The two witnesses in this chapter are pictures of the church. These two figures represent who the church has been called to be. For God’s people, facts were established by the testimony of two or more witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1). Here, we have two witnesses.
I’m pretty sure this chapter describes the age of the church, as it goes about witnessing to the good news of Jesus Christ. The church is called to proclaim it. This is our mission.
Of course, some interesting things happen during the ministry of these two witnesses.
They are dressed in sackcloth – a sign of mourning. Do we proclaim the gospel with the appropriate sense of humility? We are saved by grace. We did not earn our position with Christ. It was given to us as a gift.
And our message is for those who are lost – and who will be lost if they don’t repent by turning to Christ. The deadly peril the world faces ought to make us humble.
The two witnesses also seem to have the authority of the Old Testament prophets. Remember Elijah and Moses and the miracles that occurred during their ministries. Elijah’s life was marked during a time by drought. There was no rain. And Moses, of course, saw water turned to blood, along with a bunch of other plagues.
And so we are reminded of these great prophets of old. The church carries on their legacy in the world, as ambassadors for God. Do we think of ourselves in this way? We are part of a long line of those who walk closely with God – and who run after him.
The two witnesses also were hugely successful, and then completely destroyed, and then completely resurrected. It’s a picture of the life of Christ, really. This is the of life the church, too.
And the world feels the witnesses are a “torment.”
I’m not sure what to make of this chapter, how to apply it to life today, other than to recall the way in which the message of Christ is not well-taken by the world. Those who willingly stand outside of God’s grace will not want to hear what we have to say. And the church is opposed by one who comes out of the “bottomless pit” – that’s Satan.
Being the church means something. Do we understand this?