Previous blogs have discussed the subject of the prophesied “Two Witnesses” in Revelation 11, but it has been awhile since I’ve done an update on biblical information about what these two prophets may be like. As I was researching the Bible for more information about them, I noticed a surprising possibility that I will share in this blog. It was something which I had never previously considered or grasped.
For newcomers to this blog, the Two Witnesses are two incredibly powerful prophets which God will send to witness for him against the nations just before the end of this age and the return of Jesus Christ. Revelation 11:1-14 describes their prophesied ministry, power, martyrdoms and resurrection. I will not elaborate much on this prophecy in this blog as there is a free article available at my website entitled, The Two Witnesses, which provides an in-depth examination about their prophesied ministry. As an introduction to this blog, I will simply note that Revelation 11:3-5 warns that during their 3 1/2 year ministry, it will be fatal for anyone to try and harm them. Anyone seeking to harm them will be consumed by heavenly fire. Verse 6 foretells that they will have Divinely-delegated powers that have not been given into the hands of man since the times of the respective twosomes of (A) Moses and Aaron and (B) Elijah and Elisha. This verse states God will give them power to control the weather, alter the elements of the earth and “smite the earth will ALL plagues as often as they will (emphasis added).” This means that God will delegate to them virtually unlimited power to wield as his two spokesmen to the earth’s nations.
One thing is for certain. Either this will happen or it will not happen. I take this prophecy very literally, and I believe it will be fulfilled exactly as prophesied. The ministry of the Two Witnesses will be God’s last effort to induce repentance on the part of the earth’s nations before Jesus Christ returns to establish God’s kingdom on earth via the invasion of a heavenly army (Revelation 19:11-20:5). Given that the earth has been so deceived and duped by false religions and the theory of evolution, God will send these two prophets with such stunning power that it will compel the nations to face the reality that there is a Divine God whose coming is imminent.
In my article at this website about the Two Witnesses, I examine possibilities about the origins and nature of the Two Witnesses based on biblical precedents about powerful prophetic “twosomes.” I discuss the prophetic twosomes of Elijah/Elisha and Moses/Aaron. I also examine another forerunner “twosome” which Revelation 11:4 specifically says will have some precedents for the Two Witnesses. This verse likens the Two Witnesses to the “two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” This is a direct reference to Zechariah 3-4 where two historical figures in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra named Joshua and Zerubbabel were likened to “two olive trees” by a candlestick “that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” The biblical terminology obviously creates a link between the vision in Zechariah 3-4 and the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11.
There are many possibilities about the Two Witnesses that can be drawn from the precedents of the three “twosomes” of mighty prophets that were their forerunners in the Old Testament. While Moses/Aaron and Elijah/Elisha were prophetic twosomes who did real miracles, Joshua and Zerubbabel did not do the miracles ascribed to them in the vision contained in Zechariah 3-4 so they will eventually be done by the Two Witnesses, but there has to be something about Joshua and Zerubbabel which give us vital information about the prophesied Two Witnesses.
This blog will address one specific issue: Will the Two Witnesses be “political” (i.e. involved in the politics of the latter-day nations)? I think the clear answer is “yes.” Let’s consider the three “twosomes” in the Old Testament for precedents on what the Two Witnesses may do.
First, let’s consider Moses and Aaron. Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s court as a member of the Royal family from infancy (Exodus 2:1-10). Acts 7:21-23 states Moses was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds.” The book of Jasher relates Moses was a great Egyptian general and the movie, The Ten Commandments, portrays this at its opening. When Moses went into exile for 40 years, God later called him and sent him back to Pharaoh’s court to be God’s emissary. Moses was politically-knowledgeable about Egyptian court protocols, and his previous experience as a military leader prepared him for leading the millions of Israelites and fellow-slaves who left Egypt in the Exodus. While Moses was very politically-skilled, there is no indication Aaron had any such skills even though Aaron served as Moses’ spokesman (Exodus 5:10-1, 7:1-3). This precedent argues that at least one of the Two Witnesses may be someone who was in government service but was exiled from it before God calls him to return to contend with governments as a messenger of God. Since the Two Witnesses will be able to “turn water to blood” (Revelation 11:6) as did Moses and Aaron (Exodus 7:15-25), this precedent has to be considered a forerunner of the ministry of the Two Witnesses.
