WHO ARE the two witnesses in Revelation 11:6

Posted by Nelson Banuchi in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

Here’s something IO noticed in reading Revelation 11:6 in the RSV re; the two witnesses:

“They have power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, *as often as they desire*.”

Note: “as often as they desire.”

It doesn’t read that they are granted power to do as God desires, or they are given power to do as God wills or permits, or they have been given power on the condition that they use it according to God’s command; no, it reads that they are given power to perform wonders at their own discretion.

That is, it seems to me, whatever they desire to do, God desires to do; or, I think it can be said that, once given the power to perform wonders, and let them have at it.

This is granting not only authority to power but authority to use that power freely according to their own wishes; they are given freedom to exercise their powers however and as often as they choose. It seems they don’t even need to necessarily pray if they should cause it to rain or cause drought, but only say the word and it is done. At the risk of sounding heretical or (blasphemous to those who may take the extreme), it’s as if God has made himself at the disposal of the two witnesses to do according to their word.

I find this intriguing. I have not found anything on this particular phrase, “as preteen as they wish,” in any of the commentaries I have (which is not many and none of Revelation that Pentecostal/Charismatic.

Any thoughts on this? Is anyone aware of any commentary that engages on this?

Thanks!

Marc Alfano [08/22/2015 10:53 PM]
If you are open to some creative hermeneutics, without sounding heretical or blasphemous, it says witnesses, not actual people, which could be Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.
There is reference to them as two olive trees and two lamp stands (old and new testaments) notice vs. 5 about fire proceeding out of their mouth and consuming their enemies, much like a two edge sword (the Word of God).
Check out 1Kings 18:24, Luke 10:17-20, 2 Kings 1:7-16, Luke 9:51-56, Acts 2:2-4

Nelson Banuchi [08/22/2015 11:02 PM]
Marc Alfano, not intending to argue but, as I read the text, it does say they are witnesses but described these witnesses as persons.

But, to me, the point is not necessarily who are the witnesses, but their two-fold authority to power, that is, authority to perform wonders and their authority to freely perform wonders.

If you believe the witnesses are Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I’ve no problem with that and I can appreciate how you seem to have resolved the issue I presented in the OP.

However, I’m not certain your interpretation that the witnesses are Jesus and the Holy Spirir is correct.

John Kissinger [08/22/2015 11:04 PM]
So WHO ARE the two witnesses?

Nelson Banuchi [08/22/2015 11:04 PM]
John Kissinger: To answer your question, I believe the two witnesses are actual persons. As such, what are your thoughts re: the OP?

Marc Alfano [08/22/2015 11:07 PM]
Jesus and the Spirit ARE persons!! (2nd and 3rd persons of the Trinity!!)

Marc Alfano [08/22/2015 11:10 PM]
Matt. 17:1-8

Nelson Banuchi [08/22/2015 11:14 PM]
Marc Alfano: I think you know what I mean. I don’t deny the personhood of the triune God. I’m talking about the witnesses actually being two people whom God has chosen to use for that time and circumstance.

Like I said, I appreciate how you resolved the issue; my point of argument is not with identifying who are the two witnesses.

Marc Alfano [08/22/2015 11:26 PM]
All I am saying is the disciples thought Elijah had to preceded the Messiah, but Jesus said he came in the spirit of John the Baptist. Things can be literal and actual but in the Spirit, not in a physical form. (Eat my flesh and drink my blood) (born again, not entering your mother’s womb a second time) Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Brenda Smith [08/22/2015 11:31 PM]
Some Bible teachers say Moses and Elijah since these were the two also with Jesus on the Mt of Transfiguration and represent the law – Moses and the prophets – Elijah. Others teach it will be Enoch and Elijah since these two have never died and since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God 1 Cor 15:50..they will have their glorified bodies upon death when the witnesses ascend 31/2 days after the beast of Rev 11:7-12 kills them.

John Kissinger [08/22/2015 11:46 PM]
we can only say will be two Jews – that’s all from the Bible

Marc Alfano [08/22/2015 11:47 PM]
Right, that is what I always assumed too. But even that is speculation.
A lot of end time doctrine (eschatology) is cherry picked scripture weaved together into a tapestry of systematic theology that seems to make logical sense, but much of what goes on in the Bible is not based on linear time but the eternal realm of God’s presence- the Alpha and Omega!

