In all wisdom and prudence making known to us the mystery of His will according to His
good pleasure which He purposed in Him the plan for the fullness of the times
the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, in Him ….
(Ephesians 1:8b-10)
By – Stuart H. Pouliot
Article #51
Two Witnesses in Type
April 2012
(3) "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve
hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (4) These are the two olive trees and the two
lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. (5) And if anyone wants to harm them,
fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he
must be killed in this way. (6) These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not
fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them
into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. (Revelation 11:3-
In his Patmos vision, John was given revelation of two witnesses clothed in sackcloth. He does
not record that he saw them; he simply describes them.
The key to understanding the two witnesses is in understanding the two olive trees and the two
lampstands in light of the 1,260 days or prophetic day-years. However, most commentary on
this subject seems to focus on the witnesses as literal men, namely as prophets, with a very
cursory focus on the symbology of the trees and the lampstands. This is quite unfortunate, for I
believe this is the only way to truly understand the prophetic meaning of the witnesses.
Some commentators, especially those holding to the futuristic interpretation of Revelation,
identify the witnesses as distinct mortal men wearing sackcloth who will appear on earth in the
latter days. Some see them as antitypes of two ancient prophets, meaning they are in the
nature and character of two prophets of old. Yet, others see them as literally two ancient
prophets who God returns to earth in the flesh.
It should be noted that very few see the witnesses as representative of a group of people, such
as Christ's conquerors or overcomers, or His church during a specific period of history.
I see the collective nature of the two witnesses as the proper interpretation, which is discussed
in my study notes on the Book of Revelation. See "Books" section of my web site.
However, I also recognize the need to understand the types as they pertain to the witnesses.
This is the subject of this writing.
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April 2012
Individual Types/Antitypes
When it comes to individuals as types of the two witnesses, the primary candidates include
Moses and Elijah, and Joshua and Zerubbabel. Lesser candidates include Enoch, John the
apostle, John the Baptist, Joshua, and Elisha.
To begin, let us start with the lesser candidates.
Enoch the Prophet
(14) It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam,
prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, (15) to
execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which
they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have
spoken against Him." (Jude 1:14-15 NASB)
Some have suggested that Enoch is one of the two witnesses because, as they see it, he never
died but was taken to heaven without seeing death, and he prophesied about the judgment of
the last days, which would make him a prime candidate for an end-time prophet.
The one problem I see with this is that I believe Enoch is dead like all the ancients who have
been born of Adam's race. According to Jesus' own words: "No one has ascended into heaven,
but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man" (John 3:13). Paul seconds this thought in
his letter to Timothy.
(13) I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who
testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, (14) that you keep the commandment
without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, (15) which He will bring
about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and
Lord of lords, (16) who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light,
whom no man has seen or can see. (1 Timothy 6:13-16 NASB)
Jesus confessed before Pilate that He was born a king (John 18:37), a fact supported by the
Parthian priests of the east who traveled to Bethlehem to see the King of the Jews (Matthew
2:1, 2). Today, only the King is immortal.
Clearly, Enoch was a prophet, but he is asleep just like all the other ancient prophets. So, to
expect him to reappear on earth on the basis that he never died (i.e., he is immortal) is not a
sound interpretation. Of course, as a type of the ancient prophets, he could be a candidate for
one of the witnesses, but there seem to be much stronger candidates than Enoch.
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April 2012
John the Baptist
The last great prophet to appear before the Jews was John the Baptist. In describing John, Jesus
said that there was no one greater among those born of women (Luke 7:28).
For four hundred years the nation of Judah had not heard the voice of a prophet. Heaven was
silent and, in that time, they had so intermixed and identified with the nations that, nationally,
they had fallen away from their God.
When he appeared in the midst of Judah, John was a voice crying in the wilderness: "Make
ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" (Matthew 3:3). He called forth: "Repent,
for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). When the unrepentant Pharisees
and Sadducees appeared before him, John pointed to the One who was coming and the
judgment that He would and will yet bring upon the apostates.
(11) "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is
mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy
Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His
threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with
unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:11-12 NASB)
Notice that John was merely a voice. He did not bring the fire of baptism or the fire of judgment
to Judah; this was to come through Christ Himself. However, for those in that day that had
heard and accepted John's voice, Elijah had come to them in fulfillment of Malachi 4:5. Jesus
said, "And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come" (Matthew
So, to the degree John was a prophetic voice, he is like the two witnesses, but he was never
called upon to perform the signs of the first Elijah nor of the two witnesses. John was a type of
Elijah, but his ministry did not match that of his predecessor, at least in the outward
John the Apostle
Some have proposed John, the beloved apostle of Jesus Christ, as one of the witnesses in the
literal sense, not as a type. This is based on an imaginative interpretation of John 21:23:
Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus
did not say to him that he would not die, but only, "If I want him to remain until I come, what
is that to you?"
