Christ warned that false prophets and false Christs will show great signs and wonders with the intent to deceive people in the end times:
“(23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. (24) For there shall arise (25) Behold, I have told you before. (26) Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:23-26)
The prevalence of many false christs and false prophets at that time seeking to deceive people into believing them makes it imperative for people who do not want to follow the Antichrist to know how to distinguish between false christs and false prophets who want to lead them astray and the Two Witnesses.
In this article, I will provide you some ways to distinguish between false prophets and the Two Witnesses.
They Are Authentic Prophets
The first item distinguishing the Two Witnesses from the various false prophets of the end times is that the Two Witnesses are authentic prophets. We can conclude that the Two Witnesses are authentic prophets since Revelation 11:3 does not say that the Two Witnesses give false prophecies (in contrast with Revelation 19:20 which uses the term “false prophet” for Antichrist’s right-hand man who deceives people) while Revelation 11:10 directly refers to the Two Witnesses as “prophets”:
“(3) And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth… (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.” (Revelation 11:3, 10)
It is safe to assume that the topic(s) the Two Witnesses will prophesy about shall not contradict the Word of God or God’s Will. Deuteronomy 18:22 implies that a prophet from God predicts things that come to pass while a false prophet says things that do not come to pass:
“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:22)
In contrast, the false prophets of the end times will tell people things that are untrue like Christ can be found in places where He is not:
“(24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (25) Behold, I have told you before. (26) Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:24-26)
Consequently, the more biblical knowledge a person possesses at that time in the future the easier it will be for them to distinguish between the Two Witnesses’ accurate prophecies and the false prophets’ lies.
The Sackcloth Attire
Revelation 11:3 tells us that the Two Witnesses will be clothed in sackcloth during the time of their ministry:
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3)
The Two Witnesses’ garb could potentially be a significant item that distinguishes them from many false prophets who will seek to deceive people. Sackcloth in biblical times was typically made from coarse animal hair (i.e. goat, camel, etc.).
The Significance of Sackcloth Attire
A reader asked me about the significance of the Two Witnesses’ sackcloth attire. I’ve read various ideas about the significance of the sackcloth attire. Here are a couple of the major ideas I’ve encountered:
The sackcloth could provide some indication of what the Two Witnesses may talk about during their ministry. The Bible suggests that sackcloth is worn at times of mourning (Genesis 37:4, Isaiah 22:12), when one seeks to show humility (Daniel 9:3), or when one is seeking to repent (Jonah 3:6-8):
|Genesis 37:34 (Mourning): And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.|
|Isaiah 22:12: (Mourning): And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:|
|Daniel 9:3 (Humility): And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes|
|Jonah 3:6-8 (Repenting): (6) For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. (7)And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: (8) But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.|
The Two Witnesses may urge people to humble themselves before God and to repent their evil ways during their ministry.
The sackcloth attire could be a way for the Two Witnesses to distinguish themselves as prophets. This theory rests on the idea that various prophets and key biblical figures wore sackcloth during the time of their respective ministries. Some cite the following verses as evidence that sackcloth is part of a prophet’s attire:
“And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.” (2Kings 1:8)
“And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.” (Matthew 3:4)
“At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.” (Isaiah 20:2)
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive” (Zechariah 13:4)
I am unsure whether the Two Witnesses will be the only ones who will dress in sackcloth during the time of their ministry, but people at that time should be able to identify those who are not the Two Witnesses by checking to see whether they are wearing sackcloth. People who are not dressed in sackcloth are not the Two Witnesses.
They Are Very Unpopular
Revelation 11:5 implies that people will at least attempt to injure the Two Witnesses because it notes that people will die by the manner in which they try to harm the Two Witnesses.
“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. (Revelation 11:5)
People’s desire to harm the Two Witnesses suggests that the Two Witnesses will be very unpopular with the wicked:
- It is safe to assume that one major reason why the Two Witnesses will be very unpopular is that they will torment the wicked during the time of their ministry (Revelation 11:10).
- Another potential reason for the Two Witnesses unpopularity is that their messages could oppose the messages of the False Prophet and the Antichrist.
Regardless of why people will attempt to injure them, the Two Witnesses should stand out for being a major nuisance to the wicked.
There may be more ways to distinguish between the Two Witnesses and the false prophets of the end times than I have listed in this article. However, I hope the items mentioned in this article are a good start. I have an article about the identity of the Two Witnesses if you would like to learn more.