This article is taken from the chapter concerning the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11:3-13 in my book entitled, The LAST Prophecies: The Prophecies in the First 3 ½ Years of the Tribulation. This chapter explores the details, identities and timing of the Two Witnesses. It also provides the sound reasons for placing the timing of the Two Witnesses in the first half of the Seven-Year Tribulation Period.
This article is part one of two. It explores the details and identities of the Two Witnesses. Part two addresses the timing of these Two Witnesses. Part two presents the sound reasons that the Two Witnesses exist in the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period. It will also present the strong arguments against the Two Witnesses existing in the second 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period, which is commonly referred to as the “Great Tribulation.”
The Details of the Two Witnesses
The Details of the Two Witnesses are summarized below. These Two Witnesses will:
1. Have power to prevent rainfall, turn waters to blood and create plagues (v3, 6),
2. Prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth (v3),
3. Live constantly in harm’s way (v5),
4. Kill those who attempt to harm them (v5),
5. Successfully profess their testimonies (v7),
6. Be killed by the Antichrist (v7),
7. Lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three-and-a-half days (v8-9),
8. Torment those (unbelievers) who dwell on the earth (v10),
9. Resurrect from the dead (v11),
10. Ascend to heaven (v12),
11. Be instrumental in causing (some) Jews to recognize God (v13).
The Identities of the Two Witnesses
Is it possible, from the clues provided in Revelation 11:3-13, to make an educated guess as to who are these Two Witnesses? Some believe that they are Moses and Elijah. Others suggest they are Elijah and Enoch. Some have posited that they could be none of the above, but might be two entirely new faces. The strong arguments that favor Moses and Elijah as the Two Witnesses are explained below.
1. Moses and Elijah appeared together on the mount of transfiguration. (Matthew 17:3-4). If they appeared together in a significant event of the past, they will likely appear together in the future as well.
2. Moses and Elijah possessed in the past the similar supernatural powers that the Two Witnesses possess in the future. These powers include:
• Fire that proceeds from the mouth and devours their enemies (v5),
• Power to shut heaven so that no rain falls in the day of their prophecy (v6),
• Power over waters to turn them to blood (v6),
• The ability to strike the earth with ALL PLAGUES, as often as they desire (v6).
Elijah’s former powers concerning rain are documented in 1 Kings 17:1, 1 Kings 18:1, James 5:17-18. Elijah also called down fire from heaven in 1 Kings 18:38, and 2 Kings 1:10. Moses turned the waters to blood in Exodus 7:20-21. Concerning Moses and his ability to strike the earth will all plagues, he struck Egypt with ten plagues, which led to the Exodus of the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage. The plagues were:
• First Plague: Water turned to blood, (Exodus 7:20-21),
• Second Plague: Frog infestation throughout Egypt, (Exodus 8:2-4),
• Third Plague: Gnats or lice infestation throughout Egypt, (Exodus 8:16-17),
• Fourth Plague: Swarms of flies on the people and in their houses, (Exodus 8:21),
• Fifth Plague: Livestock diseased, (Exodus 9:3),
• Sixth Plague: Boil infections upon the Egyptians, (Exodus 9:8-11),
• Seventh Plague: Hailstones rain down upon Egypt, (Exodus 9:18),
• Eighth Plague: Locusts cover the face of the earth, (Exodus 10:4-5),
• Ninth Plague: Thick blanket of darkness over Egypt, (Exodus 10:21-22),
• Tenth Plague: Deaths of the firstborn in Egypt, (Exodus 11:4-5).
Observation: The Plagues of the Two Witnesses and the Trumpet Judgments
It’s worthy to note, that some of these plagues seem to be repeated in some variation within some of the trumpet judgments detailed in Revelation 8-9. The first trumpet involves hail and fire mingled with blood (Rev. 8:7). The second trumpet predicts that one-third of the seas will turn into blood (Rev. 8:8). The fourth trumpet says that one-third of the sun, moon and stars become darkened (Rev. 8:12). The fifth trumpet involves a plague of locusts (Rev. 9:3).
It is probable that the trumpet judgments are occurring within the same time-period that the Two Witnesses are ministering on the earth. Although, the trumpet judgments are cast upon the earth via the means of seven angels, and not the two witnesses, the affected populations will not likely be cognizant of that distinction. The verse below points out that the Two Witnesses are tormenting those who dwell on the earth.
