My upcoming articles about fear might make some slight references to the two witnesses in the book of Revelation, so I want to make some things clear about this topic.
There are many ideas floating around out there about the identity of the two witnesses in Revelation. Some say they have an anointing or spirit of Moses, Elijah, or Enoch. Some say they are the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia – a group rather than two ordained individuals (which is my position, but I’ll get to that). There are many other vain ideas popping up out there, so I think it’s worth addressing this to some extent.
Who Are the Two Witnesses in Revelation?
What do I think? First and foremost, I think that it really does not matter who the two witnesses are. I think that to put too much focus on this is yet another distraction that takes our focus off the Lord.
Instead of placing too much care over who the two witnesses are,
I think it’s more important to seek who Jesus is.
In a world where the truth has been so mixed up with lies, many who think they know Jesus don’t, so that should be who we are looking for – not some end-times superstars.
I’m not degrading anyone who is curious about these things. I was too, very much so not too long ago. I totally get it, and I think it’s important to learn the scriptures and there is nothing wrong with curiosity. There’s nothing wrong with praying about it and seeking truth. But, there is a potential for us to put too much energy into this, leading us on paths of thought that are not productive, and for many, even destructive.
That being said, one thing I can say for sure is: who the two witnesses are not. They are not any of the many out there claiming to be the two witnesses. Did Jesus go around proclaiming, “Hey! Look at me. I’m the Messiah!” No. I strongly doubt that the two witnesses would do that, and I also don’t think we are in the times when they are fully formed.
I do find the teaching that the two witnesses are the two churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia the most compelling. We are told that the churches in Revelation 2-3 are candlesticks. Of the seven, only two were commended without rebuke, while the others were threatened to have their candlestick removed from its place. Apparently, the corrupt churches did not heed the warning. Shocker, right?
We are told that the two witnesses are the “two olive trees and two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” Sounds to me like a reference to the two churches, aka candlesticks. But, what about the two olive trees? Could these be two people? I really don’t know, and honestly, I think any understanding we think we have on the matter is likely incomplete anyway – and again – I don’t think it’s all that important.
On top of the fact that placing too much focus on pinpointing the identity of the two witnesses takes one’s attention off Christ, another thing that concerns me is the Elijah idea. What did Elijah do? One thing was he called down fire from heaven. What is one wonder of the false prophet? He calls fire down from heaven. Just saying, it might be a good idea for us to stop labeling these people. We might be setting ourselves and others up for deception of the worst kind.
To wrap things up, I want to say that if anyone reading this thinks they are one of two individually ordained end-times witnesses, please pray to the Lord that He will remove any vain thoughts or delusion from you. Even if you were, what does it matter? Any work the two witnesses do, whomever they are, will be done for the glory of the Lord – not themselves anyway, and I doubt they are interested in holding any title other than “Christian.” That is the greatest thing any of us can aspire to.
False prophets and prophetic interpretations are everywhere, but with the light of truth, all things will be made known to us in its season. In this time, we do not fully understand who the two witnesses are.
Side Note (2/11/19) I want to link another article to this one. In reading this now, I have something to say. All scripture is beneficial for learning, and it is the same for the idea of the two witnesses. When I wrote this article, I had recently been through some discussions that were tiresome, and so I was fed up with this idea in general because I see how this can be a distraction or something that leads to vanity.
In any case, if we are alive during this time, we should want to be among the two churches who are not rebuked. Those who are “removed” make up the great whore. The two who are faithful are the two witnesses. The ideas we should focus on are that which make the two faithful churches stand out. Why are the other 5 rebuked? Read Revelation 2-3. I’d like to write something on this in the future.