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The Two Witnesses    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

H. The Two Witnesses (Rev. 11:1-14)

(Rev 11:1-14 KJV)  And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. {2} But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. {3} And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. {4} These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. {5} And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. {6} These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. {7} And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. {8} And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. {9} And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. {10} And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. {11} And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. {12} And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. {13} And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. {14} The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

1. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

a. John is representative of the "eagle saints" who were taken out at the beginning of the seven year tribulation period (Rev. 4:1).  He could also represent overcomers in the remaining Church who are taken out in the middle of the tribulation period before the seventh seal is opened.

b. "The Angel" is still Jesus Christ, the One who placed one foot on the sea and one foot on the land.  Jesus Christ is in the process of taking possession of the earth, and John is to participate in this takeover of the earth.  John is representative of those who inherit the earth.

c. The representative aspect of John's character occurs every time he is removed from being a mere spectator, and he becomes an actor in the unfolding events.  The literal switches to the figurative when John becomes an active participant in the unfolding events.  For example, Rev. 4:1 places John as a representative of the Philadelphia church, the five wise virgins, the faithful and wise servant, the one taken, etc.  He is thus representative of the overcoming Church, and this would include those who are overcomers when they go through the "hour of temptation."

d. Measuring something is symbolic of taking possession of whatever is measured.  When someone measures something, it means that it is now the property of the person doing the measuring.  Jesus Christ commissions John to participate in the measuring since the overcoming church will share in the inheritance that Jesus Christ has received.

e. It is highly significant that John is given "a reed like unto a rod" to do the measuring.  The rod is for chastisement purposes so that which is being measured is about to come under severe chastisement by the Lord Almighty.  A golden reed will be used to measure the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:15), and gold is the metal symbolizing deity.

f. It is the temple of God, the altar, and the worshippers that are being measured.  This is distinctly Jewish so this is clearly the "time of Jacob's trouble," and it encompasses the last half of the tribulation period.  The end of the next verse even gives the time frame as 42 months.

g. Antichrist will be given free rein over the earth during the first half of the tribulation period, but Jesus Christ will claim possession of the Jewish remnant who are to be saved at the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory.

2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

a. The outer court of the Jerusalem temple was called the Court of the Gentiles.  Even though elect Jews will be protected by the Lord during this last half of the tribulation period, Jesus will allow the city of Jerusalem to be tread under foot by the Gentile nations for 42 months.  The purpose is for the chastisement of the nation of Israel to cause them to turn to Jesus Christ as their Messiah.  It is at the very end of the tribulation period that Jesus will return in power and glory and judge the Gentiles for the way that they treated the Jews.  This judgment is called the sheep and goat judgment.

b. It is during the first half of the tribulation period that the 144,000 Jews will be saved as the Firstfruits of the Jews.  It is also during this period that millions of Gentiles will be saved.  It is when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in that the blindness of Israel will be lifted and Israel will begin to see spiritual truths that they have been unable to see up until that time.  

c. The fullness of the Church takes place at the separation between the faithful and the unfaithful, but the fullness of the Gentiles does not occur until the middle of the tribulation period when the time of Jacob's trouble begins.  The Jews will still be blinded during the first half of the tribulation, since they will believe that Antichrist is their Messiah during this time.  

d. The Jewish remnant will be the last to be saved.  The prophet Jeremiah wept over this fact in the following verse:  

(Jer 8:20 KJV)  The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.  

e. The prophet Zechariah describes the trampling down of the city of Jerusalem and the salvation of the nation of Israel:  

(Zec 13:9 KJV)  And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.  

(Zec 14:1-2 KJV)  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. {2} For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.  

f. The Day of the Lord occurs during the last half of the tribulation period.  Even though the Gentiles are saved during the first half of the tribulation period, they will be judged for their works during the entire tribulation period after they are saved.  Their judgment is a works judgment and it will depend upon their treatment of the Jews during the tribulation period (Rev. 25:31-46).  

3. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.  

a. These two witnesses are not given to John in vision, but the Glorious Angel, the Lord Jesus Christ, describes them to him.  The phrase "my two witnesses" is further confirmation that this Angel is the Lord Jesus Christ.  

b. These witnesses prophesy (i.e., they are the mouthpiece of God) for 1260 days.  This is during the same time that the Gentiles trample down the city of Jerusalem.  There are two because both the law and the gospel calls for two witnesses to establish important truth (Deut 17:6; Matt. 18:16).  

c. Now as saints from heaven are doing the measuring, it is appropriate that two other notable saints from heaven would be doing the prophesying.  There is no mention that those doing the measuring are known or visible to the people on the earth, but the two witnesses prophesy and preach, and they are the objects of persecution, affliction and death.  This difference is not only one of office and sphere, but there is also a difference in their physical being.  They are capable of death, so they are in their earthly bodies of flesh and blood.  

