Since Jesus descended off the earth one of the most controversial books in the New Testament has been the book of Revelation. John was given the revelation of Jesus Christ on the Isle of Patmos around 90 - 92 A.D. Many believe the book of Revelation is the end time book, when in reality, the book of Revelation holds the keys to the end time revelation of God.
We cannot understand the book of Revelation without a thorough understanding of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.
One area which is surrounded by controversy and misunderstanding concerns the two witnesses who will appear at the end of the age. Jesus revealed these two witnesses to John:
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: 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, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11:1-3
There have been many theories as to who these two witnesses are. Let us take a closer look at these two witnesses to see if we can discover who they are by rightly dividing the Word of Truth. These two witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days or 3 ½ years. This is the length of God’s judgment upon sinful mankind - - - or what is termed “the wrath of God.” These 1260 days are spoken of two other places in the book of Revelation:
“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” Revelation 12:6
Forty-two months is the same as 1260 days or 3 ½ years. This is when the world will worship the beast government, headed by the great anti-christ, who wants to be worshipped as God. This is when the true church will flee to God’s protected place during the time God pours out His wrath upon the earth.
So who are these two witnesses? Many declare these are two men who are going to evangelize the whole earth during these 1260 days. Some declare these two men to be Moses and Elijah because they met with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Others say these two will be Enoch and Elijah because these are the only two men who did not see death but were taken by God.
We discover understanding to who these two witnesses are in the book of Revelation:
“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.” Revelation 11:3 -4
Upon a closer examination of the two witnesses, we discover there are two olive trees and two candlesticks which stand before the God of the whole earth. If there are two olive trees and two candlesticks, then we are not looking for two men, but two olive trees and two candlesticks. Two plus two adds up to four. So the two witnesses are not two - - - but four. Therefore, we need to identify who the olive trees and the candlesticks represent.
The Two Olive Trees
Paul spoke of the two olive trees in his letter to the church at Rome:
“And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;” Romans 11:17
Paul speaks of two olive trees. One of two olive trees is the branches that were broken off. This is Ancient Israel, or Natural Israel the nation.
The second olive tree was grafted into the root of the olive tree. The root of the olive tree is Christ Jesus. The root is what gives life to the tree, and it is Christ Jesus who gives life to the olive tree and the wild olive tree. So who is the wild olive tree? The wild olive tree are the Gentiles who were grafted in. Paul revealed these to the church at Galatia:
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:15-16
The word creature should have been translated creation. Those who are in Christ Jesus are His new creation, and those who walk according to this rule (power and authority) are the Israel of God. Paul also explained this to the Ephesians:
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” Ephesians 2:12
When we were without Christ (or the anointing), we were aliens (estranged) from the commonwealth (nation) of Israel. Those who have Christ, the Anointing, are now fellow citizens in the nation of Israel.
Those who were aliens from Israel have now become the Israel of God and part of the nation of Israel because they have been grafted into the root, Christ Jesus. These are now partakers of the fatness of the root. Those who have been grafted into the root are God’s Ekklesia. The word Ekklesia is translated “the church, the called out ones.”
The Two Candlesticks
Jesus showed John on the Isle of Patmos seven stars and seven candlesticks. Seven is God’s perfect number. Then Jesus revealed who the seven candlesticks are:
“. . . the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:20
So we see by this verse that the candlesticks represent the church. With this understanding, we now see the two olive trees are the symbols of natural Israel (ancient Israel and the wild olive tree grafted in) and the two candlesticks are the symbols of the church, or Spiritual Israel.
The prophet Zechariah was also shown the candlesticks and the olive trees:
“And said unto me, What seest thou? 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: And the two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” Zechariah 4:2-3
God showed Zechariah a candlestick with a bowl on top, feeding seven lamps through seven pipes. There were two olive trees, one on each side of the candlesticks. When the angel asked Zechariah what these were, Zechariah did not know.
“Then said He, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:14
These are God’s two anointed ones who stand before the Lord of the whole earth. This is the same revelation Jesus gave John on the Isle of Patmos. These two witnesses are the two candlesticks and the two olive trees.
By God’s Word, we know these two witnesses will prophesy for three and one-half years during the time God pours out His wrath. Zechariah continues:
“Then He answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the Word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
The word to Zerubbabel was “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit.” This is the way by which the two witnesses will operate. They can, and will, only prophesy by the Spirit of God.
We need to identify who Zechariah was referring to as Zerubbabel. The name Zerubbabel means “those who are called out of Babel.” The word Babel means “confusion.” So the Zerubbabels are those who have been called out of their religious confusion. Today those who are called by the name of Christ are in much confusion because of all the different translations of the Bible. They are also confused because of all the precepts and doctrines of men, and because of their liberal interpretation of the Word of God.
As with the church, so with Israel. Israel has looked for their Messiah for centuries. As the church, Israel has come up with many different religions and because of this, much confusion reigns in their midst. But some of Ancient Israel have recognized and made their peace with their Messiah. These Israelites make up one of the two olive trees.
