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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  3 Comments
Two witness

In this brief series I am providing “talking points” in answer to common questions. I hope these are helpful.

Who are the two witnesses?

(1) Be aware: this is recognized on all hands to be one of the more difficult identifications in Revelation.

(2) Somehow these witnesses relate to Moses and Elijah in that imagery from their ministries appear in the passage (water to blood and drought, v6).

(3) They also related to Zechariah’s prophecy of the gold lampstand and two olive trees in Zech 4:2-3, which speak of the rebuilding of the OT temple under Joshua (priest) and Zerubbabel (governor).

(4) In both allusions we have reference to the original founding of Israel as a nation and the re-establishment of it after the Babylonian exile.

Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.)
Technical studies on Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, the great tribulation,
Paul’s Man of Sin, and John’s Revelation
See more study materials at: 

(5) Thus, the two witnesses represent the founding of a new order for Israel upon the ruins of the old, earthly Israel. This is the church of Jesus Christ. Remember: Jesus said he will take the kingdom from Israel and give it to a nation bearing the fruit thereof. (Mt 21:43). Despite the persecution of Christianity it shall arise from apparent defeat.

The Climax of the Book of Revelation (Rev 19-22)
Six lectures on six DVDs that introduce Revelation as a whole,
then focuses on its glorious conclusion.
See more study materials at:

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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.


Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 100 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.


  1. Hi Ken,
    I have been thinking of who the two witnesses could be ever since listening to your lecture series on Revelation. As you have stated many times the book of Revelation is a symbolic book so these ‘two witnesses’ are not to be taken literally i.e., they are not real people. So if they are symbolic (and they are) then the scriptures themselves will tell us who the two witness are. Romans 3:21 says “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”.

    In at least 17 places in the OT and NT the law and the prophets are tied together as witnesses to both Israel and the NT saints.

    Appreciate your comments.


    • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. July 10, 2014 at 6:30

      Ken and David:

      The view each of you states is a leading understanding of this mysterious portion of Revelation. However, I believe that it refers to historical individuals in the first century. We must remember that even a symbolic book must have some literal features. Otherwise it would be impossible to understand; there would be nothing to which we could tag the symbols. And we should recognize that a major point of Revelation is to deal with the question of martyrs. In fact, the famous Rev 20 millennium is specifically related only to martyrs (the beheaded who had not worshiped the beast).

      You two have motivated me to post a fuller study on the two witnesses later. Keep checking back! It may be morning, it may be noon, it may be evening and it may be soon. 🙂

  2. My understanding is the two witnesses represented the Law (moses) and the Prophets (Elija), and that by reviewing the law and prophets the Jewish people in the land would understand why the destruction of the holy land was happening.

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