Non SDA sources affirm: 1) the two witnesses in Revelation are the Old and the New Testament, 2) the French Revolution and Revelation 11's prophesy
The two witnesses in Revelation
People's New Testament Commentary, “It is said that for 1260 days the witness shall prophesy in sackcloth. Every reader knows that for ages the Bible was forbidden to the people and locked up in the dead languages. It was even a crime, for which many suffered death, to have the Bible in the tongue of the people. It is proper that we should consider here this period of mourning in which, if I am correct,the witness of the Old Testament and New Testament shall be given in sorrow”1.
Wayne Jackson is a well known apologist in the Church of Christ and editor at The Christian Courier, “God’s “two witnesses” were to prophesy 1,260 days in sackcloth. The two witnesses may be the combined testimony of the Scriptures, along with the example and preaching of the church (Commentary on the New Testament, Wayne Jackson).
Jean Napier,Scottish mathematician, champion of Protestantism, writes, "In his mercy, the Lord will see that the two witnesses, the Old and the New Testaments, are allowed to preach during these twelve hundred and sixty years, although not in their own garments, but disguised."—"TheSecrets of the Apocalypse," p. 200, 3d ed.
Jean de Launoy, a French historian, in his book published at Geneva in 1641, says: "These two witnesses, the Old and New Testaments, may thus be put to death, their volumes exposed to all kinds of abuse, and shamefully trodden down."—"Paraphrase et Exposition de l'Apocalypse," p. 292.
Bishop Wordsworth, the Anglican scholar, declared, “The two witnesses, the olive trees, are the two Testaments ministering their testimony to the church of the old dispensation as well as to that of the new, which explains the two witnesses being called also the two candlesticks… The church in both dispensations has no light in herself, but derives it from the Spirit through the witness of the twofold word, the two olive trees.(Robert Jamieson et al., Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1871), on Revelation 11:3).
George Croly (1780-1860) M.A., Classicalscholar, author and Bible Expositor. Anglican Rector. In The Apocalypse of St. John, he held that the two witnesses were the two Testaments, slain in the French Revolution, the political earthquake in France, the tenth part of the city. The 3 ½ days were the 3 ½ years from November 1793 to June 1797 when religion was abolished. He forecast that the Bible would have stupendous triumph.
Note: At least over twenty such scholars could be listed (See: Le Roy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1954), 2:3)
William Whiston (1667-1752) Baptist theologian and mathematician. He was Newton’s successor at Cambridge University. He authored fifty works including a translation of Josephus. His major work was The Revelation of St. John. He believed that infidelity (such as later occurred in Revolutionary France) might be the only means of stopping the Papal enslavement before true Christianity could be restored.
Bishop Thomas Newton (1704-1782) Bishop of Bristol and Dean of St. Paul’s London. He wrote Dissertations on the Prophecies (1754) which ran into eighteen editions, as well as in Danish and German. Concerning the fulfillment of Revelation 11, he wrote, Rome therefore will finally be destroyed by some of the princes… and as the kings of France have contributed greatly to her advancement, it is not impossible nor improbable that… they may be the principal authors of her destruction. France… may appear more likely to effect such a revolution. 82 This was written thirty five years before the Revolution.
John Fletcher(1729-1785) Excellent scholar and associate of John Wesley. Authored nine works. He held that the Papacy would fall amid revolutions. He acquainted Wesley with the knowledge that 10,000 French Protestants in 1755 expect some great revolution, that will result in their being united with 200,000 of their brethren who have been expelled from France. 83 This was forty four years before the Revolution.
Jean Vuilleumier, a veteran French editor in Paris, France, researched the records of the French Revolution to verify the fulfillment of the prophecy of Revelation 11, especially the time period of the three and a half years in which religion and the Bible were legally abolished. His confirmations were published in 1940. Jean Vuilleumier(ed), Ministry, No. May-July 1940).
"The Huguenots," by Samuel Smiles, "The supporters of the old church [as the rumors of the coming Reformation began to be heard in France], . . . stunned by the sudden spread of the new views, . . . knew that power was on their side —the power of kings and parliaments.. . . and these they loudly called to their help. . . . Bibles and New Testaments were seized wherever found, and burnt. . . . The printers who were convicted of printing Bibles were next seized and burnt. . . . In that city [Paris] during the six months ending June, 1534, . . twenty men and one woman were burnt alive. In 1545 the massacre of the Vaudois of Provence was perpetrated, accompanied by horrors which it is impossible to describe."—Pages 21, 28.