What else are we told about the two witnesses?
“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.” Revelation 11:6
As Jesus proclaimed, these two witnesses will have the power to shut up the heavens that it rain not for the three and one-half years of their prophesy. This is the same miracle Elijah performed in the days of King Ahab.
They will also have the power to turn the water to blood (poison), and to smite the earth with plagues as often as they will. This is the same power that was given to Moses as he was about to deliver Israel from their Egyptian bondage.
Jesus gives us one more word concerning His two witnesses:
“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.” Revelation 11:5
God is going to empower His two witnesses so that nothing can hurt them. Man has never possessed as much power as these two witnesses will possess. When the angel asked Zechariah who these two witnesses are . . .
“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.” Zechariah 4:11-14
As we know by Revelation 11:4, there were two candlesticks and two olive trees. Again we restate, these are God’s two Israels: Spiritual Israel (the candlestick) the true church - - - and natural Israel (the olive tree) those who have, and will recognize their Messiah.
So, what is the difference between the two candlesticks and the two olive trees? The difference is the anointing each will receive. God’s Word speaks of two anointings: The Firstfruit Anointing and the Double Portion Anointing.
First, let us look at the Firstfruit Anointing. Paul explains the firstfruit anointing to the church at Rome:
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23
The Firstfruit Anointing is the anointing that came on the Day of Pentecost to cleanse and purify a people to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
This also includes those of natural Israel who have recognized their Messiah. When those who are natural Israel recognize their Messiah and are baptized and receive the Firstfruit Anointing, then they, too, will become part of God’s Ekklesia, the called-out ones, the true church.
Zechariah explains the different anointings the two candlesticks and the two olive trees will receive:
“And said unto me, What seest thou? 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. And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” Zechariah 4:2-3
First we see the firstfruit oil. This oil is represented by the golden oil that flows through seven pipes, or these pipes have a limited flow of oil. This oil is not poured out in abundance, but in a restricted flow. This represents the Firstfruit Anointing.
But Zechariah shows us another anointing:
“And I answered again, and said unto Him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil (anointing) out of themselves” Zechariah 4:12
The second anointing comes through the branches. The word branches means “a flowing stream, or an uninhibited flow of the Spirit.” These are those who empty the golden oil (anointing) out of themselves - - - or, they are poured out before the people.
Again, we restate, there are two olive trees and two candlesticks. Why are there two olive trees and two candlesticks? It is because there are two anointings and two jobs God has for each of them to do in the coming 1260 days or 3 ½ years of God’s wrath.
The second candlestick and the second olive tree are those who have allowed the firstfruit anointing to do the work in their lives to prepare them for the day of wrath. God has promised those who are prepared for His wrath will not suffer His wrath:
“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” I Thessalonians 5:8-9
Those who are of the DAY are those who are walking in the light of the truth of the glorious gospel of truth. These are not appointed to wrath. These are God’s ministering witnesses who will prophesy during the three and one-half years God pours out His judgment upon the earth. These will receive the same anointing Jesus had when He ministered for His three and one-half year ministry. It is recorded:
“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” John 3:34
The double portion anointed candlestick and the double portion anointed olive tree will have the same power and authority Jesus demonstrated during His ministry.
But what of the first candlestick and the first olive tree who must receive their anointing during the wrath? The first olive tree and the first candlestick will only receive a limited anointing through the golden pipes? Jesus speaks of these, and Matthew recorded His words:
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13
These are the Enduring Saints who must endure to the end. These Enduring Saints will receive their anointing during the wrath. These are those who love the Lord and want to do His work, but because of bad teaching and being loyal to their denominational orders, were not taught to seek the cleansing fire of the anointing. Isaiah proclaims:
“With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:9
These are those whose souls have truly desired the Lord, and when God’s judgment is in the earth, these will learn the righteousness of God. They will forget their own self righteousness, and truly seek to know and obtain the righteousness of God.
So, what will the first olive tree group (natural Israel who must endure the wrath) and the first candlestick group (Spiritual Israel who must endure the wrath) be doing during the time God pours out His wrath upon the earth? These will be those who will minister to those who have The Double Portion Anointing. In the wrath, the olive tree and the candlestick who only have a limited anointing through the golden pipes, will be the servants who will do the needed work, to free up those who have The Double Portion Anointing to minister the Word.
Because of the teachings of the Rapture, Once-saved-Always-saved, Ultimate Reconciliation, and all other false teachings, the people who are destined to go through the wrath will need much teaching.
God has made us a beautiful promise through the pen of Jeremiah:
“And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:3-4
These two witnesses will be God’s shepherds who will feed His people in their time of greatest need. Great fear will come upon God’s people during this time of wrath. But God has given us His promise that His people will fear no more, neither be dismayed. It will be by God’s grace and mercy, God’s people will have no lack. Praise the Lord!