Q. I’ve come across a lot of teaching via other resources and teachings about the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3-13. There seems to be quite a few interpretations of who they are, when they are to arrive, how long they’ll be here, and even what their mission is. Can you please shed some light on this scripture from your perspective? Will the two witnesses be one of the signs we need to watch for and what is the chronology of their arrival, ministry, death, and departure?
A. While some believe that the two witnesses will be two groups, we favor the view that they will be two men, similar to Moses and Aaron or Joshua and Zerubbabel. In fact, we find analogous language between Joshua and Zerubbabel and the two witnesses.
In reference to Joshua and Zerubbabel, Zechariah 4:12-14 says, “And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my sovereign. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Sovereign of the whole earth.”
In reference to the two witnesses, Revelation 11:4 states, “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the Elohim of the earth.”
Revelation 12:14-17 verifies that the two witnesses will begin their ministry the same time the woman, representing spiritual Israel, is taken into the wilderness. Revelation 11:2 states that they will prophesy for 42 months. This corresponds to the final three-and-a-half years of the seven-year tribulation, known as the Great Tribulation.
Regarding their mission, they will testify against the evils of this world, similar to when Moses and Aaron testified against Pharaoh and the Egyptians. This is also akin to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel who prophesied against the sins of Judah, but whose lot was already cast.
The Bible confirms they will die three days before the Messiah returns and will be resurrected at His coming: “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. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Master was impaled. 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. 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. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from Elohim entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them,” Revelation 11:7-11.
There are a few signs that we can watch for as indication of the tribulation and Great Tribulation.
Daniel 9:27 speaks about a world leader, i.e., the Anti-messiah, who will make a covenant (perhaps a peace agreement) with many nations. It states that he will break the covenant in the middle of the week, i.e., the seven-year covenant, and cut off the sacrifices and set up the abomination of desolation. Yahshua also mentions the abomination of desolation in the Olivet prophecy: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!,” Matthew 24:15-19.
Not only does Yahshua speak about Daniel’s prophecy of the abomination of desolation, but states that when we see this sign those in Judea are to flee. This will begin the Great Tribulation and time of persecution of the Jews and those who keep the commandments of Yahweh and hold to the faith of Yahshua the Messiah. Therefore, if there are two prophecies that indicate the tribulation and the Great Tribulation it is this covenant that the Anti-messiah will establish with many nations and the setting up of this abomination of desolation in the Holy Place. This also confirms that a third temple will likely be built prior to the tribulation, as is also verified in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 11:1-2.
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