The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11

I have a book that contains four views on the Book of Revelation, but it’s underneath an avalanche of religion books, so I don’t have ready access to it. Consequently, I’ll be writing some of this post from memory.

In Revelation 11, we encounter the mysterious two witnesses. They prophesy for 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth, incinerate anyone who tries to hurt them, shut up the heavens like Elijah (see I Kings 17), and turn the waters into blood and bring down plagues like Moses (Exodus 7ff.). When they are finished with their testimony, the Beast kills them, and they lie in the streets of Sodom and Egypt, the place where Jesus was crucified (i.e., Jerusalem). The world throws a party because it’s glad they are dead, but God raises them up after 3 and 1/2 days.

There are various interpretations of the identity of the two witnesses. Within Armstrongite circles, many claim that they’re a prominent Armstrongite leader (e.g., Ron Weinland, Roderick Meredith, etc.). Adventists see them as the Scriptures or the church that proclaims them. I’m not sure how they take into account all of the factors listed in Revelation 11, but I have an idea for some of them. For many adherents to this view, the two witnesses resemble Moses and Elijah, who represent the law and the prophets (the Scriptures). According to Adventists, the Beast (or papacy, for Adventists) suppresses the Bible, and the 1,260 days are actually 1,260 years, since there are places in Scripture in which a day can represent a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6).

I once asked someone who equated the two witnesses with the Bible how the Bible could incinerate people, and he replied that those who disobey the Scriptures will suffer the fire of God’s wrath. In that sense, those who try to assault the law and the prophets will get burned.

Nowadays, there are Christians who actually equate the two witnesses with Moses and Elijah, as if they’ll come to earth in the latter days. Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins do so in the Left Behind series. And I do believe that I heard Ron Dart do this on a recent Born to Win broadcast. I’d rather Armstrongites claim this than identify two of their own leaders as the two witnesses!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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