jewish nation…..Thus the two men in Jewish history who most speak of God’s dealing with the nation Israel are Moses and Elijah.”

          (3) “Two periods of time are measured here: 42 months and 1260 days. Since they are identical, they may well refer to the equal division of the Tribulation period. These two measurements of time could refer to the first half of the Tribulation period; those mentioned in Rev. 12:6 [1,260 days] and 13:5 [42 months] probably refer to the last half, since here again both types of description are used.” [Editor’s note: Splitting the ‘lost’ 70th Week of Daniel up into two distinct periods is pure Dispensational Futurism.]

          (4) “At this point, colorful and dynamic individuals come on the scene as the special witnesses of God. God will give power to them. These two witnesses will have the power to send fire out of their mouths and to kill those that try to persecute them. They also will have the power to shut up the heavens ‘so that it will not rain’ (11:6), that the earth might be covered with a great drought. They also will have power over waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all manner of plagues. This power is for the purpose of witnessing God’s power in distinction to that of the Antichrist……They will be on the scene during the first half of the Tribulation period to counteract the lying wonders of the Antichrist.”

          (5) “The completely degenerate and inhuman characteristics of people living during the Tribulation period is seen in Rev. 11:8, which informs us that the bodies of the two witnesses will be left open in the streets of Jerusalem. The Holy City will be so degenerate spiritually that she will be called Sodom and Egypt – Sodom being a symbol of immorality and Egypt a symbol of materialism. The lives of the people going back to occupy the Holy Land today are anything but holy. They seldom even attend synagogues on the Sabbath.”

          (6) “Then suddenly ‘a breath of life from God entered [the two witnesses] and they stood on their feet.’ As our Lord was crucified, buried, and in three days rose from the dead, these men, after being slain and exposed to the eyes of the world, will hear the voice of God resurrecting them. A cloud will receive them out of sight in the face of their enemies. It is no wonder that ‘terror struck those who saw them.’ The resurrection of these men will be the final confirmation that they were men of God, another illustration that God does not forget His own.” [Editor’s note: LaHaye, a literalist, follows, exactly, the standard Futurist teaching of Lindsey and Van Impe.]

Protestant Reformed Historicist Interpretation

1618 Thomas Cartwright, A Confutation of the Rhemists….:

[Editor’s note: Cartwright only answers the Rheims Bible notes. Thus, he does not address all the issues of controversy noted in the header.]

(2) “By ‘two witnesses’ is meant a few faithful Ministers which God will raise up here and there amidst the power of darkness in the greatest strength of the Antichristian reign, according to His promise of never quite taking away His Word and His Spirit from His Church, not in the greatest wastes and desolations of the Church. And yet this scarcity and rarity of able Ministers of the Gospel shall be so moderated that the Lord shall not leave Himself without provision for witnesses of the truth of the Gospel as may be sufficient as well for the salvation of those in the ruins of the [false] Church, out of whom He will deliver [His people]. These same Ministers whom God raises up for a special work will, within the confines of this Babylonian confusion, preach the deeper condemnation of that usurper, the Antichrist of Rome.

          “Here if it be asked why the Apostle used the number ‘two’ rather than another, it may be answered: First, because the Law of God requires this minimum number of witnesses to try a matter of controversy (Deut. 19:15); and secondly, according to his accustomed manner of alluding to the prophecies under the Law, he might make his speech conformable to the prophecy of Zachariah, which he evidently alludes to (Zach.11:14). Look [for the fulfillment of this prophecy] in the Acts and Monuments of Master John Foxe, and that of Flacius Illyricus’ book called The Catalogue of the Witnesses of the Truth. And as this exposition frameth well with the words of the Apostle, considering his manner of writing throughout this book which is almost entirely figurative, consisting of tropes, thus it is strengthened by the context, so that whosoever shall oppose this truth (after considering the context) shows himself either full of conceit, or given over to a love of his own opinion, without any reverent regard of the truth, though it hits him square in the face. For first, how shall only two witnesses and no more, and in so short a time frame as 3 ½ years, in one city only – Jerusalem, as the Jesuits have it - I say, how can they make the truth of the Gospel known to all the Nations, Tongues and Tribes of the earth, since, for the proclaiming thereof in the Kingdom of Christ, besides many Prophets and Evangelists, it was necessary that twelve Apostles, endowed with such virtue and power of miracles and gifts as were never before seen nor shall ever be again, and continuing in their ministries for several years, having been sent to all coasts and corners of the world? Not to mention the ordinary Ministry of Pastors and Teachers (who, in the language of the Jesuits are called Parsons and Vicars), whom the Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists appointed for the continuation of the work which they had begun. Unless, therefore, these two witnesses had the voices of thunder itself, reaching to the ends of the earth, it is impossible for only two men to accomplish that which this prophecy predicts will be done. Secondly, how could the Nations, Tongues, Tribes and People behold their dead bodies in Jerusalem, when those who maintain the teaching that the Jews will be restored to their ancient country, make them the rulers and governors thereof? [It is illegal under Jewish Law to allow a corpse to remain unburied one day, let alone 3 days, Deut. 21:22-23] Thirdly, who will allow that the city [and temple] of Jerusalem will be rebuilt (upon which this dream of theirs subsists)? Where is their warrant for such an allegation? On the contrary, our Savior Christ had it razed to the foundations so that all the world might know that the Ceremonial Law is utterly abrogated……

