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COMING OF ANTICHRIST—PART 12: Two Witnesses Appear

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Bible prophecy sometimes follows a straight line of progression. At other times, it seems convoluted and folds in upon itself. For example, it might flow like a newspaper report of the facts that will come to pass. Or, it might present a sense of flashbacks and flash-forwards not unlike a novel or movie, requiring careful study. Always, though, God’s Word is Truth, and learning that Word will be assisted by the Holy Spirit as we earnestly attempt to understand. The study of the Bible—especially of prophecy—with intensity and purpose to gain comprehension of things to come is worth the effort and will be greatly rewarded. We are promised by Jesus, who gave the Revelation to John the prophet:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 1:1–3)

Jesus is saying that those who read, heed, and follow through on obeying things written in His Word will receive blessings. The Lord here is almost certainly promising a special blessing for those who give themselves to studying His prophetic Word.

Following the Rapture of the Church, the greatest time of trouble in human history is coming upon the world scene. We’ve seen this many times thus far. Sometimes we’ve seen a straight reporting of how things will unfold, and at other times, we see the folding, flashbacks, and flash-forwards.

So, it’s somewhat difficult to establish exactly when the two dynamic men of God—the two witnesses of Revelation 11—will appear. Theirs will indeed be a ministry of dynamism never matched in the annals of ministry, so far as forewarning others about what opposing God will bring to earth’s rebels. They will preach and prophesy with such fervency that the anti-God forces will hate them and seek to kill them. Antichrist will pursue them with the fervor with which he will pursue the fleeing Jews following his claim to be god in the Temple.

These two men will be untouchable for the time of their witness. As a matter of fact, anyone who tries to kill them will be destroyed, the prophecy says.

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. 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 11:3–6)

When their time of their mission is finished, Antichrist will at last be allowed to kill them.

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. 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. (Revelation 11:7–8)

When these witnesses are finally slain, the world of rebellious earth dwellers—as the Bible calls them—will rejoice.

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a 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. (Revelation 11:10–11)

These men will have pointed to the people of earth and accused them of their blasphemous, rebellious, anti-God comportment. Like Elijah and Moses of ancient days, these prophets will bring plagues upon the world, each becoming more punishing than the next. When they are finally murdered by Antichrist forces, news-gathering sources will no doubt aim cameras on them and broadcast the image of them lying in the streets of Jerusalem.

This prophecy used to make people wonder how it would be possible for all the world to see these dead men on the streets. But that long ago ceased to be a wonder. Satellite will instantly broadcast the sight to most every part of the world as they lie decomposing for three days.

People will throw great parties of congratulations: The preachers who pointed fingers and called for them to repent are no longer around to torment them! But that will come to an end with staggering suddenness.

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. (Revelation 11:11–12)

When these dead men suddenly stir upon the screens of computer monitors and televisions across the world, the shock will be stunning to the gawkers. The resurrected men will stand upon their feet, and a voice will be heard beckoning them to come into Heaven. No doubt there will be fatal heart attacks in some of the onlookers as God manifests His great power to resurrect the dead, then calls them to Himself.

Just after the moment the witnesses rise into the clouds, an earthquake of one of the most powerful magnitudes ever will shake the city and the world, as God’s power continues to manifest before the eyes of those who have shown their hatred for Him and His governance.

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. (Revelation 11:13)

This will so frighten those watching—those who see seven thousand men die in the quake—that the “remnant” (the term for the Jews who are or will become believers) will, the prophecy says, give glory to the True God of Heaven. It is likely that many Gentiles who watch these astonishing things will also be so frightened as to be moved to reconsider their rebellion and following Antichrist.



Whether this means they will instantly believe and be saved, we can’t say for certain. If the mark of Revelation 13:16–18 has been instituted, those who have received it cannot repent and be saved, according to Revelation 14. But one has to think that many of them, if they haven’t taken the mark at this time, will turn to God at that stupefying moment.

