Revelation 11

March 18, 2007 | 18 comments
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The Book of Revelation was intended to be interpreted symbolically. The very first verse (which is most likely the original title of the entire work) implies as much:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Note that the revelation isn’t just sent to John–it is signified (i.e., “given by a sign”) to him. Why would anyone write this way when they could have written in plain English Greek? Because in a time of intense political persecution, writing in plain language means signing your own death warrant. (Remember the Bugs Bunny cartoonwhere they throw him to the lions in the Colosseum?) So if the entire purpose of your text is to suggest that, contra official dogma, someone other than the emperor is divine, you’d best signify it. Symbolic reading isn’t some fancy-pants ivory tower approach to a text that we don’t like–it is how the author intended that the text be read. Just as Jesus didn’t think that you would fact-check the parable of the Good Samaritan–that’s another story that was meant to be read seriously but not as historically accurate.

I think on some level even the most conservative of us understand this idea: you didn’t really think that some day a sword would come out of Christ’s mouth (Rev 1:16); even if you didn’t consciously think about or label what you were doing, you knew that this was meant to be a symbolic representation of the idea that power and authority would emanate from the very person of Christ. And you didn’t think your eternal reward would actually consist of holding up the walls of the temple, did you (Rev 3:12)? Good instinct.

Now that I’ve buttered you up, let’s turn to something a little trickier–something where even the most liberal LDS readers tend to go all literal on me. I want to propose that Revelation 11 can be understood as a symbolic representation of the history of the church. First, the text of Revelation 11:3-12:

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
5 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.
6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
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.
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.
9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

Now, before I present my symbolic reading, many of you are probably having this vague feeling that there is something in the D & C about this story . . . can I ask you to just put that thought into cold storage? I promise we’ll get back to it in a minute. But for now, let it go. OK then.

A strictly literal reading of this verse has always struck me as about as appropriate as enchiladas at a Chinese buffet. It just doesn’t fit the context or the author’s design for the book. If this chapter had more ten-headed beasts, we never even would have considered taking it literally. But because the image is something that strikes us as possible (“Mormon elders killed on streets of Jerusalem . . . film at 11.”), we slip into a literal reading. Let’s try a symbolic reading.

In Revelation 11:3, we are introduced to the two witnesses. (The time period–1,260 days–has reference to Dan 12:7, which I mention not because it is relevant to what I am doing here but only because otherwise I’d lose half of you to trying to figure out what it meant.) We are told rather clearly (er, rather clearly by the standard of Revelation, anyway) who exactly these witnesses are in the next verse: they are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks. Revelation 1:20 states that “the seven candlesticks . . . are the seven churches.” So the two candlesticks in this chapter are part of the churches. (Why only part and not all? Because we learned in those chapters that not all of the churches were righteous; some were downright apostate. The fact that this is two and not seven suggests that it represents only the righteous part of the church.)

I need to talk about v6 before v5. V6 has reference to the exercise of priesthood power of Moses (turning water to blood) and Elijah (sealing the heavens). It suggests that the church in John’s day had this priesthood authority. V5 suggests that because they have this power, they will be able to withstand their enemies. V7 implies that the witnesses (=church) will not continue on the earth forever, but that they [i.e., the priesthood power possessing church] will no longer exist. They will die. V8-11 suggest that instead of a ‘proper burial’, the people will rejoice over the dessicated corpses of the church. While I’m not one to overplay the they-were-so-wicked-in-the-dark-ages card, it isn’t a stretch for me to imagine those who gloated at the removal of priesthood from earth and enjoyed using the ‘carcass’ of the church for their own political gain. A corpse in the street is a striking, very appropriate image for a church without priesthood authority.

V11 strikes me as one of the clearest prophesies in all of scripture of the restoration of the church, and its authorized priesthood power, in the latter days. Borrowing language from Ezekiel’s vision of the bones restored to life, this verse pictures God re-creating the church as a new, living entity. The church is, as it were, resurrected. Once again, we are given a very powerful image of the difference between a church without proper authority and a church with it: it is the difference between dried bones and a resurrected body. V12 pictures the final triumph of the kingdom of God. And there you have it: a symbolic reading to Revelation 11 that takes the text as serious and prophetic–but not strictly literal.

