This is a topic I’ve wanted to update for some time, and now may be a good time to do it. There is an article on my website entitled The Two Witnesses, and I urge all readers to review it. The arrival of the Two Witnesses is, quite literally, one of the most significant events that will occur on planet earth in the latter days of our age. When God sends them into the world scene, they will “turn the world upside down.” They are prophesied to be God’s last and greatest warning and witness to mankind before Jesus Christ returns. Their miracles will cause many to believe and repent, but the Bible’s own prophecy about them in Revelation 11 indicates the majority of the world will hate them and want to kill them. The language of this prophecy about them indicates they will plague a very large number of people during their 3 and 1/2 year ministry. The plans and agendas of the world’s nations and leaders will be stopped “dead in their tracks” when the Two Witnesses begin their ministry. Through these two prophets, God is going to shake the foundations of all nations, religions and people as God reveals his own reality through the miracles that the Two Witnesses will do as they will be empowered directly by God’s own Holy Spirit. In spite of their momentous ministry affecting the entire earth during the latter days, it is hard to find any Christian leader who even talks about them or believes in their literal arrival.
Some believe the Two Witnesses are merely metaphors for something else. However, latter-day prophecies thought to be merely metaphorical are being fulfilled literally as God’s latter-day timetable progresses. Let us cite a few examples. For millennia, few thought God would ever literally fulfill his latter-day prophecy in Zephaniah 2:1-9 that the Jews (“the house of Judah”) would again have a nation in the old Promised Land that would include the Mediterranean coastline and the city of Ashkelon. However, in 1948, the new Jewish nation called Israel was founded with the Mediterranean coastline and the city of Ashkelon within its borders–exactly as prophesied millennia ago. Daniel 12:1-4 prophesied there would be a huge knowledge explosion in the latter days and that “many” would travel “to and fro” throughout the earth. The high-tech knowledge explosion prophesied by Daniel is everywhere around us and the ubiquitous availability of automobile and air travel, bullet trains, etc. fulfill the prophecy about widespread travel in the latter days. Revelation 18 prophesies that in the latter days a sudden collapse in the global political/monetary/financial will occur and that it will occur in “one hour” (Revelation 18:10, 17 and 19). That was utterly impossible from the time it was penned near the end of the 1st century AD until recently when the invention of digital technologies and the interlinking of all global financial and monetary markets in real-time. A “flash crash” in any global market could now easily cascade into a global failure of all markets within a single hour. Again, as the latter days draw nearer to their conclusion, prophecies that once seemed impossible are now literally possible. For more evidence that biblical prophecies indicate we are living in the latter days of our age, please read my article, Are We Living in the Biblical Latter Days? and Four Reasons the Jews are Judah.
What follows is based on my belief that the prophecy about the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11 will be fulfilled literally. If this belief is wrong, then no one has anything to fear regarding this prophecy because what follows below will not happen. However, if it is fulfilled literally like other biblical latter-day prophecies have been fulfilled, everyone in the entire world would quake if they realized what lies ahead of them. The world is clueless regarding the tsunami of God’s power that is about to be unleashed in the time ahead of us. My article about the Two Witnesses goes into considerable depth about the prophecies about them, and this post is not intended to repeat what is already contained in that article. This post will offer additional information and perspectives about them that were not in the original article.
The Timing of their Arrival:
The Bible gives us no date on which the ministry of the Two Witnesses will begin. It is clear that their ministry occurs during the latter days, and the context of the prophecy about them indicates their ministry’s start will indicate that the end of our current age is very close. Revelation 11 does offer us clues that will signal their arrival is imminent. Revelation 11:1-2 describes their ministry will be preceded by an act of conducting measurements for a new Temple of God in the “holy city”–which would obviously have to be on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It specifically mentions an altar, a court of the Gentiles, etc. There are forces moving in the Mideast that could make this happen quickly. Israel and the Sunni Islamic nations are threatened increasingly by Shiite Iran, and there have been rumors of an impending formal alliance between the Sunni nations and the Israelis to guarantee their mutual security vs. Iran and its allies. One aspect of this alliance could include the Jews being given the right to build a third temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. As many of my blogs have documented, the global system in place now, called Babylon the Great in the book of Revelation, is looking increasingly shaky, and when it falls, it will be replaced by a beast power that will dominate the world with a new political/financial system that will last 42 months (Revelation 13:1-5). Notice that Revelation 11:2 also mentions that a specific “42 month” period of time will begin about the time the ministry of the Two Witnesses also begins. That latter-day time frame cannot be a coincidence. It must mean that the beast system will begin its global dominance very close to the time that the Two Witnesses begin their ministry. The Two Witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days (Revelation 11:3) which some might think is the same as a 42 month period of time, but that is not correct. The Bible uses Hebrew terms for calendar calculations and a Hebrew lunar month is approximately 29.5 days, so 42 months in a Hebrew calendar is close to 1240 days–not 1260 days.
