Who are the Two Witnesses?
The two witnesses are two of the most dramatic characters found in scripture and yet there are several different interpretations of who they are, and no one seems to be able to identify them with any certainty.
Scripture states that Revelations two witnesses cannot be killed by man and that they can devour their enemies by fire coming from their mouths, (Revelation 11:5) they have the power to shut up the heavens from rain, power to turn any water to blood and send plagues upon the earth as often as they please. (Revelation 11:6) But when they have testified, the beast comes out of the bottomless pit and kills them. (Revelation 11:7) Scripture than informs us that their dead bodies will lie in the street for three and half days and will be seen by people from nations all over the earth. (Revelation 11:8-9)
This is certainly an intriguing chronicle of events that unfold and these two witnesses are said to have very unusual and miraculous abilities.
Many of the above points are focused on in an attempt to identify these two witnesses but most fail because they miss one very crucial point in understanding symbolic time periods in Bible prophecy.
Some believe they are Moses and Elijah because Elijah’s prayer stopped rain and resulted in a drought in Israel for 3.5 years. (1 Kings 17:1; 18:1; James 5:17) Moses because of the ten plagues that came upon Egypt. Moses by the power of God turned water into blood. (Exodus 7:17) And not forgetting of course Elijah bringing down fire from heaven (2 Kings 1:10-14) in regards to the fire that comes from the mouths of the two witnesses. (Revelation 11:5)
Then you have Revelation 11:4 that says, “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks.” When Zechariah asked the angel, “who are these two olive trees?” The angel replied that, “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:11:14)
Elijah and Enoch are also identified as they were both miraculously taken by God. (Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11; Hebrews 11:5) Then there is also the view that these are just two unknown people of God that are called by Him to be witnesses at the end of time.
So are Revelations two witnesses literal people or could they be symbolic? The majority of the Book of Revelation can be found in the Old Testament and it certainly holds all the information we need to identify these two witnesses. But note also that the majority of Revelation is symbolic, and you will note that there is a lot of symbolism used in Revelation 11. The “beast” for instance is symbolic of a kingdom according to Daniel 7:17 and 7:23, and on close examination of this passage we find there is much more symbolism used.
And what about the three and a half days? All reputable theologians know and will tell you that when prophecy is symbolic that the day for a year rule applies. (See Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34) So is the time period symbolic in Revelation 11?
It is also very significant that 3.5 years is often represented as a time of trouble in scripture and that three and a half years is mentioned 7 times in Bible prophecy in different ways. For example: The two witnesses are said to prophesy, “a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” That is of course also three and a half years as told in Revelation 11:9 that states “three days and an half.”
This time period is one of the most significant time periods in history and is found in Revelation 11:2; 13:5 as “42 Months,” which = 3.5 Years or 1260 Days, and in Revelation 11:3; 12:6 as “1260 Days,” which = 3.5 Years or 42 Months, and also in Daniel 7:25; 12:7 and Revelation 12:14 as been written in slightly different ways as “time, and times, and half a time,” which = Time = 1 Year, times = 2 Years and half a time = .5 Year = total 3.5 Years which = 42 Months or 1260 Days.
So what is this time period as it identifies the time that the two witnesses testify and hence is the best piece of evidence we have to their identity?
Please read the following page for a detailed account on Revelations Two Witnesses and there identity.