Now it is time to defrost D & C 77:15:

15 Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation?
A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.

So if you were persuaded by my reading of Revelation 11, then what do you do with D & C 77:15? I’ll suggest two possibilities:

(1) We can read D & C 77:15 as less literal than we have in the past. Dare I go so far as to suggest that we are guilty of being overly-literal in our reading of that passage? Obviously the D &C in general requires a far more literal reading than Revelation does, but in this same chapter, we have reference to the seven thousand years of the earth’s existence (v6), four parts of the Earth (v8), and six days of creation (v12), none of which are concepts that we ought take literally. (Again: that doesn’t mean we don’t take them seriously.) In verse 15, itself, we need to work past strict literalness in that we get “prophets,” plural. Who ever said that a question about a symbol could not be answered by another symbol? So I want you to at least open your mind to the idea that the “two prophets” of D & C 77:15 are not two ordained priesthood holders in suits. Focus instead on the phrase “raised up.” Indeed, the “prophets” are “raised up”–and it happens in Revelation 11:11 when the church is restored to the earth. As the title page of the Book of Mormon makes clear, part of the purpose of the Restoration is so the Church can prophesy to the Jews.

(2) Another option is to see the D & C as implying that there will be a literal fulfillment of Revelation 11 at some point in the future, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a symbolic reading of the text that is applicable throughout history. Another example of this symbolic-and-literal reading would be Revelation 13:18, the infamous number of the beast. It is possible to read that text as having a literal, historical fulfillment (following the ancient practice of assigning numbers to letters, which means that the number corresponding to the name of an actual historical real person in John’s time [probably a Roman emperor] ) as well as a symbolic fulfillment (based largely on the idea that all those sixes are one removed from the perfect, complete number seven).

Whether you find (1) or (2) more persuasive largely depends on how you choose to read Revelation: do you see it as a strictly symbolic text (and therefore prefer option one) or do you see it as a text with one specific historical fulfillment and a second symbolic fulfillment applicable more generally (and therefore prefer option two)? I personally am not sure which approach is preferable overall, although I tend to lean toward option one. While I admit that D & C 77:15 seems, at first blush, to point us in the other direction, I think closer attention to its context and precise wording doesn’t mandate a literal reading of Revelation 11. (Incidentally, while I realize that the literal reading of this story is the usual LDS approach, it has not made an appearance in General Conference in the last 30 years and makes it into the Institute manual only under the authority of Parley Pratt.)

What I do find in my reading of Revelation 11–regardless of whether you prefer option one or two–is this: a powerful, hopeful message, given to John from God, that prophesies both the apostasy and the restoration of the church in the latter days.

BONUS INTERPRETATION: Revelation 9 describes the release of four angels who are to destroy a third of humans. They have 200,000,000 horsemen with them; they are described thusly:

“And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.”

The breastplates of fire would be red. The jacinth would have been blue. Brimstone (sulphur) is yellow. What are these? Primary colors. What are we led to conclude? Primary children are destructive and evil. QED.

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18 Responses to Revelation 11

  1. Bored in Vernal on March 18, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Julie, I love what you have done here. (Even the tongue-in-cheek warning at the end that symbolism is difficult and sometimes dangerous to interpret correctly!)

    One thought for you–Do you think the “two witnesses” in the D&C could symbolize the Bible and the Book of Mormon? “They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.

  2. Julie M. Smith on March 18, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks, BiV. To answer your question: I don’t see anything in Revelation itself that would point to that interpretation. I can see reading the D & C verse from that perspective, but then I don’t know what to do with the dying-mocking-raising symbolism in Revelation. If we could figure that out, though, we might have something. One thing that impressed me on my last read through Hebrews was the way in which the author viewed OT texts as prophets themselves. This may be similar to OT/NT and BoM as witnesses.

