Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Who Are the Two Witnesses
of the Book of Revelation?

Summary: Two men, called the “two witnesses,” appear on the scene in the end times. They demonstrate supernatural powers, are killed, and then rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. Who are they? In the verses directly below, the Bible gives us strong clues.

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Revelation 11:3-12  And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” [4] These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. [5] If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. [6] These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. [7] Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. [8] Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. [9] For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. [10] The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. [11] But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. [12] Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

•• Who are the two witnesses?

1) They are prophets“these two prophets” (vs. 10).

2) They will have God-given, supernatural power“I will give power to my two witnesses...” (3).

3) They are sent from God“My two witnesses” (3).

4) They bring judgments against God’s enemies, judgments that are familiar in Scripture — destructive fire (5), shutting up the rain (6), turning water to blood (6), various plagues (6).

5) They’ll be raised from death (11) and be caught up bodily from earth to heaven (12).

I believe that the two witnesses are Moses and Elijah. Here are my reasons why:

[Note: when dealing with future prophecy, as in this case, it is wise not to be adamant about our interpretations. So I suggest Moses and Elijah as the two witnesses from what I believe are biblical supports. But I offer these thoughts more for your consideration than from a 100% convinced belief. Please read them that way.]

1) Moses and Elijah are both prophets (10).

a) Moses: Deuteronomy 18:15  “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me...”

b) Elijah: 1 Kings 18:36  “...the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed...”

2) They have God-given power.

a) Moses: Exodus 4:21  The LORD said to Moses, “...see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do.”

b) Elijah: 1 Kings 18:46  “The power of the LORD came upon Elijah...”

3) These were the exact two men who were on the mount of transfiguration as witnesses of Jesus.

Matthew 17:1-3  “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. [2] There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. [3] Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.”

4) The Revelation shows these two witnesses performing some of the same supernatural judgments that Moses and Elijah did.

a) Moses: The ten plagues in Egypt, including turning water to blood (Exodus 7:20-12:31).

b) Elijah: Fire from heaven on the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:19-39). Shutting up the rain in the days of King Ahab (James 5:17).

5) Both these men, it seems likely, had previously been caught up to heaven bodily by God.

a) Moses: Deuteronomy 34:5-6  “And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. [6] He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.”
• This verse, coupled with with Moses’ transfiguration appearance, has led some Bible scholars to suggest that God took Moses bodily to heaven. I submit it for your consideration.
b) Elijah: 2 Kings 2:11  “...suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.”

6) Food for thought — Only Jesus, Moses, and Elijah did 40-day fasts in the Bible. This is another association of these two men.

7) Malachi 4:4-6  Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. [5] See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. [6] He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. [Note: these are the final verses of the Old Testament.]

• The final two prophets mentioned by name in the Old Testament are Moses and Elijah. Why could they not likewise be the last two prophets mentioned by name in the Revelation, the closing book of the New Testament?

8) We have seen that Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration during Christ’s 3-1/2 years of ministry on earth. It would seem entirely appropriate for them again to be His two witnesses in these end-time 3-1/2 years (Rev. 11:3).

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©2002, 2015, James H. Feeney.
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Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.