          “[Furthermore, it is impossible that Enoch and Elijah are still in their flesh in Paradise] because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. If, therefore, it is true, as we Protestants hold, that these two are already freed from all corruption, then how can a sinless immortal be made mortal? It is true that the souls of a few departed have, for the glory of God, returned to their bodies again [e.g., Lazarus], but to say that those who have been perfectly blessed in body and soul should be sent from the height of happiness back to the lowest, basest, greatest misery upon the earth needs a much sounder argument then that which the Jesuits have attempted here.

          “Also, by declaring Enoch and Elijah to be those two witnesses who are killed for their testimony, the hope of eternal life is dashed, since though they have both gone to heaven, yet allegedly God has returned them to earth to suffer great persecution and martyrdom. What then can be said of the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection, whereby we teach the immortality of our bodies in the Kingdom of Heaven? This doctrine is clean overthrown by alleging Enoch and Elijah as the two witnesses!

          “The testimony of the Scripture, Matt. 17, has been shown to be speaking of John the Baptist, who is called ‘Elijah’ because of the similar gifts of the Spirit possessed by each, and also because of their conformity in the repair of the great ruin of the Church in which they labored. The Jesuits quote Malachi for confirmation of their doctrine, yet they lay hands upon their own cause. For seeing it is well known that the Prophets under the Law (in any prophetic utterance of things to come) reach no further than to the time of our Savior Christ. Our Lord has hidden the specific prophecies which concern the Church after Christ in the writing of the Apostles, especially in John. It is evident that the prophecy of Malachi must be understood of John the Baptist…”

          (3) That the doctrine whereby is taught that Antichrist comes 3 ½ years before the end of the world is a vain fable hath been before declared upon by me in 2 Thess. 2., and that it hath no credulity in this prophecy is evident. First, by the words forty two months is not meant a precise term of years, but (according to its usage in Scripture in divers places) an uncertain time for a certain; and yet so, as thereby he teacheth both that the time of persecution shall not be at the pleasure and lust of the world, but according to the will of the most High; and also that for the chosen’s sake it shall be cut short [Matt. 24:22], for which cause he later calls it time, times and half a time [Rev. 12:14]. And even in this very chapter, that which he first calls forty two months, he later calls twelve hundred and sixty days, which are both 3 ½ years. He then uses the time period of 3 ½ days, [all relating to the same time of great tribulation.] For who doubts (especially seeing it in our day) that during the whole time of Antichrist’s persecution the Ministers of the Gospel are most cruelly handled, and for not only 3 ½ days. His rage against them is so great that he cannot be satisfied with their blood alone, but he makes the fire of his indignation also feed upon their dead bodies. This is yet further confirmed when the Apostle in this Book notes one and the same time known to God alone indifferently by an hour, day, month, or year. Further, that the forty two months cannot be taken precisely for 3 ½ years only, it is manifest, for after the 3 ½ year period there are yet still other events which must take place; e.g., the slaughter of a great part of the wicked City, as well as a conversion, under God, of another part. The Jesuits well know these conversions will not be effected by a trental of Masses, but must be wrought by some good continuance of the preaching of the Gospel. Last of all, when the two witnesses whom they imagine to come into the world after Antichrist, and who go out of the world before him, are said to preach 3 ½ years during the same time frame that Antichrist persecutes, [it is impossible, if they come after him and are killed before he is killed]. Thus, if the one should not be understood of a specific length of time, neither should it be inextricably tied to the other! [Editor’s note: Like Pareus after him, Cartwright does not necessarily posit a year for a prophetic day in this chapter, as other Protestant Commentators do. Thus, he is not dogmatic in postulating the length of time the witnesses and Antichrist will run their course. But one thing is certain, he does not hold to a literal 3 ½ years for either the witnesses or Antichrist, having proved the impossibility of so short a time in which to fulfill all the prophecies.]