  3. DKL on March 18, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Interesting take, Julie. I tend to view it differently, because I believe that Daniel was written in the 2nd century BC, that Revelation was likely written by Cerinthus the heretic (and not John), so that it was likely included in the canon by mistake (e.g., few church’s outside of Alexandria recognized it as scripture before the 6th century AD, long after any authority remained to designate scripture).

    42 months (31/2 years or 1,260 days) is the length of time that the Jews were persecuted by Antiochus (ca 175 B.C.) as outlined in Daniel 7:25 & 12:7 (Daniel also represents it as 1,150 days in Daniel 8:15 [2,300 mornings & evenings], and 1,290 days in Daniel 12:11). This timeframe symbolizes a period of distress permitted by God for limited time that will be followed by relief for faithful (as in Luke 7:25 & James 5:17).

    The two martyrs are Peter & Paul, the Church’s champions. The Beast is Nero, whose number is specified in Chapter 13 as 666 or 616 (depending on the manuscript), which are the numeric equivalents of of “Caesar Nero” and “Caesar God” respectively.

    The 3 1/2 days in which their corpses are left in the streets is an extension of the 3 1/2 years (i.e., 42 months) motif. Verses 11-12 tell of new prophets arising in their place, and God’s retribution on prophets’ murderers. The 7,000 who are saved in verse 13 (following your excerpt) are all parts of society (7) and great numbers (1000′s) that will finally be convinced that Jesus is Lord.

    Thus, Revelations tells a story of God’s church overcoming its persecuted by the Romans, wherein God gloriously destroys the Romans and installs his remaining followers in their place as rulers of the world.

    The basic idea is to comfort 1st century Christians suffering under Rome’s persecution. Jesus had said “Take heart! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33), but intense persecution continued unabated, and many doubted the church’s mission. Revelation draws upon the Jewish prophetic tradition, recalling its classical theme (so common in the Old Testament): God will soon liberate His followers and conquer their enemies. We can liken it unto ourselves, but I believe that it distorts the nature of the book to treat it as a prophecy concerning our own church.

  4. Proud Daughter of Eve on March 18, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Bored in Vernal– just what I was going to ask. :)

  5. Julie M. Smith on March 18, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    DKL, I’m always thrilled to see someone take the text seriously–even if I don’t agree with all of their conclusions.

    I normally have no patience for authorship disputes except in this case I feel it is difficult to take the text seriously if you don’t take the internal attestations of authorship seriously. I grant that we may dispute which “John” is the author, but I think we need to give credence to the idea that some dude named John wrote it.

    I agree with you on the 42 and/or 3.5 and the Nero=666 (or whatever–the mss vary) symbolism.

    As for the witnesses being Peter and Paul: I think there are two reasons not to think that. One is that neither Peter nor Paul makes an appearance, symbolically or otherwise, in the rest of the text. Another is that it makes a hash of 11:4. If the author is going to tell us that the witnesses are the candlesticks, and we’ve already been told what the candlesticks are, then we can’t just ignore that.

    I agree with your summation of the basic message of Revelation–one of hope that the church will come off the conqueror. I, of course, take exception to “We can liken it unto ourselves, but I believe that it distorts the nature of the book to treat it as a prophecy concerning our own church.”

    We can obviously take the applicability of the scriptures to the unique LDS story a little too far. (I don’t think that, for example, Isaiah saw the Provo 18th Ward’s smashing road show success.) At the same time, I do believe that a very small number of ancients were privileged to see a rough outline of future events of the church. (I think many times LDS readers find prophecies of the restoration in scriptures where none exist.) But given that the story I tell here makes sense on Revelation’s own terms (i.e., its own explanation of what the symbols mean), I think this is one of those rare cases where our day was seen.

    Thanks for your comment.

  6. Julie M. Smith on March 18, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    And, DKL, the witnesses as Peter and Paul creates a big problem for D & C 77:15.

  7. David J on March 18, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Hey, I’ve been to Vernal! It’s not all that bad. I liked it.