Marc Alfano [08/22/2015 11:49 PM]
Where does it say Jews? Are Christians true Jews?

Marc Alfano [08/22/2015 11:51 PM]
Isaiah 19:23-25

John Kissinger [08/22/2015 11:52 PM]
They are “the two olive trees” always a representation of Israel in the Bible and “clothed in sackcloth” – not a ritual of too many Gentiles

Marc Alfano [08/22/2015 11:57 PM]
In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female. You are being literal again- will make you stumble over understanding the spirit of the word not the letter of the word.

John Kissinger [08/23/2015 12:39 AM]
Show us in the BIBLE where the two witnesses are “in Christ”

Nelson Banuchi [08/23/2015 12:55 AM]
Marc Alfano, John Kissinger, you guys are getting side-tracked.

The issue is that whoever these witnesses are, it seems clear that they are exerting the divine authority given to them at their discretion; that is, God is not necessarily directing when and what acts of wonder they are to perform but is granting them not only the power to perform but the authority to perform is as they wish.

It seems Marc answers that the two witnesses perform at their discretion simply because, as he interprets the text, the two witnesses are the Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Okay, we’ll allow that as a possibility.

My question is, what other interpretations of the text are there and how do they comment on the main issue that these “witnesses” were able to not only perform wonders but to do so at heir discretion?

Primarily, I’m seeking to know if there is any scholarly opinion or commentary that deals with the text regarding the witnesses seeming freedom to perform acts of wonder at their discretion.

As a footnote, it seems to be how Jesus performed his wonders, that is, at his discretion. Can the same be said for the apostles (e.g. Acts 3:1-7; 5:12; 13:9-11; 16:16-18?

Let’s stay focused, please.

John Kissinger [08/23/2015 4:09 PM]
if you are saying we have free will to exercise God’s power, what new thing are you saying?

Marc Alfano [08/23/2015 5:11 PM]
I answered your question earlier- Luke 10.

Nelson Banuchi [08/23/2015 5:40 PM]
John Kissinger, my point is that the verse seems to suggest that the witnesses are exercising the use of God’s power at their discretion, as they wish, when they want, not necessarily making any suggestion that it is under God’s direction or will.

Am I making myself clear?

Marc Alfano [08/23/2015 6:06 PM]
What you are describing is witchcraft! Using power for your own purpose apart from God’s will.
Not even Jesus used his power on his own-
i.e. the temptations by the Devil to act unilaterally with his power, even to meet legitimate needs or desires.
John 5:17-30 Jesus only does what he sees the Father doing and does nothing on his own initiative. God, in turn, gives all power and authority to the Son.

Brenda Smith [08/23/2015 9:18 PM]
There were times that the prophets Elijah and Elisha seem to have acted at their own discretion Elijah 1 Ki 17:1 told King Ahab that there would be no rain, but according to his word. Elijah also called fire down from heaven in 2 Ki 1:10…..Elisha 2 Ki 5:27 spoke leprosy upon his disobedient servant. And of course, both prophets parted the waters of the Jordan and passed over on dry ground. The words of Rev 11:6….have power….and….. as often as they will…..appear to give the two witnesses the latitude to act as they deem appropriate.

Nelson Banuchi [08/23/2015 9:51 PM]
Marc Alfano, I think you need to calm down a bit.

First, where have I stated exercising the divine power at one’s own discretion necessarily involves doing so for one’s own purpose or against God’s will?

One does not necessarily follow the other.

Your citing Jn 5:17-30 is instructive. But note:
– “the Son gives life *to whom He wishes*.” (v.21).
– “He has given all judgment to the Son”
– “He gave Him authority to execute judgment” – why? because he is the Son of God? No, but – “because He is the *Son of Man*.”

I’m not denying Jesus did the Father’s will, but as Brenda Smith said re: the 2 witnesses, Jesus, at the same time doing the Father’s will, seems to have been given some “latitude to act as they deem appropriate.”

