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The Two Witnesses


Rev 11:3

“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”


There is much speculation as to who the two witnesses are in Revelation 11.  Many believe they will be Moses and Elijah.  This is mainly because of how they are described.


Rev 11:5-6

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.

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.


Those words are reminiscent of how Elijah called fire down from heaven in 1 Kings 18 and how God used Moses to turn the river in Egypt to blood in Exodus 7.  But what are the chances of Old Testament saints returning to earth to continue their ministry?  Would that be biblical?  We know that Moses and Elijah are in heaven and in glory for they appeared with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration.


Luk 9:30-32

And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him.


Notice how Moses and Elijah appeared in glory with Jesus.  Now the question is, "Can those in heaven, who are living in glory, return to earth in a corruptible body that is able to be killed?"  We know that the two witnesses must be killed at the end of their testimony.


Rev 11:7-9

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.

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.


So these two witnesses had corruptible bodies that can be killed.  Now what does the bible say about those in heaven?


1Co 15:53-55

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting?

O Hades, where is your victory?”


If Moses and Elijah have put on incorruption and immortality, how can they be killed?  How can their bodies lie dead in the street?  If they are killed they are no longer immortal.  Will God put them back into corruptible mortal bodies?  If that is the case, immortality and incorruption are temporary states; you will only be considered immortal until God puts you back into a mortal body.  That does not sound biblical at all.  "Death is swallowed up in victory."   You are never again to return to death for it has been swallowed up.


But some may argue they did not have a physical body when they appeared with Jesus.  They may have been a spirit living in glory.  That may be true but when Jesus rose from the dead, many saints rose after Him.


Mat 27:51-53

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.


When the bodies of the saints were raised they were raised incorruptible.  They cannot possibly be waiting in heaven in corruptible bodies.


1Co 15:42

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.


1Co 15:50

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.


Moses and Elijah cannot have bodies of flesh and blood for they have already been raised.  No deceased saint has ever returned to earth in body to continue their ministry.  Putting on a body of flesh and blood after receiving a heavenly body is contrary to God's plan.  To be in heaven is to remove all suffering. 


Rev 21:4

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”


Although that verse refers to the new heaven and the new earth, it certainly should also be true when we reach heaven.


It is also interesting to note that John did not recognize the two witnesses as Moses and Elijah. If they were Moses and Elijah, shouldn't John have recognized them?  John certainly saw them on the mount of transfiguration.  


Mat 17:1-3

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.


When John saw the two witnesses he made no mention of their identities because he did not recognize them.  John was not told to not write their identities.  If John saw Moses and Elijah, wouldn't he have told us?  He simply did not recognize them.  They were two men completely new to him.


So, who are the two witnesses?


They will simply be two men who will be living during the great tribulation whom God anoints to do His work. They will appear after the prophet of Malachi 4:5 has done his work of restoration. That prophet must first come to restore all things as Jesus promised in Matt 17:11. "Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things."  And as we have already discussed, he cannot be the Old Testament saint Elijah who has gone onto glory. The coming "Elijah" must restore all things first.  The two prophets that come after him do not restore anything.  In fact, they only torment the earth with plagues so that the people rejoice when they are killed.


Rev 11:10

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.


The two witnesses must come after the "Elijah" prophet because they are the double power. After Elijah, must come Elisha, the double power.  The Old Testament pictures must be fulfilled. Elijah must go up in the rapture before Elisha can receive the double portion of power.  The two witnesses will not and cannot receive power from the Lord until this end time prophet goes up in the rapture with the church when his job is complete.  The bride must be made ready for the wedding feast of the lamb.


Who is the "Elijah" prophet of Malachi 4:5?

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