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TWO WITNESSES OF REVELATIONS

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Who are the two witnesses in the book of Revelation?


 

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two witnesses Revelation

Question: “Who are the two witnesses in the book of Revelation?”

Answer: There are three primary viewpoints on the identity of the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3-12: (1) Moses and Elijah, (2) Enoch and Elijah, (3) two unknown believers whom God calls to be His witnesses in the end times. (1) Moses and Elijah are seen as possibilities for the two witnesses due to the witnesses’ power to turn water into blood (Revelation 11:6), which Moses is known for (Exodus chapter 7), and their power to destroy people with fire (Revelation 11:5), which Elijah is known for (2 Kings chapter 1). Also giving strength to this view is the fact that Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:3-4). Further, Jewish tradition expected Moses and Elijah to return in the future. Malachi 4:5 predicted the return of Elijah, and the Jews believed that God’s promise to raise up a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18) necessitated his return.

(2) Enoch and Elijah are seen as possibilities for the two witnesses because they are the two individuals whom God has taken to heaven apart from experiencing death (Genesis 5:23; 2 Kings 2:11). The fact that neither Enoch or Elijah have experienced death seems to qualify them to experience death and resurrection, as the two witnesses experience (Revelation 11:7-12). Proponents of this view claim that Hebrews 9:27 (all men die once) disqualifies Moses from being one of the two witnesses, as Moses has died once already (Deuteronomy 34:5). However, there are several others in the Bible who died twice—e.g., Lazarus, Dorcas, and the daughter of the synagogue ruler—so there is really no reason why Moses should be eliminated on this basis.

View (3) essentially argues that Revelation chapter 11 does not attach any famous identity to the two witnesses. If their identities were Moses and Elijah, or Enoch and Elijah, why would Scripture be silent about this? God is perfectly capable of taking two “ordinary” believers and enabling them to perform the same signs and wonders that Moses and Elijah did. There is nothing in Revelation 11 that requires us to assume a “famous” identity for the two witnesses.

Which view is correct? The possible weakness of (1) is that Moses has already died once, and therefore could not be one of the two witnesses, who die, which would make Moses a contradiction of Hebrews 9:27. Proponents of (1) will argue that all of the people who were miraculously resurrected in the Bible (e.g., Lazarus) later died again. Hebrews 9:27 is viewed, then, as a “general rule,” not a universal principle. There are no clear weaknesses to view (2), as it solves the “die once” problem, and it makes sense that if God took two people to heaven without dying, Enoch and Elijah, it was to prepare them for a special purpose. There are also no clear weaknesses to view (3). All three views are valid and plausible interpretations that Christians can have. The identities of the two witnesses is an issue Christians should not be dogmatic about.

Recommended Resource:JIM SPRINGER…FOLLOWING INFO FROM A BLOG ON THE 2 WITNESSES,,,MLB

By having two witnesses, God is following His own law as He, through the two witnesses, warns people to repent of their sins prior to punishing them if they do not heed His instruction.

The work of the two witnesses

The account in the book of Revelation gives clues about the work of the two witnesses: “And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire” (Revelation 11:5-6).

As these representatives of God witness to the world that all people need to repent of their sins, they will have access to God’s Holy Spirit to produce miracles reminiscent of other prophets of God. Like Elijah, they will have the power to stop the rain (1 Kings 17:1) and kill anyone who tries to harm them (2 Kings 1:9-12). Like Moses, they will have the power to turn water to blood (Exodus 7:17) and strike the earth with plagues (Exodus 7:14 through 12:30).

 

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