Some scholars of Bible prophecy believe the seven thousand men mentioned as being slain by the earthquake represent the most notable men of Jerusalem—likely some of the top men under Antichrist. They are probably suddenly swallowed up as the earth gives way, much like what happened to the rebellious Israelites and Egyptian people who fled Pharaoh in the Exodus, but who turned to idol worship while Moses received the Ten Commandments atop Mt. Sinai.

Identity of the Two Witnesses

There has always been much controversy over who these two prophets are who so upset the inhabitants of Tribulation-era earth. Indeed, there are good arguments from a number of viewpoints.

Most prophecy students and scholars believe that Elijah is one of the two. This Old Testament prophet performed many of the plague-like judgments, under God’s authority and power, that the two witnesses will perform. Elijah never died, but was lifted into the heavenly dimension by a fiery chariot while his successor, Elisha, stood mesmerized while watching. This, many believe, gives good reason to think Elijah will be one of the two.

Another reason for this thinking is that the Jewish people are promised that Elijah will again come back to them before the “great and terrible Day of the Lord”—i.e., he will return to assist God’s chosen people in their time of trouble. Jews today, some orthodox believers and some only secular types who simply like tradition, provide an empty chair and plate at their tables in remembrance of God’s promise to send the prophet at some point near the time of the Messiah’s coming.

Moses is another thought to be one of the two witnesses. His body was never discovered, because God, Himself, buried him (see Deuteronomy 34:5–7). Moses, too, was given authority and power to bring down plagues on Pharaoh’s kingdom while convincing the Egyptian king to release the Israelites in the Exodus.

Another candidate is Enoch. He was taken by God in a Rapture-like translation by God, because Enoch walked so closely to the Lord. Some think this means Enoch might be returned to serve as one of the two witnesses during the mid-Tribulation point, just before that point, or right after it.

Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, in his book Things to Come, presented the following from an author who weighed in on the two witnesses. It is yet another view of who they might be.

It would seem best to conclude that the identity of these men is uncertain. They, in all probability, are not men who lived before and have been restored, but are two men raised up as a special witness, to whom sign-working power is given. Their ministry is one of judgment, as their sackcloth clothing indicates. They are slain by the beast (Rev. 13:1–10). Concerning the time of their death the same author says:

Mental arithmetic will quickly reveal that the period of prophecy entrusted to the two witnesses, twelve hundred and sixty days, is three and one-half years in duration. In which half of the Tribulation, then, will these witnesses prophesy? Or will their witness not be limited by either half of the seven years, but run from one half into the other? I do not think we can be dogmatic about it. There is thought-provoking logic in the argument that their testimony will be given during the first half of Daniel’s prophetic week, and that their martyrdom will be the first persecuting act of the Beast, after he breaks his covenant with the Jews (Dan. 9:27). Their ministry will be attended with power over their enemies, whereas, according to Daniel 7:21, the “little horn” (who is this Beast) will make war with the saints and prevail against them, and this will be in the last half of the week. On the other hand, in Revelation 11:2 the “forty and two months” undoubtedly refers to the second half of the Tribulation, and the period of the testimony of the two witnesses seems to be synchronous with this. Further, their witness is recorded just prior to the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet, and this event takes us right on into the Millennial Kingdom. But the exact period when the testimony will take place is unimportant to believers of this age—it will be in God’s time, that we know, and that will be the proper time.[i]

So, it is unclear who these men will be and exactly when their time of ministry will begin. They will obviously dominate the news of that time and cause Antichrist’s rage to grow by the minute as they proclaim the glory of God and urge the son of perdition’s victims to turn to the Lord for salvation.

Their message will be punctuated mightily by the tremendous feats they perform. There can be no doubt that they’ll be unleashed with supernatural abilities that surpass even those of the False Prophet, Antichrist’s Josef Goebbels-type propagandist.

