Revelation Chapter 11 and The Identity of God’s Two Witnesses

by Joshua Tilghman on November 3, 2013

The two witnessesMany Christians have sought the true identity of God’s two witnesses in chapter 11 of the book of Revelation. If you look into almost any Biblical commentary, you’ll usually find the argument that the two witnesses are either Enoch and Elijah, or Moses and Elijah. Such associations are fruitless.

When I was a young Christian, I thought that the two witnesses had to be Enoch and Elijah since the Bible seemed to indicate that neither one of them had experienced physical death. That theory was shattered for me when I read the list of Biblical men who lived by faith in Hebrews. At the end of that list, it says all these men died. Enoch is in that list. The theory that Elijah was one of the witnesses was also shattered when I learned that after his being taking up into heaven in a chariot, he wrote a letter to the king on earth, hardly the actions of a man residing with God in heaven! (I’ll discuss the esoteric meaning of Elijah’s ascension in another post).

To make a long story short, I gave up trying to figure out the identity of the two witnesses. It wasn’t until many years later when I would actually begin to uncover the keys to deeper Biblical interpretation that I could even begin to understand such Biblical identities. Today we’ll explore those deeper Biblical interpretations.

For starters, God’s two witnesses are not individual people. Their identity is not so limited; they encompasses a much grander truth that will one day be found in you!

In order to show you this, we’re going to have to dissect the entire chapter of Revelation 11. I am going to do this in a series since we will have to explain many terms to understand the book as whole. I am not going to dissect Revelation chapter 11 in order because I believe it will benefit the reader better if we first look at the identity of the two witnesses and then return to the rest of the chapter.

People who have read previous posts on my series of the Book of Revelation already know that the book is filled with symbolism and metaphor representing the transformation of the individual by the concept known as kundalini in the East and the Holy Spirit in the West. In this series we’ll break down a lot of additional symbols helping to bring the original teachings of John’s Revelation back to general public.

Let’s begin by looking at the verses dealing directly with the two witnesses. As God is speaking to John, he states:

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man hurt them, fire proceedeth our of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” (Rev. 11:3-5).

The identity of the two witnesses

Who are these two witnesses? The author of Revelation gives us a few clues. The first clue is that they will wear sackcloth. Sackcloth is a symbol for the act of disciplining the soul. The act of disciplining the soul is the first stage to developing a greater, expanded consciousness. When we discipline the soul, our conscious vibration begins to increase.

The author also states that “fire” proceeds from their mouths. This is another clue, and it’s obviously metaphorical. Literal humans don’t breathe fire from their mouths!

In the ancient world, fire was the closest concept in the physical that related to the conscious spiritual energy known as the Holy Spirit in the West and kundalini in the East. Fire has always been an important spiritual term in all religious traditions. John the Baptist stated that Jesus would baptize with fire (the Holy Spirit), and kundalini was often referred to as the “fiery serpent” in the East. It is interesting to note that in the Old Testament the Israelites were bitten by “fiery serpents,” and when Moses lifted up the bronze serpent (serpent forged by fire) on the pole, all those who were bitten and looked upon it were healed! (Exodus 21:8). As you can see, religious ideas from both the East and West have a common denominator. It is only terminology that separates the two.

Fire brings both destruction and new life. Just as it has the ability to burn up the old and provide the environment for new life, the Holy Spirit and kundalini is the spiritual realm equivalent of a conscious energy to purge the dross (lower thoughts and emotions) of our consciousness.

It has been said that kundalini resembles the serpent because it resides dormant at the base of the spine in 3 ½ coils (more on why 3 ½ here). Notice how the two witnesses shall prophecy for “a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” This comes to 3 ½ years. This lets us know that the author of Revelation was familiar with the Eastern concept of kundalini.

The author also states that the two witnesses are the two olive trees and candlesticks before God. Now we can reveal the true identity of the two witnesses. They are none other than symbols for Love and Wisdom, divine attributes of God which is the power and spirit to overcome the lower consciousness of the individual and the process of revealing the God within us. This is the job of the Holy Spirit/kundalini.

But the process is not an easy one. In the spiritual evolutionary journey of the soul, Love and Wisdom are first cut off and killed by desire (the beast of Revelation). But in the end they revive. This is why the two witnesses die, and then resurrect.

“And when they (the two witnesses) 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” (Rev. 11:7).

“And after three days and half the spirit of life from God entered in unto them, and they stood upon their feet…” (Rev. 11:11).

Did you notice the number 3 ½ again in Rev 11:11? This signifies the dormant energy known as kundalini, and the “standing upon their feet”–upon their feet signifies it’s being raised.

In Rev 11: 7, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit are the desires of the ego. These desires always cut off Love and Wisdom in the beginnings of our soul’s journey. The author of Revelation refers to them as the “beast” from the “bottomless pit” because the desire nature is NEVER satisfied, and it truly leads to a bottomless pit of despair and enslavement. It is the beast within us that needs that is so hard to overcome in our early spiritual journey. Ask anyone who is hooked on something they can’t defeat! In my life’s journey I have found this to be true as I still haven’t completely conquered my desire nature.