Another clue can be found in Revelation 13 and 17 which prophesy that there will be a cryptic alliance of “seven heads and ten horns” that will forcibly overthrow the dominance of the global Babylon the Great system which has dominated the world’s power structure for a very long time. Revelation 18:3 identifies the leaders of the Babylon the Great system, as a cabal of corrupt and greedy insiders in both the private and public sectors who have enriched themselves at the expense of the nations and world population. They can be identified as the insider “globalists” who dominate the world’s internationalist governments and supranational institutions (UN, EU, IMF, WTO, BIS, etc.). The alliance of the “seven heads and ten horns” can be seen as the rising force of nationalists and populists who reject the globalist agendas and are steadily electing their own leaders into positions of power in one nation after another (this list currently includes the USA, Brazil, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and possibly the United Kingdom if there is a Hard Brexit). The prophecy in Revelation 17 clearly shows that the nationalist/populists will overthrow the globalist powers who have been entrenched in powerful positions for centuries (and perhaps millennia). Revelation 17:9-18 indicates a great struggle between these two blocs will occur, but the nationalists/populists will win and will install a political leader and a religious leader, called in prophecy the “beast” and “false prophet” (or “antichrist”) at the head of their new world system. For more on this topic, please read my articles, Is Babylon the Great about to Fall…Ushering in a New Beast Kingdom? and The Babylonian Origin of the Modern Banking System.
It is also worth noting that the language of Revelation 11:1-2 does not require that any Temple actually be built at the time the Two Witnesses are sent into action by the Creator God. Its prophetic language infers that the temple site is being “measured” in preparation for its dedication and for actual consecution to begin. It is my understanding that the “daily sacrifices” to be offered at a Temple of God might begin as soon as the site is dedicated and consecrated, and not necessarily delayed until the end of its construction. It is possible the act of building the Temple will be occurring during the time of the ministry of the Two Witnesses and the dominance of the world by the new “beast” system. The beast system and the Two Witnesses must be concurrent or at least substantially overlapping as the beast power will eventually be allowed to martyr the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:7) after the world has witnessed a global struggle between God’s Two Witnesses and the beast and false prophet–another “twosome” empowered by the devil but pretending to come as messengers of a new age of enlightenment.
