Lee Harmon on the Two Witnesses

Lee Harmon on the Two Witnesses July 6, 2013

James Bradford Pate has been blogging about a book by Lee Harmon on the Book of Revelation.

One of the most interesting things I noticed is Harmon’s suggestion that the two witnesses in Revelation 11 could be the priests Jesus and Ananus, both of whom are killed, in close connection to which (according to Josephus) an earthquake occurs.

It is always interesting to try to find historical references that an ancient apocalyptic author had in mind. And it is certainly not inappropriate to make the attempt. But as James notes, the stance of these two individuals scarcely fits Harmon’s suggestion that John of Gischala wrote the Book of Revelation, and Ananus’ execution of James the brother of Jesus makes him an unlikely candidate to be considered a true prophet by the Christian author of the Book of Revelation. Of course, one could suggest (following George Beasley-Murray) that the book we now have is a Christian redaction of an earlier Jewish work, which had such features. But if so, then that means the final Christian author didn’t understand at least some of what its earlier author(s) intended.

And so I mention this proposal as an example of how easily (relatively speaking) one can construct a theory based on some evidence, if one is willing to overlook the larger number of places where the evidence does not fit.

In conclusion, let me mention that speculation about the identity of the two witnesses is a longstanding pastime in some Christian circles. Here’s what some futurist interpreters think they’ll look like:

 

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