Bill Salus, in his book The LAST Prophecies: The Prophecies in the First 3½ Years of the Tribulation, writes the following on these witnesses’ time on earth and the powerful forces of judgment they will call down upon Antichrist and rebellious people living on earth at that time:

These Two Witnesses will:

    1. Have power to prevent rainfall, turn waters to blood and create plagues (v 3, 6),
    2. Prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth (v 3),
    3. Live constantly in harm’s way (v 5),
    4. Kill those who attempt to harm them (v 5),
    5. Successfully profess their testimonies (v 7),
    6. Be killed by the Antichrist (v 7),
    7. Lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three-and-a-half days (v 8–9),
    8. Torment those (unbelievers) who dwell on the earth (v 10),
    9. Resurrect from the dead (v 11),
    10. Ascend to heaven (v 12),
    11. Be instrumental in causing (some) Jews to recognize God (v 13).

The Identities of the Two Witnesses

Is it possible, from the clues provided in Revelation 11:3–13, to make an educated guess as to who are these Two Witnesses? Some believe that they are Moses and Elijah. Others suggest they are Elijah and Enoch. Some have posited that they could be none of the above, but might be two entirely new faces. The strong arguments that favor Moses and Elijah as the Two Witnesses are explained below.

    1. Moses and Elijah appeared together on the mount of transfiguration. (Matthew 17:3–4). If they appeared together in a significant event of the past, they will likely appear together in the future as well.
    2. Moses and Elijah possessed in the past the similar supernatural powers that the Two Witnesses possess in the future. These powers include:
    • Fire that proceeds from the mouth and devours their enemies (v 5),
    • Power to shut heaven so that no rain falls in the day of their prophecy (v 6),
    • Power over waters to turn them to blood (v 6),
    • The ability to strike the earth with ALL PLAGUES, as often as they desire (v 6).

Elijah’s former powers concerning rain are documented in 1 Kings 17:1, 1 Kings 18:1, James 5:17–18. Elijah also called down fire from heaven in 1 Kings 18:38, and 2 Kings 1:10. Moses turned the waters to blood in Exodus 7:20–21. Concerning Moses and his ability to strike the earth will all plagues, he struck Egypt with ten plagues, which led to the Exodus of the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage. The plagues were:

    • First Plague: Water turned to blood, (Exodus 7:20–21),
    • Second Plague: Frog infestation throughout Egypt, (Exodus 8:2–4),
    • Third Plague: Gnats or lice infestation throughout Egypt, (Exodus 8:16–17),
    • Fourth Plague: Swarms of flies on the people and in their houses, (Exodus 8:21),
    • Fifth Plague: Livestock diseased, (Exodus 9:3),
    • Sixth Plague: Boil infections upon the Egyptians, (Exodus 9:8–11),
    • Seventh Plague: Hailstones rain down upon Egypt, (Exodus 9:18),
    • Eighth Plague: Locusts cover the face of the earth, (Exodus 10:4–5),
    • Ninth Plague: Thick blanket of darkness over Egypt, (Exodus 10:21–22),
    • Tenth Plague: Deaths of the firstborn in Egypt, (Exodus 11:4–5).

Observation: The Plagues of the Two Witnesses and the Trumpet Judgments

It’s worthy to note, that some of the plagues performed by the Two Witnesses seem to be repeated in some variation within some of the trumpet judgments detailed in Revelation 8–9. The first trumpet involves hail and fire mingled with blood (Rev. 8:7). The second trumpet predicts that one-third of the seas will turn into blood (Rev. 8:8). The fourth trumpet says that one-third of the sun, moon and stars become darkened (Rev. 8:12). The fifth trumpet involves a plague of locusts (Rev. 9:3).

It is probable that the trumpet judgments are occurring within the same time-period that the Two Witnesses are ministering on the earth. Although, the trumpet judgments are cast upon the earth via the means of seven angels, and not the two witnesses, the affected populations will not likely be cognizant of that distinction. The verse below points out that the Two Witnesses are tormenting those who dwell on the earth.

And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.” (Rev. 11:10)

It can be assumed that the tormenting is primarily the result of the Two Witnesses executing their powers, which includes the ability to strike the earth with ALL PLAGUES in Rev. 11:6. When these Two Witnesses lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem, “those who dwell on the earth will rejoice, make merry and send gifts to one another.” This merriment is likely because the gift-givers could be under the impression that ALL the PLAGUES end with their deaths. It wouldn’t be surprising if at that time the Antichrist, who kills these Two Witnesses, comes out publicly and declares that the plagues have ended. However, the plagues will continue to happen as the bowl judgments are poured out in the Great Tribulation.

