“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1,260 days. “These two prophets are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of all the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die. They have power to shut the sky so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy. And they have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish.” Revelation 11:3-6
In these verses, two unusual characters are introduced, described as two witnesses who shall prophesy 1,260 days. This is exactly three and one-half years or forty-two months of thirty days each, and is unquestionably related to either the first three and one-half years or the latter three and one-half years of the seven years of Daniel 9:27. Expositors have differed as to which of the two periods is in view here. From the fact, however, that the two witnesses pour out divine judgments upon the earth and need divine protection lest they be killed, it implies that they are in the latter half of the seven years when awful persecution will afflict the people of God, as this protection would not be necessary in the first three and one-half years. The punishments and judgments the witnesses inflict on the world also seem to fit better in the great tribulation period.
These verses record the miraculous powers given to the two witnesses. Anyone who attempts to hurt them will be destroyed by fire proceeding out of their mouths. This is at once a judgment of God upon their enemies and a means of protection of the two witnesses, so that no one can lay a hand on them. A parallel is found in the prophetic ministry of Elijah, who on two occasions called fire from heaven upon the company of fifty soldiers sent to arrest him. The third company was delivered from this judgment only because they besought Elijah for their lives (2 Kings 1).
References to these two witnesses are found in Zechariah 4. John is once again using Old Covenant prophecy, from the Torah, in order to help us more fully understand New Covenant truth. They are the two who bring oil and serve the Lord. “Then he said to me, “They represent the two anointed ones who stand in the court of the Lord of all the earth.” (Zechariah 4v14) this has to do with the anointing of God’s Word. Repentance only becomes a reality when the anointed Word of God is revealed. It is within a Scriptural framework that we are enabled to repent, serve God and understand what He is up to.