While the Gentiles tread the holy city under foot, God gives power to his two Witnesses, and they prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days clothed in sackcloth. They are called the two Olive-trees, with relation to the two Olive-trees, which in Zechary’s vision, chap. iv; stand on either side of the golden candlestick to supply the lamps with oil: and Olive-trees, according to the Apostle Paul, represent Churches, Romans 11:They supply the lamps with oil, by maintaining teachers. They are also called the two candlesticks; which in this Prophecy signify Churches, the seven Churches of Asia being represented by seven candlesticks. Five of these Churches were found faulty, and threatened if they did not repent; the other two were without fault, and so their candlesticks were fit to be placed in the second Temple. These were the Churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia. They were in a state of tribulation and persecution, and the only two of the seven in such a state: and so their candlesticks were fit to represent the Churches in affliction in the times of the second Temple, and the only two of the seven that were fit. The two Witnesses are not new Churches: they are the posterity of the primitive Church, the posterity of the two wings of the woman, and so are fitly represented by two of the primitive candlesticks. We may conceive therefore, that when the first Temple was destroyed, and a new one built for them who worship in the inward court, two of the seven candlesticks were placed in this new Temple.
The affairs of the Church are not considered during the opening of the first four seals. They begin to be considered at the opening of the fifth seal, as was said above; and are further considered at the opening of the sixth seal; and the seventh seal contains the times of the great Apostasy. And therefore I refer the Epistles to the seven Churches unto the times of the fifth and sixth seals: for they relate to the Church when she began to decline, and contain admonitions against the great Apostasy then approaching.