Now consider Elijah and Elisha. Malachi 4:5 prophesies that “Elijah” will be sent to the earth just before “great and dreadful day of the Lord” at the very end of this age. Since the Two Witnesses will also have the miracle-working powers of Elijah and Elisha, I take this prophecy to be a prophecy about the coming of the Two Witnesses and that God will “smite the earth with a curse” if the older and younger generations do not repent at their warnings. Elijah plagued the ancient kingdom of Israel with a 3 1/2 year drought, devastating that nation (I Kings 17:1, James 5:17). Elijah became a fugitive sought by King Ahab of Israel who searched all nations for him (I Kings 18:10). When Elijah emerged from hiding, an Israelite government official approached him very humbly and asked Elijah to spare their lives, which he did (I Kings 18:3-11). Later, an Israelite king sent three groups of Israelite soldiers to roughly take Elijah into custody. The first two groups were slain by divine fire (exactly what will happen to those seeking to harm the Two Witnesses–Rev. 11:5). The third group of soldiers humbly approached Elijah to come willingly and they were spared (II Kings 1). Elijah later “burned out” and asked God to end his life (I Kings 19:1-7). God told Elijah that Elisha would take his place, but that Elijah first had to anoint a new king of Israel and a new king of Syria, Israel’s rival and frequent adversary in war (I Kings 19:8-18). This is important as Elijah served as a “king-maker” over not only the kingdom of Israel but their adversary nation as well. Elisha became Elisha’s replacement while Elijah went into “seclusion.” Elisha saw Elijah lifted up in a fiery chariot (II Kings 2:11), but Elijah was transported to somewhere else on earth from where he later wrote a letter to a later king of Judah (II Chronicles 21:12).
Elisha was given a “double portion of Elijah’s power” (II Kings 2:9-14), and it was fatal for even children to mock him (II Kings 2:23-25). Elisha was personally involved in the politics of the nations of his time. A Syrian army commander named Naaman came to the king of Israel to be healed of leprosy, which the king of Israel thought was an excuse to start a war (II Kings 5:1-7). However, Elisha intervened and caused Naaman to be healed (verses 8-18). In modern terms, this would be as incongruous as a prophet in the USA healing the Russian Defense Minister of a fatal disease. Elisha also smote his own servant with leprosy for lying to him (II Kings 5:20-27). Elisha later used his divine insights to aid the king of Israel in disposing his army forces to enable him to defeat Syrian armies several times (II Kings 6:8-23). Elisha even smote an entire army of Syrians with blindness and stopped a war between Israel and the Syrians. Elisha could routinely see the normally-invisible angelic realm and opened his servant’s eyes on this occasion to see it as well (II Kings 6:16-17). Elisha got involved in a later Israelite-Syrian war and used his spiritual power to give victory to the Israelites (II Kings 7:20). Elisha then later got involved in the politics of Syria re: kingly succession (II Kings 8:7-15).
We see that both Elijah and Elisha were heavily involved in the politics of the nations of both Israel and Syria—rival nations at that time. This is a harbinger that the Two Witnesses in the latter days will be involved in the national politics of the leaders of the Israelite nations and their rival nations on the earth (hold this thought for later).
