April 21, 2007

Trinity & Two Witnesses

Category: Bible - NT - Revelation,Theology - Trinity :: Permalink

Ever wonder why Scripture requires two or three witnesses to establish a matter?  Here’s Gary North’s answer:

The Christian view of God is trinitarian.  God is three Persons, yet also one Person.  Each Person always has the corroborating testimony of the others.  Therefore, God’s word cannot be successfully challenged in a court.  Two Witnesses testify eternally to the validity of what the other Person declares.  Each has exhaustive knowledge of the others; each has exhaustive knowledge of the creation.  The truth of God’s word is established by Witnesses. — The Dominion Covenant: Genesis, p. 458.

North goes to discuss another instance of the principle of two or three witnesses:

The doctrine of the two witnesses also throws light on the New Testament doctrine of the rebellious third.  In Revelation 8, we are told that a third of the trees are burned up (v. 7), a third of the sea becomes blood (v. 8 ), and a third part of the creatures and ships in the sea are destroyed (v. 9).  A third part of the rivers are hit by the star from heaven (v. 10), and a third part of the sun, moon, and stars are smitten (v. 12).  In Revelation 9, we read that angels in judgment work for a time to slay a third part of rebellious mankind (v. 15), to testify to the other two-thirds of the coming judgment, yet they do not repent (v. 21).  A third of the stars (angels) of heaven are pulled down by Satan’s tail (Rev. 12:4).

Why these divisions into thirds?  Because for every transgressor, there are two righteous witnesses to condemn him.  God’s final judgment is assured, for in God’s court, there will always be a sufficient number of witnesses to condemn the ethical rebels (p. 458).

“The rebellious third” may not be the best name for what North is talking about; it’s more “the non-rebellious two-thirds,” who function as witnesses, but that’s a clunky term to use.  North may be on to something here, and what he says is intriguing.  In biblical history, however, there certainly seem to be times when more than a third of mankind is rebellious (e.g., during the time of Noah).  I’m not sure how North’s thesis fits with that.  But the division into thirds in Revelation and the judgment striking only one third may have something to do, as North says, with the two witnesses requirement.  Grist for the mill….

Posted by John Barach @ 6:17 pm | Discuss (1)

One Response to “Trinity & Two Witnesses”

  1. John Barach Says:

    In case you noticed, yes, there is a space in the second quotation from North in the parenthetical reference to v. 8. Weirdly enough, WordPress seems to think that an 8 followed by ) is a googly-eyed smiley face.

    Anyone know how to keep WordPress from making that mistake so I don’t have to have this extra space to fool it into publishing what I wrote?

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