Revelation - Chapter 11
The Two Witnesses: 11:1-6.
This is perhaps the most difficult section in the book of Revelation to interpret. John was given a measuring rode and asked to measure the temple of God, the Alter and to count the worshipers (11:1). The temple is protected by God. The New testament regards the church as the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16). John was told not to measure the outer courtyard. The outer court was given to gentiles and they will trample the holy city for 42 months. This will happen when Antichrist breaks the covenant of peace with Israel. Does this refer to a literal temple that will be built in Jerusalem during the Tribulation? The Scholars differ on the interpretation of this temple. The temple is always symbolic of God’s presence and the worship of His people. Apostle Paul wrote “Believers are the temple of God” (1 Cor 6:19). The measuring is symbolic of God’s ownership of His people and their protection. Some suggest that this is the same temple in which the man of sin will demand his worship (2 Thessalonians 2:4). At this time God will grant authority to two witnesses to prophecy for 1260 days in sack cloth (11:3). Even the worshipers are measured indicates that God is beginning to deal with the nation of Israel. This refers to Daniel’s seventieth week. This is the last half of the seven year Tribulation period after the covenant of peace with Israel is broken (Dan 9:27).
The two witnesses killed but Resurrected:11:7-14. God does not leave this earth without a messenger to warn before judgment. Two powerful prophets are raised up in the middle of the tribulation period to prophecy. These two witnesses are likened to olive trees and candlesticks standing before the God (11:4). The figure of olive trees shows that they are the anointed ones (Zechariah 4:3, 14). Candlesticks refer to their witness during the Tribulation period. It is difficult to identify these witnesses. Some hold the view that they are Moses and Elijah because of their ability to perform miracles. Others think that they are Elijah and Enoch since they are sent back to witness and die (Heb 9:27). They will have power to kill their enemies with fire, withhold rain, to turn the waters into blood and bring plagues upon the earth. Nothing happens to them until they finish their ministry. Their ministry incites the wrath of Antichrist. It is comforting that God is able to protect His servants throughout their ministry. God will not permit Satan to harm us until we finish our ministry (Job 1:12). The Antichrist is finally allowed to kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street city of Jerusalem for three and a half days. Jerusalem is spiritually characterized by Sodom and Egypt. Sodom stands for moral corruption and Egypt for spiritual darkness. The world will celebrate at their death. This celebration will be premature when suddenly the Spirit of life from God enters into their dead bodies and they stand up. They will be ascended up to heaven. So great will be the impact of the resurrection and ascension of these two witnesses that there will be a great earthquake. This will destroy a tenth of the city of Jerusalem and 7000 people will be killed. The rest will be terrified and will give glory to God. Yet people will not repent of their wickedness. Thus the second woe comes to a conclusion. Jesus said "Though one rose from the dead and witness to sinners they cannot be persuaded" (Luke 16:30, 31). God will help those who are willing to proclaim the gospel despite the suffering that will bring.
The Seventh Trumpet: 11:15-19.
When the seventh angel blew the trumpet there were great voices in heaven saying, “The kingdoms of the world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever” (11:15). This is the beginning of the end. Very soon Christ will take over the nations as their rightful ruler. This announcement produces twofold reactions. There is great joy and worship in heaven because God's judgment has finally come and His servants were rewarded. God will reward His people for their faithfulness. Many prophecies will be the fulfilled at this time (Act 2:25-28; Psalms 2:2-5; Isaiah 9:6-7; Dan 2:44). When Christ reigns there will be peace on earth. The world will no longer be under the power of Satan. Then John sees the Temple of God as the heaven open and in the temple the ark of the covenant was seen within his temple (11:19). Since the temple is Jerusalem was defiled by Antichrist, it is not surprising to see the heavenly temple. The Ark is symbolic of God’s dwelling among His people. The chapter ends with a fearsome scene of "Lighting, voices, thunder, earthquake and hail. They speak of coming judgment over nations" (11:19). God's judgment is always based on His Word. This also indicates God's wrath. God poured His wrath upon His Son for the sake of sinners (Matt 27:32-54. If you turn to Jesus in faith, you will not have to face the coming wrath of God. God will rapture the believers before tribulation comes. Never downplay the reality and the seriousness of God's wrath against sin. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall be saved.