d. There are two Old Testament saints who were taken directly to heaven in their bodies of flesh and blood, and both were prophets of judgment.  Therefore, both would be capable of death and resurrection.  They were, and are God's pre-eminent.  These two prophets are Enoch, the seventh from Adam, and Elijah, the Tishbite.  

e. Scripture confirms that Elijah is one of the two witnesses:  

(Mal 4:5-6 KJV)  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: {6} And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.  

f. Much of the literature in the early Church confirms that Enoch will be the other witness.  The most eminent teachers, bishops, apologists, and martyrs taught from the time of the apostles onward that Elijah and Enoch would be the two witnesses described in this chapter.  

g. These two witnesses are described as "My two witnesses," and the context of their being witnesses is in the area of judgment.  Of all men who ever lived, Enoch and Elijah are the two greatest judgment prophets.  

h. As far as is known, Enoch never preached on any subject other than "Judgment from above."  

(Jude 1:14-15 KJV)  And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, {15} To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.  

i. Both Elijah and Enoch had the spirit of judgment.  They will be dressed in sackcloth to demonstrate their humility and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.  This also shows they are from another dispensation other than the current one.  Sackcloth relates to other times and another ritual outside of the Church Age.  Enoch and Elijah fit the description perfectly.  

4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.    

a. This verse is a definite allusion to Zechariah's vision in Zec. 4.  There was a complex golden lampstand with seven lamps on it that was fed with oil from a bowl of oil.  The lampstand was a picture of the Church.  Beside the lampstand were two olive trees.  They were described as "the two anointed ones that stand before the Lord of the whole earth."  

b. The two olive trees represented Zerubbabel, the prince, and Jeshua, the high priest, who restored Jerusalem, the temple and the people to the worship of God after the 70 year exile in Babylon.  

c. Zerubbabel and Jeshua were types of the two witnesses who would perform the same functions during the last half of the tribulation period.  

d. It is very important to note that the two witnesses, in addition to being two olive trees, are also the two lamps standing before the God of the earth.  It is highly significant that the seven-lamp lamp stand is not present.  The reason is that the entire Church as the light of God on the earth has been removed from the earth just prior to the coming of the two witnesses as God's light to the world.  This is further confirmation that the Church will remain on the earth as God's light to the world up until the middle of the tribulation period.  The two witnesses will then take over as God's light.  

e. The phrase "Lord of the earth" is confirmation that Satan has been displaced as the god of the world, and Jesus Christ has now taken his rightful position of authority, even though there are many judgments remaining to purge the earth of the influence of Satan and his cohorts.  

5. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.  

a. Clearly, the Age of Grace is over and the time of judgment is upon the world.  Ministers of God are present, but their spirit and methods are entirely different from the ministers of the gospel in the present dispensation.  

b. The two witnesses kill, torment, deal out fiery judgments upon their enemies, and avenge even the desire to injure them.  This is not according to the Christian spirit, which is not to avenge ourselves, not to render evil for evil, not to smite and kill our enemies, but to love them and do good to them.  Jesus had all power, but he did not exercise it after the style of these two witnesses.  Jesus said He came to save lives and not to destroy them, and His servants have acted in this spirit.  

c. Stephen and James were beheaded.  Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned.  Peter was crucified, and Polycarp was burned.  Antipas was put to death.  None of these servants of Jesus attempted to resist, or defend himself by miracles, or to avenge the wrong inflicted.  It is clear that the two witnesses are ministers of another order.  The two witnesses are arrayed in sackcloth, and their very garments betoken calamity and judgment.  These are times of intense supernaturalism.  Satan is incarnate upon the earth, and the demons of hell run rampant upon the earth.  

6. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.  

a. These two witnesses are ministers of the judgments of God against the people of the world.  It does not rain during their ministry, and they have the power to turn the waters to blood that do exist.  The plagues are reminiscent of the time of the plagues in Egypt.  

b. There is war upon the earth between the two witnesses of God and the Antichrist and his false prophet, who perform miracles themselves.  

c. The time of the ministry of these two witnesses is during the Day of the Lord.  It is the winding up of the affairs of this present world system.  

d. They witness for Christ, not as the bleeding and pleading Lamb of God, but as the avenger of his elect, who is about to break his enemies with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.  They are judgment prophets sent to resist the blasphemies of the Antichrist.  They warn the world of coming destruction, and they prepare the elect, God's earthly people, for the coming kingdom.  They breathe the law spirit, and they execute the law penalties.  