A Fellowship of Two or Nine?:
Revelation 11 clearly prophesies there will be Two Witnesses who will wield great power from God to plague the nations in the latter days. However, God may pour out his spirit on other additional prophets who will also serve God in the latter days, but at a lesser capacity that the Two Witnesses. There is scriptural support for such a possibility in the symbolism found in Zechariah 3-4. Revelation 11:4 tells us to examine the “two olive trees/candlesticks” who are “standing before the God of the earth” to learn more about them. This language leads us directly to Zechariah 4:1-5, 11-14 where the language cited in Revelation 11:4 first occurs. This shows the “two olive trees” (the latter-day Two Witnesses) are not alone but are emptying Divine oil into “seven lamps” via “seven pipes.” Given the candlestick imagery in verse 2 for this vision, the seven lamps have to represent the seven candlesticks of a Temple Menorah–which has seven candlesticks set on a base. The Two “olive trees” have the pre-eminent position, but they share their same Holy Spirit/olive oil with seven lesser “candlesticks.” Since Revelation 11:4 tells us the two olive trees do represent the Two Witnesses, does it not follow that there may be seven lesser prophets who will share the same Holy “oil” as the Two Witnesses? If so, we are not given what roles the seven other prophets might perform in the latter days. Zechariah 3-4 reveals the two olive trees in the symbolic prophecy are typified by two individuals who literally lived at the time Jewish returnees came back to Jerusalem from Persian exile. Zechariah 3:8 cites an angel addressing “Joshua” (the high priest figure of the two olive trees) and referring to “your fellows who sit before you.” This plural term means two or more people and Joshua’s fellow “olive tree,” Zerubbabel, is only one person so the angel had to be referring to more people than just Zerubbabel. Additionally, when the vision shifts to focus on Zerubbabel in the next chapter, Zechariah 4:10 refers to Zerubbabel as being “with those seven.” Who or what is referenced by this metaphorical prophetic language? Since Zechariah 4:1-3 and 12-14 clearly refer to the two olive trees as referring to the Two Witnesses in the latter days, the use of the word “seven” in verse 10 could refer to seven other “fellows” (lesser prophets or associates of the Two Witnesses) who are also depicted as sharing the same oil as the Two Witnesses in verses 2-3. The reference to “your fellows” in Zechariah 3:8 and to “seven” others in Zechariah 4:10 could mean that besides the Two Witnesses, there will be seven other associates or lesser prophets who assist them in their work.
I’m sure fans of the Lord of the Rings books and movies may already see a possible parallel in this symbolism. J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote this series, was a devout Christian and was deeply familiar with the Bible, ancient languages and history, etc. Biblical symbolism is contained throughout his mythical series as well as in the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy called, The Silmarilion. Frodo and Sam are the two main characters who are tasked with the extremely difficult task of carrying the One Ring into Mordor and destroying it in the fires of Mt. Doom. This central twosome is joined by seven other associates in a Fellowship of the Ring consisting of nine allies (2 + 7). They are together at the beginning of their quest but are soon parted and have to fight evil as best they can in smaller groupings during a period of time called “the end of days.” Their saga ends after a cataclysmic war when Sauron, the Dark Lord, is overthrown and Aragorn, the true king from an ancient royal line, establishes a Messianic utopia of peace in Middle Earth. Many Christians will see the same metaphorical latter-day themes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as are in the Bible’s latter-day prophecies.
The Bible tells us of a duo (the Two Witnesses) who will be called to bear the great burden of proclaiming the imminent return of Jesus Christ and the start of the millennium as they plague a sinful world at the end of this age. Zechariah 3-4 hint of seven others who will be their associates in this calling (2 + 7) for a fellowship of nine persons. After a cataclysmic war, Jesus Christ returns and establishes a millennial Age on the earth that will last 1000 years (Revelation 19:11-20:5). Unlike Frodo and Sam, the Two Witnesses are prophesied to die for a short time before they are resurrected a mere 3 and 1/2 days after they are killed to show that not even death has any power over them. (Revelation 11:7-12). I find it interesting that the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with its biblically prophetic themes about the latter days, has become a blockbuster movie series now while we are actually living in the latter days of our current age. Did Tolkien have the prophecies of Revelation 11 and Zechariah 3-4 in mind when he wrote his epic tale about a fellowship of 2 + 7 = nine members of a fellowship that would confront ultimate evil at the end of an age? Whether he meant it or not, the symbolism fits perfectly, and I mention it as a way of helping modern readers relate to the real-world prophecy about the Two Witnesses and possibly seven others who will confront evil at the end of our age. I will be eagerly awaiting to see if this biblical symbolism unfolds or whether it does not, but I wanted to mention this possibility so Christians are not confused if the Two Witnesses are joined by seven other associates in their work.
