Who are the two witnesses that appear in chapter 11?
The two witnesses that appear in chapter 11 are the two servants of God whom God would especially raise to save the people of Israel in the end times. To keep His promise made to Abraham, God would make these two prophets, who are sent to deliver the Israelites from sin, perform signs and miracles, and make the Israelites, led by them, return to Jesus Christ and believe in Him as their Savior. These two witnesses would feed the Word of God to the people of Israel for 1,260 days-that is, the first three and a half years of the seven-year period of the Great Tribulation. By spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the Israelites and making them believe in it through the two witnesses, God would give the Israelites the same salvation that He has given the Gentiles, just as the latter were saved from all their sins through faith.
Revelation 11:4 says, "These are the two olive trees and the
two lampstands standing before the God of the earth." There
are many different interpretations on the two olive trees; some
people even claim that they are the olive trees. The two olive trees
refer to the anointed ones. In the age of the Old Testament, people
were anointed when they were appointed as prophets, kings, or priests.
The Holy Spirit descended on them when they were anointed. As such,
the olive tree also refers to Jesus Christ, who was conceived of
the Holy Spirit (Romans 11:17).
However, looking at Revelation 11:1-"Then I was given a reed
like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, 'Rise and measure
the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.'"-we
should realize that the focus of chapter 11 is on the salvation
of the people of Israel. In other words, from this time would begin
the work of spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit to
the Israelites, of their deliverance from all their sins through
the grace of salvation given by Jesus Christ, and of their becoming
of the true people of God. Therefore, the two witnesses are the
two prophets of God whom He would raise in the end times to save
the people of Israel.
In the Bible, the lampstand refer to God's Church. As such, the two lampstands refer to God's Church founded among the Gentiles and the Church permitted to the Israelites. God is not only the Israelites' God, but He is also the Gentiles' God, for He is God of everyone. As such, among the Israelites and the Gentiles alike, God has established His Church in both of them, and through His Church He does the work of saving souls from sin until the very last day.
Since the Old Testament's time, the Israelites had prophets established by God's Law, and through them they heard the Word of God. They have the Law of Moses and the Prophets. As such, they know everything about the sacrificial system and the prophecies of the Old Testament, and this is why they require God's prophets who are appointed from their own people.
They also believe that they are the chosen people of God, and they therefore do not take it seriously nor listen when the Gentiles tell them of the Word of God. Thus, only when the prophets believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and appointed by God rise out of their own people would they finally accept and believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
This is why God Himself would establish the two prophets from the
people of Israel and send them to the Israelites. These prophets
would actually do many wonders that the well-known servants of God
in the Old Testament had done before. Revelation 11:5-6 tells us,
"And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth
and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he
must be killed in this manner. 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."
Unless these servants of God for the people of Israel have such power, the Israelites would not repent, and God would therefore clothe the two witnesses in His power. God would give the two witnesses His special power, so that they may preach all the Word of prophecy to the Israelites, and testify to them and make them believe that Jesus Christ is their long-awaited Messiah. Seeing the wonders actually performed by the two witnesses, the Israelites would then listen to them and return to Jesus Christ.
When the two witnesses complete their work of spreading the gospel
to the Israelites, the Antichrist would emerge in this world, stand
against their preaching of the gospel, and make them be martyred.
Revelation 11:8 tells us, "And their dead bodies will lie in
the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and
Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."
Having preached the gospel to all the Israelites and thus completed all the works of their calling, the two witnesses would then be killed in the place where Jesus was crucified before. This fact backs the interpretation that these two witnesses are from Israelites. For the people of Israel, they are the servants of God.
In conclusion, God would raise His two prophets to testify to the Israelites, who have refused to believe in Jesus Christ and have rejected Him, and who are like Sodom and Egypt spiritually, that Jesus is in fact their long-awaited Messiah, and through these two witnesses clothed in His power, God would make the Israelites believe in Jesus.