The Two Witnesses

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The Two Witnesses

Q. Who do you think the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3 are?

1Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. 3And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. 7When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. 8And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. (Revelation 11:1-9)

A. I certainly won’t be dogmatic about it, but I think the two witnesses allegorically are “the ‘Law’ and the Prophets” (representative of all of Scripture, and Messiah Yeshua said that all of Scripture gives witness of Him). I think literally they are Moshe (representing the Torah or “Law”) and Eliyahu (Elijah, representing the Prophets). The main reason to believe this is that they were the “two witnesses” to the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-6). This is in addition to the powers of the two witnesses to bring plagues (Moshe) and to keep it from raining (Eliyahu). Also, for numerous scriptural reasons, Israel has for millennia expected Eliyahu to return before the [final] appearing of Messiah.

Probably the best other option would be Eliyahu and Hanokh (Enoch), since of all the people in the Bible, these two men are said not to have died yet:

“Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)

“Suddenly, as they were walking on and talking, there appeared a fiery chariot with horses of fire; and as it separated the two of them from each other, Eliyahu went up into heaven in a whirlwind.” (2Kings 2:11)

And “inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, …” (Hebrews 9:27), since Eliyahu and Hanokh have not died yet, maybe HaShem took them to heaven without death so that they would come back as the two witnesses and fulfill their “death requirement” at that time.

But, again, though I certainly won’t be dogmatic about it either way, I think the preponderance of evidence would fall on Moshe and Eliyahu. I like the “Law and Prophets” picture best, and I can't think of another reason for the other witness to be Hanokh other than the fact that he is the only person besides Eliyahu who (maybe) didn’t die the first time around.

[I'm still thinking through how the reference to the “two olive trees and the two lampstands” fits into the concept.]

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