The third twosome of Joshua and Zerubbabel (directly linked to the Two Witnesses by Revelation 11:3-4) involves both the actual lives and a prophetic vision about Joshua and Zerubbabel. Joshua was a High Priest and therefore a religious official. Zerubbabel appears as a government official of some kind. Haggai 1:1 identifies him as “governor of Judah” when it was a subject province in the Persian Empire so he had to have received his appointment from the Persian king (the apocryphal book of I Esdras 3-5 supports Haggai’s account). Zerubbabel would have been quite familiar with the politics of the Persian Empire and its vassal kingdoms, but Joshua as a High Priest reprises the role of Aaron, who became the original High Priest in the time of the Exodus. At a minimum, Revelation 11:3-4’s affirmation that Joshua and Zerubbabel tell us something about the traits of the Two Witnesses indicates that one of the Two Witnesses will be familiar with politics and involved in them and the other of the Two Witnesses may not be so involved.
In all three prophetic “twosomes,” we see one or both of the members of these twosomes heavily involved or skilled in international politics. Let’s apply this to the Two Witnesses who will come in future years. One or both of them will be skilled or heavily involved in international politics. Since they can “smite the earth with plagues as often as they will,” this infers that such plagues could come if nations refuse to take actions ordered by the Two Witnesses (even as plagues fell on Egypt when Pharaoh refused to obey the command to “let my people go”). This leads to the surprising possibility I mentioned in the first paragraph about what may happen in the future. The Two Witnesses are eventually killed by an angry Beast leader (Revelation 11:7) so it is apparent that the Beast is enraged at the plagues that the Two Witnesses have called down on his kingdom. Revelation 16:1-11 records that many plagues will come down on the beast’s kingdom and even plague the “seat of the Beast” himself. I think the plagues in Revelation that befall the beast’s kingdom will be administered by the Two Witnesses. Supporting this view is that their prophesied plagues will include turning water into blood (Revelation 16:3-4), one of the specific plagues which strikes the Beast’s kingdom in Revelation 16.
What kinds of “orders” might the Two Witnesses issue which enrage the beast leader so much? Perhaps they will order no rainfall on nations or states (provinces) until they repeal “gay marriage” rights. They may “turn waters to blood” in states and nations which allow abortion because they have “shed so much innocent blood.” They may curse the beast and his leaders with painful plagues unless they obey biblical or Constitutional Laws. The list of things they may do is endless because they will be able to dispense plagues at their whim (Revelation 11:6). It will result in terrible pain or death to offend or harm these two prophets.
Now consider this oddity. There is no mention in Revelation that the Two Witnesses plague the Gog-Magog alliance or that the Gog-Magog alliance seeks to harm them at all. If nations implement whatever the Two Witnesses tell them to do, they are not likely to receive any plagues. My view is that Russia, China and their allies will not provoke the Two Witnesses once they realize they have supernatural powers. Russia and China are motivated by seeking and using power. When they recognize superior power and the willingness to use that power in the Two Witnesses, they are not likely to provoke them.
Even as Elijah killed Israelite soldiers, but healed a Syrian commander and kept alive Syrian soldiers captured by the Israelites, the Two Witnesses might “get along” with the Gog-Magog nations if the Gog-Magog nations do not oppose or resist them. The Beast leader will be paired with a religious leader called the antichrist or false prophet (Revelation 16:13, 19:20), so the Two Witnesses will oppose an evil “twosome” who will represent the powers of church and state in the Beast’s kingdom. Because they are rivals and contending for the public’s allegiance, they will be continually at odds. We may even see such surprising developments as the Two Witnesses being on cordial terms with Russia, China and the nations of the Gog-Magog alliance (who do not oppose or harm them) while the nations of the western world ruled by the Beast are plagued by the Two Witnesses because those nations will obey the dictates of the Beast instead of the will of God. Keep in mind I’m merely proposing this as a possible development. Revelation 11:6 foretells the Two Witnesses can smite whatever regions of the earth they wish with plagues. I think some nations will “learn real fast” that the way to not get plagued is to not oppose the Two Witnesses. If some nations implement the Two Witnesses’ directions, why would the Two Witnesses want to plague those nations? The ministry of the Two Witnesses may offer us many surprises.
I hope that this blog has given you food for thought about the Two Witnesses who will certainly come in future years. For more information about these two future prophets, please read my article “the Two Witnesses” available at the articles link at this website.