We have all noticed (when reading the book of Revelation), that it is full of symbolism and mystery. However, most (if not all) of the book of Revelation cannot be understood properly without first consulting the Towrah & Prophets (from Genesis to Malachi).
I learned early-on in my study of Revelation, that deciphering these prophetic pictures requires going back to the beginning in Genesis, and continuing into the books of the prophets to look for clues. The heavenly messenger described to the Apostle Yahuwchanon (John) “Two Witnesses” that will be conducting a final end-time evangelistic outreach to the world.
Theologians and bible scholars have debated and speculated for centuries about these elusive figures, supposing that they are a reincarnation of Moses & Elijah.
Some have even postulated the two witnesses could be Enoch and Elijah, since neither one of these men seem to have died in the conventional way. However, we are told that flesh and blood cannot enter into the dimension of eternity:
1st Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohiym; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
What this means, is that Elijah and Enoch had to die to their mortal bodies on way up. We are told in 1st Corinthians 15:44, that when a righteous person in Messiah dies, his spirit/soul (neshema) immediately goes to Paradise in a spiritual body.
However, the resurrection of all the righteous will collectively be given glorified bodies “At the last day” (Ezekiel 37:4-14; John 6:40, 44 & 54). To fully understand what happens to the righteous when they die, please read my other blog: Where Do Redeemed Souls Go When They Die?
In Malachi 4:4-5, we are told that before Messiah returns to earth, Eliyahuw (Elijah) must come first, to prepare the way:
Malachi 4:4-5 “..Remember you the Towrah of Mosheh my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Yisra’el, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Eliyahuw (Elijah) the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHWH.”
But does this prophecy mean that Elijah will return to earth in the flesh, and then be killed a second time by the beast? This is not possible, because reincarnation is not a concept found in Scripture.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us “...It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.”
The Birth of John the Baptist
It is important to understand that Yahuwchanon (John the Baptist) was an intermediate fulfillment of the Malachi 4:5 prophecy at Messiah’s first coming. John’s parents had been unable to bear children, until his father (Zechariah), received a miraculous visitation while serving as a priest in the Temple. The details can be found in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel (Luke 1:5-17).
It was during this supernatural visitation, that the malak (angel) Gabriel told John’s father, that his son would come in the “Spirit of Eliyahuw!”
Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyahuw (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for YHWH.
Because of this, the religious leaders in the days of Yahuwchanon (John), asked him “Are you Elijah?” John’s answer was simple and straightforward: “I am not” (John 1:21). This would seem to settle the matter, and put an end to any controversy.
Later, however, Yahuwshuwa said of John the Baptist: “And if you will receive it, this is Eliyahuw (Elijah) which was to come. He that has ears to hear, them him hear.”
In other words, even though John was not a reincarnation of the prophet Eliyahuw (Elijah), he came in the same anointing as Elijah!
In the same way that John was an intermediate fulfillment of the Malachi 4:5 prophecy, (without being a reincarnation of Elijah), the same thing will be true of the Two Witnesses in the future. They cannot literally be Moses, Elijah or Enoch. I will explain more about this as we progress in this teaching.
We must ask ourselves this question “If Revelation 11:7 tells us that the beast makes war against these two witnesses and kills them, how can they be Moses & Elijah reincarnated?”
Stay with me, and you will understand who these Two Witnesses are. When I first began to study the book of Revelation, this verse jumped out at me, like a flashing neon sign:
Hazown (Revelation) 11:4 These are the two candlesticks and the two olive trees standing before the Elohiym of the whole earth.
I could not help but envision two olive trees and two lampstands or menorahs!
This was my first clue, that these Two Witnesses could not be describing two individual men. Why would Yah use four objects to describe two individuals? It didn’t make sense to me.
But then I remembered that the nation of Yisra’el is likened unto an “olive tree.” That’s when I did a keyword search for all the places in Scripture where it mentions “an olive tree,” or “olive trees.” I discovered that the first time an olive tree is mentioned, it is used as a metaphor for Yisra’el:
Yirmeyahuw (Jeremiah) 11:16 YHWH called your name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he has kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
However, after King Solomon died, Yisra’el became divided into Two Kingdoms:
1.) The Two Southern Tribes of Judah & Benjamin.
2.) The Ten Northern Tribes of Ephrayim/Joseph.
That would explain why we find Yisra’el being described as “Two Olive Trees,” after 1st Kings chapter 12.
The next time we see Two Olive Trees is in Zechariah & Ezekiel.
Zecharyahuw (Zechariah) 4:2 And said unto me, What see you? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:
Zecharyahuw (Zechariah) 4:3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.