end times prophecy

Revelation's Two Witnesses

As you are studying this subject on the two witnesses, please remember that the book of Revelation is full of symbolic language which should not be taken literally. It says 'two witnesses', so it doesn't automatically mean its two people who are witnessing. Now most of the Christian world has taken this view that these two witnesses are Moses and Elijah.

In this study, you will find out why Revelation's two witnesses CANNOT be Moses and Elijah.

Christians worldwide believe that Moses and Elijah are going to return to this earth to witness for 1260 days, or 3.5 years. Well, for a start, a day in Bible prophecy equals a year. Now a lot of Christians will stand up and say "no that's not right, a day equals a day". And yet if we take a look at the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel, which equates to 490 days, virtually the whole of the Christian world will agree that a day equals a year in this case. We cannot go picking and choosing what we want to apply to different prophecies, we must stick to letting the Bible interpret itself. The following two verses also back up the day equals a year principle in Bible prophecy:

Ezekiel 4:6 ...'And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.'

Numbers 14:34 ...'After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.'

See a day in Bible prophecy equals a year for more info.

So this time period of 1260 'prophetic' days, is actually 1260 years. We will look at this time period a little later. First, let's go through Revelation 11 where the two witnesses are seen ... Revelation 11:1-2 ...'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.'

First we see that there is some measuring going on in the beginning of Revelation 11. The angel says to John to measure the temple of God. What is the temple of God? ... Acts 17:24 ...'God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.' ... 1 Corinthians 3:16 ...'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?'

So we are the temple of God, the church. So here the church is being measured. Is it a literal measuring to see how big or small we are? No, it is a measuring of our faith, and what can our faith be measured against? There is only one thing, and that is the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Did you know that there is a judgment going on in Heaven, and the church is being judged first? ... John 12:31 ...'Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.' ... 1 Peter 4:17 ...'For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.' ... So Jesus is seeing if His church measures up to the standard set in His Word. Notice that the Holy City shall be tread underfoot 'forty two months'. This is the same period that the two witnesses prophesy for, which is 1260 prophetic days and equates to 1260 literal years.

Who are the Two Witnesses

Revelation 11:3-4 ...'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.'

Now we get into the scene of the two witnesses. The majority of Christians will tell you that these two witnesses are Moses and Elijah. But there are a number of problems with that interpretation. It says that these are the two Olive trees and the two Candlesticks. Let's see what the Bible interprets these as. If we look at Zechariah 4, we see a vision that was given to Zechariah which contained a candlestick and two olive trees.

Zechariah 4:2-3 ...'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 in this scene we have a candlestick with 7 lamps on top and a bowl to feed the lamps with oil. And on the two sides of the candlestick, we have the olive trees that empty the oil into the bowl, which in turn feeds the lamps. Then Zechariah asks what these symbols mean and the angel replies, '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.' The Word of God in the Bible is a light unto the world ... Psalm 119:105 ...'Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.' ... And God gives the Holy Spirit to guide us and illuminate His Word, then we as a church take that light to the world.

So do these two witnesses represent the Word of God in the Old and New Testament (the Law and the Prophets)? Well, it says in Revelation 11 above that they prophesy in sackcloth for 1260 days. As we found out earlier, these 1260 days are actually 1260 literal years. When did this 1260 years take place? Between 538 and 1798, when the Roman Catholic Church came to power. During that time, the Roman Catholic Church made it illegal to own a Bible, and if you obeyed the Word of God in the Bible, rather than Rome, you were deemed a heretic, which was punishable by death. The light of God's Word was in darkness during these years, hence the term 'prophesy in sackcloth'. Many millions of Christians died by the hands of the Papal Church, because they chose to obey God's Word rather than bow down to Rome. Satan tried his best to destroy the Word of God, but God has anointed His Holy scriptures, 'the two anointed ones', and no matter how small a flame the truth of God's Word flickers, satan will never be able to put it out.

