My Two Witnesses
This is a brief dissertation as to the identity of the Two Witnesses spoken of in the book of Revelation. Some believe it is Enoch and Elijah. Some believe it is Moses and Elijah. Others believe that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecies concerning the coming of Elijah. It should be noted that prophecies, when not yet fulfilled, can sometimes be difficult to interpret. So when we search out the matter, it is therefore necessary to search the whole council of God, and leave room for the possibility that we may not have it entirely right.
We first read about these two witnesses in Revelation chapter 11. "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth" (Revelation 11:3).
Who might they be? They are not mentioned by name but are simply called “my two witnesses”. They are the ones who witness and give testimony on behalf of the Lord for the first three and one half years of, what some have termed, the 7 year Tribulation, otherwise known as Daniel's 70th week. We are told that, "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth" (Revelation 11:4). This is in reference to two men specifically mentioned in the book of Zechariah in chapter four and are identified as Joshua, the high priest, and Zerubbable, the governor of Israel. These were the two leaders of Israel, who when they were come back from their Babylonian Captivity, "builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon" (Ezra 3:2), to once again, establish true worship in Jerusalem after their 70 year exile from the land of Israel.
Are the two witnesses in the Revelation actually Joshua and Zerubbable? I do not believe so, but certainly Joshua and Zerubbable, and the situation surrounding them foreshadowed that of the Two Witnesses in the Revelation as their circumstances are quite similar. It is like history repeating itself.
First of all, just like the nation Israel was gathered back to their land after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity, so too, in the latter days, the Lord God said that he would gather Israel from the four corners of the world a “second time” and bring them back into the land that was promised to their forefathers and their descendants for an everlasting possession.
The prophet Hosea tells us that "the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days" (Hosea 3:4-5).
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:11-12).
Secondly, in the Revelation John said, "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein" (Revelation 11:1). The first 12 verses of this chapter deal with the Two Witnesses. Sacrifice will once again take place in Israel, under the Jewish economy. There will be an altar and the temple shall be rebuilt and the children of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and worship Him.
This I believe will be the result of the ministry of the Two Witnesses, which we have pictured for us in the Old Testament under Joshua and Zerubbable, for when "the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem" (Not as Israel and Judah; but as “one stick” as in Ezekiel 37:16-19), Joshua and Zerubbable, "builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon . . . for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries" (Ezra 3:1-3).
Even today, we can see how the hostility of the nations is mounting up against Israel and I am sure there is a growing fear because of what is happening in those countries surrounding them.
Although Joshua and Zerubbable may be a type of the Two Witnesses in the Revelation, we still must ask, Who then are these two witnesses? The last book of the Old Testament tells us, "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers" (Malachi 4:4-6). Was it just a coincidence that these two men, Moses and Elijah, were seen with Christ when He was transfigured before Peter, James and John. "And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke 9:30-31).
But why Moses and Elijah? I believe these two, who came to speak to Christ of his decease which He should accomplish, are the same two men who bore witness to His death, burial and resurrection. When Mary Magdalene and the other women went on the first day of the week to anoint the body of Christ, "they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again" (Luke 24:2-7).
I believe that it was these same two men who also were witness to the ascension of Christ, and gave testimony of His coming again. After Christ had given the apostles their commission “and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3), "he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:9-11).
I ask the question, Who else could bear witness to the fact of the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ during the Tribulation, and of His soon return to set up His kingdom? None other than these "two men". We are told, “at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15). And again, “the testimony of two men is true” (John 8:17).
Some may protest saying that these "two men" were angels, for in John's account, he mentions "two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain" (John 20:12), and that is O.K., but, we must remember, that while the Greek word "aggelos", is usually translated as angel, it is also translated as messenger, which is the primary meaning of the word, whether the messenger be an angel or man. John says it was two angels, but Luke says that it was two men, and this would not be a contradiction of terms. Even John the Baptist was called an angel ("my messenger", Gr. aggelos). (Note: To see where "aggelos" refers to men, look to Luke 7:24, 27, 9:52, Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, James 2:25, etc.)
This I believe will be the testimony of the Two Witnesses, Jesus Christ crucified for sinners and risen from the dead, who has ascended up on high and is soon to return and set up his Kingdom. Their message will be the same as John the Baptist who came "in the spirit and power of Elias" (Luke 1:17), "saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). John also pointed to Christ as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), and testified saying, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
This message will be preached with power and will be authenticated with divine manifestations from heaven. "And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will" (Revelation 11:5-6).
I believe that it will be them who will establish true worship back to Israel through their prophetic teaching ministry, which takes place during the first three and one half years of the tribulation. The fruit of their ministry will result in the conversion of 144,000 Jews (Revelation 7:1-8), who "were redeemed from the earth . . . which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth . . . being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:3-4).
These in turn will extend the gospel of Christ to the ends of the world, to be a witness “unto all nations” (Matthew 24:14), whereby "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" (Rev. 7:9) are saved, having "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14). During the Tribulation many will be "slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held" (Revelation 6:9), but these overcome the devil "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" for they "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:11, 17).
