I have heard all sorts of stories about the two witnesses of Revelation 11. They have been interpreted symbolically and pointing to men that other men were impressed with, especially when folks thought the end was near. When we think the end of the age is upon us, we tend to dream up all sorts of scenarios to make sense of the prophecies we have read in the Bible, and Hollywood has made a great deal of money fleshing out what we have told them. Isn’t that strange? What is the truth concerning the two witnesses? Let’s begin with Zechariah…
Zechariah 4:2-3 KJV And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: (3) And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
Zechariah 4:11-14 KJV Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? (12) And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? (13) And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. (14) Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
According to Revelation 11:3-4 the Two Witnesses are the Two Olive Trees and the Two Candlesticks standing before the Lord of the earth. Notice that the Two Olive trees empty the golden oil out of themselves into the two golden pipes. These Olive Trees are inside the Temple of God in both passages. They presumably empty the oil into the bowl atop to the golden lampstand, having seven lamps and seven pipes to the lamps. Notice Revelation 1:12-13, 20…
Revelation 1:12-13, 20 KJV And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; (13) And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. (20) The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
If the things mentioned in Zechariah and Revelation refer to the same thing, then everything occurs within the Temple of God. The candlestick or lampstand with the seven lamps refers to the seven churches of God, which collectively represent the one, united Church of God. Going on in the picture, the churches receive oil to light up and burn from the Two Olive Trees which are the two Anointed Ones. By comparing this with John 1:4 we shall see: “In him was life and life was the light of men.” In Revelation 2, 11 and Zechariah 4, the lampstand is before Christ, the Lord of the earth.
Where does the Church of God receive its light, if not from Christ? The candlestick within the Temple of God represents the Church, and the Lord of the earth is Christ. The candlestick stands before the Lord of the earth within the Temple, and before Christ in Revelation chapter one, where the setting is also the Temple of God. Notice what Christ tells John to write in Revelation 1:19…
- “Write the things you have seen…” What John saw is recorded in Revelation 1:4-18.
- “…the things which are…” Literally, this should read: “what they are.” That is, what they represent – what the vision of Christ among the churches represents. This is recorded in Revelation chapters two and three.
- “…and the things which shall be hereafter.” Normally, it is thought that this refers to future events. This is not the case here, however. The words shall be are not in the Greek. The verse literally reads: “…and the things after these things.” The Greek phrase translated after these things can have reference to the future or to place, as it does in Hebrews 9:2-3. There, speaking of the lampstand, it, the table and the showbread are found in the Sanctuary or the Holy Place within the Temple; but in Hebrews 9:3, after (these things) or beyond the second veil of the Tabernacle is called the Holiest of All or the Most Holy Place. The point is that the entirety of John’ vision took place within the Temple of God. Chapter four of Revelation begins with the same Greek phrase meaning after these things, i.e. the church represented by the candlestick in the Holy Place, spoken of at length in chapters 2 and 3; the scene now goes beyond the Holy Place into the Most Holy Place and the very throne of God.
Another matter to be considered is that these Two Witnesses have the power to shut heaven during the days of their prophecy so no rain falls, and to kill their enemies with fire; they also have power to turn water into blood and to smite the earth with all sorts of plagues as often as they wish. These miracles embody the power of the ministries of two Old Testament figures: Elijah and Moses respectively. Together they represent the Law and the Prophets or the Old Testament itself. In Matthew 5:17 Christ claims he has come to fulfill the Prophets and the Law. In Matthew 17:3 Jesus, transfigured before his disciples, Moses and Elijah appeared with him; representing, I believe, that Jesus not only had the power they had in their respective ministries, but he is the embodiment of all they represented and prophesied. They were the flesh, and he is the Spirit. They were the shadow, and he is the Reality (Colossians 2:16-17).
Jesus is the Two Witnesses!
I’ll finish connecting the dots in the next post or two, but in essence this is what they are going to say. May God open our minds and show us who we should be fixing our eyes upon and keep us from being overly impressed with men and what men tell us.