The Two Witnesses
Who are the two witnesses in Bible prophecy? This study won’t look
so much at their personal identities, but what details about the future
can be gleaned from what the Bible says about them. However, the Bible does
hint to at least one of the two witnesses identities.
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. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure
it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they
tread under foot forty and two months.
And I will give power
unto my two witnesses, and
they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred
and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are
the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God
of the earth. [Zechariah 4:3, 11-14] 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.
And when they shall
have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless
pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which
spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see
their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their
dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth
shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to
another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the
earth. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God
entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell
upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying
unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud;
and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake,
and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain
of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory
to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third
woe cometh quickly.
The first thing we realize is that
there will be
a physical, measurable, temporal temple which will not have an outer court.
However, this page is focused on the two witnesses. We know exactly how
many days these two will be prophesying. 1260 days. This is one of the
exact day prophecies in scripture.
From G4396; to foretell events, divine, speak
under inspiration, exercise the prophetic office:
Olive Trees & Candlesticks
1 Kings 6:19-38 describes the building of the house of the Lord, the
temple. I place the verses here which refer to two cherubim made of olive
tree only for their symbolic reference. I don’t believe the two witnesses
are cherubim. I’m referring to other instances in scripture of the “olive
tree” to get symbolic explanation to help identify the two witnesses.
There is a reason they are referred to as “two
olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.”
1 Kings 6:23-28
within the oracle he made two cherubims
of olive tree, each ten cubits high. And five cubits
was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the
cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part
of the other were ten cubits. And the other cherub was ten cubits: both
the cherubims were of one measure and one size. The height of the one
cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub. And he set
the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings
of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall,
and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings
touched one another in the midst of the house. And he overlaid the cherubims
1 Kings 6:31-33
And for the entering of the oracle he made doors
of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of
the wall. The two doors also were of olive tree;
and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open
flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims,
and upon the palm trees. So also made he for
the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of
Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the
abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.
But I am like a green olive tree in
the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and
ever. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I
will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.
to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah;
and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set
up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.
Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer
for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me
for their trouble. What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing
she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from
thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.
The LORD called thy name, A green olive
tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great
tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against
thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah,
which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering
incense unto Baal.
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,
I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them
which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting
away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving
of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the
lump is also holy: and if the root be
holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches
be broken off, and thou,
being a wild olive tree,
wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and
fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But
if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed
in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest
by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if
God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not
thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them
which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in
his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if
they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able
to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut
out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary
to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be
the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For
I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest
ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in
part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come
in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written,
There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness
from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away
The sons and daughters of Adam are the branches. We’re all growing
from olive trees, but the Jews are not growing on wild olive trees, but
a good olive tree. We as Gentiles were until we gave our lives to Christ.
Then we were grafted onto the root, which is Christ. Romans 15:8-12 This
next scripture directly connects to Revelation 11.
And the angel that
talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out
of his sleep. And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said,
I have looked, and behold a candlestick all
of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps
thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon
the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right
side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What
are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and
said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the
LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my
spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before
Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone
thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word
of the LORD came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid
the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou
shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath
despised the day of small things? for they shall
rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with
those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and
fro through the whole earth. Then answered I, and said
unto him, What are these two olive trees upon
the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?
And I answered again, and said unto him, What
be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes
empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered
me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
Then said he, These are the two
anointed ones, that stand by the LORD of the whole earth.
In Revelation 1:20, the mystery of the seven candlesticks are revealed
to be the seven churches. We are the light of the earth with Christ in us.
So I believe these two witnesses being identified with the olive tree (clearly
not wild, so of Israel) and the candlesticks (instruments of God’s
light) connect them with God and Israel in these end times. They will be
sent to Jerusalem to speak the Truth and judge and be hated for it.
Beast From the Bottomless Pit
And when they
shall have finished their testimony, the beast
that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them,
and shall overcome them, and kill them.
There is one place in scripture that I’m aware of when a beast
comes from the bottomless pit
And the fifth
angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and
to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out
of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air
were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out
of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power,
as the scorpions of the earth have power. And
it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth,
neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which
have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was
given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented
five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when
he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall
not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle;
and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces
were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and
their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as
it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the
sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails
like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their
power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over
them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit,
whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue
hath his name Apollyon.
