This article will present a very different theoretical idea as to these two men. Some readers may want to get their tin hats ready, but the concept is plausible.
Rev 11:1-14 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. 3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly."
We see in verse 3 that the two witnesses are wearing sackcloth. These are garments made of coarsely woven of goat's hair, and they are worn as an expression of mourning, particularly mourning for sins. So these two witnesses are calling mankind to repentance.
Over the years there has been discussion among Christians regarding the identity of the two witnesses. Some say that these two witnesses are simply two righteous Jews of the time who God empowers in this special way, but I disagree: God raises up 144,000 righteous Jews during that time, not 144,002. Most agree that the witnesses are either Elijah and Enoch, because they never died, or Elijah and Moses, because they also stopped the rain and turned water to blood as we see in vs. 6 and because they appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration Matt. 17:2-3.
They must be mortal because in vs. 7 they are killed and in vs. 11 they are resurrected. Heb. 9:27 states "it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment". This statement absolutely rules out reincarnation, therefore it also rules out any person who has already died from being one of the two witnesses. While the turning of waters to blood in vs. 6 is something that Moses did in Exodus 4, Deut. 31:5 says "So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord." Scripture states Moses died, therefore Moses cannot be one of the two witnesses.
Most agree that the first witness is Elijah. Elijah was a prophet in the days of King Ahab, and the stopping of rain stated in vs. 6 is reminiscent of what he did. King Ahab was married to Jezebel, a Baal worshipper, and Elijah is introduced in I Kings 17:1 when he says to King Ahab, "Itís not going to rain again until I say so!" (Broad paraphrase) God then instructs Elijah to flee, and a drought begins which produces famine in the land. Elijah eventually arrives at the home of the widow of Zarephath who has only a handful of meal and a little oil which she planned to prepare for herself and her son, after which they would die. Elijah asks her to prepare food for himself first because the Lord had told him that her oil and meal would not be used up until the rain came. The widow honors Elijahís request and just as he said, her food supply lasted during the drought. Later Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal: he has a showdown with the spiritual powers, not the king, and the confrontation results in the people of Israel once again deciding to serve the true God.
Elijah's exit from earth was different from most, but it was not a rapture as we normally think of the event. This page establishes the following definition of the rapture: the singular event in conjunction with the resurrection when living believers will experience a change from a mortal body to a glorified, resurrection body and will travel into the air to meet the Lord Jesus, then will accompany him, without means of a space vehicle or any natural life support system, into heaven.
Elijahís departure is described differently. 2 Kings 2:1-12 "And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. 5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. 8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces."
It was known by Elijah, Elisha and the sons of the prophets at Bethel and Jericho that Elijah was leaving that day.
The Old Testament concludes with these words in Mal 4:5-6: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." The next thing that happens in scripture is Gabriel telling Zacharias that John the Baptist would be born (Luke 1:17) "And he shall go before him (Messiah) in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Gabriel did not say that John was Elijah, but that he came 'in the spirit and power of Elijah', which is the Holy Spirit which John was filled with (Luke 1:15) from his mother's womb. In a discussion regarding John the Baptist and the Kingdom of Heaven (which I believe is the millennium), Jesus said, (Matt 11:14) "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." In the verse, "it" is the Kingdom of Heaven. According to Jesus, if the Jewish people would accept the Kingdom of Heaven, which necessarily involved accepting him as king, then John the Baptist would be the fulfillment of Malachiís Elijah prophecy. In his foreknowledge, God knew that Jesus would be rejected, but in his righteousness he gave man the option of accepting Jesus. Since Jesus was rejected, the Malachi prophecy remains to be fulfilled, and that fulfillment will occur during the tribulation. Elijah definitely qualifies to be one of the two witnesses.
I believe the second witness is Enoch. Like Elijah, Enoch never died. Gen 5:21-24 says, "And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Heb. 11:5 tells us Enoch was translated (defined as: NT:3346 to transfer, i.e. (literally) transport, (by implication) exchange (reflexively) change sides, or (figuratively) pervert) because he had pleased God. The last mention of Enoch (by name) is found in Jude 14-15 where he is quoted as prophesying the second advent of Jesus. Jude 14-15 says, "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." So we learn that, like Elijah, Enoch was a prophet.
So the question arises as to how Enoch and Elijah were taken from the earth. There is not a lot of information regarding Enoch. Scripture simply states "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." The verse does not say how or where God took him, only that he did. According to Heb. 11:5 Enoch was translated, and the word means to transfer to another place. This word does not mean to change, it means to move. It does not imply that Enoch's body was changed in any way, but that he now occupies a different place.
We have a better description of Elijah's departure. II Kings. 2:11 "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." Horses and chariots were the fastest method of transportation at the time. This is a vehicle that was brightly lit, whirled around in a circular motion, and was capable of space flight. Like Nahum's description of expressways (Nahum 2:4), the author of II Kings described the vehicle in terms that people of that time would understand.