Regarding his own life, Jesus said, ” “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on *My own initiative*. *I have authority* to lay it down, and *I have authority* to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

I’m not suggesting anything definitive one way or the other; I’m just putting out things to consider.

John Kissinger [08/23/2015 11:28 PM]
It is not at their own discretion if the text says “I will appoint my two witnesses” Are you arguing they have free will independent from the mission of God they were sent for? Please explain your point if you can

Marc Alfano [08/24/2015 12:19 AM]
Nelson Banuchi, I don’t know what your confusion is but this discussion is a waste of time. Good luck, I’m done. You don’t seem to want to get it. Jesus said “I and the Father are one”
Philip said to Jesus show us the Father- Jesus said “how long have I been with you Philip” don’t you know me? Jesus can’t act independent of God because he is God but also the son of man. Satan is the one who uses his power contrary to God’s will because he is a liar and the father of lies and there is no truth in him. What you are describing is voodoo and witchcraft, using supernatural powers for your own purposes, even for good, without the presence and will of the Holy Spirit. If you are not under the anointing of the Holy Spirit you are operating on your own. Like Cain and Able, God has no regard for Cain’s efforts no matter how sincere because he is doing it on his own apart from God! They are “filthy rags” in God’s sight.

Ricky Grimsley [08/24/2015 12:11 PM]
Enoch and elijah for they have never died and its appointed for every man to die.

James Price [08/24/2015 2:33 PM]
Two Witnesses: We should remember that several of those who were on the committee to assemble and include the letters in the N T, voted to keep Revelation out because it was too confusing and subject to many diverse interpretations. No one was for sure who the actual writer was and even if was John one of the apostles he would have been in his nineties by then and very well may have been hallucinating. To draw the conclusion that men would be given the power that you mention takes us beyond anything we have seen elsewhere and therefore ought to be dismissed as purely a dream or a vision, nothing more.

57 Comments

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Ricky Grimsley

    Enoch and elijah

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Robert Borders

    Probably not Jay and Silent Bob?

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Louise Cummings

    One place in the Bible it mentions Elijah. The other some thinks it will be Moses because of turning water to blood and other things Moses did when leading the Children of Egypt out of bandage.i think it will be Enoch. Because Enoch and Elijah never died. The Bible says it is appointed into man once to die. And after the Judgment. I think it will be those two. I can give Scripture. But don’t have time tight now to get it together.

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Louise Cummings

      I know this part of Revelations hasn’t. Happened yet. But it will I about mid part of the Great Tribulations.

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Louise Cummings

    I meant Children of Israel out of Egypt bondage.

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Jon Ray

    Why not #MOSES ? Ricky Grimsley

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Ricky Grimsley

    Because moses already died and elijah didnt.

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Jon Ray

    Enoch did not die either. And then it was Moses seen on the Mt. of Transfiguration right?

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Louise Cummings

      That’s true reason believe it will be Enoch and Elijah. They never die. The Bible said it is appointed unto every man to die. These two wittiness will die in the Tribulations. Then come back alive and be caught up to Heaven again.

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Charles Page

    They were in Jerusalem during the tribulation

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Ricky Grimsley

    Sorry charlie the book of revelation hasnt happened yet.

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Charles Page

    only if you are a dispensationalist! 😉

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    James L Alldredge

    Elijah and Enoch were translated and are now in a glorified state, therefore they cannot die. The 2 witnesses if taken literally are 2 as yet unidentified Jewish leaders who will be patterned after Zerubbabel and Joshua from Zech. 3 and 4. Most likely a political leader and a spiritual leader, (High Priest?) who will oppose the Anitchrist and be killed midway through the Tribulation period.

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Ricky Grimsley

    So all the prophecies about elijah in the endtimes……?

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Charles Page

      end times were 63 -70 AD

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Ricky Grimsley

      I cant even believe it.

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Charles Page

      Unbelief

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Ricky Grimsley

      Believing the devil is chained up and all that stuff…….just sounds impossible to me.