            (5) “The City of Jerusalem is not the seat of Antichrist. For not only is there no attempt at rebuilding it [and the temple], but all the other reasons previously mentioned negate that possibility. Furthermore, the description of the ‘great city’ in no way agrees to it. First, Jerusalem was never called ‘Sodom’. Neither are the banished Jews characterized anywhere in the world as Sodomites because of their proclivity for partaking in such monstrous uncleanness. But all the world knows, both by word of mouth and by reading of their books which defend homosexuality, that such a description most agreeably fits Rome and its Clergy. Again, it is also well known that the title of ‘spiritual Egypt’ cannot agree to the Jews, who today abhor the gross idolatry and adoration of creatures, showing no evidence whatever in suddenly changing their worship into one of palpable idolatry. This particular sin of Egypt is one which most properly agrees to Rome, the Western Babylon, the mother of spiritual fornications, which in her worship of bread is more filthy than the Egyptians ever were, though they worshipped venomous snakes. As to the other point, that it is called the place where Christ was crucified, it cannot agree to the City of Jerusalem. For first, it was impossible that our Savior Christ be crucified inside the city. He needed to be crucified outside the City if the prophecies were to be exactly fulfilled, Hebrews 13:12. Secondly, He was not crucified by any authority of Jerusalem or its Jews, John 18:31, but rather by Rome, who held dominion and had the sole authority to execute. This agrees perfectly to papal Rome, who executes Christ in His members, and especially His Ministers.”

 1573 William Fulke Revelation Commentary:

         (1) And the Angel stood by, saying, arise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein, etc. Although in certain manuscripts the words, and the Angel stood by, are not found, yet I doubt not but John understandeth that this was the speech of that noble Angel Christ who he had described in the previous chapter. For Christ is the master builder of His Church, under whom all the ministers of the Word labor in preaching and spreading abroad of the Gospel to building up of the same holy temple. Therefore, Christ commandeth to measure the temple of God, the altar and those that worship in the temple: By which sign He teacheth that the whole Church, which is signified by the temple, that the true worship of God, which is signified by the altar, and that all parts and members of the Church, which are shadowed by those who worship in the temple, shall forever be built up and preserved in safety, the which would vanish away, except by His aid and defense, and by the ministry of the Word they would be propped up, even as if by pillars.”

          (2) “After that the Lord, in the previous figure of measuring the temple, hath promise to build up His Church, now He shows by whose industry and labor He will perform the same. Verily, it is by the ministry of His Word and those ministers which He will always raise up to Himself for this work; yea, even in the midst of the storms of persecutions. He promises, therefore, that He will raise up to Himself at least two witnesses, which the Law requires for the confirmation of every cause, even when the greatest multitude, drunk with the doting vanities of Antichrist, refuse sound doctrine. [The Papists] commonly interpret the two witnesses to be Enoch and Elijah, though Moses and Elijah are actually implied in the verses which follow. But it is absurd and against all reason to limit to certain, specific persons these things which are spoken of all ministers of the Word, whom Christ promises to appoint even in dangerous and perilous times…..Christ promises to furnish them with the necessary and agreeable virtues and gifts of grace, so that by the space of 1,260 days they shall valiantly and boldly execute the office and duty of prophets, in teaching, reproving and comforting. This occurs for the duration of 42 months, while the holy city is trodden down of the Gentiles. He counts the same time period also by days, so that we might not think the Church deprived for lack of teachers for even one day. For, although the Antichrist, his prophets and adherents think the Gospel to be buried, yet the Church will always have sufficient witnesses to preach Christ. Although the names of all those faithful witnesses are unknown to us due to the injury of the times, we do have knowledge of some,  such as the Waldenses, Wickliffe, Huss, Jerome of Prague and others.

          “They are clothed in sackcloth, etc., persuading men by all means to repentance from idolatry and other works of darkness. Moreover, Christ does not fill this honorable office of witnesses with golden Popes, purple Cardinals, nor mitered bishops, but base men of the abject people, clothed in sackcloth. Their dignity is not to be esteemed by their apparel, which is very course, but by the office which is committed to them.”

