-The two witnesses are described in this chapter as the second woe comes to a close and the third woe begins. John was given a measuring rod like a staff to rise and measure the Temple of God, and the alter, and those who worship there (Revelation 11:1). This many scholars and people of God take as a rebuilding of the Temple during this time of tribulation. It is interesting to note that the court outside the Temple is not to be measured by John as it will be trampled under by the nations (the non-Jews, the Gentiles) for 42 months (Revelation 11:2). Possibly at the same time, but not necessarily, the two witnesses are granted authority for 1,260 days to prophesy, clothed in sackcloth (a demonstration to repent and turn in Godly sorrow) (Revelation 11:3). These two are the olive trees and lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. They have immense power that emanates from them to consume their foes. They can strike with deadly force, turn waters into blood, shut the sky from rain, and impose plagues on the earth as often as they desire (Revelation 11:4-6).
-When these have finished their testimony, the beast makes his first appearance that rises from the bottomless pit. This beast makes war on the two witnesses and conquers them and kills them. The two witnesses lay dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days as all people from all tribes, languages, and nations gaze at their dead bodies (more than likely this will be a huge media event). They refuse to let them be placed in a tomb and there is great rejoicing over the entire earth with merriment and presents being exchanged, because the two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth (there was no turning to the Lord in other words for the vast majority of people). However, after three and a half days, a breath of life from God enters these two witnesses and they stand on their feet causing great fear (obviously) on those who saw them. A great voice is heard, “Come up here,” and they went up to Heaven in a cloud (much like Jesus Christ in His ascension) as their enemies watched them. At that very hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city (Jerusalem) fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the great earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of Heaven. This marks the end of the second woe (Revelation 11:7-14).
-Now the third woe is about to come. The seventh angel blows his trumpet. In the days of this trumpet, the mystery of God is completed as God had announced (proclaimed, preached) to His servants, the prophets (Revelation 10:7). This trumpet blast is accompanied by loud voices in Heaven proclaiming that the kingdom of the world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, who shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15). The 24 elders are also involved with reverent worship as they fall on their faces again and give glory to the Lord saying, “We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Thy wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth (Revelation 11:17-18, NASB)." At this point, 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 accompanying all of this (Revelation 11:19).
-*Application* The events described here are ominous and extremely frightening. The saddest thing in it all is that those who were opposed to God and His great power refused to turn to Him in time. God is patient and will bear with much, but as we see here, His patience does have its limits and you certainly don’t want to be on the wrong side of His wrath. There is coming a time when the dead will be judged by the Great Judge, the Almighty God. Those opposed to Him and destroy what He is for and has created are in terrible trouble. The good news is that those who do turn to Him in faith will be rewarded. These are His servants, the prophets, the saints, and those who fear His Name, from the least (smallest) to the greatest followers. Determine to be a Christ follower. It will be very helpful in the final analysis.
Verse to Memorize: Revelation 11:18