Good Cop/Bad Cop?:
I’m sure readers who have watched TV shows or movies about law enforcement are familiar with the good cop/bad cop theme. It is where one member of a two-man team of law enforcement officers seems to sympathize with a suspect while the other officer postures to “throw the book” at the suspect. It allows for a suspect to respond to either approach. There is an example in the Bible of a “twosome” who served in a good cop/bad cop capacity. Might this be manifested in the Two Witnesses? In my article, The Two Witnesses, I point out three twosomes of God in Old Testament times that have some applicability to the Two Witnesses that will be sent in the latter days. The first twosome through whom great miracles were done consisted of Moses and Aaron. The second miracle-working duo was Elijah and Elisha. Revelation 11:4 also refers us to the duo of Joshua and Zerubbabel in Zechariah 3-4 to learn something about the nature of the final Two Witnesses even though Joshua and Zerubbabel did no miracles. The Old Testament (in most Bibles) ends in Malachi 4:5-6 which warns that “Elijah” will be sent to the earth with a great warning just before the “day of the Lord,” and that repentance needs to occur to prevent God from smiting the earth. I see in this a clear reference to the power of God that will be sent into the earth via the Two Witnesses who will be doing a modern “work of Elijah.”
Elijah and Elisha were contemporaries in a mentor-protege relationship, and both did mighty miracles as will the Two Witnesses. Elijah had the ability to “shut heaven” in sending a three and half-year drought on the ancient kingdom of Israel when it was especially sinful (James 5:17), and the Two Witnesses will be given this same power (Revelation 11:6). Elijah served in the “bad cop” role as he plagued the Israelite northern kingdom during the rule of the corrupt King Ahab, and the nation suffered greatly and was largely depopulated for a time during the multi-year drought. Elijah later experienced a personal burn-out after his confrontation with the priests of Baal at Mt. Carmel where Elijah called fire down from heaven on a sacrifice and personally executed 450 priests of Baal (I Kings 18:15-40). Elijah was so burned out that he wanted to die (I Kings 19:1-18). Elijah was later taken into the air in the sight of Elisha, and some think that Elijah was taken to God’s heavenly realm. This has led to some thinking Elijah and perhaps Enoch will be the Two Witnesses. I disagree. I think the Two Witnesses will be people who are part of our contemporary society and understand it well. Elijah was not taken to Heaven in a fiery chariot but was taken to a hidden place on the earth where he entered monastic life. We know he was hidden on earth somewhere as a decade or more after he was taken into the air in that heavenly chariot, Elijah wrote a letter to King Jehoram of the southern Israelite kingdom of Judah in which he warned God was about to plague Jehoram for leading his nation into depravity. The plague did come upon King Jehoram whose “bowels fell out.” (II Chronicles 21:11-20). Clearly, years after Elijah was taken into the air in a heavenly chariot, he was still living on the earth somewhere from which he could send a letter to the Israelite king.
Elisha, on the other hand, who served in Elijah’s stead (II Kings 2:1-8), also did miracles but was sometimes an ally and helper to the kings of Israel and to non-Israelite leaders was well. Elisha blinded a Syrian army sent to capture him (II Kings 6:11-23), warned a king of Israel how to avoid a military threat (II Kings 6:8-10), healed a Syrian general (II Kings 5:1-14) , delivered the Israelites in Samaria from a siege by a Syrian army and turned defeat into victory (II Kings 6:24-7:20). Elisha clearly acted as a “good cop” at times. Will the Two Witnesses exhibit the same qualities as Elijah and Elisha–one who is implacably devoted to plaguing sinful leaders and mankind and one who is willing to work with them at times? I make no predictions, but simply want to point out this possibility from biblical precedent in case it occurs among the Two Witnesses.
Indeed, why does there need to be two witnesses? I think we are given the answer in Deuteronomy 17:6 which states God required at least “two witnesses” whose testimony agreed on a matter before any sentence could be implemented involving a capital offense. This fact begs the question: Will the persons serving as the Two Witnesses have to “agree” that a particular plague should be sent before it is actually implemented, or will they each be individually able to send plagues on people or nations without the consent of the other Witness? It’s only a matter of time until we have the answer to that question.
