How can Moses be one of the two witnesses if he died long ago?

Email Received:

You have said that you lean toward the idea that Elijah and Moses will be the two end-time witnesses. I can understand how Elijah might be one, since he never died. But Moses died and was buried. How could he be one of the two witnesses?

Ted's Response:

Moses died and God buried him; yet his grave was never found (Deuteronomy 34:5,6). Many (including by myself) believe that Elijah and Moses probably will be the two witnesses who will prophecy in Jerusalem for 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3), which will be the final 3Ĺ years of the 70th Week.

Both Elijah and Moses appeared at Jesus' transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-4; Mark 9:1-5; Luke 9:28-31). As such, they may be the ones who will "witness" to the world about the coming of Jesus, prior to His appearance in the clouds (following the opening of the Sixth Seal).

Some feel that, along with Elijah, Enoch will be the other witness. Enoch did not die; God just took him away (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5). However, Enoch did not appear with Jesus at His transfiguration; only Elijah and Moses did. Furthermore, there is no record of supernatural judgments being brought upon the earth by Enoch.

However, Elijah was able to bring down fire (1 Kings 18:24,38) and cause the rain to stop for 3Ĺ years (1 Kings 17:1; James 5:17); and Moses was able to turn water into blood and bring several other plagues upon Egypt (Exodus 7:14 Ė 12:30). The two witnesses also will be able to bring down fire, stop the rain, and cause various plagues (Revelation 11:5,6) for 3Ĺ years.

The "snag" concerning Moses seems to be that "man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Since the two witnesses will be killed at the end of the final seven-year period (Revelation 11:7), there is a question about whether or not Moses could die twice: once thousands of years ago and once again at the end of the age.

My opinion is that God cannot be put into a box and that He makes occasional exceptions to many of His rules. For instance, consider Lazarus (among others), whom Jesus raised from the dead (John 11:38-44). Did Lazarus die twice? Yes. He died, Jesus raised him from the dead, and then, at some point thereafter, he died again. So he died twice.

We know that there was a dispute between the archangel Michael and Satan, concerning the body of Moses (Jude 9). Moses' body would be of no value to Satan, so what dispute would he have had? Was there something different about the "death" and/or "burial" of Moses' body that was unusual? I don't know.

But in Hebrews 9:27, I do notice how it indicates that after a man dies, he will "face judgment." At first glance, it looks like the "judgment" occurs immediately after death, but we know it does notójust at some point after death. In fact, for most, there will be at least 1,000 years between death and judgment, since the great white throne judgment of unbelievers will take place at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:11-15).

Could it be that, technically speaking, physical "death" is defined as "separation of the soul from the body until that person is judged by God"? If so, perhaps one is not technically "dead," from God's standpoint, until the final judgment for that person has taken place. Maybe if somebody is raised from the dead (like Lazarus was), the first "death" is "nullified," as if it hadn't happened. So if Moses "died" but will return to earth again, whether in the same or in a different body, maybe his death in the desert, way back when, was "annulled" or "invalidated" by God.

We know that Elijah was taken up to heaven in his body without dying (2 Kings 2:11). So another possibility is that (like Lazarus) Moses died, God buried Him, and then (unbeknownst to us) God resurrected him and took him to heaven in his original body. Perhaps Satan protested this, knowing that Moses would be a key end-time player in counteracting the work of Satan. Maybe Satan's dispute with Michael (Jude 9) was an insistence that Moses' body belonged in the ground. After all, Moses' grave (and, therefore, body) were never found (Deuteronomy 34:6).

Most of this is speculation and conjecture, of course. The bottom line is that although Elijah probably will be one of two end-time witnesses, prior to Jesus' appearance in the clouds, the identity of the other witness is questionable. God has a way of "trumping" the ideas and notions of the human mind, and it often is of no value for us to say that God will do such and such, for this or that reason, because we simply do not know.

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