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


OLD TESTAMENT TYPES OF THE TWO WITNESSES

The description of the Two Witnesses is extremely rich in scriptural imagery, painting a composite picture from the various references.

These [the Two Witnesses] are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth (Revelation 11:4). The two witnesses are portrayed as “olive trees and “lampstands—images which are taken from Zechariah chapter 4.

The prophet Zechariah saw “a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps...two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left…that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains” (Zechariah 4:2,3,12). An angel explained that the lampstands with the olive trees feeding them with oil represented the Spirit-empowered ministry of Zerubbabel, the leader who led the children of Israel back to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the temple:[1] “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!…The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it” (Zechariah 4:6-10). Zerubbabel, who led literal Israel back to Jerusalem from their Babylonian captivity, was a type of the 144,000 who will bring the last-day captives out of spiritual Babylon.

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 ” (Revelation 11:5). The fire in the mouths of the two witnesses is the word of God. “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: Because they have spoken this word, I am now making My words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them” (Jeremiah 5:3,14).

God’s word is a consuming fire to sin. Those who submit themselves to God will be refined by His word, and it will burn away the impurities leaving the pure gold (Malachi 3:2,3). But those “who do wickedly will be stubble and the day which is coming shall burn them up” (Malachi 4:1-3).[2] During the time of trouble when the image, mark and number of the beast are in force, it will appear that the enemies of God have the upper hand. But this scripture shows that their final end is destruction, and this is what is meant by the phrase, “if anyone wants to harm them [God’s faithful messengers] he must be killed”.

These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy (Revelation11:6). This passage compares the ministry of the two witnesses to that of Elijah, who declared to the apostate king of Israel, “There shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). Interestingly, the period of time of the drought was three years and six months,[3] the same length of time (1260 days) that the two witnesses are to “prophesy” (Revelation 11:3).

During this period Jezebel killed the prophets of God and led Israel deeper into the worship of Baal (1 Kings 18:4,13,19). Elijah gathered Israel and challenged them to choose who they would serve (1 Kings 18:21). Elijah proposed a test (bringing fire down from heaven) to prove if God or Baal had true spiritual power. When the prophets of Baal had totally failed, Elijah offered a simple prayer of faith. “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God!”[4]

Elijah, as God’s spokesman, had “The power to shut heaven, that rain will not fall,” and this was a part of the demonstration of the power of God that won the people from false worship to the true God. The book of Malachi predicts that Elijah will come again—“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5). The two witnesses will have an “Elijah message” that will be accompanied by the power of God, which will be so compelling that the whole world will be brought to a decision for or against the Lord.

“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 11:6). This verse compares the ministry of the two witnesses to Moses and the plagues of Egypt. God had, through Joseph,[5] brought His chosen people to Egypt to save them and nurture them while He waited for conditions to be right to establish them in the Promised Land (Genesis 15:13-16).[6] The enemy sought to thwart God’s plan, using “a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8). He first subjected them to cruel slavery, and eventually began to practice genocide, murdering the male babies.[7] At the time of God’s choosing He revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush and commanded him to go “to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10). Pharaoh refused with the arrogant statement, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). God, through Moses, turned all the water of Egypt into blood, the first of a series of ten plagues that broke the will of Pharaoh, and he finally allowed Israel to go free out of Egypt and slavery (Exodus 7:14-25).

Moses, as a prophet of God, announced the plagues that would fall upon those who stubbornly resisted God. In the last days God’s two witnesses, knowing from prophecy what will take place, will also be able to announce the plagues which will fall upon the world. In fact, several of the plagues have to do with water and blood. The first trumpet plague rains fire and blood upon the earth, with the second trumpet the sea becomes blood, with the third the waters become bitter, and during the seven last plagues the sea and waters become blood. The two witnesses’ foreknowledge of these plagues is their “power over the waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with every plagues,” and this will so enrage the followers of “the beast” that they “make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them” (Revelation 11:7).

Continue to next section: WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?



[1] Ezra 2:1,2, 3:8, 5:2 Nehemiah7:6,7, Haggai 1,2.

[2] See also Isaiah 33:14-16.

[3] James 5:17

[4] 1 Kings 18:20-40

[5] Genesis 37-47

[6] God showed here His fairness and patience; although it was his will that the children of Abraham inherit the land of Canaan, he did not disenfranchise the Amorites who lived there until they, by their gross idolatry, immorality and violence filled up the cup of their iniquity (Genesis 15:16).

[7] Exodus 1:9-22