  8. DKL on March 18, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Julie, I love disputes like this. They’re a great hobby. I don’t actually just disparage the scriptures or talk in abstract terms about their reliability, as I have sometimes been charged. I actually enjoy getting my hands dirty in the details of the text. If I include too many links, this will end up in the moderation queue, but here’s an example of an analysis I provided of the question of whether John the Baptist is the Elijah of D&C 110.

    I think that you’re misreading 11:4. It says, “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” This is an entirely separate vision from the one that begins in Chapter 1, verse 9 of Revelations. In that vision, each candlestick represents a specific church within a (more or less) fixed geographical boundary. In this regard, your interpretation isn’t much more faithful to the earlier vision than mine, because we’re not talking about the specific churches in (say) Sardis or Laodicea.

    The two olive trees come from Zechariah 4:3-14, the penultimate verse of which states, “These [olive trees] are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” This passage in Zechariah refers specifically to Joshua and Zerubbabel, the leaders who restored Jerusalem and the temple following the return from exile. For the author of Revelation, they constitute a type and a shadow of the two witnesses.

    Moreover, the temple (referred to in the verses immediately prior to the ones that you site) is taken to represent the church. The two witnesses function within the framework of this temple/church — in this case, by defending and building it up.

    Furthermore, if the Beast is Nero, and Nero kills the two witnesses. Paul and Peter were martyrs in Rome at the hands of the Roman government under Nero. So historically this synchs. In the tradition of Jewish prophecy, the author of Revelations is often referring to actual, contemporary historical events as types and shadows of the future. Just as the white horse in seal 1 refers to the Parthians who actually attacked Rome in the first century, the reference to these two witnesses appears to refer to actual historical events that are roughly contemporary with the author; in this case, the martyrdom of Peter and Paul.

    Regarding the authorship dispute, I mean specifically to point out that there is good reason to doubt the scriptural authority of Revelation. I have my doubts about whether we should take the Book of Revelation seriously as scripture.

  9. Julie M. Smith on March 18, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    DKL, thanks for playing along.

    First, I don’t think your specific-churches-with-specific-geographical-boundaries argument holds up because (1) there are seven churches, signifying completeness or the complete church and not just literally those seven physical churches and (2) those seven are presented as very arch-typical (if that’s a word), implying, again, that those seven represent all of the churches. Plus, you still haven’t given me anything to “do” with the candlestick referent if you don’t think that it takes us back to the meaning given in ch1.

    I don’t deny the Zechariah background, but I think it is still don’t think it demands a reading of two people, which doesn’t fit the dying-mocking-rising nearly as well.

    As for Rev 11:1-2, I don’t think it suggests that the witnesses are functioning in the church as much as the point is in v2–John is not to include the court in the count. I think this prepares us for the 2 instead of 7 parts of the church–the overarching idea is that not everyone claiming to be a part of the church (i.e., claiming to be a part of the temple) is. I see here a condemnation of assimilationist Christians. They no longer are (or are in) the holy of holies but rather are in the court of the Gentiles, and therefore don’t count. So we end up with 2 instead of 7 parts of the church represented.

    As far as authorship disputes go, let’s untangle issues of authorship from the issue of scriptural authority. To me they are completely separate. I seriously doubt that Paul wrote Hebrews, for example, but I find Hebrews to be highly inspired and to teach profound doctrine and therefore to have a very high weight of scriptural authority.

    You write, ‘I have my doubts about whether we should take the Book of Revelation seriously as scripture.’

    You probably already know that I have no problem tossing out on their ear texts that strike me as uninspired. But I have to say that Revelation doesn’t strike me that way. I do not deny that much if not most of the text appears to have a direct applicability to the historical circumstance of the author, but I don’t think that precludes a second (or third or fourth, etc.) level of meaning that speaks more generally. (And I have no idea as to whether the author himself recognized these other levels of meaning.) It may be than an immediate referent for the witnesses is Peter and Paul (although I am still not persuaded) but we can’t take that as the *only* referent without (1) discounting the D & C and (2) discounting my own pet theory.

  10. DKL on March 18, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Julie, fair enough. There are multiple levels of meaning. For example, in this comment at M* I posit two interpretations of Daniel that are, on some level, mutually exclusive. But on another level, both of them are entirely appropriate within their framework, and there’s no reason the frameworks themselves must be mutually exclusive.

