The 2001 Commentaries

Who are the ‘two witnesses?’

info All commentaries are written by volunteers, readers, or supporters of our Bible translation project. These are not official views of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.

Exactly who are (or who will be) the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3, 4?

We don’t know. However, we do know that these witnesses are described as:

‘The two olive trees and the two lampstands that have been standing on the earth in front of the Lord.’

What testimony will these two witnesses give?

In the case of ancient IsraEl, Moses and Aaron stood as witnesses of God before Pharaoh and told him to release God’s people IsraEl, or else He would send great plagues upon his land. We find similar signs spoken of at Revelation 11:6, where it says of the two witnesses:

‘They’re also authorized to turn water into blood and to bring every sort of plague to the earth whenever they wish.’

So, whomever the two witnesses in the prophecy will prove to be, they will probably be able to testify to some great acts of God. Otherwise, there would be no need for witnesses.

We also read about two ‘olive trees’ that stand on either side of a ‘lampstand’ in Zechariah 4:2. They are identified (in verse 14) as:

‘The two sons of the blessings that stand beside the Lord of the earth.’

So, since we find the same terms used there as we do in the Revelation, we might wonder whether there is some parallel significance between both of these prophecies.

What is the great act that these two witnesses will testify to?

The only information that we have is what is found in the verses that follow.
Revelation 11:3 says:

They will ‘prophesy for one-thousand two-hundred and sixty days wearing sackcloth.’

Then verses 3-6 say:

‘If any of their enemies wish to harm them, fire will come from their mouths and consume them. So if anyone wants to persecute them, that’s how they’re going to die, because they’ve been authorized to close up the sky so no rain will fall during the period of their prophesying. They’re also authorized to turn water into blood and to bring every sort of plague to the earth whenever they wish.’

Verses 7 and 8 continue:

‘And when they’ve finished their witnessing, the wild animal that comes out of the pit will fight against them, conquer them, and kill them. Then their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city, which [God’s] Breath refers to as Sodom and Egypt. It’s where their Lord was hung on a pole.’

And verses 11-13 tell us:

‘However, after the three and a half days, God sent His breath of life into them and they stood up on their feet, and this frightened those that saw them. Then [the two witnesses] heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, Come on up here.
And their enemies saw them go into the sky in a cloud. A tremendous shaking followed this, and a tenth of the city [of Sodom and Egypt] toppled. This shaking killed 7,000 people and frightened all the rest, so they gave glory to the God of heaven.’

So, who will these two witnesses prove to be?

While religious groups may speculate (and never be found guilty when they’re proven to be wrong), that isn’t an option for serious Bible researchers. Therefore, we will allow the unraveling of future events to provide the answer.

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