The Two Witnesses
For those familiar it may be apparent by the title alone that this is a biblical painting depicting one of the final resulting scenes from Revelations. I would like to delve more fully into the symbology that comprises ‘The Two Witnesses.’
Providing context for those who may be unfamiliar with this Christian story of the Apocalypse, concerning the foretelling of the current collapse of society as the return of Christ draws near, as prophesied by St. John. The Two Witnesses are two divine people with power over water that witness the corruption of the time period they are living in. They prophesies what events are to come and this angers the wicked people until they ultimately kill the Two Witnesses. Their bodies lay dead in the streets for 3 days, and in this time their spirits are called up to heaven where they give testimony before God of the widespread corruption that has befallen the world. They then experience a spiritual achievement called Merkabah, attain power over fire, and return to earth to relinquish this second generation of Sodom and Gomorrah.
I chose to depict the Two Witnesses as a man and woman couple as this always seemed correct to me while reading Revelations in my youth. They are dressed in Babylonian garb, their colors reflecting the power over both water and fire (red symbolizes fire and purple represents both water and fire). They dress like this as a kind of mocking of their current society’s attempt to be like the old Babylon. When one hunts a deer, the hunter may choose to keep the deer’s head as a trophy, and make clothing out of the hide. So too with the Two Witnesses. They hunt, kill, wear, and mock the most animalistic and profane, as their end marks a beginning for God’s innocent. Their garb is also evoking the ancient past when angels walked on earth.
The seemingly man-made bonfire in the foreground is in contrast with the fire caused by the red dragon, the angel Sammael, in the background, overcast by an eclipse as one of the signs in heaven of the end times. The background fire is magically or divinely created since it is being caused by a dragon. The fire in the foreground is implied as being man-made by magical individuals. The man holds a stick to the fire as if he is a magician, but also as if he started the fire himself by traditional human means. It did not have to be hand built since these Two now have power over fire. They could have used their magical power to light a fire, but chose not to.
They are taking a moment to enjoy each other’s company. They are in the world, but they are not of it. They are indulging in an activity that they would of done in their former lives prior to being called up to heaven and being granted supernatural power, as a token of nostalgia.
Both the man and the woman are in a playful state. The man sits while poking at the fire with a stick or wand, and the woman dances in the euphoria of the end age, a dance of death. Her hand is out stretched toward any who would approach, as if to say, “Come join me in my dance. Come join us in our victory.” The man is turned slightly toward his woman in full support of her, and she is turned slightly toward her man, even though her hand is outstretched toward the viewer. It is meant to indicate that even though they are physically apart they are still very much enjoying each other’s company.
Both figures have halos about their heads to denote their divinity. The woman in particular has the same halo and posture as the Statue of Liberty. This is symbolizing that the Two Witnesses are in America, that this is the newest Babylon, and where the destruction is beginning to take place. The inclination towards a divine trinity: mother, father and son, is also implied between the man and woman couple and the red dragon.