The prophet Joel foretold of "those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem" (Joel 3:1), saying "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. . . And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call" (Joel 2:28-29, 32).
Salvation in our Lord shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness unto all nations beginning with the "two witnesses". Israel will find repentance through the ministry of these two. Then the "hundred and forty four thousand Jews" will bring the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the world. They will have accomplished in seven years what the church could not do in two thousand years.
Some have placed the two witnesses as Elijah and Enoch. The main reason for this is that both Enoch and Elijah were translated to heaven without dying. The Bible tells us that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27), and so, given that they did not yet die, these two could be the Two Witnesses. Moses on the other hand died and was buried in a sepulchre before entering the promised land, and therefore, since he had died once, could not die again as these "two witnesses" are slain after their three and one half year ministry (Revelation 11:7-8).
However, apart from that, Moses does seem to be a better fit. The miracles of these two are similar to the miracles that Moses did in Egypt and Elijah (Luke 4:25, James 5:17, Exodus 7). Also, Elijah is mentioned alongside Moses at the end of the Old Testament which speaks of Elijah's coming at the end of the age. Furthermore, there are exceptions in the Bible as to the dying "once". There is a generation that will never die, but will be raptured and their bodies translated into glorified bodies when Christ returns. Also, there were some who were raised from the dead such as Lazarus, who was four days in the grave and his body already decayed and stinking, whom Christ raised from the dead in a mortal body yet to die again, as well as others. So because Moses had died once already would not necessarily disqualify him as one of the Two Witnesses.
It is also stated by some that Enoch will be a witness to the gentile nations while Elijah will be the minister to the nation of Israel. However, as stated earlier, the witness of the 144,000 Jews will stretch across the world to the gentile nations, so Enoch is not required to minister to the gentile nations. It was Israel whom God had chosen to be a witness and a light to the gentiles, and now, where they failed in the past, will have this glorious opportunity to fulfill their mission during the last ingathering of the saints in the last days.
So now to the question, Was John the Baptist Elijah?
What do we know of John the Baptist?
He was born the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth who was the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.
The angel told Zacharias of his mission, “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16-17)
John the Baptist “came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.” (John 1:7)
“John bare witness of [Jesus]” (John 1:15). Pointing to Him as, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
When John was asked, “Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not... He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” (John 1:21, 23; cref. Isaiah 40:3)
He was not an Old Testament prophet as Jesus said, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Matthew 11:13). He was a New Testament prophet and the first one to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus quoted Malachi 3:1 concerning John saying, “this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” (Matthew 11:10)
The prophet Malachi also said, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6) Jesus said, “And if ye will receive it, this [John] is Elias, which was for to come.” (Matthew 11:14) and “That Elias is come already” (Matthew 17:12), but He also said after the death of John the Baptist, “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matthew 17:11).
I think we must say that John the Baptist came in the Spirit and power of Elijah, but was not Elijah. Rather, he was a “type” of Elijah, who performed a ministry somewhat like that of Elijah, but like Christ, was rejected by Israel as a whole and put to death. John did have some converts who became the disciples of Christ, but they were few in number. But Elijah will come “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Malachi 4:5) when “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:4-5)
This all seems to be akin to one of Peter's first sermons, spoken from the Temple that was soon to be destroyed:
“18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (Acts 3:18-24)
Christ will come again, but for now He is ascended into heaven, “until the times of restitution of all things” which surely shall come via Elijah. “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matthew 17:11). When Jesus first came He came to baptize with the Holy Spirit, but when he comes the second time He is coming to baptize with the fire of Judgment. John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12)
Today we are either wheat or chaff. For all those who have repent and believed the gospel, they have been baptized by the Holy Spirit, and made a member of His body which is the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Colossians 1:18) . For all those who are not “in Christ” they shall be baptized with fire, that is, cast into hell, that lake of fire that burneth forever and ever. John the Baptist said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36) Thank God there is yet an open door for sinners today. Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). The admonition for today is to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
When Jesus said clearly that John is Elias many people want to change the status of the due afirmation. He said those born of the Spirit, they hear the noise of them like we hear the noise of the wind but we dont know where they came from or where they go. John came in the Spirit and they heard his words for repentance and died soon and they didnt know where he gone and from where he came. Jesus said they done to him whatever they wanted, and afirmed saying that he is he which was writen that shoud come, Elias is John but people will not accept it as Jesus said to Nicodemus: How will you undertand when I say heaven' s subjects? When nether earth' s you as a head among Israel dont know?
In my opinion, reencarnation is the big mistake devil created but the power of God must not be daubted for He can do the impossible and Jesus said correct when He said : if you receive it ( in your hearts)John is Elias!
The disciples understood it and received it but humans wants to defend their point of view according to their congregation.
Ending here my thinking I undertand Elias came from the heaven as John Baptist to accomplisg scriptures and God' s will and prepared the way for the Lord, died and returned to heaven.