More Reasons to Favor Moses and Elijah as the Two Witnesses

    1. Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind to heaven and never experienced death, (2 Kings 2:11–12). This fact implies that Elijah is alive, available and ready to return to the earth as one of the Two Witnesses. Enoch was also caught up to heaven, which is why some believe that he could also return as one of the Two Witnesses, (Genesis 5:24).
    2. The Old Testament prophet Malachi predicts the return of Elijah.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5–6)

    1. Moses represents the Law and Elijah the Prophets. When the Two Witnesses are on the earth, the Jews are reinstating the Mosaic Law and its animal sacrificial system. Moses and Elijah would be prime candidates to rebuke this effort. Both know that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. This was evidenced clearly to them at the mount of Transfiguration when the Lord said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5). Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, (Matthew 5:17), and in so doing, He rendered it inoperative. Galatians 3:24 clarifies the purpose of the law. It reads, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
    2. There was a dispute between Satan and Michael the archangel over the body of Moses. This could imply that Satan is concerned about Moses returning to the earth again as one of the Two Witnesses, (Jude 1:9). According to some midrashim accounts, God grants Moses a beautiful death. Below is a quote from an article entitled, “The Divine Kiss.”

At the end, God leans down from the heavens and ends Moses’ life with a soft, gentle kiss. This is derived from Deuteronomy 34:5, where it is written, ‘So Moses, the servant of the Eternal, died there, in the land of Moab, at the command of the Eternal.’ The Hebrew reads, al pi Adonai, ‘by the mouth of the Eternal.’ Hence the legend about God kissing Moses at his moment of death. According to the Midrash, God wept after Moses died, as did the heavens and the earth. Deuteronomy 34:6 tells us that “God buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, near Beth-peor; and no one knows his burial place to this day.”

How did a soft and gentle kiss from the Lord bring an end to the life of Moses? Where is the undisclosed location of his grave? Did Moses truly die and was he buried? The answers to these two questions appear to be yes and yes, but his appearance at the “Mount of Transfiguration” about 1200 years after his death, established the biblical and historical precedent for his potential return as one of the Two Witnesses.

The Timing of the Two Witnesses

There is a debate about whether these Two Witnesses prophesy in the first or second half of the Tribulation Period. Below is a quote on this timing topic from Dr. Ron Rhodes. He writes the following in his book entitled, The End Times in Chronological Order.

“Scholars debate whether the ministry of the two witnesses belongs in the first half or the second half of the tribulation. Their ministry will last 1260 days, which measures out to precisely three and a half years.”… “Most prophecy scholars conclude that the two witnesses do their miraculous work during the first three and a half years.”[ii]

The massive earthquake will shake things as never before, but the things that will come upon the earth soon after that quaking will be much, much more destructive. The next chapter of Revelation opens with a truly frightening event:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.

Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. (Revelation 12:7–13)

Lucifer the fallen will truly be fallen at this point. He will be restricted from ever being able to move about the heavens or to come before the throne of God and accuse believers. Heaven will be blessed, but the earth will be in for unprecedented trouble.

Satan will add to the Antichrist’s human minions his superhuman ones. The devil will know that his time is almost up, so he will rage as never before to cause as much death and destruction to the human race, particularly to the Jewish race, as possible.

God’s wrath, too, will fall in greater power than ever before. Rebels against God upon this condemned sphere will truly experience Hell on earth.

UP NEXT: Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, Seven Bowls

[i] Schuyler English, “The Two Witnesses,” Our Hope, Pentecost note 53, English note 47, p. 665, April, 1941; Pentecost note 55, English, ibid., p. 671.

[ii] Bill Salus, The LAST Prophecies: The Prophecies in the First 3 ½ Years of the Tribulation. (Bill Salus, citing Ron Rhodes, The End Times in Chronological Order (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2012)

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