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Charles Page

      Argue with the Bible over that

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Ricky Grimsley

      I have studied bible prophecy my whole life. To believe revelation was about 70 ad…..i mean really have you read it. Bottomless pits and scorpion-horse things, the mark of the beast……open your eyes. The real mark of the beast stuff is right about the corner. Dont be deceived.

    • Reply August 26, 2016

      Louise Cummings

      Amen.

    • Reply August 26, 2016

      Louise Cummings

      The devil will be bound in the thousand year reign.

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    James L Alldredge

    Jesus said John the Baptist was “Elijah” (Matt.11), Clearly the prophecy was about the prophetic office and the “spirit of Elijah” that would signal the kingdom was coming to fulfillment. The problem with a literal return of Elijah is that having been translated, (raptured) he and Enoch are both now immortal, “like the angels” and could not be killed as the witnesses are prophesied to be…

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Charles Page

      what about all the dead that rose up at the crucifixion? were they resurrected and glorified?

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      James L Alldredge

      No mention is made of whether their resurrection was after the manner of Jesus or Lazarus, if Jesus then yes, they are glorified and now immortal, if Lazarus, (a return to physical life), then obviously they died again and are awaiting the final resurrection as Lazarus is…

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    James L Alldredge

    Moses, also having died, Josh 1:1 / Jude 9, is also unable to die again, the best interpretation is that as John fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah in Jesus first appearing, another “John” will be chosen to fulfill it in the second

  • Reply August 22, 2016

    Blain Thrift

    OK y’all, if you will study the marriage ceremony of the Jewish people you will know. The father had to be present ,the groom,the bride and two witnesses.
    On the Mt of transfiguration you had the groom which was Jesus, you had the bride which was represented by Peter, James and John. You had the Father which was God and you had your two witnesses. Jesus also discussed the purchase price of the Church aka the bride with the two witnesses.

    • Reply August 22, 2016

      Blain Thrift

      You may not see it because I had studied and read it for years and one night in the hall way of a little rinky dink mobile home God revealed it to me as plain as day.

  • Reply August 26, 2016

    Varnel Watson

    TWO Jewish people is the only certain thing about them

  • Reply August 26, 2016

    Ricky Grimsley

    It cant be moses. He is dead and buried.

  • Reply August 26, 2016

    Jon Ray

  • Reply August 27, 2016

    Cor Leonis Johnson

    I have heard some teach that the two witnesses are Enoch and Elijah but I think that is pure conjecture. I do not think anyone knows.

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Jon Ray

      Anyone but Jesus. Jesus knew it was going to be Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter, James, and John saw them and wanted to build 3 tents for them

  • Reply August 27, 2016

    Charles Page

    No one knows because it took place 70 AD

  • Reply August 27, 2016

    Cor Leonis Johnson

    I do not agree, Charles because the book of Revelation was not even written before 70 AD. It would not make any sense to speak of something as future when it had already taken place.

    • Reply August 27, 2016

      Charles Page

      Rev 17:10 establishes the time of the writing of Rev

    • Reply August 27, 2016

      Cor Leonis Johnson

      I guess I am not learned enough to establish a date from that passage. Can you help me?

    • Reply August 27, 2016

      Charles Page

      Five Caesars are dead one is alive and the one during tribulation is to come.
      five: Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, and Nero. Revelation was written after Nero during reign of intermediate kings and
      Vespasian is the sixth King

    • Reply August 27, 2016

      Charles Page

      Cor Leonis Johnson You seem to be teachable!

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Cor Leonis Johnson

      If John wrote early (a.d. 64- 66) then it is likely that Paul’ s two letters to Timothy, who was in Ephesus at the time, would overlap with John’ s writing of Revelation and his letter to the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7). It would also mean that, Paul likely wrote 2 Timothy after John wrote to the church. The problem is that the error that Christ points out to the Ephesians in Revelation should have surfaced in Paul’ s epistles if they were written around the same time. However, these problems are not evident in Paul’ s writings. Further, it is unlikely that John had moved to Ephesus until after Peter and Paul had passed from the scene. Philip Schaff tells us: ” It was probably the martyrdom of Peter and Paul that induced John to take charge of the orphan churches, exposed to serious danger and trials.

