Scripture provides the following clue to the identity of the two witnesses.
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands
standing before the God of the earth.
The symbolism of the two olive trees and two lampstands is encountered in
a slightly different arrangement in the book of Zechariah.
Zech 4:2 And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I said,
"I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold
with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps
with seven pipes to the seven lamps.
:3 "Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl
and the other at its left."
:11 Then I answered and said to him, "What are these two olive
trees; at the right of the lampstand and at its left?"
:12 And I further answered and said to him, "What are these two
olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two
gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?"
:13 Then he answered me and said, "Do you not know what these
are?" And I said, "No, my lord."
:14 So he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand
beside the Lord of the whole earth."
NB: The words 'two anointed ones' is better rendered the
'two sons of fresh oil'.
These verses in Zechariah are as cryptic as those encountered in the book
of Revelation. However they do advise us that olive oil passes from the
olive trees to the lampstand.
To assist us in perceiving the identity of the olive trees and lampstands we
need to consider;
Rev 1:20 ... and the seven lampstands which you saw are the
This makes it apparent that a lampstand in bible symbolism is used to
represent a church.
The identity of the olive trees is less obvious. Yet we know that the
olive trees feed the church (or churches) with olive oil. The olive trees
are the source of olive oil. Nevertheless, as God the Father can not die,
they must be entities which exist separate from God Himself.
The church representing a lampstand converts the olive oil it receives
into light! (This light guides the footsteps of the members.)
Consideration of these issues suggests the olive oil represents the word of
God! Thus the church should continually feed upon the words of God in order
that it may be able to bring enlightened teaching to those in its presence.
(The holy spirit serves to bring the word of God to mind (John 14:26) to
assist in helping one understand how the word of God should be viewed.)
In a sense the olive trees represent the messengers through whom the inspired
words of God have been brought to the church. The writings of chosen men of
God such as Moses, Daniel, Paul and others form the olive tree witness!
Through such men olive oil is received by the congregation/church.
Did you know that in God's tabernacle
the showbread table and the golden
lampstand represent the two witnesses?
In the tabernacle the showbread table was placed outside the veil toward
the north and the lampstand was placed outside the veil toward the south.
The light from the lampstand illuminated the table. On the table was 12
cakes, ie the showbread. In this symbolism the showbread cakes represent
the 'spiritual food' God presented before the descendants of Jacob.
The clothing of the two witnesses in 'sackcloth' portrays the nature of
their witness. Their role was to state or provide the testimony of God.
They were to exercise humility, while delivering the message with an
appropriate level of certainty.
Since we are informed there are two olive trees and two lampstands then
each of the witnesses must have a dual nature.
In respect to the church and the chosen men of God a natural division exists
and this can be seen in relation to the old and new covenants. However, the
text of the prophecy is suggesting another division.
Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls
in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over
waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth
with all plagues, as often as they desire.
In this verse we encounter a deed of Moses (ie to turn waters to blood) and
a deed of Elijah (ie to shut up heaven). This suggests a law and prophets
In the Old Testament book of Zechariah we encounter two olive trees, but
only one lampstand. This implies the second lampstand was not present at
Therefore, it seems the two olive trees represent,
1) the Law
2) the Prophets
while the two lampstands represent,
1) the Old Covenant Church
2) the New Testament Church.