According to this thinking, John never died and has been wandering on earth for the last 2,000
years. But Jesus did not say to him that he would not die. The record shows that John was the
last of the original apostles, and he remained until the Lord came and gave Him the mighty
Patmos vision. This makes a great storyline for a movie, but I think we can leave this one alone.
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April 2012
Joshua and Elisha
Joshua and Elisha, as extensions of Moses and Elijah, are suggested by those who see the two
witnesses signifying end-time conquerors. Joshua followed Moses in taking the sons of Israel
into Canaan and then the first thing he did was overthrow Jericho (symbol of Babylon). Elisha
followed Elijah and performed twice as many miracles as his mentor (double portion) with the
first one being the healing of the waters of Jericho (symbol of healing the citizens of Babylon
after it falls).
Without doubt, both men are types that speak of the second work or coming of Christ, but this
does not necessarily make them valid candidates for the two witnesses, at least in the context
of the 1,260-year period and the historicist view of Johns' Patmos vision as recorded in The
Revelation . However, this does not mean that they are not types of end-time conquerors
preparing the way for the rest of the Church to enter the coming Kingdom of our Lord, for they
most assuredly are. At any rate, this is beyond the scope of this study, so we can leave this one
alone as well.
Moses the Law Giver and Deliverer
By far, Moses is the candidate cited by most.
Moses was raised up in a time of great affliction for the Israelites as they were under bondage
in Egypt. He was called to deliver Israel out of the affliction of Egypt and from the power of the
wicked Pharaoh, and bring them into the land promised to Abraham.
(16) "Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your
fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I am indeed
concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt. (17) "So I said, I will bring you
up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite
and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.'"
(18) "They will pay heed to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the
king of Egypt and you will say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So
now, please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the
LORD our God.' (19) "But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under
compulsion." (Exodus 3:16-19 NASB)
This was Moses' calling. However, he had serious doubts about what the Lord was calling him to
do. After all, according to Moses' thinking, who would believe or listen to him. To prove to
Moses that he would succeed in his calling and how he would succeed, the Lord gave him two
signs. The first sign had two parts that referred to Moses directly, indicating two lessons he had
to learn in order to lead the sons of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
(2) The LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" And he said, "A staff." (3) Then He
said, "Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and
Moses fled from it. (4) But the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its
tail"—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand—(5) "that
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April 2012
they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of
Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." (Exodus 4:2-5 NASB)
The first part of sign one signified the law or the Word of the Lord in the form of the staff .
Casting God's law to the ground is like ignoring or breaking God's law. The serpent signified
judgment resulting from breaking God's law.
However, it could also signify replacing God's law or His word with the tradition of men, which
is man's carnal interpretation of God's word, something Jesus was very critical of when it came
to the Pharisees and scribes: "Neglecting the commandment [law, word] of God, you hold to
the tradition of men" (Mark 7:8 NASB). Jesus called these traditions leavened teaching
(Matthew 16:6, 11, 12).
In other words, the tradition of men is corruption of the Word of God. It will bite like a snake
and lead to death not life. Moses and the sons of Israel were going to receive the law of God,
and this was to be written on their hearts, giving them the faith to press on and enter into the
Promised Land. But they had to hear the word of the Lord directly, for faith comes from
[personally] hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). If they did not hear, it
would be like a serpent to them, for it would convict and judge them of their sin, and they
would lack the faith to go from mortality to immortality, or to go from Passover to Pentecost to
Tabernacles .
(6) The LORD furthermore said to him, "Now put your hand into your bosom." So he put his
hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. (7)
Then He said, "Put your hand into your bosom again." So he put his hand into his bosom
again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.
(Exodus 4:6-7 NASB)
The second part of sign one signified leprosy , which is a type of mortality or slow death. This is
explained in the law of cleansing the leper in Leviticus 14. Under Moses, the sons of Israel were
to have the faith to enter Canaan, which was likened to putting off mortality and putting on
immortality, which is what the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths spiritually signifies.
