In Revelation 11v7 regarding the Two Witnesses we read:

Now when they have finished their testimony,the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them and overpower and kill them.

In 13v11 we read:

Then I saw another beast coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb but he spoke like a dragon.

Are the two horns on the beast a symbol in relation to the Two Witnesses being attacked, overpowered and killed?

6 Answers 6


In the Revelation, the sea represents the Gentile nations (for example, see Isaiah 57:20-21). The earth therefore represents the Promised Land. That is, the Promised Land is the place where the Promised Seed would sprout. Please click here to compare and contrast the individual Promised Seed (Messiah) and the collective Promised Seed (Jews) as God's "Tree of Life" in the Hebrew Bible.

Unlike the beast (which is both individual, "the antichrist," and is also collective, "the ten nation confederacy") that that will emerge from the sea (Revelation 13:1-10), the False Prophet emerges from the earth (Revelation 13:11), which is the Promised Land. This False Prophet will wear two "hats," which are represented by two horns (Revelation 13:11-13), which are both religious and political power.

In other words, Revelation 11:3-4 is a throwback to Zechariah 4:11-14. In the latter passage the two olive trees and lampstands represented Joshua the High Priest and Zerubabbel, who were the religious and political leaders in the Promised Land at that time, respectively.

Therefore, Moses and Elijah, who are still alive somewhere in heaven (please see 2 Kings 2:11 and then compare Jude 1:9 with Matthew 17:3) will appear in the Promised Land as the two olive trees and lampstands (Revelation 11:4), since they each represent the political and religious authority of God. They will oppose the False Prophet, who will possess both religious and political power in the Promised Land, which is the "earth." (The False Prophet will play the role of the "False Moses" and "False Elijah," since he is wearing two hats, and yet he will be opposed by the real Moses and the real Elijah.) Please click here to compare and contrast the roles of Elijah and Moses vis-à-vis the False Prophet.

Remember: the job of the False Prophet in the Bible is to announce and then to anoint the (anti) Christ. He will have both the political sway of Moses and the religious sway of Elijah in the Promised Land, and therefore he will stand opposite (and will oppose) Moses and Elijah as their counterfeit.

  • Did this answer the question about correlation between the witnesses and the horns? It may have but I missed it. Sep 5, 2013 at 20:31
  • @ Joseph,Jude 1:9 that you have inserted in your answer.Is it your opinion that the dispute over the body of Moses is about Moses being taken to Heaven at that moment in time.Why i ask is that you appear to be answering another one of my questions indirectly that i posted last week.
    – Bagpipes
    Sep 5, 2013 at 22:08
  • Yes - you are correct. My hermeneutical approach is not only corresponding events in the Bible but also providing the coherence in the most simple approach possible (thus the normative or plain understanding of the Scripture).
    – Joseph
    Sep 5, 2013 at 23:08
  • @Joseph,yes that is my opinion as well about the body of Moses.Regarding Moses and Elijah returning again to be the two witnesses,I feel that they are being used as symbols in relation to the events we are reading.
    – Bagpipes
    Sep 6, 2013 at 14:47
  • I would like to know the basis for saying that the two olive branches refer to Zerubabbel and Joshua. There are a lot of opinions here, that could use some backing. May 9, 2017 at 2:11

Out of several commentaries, the only one I can find directly addressing the possibile symbolism of the horns of the second beast is in Warren W Wiersbe's commentary on Revelation:

"The image of the horns (13:11) suggests that the false prophet [the second beast] has authority but the absense of a crown indicates that his authority is not political."

While numerology plays a significant role in Revelation, I cannot find any substantive, consistent use of the number 2 that would directly link the horns to the witnesses.

There certainly is symbolism in the uses of the lamb and dragon images (perhaps suggesting that he may try to come off as the Lamb of God but in actuality is the dragon, "the ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan") and to add the detail of two horns is certainly specific enough that it may have meaning as well. However, since the beast from the land is described in detail two chapters after the foretelling of the death of the witnesses at the hand of the beast, I am not sure there is a correlation between the horns and the witnesses.

