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. 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. 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 11:3-6)
Although God has raptured His church, He will raise various witnesses up to proclaim the truth. There will be three specific witnesses that we will note; one, the heavenly angels; two, the 144,000 Jewish witnesses; and three, the two witnesses that will preach openly.
The two witnesses will come on the scene at the beginning of the tribulation period. They will not be born into the world but will be sent from God. Yes, God could bring them into the world through birth (He alone has this power), but I donít believe He will. These will be men sent from heaven, who will have heavenly bodies equipped especially for the task at hand. God will supply them with supernatural powers and they will not be able to be killed until their mission is complete. When the antichrist does kill them, God will have allowed it. Iím sure Satan will think he has won, but heís only walking deeper into the trap.
There has been much speculation regarding the two witnesses and their identities. I believe they will be Moses and Elijah, because they appeared with Jesus at the transfiguration. But whoever they are, they will be a devastating combination.
Their message will be one of repentance, judgment and preparation for the coming King. They will be dressed in sackcloth and their ministry will last the first three and a half years of the tribulation period. Although many will try, no one will be able to harm them. They will be given special powers to kill their enemies with fire or whatever means their enemies attempt to kill them. They will have the power to stop the rain from falling for the full three and a half years. They will have the power to turn water to blood, to call fire down from heaven and to bring massive plagues on the earth. Anyone who attempts to stop them from fulfilling their earthly ministry will be literally destroyed. No man or army will be able to stop or hinder their mission, not even the antichrist.
Yes, both the antichrist and the Lordís two witnesses will be on the scene at the same time, but he will be powerless against them. But at the conclusion of the three and a half years they will be killed by him. This will be touched on in greater detail later.
The second group of witnesses, the 144,000 Jews, will be sealed for the work of God. They will be set aside to preach the message of salvation to the entire world and will have the seal of God on their foreheads as protection. Many will be saved during their ministry as stated in Revelation 7:9-17. I believe their mission will last throughout the seven years of the tribulation and will carry right on into the millennium.
The third group of witnesses are angels. During the course of the tribulation period, angels will visibly appear in the sky preaching to the inhabitants of the earth. Their message will be of repentance and warning not to take the mark of the beast. This will be elaborated on more fully later on.