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Who are the Two Witnesses in Revelation? Introduction:      I recently had a barrage of e-mails (about 3) all ask about the two witnesses in Revelation.  They all turned out to be “post-tribulationists” but it’s funny how they try to hide their affiliation at first.  I guess they changed topics because they ran out of arguments.       Anyway, the two witnesses are a burr-in-the-side of post-tribulationists because they just don’t fit their timeline.  In other words, if the two witnesses prophesy in Jerusalem for 1260 days (42 months), with extraordinary powers, as the Bible says, wouldn’t that be a dead-give-away that the rapture is about to come? (even to the day?)  I don’t think God would be that obvious.  God said that the rapture would come as a surprise (to most) so I don’t think it could be that obvious.  That’s kind-of contradicting.      To get around that, post-tribulationists try to make up symbolic representations and claim that the two witnesses are “not literal”.  (I’ll give you an example, below.)  Yet, to me, that’s just a cleaver way to leave something out of Revelation without people realizing. My Explanation:      In general, I take the Bible literally unless I have a real (Biblical) reason to think otherwise.  Sure, there are things in Revelation that are clearly symbolic but I wouldn’t put the two witnesses in that category.  Sure, there’s ‘some’ symbolism mixed in (below) but there’s just too many details that sound real.  And it’s certainly reasonable to think that, while we are meeting Jesus in the air, two OT prophets could be coming down from heaven (or soon after). Revelation 11:3-14 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth."  4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that 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 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. 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 street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days, men 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 a 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. 14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.          To tell the truth, I always thought it was easy to see who the two witnesses were.       The biggest clue is that they are killed, once they finish prophesying.  Consider the following: Hebrews 9:27-28 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Note: Obviously, the ones “waiting for him” would not have to die, as described here: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  So who are they already?      Moving right along, there are two people in the Bible who did not die, Enoch and Elijah In my book, they would be the most likely candidates for the two witnesses.  I’m not talking about ghosts either.  Weren’t Moses and Elijah real people when they appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration?  The two witnesses will be real, all-right, but they are not on earth at this time.  Like I said, they come down, after the rapture.      Also, the sackcloth is appropriate for two OT prophets because that’s what they wore in times of mourning.  In general, the earth will be in mourning because reality will be setting in.  The two witnesses will not be preaching about salvation; they will be prophesying about God’s coming wrath.  Why do you think everyone is happy when they are killed?  As verse 10 said, they “tormented those who live on the earth.”  That doesn’t sound like a happy time of salvation to me.  From what I see in the Bible, only the 144,000 Jews (who are sealed in chapter 7) are taken midway through tribulation, no one else.  So where are the Christians?      On the flip side, the ones who “meet Jesus in the air” will be partaking in the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and preparing for Armageddon. (chart left)  And believe me; you want to be on the winning side of that battle.     The “olive trees” & “lampstands” are obviously symbolic of the two prophets.  Even the “fire from their mouths” is probably the Word of God.     But they ARE men.     Jerusalem is figuratively called “Sodom and Egypt” because the “abomination that causes desolation has taken place and a huge earthquake  struck during the 6th Seal / Rapture. Of course, this is 42 months later, when the two witnesses are done. All the rest sounds like real events. Post-Rapture / Wedding Supper in Heaven & Tribulation on Earth enlarge An actual Response from a Post-Tribulationist in Australia My take on the two witnesses is a little different. I think these are the real Christian Church (The TRUE Disciples of Jesus in our age) and the Messianic Jews. These are both “witnesses” to the reality of our God ‘YHWY’ and His plan for humanity. The “clothed in sackcloth and ashes” being reference to their attitude of  “humility” rather than actual raiment. Whilst I have a background in biblical study (Associate Diploma in Christian Ministry – W.A.B.C.) and this understanding is derived from that, this same concept is shared by many, much better educated theologians and scholars than myself. As I promised:   Can’t people see how “made-up” this is?  How does two “churches” die and lay in the street for three days?  (Symbolically I suppose.)     Oh, in that case, am I just supposed to just fall in line?  I don’t think so.  No offense to Australia, but if that’s what they’re teaching down there (no pun intended), please compare and see which explanation makes better sense (the whole website, not just this page).         My response to the second paragraph is that several passages in the Bible point out that there will be “many” false prophets (Matthew 7:22Matthew 24:11) but the “servant” who is tasked to give “food at the proper time” (when the master is coming back) seems to be singular. (Matthew 24:45)  In that case, is it wise to follow the crowd or do what Jesus said and focus on the abomination? To that, I got no response.    NOTE: The “trumpet call” is not the same as the “trumpets of wrath” in Revelation 8-11.     Even though a trumpet is not mentioned in the 6th Seal, the “trumpet call” is still the 6th Seal because of all the other evidence (sun, moon, & stars, hiding in mountains, multitude in heaven, etc.). Related page: Exposing Post-Tribulationist’s deceptions
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. © Copyright 2010 - 2015   All rights reserved. Daniel 11 Explained (condensed ‘one page’ commentary) ‘Matthew 24’ Explained (must match Revelation) The ‘Seals’ Explained (Revelation timeline revealed) Seven Churches Explained (Past & Present Church Prophecy) Note: ‘Sitemap’ shows a complete list of all pages (by category). ‘Homepage’ gives 3 simple steps + timelines + summary. Current Events from Daniel 11 (matching the Middle East) The Abomination (Daniel 11:31) done Recent Events ISIS - Saudi - Turkey (Daniel 11: 24-27) Final Events to the Abomination (Daniel 11: 28-30) Shiites re-take Persia + America’s Role Begins (Daniel 11: 21-23) soon done done