|The Two Witnesses, Revelation
Verses 1-14 (NASB)
And there was given to me a MEASURING ROD
like a staff;
This is a continuation of chapter 10. We will now see the "active" part
of the prophesy. Up to now, John was to hear, see, and write. Now the
prophesy starts, and it usually begins with the prophet measuring
(assessing) the spiritual state of the nation.
Many scholars believe this is Christ speaking. However, it also could
be the strong angel with the little book (Revelation
The figurative meaning would say this refers to the Christian church in
general. The literal meaning would mean the rebuilt temple in
Jerusalem. Since Revelation is first and foremost a Jewish writing,
this should be taken literally.
What does the measuring mean? The Jews in rebuilding the
resuming animal sacrifices signify they refuse to accept Jesus as
Messiah as He came 2000 years ago. Instead, "the beast" in the rest of
Revelation is accepted, Daniel
Christ realize "the
temple" is man's body with Christ and Holy Spirit living therein, 1
Thus, the "measuring" is to show the Jews how lacking
temple and altar (ritual) are compared to Jesus Christ and His COMPLETE
forgiveness and High Priestly authority (Hebrews
The "measuring" also denotes preparation for destruction
Jewish tradition (Isaiah
7:7-9, and 2
21:13) and reconstruction (or restoration) of Messiah (Ezekiel
Note the order of measuring:
LESSON: If you call
worship, sacrifice, and praise MUST be to the Lord and not to a
building, pastor, or fellow believers. You will be MEASURED!
|'The TEMPLE OF GOD'
||the devout Jews will be tried first.
||this was for atonement in Old Testament times;
has done it, and 144,000 sealed and 2 witnesses talk about it (Hebrews
|'those who WORSHIP in it'
||finally, this is for the "religious" (as
agnostic/atheist). The measuring is a separation (Matthew
"And leave out the court which is outside the
not measure it,
Traditionally, the outer court has been the only place where non-Jews
are allowed. Since the three previous temples: Solomon's, Zerubabel's,
and Herod's, which was destroyed in AD70, the TEMPLE mount has been
under Gentile control. Even today, the Dome of the Rock, a Moslem
edifice, occupies the site. This is prophesied by Jesus in Luke
Apparently, a pact will be made with the Antichrist (Daniel
9:25) which gives the Jews 3 1/2 years to rebuild the TEMPLE
that site. Even today, Jews have gathered materials for the temple
utensils. The time is near for the rebuilding of the TEMPLE.
The TEMPLE is so protected from non-Jews that Paul was
bringing Greeks into the temple area, Acts
21:27-28-30, instead of leaving them in the court. Some
suggest that the reason the court is not to be measured is that the
Gentiles already have been measured, 2
for it has been given to the nations
will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
This part of the verse clearly indicates that for 3 1/2 years (42
months) the holy city is occupied, particularly the TEMPLE mount, by
the nations. The expression 'the nations' usually is interpreted to
mean non-Jews. Whether this is limited to Arabs, also of Abraham's
seed, or wider, such as Russians, Americans, Africans, etc. is open to
This time, 42 months, is terminated when the "times of
is finished, Luke
21:24. The "times of the Gentiles" began with Nebuchadnezzar,
36:1-21. Here are some related prophesies: Daniel
14; and Joel
There is an interesting observation that pre-Tribulation
proponents make. For the true believers in Christ, there was no temple.
True believers worship God in Spirit and in Truth, John
4:23-24. Furthermore, we are called to worship God in the
10:19-22. If the true believers are, in fact, gone prior to
1/2 years, then there is no reason to try to measure the non-Jewish
believers. Some interpret this verse in that manner.
Lastly, the 'holy city' has always referred to Jerusalem
or Rome or any other religious 'headquarters' city). It is where the
devil took Jesus to be tempted, Matthew
4:1-5-11. It also explains why Israel (and Arabs) get so much
coverage. Inherently, the spiritual side of mankind knows something
important is going to happen there.
And I will grant authority to my two
This has a legal sound to it. In fact, it was required to have two
witnesses to accuse someone (Deuteronomy
18:16; and 2
These two witnesses are accusing the beast (chapters
apostacy and desecration of the temple, earth, and human soul. That
this verse personalizes the two witnesses with "MY" two witnesses
indicates that this authority comes straight from the throne. God
always has had witnesses, whether human or His creation (Acts
and they will prophesy for twelve hundred
Note the precise fixed time = 3 1/2 years or 1/2 of 7 years.
