The identity of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 has been a subject of fierce debate among theologians and students of the Bible since the days of the early Church fathers. There is just something about this peculiar prophecy in the last book of the Bible that seems to ignite our fascination and captivate us, and everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter. Today I intend to lay this mystery to rest once and for all. In this brief examination, I will show how the identity of the two witnesses is revealed by a hidden Bible code in Zechariah 4.
What Revelation 11 reveals about the identity of the two witnesses
I want to be clear that one does not need a Bible code to know the identity of the two witnesses. I knew who the two witnesses were long before I discovered the Bible code I am going to reveal in this article, and I acquired that knowledge through nothing but a close analysis of the plain text of the prophecies. The information necessary to uncover the identity of the two witnesses is all contained within the plain text of the passages which describe them. As with any other prophecy of Scripture, this mystery is designed like a jigsaw puzzle–you simply have to put the pieces together.
Described as “the two olive trees”
The prophecy of Revelation 11 describes the two witnesses as “the two olive trees” (Rev. 11:4). This is an undeniable reference to the prophetic vision of Zechariah 4, which features two olive trees standing on either side of a golden candlestick with a golden bowl on top of it. In this vision, the two olive trees are emptying their oil into the golden bowl atop the candlestick via two branches, and the seven lamps of the golden candlestick are receiving the olive oil from seven golden pipes which are connected to the bowl.
By calling the two witnesses “the two olive trees,” God is establishing a prophetic link between the prophetic vision of Revelation 11 and the prophetic vision of Zechariah 4. The implication is that Zechariah 4 contains other key clues necessary to piece together the identity of the two witnesses. In that vision, the two olive trees are described as the “two anointed ones” (lit. “sons of oil” in Hebrew), which “stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zech. 4:14).
The peculiar powers of the two witnesses
Another clue to the identity of the two witnesses is found in the miracles that Revelation 11 states that they are empowered to perform. We are told that they have the power to shut heaven, so that it does not rain for the entire duration of their prophecy, that is–1,260 days (Rev. 11:2-6). We are also told that they have power to turn waters to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will (Rev. 11:6). One will note that these miracles are associated with the earthly ministries of two very specific biblical characters, namely–Moses and Elijah. Specifically, Moses turned the waters of Egypt to blood (Exod. 4:9; 7:17-21), while Elijah shut the heavens so that it did not rain in Northern Israel for three and a half years, that is–1,260 days (1 Kings 17:1; Jas. 5:17).
By describing the two witnesses as having the power to shut heaven to withhold rain for three and a half years like Elijah did, and to turn waters to blood like Moses did, the prophecy of Revelation 11 is very clearly inferring that the two witnesses are none other than Moses and Elijah. Interestingly, one will note that it just so happens to be Moses and Elijah who appeared standing by Jesus (aka “the Lord of the whole earth“) when he was transfigured on the mount (Matt. 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:28-36).
Taken together, it is undeniable that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are Moses and Elijah. There is no alternative interpretation.
A Bible code in Zechariah 4 confirms the identity of the two witnesses
Although we do not need the help of a Bible code to know the identity of the two witnesses, the code that I am about to reveal nevertheless serves as a very compelling piece of additional confirmation.
The code is found in Zechariah 4,1 which records Zechariah’s prophetic vision from 520 BC that depicts the two witnesses as two olive trees standing beside a golden lampstand which signifies the Lord of the whole earth. Behold:
As can be seen, the statement בהר הם ליד ישו (“On the mountain they are next to Jesus”) is encoded at an ELS of every 67 letters in Zechariah 4:10-5:9. And just to prove that the encoded text-string means exactly what I am claiming it means, the screenshot below documents what happens if you have Google translator translate the above encoded text-string into English:
I think what the encrypted statement of Zechariah 4 is referring to is blatantly obvious at this point and needs no explanation. However, for those of you who might still be confused, I think the following passage from Luke’s precious gospel should clear your confusion right up. Behold:
And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.(Luke 9:28-36, KJV)
As we can clearly see, the encrypted statement in Zechariah 4 is a divine hint, telling us that the two olive trees are the two men standing on the mountain next to Jesus.2 This is an undeniable allusion to Moses & Elijah appearing on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus as described in the synoptic gospels.