e. When Elijah was on the earth the first time, he prayed and it did not rain for three years and six months (James 5:17-18).  He will repeat this during the last half of the tribulation period.  

f. The coming of Elijah is also for the purpose of the restoration of fallen Israel.  According to Malachi 4:5,6 Elijah the prophet will come, "and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers."  Jesus Christ also stated, "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." (Matt. 17:11)

7. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.  

a. After the two witnesses have completed their testimony, the Antichrist will fight against them and slay them.  They were immortal until their work was finished.  God ordained this so that He could demonstrate his power even over life and death.  

b. The method of their death is unknown, but it is known that Antichrist will behead his victims.  John the Baptist came in the power and spirit of Elijah, and he was beheaded, so it is likely that the two witnesses will be beheaded.  

8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.  

a The bodies of the two witnesses shall lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 !/2 days.  

b. The word spiritually is proof positive that this account can be taken literally, and the only portion that can be spiritualized or taken figuratively is the description of Jerusalem as being like Sodom and Egypt.  Jerusalem is not literally Sodom, but it is like Sodom in its apostasy (See Isa. 1:9,10; 3:8,9; Deut. 32:30-33; Jer. 23:14).  Jerusalem is also like Egypt in its idolatries (See Ezek. 23:3,4,8,19).  The Bible equates harlotry with idolatry.  

c. This verse positively identifies the city as Jerusalem by the reference to the city where Jesus was crucified.  

9. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

a. The world shall witness the bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days.  This would have been impossible before the days of television by satellite and CNN Headline News.  

b. The devilishness and malignity of feeling against these two witnesses is demonstrated by the refusal to even bury their bodies.  The law provides that even the worst of criminals shall be awarded burial on the same day of their execution (Deut. 21:22-23).  In this case all law and right feeling is set in defiance in regard to these prophets of God.

c. Note: The joy over an enemy's death and refusal to bury him have been the world's manner of expressing enmity in all ages and countries.  It was true at the death of Phocion (Athenian general and statesman), Cleomanas (king of Sparta), Tiberius Gracchus (Roman statesman and reformer) and others.  At the death of John Huss (religious reformer), who was burned at Constance, the Council held banquets and expressed their joy in the same manner as when enemies are destroyed.  

10. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.  

a. The people of the world experience great joy over the death of these two witnesses, because of the torment that they inflicted upon them.  

b. Unbeknownst to the people of the world, these torments were but the earnests and the precursors of much greater woes about to be released in the seventh trumpet judgment, which opens up the bowl or vial judgments.  

c. Duped by Satan, the people consider themselves redeemed from torment with the death of these two witnesses.  They dismiss further fear and consider their trouble at an end.  They celebrate by sending presents to one another as if  this were some grand jubilee.  

11. And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.  

a. God resurrects both witnesses into their glorified bodies of flesh and bone in the sight of the world.  This will instill great fear into the citizens of the world.  

12. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.  

a. The two witnesses will hear the same words from the Lord that the Philadelphia Church heard in chapter 3, "Come up hither."  It is clear that both witnesses will receive their inheritance in the kingdom of the heavens.  

b. The enemies who rejoiced over their death will watch them ascend into heaven.  This will be an extraordinary supernatural event to witness.  

c. Both Enoch and Elijah ascended into heaven in their bodies of flesh and blood in like manner thousands of years ago.  Only this time the world will witness this event

d. Those who refused to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be eyewitnesses to the death and resurrection of the two witnesses.

13. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.  

a. There will be a great earthquake in Jerusalem within the same hour that the witnesses ascend into heaven.  A tenth of the city of Jerusalem will be destroyed and 7000 people will die in the earthquake.  

b. Those who remain after the earthquake will be extremely fearful for their lives, and they will acknowledge God as the cause of these supernatural events.  This acknowledgment does not necessarily mean repentance or salvation.  It simply means that they will be forced to acknowledge that God's almighty power is in the events that just took place.  

14. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.  

a. The sixth trumpet judgment is completed, and the seventh trumpet judgment is about to commence.  

b. This is proof positive that the seven bowl or vial judgments will take place in a very short space of time at the very end of the tribulation period.  This is true since the two witnesses appear in the middle of the tribulation period, and they witness for 3 1/2 years.  This only leaves a few weeks or a few months for the bowl judgments to be completed.  