Our desire nature has a funny way off cutting us off from truth, and in the same way that Love and Wisdom are killed off by the desire nature of lower ego, so does the fiery serpent in return kill off the lower ego by burning up (in a spiritual sense) the limitation of subjective consciousness and expanding the mind to greater truth. The ego is so limited. It perceives through mental and emotional subjective consciousness. Our aim should be a greater objective consciousness. One of the definitions of being objective is to be undistorted by emotion and personal bias. Higher consciousness brings us beyond the thoughts and emotions of our personal biases. Have you ever had that “aha” moment, when you begin to see something objectively instead of just subjectively?

So there you have it. The two witnesses are the Love and Wisdom of God, born in us through the raising of the fiery serpent! The higher conscious vibrations of Love and Wisdom allow us to perceive objectively as far as our mental and emotional consciousness is concerned. It is then that we become less judgmental and more productive because we are aligning with truths of the universe. It is also then that we begin to realize Christ consciousness.

In the next post we will return to verse 1 of Revelation 11 and plug in some of the meanings from the symbols and metaphors learned in this post to understand the chapter in its entirety. We’ll learn more about how these stages of spiritual development proceed because we can gain a greater understanding of the many symbols provided throughout the chapter.


Part 1 / Part 2

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia November 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Recently came across your site and I have been on my quest and digging deep for a long time as well. Very happy to have crossed your path. Keep uplifting, encouraging and revealing. Your light is shining.


Joshua Tilghman November 5, 2013 at 7:39 pm


Glad you found the site. I certainly remember my many late nights of digging into the deeper truths of the Bible. I knew there had to be more. It’s a breath of fresh air to know what we are naturally feeling and thinking isn’t wrong even though we may have been taught it was. Blessings!


Kent November 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Great post Joshua! The two witnesses can also be related to the ida and pingala nadis of kundalini yoga. Ida refers to the chandra (yin) energies of the moon while pingala refers to the surya (yang) energies of the sun. They are represented as the coils rising and wrapping around the center pole (spine) in the caduceus.


Joshua Tilghman November 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm


very true. All the ancient religious texts share the same knowledge albeit different symbols.


Betty Alark November 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

“Fire brings both destruction and new life. Just as it has the ability to burn up the old and provide the environment for new life, the Holy Spirit and kundalini is the spiritual realm equivalent of a conscious energy to purge the dross (lower thoughts and emotions) of our consciousnes.”

Josh, I stated in a prior post that Jesus came to show us the way via of the teachings /walking in the way of loving one another. When a person walks in the way of the teachings/ loving one another, the process that you speak of that is brought about via of meditation still takes place. Since love overcometh all things.

The Holy Spirit burns away the lower thoughts and emotions as we encounter situations that allow us to put love into practice. We learn as we experience and realize/pay attention to the lower self and express an inner willingness to change old ways of thinking and being.

From my understanding/ which I am provided with greater understanding via your post, is that as a result of what Jesus did on the cross and the resurrection- what you speak of via meditation is taking place automatically.

Granted meditation provides discipline but we still need to experience in order to bear witness to self and having a willingness to change.

Were the eastern yogis that practiced meditation able to put into action love and wisdom more readily as a result of practicing medation?

What happens once a person reaches kundalini? Does that person act and react/cause and effect only in love and wisdom?

I’m thankful for this work that you are doing, Josh very grateful indeed!


Joshua Tilghman November 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm


Yes, the ancients Yogis were able to put into action love and wisdom. And yes, when a person has a true kundalini experience, they are changed forever. I quote an excerpt from the book, The Science of Spirituality, by Lee Bladon. Mr. Bladon gets his information from ancient Eastern religious texts, but simplifies it by stating:

“When we achieve enlightenment, kundalini (a powerful type of subtle energy) which is stored in the base chakra rushes up the etheric spine and out the top of the head through the crown chakra. The kundalini burns away the etheric web and forms a new protective shield, but a finer one that allows consciousness to objectively perceive the emotional and mental worlds. At that advanced stage our consciousness is sufficiently developed to deal with phenomena from the subtle world, but the average person is not.”

Of course the quote above does not deal with love and wisdom per se, but a true kundalini experience cannot take place until the person is spiritually ready. This readiness is the result of a profound evolution and development of consciousness.

I have read the people have kundalini experiences and it results in nothing but pain and problems, but I highly doubt this experience was on the same level as the ones discussed in scripture.


Tracy August 21, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Ive always seen the two witnesses as the holy spirit and the Christ. I am that I am. But I guess its all terminology that though different is saying the same thing. I know I am meant to be a witness – to be still at all times (in awareness) of the present moment while intuitively living life. It feels natural.


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