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


11:7-10 THE TWO WITNESSES KILLED

“And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the peoples, and tribes, and tongues, and nations will gaze at their dead bodies three-and-a-half days and will not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And they that dwell on the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented those that dwell on the earth” (Revelation 11:7-10).

In chapter 10 the explanation of Matthew 24 showed that prophecy can have both a historical and a last-day application, the historical events giving a foretaste of what will happen at the end of time. The historical application of the killing of the two witnesses took place after the 1,260 years of “prophecy in sackcloth,” which constituted the period of papal supremacy from the mid sixth century until the end of the eighteenth century (see chapter 13). At the end of that period a new power arose—militant atheism, in the form of the French Revolution, a revolution that had a far-reaching influence on the violent revolutionary movements that followed, including atheistic communism. These movements made war on the Word of God, and in the case of communism, on the “witnesses” who dared to proclaim it.

The primary fulfillment, however, will take place during the time of trouble. Just as Jesus sent His disciples “two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go” (Luke 10:1), so God’s “Two Witnesses,” the 144,000, will be present in every part of the world, sharing the truth from God’s word. Wherever they are they will be attacked and persecuted. Jesus predicted this experience in Mark 13:13, “You will be hated by all for My sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Two factors show that this is primarily an end-time event.[1] First of all, the dead bodies of the two witnesses will be seen by those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations.” This phrase, which is found seven times in the book of Revelation, is used within the context of the universal movements of the last days. [2] This is not referring to a local, historical event.

The second factor that shows that the ministry and death of the two witnesses happens at the very end of time is the fact that “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.” As we will see in the next section, a comparison of “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” with the end-time antichrist described by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 shows that they are one and the same.

Continue to next section: SATAN’S IMPERSONATION OF CHRIST



[1] These factors are in addition to those already given in the footnote to 11:2 Leave out the Court.

[2] Variations on this phrase are found seven times in the book of Revelation (Revelation 5:9, 7:9, 10:11, 11:9, 13:7, 14:6, 17:15) and each time the context is the universality of either the persecuting activity of Babylon or of the gospel message and its results, which are only complete at the very end of time. The last sign before Jesus comes is the gospel going to the whole world. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This command of Jesus is finally fulfilled by the last judgment-hour message—“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth -- to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people --saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water" (Revelation 14:6,7). This is the “first angel’s message” and it will be given along with the second and third angel’s messages, which expose and condemn Babylon. These messages are given by the 144,000 and they enrage “those who dwell on the earth” and cause them to “rejoice…, make merry, and send gifts to one another” when these witnesses who “tormented them” with their straight, cutting testimony are “killed” (Revelation 11:9,10).