Sackcloth shows mourning, humility, affliction of the soul, and true
repentance. Jews fully understand what this means (Genesis
4:7-8). It is an Old Testament example to the nation that
are WRONG. This symbolism may not be well understood by non-Jews or
non-Arabs. Gentiles just don't do this.
that stand before the LORD OF THE EARTH.
- the two OLIVE
Olive trees give oil for the lamps on the two lampstands. Often in
scripture the oil represents the Holy Spirit, so these two witnesses
are filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians
5:18). Compare this description to Zechariah
- the two LAMPSTANDS
When witnessing (verse
or giving their
they stand our as lights to the Jewish nation. Recall from the previous verse
are two or more witnesses required.
These two have a special place before the "Lord of the earth". Abram in
14:22 swore to "Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and
After the destruction of the Jewish nation, God is
the 'God of heaven'; for example Daniel
44. Here with this expression "Lord of the earth", God is
again addressing Himself to the Jewish nation. They are witnessing in
'the Great City', verse
Some scholars believe these two are not humans but angels in
form such as the ones at Christ's tomb, Luke
24:3-4, and at His ascension, Acts
And if any one desires to harm them,
Apparently, the two witnesses' testimony angers the Jewish people first
and the rest of the world second.
There is an implication that these two witnesses can read thoughts by
the use of the phrase "desires to harm them". They understand the
desires/intent of those around them. It is not clear that they also
know of their death (verse
- If you believe in either a pretribulation or
'rapture' , people who thought they were Christians and were left
behind don't want to hear the Gospel/testimony (verse
again. They are guilty and too ashamed to admit it; their hearts are
- The AntiChrist as 'world leader' doesn't like what
because they talk of the preeminence of Christ and not his.
fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours
This is a spoken judgment. Elijah was so anointed to 'speak fire' (2
5:14 indicates Jeremiah was able to speak and the people were
Note the results of these spoken judgments:
and if anyone would desire to harm them, in
This is the second time the phrase "desire to harm" is used in this
verse. This gives an emphatic clue to the way the world and AntiChrist
will be "terminated". It is an 'eye for eye' principle. Also, this is
reactive witnessing (Matthew
12:9-15-16) as opposed to proactive witnessing, that is,
to signs, wonders, and miracles.
These have the POWER to shut up the sky, in
not fall during the DAYS of their PROPHESYING;
Power is associated with the Holy Spirit (Acts
1:8). When the anointing is upon someone, they have this kind
POWER. Elijah in 1
17:1-7 shut off the rain. Elijah's POWER is equated with
prayer for sick and confession of sins, James
5:13-18. Note the exact time it didn't rain in Elijah's
time....what is the duration of these two witnesses PROPHESYING (verse 3).
and they have POWER over the WATERS
This carries forth the spirit part of power. If water is the abode of
spirits, these witnesses by shutting off the water in effect are not
giving evil spirits (demons) an abode. See Revelation
9:14. This is another reason why the antichrist is irritated
these two witnesses.
- to turn them into
In the Old Jewish laws, there is a direct relationship between life and
BLOOD. Atonement comes through the blood into ETERNAL LIFE. Thus, the
two witnesses not only have the unique ability to inhibit the evil
spirit abode but also to change that abode into life. That is exactly
what Christ did for us on the cross (John
- and to smite the earth with every
plague, as often
This chapter in Revelation may be a retrospective look to the seven
seals and the seven trumpets. Much of what has been described up to
this point during the first half of the tribulation looks like it
was/is done under the power of these two witnesses. What is interesting
is that these two witnesses are not brought up in Revelation chapter 4
when the seals and trumpets appear. This chapter is like an
afterthought which explains how the seals and trumpets are executed.