I. The Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet (Rev. 11:15-19)

(Rev 11:15-19 KJV)  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. {16} And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, {17} Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. {18} And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. {19} And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

The sounding of the seventh trumpet does not occur in an instant or moment of time, but it lasts for a period of days, weeks or even months during which time the seven bowls of God's judgments are unleashed upon the earth.  It is the seventh trumpet that culminates in Christ's complete takeover of the earth.  There is a resurrection, and there is the sheep and goat judgment of the nations, along with the judgment of Israel.  The Antichrist and the False Prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire, and Satan is confined to the bottomless pit for the millennium.  

15. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  

a. The seventh presence angel sounds the seventh trumpet, and there is great rejoicing in heaven over the kingdom of this world becoming the kingdom of our Lord.  The word kingdoms used two times in this verse is correctly translated kingdom in most translations.  It is the kingdom of the world that has now become under the authority and control of Jesus Christ.  The clause "he shall reign forever and ever" is literally translated he shall reign unto the ages of ages.  This confirms that his reign does not end with the millennium.  He will not reign with a "rod of iron" after the millennium, because sin and death will be conquered, and it will not be necessary to rule with an iron hand.  Righteousness will dwell upon the earth after the millennium, and the strong arm of the Lord will not be necessary in order to maintain order.  

b. In contrast to earlier announcements where only one voice spoke, the announcement of the kingdom belonging to Jesus Christ was made by great or loud voices in heaven.  The significance of the event is multiplied in the number of the voices.  

16. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,  

a. The 24 elders have appeared 7 times before in the book of Revelation.  They fall down twice in chapter 5 to worship (Rev.5:8,14), but this time they completely prostrate themselves with their faces on the heavenly pavement.  This also emphasizes the significance of the event taking place.  

17. Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.  

a. The 24 elders give thanks to the Lord for exerting his power and reigning upon the earth.  The phrase "and art to come" is not in the best manuscripts.  The American Standard 1901, New International Version, and several others correctly leave this phrase out.  Jesus Christ has already come at the time this is taking place, so the phrase is inappropriate.  

b. The four living creatures are conspicuously absent in this chorus of praise and worship, and it causes some to wonder where they are at this moment in time.  One possible solution is that the four living creatures represent the Bride of Christ, and the Bride is preparing herself for her grand presentation.  

c. There are other hints in Scripture that the Bride will not return with Jesus Christ when He comes in power and glory to deal with his brethren and the nations (i.e., Gentiles).  

18. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.  

a. The nations (i.e., Gentiles) were angry (past tense), but the wrath of the Lord is present (present tense), and the time of judging the righteous dead is now present.  Please note that only reward is mentioned in this context, since only the elect Gentiles and elect Jews will be resurrected at the end of the tribulation period so they can receive their rewards.  There are three classes of believers who will receive rewards at this time.  "Thy servants the prophets" are all those who are resurrected at this time who have been witnesses for the Lord.  This would be the highest class of the three.  "The saints" would be all those who separated themselves unto the Lord.  This is the second class.  "Them that fear thy name" represent the lowest class who did not separate themselves from the world, but they did fear the Lord.  Of course, these three groups of believers do not include any of the Church.  All members of the Church will have already been judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  The unrighteous dead will not be resurrected for judgment until the end of the millennium.  Theirs is the White Throne Judgment.

b. This is also the time when those unsaved who are still alive on the earth must be killed, since they cannot enter into the earthly aspect of the kingdom.  The phrase "and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth" is referring to these people.  They will be subsequently resurrected at the end of the millennium for the white throne judgment. 

19. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.  

a. Chapter 11 should have ended with verse 18.  Verse 18 gives the last historical action of the tribulation period in the judgment of those resurrected at the end of the tribulation period.  This verse introduces a new series of events, and it is actually the beginning of the events described in Chapter 12.  

b. The description of verse 19 picks up again in the middle of the tribulation period and describes the sequence of events pertaining to the nation of Israel, the casting out of Satan out of the first heaven, and the rapture of the main body of the Church.  

c. The opening of the temple of God takes us back to the middle of the tribulation period described in chapter 8 of Revelation.  The lightnings, voices, thunderings, and earthquake are even a repeat of Rev. 8:5 to show us that God is now going to give us some more details of the last 3 1/2 years of the tribulation period by picking up again at the point where The Seven Presence Angels appear to pour out judgments on the earth during the day of the Lord.  The "great hail" is a reference to the fire from the censer that was cast down to the earth.  This verse is as follows:  

(Rev 8:5 KJV)  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.  

d.  The opening of the temple of God is also a cue that God is about to deal with his people, the nation of Israel, which also is the time of Jacob's trouble.  This is the last half of the tribulation period when God allows Antichrist to afflict his chosen people, the Jews.

e.  The appearance of the Ark of the Covenant is also an unmistakeable tipoff that God has gone back to the middle of the tribulation period for the express purpose of dealing with Israel.