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Charles Page

      The earlier date cause a reshuffling of the views of liberal scholarship.

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Cor Leonis Johnson

      I am not a liberal.

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Charles Page

      Cor Leonis Johnson I went to a Pentecostal school and we got the liberal view of the historical NT dates of authorship. I was taught the liberal views and have had to relearn the history.

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Cor Leonis Johnson

      ok

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Cor Leonis Johnson

      I only went to Baylor and studied computer technology.

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Charles Page

      Cor Leonis Johnson that explains a lot!!! 😉

  • Reply August 27, 2016

    Jon Ray

    Charles Page Nero reigned only 13 years 54-68 AD There’s absolutely no proof for such early date of writing Revelation. Some even doubt there was barely time to write the Gospels as the destruction of Jerusalem is not mentioned as a passed event in neither of them. Acts is barely written in the 60s and Paul is still doing his missionary journeys until his death in 66 AD. Jude is not written until after 70 AD and some date the Gospel of John in 80-85AD. Surely, you are not proposing that John wrote the Revelation before the 4th Gospel? There is absolutely no evidence for Neronic Date of Revelation until the 7th century AD. See Comparison of the External Evidence Domitianic Date vs Neronic Date http://www.evidenceunseen.com/bible-difficulties-2/nt-difficulties/jude/date-of-revelation/

    • Reply August 27, 2016

      Charles Page

      fell does not mean his death but his downfall as Emperor which was 63 or earlier. The sixth did not come till 68 there were intermediate rulers between Nero and Vespasian.

    • Reply August 28, 2016

      Jon Ray

      You are talking about the first crisis of the Empire with Four Emperors Galba, Otho, Vitallius, Vespasian. On July 1, AD 69, Vespasian is proclaimed emperor but almost six months pass before he can eliminate rivals and enter Rome. There goes the preterits count of 7 kings :

  • Reply August 27, 2016

    Jon Ray

    Charles Page Too much Chilton and Gentry perhaps? From the table Irenaeus, Tertullian, Dio Cassius and Victorinus all disagree with the early dating. The Temple is not mentioned in Revelation except coming from Heaven. Nero is not one to whome Revelation 17:10 refers for surely his contemporary John would have called him by name. One of the key internal evidences, which does not require positing a particular interpretative approach, is the condition of the seven church in Revelation. Do these churches look more like first-generation churches, which would appear to support an early date, or do they favor a second-generation church, which would support the late date? There are some key evidences that strongly favor a second-generation depiction of the churches. Since a preterist interpretation of Revelation requires an early date of the final book in the Bible, preterists go to great lengths in their attempts to make their view appear viable. The Domitianic date is the overwhelmingly accepted view of scholarship in our day and throughout most of church history. Nothing in Revelation itself contradicts such a conclusion. It appears the major reason that preterists believe in an early date for Revelation is that their system requires it. In this instance the saying is true that necessity is the mother of invention.

  • Reply August 27, 2016

    Charles Page

    same true for premillennial views – there has to be a futurist view and thus the interpretation.

  • Reply August 27, 2016

    Charles Page

    John did not name Nero because it was not politically expedient to do. Nero was fallen but not yet dead.

  • Reply August 28, 2016

    Jon Ray

    Didnt happen Charles Page If Jesus really returned 70AD as you believe, He’s doing one poor job restoring this world David Lewayne Porter No luck with John either – St. Eusebius of the 3rd century, copied Iranaeus’s story of John’s banishment by Domitian. Tertullian, on the other hand, claimed John was banished by Nero Caesar. The problem is Tertullian, in another portion of his writing, claimed that Domitian reigned 15 total years, and was also the one who set St. John free from the island.

  • Reply August 28, 2016

    Charles Page

    OR the church has been doing a poor job of occupy the kingdom

  • Reply August 28, 2016

    Ricky Grimsley

    Insanity

  • Reply August 28, 2016

    Charles Page

    Least not skewed

  • Reply June 19, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Easy. Who does Isaiah say are the two witnesses? (Is. 8) Who did Jesus say were the two witnesses of His day? Who did the apostles say were the two witnesses in the book of Acts?

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