Read Revelation 11:3-6. In what ways do the two witnesses reflect Zerubbabel and Joshua in their royal and priestly roles? See Zech. 4:2-3, Zech. 4:11-14.
The idea of two witnesses comes from the Jewish legal system, which requires at least two witnesses to establish something as true (John 8:17).
The two witnesses represent the Bible – both Old and New Testaments. The two cannot be separated. God’s people are called to proclaim the full Bible message to the world – “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27, NKJV).
The witnesses are pictured as prophesying in sackcloth during the prophetic period of 1,260 days/years (A.D. 538-1798). Sackcloth is the garment of mourning (Gen. 37:34); it points to the difficult time when the truths of the Bible were buried, and covered over, by human traditions.
Read Revelation 11:7-13. In your own words, describe what happened to the two witnesses at the end of the prophetic 1,260 days/years.
The beast that kills the two witnesses arises from the very abode of Satan. This killing of the witnesses applies historically to the atheistic attack on the Bible and the abolition of religion in connection with the events of the French Revolution. The antireligious system established in France possessed the moral degradation of Sodom, the atheistic arrogance of Egypt, and the rebelliousness of Jerusalem. What happened to Jesus in Jerusalem now happens to the Bible by this antireligious system.
The resurrection of the witnesses points to the great revival of interest in the Bible in the aftermath of the French Revolution, which resulted in the rise of the Second Advent movement with its restoration of Bible truth, the establishment of Bible societies, and the worldwide distribution of the Bible.
Right before the end, the world will witness one final global Bible proclamation (Rev. 18:1-4). This final message will provoke opposition empowered by the demonic entities working miracles to deceive the world and draw worshipers of the beast into a final battle against God’s faithful witnesses (see Rev. 16:13-16, Rev. 14:12).