The Two Witnesses

Nowhere in Scripture are we told the identity of the two witnesses “that stand before the Lord.” Because, we are not told we can be sure it is not something we need to know ahead of time.  However, many people still enjoy speculating as to the identity of the “two witnesses,” “the two olive trees” and “the two lampstands.”  So, who could they be?

First, let’s read what Revelation says about them.

I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months (3 1/2 years). And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days (3 1/2 years), clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven (Revelation 11:1-13).

It appears that the Two Witnesses will prophesy for the 3 1/2 years of the Great Tribulation which is just before the Christ's return in glory.

Since the Two Witnesses prophesy just before the Second Coming of Christ in His glory we might connect them with the two who appeared with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Let’s read about that event.

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus (Matthew 17:2-3).

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain (2 Peter 1:16-18).

If this connection is true, then perhaps Moses and Elijah are the two witness.

In Zechariah we read of two olive trees but we are not told who they are.

Then I asked the angel, "What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?" Again I asked him, "What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?" He replied, "Do you not know what these are?" "No, my lord," I said. So he said, "These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth" (Zechariah 4:11-14).

Still we love to speculate. However, the Bible says if God didn’t say it, we had better not proclaim it.

This is what Yahweh Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of Yahweh (Jeremiah 23:16).

The Lord also warns against going beyond what is written.

Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another (1 Corinthians 4:6).

Speculation can be OK, if it doesn’t distract from the Truth.

Richard H Perry