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The Two Witnesses
Revelation Chapter Eleven
They give the final message as the Beast rules
compiled by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, 2015
Last edit: Sept. 5, 2021
Scripture from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Revelation 11:3-12 “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees (or branches) and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.
5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.
6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves [a terrible sacrilege in the Middle East]. 10 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.
11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.”
TWO WITNESSES REQUIRED - for an Execution
Numbers 35:30 “Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty.”
Deuteronomy 17:6 “Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.”
Deuteronomy 19:15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”
Matthew 18:16 [Jesus quotes Moses] “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’”
1 Timothy 5:19 [Paul quotes the Torah] “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.”
Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
Before the LORD can allow the complete destruction of the seven last plagues, He must hear the “testimony” of two witnesses. Before the LORD can bring His covenant lawsuit against those who have forsaken Him, He must send two final witnesses. Two angels visited Sodom and Gomorrah before the destruction. Moses and Aaron testified before Pharaoh and before Israel. Caleb and Joshua gave their testimony, before Israel was turned back to wander forty years in the wilderness.
YOU WILL BE WITNESSES
Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
1 John 5:10-11 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon was enraged with the woman [Israel], and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
The remnant of true Israel will give testimony for Jesus Christ, and they will keep the Ten Commandments.
THE TWO WITNESSES - GIVE TESTIMONY
Revelation 11:7 “When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.”
The “two witnesses”of Revelation Chapter Eleven, give “testimony” (Rev. 11:7). We still use those words in our legal system. The use of the word “testimony,” tells us this is a legal matter - not simply a message being delivered.
Numbers 35:30 “But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.” (NIV)
The remnant of mankind are about to be “put to death” by the last plagues. Two witnesses must give testimony before that destruction can be unleashed.
THE TESTIMONY OF GOD
Exodus 31:18 “And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”
We don’t usually think of The Ten Commandments as God’s “Testimony.” Interesting that God used two tablets. Two witnesses? He could have used just one.
Exodus 25:16 “And you shall put into the ark, the Testimony which I will give you.”
The Ten Commandments, were “the Testimony” of God. The golden box into which the stones were placed, was called “the Ark of the testimony” (Exo. 25:22). The tent that covered the Ark, was called “the Tabernacle of the Testimony” (Num. 1:50).
Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”
Just keeping the Law of the LORD in our daily life, can be a “testimony.” We need not always preach a sermon, or give a Bible study.
THE TWO WITNESSES - SHUT HEAVEN
Revelation 11:6 “These [witnesses] have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy.”
Elijah prophesied to King Ahab, that rain would cease over Israel, because of his idolatry and worship of Baal (1Kings 17:1). It did not rain for three and a half years. This was confirmed by Jesus (Luke 4:25). The story ends with a showdown. The prophets of Baal, versus the prophet of God. The message of Elijah was very clear. “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1Kings 18:21).
In the final days, every person on this earth MUST choose. They will worship the LORD, or they will worship the Beast and his image (Rev. 13:7-8).
WATER - TURNED TO BLOOD
Revelation 11:6 “They [both witnesses] have power over waters to turn them to blood.”
The LORD, through Moses and Aaron (two witnesses) turned the River Nile to “blood,” when Aaron struck the water with his rod. All the fish died, and the river stank.
When the second warning trumpet is sounded, one third of the sea is turned to blood, killing the sea creatures and destroying ships (Rev. 8:8).
I believe the Two Witnesses will give their testimony during the period of the seven warning Trumpet judgments. This period of 3.5 years will end with the Glorious Return of Jesus, at the 7th - the last, Trumpet.
The two witnesses will be like Moses, who spoke this “message” to Pharaoh. “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me.’” I believe the last two witnesses will say this to the ruling Beast power, and its “Little Horn.”
Deuteronomy 7:9-10 [Moses “testimony” to Israel] “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments. And He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them.”
POWER OVER PLAGUES
Revelation 11:6 “They have power” . . . “to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.”
