Your Answer:  Trees & Lampstands

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New American Standard Version of the Bible"And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. Revelation 11:3-5 (NAS)

The Two Witnesses: Lampstands:

Earlier in the Revelation, lampstands were used to symbolize the churches or congregations that belong to the Lord.  If that meaning is used here as well, then it would make sense that the followers of Jesus would be witnesses of God and Christ...and that they would be involved with telling about the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Jesus told His followers just prior to His ascension into Heaven:

New American Standard Version of the Bible"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20 (NAS)

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16"He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. Mark 16:15-16 (NAS)

Earlier, Jesus had warned his disciples of some things that would happen before the end would come...but that His followers would preach the gospel as a witness to the nations:

"And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. 12"And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. 13"But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. 14"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. Matthew 24:11-14 (NAS)

Two Witnesses - Olive Trees:

The two witnesses were symbolized not only by lampstands, but also by olive trees.  The only reference in the New Testament to the olive tree is where Jesus talks about the followers of God and Christ (again this body of believers called the "church") in Romans chapter 11.

Here, Paul speaks of the Jewish men and women and refers to them as the "natural" branches of the olive tree (since they were the blood relatives of Abraham and Israel).  Those who did not believe in Christ were broken off.  Paul refers to the Gentile Christians as the branches from the "wild" olive tree that are now grafted into Jesus' spiritual family, the church:

New American Standard Version of the Bible And if the first piece of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches are too. 17But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." 20Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 22Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 24For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? 25For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob." Romans 11:16-26 (NAS)

Those that harm the witnesses:

The Revelation contained this warning for those who would harm the witnesses:

New American Standard Version of the BibleAnd if anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and if anyone would desire to harm them, in this manner he must be killed. 6These have the power to shut up the sky, in order that rain may not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. Revelation 11:1-6 (NAS)

In the times in which the Revelation was written, many of the followers of Jesus faced intense persecution.  In Revelation 10:6, those who had been slain for the cause of Christ asked how long it would be until those who persecuted them would be judged, and their blood avenged.  Perhaps these verses in Revelation 11 would help them to understand that God would seek justice for those who persecute His followers...His witnesses.

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