When Christians say that these two witnesses are Moses and Elijah, they are not completely wrong. You see, Moses and Elijah represent the Word of God. Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets. Jesus confirmed that He did not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. The word fulfill meaning to exalt, to bring a clearer understanding. As we know, Moses and Elijah are in Heaven. We know this because they appeared with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. Now there is a verse in Revelation 11 which for me proves beyond a shadow of doubt that the two witnesses in Revelation CANNOT be Moses and Elijah themselves.

... Revelation 11:7-8 ...'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.'

Now have a real good think about this. Firstly, Moses and Elijah were taken to Heaven and given glorified, immortal bodies. Do we know for sure that they became immortal? Well, can someone who isn't immortal stand in the presence of God? Of course not. So anyone who is taken to heaven, like Moses and Elijah would HAVE to be made immortal, otherwise they would be destroyed as soon as they see God. So how can Moses and Elijah be killed by people on earth if they are now immortal? And why would God send them back to earth to be killed, when Jesus died for us all. When you really think about it, it makes no sense to think that Revelation's two witnesses are Moses and Elijah. So was the Word of God killed? It was in France during the French Revolution as the Papal reign was coming to an end.

"The French convention dressed an ass, loaded it with the symbols of Christianity, and tied the Old and New Testaments to it's tail. It was then led in mock procession, the crowd piled books of devotion into heaps and burned them to ashes, amid blasphemous shouts. A prostitute was enthroned as 'goddess of reason'." L.E.Froom, Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, Vol 2, Page 738.

"France stands apart in the worlds history as the single state which by the decree of her legislative assembly, pronounced there was no God." Blackwoods Magazine Nov. 1870

"On November 26 1793, the convention, of which 17 Bishops and some Clergy were members, decreed the abolition of all religion." The Age of Revolution, W.T.Hutton, Page 156

What about the two witnesses being dead for three and a half days? (Rev. 11:9). Well, we know that in bible prophecy a day is a literal year, so this would equate to three and a half literal years. Take a look at the following quote:

"In 1793, the decree passed the French Assembly suppressing the Bible. Just three years after, a resolution was introduced into the Assembly going to supersede the decree, and giving toleration to the scriptures. That resolution lay on the table for six months, when it was taken up and passed without a dissenting vote .. On 17th June 1797." George Stoffs, Midnight Cry, Vol 4, Nos.5-6, 47

1793 - France votes the Bible and religion out. (Death)

3 Years, Six Months Later - France votes the Bible and religion back in. (Resurrected)

So this time prophecy of 3.5 years was fulfilled by the nation of France. Remember that it says the beast from the bottomless pit does this to the two witnesses. A beast in bible prophecy represents a nation, (see Daniel 7). France is the only nation that fulfills this prophecy of killing the two witnesses, the law and the prophets (the Bible). Please understand also that it was Papal Rome that started the French revolution. When the Christian reformation first hit France, it was accepted with open arms. This then angered the Roman Catholic Church and they initiated the revolution to stamp out the reformation.

Notice in Revelation 11 verse 10 that it says the two witnesses tormented the people on earth ... Revelation 11:10 ...'because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.' ... How does the Word of God torment the earth? Take a look at this prophetic scene in Zechariah 5:1,3,4 ...'Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.'

This flying roll (or scroll) is the Word of God, which is the Bible going throughout the earth (flying). Do you see what is happening here? It's amazing what God reveals through bible prophecy. This roll (the Word of God) is convicting people of their sin, it shows them their wrong doing, and reveals that they will be destroyed if they don't change their ways and accept and follow Jesus. This is what is meant in Revelation 11, when it says that the two witnesses torment the earth. The Bible curses those who continue in sin and worldly living.

"Moses and Elijah cannot be killed by the world, therefore they cannot be the witnesses."