Moses predicted each plague, in Pharaoh’s presence. He testified during the time just before Egypt - as a world power, was destroyed. God’s two witnesses will predict each plague, and will testify during a time when plagues are poured out. I believe these “plagues” will be the Trumpet judgments. The Two Witnesses do not cause these plagues, just as Moses did not cause the plagues of Egypt. They will predict them, and perhaps call upon the LORD to bring them, just as Elijah called down fire from heaven.
MOSES AND ELIJAH
Malachi 4:4-6 “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded 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 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.”
Here we have two prophets - two witnesses, mentioned in the same passage. “Remember the Law” and “Make up your mind.” This was the message of Joshua. This will be the message of the last “Two Witnesses” before Jesus returns.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Today’s “gods” are power, money and pleasure.
THEY PROPHESY IN MOURNING
Revelation 11:3-12 “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
Sackcloth was the traditional sign of mourning - in Ancient Israel. The Two Witnesses, prophesy in sackcloth, because this will be a time of great persecution and mourning.
The “Little Horn” on the Beast power, will set up the “image of the Beast.” He will demand that every person on the face of the earth, serve this “image.” Unless they take his “mark” they will not be able to “buy or sell”(Rev. 13:16-17). Finally, those who refuse to worship the Beast or his image, will be condemned to death (Rev. 13:15).
King Nebuchadnezzar tried to execute Daniel’s three friends, when they refused to worship his image, but the LORD intervened.
THREE AND A HALF YEARS
The two witnesses prophesy for 1260 days (Rev. 11:3). The remnant people of God are persecuted for three and a half years, leading up to the return of Christ (Rev. 13:5,7,8). Six trumpets sound, each one bringing another judgment. When the “last trump” (the seventh trumpet) sounds “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev 11:15). Those who are Christ’s will be “caught up to meet Him in the air” (1Thes 4:17), and then the seven wrath plagues will be poured out on the earth.
Daniel 7:25 “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute1 the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. 26 `But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. 27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
Daniel 7:21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.”
1260 days = 42 months = “time, times and a part” = three and a half years
Obviously, the time has not yet arrived for the “saints to possess the kingdom.” This tells me that this prophecy of Daniel, is for the very last days. Revelation 11:15-18 describes that moment.
THE SEVENTH TRUMPET
Revelation 11:15-18 “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’
And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
Revelation 11:15-18 (continued) The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.’”
“It’s time!” It’s time to judge the dead. The wicked will be “raised to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:1-3). It’s time to “reward Your servants.” The righteous dead will be “raised to everlasting life.” It’s time to “destroy those who destroy the earth.” The seven wrath plagues are poured out on the day that the seventh Trumpet sounds.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
WHEN THEY FINISH THEIR TESTIMONY
Revelation 11:7-10 “When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified [Jerusalem].
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. 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.”
The wicked people of the world will blame the Two Witnesses for the plagues, just as King Ahab blamed Elijah for the drought (1Ki. 18:17). They will celebrate the death of the Witnesses. They think the plagues will end, because they killed the Witnesses. Wrong! They will get a whole lot worse!!
Do I believe that every servant of God will be killed before Jesus returns? It may happen. On the other hand, it is possible that these verses are speaking of a death decree, much like the one issued by the wicked Haman, in the days of Esther. When the Jews heard the death decree, they feared they would all be killed. Mordecai tore his robe, and thru dust on his head. It is unlikely that every witness for the truth of God, will be brought to the City of Jerusalem for execution. It is much more likely that a death decree will be issued from Jerusalem.
What I do believe, is that the truth of God will be silenced. When the last “witness” is silenced, either by death, or by imprisonment, or simply by censorship - that’s when it’s over. The wicked will have filled their cup of iniquity.
The “Man clothed in linen” said to Daniel, “it will be for a time times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people is completely shattered, all these things will be finished” (Dan. 12:7).
The “power of the holy people” is their power to witness. Jesus said, “You will receive power, after the holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses to Me . . . to the end of the earth” (Acts 2:8).
The Two Witnesses are silenced at the end of 42 months. They are silenced by the Little Horn (the enforcer for the Beast Power) but the “people of earth” celebrate.
THE RESURRECTION - of the Two Witnesses
Revelation 11:11-12 “Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.”
