My Two Witnesses
In the book of the Revelation we find two such witnesses. "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth" (Revelation 11:3).
Who might these two be? Who witness for the first three and one half years of the Great Tribulation? We are told, "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth" (Revelation 11:4). We have mention of these in the book of Zechariah in chapter four. They are Joshua, the high priest, and Zerrubable, the governor of Israel. These were the two leaders of Israel, who when they were come back from the Babylonian Captivity, "builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon" (Ezra 3:2), to establish true worship in Jerusalem once again after their seventy year exile from the land of Israel.
Are the two witnesses in the Revelation actually Joshua and Zerrubable? I do not believe so, but certainly Joshua and Zerrubable, and the circumstances surrounding them, are a type of those two in the Revelation.
Firstly, as the nation Israel was gathered back to their land after the Babylonian captivity, so too, in the latter days, the Lord God said that he would gather Israel out of the four corners of the world and bring them back into their homeland once again. The prophet Hosea tells us that "the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days" (Hosea 3:4-5).
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:11-12).
Secondly, in the Revelation John said, "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" (Revelation 11:1). True worship will once again take place in Israel, under the Jewish economy, and the children of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and worship Him. This I believe will be the result of the ministry of the two witnesses, which we have pictured for us in the Old Testament, for when "the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem" (Not as Israel and Judah), Joshua and Zerrubable "builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon . . . for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries" (Ezra 3:1-3). Even today, we can see how the hostility of the nations is mounting up against Israel. This growing tension, I believe will also lead them to sign a peace treaty with antichrist (Daniel 9:27), which will be a "covenant with death" (Isaiah 28:15).
Although Joshua and Zerrubable may be a type of the two witnesses in the Revelation, we still must ask, Who then are these two witnesses? The last book of the Old Testament tells us, "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers" (Malachi 4:4-6). Was it just a coincidence that these two men, Moses and Elijah, were seen with Christ when He was transfigured before Peter, James and John. "And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke 9:30-31).
I believe these two, who came to speak to Christ of his decease which He should accomplish, are the same two men who bore witness to His death, burial and resurrection. When Mary Magdalene and the other women went on the first day of the week to anoint the body of Christ "they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again" (Luke 24:2-7).
I believe that it was these same two men who also bore witness to the ascension of Christ, and gave testimony of His coming again. After Christ had given the apostles their commission, "he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:9-11). I ask the question, Who else could bear witness to the fact of the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ during the Great Tribulation, and of His soon return to set up His kingdom? None other than these "two men".
Some may protest saying that these "two men" were angels, for in John's account, he mentions "two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain" (John 20:12), and that is O.K., but, we must remember, that while the Greek word "aggelos", is usually translated as angel, it is also translated as messenger, which is the primary meaning of the word, whether the messenger be an angel or man. John says it was two angels, but Luke says that it was two men, and this would not be a contradiction of terms. Even John the Baptist was called an angel ("my messenger", Gr. aggelos). (Note: To see where "aggelos" refers to men, look to Luke 7:24, 27, 9:52, Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, James 2:25, etc.)
This I believe will be the testimony of the two witnesses, Jesus Christ crucified for sinners and risen from the dead, who has ascended up on high and is soon to return and set up his kingdom. Their message will be the same as John the Baptist who came "in the spirit and power of Elias" (Luke 1:17), "saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2), and testifying, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). Neither is there salvation in any other. This message will be preached with power and will be authenticated with divine manifestations from heaven. "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" (Revelation 11:5-6).
I believe that it will be them who will establish true worship back to Israel through their prophetic teaching ministry, which takes place during the first three and one half years of the tribulation. The fruit of their ministry will result in the conversion of 144,000 Jews (Revelation 7:1-8), who "were redeemed from the earth . . . which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth . . . being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:3-4).
These in turn will extend the gospel of Christ to the ends of the world, to be a witness to all nations, whereby "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" (Rev. 7:9) are saved, having "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14). During the Tribulation many will be "slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held" (Revelation 6:9), but these overcome the devil "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" for they "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:11, 17).
The prophet Joel foretold of "those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem" (Joel 3:1), saying "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. . . And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call" (Joel 2:28-29, 32).
Salvation in our Lord shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness unto all nations beginning with the "two witnesses". Israel will find repentance through the ministry of these two. Then the "hundred and forty four thousand Jews" will bring the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the world. They will have accomplished in seven years what the church could not do in two thousand years.
Some have placed the two witnesses as Elijah and Enoch. The main reason for this is that both Enoch and Elijah were translated to heaven without dieing. The Bible tells us that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27), and so given that they did not yet die, they two could be these witnesses. Moses on the other hand died and was buried in a sepulchur before entering the promised land, and therefore, since he had died once, could not die again as these "two witnesses" are slain after their three and one half year ministry.
However, apart from that, Moses does seem to be a better fit. The miracles that these two are similar to the miracles that Moses did in Egypt. Also, Elijah is mentioned alongside Moses at the end of the Old Testament which speaks of Elijah's coming at the end of the age. Furthermore, there are exceptions in the Bible as to the dieing "once". There is a generation that will never die, but will be raptured and their bodies translated into glorified bodies when Christ returns. Also, there were some who were raised from the dead such as Lazarus, who was four days in the grave and his body already decayed, whom Christ raised in an immortal body and yet died again, as well as others. So because Moses had died once already would not necessarily disqualify him as one of the two witnesses.
It is also stated that Enoch will be a witness to the gentile nations while Elijah will be the minister to the nation of Israel. However, as stated earlier, the witness of the 144,000 Jews will stretch across the world to the gentile nations, so Enoch is not required to minister to the gentile nations. It was Israel whom God had chosen to be a witness to God and a light to the gentiles, and now, where they failed in the past, will have this glorious opportunity to fulfill their mission during the last ingathering of the saints in the last days.