  • @ Mark Anthony Songer Horn's are usually a symbol of power and there being 2 horn's and two witnesses,would you say that is a link?one horn for the overpowering each witness? Notice the rest of the imagery and symbolism, "like a lamb" He appears to be gentle? Peaceful? But he spoke like a dragon.The dragon is satan and satan is a liar.
    – Bagpipes
    Sep 4, 2013 at 13:22
  • There certainly is symbolism in the uses of the lamb and dragon images (perhaps suggesting that he may try to come off as the Lamb of God but in actuality is the dragon, "the ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan") and to add the detail of two horns is certainly specific enough that it may have meaning as well. However, since the description of the death of the witnesses comes two chapters before the detail of two horns, I'm not sure there is enough meaning here to tie the number of horns directly to the number of witnesses. But that is my opinion and this is Revelation Sep 4, 2013 at 13:42
  • @ Mark Anthony Songer I respect your opinion.I do not understand what you mean in the last three lines of comment?
    – Bagpipes
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:40
  • 1
    Just that since the beast from the land is described in detail two chapters after the foretelling of the death of the witnesses at the hand of the beast, I am not sure there is a correlation between the horns and the witnesses. Sep 4, 2013 at 15:47

The context is Covenantal. The "witness" here is a legal witness against the Covenant people, as it is in the Old Testament, ending with John the Baptist. The witness here is that of the apostolic church.

A minimum of two witnesses is required to make a legal judgment and carry out an execution of the law. This is why there were two angels at the Garden gate in Genesis 3, and two cherubim flanking the Law (the Ark) in the Most Holy.

The apostolic church was continuing the witness of Moses and Elijah (law and prophets) given to the disciples in the words of the Father. They were to hear the testimony of His beloved son, which united and superseded those witnesses. Hence, the two witnesses are presented as having the powers of Moses and Elijah.

Horns are not witnesses, but kingly authority to execute judgment. Instead of a witness of God's mercy (as a lamb like Abel), the judgment here is Cainite: kingdom usurping priesthood, exaltation before humility. The dragon desires to devour the "fruit" of the woman.

One beast comes from the abyss (the Gentile "Sea") and the other from the earth (more correctly, the "Land" of Israel). The Land Beast is supposed to be a sacrificial lamb, but its kingly power has not come from humility before God but from "intermarriage" (a false Covenant) with the Gentiles (Rome). The two horns might be the collusion of the High Priesthood and the Herodian dynasty.

We have seen a lamb with horns already in Revelation 5. He combines the three furnitures in the Holy Place: Lamb (table of showbread: Priest) with seven eyes (lampstand: King) and seven horns (incense altar: Prophetic elder). With true authority, through the witness of the saints, He sets the Gentiles onto the Herods, and the "Land" is again engulfed by the "Sea," as it was in the days of Noah, where the world was corrupted through godless intermarriage.

Whenever you see "earth" in the Revelation, substitute "Land." The book makes much more sense.

  • @ Mike Bull, your above point "Horns are not Witnesses."Re: the beast.Two is Testimony and it say's that when the two witnesses have finished their, (Testimony).For example if it was 7 witnesses then we might read the beast had seven horns.The symbolism i feel points to the beast intent on killing the two witnesses,or (in other words) The Testimony.
    – Bagpipes
    Sep 5, 2013 at 9:53
  • Historically that was the case. Those who make Rome out to be the enemy are mistaken - it was the Jewish rulers who sold their brother to the Gentiles, and the did the same to "my brethren" (Matthew 25). When Jewish persecution failed (Acts), and false Judaizing doctrine failed (the epistles), the Jews called on Rome (the Revelation). In AD64, Herod's temple was finished (proving Jesus "wrong") and Nero blamed the torching of Rome on the Christians. I was a Jew-Gentile conspiracy against a Jew-Gentile church (a la Herod and Pilate's friendship).
    – Mike Bull
    Sep 5, 2013 at 23:27

Short answer I know, but there is one semi-obvious possibility. Many understand the two witnesses as representing a valid testimony, or the bearers of truth, i.e. prophets. This can be taken representatively of an unknown number or literally as two individuals, depending on how one interprets revelation as a whole. If this be so, then the beast that has two horns like a Lamb but speaks like a Dragon could obviously represent 'by the horns' the opposite of the two witnesses, i.e. false prophets or lying teachers. The numbers seem to always mean something in Revelation. In other words what we have here is a potential struggle between apostate witnesses and true witnesses, where the witness is represented by the number two (ref Deuteronomy 19:15).

  • @ Mike I have found plenty "Food For Thought in your Answer." I had missed Rev 5 where it speaks of the lamb with the seven horns.
    – Bagpipes
    Sep 5, 2013 at 13:41

Understanding of "Lamb"

Since we are discussing symbols that are Figurative(representative of another reality), as opposed to "Literal"(the Historical/Grammatical meaning of the word) it would behoove us to know what the "lamb" represented, in order to understand the possible 'figurative' understanding of it's 2 horns.

