Conversations in Revelation: The Two Witnesses

by Dennis Michelson
(FaithBaptistOH.org)

Conversations in Revelation: The Two Witnesses


Revelation 11

Just prior to the blowing of the seventh trumpet we are introduced to these two witnesses. They are presented as two real individuals – just as real as the Antichrist they will face for a minimum of 42 months. These witnesses are presented as persons – not organizations or groups on individuals.

Who are these two witnesses?

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

The general rule of Scripture is that men are appointed once to die. These two witnesses are said to die subsequent to their prophetic ministry. A search on individuals who are in heaven but never died once yields the two most likely candidates: Enoch and Elijah. They were God’s faithful witnesses to judgment in the past and will likely be called to that ministry in the future.

Mal 3:1 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 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
Mal 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Mal 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
Mal 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Mal 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
Mal 4:3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
Mal 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

In the closing words of the Old Testament, God says that Elijah the Tishbite will be sent again to the earth. He will be sent as a forerunner of the great and terrible Day of the Lord. If “Elijah” means Elijah then he is scheduled to appear just prior to the Day of the Lord – exactly where our text places him!

Joh 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
Joh 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
Joh 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
Joh 1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
Joh 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
Joh 1:24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
Joh 1:25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

Mat 17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Mat 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
Mat 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them

Peter told us that the “restoration of all things” would be associated with the Second Coming of Christ –

Act 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Act 3:20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Act 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Was John the Baptist Elijah?
Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Mat 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Mat 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

John was not the literal Elijah.

Joh 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
Joh 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
Joh 1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
Joh 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

NB: John did not restore all things as predicted concerning Elijah and the great and terrible Day of the Lord did not ensue.

So in what sense was John the Baptist Elijah?

There was a twofold ministry in the promise to send Elijah just as there was a twofold advent promise concerning the Messiah. Often, in the Old Testament the coming of the Messiah was seen as accomplishing one work even though separated in time. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ at his first coming (and performed the function of Elijah) but Elijah himself will be the forerunner of the Second Coming of the Messiah.

Luk 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
Luk 1:16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
Luk 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Who is the other prophet who will accompany Elijah?

The most likely candidate is Enoch. It is noteworthy that the Apocrypha is filled with references concerning Enoch.

Joh 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

Tertullian:
"Enoch was translated, and so was Elijah; nor did they experience death; it was deferred; they are reserved for the suffering of death, that by their blood they may extinguish Antichrist."

What is the nature of their ministry? They are witnesses of impending judgment!
There is no record that Enoch ever preached on anything else but judgment.

Jud 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
Jud 1:15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

*Their former ministry was characterized by thundering judgment

*They are clothed in sackcloth when they appear again.

Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest witnessed to the completion of the physical temple (See Zechariah 4)

Elijah and Enoch will be witnesses to the completion of the spiritual Temple (Church)

The Church Age is over and there are only two lights left in the world!

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