One of the greatest interpretive challenges for modern preterists concerns the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11.
If Revelation 1-19 is primarily about the first century persecution of the Church and the Roman-Jewish War, then who were these two figures?
Were they historical individual figures?
Or are they symbolic?
The text itself doesn’t provide any obvious clues to lead us to the identities of two specific individuals. In fact, the description of the two witnesses only seems to confound the difficulty from preterist literalist perspective. We are given the following descriptions.
- They shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth (v. 3).
- They are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks (v. 4).
- Fire comes out of their mouth and devours their enemies (v. 5).
- They have the power to cause drought, waters to turn to blood and all sorts of plagues (v. 6).
- The beast from the bottomless pit shall make war against them and kill them (v. 7).
- Their bodies will lie in the streets of the “Great City,” but after three-and-a-half days, they will be bodily resurrected and will ascend to heaven (vv. 8-12).
- Immediately afterward, there will be an earthquake. One-tenth of the city will fall and 7,000 people will be killed (v. 13).