The Grave Risk of Trying to Hurt the Two Witnesses:
Even though Revelation 11:7-13 prophesies the Two Witnesses will eventually be martyred by the Beast power, the Two Witnesses will wield unprecedented miraculous power for three and one-half years in their ministry…and that power will be lethal. Revelation 11:5 states: “If any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devours their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed (emphasis added).” Notice how the wording is stated twice for emphasis: “if any man will hurt them…” This verse shows there will be no exceptions; If anyone seeks to hurt them they will pay with their lives. This sentence may apply both to those who are sent to hurt them and anyone who sends others to hurt them. The English word “hurt” comes from the Greek word “Adikeo” which means to wrong, hurt, injure or be unjust to (Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, Index-Lexicon to the New Testament). Notice that this word translated “hurt” means something far beyond merely trying to kill or injure them. People can be wronged or injured or treated unjustly via slander and libel as well as by actual physical assault. Taken at its broadest application, it could mean that anyone who seeks to hurt them via assassination attempts, a slanderous interview or media presentation, a libelous or mocking media article or column, or a Facebook post or “tweet” meant to “hurt” the Two Witnesses in any way will find themselves being burnt to a crisp right where they stand or sit. The Two Witnesses might send the fire on the spur of the moment, but they will only be each in one place at any one time. They could make a pronouncement or warning to the world where the limits are in what can be said or done vis a vis their persons or reputations. They will not have to be everywhere at once to implement this death sentence. God has an angelic army that numbers in the mega-millions, and they can be tasked to be spread throughout the earth like an army of invisible sentinels ready to execute anyone seeking to hurt the Two Witnesses. If God’s angels notice a human being seeking to “hurt” the Two Witnesses (however the word “hurt” gets applied), they can be Divinely authorized to administer the death penalty on the spot. Apparently, they will be able to do this for three and one-half years. Can you imagine the seething rage that will fill their enemies who know that they cannot kill, harm or mock the Two Witnesses for that period of time, even though the Two Witnesses will be plaguing sinful and unrepentant mankind?
There are two biblical precedents how this sentence of death for harming the Two Witnesses might unfold, and they come, again, from the lives of Elijah and Elisha, two of the mightiest prophets ever sent by God. Wicked King Ahab of ancient Israel sent three successive contingents of fifty soldiers to take Elijah into custody. The first two contingents of soldiers were burned alive by heavenly fire simply because they spoke disrespectfully to Elijah. The third contingent’s leader, knowing the fate of the first two groups of soldiers, fell on his knees and very humbly asked Elijah to come with him. Because they were respectful and clearly meant no “hurt” to Elijah, they were allowed to live and merely escorted Elijah to the king (II Kings 1:9-17). Elijah’s successor, Elisha, must have been a bald man as he was verbally mocked for his baldness by a group of 42 juvenile delinquents, who may not have even realized he was God’s prophet. These delinquents were quickly executed by two bears who ripped them apart (II Kings 2:19-24).
Given the broad application of how the word “hurt” can be applied, it will be very risky to seek to do any kind of evil to the Two Witnesses when they come on the scene. Even disparaging them might get people killed. As I understand this sentence, it seems that God is going to send the death sentence to all who seek to “hurt” the Two Witnesses because God’s own Holy Spirit and anointing will be so powerfully placed on them that any effort to harm or hurt them will be seen by God as a personal affront to God himself. Will the Two Witnesses have the power to suspend the death sentence to people who meant no actual “hurt” to the Two Witnesses when they did or said something wrong? The prophecy in Revelation 11 does not address that possibility so we will have to wait until they come to know the answer to that question.
A Personal Expectation:
I will close this post with a personal expectation I have about the composition of the Two Witnesses. I want to clearly state this is only a personal expectation–not a prediction. In Ezekiel 37:15-28 is the famous “two sticks” prophecy that God will at long last finally bring all the tribes of Israel together under the governance of a resurrected King David at the beginning of the Millennium/Messianic Age. The tribes of Israel in this prophecy are represented by two sticks–one for the house of Israel and one for the house of Judah. Since it is clearly God’s will to climax the latter days by uniting the two long-separated “house of Israel (or Ephraim)” and the “house of Judah,” I think the Two Witnesses would foreshadow that outcome very effectively if one of them was from the House of Israel and the other was from the house of Judah. Again, this is only my current personal expectation, not a prediction. We will have to wait until God sends them to learn their origins.
This concludes this post about the Two Witnesses which is an update to my article, The Two Witnesses. There is much more information about the Two Witnesses in that article, so I urge readers to review it…before these Two Witnesses arrive on the scene.