God's Word is portrayed with a dual image. The two tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written, the double edged sword of the Word, and Jesus was the combination of two natures, the human and divine. The volume of the Bible all points to Jesus ... Hebrews 10:7 ...'Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.' ... And Jesus confirmed in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus that if you don't hear the Word of God, then there is nothing else to help you ..... Luke 16:31 ...'And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.' ... Again He uses Moses and the prophets (Elijah) to symbolize God's Word and the importance of heeding it. Just as on the mount of transfiguration, Moses and Elijah endorsed the first coming of Jesus Christ, the Word of God in the Old and New Testaments stand beside us to endorse Him and are used as witnesses to the whole world of His soon return.

Revelation 11:5-6 ...'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.' ... This is an interesting one. Are Moses and Elijah going to breath fire like dragons? Is it Moses and Elijah that have power to shut heaven, or is it the Word of God? Here God is again likening His Word in the Bible with the ministry of Moses and Elijah. Through Elijah, God stopped the rain and also consumed the soldiers with fire from Heaven when they challenged Elijah (2 Kings 1). Through Moses, God turned the water of the Nile into blood, and brought the plagues upon Egypt. The verses above are a warning to those who would try to destroy the Bible, like the Roman Catholic Church have tried to. Do not mess with God and His Word.

What did Jesus do after He was resurrected? ... Luke 24:27 ...'And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.' ... Here again we see the law and the prophets (Moses and Elijah). What significance does this have? Well, we see who God's true people really are during the very end times ... Revelation 12:17 ...'And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.' ... The woman is the true church of God, and she has two outstanding characteristics, which are keeping God's Commandments (the law) and having the testimony of Jesus. What is the testimony of Jesus? ... Revelation 19:10 ...'for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' ... So these end time saints have the law and the prophets.

Isaiah 8:16 ...'Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.'

Psalm 19:7 ...'The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.'

Isaiah 8:20 ...'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.'

The Law and the Testimony (prophecy) represented by Moses and Elijah is the Word of God. The Word of God (the law and the prophets) in the Old and New Testaments are the two witnesses that God's end time people have. They hold on to the truth of these two witnesses and never let them go. The symbolism of Moses and Elijah don't end there though. There are two groups of saved people when Jesus returns. Those that have died and will be resurrected, and those that are still living and will be translated into glory, just as Moses died and was resurrected, and Elijah was translated while still living.

These are the two witnesses, the Law and the prophets!

Revelation 11:11-12 ...'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.'

Surely this must represent actual people right? No, remember Revelation is full of symbols and this happens at the end of the 1260 years of Papal darkness. Do you know what happened after the Papal Church of Rome tried to destroy the Bible between 538 and 1798? World missions and the Bible societies started taking the Word of God throughout the whole world (British Bible Society 1804, American Bible Society 1817), thus signified by the two witnesses above ascending up to Heaven. The Bible was lifted up after it's 1260 years in sackcloth and was spread throughout the whole earth. After the French revolution, the Bible not only got up on it's feet, but arose to new heights of worldwide distribution. These two witnesses certainly 'ascended up to the heavens'.

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 cannot be Moses and Elijah. The Law and the Prophets (also known as the Bible, Old and New Testaments) are the only witnesses we have for our faith in Jesus, and it is through faith in God's Word that we receive power. God's Word in the Bible is the light that shines throughout the earth. In Revelation 1, the church is portrayed as candlesticks. We are the candlesticks that hold up the light, which is the Word of God, and God supplies the Holy Spirit (Olive tree oil) to give power to that light. During these end times we must hold up the truth of God's Word and proclaim the soon return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ... Luke 11:33 ...'No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.' ... Just as the lamps needed the candlesticks to lift them up and give light, the Word of God needs us to lift it up and reveal His light.

When God reveals the truth to you, don't keep that truth to yourself, but share it with the world. We base our faith on the Word of God in the Bible, and we will also be judged according to that Word. Are you living according to the Word that your faith is base on?