The Two Witnesses somehow preach against the Antichrist for the entire 1260 days of the Great Tribulation. But how do they manage to keep this going? Or just how do they even get fed during this stressful ministry? I have four interesting theories drawn upon the OT and NT (and one hater email) to possibly answer this question.
Did I Meet The One Who Will "Bring Food to the Two Witnesses?"
The question addressed in this post's title may seem odd. Stick with me; it gets interesting owing to how it came up.
I never would have thought of the question until I read the latest email from an apparent member of the Idaho chapter of the "Christian religious police." He wanted to make sure I knew that moving to Israel for the end times was "not your idea" but was found already in Jeremiah. (Yeah, that's where I first got the idea, actually as my book explains). Then he drops this on me:
look for me if you ever make it there...i'll be the one bringing food to the 2 witnesses.
Now bear in mind, I've received many delusional-sounding claims over the years. People have informed me that they are a prophet (who I had better respect), Elijah, the Antichrist, or even an angel. And we've all heard of people claiming to be the Two Witnesses. However, this was the first time anyone claimed they would be essentially the caterer to the Two Witnesses!
It was good for a chuckle. I mean, of all the claims to make about yourself when attacking another brother...that?
Why I Cannot Judge His Sanity
But don't get me wrong: my point in writing about this is not to judge if he's right...or deluded.
After all, his claim is possible. Maybe God did tell him this. Maybe the Two Witnesses themselves picked him already for the job. Who am I to say he's not going to "get" to have that honorific role in the end times?
Now, yes, if I had to guess, I would wager against his claim. Why? If only for the unchristlike attitude he shows towards people he disagrees with (on eschatology of all things) based on many emails he's shot at me over the years. Yes, God can use donkeys like Balaam's ass, but when it comes to the humans assigned for God's work, the consistent pattern is people who have learned and obey the law of God and Christ (Gal 6:2; John 13:34-35; Matthew 22:36-40): love (Rev 12:17; 14:12 = 1 John 5: 2-3).
Nevertheless, I take no offense nor hold any grudge (Mt 5:44). I even reached out to him to have a peace-making phone call (Mt 5:9), which he refused. (It's OK, after 50,000+ emails, you get your share of Christians like this to thicken your skin.)
On the contrary, I am thankful to him. His one-of-a-kind claim got me thinking for the first time on this interesting question: How will God provide for the food needs of the Two Witnesses?
The 1260-Day Preaching Ministry
Recall that the Two Witnesses have the job of staying put in Jerusalem (Rev 11:2-3=11:8) for the entire 1260-day Great Tribulation (Rev 11:3)—perhaps minus 3½ days (Rev 11:11). There they are tasked with prophesying and opposing the Antichrist by disrupting his dictatorship. They stop the rain, turn waters to blood and send plagues on the Earth (Rev 11:6). The Antichrist won't be able to do anything about them because God gives them supernatural protection (Rev 11:5).
How does this all work? One thing is obvious: the buddy system. Because there are two of them, they can work in shifts. (Surely they are not speaking at the same time on time of each other, right?) One prophesies while the other rests. This way, God can keep their shared testimony going non-stop even for the absurdly long 1260-day period.
But how will their food needs be taken care of? It's an interesting question. In thinking on it briefly, I came up with four theories:
Theory #1: The Other Witness Gathers and Prepares Food
As I already said, it's obvious that having two witnesses allows for there to be multiple shifts of speaking each day handled by alternating witnesses. They can each get plenty of rest this way while the other one prophesies.
It also means that they can get some other necessities done. The one who is not on the clock can take care of gathering food and preparing it. This seems like the simplest answer.
Of course, where they get the food in a hostile Beast-controlled world, is another question. So perhaps this is not the full answer and one of the others below ties in.
Theory #2: Someone Else Brings Them Food
This is the theory believed (quite personally) by my correspondent above. The problem I see with this is that no ordinary person can just get and bring food to help the Antichrist's #1 enemies. They need supernatural protection just like the Two Witnesses have. Plus they won't find much cooperation from any of the people around them who all have the Mark of the Beast.
Now, there will be the 144,000 evangelists at the same time with the same protection the Two Witnesses have spread throughout every country on the earth. But I don't see their job as catering. The protection they have (Rev 7:3) is probably to do the same job of witnessing the true Gospel against the world while the Antichrist spews his lies.
In the end, I think there is no need for God to set up such a special food person when the Two Witnesses already have protection and should have plenty of time to get their own food.
Theory #3: Ravens (Again)
Recall the story of Elijah and how God "commanded the ravens" to bring him food (1Ki 17:4) during the 3½ year drought he caused at that time (James 5:17). He got water from the nearby Wadi Cherith until it dried up (1Ki 17:4):
1 Kings 17:3-5 — 3 "Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there." 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook.
God can do the same thing again for the Two Witnesses. He can have the food brought secretly by raven or other creatures using routes and methods the Antichrist never knows about or is able to stop. God can have a spring of fresh water appear nearby, too. He did this before at Horeb with Moses producing water from the rock by striking it (Ex 17:6).
Theory #4: Angel Food (Again)
Another story from the first Elijah's ministry gives another precedent on how the final, "third Elijah" could be during his Two Witnesses' ministry. This is an amazing story:
1 Kings 19:4-8 (HCSB) — 4 but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! LORD, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.” 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the LORD returned for a second time and touched him. He said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.
This history shows that God can provide food capable of fueling a person for 40 days (of strenuous activity, no less). With food prepared by an angel, anything is possible.
God could do the same thing again for the Two Witnesses. He could provide such food every 40 days or come up with a food that "empowers" (Rev 11:3) them for the full 1,260 days.
This effectively means that they fast for those periods powered by the angel food. Given how they are wearing fasting attire (sackcloth) this has a nice symmetry (Rev 11:3) .
Those are just some speculative theories, off-the-cuff, based on my knowledge of the Bible. I have no doubt readers can think of others they will tell me I "missed" =).
First time readers: please note, that this is a departure from my typical writing here where I explain the end times based on plain literal verses on the topic. I thought you might find it a fresh, fun departure.
So...what do I think is the right answer? I don't know as, again, no literal verse addresses this...but surely time will tell. Whatever the method or mix of methods God uses, I'm sure when we finally hear how God did it and why, most of us will think, "How could it have been any different?" =)