However, there is another aspect to this that deals with the flesh of mortal man. As mortals, sin
reigns in death. When we touch the mortal flesh or live by its sinful nature, it is leprous. When
we abide in Christ, trusting Him, there is life. In delivering the sons of Israel, Moses had to rely
on and trust the Lord to bring them through the wilderness into the land flowing with milk and
a land of olive oil and honey (Deuteronomy 8:8). The carnal flesh of man had to die in the
wilderness, and it did, both literally and figuratively, for the first generation that lacked the faith
to enter into Canaan.
Later, when Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh, they spoke the word of the Lord:
"Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to
Me in the wilderness'" (Exodus 5:1 NASB).
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April 2012
Here, the word of God intimates that the sons of Israel were being called to enter into, not only
a feast, but three feasts, which speak of man's progression from death to life, or from mortality
to immortality, or from children of God to sons of God. Again, this is going from Passover to
Pentecost to Tabernacles (the three feasts).
(8) "If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the
witness of the last sign. (9) "But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what
you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the
water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground." (Exodus 4:8-9
The last sign signified judgment by blood . What is significant is that the water of the Nile
became blood when it was poured out on dry ground. The meaning is quite obvious, for it
pointed to the blood of Christ being shed on the cross and dropping to the ground. In fact,
when one of the soldiers pierced the side of Jesus, immediately blood and water came out
(John 19:34).
Thus, this sign is probably the most significant of them all, for the Son of God took mankind's
sin and its judgment upon Himself to save all mankind, each troop in its own time and own way,
but all through Christ, until God is all in all (1 Corinthians 15:23-28).
We should not lose sight of the fact that the first sign that Moses was commanded to give
Pharaoh was turning water into blood on dry ground, and the last sign, after applying the blood
of the Passover to the doorposts, was the death of the firstborn sons of Egypt. Of course, all of
this speaks mightily of Christ, and this plays into our understanding of the ministry of the two
As the story goes, God hardened the heart of Pharaoh so that he would not listen to Moses nor
allow the Israelites to leave his country. Through Moses, the Lord brought forth nine plagues .
He 1) turned the water to blood , 2) smote the whole territory with frogs , 3) plagued the land
with flies , 4) brought severe pestilence on Pharaoh's livestock, 5) sent a fine dust over all the
land so that boils broke out with sores on man and beast, 6) sent forth a hail storm that had
never before been seen in Egypt, 7) brought hordes of locusts into Pharaoh's territory, 8)
brought darkness over the land, even a darkness that could be felt, and finally 9) brought the
death of all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. With this last plague and application of the
Passover blood, God delivered His people (Exodus 7:1-12:32).
All of these plagues were historically repeated in Revelation 6-11 as a sign that the Lord has
delivered and will continue to deliver His true Church out of bondage during the years from
Calvary to the very end of our present age.
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April 2012
Elijah the Prophet
Next, along with Moses, Elijah is also the most likely candidate most often cited.
Elijah was raised up when Israel was in apostasy under the wicked king Ahab, his queen Jezebel,
and the 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20).
(30) Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before
him. (31) It came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of
Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the
Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him. (32) So he erected an altar for Baal in
the house of Baal which he built in Samaria. Ahab also made the Asherah. (33) Thus Ahab did
more to provoke the LORD God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him. (1
Kings 16:30-33 NASB)
Ahab's character was quite evil, and Elijah was raised up during this time of great apostasy to
speak to the people. His first act was to withhold the rain for three and a half years (1 Kings
Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the
God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these
years, except by my word." (1 Kings 17:1 NASB)
Elijah stood before the God of Israel who lives and who sent His servant to exhort His then
divorced and divided people to choose the God of the heavens or the false god of Baal. Take
your pick, so to speak.
(21) Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two
opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not
answer him a word. (22) Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the
LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men." (1 Kings 18:21-22 NASB)
To dispel all doubt who Elijah spoke to and the purpose of the signs that he performed, he took
twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word
of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name" (1 Kings 18:31 NASB).
Elijah had challenged the false prophets of Baal to call upon their god to bring fire down upon
the altar. Their crying out with loud voices and cutting themselves so that their blood gushed
forth failed to bring any response from their so-called god and proved their impotence. Then
Elijah appealed to the God of Israel and fire fell upon the altar and consumed the offering.
(36) At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and
said, "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God
in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. (37)
Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and
that You have turned their heart back again." (38) Then the fire of the LORD fell and
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consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the
water that was in the trench. (39) When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and
they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God." (40) Then Elijah said to them, "Seize
the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape." So they seized them; and Elijah brought
them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there." (1 Kings 18:36-40 NASB)
The Lord appeared to His people once again and proved that He alone is their God. As if to add
one more proof, Elijah then brought the drought to an end after sending the servant seven
times to look for a shower. On the seventh time, the servant saw a small cloud forming and
then a heavy shower fell upon the land (1 Kings 18:41-46).
