Who are the two witnesses, and what is their purpose?
What happens to the two witnesses in the book of Revelation.
I. Opening Videos’ Speakers. John Ankerberg Show. John Ankerberg (M. Div., D. Min.); Ron Rhodes (Th.M.,Th.D.); Ed Hindson (Th. M., Th. D., D. Min., Ph. D.); Mark Hitchcock (Th. M., J.D., Ph. D.)
A. Dr. John F. Walvoord (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D; 1910-2002) Revelation Commentary,
1. John was instructed to measure the temple and the altar, but not the outer court, meaning he was to measure the holy place and the holy of holies. While others could come into the outer court, only priests could enter into two temple rooms. The explanation was given that this would be under the control of the Gentiles, who would trample on the holy city for 42 months. The times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24) will not end until the second coming of Christ to the earth to set up His Kingdom. Though Jews may possess Jerusalem temporarily, as they have in this century, they will lose possession in the Great Tribulation.
2. At the same moment of the rapture of the two witnesses an earthquake occurred in Jerusalem, with 1/10 of the city collapsing and 7,000 people being killed. The survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. So ended the second woe, leaving only the seventh trumpet, the final and third woe, to come. Though the full results from the sounding of the seventh trumpet are only introduced here, and not brought to finality (as they will be in chap 16), the introduction of the seventh trumpet is dramatic. As the trumpet sounded, voices were heard in heaven: “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever. (Cf. predictions of the earthly kingdom of Christ in Ezek 21:26-27; Dan 2:35, 44; 4:3; 6:26; 7:14, 26 -27; Zech 14:9). The fact that this will be fulfilled at the Second Coming makes it clear that the period of the seventh trumpet chronologically reaches to Christ’s return. Therefore, the seventh trumpet introduces and includes the seven bowl judgments of the wrath of God revealed in chapter 16. In contrast with previous trumpets where a single voice was heard, here a mighty chorus from heaven joined in the proclamation.
B. Dr. Robert L. Thomas (Th. M., Th. D.; 1928-2017) Revelation Commentary.
1. The temple as the dwelling place of God is not in view here, It is the Jewish temple in Jerusalem which is hardly a suitable picture of the church which is largely Gentile. The outer court and the entire city experience trampling by the Gentiles, signifying that the temple and the court stand for something that best contrasts with the Gentiles, i.e., something Jewish. The mention of the sanctuary, the altar, the court of the Gentiles, and the holy city shows unmistakably that the discussion at this point is on Jewish ground. But most obvious of all is the logical fallacy that if the sanctuary represents the church of the Messianic community, who are the worshipers that are measured along with the sanctuary and the altar?
2. This is a literal temple that will exist in actuality during the future period just before Christ returns. The false Messiah will desecrate it and turn it into a place for people to worship him (cf. Dan 9:27; 12:11; 2 Thes 2:4; Rev 13:14-15). This allows for a distinction between the temple and the worshipers in it, Jesus’ anticipation of the future abomination of desolation (Matt 24:15) and Paul’s prophecy regarding the future temple (2 Thes 2:4) require a literal temple in the future.
C. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost (Th. M., Th. D.; 1915-2014) Things To Come, 1958, pp 215, 295.
1. Page 215. Chronologically, in the Book of Revelation, Chapters 1-3 present the development of the church in this present age. Chapters 4-11 cover the events of the entire 70th week of Daniel and conclude with the return of Christ to the earth to reign in 11:15-18. According to the instructions given in John 10:11, chapters 12-19 survey the 70th week a second time, this time with a view to revealing the actors on the stage of the drama.
2. Page 295. When the nation of Israel is brought back to her land after the rapture by the covenant enacted by the head of the the Revised Roman Empire (Dan 9:27), Israel is still in unbelief. God, however, is very definitely dealing with that nation to bring it to salvation. The whole 70th week of Daniel is a period of preparation for the coming of the King. The gospel of “the kingdom” (Mt 24:14), which requires repentance, will be preached. There will be the ministry of the 144,000 sealed of Israel (Rev 7) and the ministry of the two witnesses (Rev 11), all with the intent of bringing the nation (Israel) to repentance and salvation. The outpouring of the wrath of God is seen for the purpose of bringing men to repentance (Rev 16:9-10). While the majority will not repent, some may be turned to God by these signs.