    An appropriate analogy can be made with a computer chess game. The question may arise, “Why did it make a certain move?” The appropriate answer seems to be, “Because the software was written in such-and-such a way.” But in a chess class, such an answer is a bad joke. The desired answer is more like, “Because it works within such-and-such a strategy.” It’s silly to argue about whether it is a strategy question or a software question, and even worse to demand that we see it as strictly one way or the other.

    So there is, on the one hand, an idea that the author had something in mind, and, on the other hand, an idea that we can interpret the scripture for our day quite apart from that intension. I’ve tended to drive at what I think we can surmise to be the author’s intended meaning. There’s no reason why this should invalidate your interpretation using a framework of reference that includes the D&C.

    Thus, I stand by my assertion that the two witnesses are Peter and Paul, but I don’t mean that to exclude interpretations that take latter-day scripture into account.

  11. Adam Greenwood on March 18, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    I’m going to play in your sandbox for a little bit, Julie in A.

    The real problem with your interpretation is that there are two prophets. We’re tempted to think of them as the Bible and the Book of Mormon, which are revivified in different ways by the Restoration. But you’ve pointed out that the Book of Mormon wasn’t really kicking around the Mediterranean in classical antiquity. Still, couldn’t we just broaden the reference to the two churches to mean not just the remnant righteous churches in the Mediterranean but the remnant righteous church in the Med and the remnant righteous church in the Americas? Both died, after all.

    Or we could see the two prophets as the two priesthoods. The destruction of temple Judaism and the Aaronic priesthood ought to be as much a part of the apostasy from our perspective as is the falling away of the Christian churches. But would the Aaronic priesthood at that time really be seen as a witness for Christ?

    Or we could imagine that there are really two different restored bodies (grins puckishly). What would be the other one? Can’t be the Taiping, since they are no longer with us.

  12. David Brosnahan on March 18, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Everyone should read “Who Shall be able to Stand” by Michael Wilcox. It is an excellent book on Revelations that focuses on the figurative and spiritual meaning in the Book of Revelation.

    Isn’t it funny that scholars figuratively explain the Bible saying “parting the Red Sea, that didnt really happen, its only figurative.” But when it comes to Revelations (a primarily figurative work), many speculate on its literal meaning. Im not saying that there wont be literal fullfullment. But the figerative meanings, using the rest of the scriptures as a key, is actually very inspiring.

  13. DKL on March 19, 2007 at 12:09 am

    You state, “Plus, you still haven’t given me anything to ‘do’ with the candlestick referent if you don’t think that it takes,” but you’re ignoring the Zechariah reference. That’s part and parcel of the reference back to Zechariah, where they are the eyes of God, the watchfulness of God — a motif more in keeping with the themes at hand than the notion of some figurative fraction of the church. Plus, I think that the narrative structure of Revelation makes it pretty obvious that they’re separate visions.

    The way to understand the dying-mock-rising theme is in terms of replacements. Peter and Paul are dead, but (in keeping with the theme to encourage Christians feeling down about the sad state of the Kingdom of God since all the leaders are dead and Christ’s promised return has failed to materialize) there is a promise to replace them. The 3 1/2 days spent dead repeats the theme of the 3 1/2 years references; i.e., a period of distress permitted by God for limited time that will be followed by relief for faithful. Thus, the reason for believing that the new witnesses are different from the original one.

    I really don’t feel any compulsion to reconcile the Bible with latter-day scriptures, so I don’t see any fundamental advantage to an interpretation that is consistent across them all. I think that, on some very important level, it deserves to be understood on its own terms first and foremost, unburdened by the need to reconcile it with 19th century adds-ons — or even 1st and 2nd century add-ons, since I don’t feel bound by Matthew’s and Paul’s often egregiously bad interpretations of the Old Testament, either. I view the Book of Mormon this way, too.

