Key of David

Revealing the Two Witnesses

The two witnesses might be the most mysterious characters in the entire Bible. What is their vital role on the world scene in the near future?

Revelation 11 explains the truth about the two witnesses. Just about all of us have heard of someone who believes he’s one of these witnesses. I certainly have!

But look at the time element of this passage. It’s set in the future. The two witnesses haven’t even been assigned their mission yet. They will be empowered by God to deliver a warning message—when the time comes. Then, a “beast” (Revelation 13, 17; Daniel 2, 7) will put them to death.

After the two witnesses comes the last woe, or seventh trumpet, during which something spectacular happens to these witnesses in front of all their enemies.

When God gave the message of Revelation to the Apostle John thousands of years ago, it was a mysterious and closed book, sealed with seven seals. The Prophet Daniel’s message was also sealed until this end time—until “the crisis at the close,” as the Moffatt translation says. We’re living through that time right now! We have the ability to understand both books today.

The word “revelation” is translated from the Greek word apocalypse. That’s right—the word “apocalypse” just means revealing. How did the books of Revelation and Daniel become unsealed? By the Lion of the tribe of Judah—Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:5). No man could ever reveal this truth! Many have tried, but it is impossible.

God wants us to understand the book of Revelation because over 90 percent of all Bible prophecy is being fulfilled in this end time. But we can only receive this understanding from Him.

The two witnesses are connected to the little book of Revelation 10. They come into contact with the beast power, a frightening force on the world scene in the near future. They emerge from a split in God’s own Church, if you can imagine that! Their appearance leads directly into the seventh trumpet, or the third and final woe.

The seven seals of Revelation cover the entire story flow of this book. The seals are, in order: false prophets, war, famine, pestilence, the Great Tribulation, heavenly signs, and the seven trumpets—the last three of which are woes, the third woe being the seven last plagues. At the end of the second woe, the two witnesses disappear from the scene, and Jesus Christ returns with His holy angels and the seven last plagues. (This is a lot to remember, but we have some free booklets that will make it all plain to you: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?, Daniel Unlocks Revelation and Unveiled at Last: The Royal Book of Revelation.)

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,” (Revelation 1:10). Anciently, the trumpet was an alarm of war. The “Lord’s day” here is not a particular day of the week, but the great and terrible one-year time period called the Day of the Lord! These are fearsome prophecies that conclude with the best news you could possibly hear.

John saw all this in a vision. He knew the future. Because of his writings, we know that the Day of the Lord is after the 2½-year Great Tribulation, the time of Satan’s wrath. We know that Christ Himself returns at the seventh trumpet blast during the seventh seal.

“One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter” (Revelation 9:12). This takes place under the fifth angel (verse 1). Part of the second woe, under the sixth angel, is a 200 million-man army, led by Russia and China! (verse 16).

At this point in the story flow is an inset about the little book, which relates to the two witnesses. This inset must be very important to be embedded amid the three woes, or the last three of seven trumpet blasts.

“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open …” (Revelation 10:1-2). When the little book is revealed, it’s a sign of no more delay, as verse 6 should read. World events are racing along as never before because the little book has already been revealed!

God’s loyal people after the little book is revealed are charged to “prophesy again” (verse 11). We prophesy again because of a split in God’s own Church. The Church rebelled and stopped prophesying, so we must start it back up.

“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” (Revelation 11:1-2). Most of God’s own people are now in the outer court because they have become lukewarm about His truth! This passage ties these rebels to a devastating 3½-year time period (the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord combined).

What sets the inner court apart from the outer court? Those in the inner court, the holy of holies, are in God’s presence. All of God’s people should be here, but 95 percent are not!

The little book inset, which begins in chapter 10, ends with verse 2 of chapter 11. The two witnesses are described next: “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” (verses 3-4). Again, 3½ years. While God’s rebellious people are suffering, the two witnesses are warning! They are lights to the world, but the world wants to kill them—and eventually does.

“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” (verses 5-6). Why does God give the two witnesses so much power?

The answer is in the next verse: “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” (verse 7). They must complete their mission before the beast power kills them!

God says that when He opens a door, no man can shut it. A 200 million-man army can’t shut it! That’s the power available to God’s people who obey Him.

“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” (verses 8-10). The enemies of the two witnesses want everyone to see the dead bodies. They celebrate because the two witnesses tormented them with the warning message.

God allows the deaths of the two witnesses because He has another plan for them, which the world won’t expect: “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” (verses 11-12). After 3½ days of being dead yet unburied, the two witnesses will come back to life! God will resurrect them in front of the whole world! As glorified spirit beings under the returning Jesus Christ, they will take part in forcefully putting down all rebellion against God.

“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” (verses 13-14). The two witnesses disappear at the end of the second woe, or the sixth trumpet.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (verse 15). Right after the two witnesses, Jesus Christ returns and takes over the reins of rulership over Earth! Then the world will experience nothing but peace, abundance and joy for all eternity!

Remember, Christ will return and unleash the seven last plagues of His wrath. They will be “poured out” upon mankind. But the ending is glorious! And it’s a reality! Christ’s wife, God’s loyal Church today, is now preparing to rule alongside Him forever! (Revelation 19:7).

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