The Two Witnesses

There has been a long debate on who the Two Witnesses are that are mentioned in the book of Revelation chapter 11.  Many think they will be Moses and Elijah who will come back to earth and others think that it will be Enoch and Elijah because they say that they didn’t “die” and all men are appointed to die, and then the judgment. Both of these theories are highly unlikely. First of all, all men are not appointed to die, that is a general statement, but it doesn’t apply to everyone. Let me give you an example. Lazarus and several others were raised by Yeshua from the dead, but they died again (twice). Those that are alive and remain and taken in the Rapture won’t die at all. So, using that verse to show that Enoch and Elijah will have to come  back because they did not die is not accurate because Enoch and Elijah did die. Hebrews 11.5 says that Enoch “should not see death” but that is in regard to the second death (John 8.51; 11.26). In Hebrews 11.13 it says that “these all died in faith” and that includes Enoch. In Gen 5.24 it says that Enoch “walked with God and was not” but compare that phrase with Psa 37.36 where it says concerning death “yet he passed away and, lo, he was not.” Psa 39.13 basically says the same thing (See also Gen 42.13;44.20 and Matt 2.18). This phrase can indicate a physical death. With Elijah, it says that Elijah was taken from Elisha and the people in a whirlwind and was taken somewhere else. The Bible does not mention where, but he was taken further away from where the fifty looked for him (2 Kings 2.17). They did not know where, but they were concerned for his safety. He did not die at that time because Elijah wrote a letter to Jehoram (2 Chr 21.12) several years after the events in 2 Kings 2.1-12, but Elijah eventually died. As far as being taken into heaven (where God resides), we know that neither Enoch or Elijah were taken there because Yeshua said that “no man has ascended into heaven” yet (John 3.13).  There are three “heavens” and Elijah went into the first, where birds fly. The second is outer space and the third is where the Lord is. Moses and Elijah were seen at the transfiguration but remember this was a vision (Matt 17.9). Moses and Elijah being in the vision are symbolic of the Law (Torah= Moses) and the Prophets. These are witnesses and testify about the Messiah (Luke 24.27).  It was a picture but not a physical reality and not to be interpreted as literal. They were still in their graves and have not received their glorified bodies yet. Yeshua had to be the first for that and then each in his own order. So,  Enoch and Elijah aren’t the two witnesses based on the fact they didn’t die because the Scriptures indicate that they did. We know Moses died because he was buried on Mt Nebo. Now, the Lord can do anything he wants and bring them back somehow, but Enoch, Elijah and Moses will be raised in the Rapture and given glorified bodies, so it is unlikely they will come back. The two witnesses in Revelation are going to be killed. So, just who are these two witnesses? There is a principle in the Scriptures that says everything should be established by at least two witnesses. The Law and the Prophets are witnesses that we use to establish any Scriptural truth. Like we have said, these “witnesses” are “personified” by Moses and Elijah, that’s why they “appeared” in the vision in Matt 17. They were discussing prophecy. You will notice in Rev 11 the two witnesses perform miracles similar to what Moses and Elijah did. The concept of two witnesses has been seen in the Scriptures before. For example, Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Elisha, Ezra and Nehemiah, Joshua and Caleb, Paul and Barnabas and of course Yeshua and John the Baptist. The Lord sent out his disciples “two by two” also. Zech 4.11-14 describes them as being “two olive trees” meaning they are Jewish (olive) and human (tress). When the angel was asked by Zechariah about who they were, the angel said that they are the “two anointed ones, who stand by the Lord of the whole earth” and that not only alludes to the two witnesses in Revelation, but to all of the witnesses down through the ages.  In Hebrew, “anointed ones” is “sons of fresh oil” meaning that true witnesses of God are empowered by the Holy Spirit. These individuals will not be Moses, Elijah or Enoch but two individuals who the Lord will raise up at the beginning of the Tribulation (sons of fresh oil) and they will come in the spirit and power of Moses and Elijah (like John did as “Elijah”), who symbolize the Law and the Prophets. The Torah and Prophets are the two witnesses and they are personified in Moses and Elijah. Prophecy says that the Lord is going to send “Elijah” before the great and terrible day of the Lord (Mal 4). When Yeshua came he raised up John as a witness who came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1.17). Yeshua said that the kingdom was being offered and if the people accepted it (the Kingdom), then John was Elijah. He wasn’t saying that John was literally Elijah “reincarnated” because John himself denied he was literally Elijah in John 1.21, but he did come in like manner, and even looked like him with the camel hair and leather girdle. Some sources even say that these garments were actually the ones that Elijah wore that were stored in the Temple, awaiting the arrival of Elijah. But, what this tells you is that a witness came in the spirit and power of Elijah without it actually being him in the flesh. This is what is going to happen in the Tribulation. Also, these two witnesses allude to the two witnesses in a Jewish wedding. One witness is assigned to the bride (like Moses because he brought the people to God at Sinai-Jer 2.2)) and the other was assigned to the groom (like Elijah/John introduced the groom to the people). That is why John said he was “a friend of the bridegroom” (John 3.29). So the two witnesses will be two Jewish men that the Lord will raise up at the beginning of the Tribulation and empower with the Holy Spirit for 1260 days, or the first half of the Tribulation. Their ministry will bring Israel back to the Lord. Their ministry will begin on the first day of the Tribulation, Yom Kippur, and they will prophesy 1260 days and be killed on Nisan 10, the exact half-way point of the Tribulation. They will be resurrected three and half days later, Nisan 14 or Passover, and ascend into heaven before the very eyes of the False Messiah and the world. However, these witnesses will not be Moses, Elijah or Enoch but two individuals the Lord will raise up and anoint for the last days.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, Understanding the New Testament

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