          (3) And the holy city they shall tread under foot 42 months… The wicked and profane Gentiles shall tread under foot, that is, shall grievously oppress, persecute and afflict the Church of God, for the full space of 42 months; that is, for that time which Christ grants that Antichrist may rage in cruelty against the godly. Some Reformed count the time period from the first persecution of Christians by Roman Emperors until the time of Constantine’s granting peace to the churches. I allow that opinion, but I personally believe a better solution may be found in understanding the numbers to represent a certain fixed and determined time period though the numbers vary from 42 months, to 1,260 days, to time, times and half a time. For all comprise 3 ½ years, which is one half of a prophetic week, which is also called 3 ½ days. By this, allusion is made to the weeks of years in Daniel 9 [whereby 1 week = 7days = 7 years because 70 weeks = 490 days = 490 years]…..”

          (4) Fire proceeds out of their mouths, etc…. That the world may not escape unpunished in despising the simplicity of the witnesses, the Lord pronounces that their word against the reprobate shall be like fire, which may burn them to ashes, and deliver them to be burned with eternal flames. For it is the savor of death unto death to those that perish. In vain, therefore, does the Pope commit the bodies of the saints to be burned with literal flames, seeing that he shall be much more grievously tormented forever with their fiery spirit. This verse teaches with what earnest zeal the godly preachers ought to burn against the wicked enemies of the Church of Christ, not to fear their cruelty because they have in readiness the vengeance that is to be taken against all ungodliness. [By ‘shutting heaven’ and ‘turning the waters to blood,’ etc.,] the Lord alludes to the history of Elijah and Moses. By so doing He signifies that His witnesses will be endowed with the zeal of Moses and Elijah, and whose contempt the Lord will revenge with most grievous punishments, as Egypt and Israel felt, not escaping punishment for despising Moses and Elijah in their days. Today the papal Church daily feels the wrath and vengeance of God announced by these witnesses, who at length, after suffering sundry plagues, shall feel utter destruction. Furthermore, to the great consolation of His Church and for the establishing of the authority of His witnesses, Christ compares them to the most clear lights of the Old Testament Church so that the congregation of faithful may believe that Moses and Elijah were returning, as it were, from death, coming to the New Testament Church, due to the singular gifts of wisdom and spiritual graces of the Holy Ghost which Christ has bestowed upon these witnesses. Hereof it is only proper that we highly honor the wonderful virtues of Luther and Calvin and others, and that we do not think them inferior to any who have lived after the Apostles’ time. God grant that we be thankful for such good gifts and that we may use them well.”

          (5) Which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord also was crucified, etc…..He shows where that great city, the seat of Antichrist, is located. Though she falsely boasts herself to be the holy city, the [New] Jerusalem, that is, the Church of God, she deserves to be called ‘Sodom’ because of her cursed wickedness and filthy abomination. She is called ‘Egypt’ for the persecution and bondage which she lays upon the saints. She does resemble Jerusalem in her cruelty of the godly, who like Jerusalem, killed all the prophets and slew Christ, the Head of the Church, in a shameful manner. And here the prophet plainly points at the sea of Rome with the finger, especially when he calls it ‘the great city in which our Lord was crucified.’ For the literal Jerusalem of the Jews did not deserve to be called ‘the great city’ for any reason whatsoever, and much less when John received this vision, after her having been razed of the Romans and leveled to the ground. But seeing that the Holy Ghost later interprets the ‘great city’ as Rome [Rev. 17:18], it is certain that we are also to interpret it the same in this verse. And it most agreeable that Rome is called that ‘great city,’ not only because it is the head of the Roman Empire, but because the city itself is increased unto such marvelous greatness that it has become a Monarchy [i.e., a sovereign kingdom ruled by an absolute monarch], the likes of which did not exist previously. And it is not amiss to say that Christ was crucified at Rome, since He was condemned to death as the enemy of Caesar, the Emperor of Rome, by the Roman Governor, and slain by that particular kind of death which was established by Roman Law, John 19.

          (6) “[Although the resurrection of the two witnesses foretells the resurrection of the just who will live again], here it may well and fitly be understood of the raising up of new ministers with whom the Lord will replace those crowned with martyrdom. This will occur chiefly at the end of the world, after the Man of Sin is revealed. We see this prophecy come to pass in our own age.” [Editor’s note: Fulke brilliantly refutes all the Jesuit/Futurist opinions at each point.]