'Every plague' denotes that these two witnesses
a spiritual level. Recall that plagues and diseases are part of the sin
And when they had finished their testimony,
This is 3 and 1/2 years (verse
feel this is
half way through the tribulation. They are immortal until their work is
done. All of our life spans are fixed by God (Job
9:27-28, and James
the BEAST that comes out of the ABYSS
This is the first mention of the BEAST. John does it so matter of fact
that one wonders if he hadn't seen 'the BEAST' before but just didn't
write it down. On the other hand, the two witnesses are not in
chronological order so this may be at the beginning of John's vision
and just now he is getting around to writing it down. He refers to the
BEAST later in Revelation
The ABYSS, the evil abode, is so bad that even the evil
not wish to be there, Revelation
So scholars believe this 'coming up from the ABYSS' is a
the resurrection of Christ. How else will the world accept this
evil-occupied human as "Messiah" (he is the only one to be able to kill
the two witnesses. Whether the BEAST is in suspended death/trance and
then "wakes up" is not clear. Mystic Eastern cults claim such
- will make war with them,
Weaponry will be used to kill them. This follows Daniel's prophesy in Daniel
- and overcome them and KILL them.
With the two witnesses' death , it appears that the last great obstacle
to total evil control of the earth has been conquered. The 144,000
witnesses in chapter 7 seem to remain until the dragon makes war with
the 'rest of the woman's offspring' (Revelation
And their DEAD bodies will lie in the street
of the GREAT
Perhaps these two are the prophets referred to in Matthew
23:33-34-36, and maybe they are crucified in front of TV
"Live from Jerusalem". Then their bodies will be left, undignified in
the street. This is very much not Jewish; burial comes quickly after
death in Jewish tradition.
which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt.
Mystically (pneumatikos [Greek]) is only used in the New Testament in 1
2:14 where clearly this is spiritual (not of natural
||- Here is wickedness beyond belief. It came to
wanting homosexual relations with God's angels (messengers) (Genesis
|- It is an apostasy associated with the
|- See Deuteronomy
32:28-33 - fruit like poisonous grapes or bitter venom.
||- first country to enslave God's people (Exodus
These two witnesses were ultimately oppressed.
|- It is also equated with the center of
where also THEIR LORD was CRUCIFIED.
These two witnesses clearly testify about THEIR LORD (verse
And those from the peoples and tribes and
No doubt, the two witnesses "sang" the song in Revelation
infuriated the world
(people and tribes and tongues and nations) is that they were guilty of
the Messiah's blood, and that true believers would eventually reign.
The world had gone along with the devil, were decieved, and had a gut
feeling these two witnesses were RIGHT. The world couldn't accept that
they had chosen incorrectly.
will look at their DEAD BODIES for three and
a half days,
will not permit their DEAD BODIES to be laid in a tomb.
Maybe there was a fear (belief) that these two (or one of them) was the
Messiah. Jesus in John
2:13-22 indicates that after three days the "temple would be
again". If Jews only considered Jesus a prophet, then they (and the
world) would want to watch this happen. Modern television will make
this verse possible. At four days much decay sets in (John
11:38-39-44). The two witnesses are DEAD nearly four days!
"unburied" act also was a reproach to Jews which left them
to scoffing and derision. The devil has always tried to make fools of
God's chosen people, Psalm
And those who dwell on the earth
The phrase "who dwell on the earth" is used in particular for
- will REJOICE over them and make
MERRY; and they
Why the rejoicing?
Most likely, Christmas was a celebration without even the possibility
of remembering Christ's birth. The antichrist will have decreed it so.
These two witnesses had reminded the world WHY they had sent gifts.
- The two witnesses caused them to suffer
- The two witnesses bothered the world's collective
- will SEND GIFTS to one another,
because these two
TORMENTED those who dwell on the earth.
This celebration coincides with the Festival of Purim (Esther
9:20-28), the Jewish gift-giving festival. Since the festival
held on the 13th day of Adar month (Jewish calendar), most likely these
two witnesses are killed on this day. Watch for it. Note: the Desert
Storm Persian Gulf conflict concluded on the Festival of Purim.
Coincidence or ???
The two witnesses, as witnesses usually do, cause a study in contrasts.
To believers, they would have brought joyous testimony. To
non-believers, they will bring terrible torment.
And after the three and a half days
Note the precision in time again. John could have said something like
"during the 4th day ... ", but he is very exact at 3 1/2 days. What is
so fascinating is that to God, time does not exist inasmuch as He is
eternal. However, this precision indicates that even our human ties to
time is well understood by Him. Furthermore, this precision gives
credence to the rest of Revelation. When this event takes place, there
will be NO DOUBT in the observer's minds as to what this means.
