In the middle of the seven-year Tribulation period, the Lord will raise up two unique witnesses for Himself.  We read in Revelation 11:3-5, “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 witnesses will prophesy for 1,260 days, or 3 ½ years. 

It is during the time that the holy city is being trodden down (verse 2), that these two witnesses will stand for the truth of God’s Word.  Their dress will be made of sackcloth.  The wearing of sackcloth throughout scripture represents grief and sorrowing.  For example we read in 2 Samuel 3:31, “And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier.”  These two witnesses will speak forth God’s truth during this time of severe calamity and grief.  During the time of their ministry, these men will be protected so that if anyone should hurt them, fire would pour forth from their mouths and kill them. 

Revelation 11:6 tells us, “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.”  These two witnesses will exhibit the same power that Elijah and Moses exhibited while they were on the earth. 

*  It is said of Elijah in 1 Kings 17:1, “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 

*  It is said of Moses in Exodus 7:17, “Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.” 

Are these men actually Elijah and Moses? 

*  Some think they are indeed, Elijah and Moses because of their abilities. 

*  Some think these men are Enoch and Elijah because these two did not see death but were taken to Heaven without dying. (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:5; 2 Kings 2:11-14). 

*  Some think these men are not those at all but are unnamed prophets the Lord sent forward.

Some think these are not two witnesses at all, but a number used to verify the truth of their message as we read in 2 Corinthians 13:1, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”

In Revelation 11:4 these two witnesses are described.  “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.”  This was prophesied in Zechariah 4:11-14, “Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these TWO OLIVE TREES upon the right side of the CANDLESTICK and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”  

While there are good arguments that can be made to show these men are either Elijah and Moses, or Enoch and Elijah, there are difficulties with both of these thoughts.  The one thing we can be absolutely certain about is that these two witnesses will preach the full truth of God’s Word for three and one-half years. They will then be killed in Jerusalem and after 3 1/2 days, they will be resurrected and caught up into the sky.  Let’s read Revelation 11:7-12, “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 I tend to accept the third thought given that these witnesses are unnamed prophets the Lord sent forward, I do try to adhere to the principle that WHERE SCRIPTURE IS SILENT, WE SHOULD ALSO BE SILENT.  So, with all that said, I believe we will have to wait until we are with the Lord and allow Him to tell us definitely who these two witnesses will be.  (443.4)