The Principle of Two Witnesses

Important matters are to be resolved based upon the testimony of at least two witnesses. This principle is found in Deuteronomy 19:15 and 17:6. It is also repeated in the New Testament. (Matthew 18:16, First Timothy 5:19) We acknowledge this principle today, with the requirement of two witnesses for important legal documents.

After the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, two men in “shining garments” appeared to the women. They informed the women that Jesus was not dead, but alive. (Luke24:4) Later, when the Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven from the Mount of Olives, two men in white apparel appeared to the Disciples. The “men” informed the Disciples that Jesus would return in the same manner as He left. (Acts 1:10-11)

When Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, He had taken with Him Peter, James and John, three mortal witnesses. Then appeared Moses and Elijah, two immortal witnesses. (Matthew 17:1-3) The principle was confirmed again. Additionally, there is much speculation as to the identity of the Two Witnesses in the Revelation chapter eleven. Many think it will be Moses and Elijah, who were witnesses of the transfiguration of Jesus.

This principle can, and should, be applied to interpretation of Scripture. If anyone is using only one verse in all of God’s Word to support a teaching or doctrine, then apply this Scripture. “ … they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) There are numerous scriptural “witnesses” regarding God, Creation, Angels, Redemption, Resurrection, and the Return of the Lord Jesus.

An example of only one witness is the concept of being baptized for the dead which was raised by the Apostle Paul:

"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” – First Corinthians 15:29

In our desire that deceased loved ones might receive salvation, this passage sounds good. But I am not aware of any other Scripture confirming this subject. If there is no second witness, this doctrine cannot be correct. The principles set by the sovereign Lord stand.

Preachers, teachers and students of the Word be careful! We might find that we also are “ … teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7:7)

Praise the Lord for His many witnesses. Praise His name for Salvation, the “snatching away,” or “rapture” of the Church, and the soon Return of the Lord Jesus!

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