For an interesting and judicious view of the character, history, death and resurrection of the witnesses, I refer the reader to M’Leod on the Revelation, Lect. X. I quote the following remarks from that Lecture, as perfectly corresponding with the view I have taken of the witnesses.
“These,” says the Dr. “are a small company of true Christians defending the interests of religion against all opposition, and frequently sealing with their blood the testimony which they hold—They are distinguished as a part from the whole, from the great body of those who are to be considered as true Christians, and even from the visible church of God in general, at this period. (The duration of the antichristian system.) They are Christians; and they belong to the true visible church: but they are a distinct class of Christians in the communion of the visible church. These witnesses differ as much from their contemporaries, the 144,000 sealed ones, as Elijah differed from the 7000 in Israel in his time, who did not bow the knee to Baal.—These witnesses are two in number, because one is not sufficient according to the law*[Deut. 17:6; 2 Cor. 13:1.] to prove the guilt of the antichrist; and because there were as few employed as would be sufficient to attest the truth, and protest against the perversions of the Christian system.
There is besides in this number, two, an allusion to well known characters who appeared, two and two, and who exemplified in their own day, and taught with fidelity, that doctrine which antichrist remarkably opposes, and which these witnesses are authorized to maintain—the doctrine which requires that man should regulate all his social concerns by the principles and precepts of revealed religion. This doctrine has always been opposed by the supporters of the man of sin; and in direct hostility to it, the antichristian system has been established. The two great branches of that system, the heathenish church and beast of the abyss, have of course corrupted the moral order of the two great kinds of society in Christendom, civil and ecclesiastical. They who bear testimony against this twofold corruption of religion and morals, are not improperly called two,” &c. M’Leod on the Rev. p. 316-321.