The two witnesses are resurrected just (and I mean just) as the 7th Trumpet sounds. They ascend into Heaven. This is the Glorious Return. The “dead in Christ” will rise. The resurrected and then those still living are caught up to meet Him in the clouds (1Thess. 4:16-17).
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TWO WITNESSES - TWO LAMP STANDS - TWO OLIVE BRANCHES
Revelation 11:4 “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.”
First let me explain that the word “trees” is not in the original. “Two olive” could mean two trees, or it could mean two branches of one tree. The LORD named Israel “Green Olive Tree” (Jer. 11:16). Branches of that Tree, were “broken off” “because of unbelief,” so that believing Gentiles could be “grafted in” (Rom. Cpt 11). There is only ONE TREE that receives life from Jesus Christ - the holy “root.”
A solid gold lampstand, with seven branches stood in the ancient Tabernacle of Yahweh. Each branch supported one lamp that which burned olive oil. We know that Heaven itself is “the true Tabernacle”(Heb. 8:2). John the Revelator, in his vision of heaven, saw “seven golden lampstands” (Rev. 1:12, 20).
John is told that “the seven lampstands are the seven churches” (Rev. 1:20). In John’s vision, the Church of Ephesus is told, “Repent, . . . or I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent” (Rev 2:5). Five of the “churches” are told to repent, leaving two candlesticks remaining, to give light for the House of God. Those two would represent the final Two Witnesses left standing in the sight of God.
In the vision of the prophet Zechariah, “two olive branches” drip olive oil into a golden bowl. From that bowl, pipes carry the oil to the lamps. We know that olive oil was used for anointing, and was a symbol of the Spirit.
I believe the “two olive branches” of Zechariah’s vision, both represent Yeshua. He was an Israelite - part of that Olive Tree. He would be High Priest and king. His anointing as priest is combined with His anointing as King - in the one “golden bowl.” And He is the source of the Spirit to the 7 churches. John the Baptist said of Yeshua, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11, Lk. 3:16).
Zechariah 4:11-14 “‘Then I answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive (branches)-- at the right of the lampstand and at its left?’ And I further answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?’ Then he answered me and said, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.’ So he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.’”
Zechariah would have understood the two olive branches to represent Joshua the High Priest, and Zerubbabel the King, over the returning captives from Babylon (two witnesses). Only priests and kings were anointed with oil. That anointing oil would drip off the head and beard of the man anointed. Zechariah’s vision held meaning for his day, but it pointed to Christ. It may hold yet another meaning.
The true people of God are called “a royal priesthood” (1Peter 2:9). They are anointed with the Holy Spirit. They will also be “kings” on the earth in Messiah’s Kingdom (Rev. 5:10). They are the future priests and kings who stand with the LORD of the whole earth.
The “two witnesses” are said to be the “two olive branches” and “the two lampstands.”
They are full of the Spirit, and they shine with the power of that anointing.
John the Revelator is told that the seven lampstands, represent the “seven churches.” John is given a message for each church. Five of the churches are told “repent, or I will remove your candlestick from its place” (Rev. 2:5, 2:16, 2:21-22, 3:3, 3:19). If you begin with 7 lampstands, and you remove 5, how many remain standing before the Lord? Two!
Yes. I believe the seven churches represent 7 literal ancient churches. I also believe they represent seven different types of people, within the greater “congregation of Israel” in the last days. Only Two Witnesses will give the LORD’s “testimony” in the final days. Only two lampstands will remain - Smyrna, the church of the martyrs, and Philadelphia, the church of brotherly love. The prophecy reveals the character of the “two witnesses.” They will love the brethren, and they will be faithful unto death. A “crown” is promised, in the message to each of those two churches.
THE CHARACTER - THE MESSAGE - AND THE TIME PERIOD
The character and the message, of the last two witnesses is revealed. The time period during which they give their testimony is given in the prophecy. Their final destination is described as Heaven. Do I want to be one of those witnesses? Yes! Absolutely. Do I want to live through a period of terrible persecution? Not really. But if the Lord calls me to that work, He will supply the strength. He’s done it before. He will do it again.
“You must not fear them,
for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.”
We pray this study will prove a blessing.
Shalom and Blessings
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