Thomas Goodwin(1600-1680), celebrated non-conformist, member of Westminster Assembly, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University. In 1639 he declared that the tenth part of the city of Revelation 11:13 was one of the ten kingdoms of Western Europe under the jurisdiction of Papal Rome and as the kingdom (France) had the first great stroke, so now it should have the honor to have the last great stroke in the ruining of Rome. The earthquake is a mighty commotion. This was 152 years before the French Revolution. Le Roy Froom, 2:588-596.
Pierre Jurieu (1637-1713) Distinguished Huguenot leader. Brilliant scholar and Professor of Theology and Hebrew at the Huguenot Seminary at Sedan, France. A great champion of Protestantism against French Jesuit leaders. He ably answered the Futurist and Preterist schools of prophetic interpretation. He authored sixty works, including Exposition of the Apocalypse (1685). He taught that the tenth part of the city of Revelation 11:13 was France, which would shake off the yoke of Rome. 78 This was 104 years before the Revolution.
Robert Fleming (1660-1716), a Scottish divine.Pastor of English Church of the Refugees, Holland. Author of ten works. An expositor of prophecy. Very influential. A confidante of King William III of England. In his Rise and Fall of the Papacy (1701) when France was at the height of her power, he declared that he hoped for the death of the chief supporters of Antichrist, and perhaps the French monarchy may begin to be considerably humbled about that time (at least before the year 1794). This was forecast ninety years before the Revolution. His conclusions were based on Revelation 11.
Sir Isaac Newton(1642-1727). Famous mathematician, philosopher and genius in scientific research. He also studied Bible prophecy for forty two years, resulting in his work, Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and The Apocalypse (1773). He upheld the Historical School of Interpretation and taught that before primitive Christianity could be restored, the power of infidelity in ‘a main revolution’would be used to put a stop to, or block the Popedom that has so long corrupted the Church. 80 This was twenty years before the Revolution.
Jacques Philipot Huguenot, pastor driven out of France. In 1685 he wrote Elucidations on The Apocalypse of St. John. One hundred and four years before the revolution, he wrote on Revelation 11, The earthquakes in Scriptures mean great change occurring in the nations…. There will be a surprising change in France of which the whole world will be glad except the clergy, the monks and the Jesuits…. It is France… Which is referred to by this tenth part of the city… the city here is Babylon, i.e. the Papal empire, the Church of Rome…France is one of the ten horns of the beast, one of the kingdoms… France is… a part of the city, i.e. of the Papal empire….Since the death of the two witnesses takes place in France…this tenth part of the city which shall fall is France.
John Willison(1680-1750) Scottish divine. Authored nine principal works. Wrote A Prophecy of the French Revolution (1733) fifty years before the event. He said, Before Antichrist’s fall, one of the ten kingdoms which supported the beast (Papacy) shall undergo a marvellous revolution. Revelation 11:13 (quoted) by which tenth part is to be understood as one of the ten kingdoms into which the great city, Romish Babylon, was divided. This, many take to be the kingdom of France.
George Bell. In 1796, in the London Evangelical Magazine he declared on the basis of Revelation 11, that the Gentiles of verse 2 were the papacy; that the earthquake of verse 13 was the French Revolution and the tenth part of verse 13 was France. He continued, Have we not seen, in one of the ten kingdoms, a most astonishing revolution? Have we not also seen that kingdom fall off of the Papal jurisdiction? Have we not good ground to hope that the accomplishment of the prophecies respecting the rising of the witnesses and the fall of Antichrist is near at hand? One year later, Revolutionary France restored the Scriptures (resurrected the witnesses) and two years later, France delivered the deadly wound to the Papacy.
Joseph Priestley(1733-1804) English clergyman, philosopher and scientist. Authored eighty works. In February, 1794, he declared on the basis of Revelation 11, that France was currently fulfilling the prediction in the French Revolution.
James Bicheno (Died 1831). Dissenting minister and schoolman. Authored numerous works. Taught that Revolutionary France was the fulfillment of Revelation 11.
George Croly (1780-1860) M.A., Classical scholar, author and Bible Expositor. Anglican Rector. In The Apocalypse of St. John, he held that the two witnesses were the two Testaments, slain in the French Revolution, the political earthquake in France, the tenth part of the city. The 3 ½ days were the 3 ½ years from November 1793 to June 1797 when religion was abolished. He forecast that the Bible would have stupendous triumph.
Note: There is evidence that at least thirty-two scholars, up to the time of the French Revolution, had predicted on the basis of Revelation 11 that France would be the European kingdom that would end the supreme power of the Papacy.