Revelation 11

Revelation 11

The Two Witnesses

11 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

The Seventh Trumpet

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

  “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
    who is and who was,
  for you have taken your great power
    and begun to reign.
  The nations raged,
    but your wrath came,
    and the time for the dead to be judged,
  and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
    and those who fear your name,
    both small and great,
  and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.


Revelation 11 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

I think a major issue with Revelation 11 is the fact that it relies heavily on Revelation 10 for continuity. It is best to read on and view chapters 10 and 11 as one long event. So, with that in mind, we will look back to the context of chapter 10 as we study here in Revelation 11.

The action John is given here is a reference back to the instructions given to him in the previous chapter. In Revelation 10:11 John was told he must prophesy again and here in Revelation 11:1 he is immediately given a measuring rod and told to measure the temple and the altar. I have lots of unanswered questions here. Why was he asked to prophesy again? Did he actually prophesy before, and if so, when?

Measuring means to establish or preserve. For John, the temple would have been understood as the church. I tend to lean that this is another big-picture interpretation of God preserving his church and protecting them from the demonic onslaught of the Antichrist. Here are my reasons:

  1. This interpretation here in Revelation 11 is especially relevant considering Revelation 10 speaks to the bitter/sweet nature of the scroll. The bitterness is the suffering they will endure but the sweetness is the promise of redemption through Jesus.
  2. The measuring of the temple enclosure (but not the outer court) could easily represent the church from two different perspectives.
  3. The outer court (world) was given to the nations and they will “tread under foot” the city. The temple (church) is represented by the 2 witnesses who will be granted authority by God.

In the OT, we know that a second witness was required for reliable testimony.

“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

Deuteronomy 19:15 NASB

Jesus also sent out his messengers two by two.

Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.

Luke 10:1 NASB

I don’t read too much into the identity of the two witnesses. I think they present an effective message regardless of if we know exactly who or what they are. The time period of the witnesses’ ministry is the same time period of the city being trampled under foot. Again, think in terms of the seven churches receiving this letter under great persecution. They would be encouraged to know that God has promised to give authority to His people and protect them during immense persecution and suffering.

Finally, we have the 7th trumpet.

Once again what we expect and what John has heard is not what he sees. Based on what was heard in previous chapters we expect a “woe,” but here, John sees the praise and worship of God. This dramatic trumpet will fulfill prophecies.

“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

Daniel 2:44 NASB

And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.

Zechariah 14:9 NASB

The ending of Revelation 11 is an awesome reminder. We serve a mighty God!

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