Q: #69. Who will be the "two witnesses" in the Tribulation?
By: Steve Shirley
A: No one truly knows who the "two witnesses" (Rev 11:3-12) might be. Some guesses are: Elijah, Moses, Enoch, John The Baptist, John The Apostle, or just two people we don't even know. I have even read that some believe they aren't literal people.
Most scholars seem united that Elijah is one of the witnesses. The other witness is where disagreement seems to come, but the vast majority seem to believe it is Moses.
One main reason why people believe it is these two is because they both appeared to Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt 17:3)(Mk 9:4). In addition, they share a past that seems consistent with things the two witnesses will do.
(Rev 11:5) says fire proceeds from their mouth to destroy their enemies. Elijah called down fire that destroyed his enemies (2 Kin 1:10-12).
(Rev 11:6) says they will have the power to stop the rain for the days prior to their prophecy (3 and a half years). Elijah did this in (1 Kin 17:1)(James 5:17)(Lk 4:25).
(Rev 11:6) continues, saying they will turn the waters to blood and strike the Earth with plagues. Moses turned water to blood (Ex 7:14-21), and called forth the plagues on the Egyptians (Ex 7:14-12:30).
In addition, the Jews were expecting Elijah to return before the Messiah came (Mal 4:5-6)(Jn 1:21).
Some believe the two witnesses could be Elijah and Enoch because both were taken up to Heaven without dying: Elijah (2 Kin 2:11) Enoch (Gen 5:24)(Heb 11:5). The Bible says in (Heb 9:27) that "it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this judgment." Since neither of these men died, it is reasoned that they will come back and die in the Tribulation (Rev 11:7).
There are two reasons why I suspect Enoch is not one of the two witnesses (I did believe he was for quite some time). First, I believe the two witnesses will be Jewish (Rev 11:4 points to this), and Enoch was a Gentile, not a Jew. (The Jews began with Abraham, and Enoch was taken up by God before Abraham came.) Second, just because a man has died previously (i.e. Moses), it does not mean he cannot later return from the dead (as the SAME person, not as someone or something else as in reincarnation). There are a number of examples in the Bible of people being raised from the dead (1 Kin 17:17-24)(2 Kin 4:18-37)(Lk 7:11-15)(Lk 8:41-42, 49-56)(Jn 11:1-46)(Acts 9:36-51)(Acts 20:9-12).
J. Vernon McGee taught that the two witnesses were Elijah and John The Baptist, because Elijah was a witness of the Old Testament, and John The Baptist was a witness of the New Testament.
There are various other theories to explain who the two witnesses are, but I am not going to go into all of them here. The truth is, they are all just THEORIES.