Those who dont think so will have a surprise when Jesus comes back and He is coming very soon.
Jesus as Spirit was maden flesh and came as men why shoud be hard for him to take Elias to heaven and after send Elias to prepare the way? He came from heaven and returned to heaven. Elias gone to heaven and died. That s why Jesus said that those born of the Spirit they dont know where they came from nether where they go. Just listen their noises as we listen to the wind. Jesus said if you have an ear to listen than listen and learn!
While John the Baptist may have come in the "spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17), John the Baptist said he was not Elijah (John 1:21). The prophet Malachi said, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" (Malachi 4:5). The Day of the Lord commences after the rapture of the Church at the time of "Time of Jacobs Trouble", during the "great tribulation". He is one of the "Two Witnesses" mentioned in Revelation 11.
I appreciate your thorough and thoughtful discussion of the different candidates for the two witnesses. I am inclined to stick with Enoch and Elijah for the very reasons that you cite - translated to Heaven without dying and Hebrews 9:27. God is not sloppy with His Word. The fact that millions will be raptured without dying is simply part of a singularity that occurs between two dispensations - at the end of grace and beginning of wrath. Further, as a separate but related note, I am inclined to think that Israel's return to faith (Ezekiel 39:22) begins with Gog-Magog (Ezekiel 38/39) occurring at the very beginning of the tribulation and that then corresponds to the calling of the 144K sealed witnesses. There will be no sacrifices in the third temple just as Israel will not be "burning the weapons for seven years"(Ezek 39:9). These are metaphors using terms that would be readily understood if executed exactly at the time of their writing or understandable in symbolic terms as the technology or theology today would not make sense. The Jews will be preaching Jesus Christ immediately after the rapture of the church and they will worship God in the temple. Following the Mosaic law for the first 3.5 years of the tribulation to include animal sacrifices would be theologically confusing and regressive. The antichrist simply terminates their worship of Jesus in the temple because he declares in God's place of worship that he is God. While the Old Testament prophets pointed to Israel's lack of sacrifice during this period following the second temple's destruction, and that is true, the notion that they would return to animal sacrifices while preaching Jesus Christ crucified makes no sense. These have to be metaphors.
Jesus did not understand these as metaphors or symbols. He said, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains" (Mt 24:15-16) He was quoting the prophet Daniel:
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." Da 9:27
"And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." Da 11:31
"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." Da 12:11
The Bible tells us that "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24) I believe that the Two Witnesses will be using sacrifices as a teaching tool to bring the Jews to Christ. Sacrifices will also be used during the Millennium (Ezekiel 40-48). You cannot get away from that. Spiritualizing the Scriptures will almost always lead you into error. Again these will be used as a teaching tool for those who are born in the Millennium and have not yet come to Christ for cleansing and pardon of sin.
Even in the OT these sacrifices could never take away sin. Only the blood of Jesus could wash away sin, and only those believing on Him and His sacrificial work are born again. For a more thorough discussion on this topic I suggest the following: http://www.pre-trib.org/dat...
What about the book of Enoch?
Propaganda? Sorry Jay, tried to draw this conclusion from the Scriptures. While the book of Enoch may be some interesting reading, as with all the other apocryphal books, they are not the Scriptures, and have led many astray. Stick with the Scriptures, as they are a Light unto our path. At the same time, I am not trying to be "dogmatic" about their identity. In the very first paragraph of this article I stated, concerning prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled, that we need to "leave room for the possibility that we may not have it entirely right". I have recently read another interpretation that identifies these two "olive trees, and the two candlesticks" as Israel and the church. Nevertheless, when you step outside the Scriptures there is a greater chance you will have it entirely wrong.
Imagine the situation of John Baptist knowing his time was not come yet to be delivered into the hands of those who would kill him so he said he was not , due the fact there was a razion for him to act like that. Supose was Jesus lier when said John was a profect, and Elias? Certainly if you at that time asked John who he was afirming first the words of Jesus about him he would say : so be yet, according Jesus the son of God told about me. If I am to believe in one of them for sure I will believe in Jesus and not the words of John who was hiding what he was maybe because he ddint know or because could be dangerous to reveal. I can see everthing has a propose when we serve the Lord.
But those misteries will be better revealed in heaven. I thank you your words unfortunatelly I dont see like that.
When Jesus said to Nicodemos that not even earth' s knowlodges he was undertanding what to say about those from heaven?
Jesus came from heaven and became a child, if He wanted He could go back to heaven and be born again on earth um another time and live in our middle without we realize it , the same way He could send Elias to confirm scriptures which says I will send my messanger and after said he is the one who scriptures mencioned. He is Elias. The disciples also undestood he was talking about John when said about Elias.
What I think doens t matters, what matters is that Jesus is coming in the clouds and we all will see him. We must keep the faith and be brave.
Nothing can separarate us from the love God. What matter is dont doubt but believe in word that comes from the mouth of God. If He said so only in heaven He will explain me what he meant to say if I understood wrong. Hugs brother.
God bless and thanks.