The Two Witnesses
Revelation 11:1-19 – I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2 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 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth” 5 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. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens 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.
7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city —which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 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.
11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 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.
13 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.
15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah,
and He will reign for ever and ever.”
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because You have taken Your great power
and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
and Your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding Your servants the prophets
and Your people who revere Your name,
both great and small —
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within His temple was seen the ark of His covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.”
As soon as the Anti-Christ sets up the idol in the Temple, these two people take their stand in Jerusalem, prophesying and preaching for the entire three and a half years that are left. They cannot be killed, and they cannot be harmed.
They are the ones spoken of in Zechariah 4.
Zechariah 4:1-3; 11-14 – Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. 2 He asked me, “What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. 3 Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”
Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?”
12 Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”
13 He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”
“No, my lord,” I said.
14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.”
Who are these two witnesses, “who are anointed to serve the Lord”?
Scripture doesn’t say, but perhaps we can find a clue in the Transfiguration. Two figures, Moses and Elijah, the famous Law-giver and the first full-time prophet, appear with Jesus on the mountain. If these are not the two witnesses, I don’t know who is.
After standing firm for three and a half years, however, they are finally killed and laid in the streets for three and a half days until God raises them back to life and calls them skyward. My guess is that their resurrection and ascension is the beginning of the Rapture.
This blog post is included in my book, Last Days: A Biblical Guide to the End Times.
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