But there is one more testimony regarding Elijah that plays into our understanding of the two
witnesses. It involves the 7,000.
(2) "God did not thrust away His people" whom He foreknew. Psa. 94:14 Or do you not know
what the Scripture said in Elijah, how he pleaded with God against Israel, saying, (3) Lord,
"they killed Your prophets," "and they dug down Your altars," "and only I am left, and they
seek my life." 1 Kg. 19:10 (4) But what does the Divine answer say to him, "I reserved to
Myself seven thousand men who did not bow a knee to Baal." 1 Kg. 19:18 (5) So then, also in
the present time a remnant according to election of grace has come into being. (Romans 11:2-
When the number 7 is intensified, especially by a thousand, we can be assured that it signifies
something spiritual, for the number refers to divine perfection or perfection of what is in view .
In this case, the 7,000 signify conquerors .
The Law and the Prophets
It is commonly understood that Moses represents the Law, since the Lord gave him His Law on
Mount Horeb, and that Elijah represents the Prophets, and that the two go together, which is
verified by Scripture.
(4) "Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I
commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. (5) "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet
before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. (Malachi 4:4-5 NASB)
This is further confirmed in the account of Jesus being transfigured in the sight of His three
disciples as they were all on a mountain. Jesus' transfiguration signified the glory of His coming
Kingdom (Matthew 16:28) when His conquerors will be transfigured as He is (1 John 3:2); they
will receive immortal, glorified bodies (Romans 8:23). In a vision , the disciples saw Moses and
Elijah talking with the Lord.
(2) And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments
became as white as light. (3) And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with
Him. (Matthew 17:2-3 NASB)
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Thus, Moses and Elijah go together. Another way to state this is that they are incomplete
without each other. They are like two bookends. Moses reveals the structure of a theocratic
government and the laws of the Kingdom of God. These provide the moral standard of God so
that its citizens are conformed to the mind and will of God. Elijah prophetically reveals to the
kingdom nation through the word of the Lord (i.e., under the inspiration of the Spirit of God)
how to apply the law in the daily life of its citizens. In other words, Elijah interprets the law and
the mind of the Lord for the people, so that it does not become the letter that kills but the Spirit
that gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6).
Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the
Psalms must be fulfilled." (Luke 24:44 NASB)
Of course, let us not forget that God is love and the whole Law and all that the Prophets spoke
depend on God's command to love.
"On these two commandments [love the Lord God and love your neighbor as yourself] depend
the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:40 NASB)
We must not underestimate the significance of the Law and the Prophets, including the Psalms,
for all speak of and reveal Christ. A true witness from God must and will testify of God's Son, no
matter the identity of the witness. I would add that the love of God must be part of the witness
as well, for Jesus is the Son of God's love, and God so loves the world that He gave His only
begotten Son. All other types of witnesses are false.
Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel the Governor
Two other candidates as types of the two witnesses include two men of God in the Old
Testament who are specifically referred to as branches of the olive tree standing next to a
lampstand , which is very similar to the two witnesses, except the two witnesses of Revelation
are not described as branches but rather as two olive trees and two lampstands. Nevertheless,
this has not deterred some from claiming Joshua and Zerubbabel as types of the two witnesses.
In Zechariah, the two branches of the olive tree are Joshua, the high priest, and Zerubbabel, the
governor of Judah, who were raised up to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple that had
been destroyed when Judah was taken into Babylonian captivity.
They are types of the builders of the true Church of God, representing both the priestly and the
kingly role of the conquerors of Christ who are according to the order of Melchizedek, the King
of Salem (King of Peace) and the Priest of the Most High God (Hebrews 5:5-6; 7). They are
types of the sons of God called New Jerusalem .
To this degree, they are types of the two witnesses of Revelation 11.
(11) Then I said to him, "What are these two olive trees on the right of the lampstand and on
its left?" (12) And I answered the second time and said to him, "What are the two olive
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branches which are beside the two golden pipes, which empty the golden oil from
themselves?" (13) So he answered me, saying, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said,
"No, my lord." (14) Then he said, "These are the two anointed ones who are standing by the
Lord of the whole earth." (Zechariah 4:11-14 NASB)
Notice how Zechariah asked the question. He was puzzled by the two olive branches not the
tree itself or the lampstand for that matter. The branches were the two anointed ones that
stood before the Lord. The olive tree and the lampstand were not anointed ones, only Joshua
and Zerubbabel, as branches, were anointed.
