The Two Witnesses

In Chapter 11 we meet Yahweh’s two witnesses, whose ministry takes place during the second half of the tribulation (during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble). There will be a physical anti-messiah’s temple during this time, and the outer courtyard will be given to the gentiles for 42 months (3-1/2 years). We know this is a physical temple in that Yochanan (John) is given “a reed like a measuring rod,” and is told to “measure the temple of Elohim.” (One only measures a physical temple.)

During the 42 months, the two witnesses will have the authority to withhold rain, and to smite whomever they please with plagues. At the end of that time, “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” (i.e., Satan, Rev. 20:1-7) will kill them; yet after 3-1/2 literal days the two witnesses will be resurrected, and called up to heaven. Let’s read the passage before we discuss it.

Hitgalut (Revelation) 11:1-14
1 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the messenger stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of Elohim, the altar, and those who worship there.
2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the Set-apart city underfoot for forty-two months (3-1/2 years).
3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days (42 months, 3-1/2 years), clothed in sackcloth.”
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the Elohim 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 (i.e., Satan) 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 Adon was crucified (i.e., Jerusalem).
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.
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 3-1/2 days the breath of life from Elohim 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.
13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the Elohim of heaven.
14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

People often wonder whether the two witnesses are the two houses, or two human beings. If we will think about this, the two witnesses cannot be the two houses, because Revelation 11 tells us that the two witnesses die, and are taken up to heaven. If we will just think about it for a moment, if the two houses were to die and be taken up to heaven, then that would be the end of Scripture (because we would all be in heaven). However, we know from other passages that the two houses will be here on earth during the cups, Har Megiddo, the ingathering, and the millennium; and therefore the two witnesses must be two individuals. (There are other proofs, but these will suffice for now.)

People also wonder why the tribulation is said to be 7 years long, with the last 3-1/2 years being the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. There are other possibilities, but the argument is made from a close reading of Daniel 9. Let us read it before we discuss it. My comments are in [brackets].

Daniel 9:25-27
25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people [Titus] of the prince who is to come [pope] Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood [future event], And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he [anti-messiah] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week [seven]; But in the middle of the week [seven] he [anti-messiah] shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate [Mahdi?], Even until the consummation [Wedding Feast/ Armageddon], which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

Verse 25 tells us that from the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem there would be 7 weeks plus 62 weeks until Messiah the Prince. Seven weeks plus 62 weeks represent 69 “weeks” of years (as 7 + 62 = 69). However, the Hebrew word for a “week” is shevua, which refers simply to a “[set of] seven.” Therefore, from time the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem went forth it would be 69 x 7 = 483 years until Messiah. This command went forth in 457 BCE, and so we know that Yeshua’s ministry began circa 26 CE (as 483 – 457 = 26). As we explain in Nazarene Israel, the Pharisees understood this prophecy, which is why they asked Yochanan HaMatbil (John the Baptist) who he was.

Yochanan (John) 1:19-20
19 Now this is the testimony of Yochanan [HaMatbil], when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.”

In verse 26, Yeshua was cut off, but not for Himself (i.e., not for His own sins). Up until now, the narrative talks about Yeshua; but then it shifts, to talk about the anti-messiah (the pope).

Daniel 9:26
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people [Titus] of the prince who is to come [pope] Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood [future event], And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

We have to understand it prophetically, but the Roman general Titus served the Roman prince who is to come (i.e., the pope). He (Titus) destroyed the city and the sanctuary. However, there was no flood in the first century (either literal or spiritual), so this must still be a future event.

Verse 27 talks about the coming of the anti-messiah, and an anti-messiah’s temple.

Daniel 9:27
27 Then he [anti-messiah] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week [seven]; But in the middle of the week [seven] he [anti-messiah] shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate [Mahdi?], Even until the consummation [Wedding Feast/ Armageddon], which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

Some people believe that verse 27 refers to Yeshua, but while Yeshua did confirm a covenant with many, He did not confirm it for just one week (but rather, for all time). Therefore, verse 27 refers to the anti-messiah, who will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven” (i.e., a seven year period). This covenant will likely be accompanied by sacrifices and offerings, but in the middle of the seven (i.e., at the 3-1/2 year mark), the anti-messiah will bring an end to these sacrifices and offerings. If this interpretation is accurate, this may likely also be the start of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and the two witnesses’ ministry.

Verse 27 also refers to “one who makes desolate.” This may be a reference to the Islamic Mahdi (the so-called “Islamic Messiah”). The consummation may refer to the Wedding Feast, which we shall show in future chapters refers to Har Megiddo (Armageddon). It may be that the cups of wrath are poured out on those who will be desolated at Har Megiddo (which is the wedding feast).

In Revelation 11:11 we saw that the two witnesses would be raised from the dead after 3-1/2 days.

Hitgalut (Revelation) 11:11
11 Now after the 3-1/2 days the breath of life from Elohim entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.

The reference to 3-1/2 days is likely a reference to 3-1/2 literal days (and not 3-1/2 years), because 3-1/2 years is 1,260 days. As we will see later there are only 75 days in between trumpet 7 (just after the two witnesses die and are resurrected) and Armageddon; so 1,260 days is too long a time span.

Scripture does not say who the two witnesses are, but many hypothesize that it will be Eliyahu (Elijah) and Moshe (Moses), or someone who comes in their spirits. We might note that Yochanan HaMatbil (John the Baptist) came in the spirit of Eliyahu.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 11:14-15
14 “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Eliyahu who is to come.”

Many believe an Ephraimite brother will come in the spirit of Eliyahu, while a Jewish brother will come in the spirit of Moshe. While this cannot be proven, this makes sense.

Finally, the “earthquake” mentioned in Revelation 11:13 might symbolize societal upheaval.

Hitgalut (Revelation) 11:13
13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the Elohim of heaven.

There is sure to be societal upheaval when their enemies see the two witnesses resurrected. However, as we will see in the next chapter, apparently it will not be enough of a change to convince Yahweh to stop the judgments that begins at trumpet 7 (when Babylon falls).