Who are the “Two Witnesses” of Revelation 11?

Revelation is a prophetic book of signs and symbols filled with allusions to the Old Testament. To understand these allusions, we must let Scripture interpret Scripture.

“The two witnesses… are the two olive trees and the two lampstands” (Revelation 11:4). This a clear allusion to the “two olives trees” in Zechariah which are “the word of the Lord” (Zechariah 4:3-6). The “two lampstands” are also an apt representation of the Scriptures. David says, “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130) and “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Throughout the Bible, the Word of God is portrayed as having a twofold nature. The Ten Commandments were written on “two tablets of stone” (Exodus 34:1). The Old Testament is referred to as “the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). The Word of God is likened to a “two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). The Scriptures are a combination of humanity and divinity (2 Peter 1:21). And Jesus, the Word made flesh (John 1:14) is both human and divine.

During the 1260 days [literal years] of Roman Catholic supremacy, 538 AD to 1798, the two witnesses prophesied in “sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3). Sackcloth was the garb of prophets (Zechariah 13:4) and a sign of mourning (Jeremiah 4:8). The Bible was kept from the common people during this period, which made it a time of mourning for the two witnesses.

They have power “to strike the earth with all plagues” (Revelation 11:6). It was the Word of God that brought the plagues upon ancient Egypt and it is the Word of God that will bring the seven last plagues of Revelation 16.

During the Reign of Terror, the French burned Bibles and their “dead bodies” (Revelation 11:8) lay in the street. Beginning in 1793, the national assembly outlawed the Bible for “three-and-a-half days [literal years]” (Revelation 11:9).

Afterwards, they “stood on their feet” (Revelation 11:11) and heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Come up here” (Revelation 11:12). The two witnesses’ resurrection and ascension to Heaven represent the printing and widespread distribution of the Word of God by the many Bible societies of the 19th century.

Jesus upheld the importance of both portions of the Bible. He says of the Old Testament, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify [bear witnesses] of Me” (John 5:39). Of the New Testament He said, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (1 Corinthians 13:1). It is by God’s “two witnesses”, the Old and New Testaments, that His Word is established.

Dig Deeper – The Great Controversy, Chs. 15, 29; Revelation 11; Matthew 27:11 – 55; Romans 8; 1 John 4

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When Should the Sabbath be Observed?

Precisely when does the seventh-day Sabbath begin and end? According to modern timekeeping, each day begins and ends at midnight. Is that the time period we should observe as Sabbath? The Bible has a very clear answer.
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Is the Sabbath Worth Keeping?

Mark Forsyth's pursuit of Biblical truth led him to the Sabbath from a jail cell.
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Deciembre 2021

La marca de la bestia ... ¿Es una vacuna? ¿Un chip de computadora? ¿O algo completamente diferente? Descubra qué es y cómo puede evitar recibirla en este número de Óptica Bíblica. ¡Aprenda también cómo recibir el sello de Dios!
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December 2021

The mark of the beast… Is it a vaccine? A computer chip? Or something else entirely? Find out what it is and how you can avoid receiving it in this issue of Bible Optics. Learn how to receive God’s seal too!
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Bible Optics, November 2021

The second angel's message in Revelation 14 is a warning given in love by our Heavenly Father. Are you listening?
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Bible Optics, November 2021

El mensaje del segundo ángel en Apocalipsis 14 es una advertencia dada con amor por nuestro Padre Celestial. ¿Estas escuchando?
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Octubre de 2021

Dios tiene tres mensajes urgentes para el mundo de hoy. La primera es una invitación llena de esperanza. Es importante para todas las personas del mundo. ¿Lo has oído?
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Bible Optics October 2021

God has three urgent messages for the world today. The first is an invitation full of hope. It matters for every person on earth. Have you heard it?
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Q&A: How is the Sabbath a sign of Loyalty

God has given us a weekly sign that reminds us of His commitment to humanity. That sign is the seventh-day Sabbath. How does a day remind us that God is our loyal Creator and Redeemer and where does the Sabbath fit into our Christian experience?
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