III. Scripture Text. Revelation Chapter 11. NASB. Pasted from Bible Gateway
IV. Verse Examination. Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., Litt. D.; 1925-2016) Ryrie Study Bible.
A. 11:1. “the temple of God.” Apparently the temple that will be built during the Tribulation, in which Jewish worship will be carried on during the first part of that seven-year period and in which, at the midpoint, the man of sin will exalt himself to be worshipped (2 Thes 2:4).
B. 11:2. “forty-two months.” This equals 3 1/2 years and probably refers to the last of the tribulation period during which Jerusalem will be under some sort of Gentile (the nations) control. Thus, “the times of the Gentiles” (see Luke 21:24) will not conclude until the end of the Tribulation.
C. 11:3. “1260 days.” This also equals 3 1/2 years and refers to the period of the ministry of the two witnesses. Whether the two witnesses will prophesy during the first half or the last half of the Tribulation is not stated, though the first half seems more likely, since their termination by Antichrist (v 7) fits better at the midpoint of the Tribulation than at the end.
D. 11:4. “two olive trees.” For the symbolism, see Zechariah 4:12 and 14. “two lampstands” that give out a witness (v 3).
E. 11:5-6. The miraculous powers of the two unnamed witnesses are reminiscent of those of Elijah and Moses (cf. Ex 7:20; 8:1-12:29; 1 Kings 17:1; 18:41-45; 2 Kings 1:10-12).
F. 11:7. “the beast.” The Antichrist, also called “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thes 2:3). The same person is mentioned in 6:2; 13:1; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 17:3, 13; 19:20; 20:10. He can not kill these two witnesses until God allows him to.
G. 11:8. “the great city.” I.e., Jerusalem, which in these coming days will be like “Sodom” (filled with perverted sex) and “Egypt” (persecuting God’s people).
H. 11:9-10. So corrupt are peoples’ hearts that they will refuse burial and have a 3 1/2 day celebration of Antichrist’s victory over the two witnesses.
I. 11:11. “and they stood on their feet.” Imagine the effect the resurrection of these two men will have on those who, only the moment before, were viewing their corpses in the street or were watching TV news!
J. 11:13. “the rest.” Those who were not killed by the earthquake. “gave glory to the God of heaven” momentarily, for soon they would again curse the God of heaven (16: 11).
K. 11:15. The end is near enough now that the announcement of it can be made.
L. 16-19.The announcement evokes praise from the “elders” (vv 16-17) and anger from the “nations;” and soon will come judgment on the “dead” and the rewarding of the “saints.”
V. Summary. Dr. Orville J. Nave, Nave’s Study Bible, 1978 (D.D., LL. D., 1841-1917). Orville J. Nave (Editor). Anna Seamans Nave (Editor).
In this Eleventh Chapter of Revelation, we have considered: 1 John is directed to measure the temple. 3 The two witnesses, 6 and their power. 7 The beast shall kill them. 8 Their bodies unburied, 11 after three days and a half are raised to life. 14 The second woe is past. 15 The seventh angel sounds, and there is rejoicing in heaven.
VI. Added Thought.
When we consider whether the two witnesses are Enoch and Elijah, or Moses and Elijah, there are couple of key things to take into consideration. During the time of the Tribulation, when the two witnesses will be preaching for the world to hear their message, their message will relate to “The Gospel of The Kingdom,” (Matt 24:14, John 3:2; Matt 4:17; Matt 10: 7; Luke 10:9). Moses and Elijah were Jews; Moses died, but Elijah did not die, having been caught up to heaven. Enoch was a Gentile, having lived on this earth before the nation of Israel came into existence (Gen 5:21), and never knew anything about the Law, also having been caught up to heaven without dying. Moses represented the Law, and Elijah represented the Prophets. Per the opening video, Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration; Enoch did not. Some people point to Hebrews 9:27, ” it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” But, Heb 9:27 is a general statement. Consider Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from death (John 11:43-44); he died a second death. All of us who will be caught up in the rapture (if the Lord wills it to happen in our lifetime), will not have to taste death.
VII. My Bucket List shows the references, of people and documents, that I use when I write my articles.
VIII. My Websites To Follow.
https://untotheleastofthese.home.blog/ Equipping The Saints Website
https://thechurchoftheopendoor.wordpress.com/ Israel Website
https://success2693.wordpress.com/ Israel, History And Prophecy