  14. Julie M. Smith on March 19, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    DKL, what we do with scriptures that interpret other scriptures is worthy of its own post. There are, as you indicate, many OT interpretations in the NT that would never be allowed in an OT Exegesis 101 term paper–what do we do about that? I’m loathe to just dismiss them as you say you do–I do give some weight to canonicity. At the same time . . .

  15. Matthew on March 21, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Wonderful post Julie. Thanks, not just for the insightful interpretation of these verses but also for a better way of thinking about all of Revelation.

  16. Rhapsidiomite on March 21, 2007 at 1:44 am

    Two thoughts. (With a third forethought…so maybe I’ll enumerate backward…)

    3. Revelations has always fascinated me, but I’ve always found it difficult to know what to do with it. This has been a very interesting post because I was able to deduce what I think about Revelations by listening to some of the logic used on this site. Which leads to what I’ve learned, or what I now (think I) believe:

    2. I’m starting to be convinced that Revelations is both figurative (symbolic) and literal. Two scriptures came to mind, and I’m surprised that one of them hasn’t been mentioned yet. I’ll start with the one I’m less surprised about. Both passages are found in the Book of Mormon, by the way, which book I look to as the most substantive and qualitatively correct in terms of scriptural authority, i.e., the Book of Mormon trumps the Bible. (However you want to interpret that.)

    2. (cont.) The first passage goes to DKL’s belief that Revelations is not forward looking, and represents an older canon, so to speak. When Nephi sees in vision much of the history of America, present (for him) and future, at the end of his experience he is shown things pertaining to the future that he is forbidden to write. But “[John, the] apostle of the Lamb shall write…many things which thou hast seen…for the Lord God hath ordained the apostle of the Lamb of God that he should write them.” While arguments could be made over what exactly Nephi was referring to, this seems clear enough. I’m not expressing an opinion that this is the only take on the matter. I am, however, asserting that it seems the only reasonable interpretation.

    2. (cont.) I’m surprised that nobody mentioned the corollary passage in Isaiah, also found in Nephi’s refrain of Isaiah. “Thy sons have fainted, save these two; they lie at the head of all the streets; as a wild bull in a net, they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.” Isaiah, obviously, has always been a challenge to interpret. But I think it’s safe to say that many passages in Isaiah are duplicitious in meaning; they can be interpreted both symbolically and literally, not to mention the historical interpretations. I already know what I think, but I’m just throwing it out there…which leads me to my final point…

    1. I’m utterly convinced that there is a literal interpretation to Revelations chapter 11. I would not have known what I thought until I listened to this intelligent discussion on the matter. Often that’s what it takes for me, listening to opinionated people divulge what they think. Then that little part of me that lights up inside and says either “no, that’s not right” or “yes, that’s right” goes to work.

    What’s frustrating in my comment is that I have no basis for my opinion other than the standard testimonial type of defense: “it just feels right to me.” Frustrating because I’d actually enjoy trying to prove my opinion. But I’ll probably just have to let it stand, unless something comes to me later.

    Still, I’ll just state unapologetically that I’m utterly convinced that Jerusalem, in some coming day, will see two literal prophets come to her defense, as the days of Armageddon descend upon her, and the end of times draws to a close. (Though: who knows when that would be…I don’t think anytime soon, i.e., I don’t think Iraq is any indication of such a thing.)

  17. David Littlefield on April 3, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    May I suggest another theory regarding the two prophets? Disregarding the artificial delineation of the chapters, we see in Revelation Chapter 10 John receiving a Book that he is given by an angel. He is told to “eat it up” which is an ancient description of receiving a mission, or special calling (see D&C 77:14 – which is all in the future). Then when he is given his charge or mission call, the mission is described in chapter 11. His companion is described by his ability to shut heaven, this is Elijah, the forerunner. Elijah never died, and neither did John, and neither were ever told that they would not die. John was told he would live until Christ returned. IMO, the two prophets are John and Elijah.

  18. David Littlefield on April 3, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    And, John was told that he would “prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” Yet The Book of Revelation is the last we hear from John in history (OK, perhaps the 1,2,3rd John – maybe). When is he going to prophesy before the kings etc.? Many tells in the text point to John, and his companion Elijah.