Rev. 13:11,

"Καὶ εἶδον ἄλλο θηρίον ἀναβαῖνον ἐκ τῆς γῆς καὶ εἶχεν κέρατα δύο ὅμοια ἀρνίῳ καὶ ἐλάλει ὡς δράκων".(TRS 1550)

"And I saw another beast, rising out of the earth, and it had 2 horns, like a lamb, and it spoke like a dragon."

"ἀρνίῳ"(arnio) the word used for 'lamb'is defined in the Thayer's Lexicon as,

ἀρνίον, ἀρνίου, τά (diminutive from ἀρήν, which see) (from Lysias down), a little lamb, a lamb: Revelation 13:11; Jesus calls his followers τά ἀρνία μου in John 21:15; τό ἀρνίον is used of Christ, innocently suffering and dying to expiate the sins of men, very often in Revelation, as Revelation 5:6, 8, 12, etc. (Jeremiah 11:19; Jeremiah 27:45 (); Psalm 113:4, 6 (); Josephus, Antiquities 3, 8, 10.)

The connotation is that it isn't merely a male sheep in the process of maturity, but a "little, harmless lamb"; someone who is pure and innocent.

Further proof can be established from Rev. 5:6 where "Ἀρνίον"(Arnion/Lamb), in which the "Lamb" is clearly a picture of Christ, who "innocently, without guile" bore ours sins as the "sacrificial lamb". In the picture of Rev. 5:6, this "Lamb" had 7 Eyes and 7 Horns which we are told are, "the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."

Meaning of "this" Arnion/Lamb

It is clear from the Context of this passage that "innocence" is an illusion; it speaks like a "dragon" and from the context of Rev. 12:3 and 13:1 "dragon" is representative of "evil authority". It's also important to note that this "Beast" arises out of the "earth", unlike the "sea" from which we are told in Rev. 17:15:

"are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."

These(Beast and False Prophet) represent "spirits", as

"the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit",(Rev. 11:7)

as well as

"These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."(Rev. 19:20)

They refer to pre-existant demonic forces, rather than human beings who,

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment"(Heb. 9:27)

This "arnion/lamb" who is called the "False Prophet" differs from the 1st Beast, called "Antichrist" in that rather than "speak great blasphemies"(Rev. 13:5), performs 'miracles'(vs 14) in the authority of the Antichrist, and "causeth all"(vs 16) to receive a mark, on their hands, or on their foreheads.

The important thing to note is that he does it "innocently", in other words not with force, but with guile. "Causeth" means he does it over a period of time; and here's the important part: with God's "apparent" blessing. The "maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men is analogous to the ministry of Elijah, who in 1 Kings 19:38, called down the fire of God on his offering, which substantiated his ministry. Therefore "it only seems right" to those witnessing the miracles of this "false prophet" that 'he/it' has true authority in the eyes of God, and how dare one 'question' his authority.

How Is the Lamb a "Beast"

It is important that we 1st understand what "Beast" is in this context: they clearly came from the pit of Hell, and unlike ungodly men who die, and are judged, are sent "alive" to the Lake of Fire. We must remember Jesus's statement when He says,(Matt. 25:41)

"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

Hell was created for Satan and his devils, that is their realm. A "Beast" is man(or mankind) who live apart from God. Psalm 49:20 says,

Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

This is comparable to the message of Matt. 25:41; those that act like "goats" perish, those that act like "lambs" enjoy Eternal Life. These 2 Beasts: one which arises out of "mankind", and the other that arises out of the "earth" take the form of those that defy God. Since we are talking about the "lamb with 2 horns", he arises out of the earth because he is "Empirical", he is concerned with the natural senses. We must understand that 'demons' do not perform miracles with the power of God, otherwise Jesus would be incorrect in His response to the scribes and Pharisees in Matt. 12:27-28. This "Beast" is Science, falsely so called(1 Tim. 6:20),

ἀντιθέσεις τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως(antitheseis tes pseudonymou gnoseos-opposing ideas falsely called knowledge)

whereas the Antichrist(antchristos: against Christ-opposing Christ, per Thayers) opposes God. This "Beast" attempts to reduce Sacred Scripture to 'myths', using the 'science' of carbon dating to debunk it's claims. It also 'performs' miracles, making men 'awestruck with wonder' and yet it's "knowledge" is from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil", and not the "Tree of Life". It uncovers the secrets of genetics-yet puts man in peril because it. What is important to understand is that this "gnoseos" exalts Man-and not God.