What I believe this shows us is that the two witnesses are killed some
time after the
fifth trumpet, when the beast from the bottomless pit is released, and
seventh trumpet that ends the wrath of God. Given what scripture says
about Apollyon and how he comes from the bottomless pit, I believe it is
possible that is when the two witnesses are killed. If that is at least
five months before Christ returns in glory, that would look something like
So if they are witnessing for 1260 days, or 3½ years, that would
put their arrival in Jerusalem either during the rebuilding of the third
temple or shortly after, since we don’t know exactly when in the
70th week of Daniel it will actually be started. Regardless, this would
place their arrival before the mid-point of the 70th week and therefore
day of the Lord.
So of all that information from scripture, do we know who specifically
these two are?
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, lest I come and smite the earth
with a curse.
1 Kings 18:1
And it came to pass [after] many days, that the word of the LORD came
to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and
I will send rain upon the earth.
Elias was a man subject to like passions as
we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained
not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he
prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth
1 Kings 18:36-38
And it came to pass at [the time of] the offering of the [evening] sacrifice,
that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac,
and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou [art] God in Israel,
and [that] I [am] thy servant, and [that] I have done all these things
at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that
thou [art] the LORD God, and [that] thou hast turned their heart back
again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice,
and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water
that [was] in the trench.
Besides Elijah being stated to be sent before the day of the Lord, he
also prayed to shut heaven to rain for 31/2 years and his offering was entirely
consumed by fire from heaven, in addition to the wood, stones, dust and
water. We also have the fact that it seems from scripture that Elijah
was taken to heaven and did not die when his mantle fell to Elisha.
2 Kings 2:11-13
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that,
behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them
both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw
[it], and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the
horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes,
and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from
him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
Moses is the most common other candidate, but I am not aware of any scripture
that would tie his return at the time of the end like with Elijah. However,
similarly to Elijah, some of the actions performed by the two witnesses
have historical mirrors from the past. In the case of Moses, turning water
into blood along with the many other plagues in Exodus come to mind.
And Moses and Aaron
did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the
waters that [were] in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the
sight of his servants; and all the waters that [were] in the river were
turned to blood.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand
with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds,
and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.
And the LORD said
unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust
of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
And the LORD
said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh;
lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD,
Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou wilt not let
my people go, behold, I will send swarms [of flies] upon thee, and upon
thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses
of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms [of flies], and also the ground
whereon they [are].
Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which [is] in the field,
upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and
upon the sheep: [there shall be] a very grievous murrain. And the LORD
shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and
there shall nothing die of all [that is] the children’s of Israel.
And the LORD
said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the
furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of
Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and
shall be a boil breaking forth [with] blains upon man, and upon beast,
throughout all the land of Egypt.
And the LORD said
unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be
hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every
herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. And Moses stretched
forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and
the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the
land of Egypt.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of
Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt,
and eat every herb of the land, [even] all that the hail hath left.
And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD
brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all [that] night;
[and] when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the
locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts
of Egypt: very grievous [were they]; before them there were no such
locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered
the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they
did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which
the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees,
or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
And the LORD said
unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be
darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness [which] may be felt.
And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick
darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
And Moses said,
Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of
Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the
firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn
of the maidservant that [is] behind the mill; and all the firstborn
of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of
Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue,
against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a
difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
While all of these plagues had Moses as the mediator between God and
Pharoah, Aaron also participated in some of these. Perhaps this is a common
theme between Moses and the end times that two witnesses are required for
At the mouth
of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death
be put to death; [but] at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put
to death. The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put
him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt
put the evil away from among you.
shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in
any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth
of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
Moses did die in the land of Moab, but there is an interesting behind
the scenes perspective surrounding his body, which was buried where
So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of
Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the
land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto
this day. And Moses [was] an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye
was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And the children of Israel wept for
Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping [and] mourning
for Moses were ended.
Yet Michael the archangel, when
contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring
against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
It seems that even back then the body of Moses was something the
devil had some kind of interest in. What exactly that means is not
further explained in scripture, it’s just interesting that the devil
would dispute with God about the body of Moses. Then we have the
transfiguration, where Moses and Elijah are talking with Yeshua after He
changes. This combined with the above are the biggest indications of who
these two witnesses will be.
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his
brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured
before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the
light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
While we can’t be dogmatic about the identities of these two witnesses,
when they arrive it will be clear they are here. They will be hated for
the Truth from God’s Word they speak and I imagine they will be speaking directly to the
children of Israel in Jerusalem as the
man of sin is
his resume to declare himself to be God at the
abomination of desolation and deceive the nations with signs and