Although Zechariah identified who the two branches of the olive tree were, it was Haggai the
prophet who provided the detail of their service to the Lord.
A remnant of Jews had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple or the house of the Lord;
however, the people were not diligent in the work. The house of the Lord was desolate. The
nation was unclean and the Lord stood against their work so that their yield was less than it
should have been. Even including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree, it
had not borne fruit (Haggai 1.5; 2:14-19).
It is important to our understanding to know that Zerubbabel encountered many challenges in
his attempts to fulfill God's word. He was challenged by foes within and without. Within Judah
there was lethargy, smallness of vision, and lack of faith. Without Judah there were "mighty
mountains" of opposition and evil cunning of the enemies of God; obstacles that could not be
overcome by human power. Nevertheless, he was urged by the Lord to be strong and complete
the task. The Lord Himself would reduce the mountain to level ground, and the victory would
be won by the Spirit of God and His grace, not by human power.
In the midst of all of this, Haggai was raised up to speak a word to the people to consider their
ways. They heard and obeyed, and the Lord promised that His Spirit would abide in their midst.
The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, the spirit of Joshua, and the spirit of all the
remnant of the people, and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God
(Haggai 1:14). They were a remnant of grace.
But also note that Haggai prophesied in a way that points to a day far greater than the day of
Joshua and Zerubbabel.
(2) "Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son
of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying, (3) 'Who is left among
you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to
you like nothing in comparison? (4) But now take courage, Zerubbabel,' declares the LORD,
'take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land
take courage,' declares the LORD, 'and work; for I am with you,' declares the LORD of hosts.
(5) 'As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in
your midst; do not fear!' (6) "For thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Once more in a little while, I
am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. (7) I will shake all
the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with
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glory,' says the LORD of hosts. (8) 'The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,' declares the LORD
of hosts. (9) 'The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,' says the LORD of
hosts, 'and in this place I will give peace,' declares the LORD of hosts." (Haggai 2:2-9 NASB)
A glory is to come to the house of the Lord that is far greater than the former glory, and it will
come about as the Lord of hosts shakes the heavens and the earth. It will come "Not by might
nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord of hosts." When it is finished, a shout will go
forth, "Grace, grace to it!" (Zechariah 4:6-7). In that day, there will be peace.
Within this context, Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor of Judah are identified
as two branches of the olive trees beside the golden lampstand. They are the anointed
witnesses of that day, for they stood by the Lord of the whole earth. But keep in mind that they
were branches of the olive trees, meaning they came forth from it; however, they were not
olive trees per se.
There is more to glean from Zechariah's olive trees and lampstand that will bring us closer to an
understanding of the two witnesses, but I am stopping at this point.
Please see Article #34 – Olive Tree in Scripture , and the book, Notes on the Book of Revelation ,
especially the notes on Revelation, Chapter 11.
It is clear that when the two witnesses are viewed simply as individuals and their respective
ministries, we see similarities between ancient figures and the two witnesses of John's Patmos
Primary candidates are Moses and Elijah, who represent the Law and the Prophets, for the
actions they were called to take in the name of the Lord most closely match those of the two
(5) And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their
enemies [Elijah called down fire on the false prophets] ; so if anyone wants to harm them, he
must be killed in this way [Elijah killed the false prophets] . (6) These have the power to shut
up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying [Elijah withheld the
rain ]; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth
with every plague [Moses turned water into blood and called forth plagues upon Egypt] , as
often as they desire. (Revelation 11:5-6 NASB)
Secondary candidates are Joshua and Zerubbabel, for they were associated with the two olive
trees and the one lampstand, even though they were only branches. Further, in their day, they
faced great challenges, much like Moses and Elijah did in their day. In type, they signify the
king-priests according to the order of Melchizedek, the sons of God and conquerors that will
rule and reign with Christ as He continues to build His Church during the next age of
Two Witnesses in Type
April 2012
The conclusion is that these four men serve as types in some, but not in full, measure. They are
types of the character and nature of the two witnesses. Many commentators see them as types
of two literal men dressed in sackcloth with fire spewing out of their mouths; I do not hold to
this interpretation.
A more complete revelation of the meaning and identity of the two witnesses requires
understanding of the symbology of the two olive trees and the two lampstands in light of the
1,260 day-year period.