Roy A. Huebner
I. Numbers, Days, and the Testimony
“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” (vs. 8)
From this, we understand that the setting is Jerusalem, i.e., the place “where our Lord was crucified.” Spiritually, it is called Sodom and Egypt due to its moral character at this time.
“…And the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days…” (vs. 3).
Numbers: 1260 days (synonymous with 42 months, and “a time, times, and an half time“) = 3.5 yrs
*Note: This is the last half (3.5 years) of Daniel’s 70th week.
At this time, these two witnesses are there in Jerusalem with this powerful testimony, at the same time when there is a false king on the throne; the Antichrist. The Antichrist, who is a king, also pretends to be a priest, as director of the religious affairs of the West (Rev. 13). At Jerusalem at that time, he will be a pretender of those offices of Christ (priest, and king) which will be on display in the millennium as spoken by the prophet Zechariah. The two witnesses have a testimony characteristic of those offices and inevitably stand against the false testimony which will be set up at that time.
“The people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half” (vs. 9).
Three days and a half = a day for each year of their testimony
*Note: There is a 1260 days from the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, and then there is a 1335 days. Daniel writes, “Blessed is he that … cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” (Dan. 12:12). The 1335th day refers to the former inauguration of the millennium. In the interim of 75 days (prior to the 1335th day), there is the War of the Great Day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14).
The great point, here, is that while the false one is there in Jerusalem, God endows the two witnesses with power so that they are not harmed. And they are given a testimony in opposition to the false one. Hence it reads that “these are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (vs. 4).
They are called two olive trees or the “sons of oil” (as they have power from God), and they are two candlesticks (as they have a testimony to bear). This connects with Zechariah 4 (see vss. 6 and 14, for example). Their testimony partakes of that character.
They point to the true Priest and King of Israel.
II. Why Two Candlesticks?
This connects to their testimony. They each bear the “sons of oil” character, and they both bear the “candlestick” character. In Zechariah 4, as it speaks of Christ, it all forms one unified whole. The sons of oil are not separated there as they speak of the offices of Christ (Priest, and King); two offices which are not separated in the one Person of Christ. The vessel of the oil there speaks of the Holy Spirit, and we know according to John, that the Spirit was not given unto him by measure (John 3:34).
The testimony of the two witnesses is characterized by what Christ will be on displayed in the millennium. Hence we get the “sons of oil” character, and the “light” character. Just like the figure in Zechariah 4, they are not it itself, but the point to Christ. The two witnesses, then, have the Christ-like character stamped upon them as to their testimony is in opposition to the false one established at Jerusalem.
The “Gospel of the Kingdom” will also be proclaimed again during this time by the godly remanent. They will be energized by the Spirit to proclaim that — their message will be that Christ is coming!
The image in Zechariah 4 is, of course, unique in and of itself — as it speaks of the Person of Christ.
*Note: For additional listening on Zech. 4, click here for a related post: “A Complete Fulness of Light”
III. Identity of the Two Witnesses
Many have speculated about their identity. The most popular names that have been proposed are Elijah and Moses. (Some have even mentioned Enoch, which seems to be a stretch).
The two names, Elijah and Moses, are taken as a result of verse 6:
“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy…” (Elijah-like)
“And have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues” (Moses-like)
We must not think that it is actually Elijah and Moses who are the two witnesses. As we know, they will have been resurrected from the dead, and at the resurrection we receive new bodies. So Moses and Elijah will not be back to die again! That makes absolutely no sense!
So, what we can say, is that these two witnesses have an Elijah-like and a Moses-like testimony.
Why do they have a “Moses-like” and an “Elijah-like” testimony?
The law-giver was Moses, and the one who was recalling from the apostate Baal worship was Elijah. That is why a Moses-like and an Elijah-like ministry is perfectly suitable for a day like this when there is a need to recall to the law and to recall from the false worship — Messiah is coming, and they must judge themselves. The Lord raises up a testimony proper for that occasion.
They meet the condition at Jerusalem at this time in their testimony, condemn the false, and the character of their ministry is to point to the true Messiah who is ahead of them and coming. They have Christ-like features as “sons of oil” and “lampstands.”