It is interesting to note that the encoded message is worded as if the encoder knows that the reader will know exactly what he is talking about—despite the fact that the prophecy containing the encoded message was written almost six centuries before the Gospels containing the records of the transfiguration were written. This reveals yet once again that the hand responsible for the Bible codes is not bound by the laws of time and space, as it proves that he had the foreknowledge all the way back in 520 BC when this prophecy was recorded, that three books which would later be known as the synoptic gospels would be written, which would contain a written record of Moses and Elijah standing next to Jesus on a mountain. What is more, it also also suggests that he knew that these books would be assembled together with the book of Zechariah into one volume, and that he knew the reader would have personal access to this unified body of writings.
The symbolism of the two witnesses
Contrary to mainstream evangelical teaching, the prophecy of Revelation 11 is not saying that Moses and Elijah are going to come to earth during the first half of the seven year tribulation, preach for three and a half years, and then be killed. This would be impossible, as we know that it is only appointed unto man to die once physically (Heb. 9:27), and we know that Moses already died physically way back around 1406 BC (Deut. 34:5-6). What is more, the description of the physical appearances of Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration makes very clear that both of these men now inhabit glorified bodies–making physical death for them both impossible as well as unnecessary. As always, the language of the prophets is figurative, and we must guard ourselves against the temptation to interpret their words too literally.3
Moses and Elijah both function in the prophetic visions of Revelation 11, Zechariah 4, and Luke 9–as symbols for other things. It has been observed by some that these two Old Testament characters appear to make two other appearances in Luke’s writings in addition to the transfiguration. This is based on the informed guess that the two mysterious unidentified men who appear at the grave of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 24:4), and also appear at Jesus’ resurrection at the beginning of the book of Acts (Acts 1:10)—are also Moses and Elijah. If this conclusion is correct, then we have a total of three appearances of Moses and Elijah in Luke’s writings:
- The appearance with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36).
- The appearance at the grave of Jesus after his resurrection (Luke 24:4-7).
- The appearance at the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:10-11).
Based on this observation, it has been argued that Moses and Elijah function in Luke’s writings as literary symbols for the two halves of the Hebrew Scriptures, namely—the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 7:12; 22:40; Luke 16:16; John 1:45; Acts 13:15; 24:14; 28:23; Rom. 3:21). The logic behind this view is that Moses, as the great lawgiver of Israel, represents the Law. Likewise, Elijah, who was considered by the Jews to have been the greatest of the Hebrew prophets–represents the Prophets.4
When viewed through this interpretive lens, the three appearances of these two characters in Luke’s writings become a sort of prophetic allegory which states that the Law and the Prophets testify of the death (Luke 9:31), burial & resurrection (Luke 24:4-7), and second coming of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:10-11).5 In that sense, they are “the two witnesses.”
This interpretation is 100% correct. However, it must be noted that the Law & the Prophets were merely figures for the time then present (Heb 9:9), when the canon was not yet fully developed. At the time that Luke’s Gospel was written, the canon of Sacred Writ consisted exclusively of the Hebrew Scriptures, that is–the Old Testament. On a prophetic level, the Law & the Prophets signify the two halves of the completed Holy Bible, that is—the Old and New Testaments. Bearing witness to the truth of this is the fact that the very word “testament” literally means: “witness.” The two testaments are quite literally the two witnesses.
Moses is the author of the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, and is the mediator of the Old covenant (John 1:17; cf. Heb. 9:15; 12:24). As such, he symbolizes the Old Testament (“the Law”). This truth is attested by the Apostle Paul, who views Moses as a symbol of the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Cor. 3:13-14). In contrast, Elijah was a minister of the Active Word,6 and his ministry prefigured the many miracles that would be conducted by Christ and his disciples under the new covenant, such as: miraculously multiplying food (1 Kings 17:11-16), healing the sick, raising the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24), and so forth. Accordingly, Elijah symbolizes the New Testament (“the Prophets”).
