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Let’s read that portion that speaks of these two witnesses.  Revelation 11:3-12, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”

While there has been much speculation about the identity of these two witnesses, I think it is best to just look at what is before us and seek to learn the meaning without spending a lot of time trying to figure out what the scriptures do not tell us.  The time of the two witnesses is during the Tribulation Period when the Lord will pour out his wrath on an unbelieving world.  Are there literally two witnesses?  Probably, but we can also consider that, in scripture, a truth is established by the testimony of two or three people as we read in 2 Corinthians 13:1, “…In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”  It is possible that this number is symbolic.  The length of ministry for these two witnesses is 3 ½ years.  Clothed in sackcloth, a symbol of mourning, they cry out against the sins of the people.  During the time of their ministry, the Lord protects them from any harm.

The fact that these men are able to stop the rain and turn water to blood, along with other plagues, certainly reminds us of Elijah and Moses, who were able to do these things in their time.  This shows us how that these servants were able to accomplish mighty works through prayer.

After their ministry is complete, the beast from the bottomless pit will kill them.  Their bodies will be dragged through the streets of Jerusalem, here called Sodom because of its indulgence of the grossest sins and Egypt because of its open idolatry.  These two are not allowed to be buried as the world celebrates the death of these men who plagued them with their unpopular, yet truthful, prophesies.  Then, in a great declaration of His approval of these two witnesses, the Lord raises them back to life and they ascend to Heaven as the world watches.  What a remarkable demonstration of God’s love and power!

Of all the comments and lessons to be gained from this story, I want to point out one important point that we find in Revelation 11:7 which says, “And when they shall have finished their testimony…”  It was only after their labors were complete that the Lord allowed the beast to kill these men.  Be of good cheer, my fellow believers, the Lord will accomplish His purposes.  The Lord sometimes allows His people to suffer, even unto death, but it is only when their work is completed.  We are assured in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  When our work on earth is done, the Lord graciously takes us home!  (114.5)