What happens after this is a GOD EVENT in 4 parts: a) a
b) clear evidence, c) result on observers, and d) a personal
- the breath of life from God came
All life is breathed into us from God. Physically, Genesis
2:4-9, we breath; spiritually, John
1:1-4-5, we have eternal breath; and our reward, Revelation 2:10,
- and they stood on their feet;
We, humans, instantly equate someone lying down as asleep, unconscious,
or dead. Standing up requires us to be alive, awake, and conscious. The
evidence of BREATH on dry bones is clear in Ezekiel
- and great fear fell upon those who
Why would a GREAT FEAR fall on the observers?
- They remember the past three and a half years.
- The beast, verse
NOT have ultimate
power over death (Revelation
- The observers realize the two witnesses were
truth, and now they must face the consequences, Revelation 20:14-15.
This confims the two witnesses are of God (not false teachers) because
only God's own people are invited into heaven. This parallels the
request to John in Revelation
- they heard a loud VOICE from
HEAVEN saying, "COME
And they went up into HEAVEN in the cloud,
Note, it is 'the cloud' not 'a cloud'. There may be a special "God's
cloud" which not only transports Jesus (Acts
1:9) and witnesses around but also contains the GLORY of God (Exodus
and their enemies beheld them.
'BEHELD' is probably better translated 'STARED TRANSFIXED'. This is not
a twinkling-of-an-eye exit (1
15:52). It is a slow deliberate departure. Most likely
'their enemies' were watching them closely to see what the two
witnesses were going to do next. Their departure may have been a relief
but even as believers are exhorted to be watchful, Luke
21:34-36, the enemies probably wonder if the two witnesses
going to return.
Interestingly, they probably do with their Commander in the lead, Revelation 19:14.
And in that hour
This concludes the TWO WITNESSES interlude.
Again, note the precision. It's "in that hour" not "some time later".
God's timing is always "on time".
was a great
There is no mistaking that these are God's two witnesses (verse
4). The earth through a physical quake acknowledges their
- a tenth of the city fell; and
It was violent enough that buildings collapsed. It is not clear that
the epicenter was where the two witnesses were whisked away into heaven
or at the spiritual center of the city. Note that the veil of the
temple (some distance from Golgotha) was torn in the earthquake that
followed Christ's death on the cross, Matthew
- seven thousand people were killed
in the earthquake,
Some of these people may have been "big shots" from the political
realm, the news media, and religious leaders. The world had kept a
close watch on these two witnesses and their departure. And this is the
price they will pay for rejoicing over the two witnesses' death (verse 10)!
- the rest were terrified and gave
GLORY to the GOD OF
Those alive recognize God as the one who caused the earthquake. but
note they only can give GLORY. The time for repentence is passed. When
God performs a miracle such as this uptaking or a healing, it is not
only an event for the ones taken up or healed, it most directly affects
the onlookers including skeptics (Luke
Remember the eagle in mid-heaven cried out "WOE, WOE, WOE" (Revelation 8:13).
Revelation 9:13 through
Revelation 11:13 has been the second WOE which contained:
- Sixth trumpet,
- Little Book, and
- The two witnesses and the beast.
behold, the third WOE is coming quickly.
Behold means "pay attention". The tense of "is coming" means it has
started already and is on its way. NO STOPPING IT!
The 'terror' in Jerusalem in the
shows that the 'rest of Jerusalem' also realizes it. WOEs are common to
Jewish experience over the centuries but lest they become ordinary,
they (the Jews) and we are told to 'behold' the third WOE:
- Seventh trumpet - Revelation
- Woman and dragon - Revelation chapter 12,
- Sea and Earth Beasts - Revelation chapter 13,
- Lamb and Mount Zion - Revelation chapter 14,
- Songs of Moses and the Lamb - Revelation chapter 15,
- Seven Bowls - Revelation chapter 16, and
- "It is done" - Revelation
from the NEW
AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The
Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975,
1977, 1995 Used by permission."
References to the Revelation of Jesus
Christ are in bold italics. All
other references are in bold