Revelation Chapter 11
The eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation is one of the most debated in the entire book. The identity of the two witnesses is something that has been haggled over by many men much wiser than me. In this post I intend to explain who these two men are, it seems pretty simple to me, and what their job will be.
Beginning in verse three we are introduced to these two witnesses. The bible teaches that they are to prophesy for 1,260 days. Doing the math that is equal to 42 months or 3 ½ years. These men will therefore prophesy for the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation period, commonly referred to as the “great tribulation.”
When these two men come, they prophesy of the coming judgment of God. In the Bible sackcloth and ashes always spoke of repentance, and that is exactly what God is demanding.
The big question is "Who are these two witnesses?" Well let me first say that these two witnesses are men. They are not systems, churches or a body of witnesses. These two are said to prophesy in sackcloth, which cannot be said for a system or church.
Firstly we are told that these two have power to shut up heaven so that it does not rain during the days of their prophecy. I believe that this therefore can refer to none other than Elijah. Elijah had power to shut up heaven so that it did not rain in the days of Ahab. And you can guess how long he shut up heaven. That's right 3 1/2 years according to I Kings 17:1. This is the same length of time that these two witnesses are to prophesy.
“Elijah 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.” James 5:17
This is nothing new. It is simply a repeat performance for Elijah. You will remember the first time Elijah shut heaven was for the purpose of proving who was God. Elijah and the prophets of Baal had a contest to prove who was God. Was Jehovah God or was Baal god. The same is true during this time. Who is God? Is Jehovah God or is Antichrist god?
The prophet Malachi also prophesied and told of the second coming of Elijah.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” Mal. 3:1
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:” Mal. 4:5
Many say that the prophecy of Elijah was fulfilled in John the Baptist, so let us talk about that. It is very clear that since the prophet Malachi said that Elijah would come just before the "great and dreadful day of the Lord." John the Baptist did not fulfill this prophecy.
When John came we know that he preached the first coming of Jesus Christ, but after his preaching there was no great and dreadful day of the Lord. Therefore this coming of Elijah must still yet be future. The great and dreadful day of the Lord will follow the prophecy of these two witnesses.
Further proof that John was not Elijah is found by the words of John himself. When the Jews came to John they ask him "Who art thou?" As we see in the scriptures John confessed - "I am not the Christ." And then they asked him, "What then? Art thou Elijah?" And he said - "I am not." It is clear from John's answer to these questions that he was not Elijah.
According to Malachi's prophecy Elijah is to come and fulfill all things. This John did not do. This makes it abundantly clear that Elijah is yet to come. Elijah is to come just before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Elijah will be one of the two witnesses and just as in the days of Ahab the king Elijah will shut up heaven and will not allow it to rain for 3 1/2 years.
Many say that Enoch will be the other witness. They say this because he was translated and did not die, like Elijah. They say that since he did not die he must come to earth so he can then die.
They say it could not be someone else who had already died. This is not good proof however, for if Lazarus could be raised from the dead and then die again then why could not someone else?
I believe the second witness will be Moses. The Bible tells us that these witnesses are to do two things. One they are to shut up heaven and not allow it to rain, and second they are to have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to smite the earth with plagues as often as they want.
We know from the scripture that Moses is the one that God allowed to turn the water to blood and smite Egypt with plagues. We are not told that Enoch had such power. These two witnesses will be Moses and Elijah.
It is worth noting that the title of these two is "my two witnesses." This seems to imply that the job of these two is witnessing. If you will recall on the Mount of Transfiguration there were two men that witnessed.
“And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him.” Matthew 17:3
There were also two men (angels) that witnessed at the tomb of Christ to the women who came to anoint the body of Christ. They told the women that Jesus was risen. There was two men that witnessed to the Galilean crowd gathered watching Jesus ascend into heaven in the book of Acts. In all three occasions the men were clothed in shining garments. These men may very well have been Moses and Elijah. It seems that God has chosen them for the purpose of witnessing. Why not allow them to do what they have done on other occasions, witness?
The job to be done
These two witnesses are to prophesy for 3 1/2 years and we are told that during that time they will be immune to death. In fact if any man tries to harm them, the Bible says that fire will proceed out of their mouth and devour their enemies. Can you imagine large crowds gather around to hear these two men preach? From out of the crowd someone attempts to attack the witnesses, but before they can harm the witnesses fire comes from their mouths and devours them. I wonder how CNN will spin this.
While they are immune to death for 3 ½ years the scripture is clear that they will eventually be killed. When they have finished their work of prophesying the beast will overcome them, will kill them, and will leave them laying dead in the street for three days.
We are told that the Antichrist will make war with them and will kill them. Their dead bodies will lie in the streets for three and one half days. In these days Jerusalem will be called Sodom and Egypt because their character will be like that of Sodom in the days of Lot and Egypt in the days of Moses.
When these men die, the Bible says that they will not suffer their bodies to be buried. They will rejoice over them and send gifts to one another. The reason they are so happy is that these two men tormented them day and night by plagues and their testimony. These people will think that because they killed these men they also killed the law of God and therefore they cannot be punished for their sins.
No doubt this victory over the two witnesses will give Antichrist the added courage he needs to make war with Christ. If he can kill God’s witnesses he will feel like he can kill God himself.
The peoples rejoicing will be short lived. For at the end of three days and a half the spirit of life will come into these men and they will stand upon their feet and great fear shall be upon their enemies. A voice from heaven will be heard saying, "Come up hither" and they will be caught up into heaven in a cloud.
At this same time there will be an earthquake and a tenth part of the city will be destroyed and 7,000 of its inhabitants will die. The people will repent, but their repentance is short lived, like that of Pharaoh in the days of the Egyptian plagues.
The chapter ends with the blowing of the seventh trumpet. When this trumpet blows the earth will tremble and shake like it did when the seventh seal was broken, and like it will do when the seventh vial of judgment is poured out.
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