1644 David Pareus Revelation Commentary:

Editor’s note: Pareus was no literalist. See:

1847 E. B. Elliott Revelation Commentary:

          (1) [Editor’s note: Elliott holds to a continuous revealing of the history of the Church in the book of Revelation. Thus, he views the temple as a metaphor for the Church, in keeping with the metaphor of elect Christians called the twelve tribes of Israel in Rev. 7.]

            (2) [Editor’s note: Elliott spends 200+ pages describing, in minute detail, the identity and beliefs of God’s multitudes of witnesses against the Papacy and Church of Rome through the ages, beginning with Vigilantius, who opposed “relic and saint worship, monasticism, celibacy, pilgrimages, and other such superstitious doctrines and practices.” St. Jerome wrote against this early Protestant, and Vigilantius is still considered a heretic by Rome today.]

            (3) “Could it be then that the ‘forty-two months,’ or forty-two times 30 days, i.e., 1260 prophetic days or years, of the apostasy, should have prolonged their dreary course without a witness having been kept up by Christ?”  [Editor’s note: Elliott held to the Year-Day principle: i.e., one prophetic day equals one literal year. Thus, 42 months = 1260 days = 1260 years.]

            (4) “There is a reference evidently in all [these miracles] to the supernatural power that attached to certain of the ancient prophets, of literally thus acting against their enemies: viz. to Moses and Aaron….and to Elijah….In the present case [of the two witnesses] the figurative character of the whole prophecy shows that these statements (like others of the same class) are meant figuratively….It could not be that for 1260 years there should be no natural rain – a spiritual drought must be intended. Again, their turning the waters into blood can only be interpreted of the bloodshed of wars, inflicted in God’s Providence on the enemies of the Witnesses; and the fire going out of their mouths, of God’s fiery judgments destroying the apostates nationally that might have persecuted them.

          “So in fact the phrases are interpreted elsewhere in prophecy. In a former part of the Apocalypse, the sea becoming blood was shown to symbolize bloody maritime war. On Jeremiah’s testimony being rejected, and himself being rejected by the Jews, God’s predictive declaration, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them, Jer.5:14, was fulfilled by the subsequent burning of their city, and their destruction is not individually, but as a nation. Again, as regards the drought spoken of, we read in Isaiah the threatening of the same judgment on the Jews, in the sense of the withholding from them the dews of the Spirit: I will command the clouds, that they rain no rain upon it, Isa. 5:6. And so, too, in that most striking passage in Amos 8:11, The days come, saith the Lord, that I will send a famine on the land: not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the North even to the East; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”

          (5) “What is the Great City itself, is a point settled: for it is declared by an Angel, in chapter 17 of this Book, to be the city which then reigned over the kings of the earth; in other words, that of Rome….It is called the Great City, in contrast to the Holy City just before mentioned by the Angel-interpreter – that society of believers, the called, chosen and faithful, united together in a heavenly, though invisible, city, whom the Gentile citizens of this Great City were through the appointed 1260 years to tread underfoot. It is designated also as spiritually, that is, figuratively, as the antitype of Egypt and Sodom. The appropriateness of which figurative appellatives to the Papal state and city was so obvious, that they were applied to it from time to time during the prolonged period to which our attention has just been directed, of its war against the witnesses: e.g., that of Egypt by Grosteste and Wycliffe, among others, by the early Zwinglians, and Luther, as being the scene of priestly sorceries, religious darkness, and captivity of God’s people; that of Sodom by the Romanists Peter Damien, Pope Leo 9th, Baronius, and others, as well as by one and another of Christ’s protesting witnesses, down to the Reformation, as being the seat of all moral impurity and abomination.”

          (6) “But of the speedy and wonderful resurrection of the witnesses, history speaks for itself. Not in the compass of the whole ecclesiastical history of Christendom, save the case of the death and resurrection of Christ Himself, is there any such example of a sudden, mighty, and triumphant resuscitation of his cause and Church from a state of deep depression, as was just after the Lateran Council’s announcement, on May 14, 1514, that all heresy had been extirpated, and exactly 3 ½ years later, on Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther’s rising to post his 95 Theses at Wittenberg?!......In 1523 a Roman Catholic Prelate wrote the following in a Brief addressed to the Diet at Nuremberg: The heretics Huss and Jerome are now alive again in the person of Martin Luther.”