Science(or science falsely so called) appears gentle, like a lamb, and appears in man's best interest. It 'appears' to be working slavishly to solve mankind's problems, and yet is the means by which the problems came about in the 1st place. Yet it "roars like a dragon" if you challenge it's presuppositions, or it's 'infallible proofs' against the existence of God. It's precepts(Big Bang, Evolution, gender neutrality, to name a few) are taught as dogma, and influence the laws of the land-causing those that disagree(consider the recent Supreme Court decisions-based on "science, falsely so called") to be persecuted, marginalized, and in socialist/communist countries jailed, and executed.

The Two Horns

An adult male sheep(Ram) has horns, the male 'lamb'(depending on it's age) has little 'nubbin' horns which will one day grow. One can conjecture whether or not they are the 'antithesies' to Moses and Elijah, the True Prophets. By definition they cannot be 'human'(though they influence humanity); if one wants to call "science" reason(human) and observation, versus Revelation and Divine Authority-which both Moses and Elijah represented, I suppose a case could be made. The "little lamb" like quality is what I believe is being emphasized, and to understand this "Beast" one must understand 'a lamb, which speaks like a dragon".

  • This question and answers' are also helpful in trying to understand the "two witnesses." Thanks for your response. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/1603/…
    – Bagpipes
    Jan 21, 2016 at 11:28
  • Horns can also be a symbol of power as well as other things.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/horn
    – Bagpipes
    Jan 21, 2016 at 11:34
  • 1
    @Bagpipes I agree-however "contextually" a little lamb's 'horn' is difficult to ascertain. In comparison; the Lamb of Rev. 4 has 7 Horns, but we are told what they are. For the record, I hold that the "2 Witnesses" are actual individuals, who come in the "authority" of Moses and Elijah. The context of the verses implies that, and we have the 'law' of Dual Fulfillment; especially in the case of Elijah.
    – Tau
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:48

1. Question Restatement:

Are the two horns on the beast a symbol in relation to the Two Witnesses being attacked, overpowered and killed?

2. Possible Answer - The Two Witness might be Jewish and Gentile Believers

I am not a fan of interpreting prophecy - and only a "prophet" could interpret it "certainly". But, this one might be explained explicitly in Scripture - and there is a consistent parallel.

Scripture does not indicate a direct relationship: that the "Two Horns" oppress the two Witnesses. Rather, it is certain that the "Two horns of the Ram and the Goat" serve as "signs of the times" which some argue corresponds (or not) to the Ministry of the Two Witnesses.

Regardless, Revelation seems to say that is not just "the two horns" that oppose the two witnesses - but the entire world, (Revelation 11:9-10).

2.1. Gabriel's Interpretation of the Ram and the Goat:

In all cases the two horns were understood in the pejorative sense, oppressing others.

Daniel 8:3 - Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.

Daniel 8:13 - “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”

Daniel 8:20 - The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.

However, Scripture has a funny way of referring to known nations as metaphorical/mystical references to others, (See Revelation 11:8, et al). Although Scripturaly states that Jerusalem is "Babylon the Great" (Revelation 11:8), it is silent regarding a Spiritual meaning behind these nations.

2.2. Interpreting the Two Witnesses, the Two Branches, as Jewish and Gentile Believers:

Another answer also makes this connection to Zechariah 4, but concludes that this passage is in reference to the High Priest Joshua, and also Zerubabbel. I hope that answer will explain the basis for that conclusion.

On the other hand:

There are many parallels to this chapter - in Scripture. In the context of Revelation 11, a possible reference to the "Rapture", (Revelation 11:11), "the rapture at the sound of the last trumpet", (1 Corinthians 15:52), Resurrection at the "Seventh Trumpet", (Revelation 11:15), and the two witnesses and olive branches, (below).

NASB, Revelation 11:3-4 - And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.

NASB, Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,

NASB, Zechariah 4:12 - And I answered the second time and said to him, “What are the two olive branches which are beside the two golden pipes, which empty the golden oil from themselves?” 13 So he answered me, saying, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” 14 Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth.”

Matthew 13:31, (Reference to Daniel 4:21) - He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

Isaiah 4:2 - In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.


NKJV, John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches.

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