In these passages there is no mention of Enoch or Elijah receiving a glorified resurrection body at the time they left earth. Speaking of the resurrection and the glorified body, I Cor. 15:23 tells us Jesus is the firstfruits and afterward those that are his at his coming. This verse absolutely excludes Enoch and Elijah from having received a resurrection body before they left. Further, a resurrection body is immortal, it is not subject to death and Rev. 11:7 tells us the two witnesses will be killed and vs. 11-12 tell us they will be resurrected. Because Enoch and Elijah left this earth as mortal men they qualify to be the two witnesses.
We are not told the circumstances of how the two witnesses arrive on earth or where they arrive from. If they are Enoch and Elijah, I think they will arrive in the same manner in which they left. Elijah's departure is described, and I think it's reasonable to assume that Enoch left in the same way.
The Bible facts that they did not die, neither were they resurrected (or changed as living believers will be at the rapture) raises the question as to where they are now. We must rule out the possibility that they are in heaven, the dwelling place of God. It was not possible for any person to go to heaven until after the death and resurrection of Jesus. If it was possible, then Jesus did not need to die for the sins of man, and in fact, God could have simply reinstated Adam and Eve. John 1:18 says "No man hath seen God at any time." This verse also excludes Enoch and Elijah from being in heaven. They left as men, human beings, and if they were in heaven the possibility exists that they may have accidentally seen God at some point. In John 3:13 Jesus said, "And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the son of man which is in heaven." Jesus made no exceptions for Enoch and Elijah in this verse. They are not in heaven.
They are not in Paradise, or Abraham's bosom. This was the dwelling place of the righteous dead before the resurrection of Jesus, and there is no one there now. Eph. 4:8-9 says "Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth..)" Jesus emptied out Paradise when he was resurrected. The spirits and souls of the righteous dead have been in heaven since that time, but not Enoch and Elijah because they never died.
II Kings 2:11 plainly said Elijah was taken up to heaven. As is developed in the Genesis articles, there are three heavens: 1) the atmosphere - the first heaven; 2) the outer space area - the second heaven; and, 3) Ďplanetí heaven, the dwelling place of God - the third heaven. The Bible rules out the third heaven - it's just not possible for them to be there. We can also rule out the first heaven, the atmosphere, because they would have been found long ago and NASA would have tried to rescue them by now. But the second heaven, the outer space area, is a very likely possibility.
Satan is not a creator, he is a counterfeiter and perverter of the genuine things of God. UFOs are playing a part in the endtime delusion that is coming upon the world. Ancient art depicts recognizable UFOs, and people all over the world have seen them, some even claiming to have been abducted and subjected to experimentation by the beings on them. Whole books have been produced through communication with the 'aliens', but in nearly every case, the people who have encounters with these aliens have been, at some point in their lives, playing around with the occult. This seems to open the door. The communications that come forth from these aliens are always occultic and present the cosmic gospel. As I said, Satan is a counterfeiter of the genuine things of God. So the question is: does God have a space craft? I believe he does and that it's complete with a life support system and any other provision required to sustain mortal, human life as God sees fit.
My theory is this: I believe that Enoch and Elijah are on that spacecraft today. According to the article by Charles Camplejohn (click here for quote), if a space craft traveling at 99.999999% the speed of light were to take a trip to the center of our galaxy, it would arrive there in twenty-seven days while at the same time twenty-seven thousand years would pass on earth, thus one day does equal one thousand years as is stated in Ps. 90:4 and II Pet. 3:8.
I don't think it's necessary that the ship be traveling at that speed, but possibly somewhat faster than any speed that man can attain. If Adam was created in about 4000 B.C., then Enoch has been on that ship for a minimum of six days, and Elijah has been aboard for about two and one-half days. The actual time would be as adjusted by the speed, but God is able. If this theory is anywhere close to fact, then it is also perfectly reasonable for Enoch and Elijah to return to earth in the same way that they left.
Satan is a counterfeiter. Over the past several years we have been treated to Star Trek, Star Wars, ET, Communion, Fire in the Sky, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Independence Day, etc. Mankind is being conditioned to accept the idea of alien life forms that will benevolently help man solve his problems (or alternatively take over the earth). Jacques Vallee is a UFO researcher who studied the phenomenon for years (the French character in Close Encounters is based on Vallee). His final conclusion was that UFOs are real, they are spiritual, and they are evil. Massive UFO abduction may be one of the major explanations that will be given to mankind following the rapture, but it will be a sorry day for the devil and his boy the antichrist. I think it's entirely possible that God's spacecraft will land on earth, and Enoch and Elijah will step off and begin proclaiming the word of God.