REVELATION 11Revelation of Jesus | Revelation of JohnT: REVELATION 11:1-1911:1,2 MEASURING THE TEMPLETHE ALTAR AND THOSE WHO WORSHIP THERE11:2 LEAVE OUT THE COURT11:3-6 WHO ARE THE TWO WITNESSES?OLD TESTAMENT TYPES OF THE TWO WITNESSESWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?11:7-10 THE TWO WITNESSES KILLEDSATAN’S IMPERSONATION OF CHRISTWHEN WILL THE BEAST APPEAR?11:11-13 RESURRECTION OF THE TWO WITNESSES11:14,15 THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD11:16-18 ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE JUDGMENT11:19 THE ARK OF THE COVENANT


11:3-6 WHO ARE THE TWO WITNESSES?

“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth, and devours their enemies; and if anyone wants to harm them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven so that rain will not fall in the days of their prophecy. And they have power over the waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they want” (Revelation 11:3-6).

The Greek word for witness is marturos, which is defined as one who declares facts directly known to himself from firsthand knowledge, or from firsthand experience, who tells what he believes, even though it results in his being killed for it.[1] Peter and the other disciples who had been with Jesus declared, “We are His witnesses,” and many of them ended up in prison or were killed because of their witness.[2]

Jesus’ final commandment to His disciples was that they were to be witnesses to the whole world—“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Peter, John, and the rest of the Apostles were direct witnesses.[3] During their lifetimes they told thousands of people about Jesus. But fortunately for us who live two thousand years later, they wrote down what they had experienced, just as the Old Testament prophets had done before them. At the most basic level, the two witnesses are their testimony, found in the Old Testament (which presents God and His plan of salvation in types and shadows), and the New Testament (which portrays the living reality in Jesus Christ). Through the ages the church has misunderstood and even twisted the witness of the scriptures, but they have stood as an anchor, bringing God’s people back to a true knowledge of Him.

But the two witnesses are more than a book. Billions of people have died having never heard an effective witness of Jesus, even though the Bible has been in constant existence. Effective witness only takes place when the Word of God has become a living reality in the lives of men, women and children who love God with all their hearts and who then heed the command of Jesus to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”[4] The two witnesses are the people who bring the light of God's Word to those who are in darkness.

They will prophesy 1,260 clothed in sackcloth.”[5] God’s fearless servants faithfully proclaimed the word of God during the 1,260 years of papal idolatry. During the Dark Ages it seemed like the whole world was against the few who were true to God. The Bible was chained in convent cells and those who dared to stand for the truth faced the Inquisition, torture and death. False witnesses abounded, perverting the Word of God. But the faithful martyrs and reformers “did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11) and were bright lights shining in the darkness.

Both the Old and the New Testament teach that a message, in order to be valid and accepted, must be confirmed by “the testimony of two witnesses.”[6] The ministry of the two witnesses began even when Jesus was still here on earth—“The Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go” (Luke 10:1). Now, at the end of the age, Jesus is “about to go” to every corner of the world—He is coming again and “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7). As we will see in chapter 14, the 144,000 are the ones who, during the time of the end, have the special task of preparing people for that event as they scatter “two by two” to bring the truth of the God’s Word to every nation, city, village and neighborhood. The medieval time of trouble was a type of the “time of trouble such as never was” (Daniel 12:1), when the crushing weight of the beast system, with its image, mark and number, will bear down on the 144,000 who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation14:12). The sweet “little book” that they have eaten will be bitter in their stomach, but they will heed the command, “You must prophesy again before many peoples, nations, tongues and kings” (Revelation 10:9-11). This final witness to the world by the 144,000 during the time of trouble is the primary application of the prophecy of the two witnesses.

Continue to next section: OLD TESTAMENT TYPES OF THE TWO WITNESSES



[1] Friberg Greek Lexicon

[2] “We are witnesses of all things which He did…Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead…to Him all the prophets witness” (Acts 10:39-43). “We [Peter and the other apostles] are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’ When they [the high priest and the Sadducees, v.17] heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them” “Then he [Herod] killed James the brother of John with the sword…he proceeded further to seize Peter also…he put him in prison” (Acts 5:32,33, 12: 1-4).

[3] They were direct witnesses in the sense that they had first-hand knowledge—“That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…we declare to you” (1 John 1:1-3).

[4] Mark 16:15.

[5] Sackcloth is a symbol of mourning, repentance, affliction of soul, hopeless consternation and humble entreaty in the face of overwhelming, seemingly hopeless adversity. See Psalms 30:11, Amos 8:10, Nehemiah 9:1, Daniel 9:3,4, Isaiah 58:5, 2 Kings 6:24-30, 2 Kings 18:17-19:2.

[6] Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15, John 8:17, Hebrews 10:28.