Identity of the two witnesses affirmed by the vision of Zechariah 4
This notion that the two witnesses are Moses and Elijah, who signify the Law and the Prophets, which signify the Old and New Testaments–is affirmed by the prophecy of Zechariah 4, in which the two witnesses are depicted as two olive trees standing on either side of a golden candlestick with a golden bowl on top of it that is being fed with oil by the two olive trees. As I have already demonstrated in a previous article, the golden candlestick is (on one level) a divinely designed symbolic prefiguring of the completed biblical canon. The three branches plus the shaft contain a total of 39 knops, almonds, and flowers (signifying the 39 books of the Protestant Old Testament), while the remaining three branches contain a total of 27 knops, almonds, and flowers (signifying the 27 books of the New Testament).7
Taken together, the prophetic vision of Zechariah 4 is on one level a prophetic image of the Old and New Testaments being merged together to become one unified biblical canon. The golden oil from the left olive tree symbolizes the words of the Old Testament writers, while the golden oil from the right olive tree symbolizes the words of the New Testament writers. Both are poured out into the golden bowl and are received by the golden candlestick who rightly divides them and brings them to life. Thus one meaning of the vision is that the words of the Old Testament writers and the New Testament writers become one unified testimony of Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible. Zechariah saw and recorded this 2,000 years before it actually happened!8
When we go back and plug in the identities of the two witnesses into the prophecy of Revelation 11, the meaning of the prophecy is unlocked. What we have in Revelation 11 is a highly symbolic veiled foretelling of the Satanic war against the Holy Bible, which began at the dawn of the European Enlightenment and reached its conclusion in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Rev. 11:1-6 foretells a period of 1,260 years in which the two testaments would prophesy under the rule of Papal Rome (Rev. 13:5; Dan. 7:25), during which time their true meaning would be kept hidden by the cloth of the Papist theologians and scholars (Rev. 11:3).9 When that time period ended (at the dawn of the European Enlightenment), Satan declared an all-out war on the Holy Bible which would reach its climax in the latter half of the nineteenth century, ultimately culminating in the apparent “death” of God’s two testaments in the eyes of the unbelieving world.
Since that time, it has appeared as if Satan and the world deceived by him has triumphed and gotten the ultimate victory over God’s two testaments–which are no longer viewed as the divinely inspired Word of God, and no longer have any kind of significant influence upon the secular culture (Rev. 11:10). Nevertheless, the prophetic vision states that just prior to the second coming of Jesus–an outpouring of prophetic revelation the likes of which this world has never seen is going to shake both the heavens and the earth, and at that time God’s two witnesses will be brought back to life before the eyes of the entire unbelieving world who hates them, and will be exalted as the highest of all authorities (Rev. 11:12-13). I have written about this at much greater length in a previous article.10
- I discovered this ELS code on November 12, 2021.
- Keep in mind that the prophetic vision containing this encoded message was written in 520 BC, over five centuries before Jesus was even born!
- That is not to imply that the words of God are not literally true. Rather, I am saying that God uses figurative language to convey and communicate literal truths.
- Ehrman, Bart D. “Luke’s Second Volume: The Acts of The Apostles.” In The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, Third ed., 137. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Ehrman, 137.
- The Active Word is the Holy Spirit
- This ornamental design is based on the description of the golden candlestick given in Exodus 25:31-40.
- The Protestant biblical canon (the specific canon symbolized by the golden candlestick) did not come into existence until the latter half of the sixteenth century.
- Analogy taken from William Tyndale’s “On The Obedience of the Christian Man”
- For a truly in depth discussion of the war on the Bible, I would also recommend reading the Cambridge History of the Bible, Volume 3.