“And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.” (Rev. 11:10)
It can be assumed that the tormenting is primarily the result of the Two Witnesses executing their powers, which includes the ability to strike the earth with ALL PLAGUES in Rev. 11:6. When these Two Witnesses lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem, “those who dwell on the earth will rejoice, make merry and send gifts to one another.” This merriment is likely because the gift-givers could be under the impression that ALL the PLAGUES end with their deaths. It wouldn’t be surprising if at that time the Antichrist, who kills these Two Witnesses, comes out publicly and declares that the plagues have ended. However, the plagues will continue to happen as the bowl judgments are poured out in the Great Tribulation.
More reasons to favor Moses and Elijah as the Two Witnesses continues below.
3. Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind to heaven and never experienced death, (2 Kings 2:11-12). This fact implies that Elijah is alive, available and ready to return to the earth as one of the Two Witnesses. Enoch was also caught up to heaven, which is why some believe that he could also return as one of the Two Witnesses, (Genesis 5:24).
4. The Old Testament prophet Malachi predicts the return of Elijah.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
5. Moses represents the Law and Elijah the Prophets. When the Two Witnesses are on the earth, the Jews are reinstating the Mosaic Law and its animal sacrificial system. Moses and Elijah would be prime candidates to rebuke this effort. Both know that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. This was evidenced clearly to them at the mount of Transfiguration when the Lord said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5). Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, (Matthew 5:17), and in so doing, He rendered it inoperative. Galatians 3:24 clarifies the purpose of the law. It reads, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
6. There was a dispute between Satan and Michael the archangel over the body of Moses. This could imply that Satan is concerned about Moses returning to the earth again as one of the Two Witnesses, (Jude 1:9). According to some midrashim accounts, God grants Moses a beautiful death. Below is a quote from an article entitled, “The Divine Kiss.”
“At the end, God leans down from the heavens and ends Moses’ life with a soft, gentle kiss. This is derived from Deuteronomy 34:5, where it is written, “So Moses, the servant of the Eternal, died there, in the land of Moab, at the command of the Eternal.” The Hebrew reads, al pi Adonai, “by the mouth of the Eternal.” Hence the legend about God kissing Moses at his moment of death. According to the Midrash, God wept after Moses died, as did the heavens and the earth. Deuteronomy 34:6Deuteronomy 34:6Deuteronomy 34:6 tells us that “God buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, near Beth-peor; and no one knows his burial place to this day.” [i]
How did a soft and gentle kiss from the Lord bring an end to the life of Moses? Where is the undisclosed location of his grave? Did Moses truly die and was he buried? The answers to these two questions appear to be yes and yes, but his appearance at the “Mount of Transfiguration” about 1200 years after his death, established the biblical and historical precedent for his potential return as one of the Two Witnesses.
The Timing of the Two Witnesses
There is a debate about whether these Two Witnesses prophesy in the first or second half of the Tribulation Period. Below are some quotes from some of today’s most respected Bible prophecy experts on this timing topic. Dr. Ron Rhodes writes the following in his book entitled, The End Times In Chronological Order.
“Scholars debate whether the ministry of the two witnesses belongs in the first half or the second half of the tribulation. Their ministry will last 1260 days, which measures out to precisely three and a half years.”… “Most prophecy scholars conclude that the two witnesses do their miraculous work during the first three and a half years.”[ii]
In his book on page 127, Dr. Rhodes places the death and resurrection of the two witnesses at the midpoint of the Tribulation Period just before the Antichrist annuls the false covenant in Daniel 9:27 through the Abomination of Desolation spoken by Jesus in Matthew 24:15-22. Thus, Rhodes places the timing of the Two Witnesses in the first half of the Tribulation Period.
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO OF THIS ARTICLE THAT PROVIDES
- The sound reasons that the Two Witnesses exist in the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period.
- The sound arguments against the Two Witnesses existing the second 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period.
[i] Dr. Rhodes, The End Times In Chronological Order (Harvest House Publishers, 2012), p. 115-116
[ii] Article quote taken from this website: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-divine-kiss/