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


11:11-13 RESURRECTION OF THE TWO WITNESSES

“And after three-and-a-half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying to them, ‘come up here.’ And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand; and the remnant were afraid, and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11: 11-13).

The “breath of life” that "entered them" is God’s Spirit, which causes lifeless things to come to life. In the Garden of Eden the breath of life caused dirt to live. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7). “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).

The two witnesses will be thoroughly traumatized and shattered by their experience, but they do not let go of their hold on God until “the breath of life from God [enters] them.” In this respect they are like Jacob who “struggled with God and with men and…prevailed,” and in fact Jeremiah brings this experience to view, calling it the “time of Jacob’s trouble”—“Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7). The "day [that] is great, so that none is like it" is the "time of trouble, such as never was" (Daniel 12:1), and Jeremiah tells us that during that time God's people will have an experience like the "time of Jacob's trouble." Jacob had a “time of trouble” when he was faced with the death and destruction of all that was precious to him.

The story of Jacob and his brother Esau is found in Genesis 25-33. Jacob had lied to his father and twice cheated his brother. Fleeing from his angry brother, he spent the next twenty-one years being exploited by his conniving uncle Laban and learned how wrong it is to lie and cheat. But it was when his brother and 300 armed men approached him, apparently to take his life and the lives of his loved ones, that Jacob felt the deep remorse for his sin that was symbolized by his wrestling all night with the an Angel. When the night was almost over the Angel (who was actually God, Genesis 32:30) touched his hip, permanently crippling him, but he did not let go. He cried out, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!” (Genesis 32:26). Because he held on in the face of despair his name was changed from Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (God prevails).

This will be the experience of the two witnesses who will be totally crushed by the apparent failure of their mission. Their "stubborn" refusal to worship the beast will imperil not only their own lives but the lives of their families and loved ones. In their despair they will, as Jesus promised, drink the cup that Jesus drank (Matthew 20:22,23), which is the sense of separation from God.[1] But they will not let go, and at the end of the “night” God will touch them and give them a “new name” (“to him who overcomes I will give…a new name” Revelation 2:17). They will “ascend into heaven”— they will by faith stand “before the throne of God,” even while the plagues are falling around them (see 7: In Heaven While On Earth).[2]

The “Two Witnesses” are not the only ones who will be shaken. By withdrawing His protecting mediation during the trumpet plagues, God will shake the foundations of human society. This is symbolized by a great earthquake (“there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell”).[3] These trials will fully harden the stubbornly unrepentant, symbolized by “seven thousand people [who] were killed.” They will be "sealed" in their unbelief (see 15:5-8 The Close of Probation) and will redouble their efforts to destroy the remnant.

In contrast, “the remnant— the great multitude who have accepted the call to come out of Babylon— will stand in awe as they see the radiant glory of the transformed witnesses. “The rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.” This is a direct response to the final appeal of Revelation 14, “fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come,” again confirming the last hour context of this section. It is significant that those who respond are called the remnant (Greek loipos). This identifies them with “the remnant (loipos) of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). These are the ones who refuse to submit to the beast and they join the 144,000 “before the throne and before the lamb…and serve Him day and night in His temple” (Revelation 7:9,15).

Continue to next section: 11:14,15 THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD



[1] Jesus told His disciples, “You will indeed drink my cup” (Matthew 20:23). When He was about to be sacrificed He said, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:11). The essence of the cup was not the physical torture He endured, but the sense of separation from God, expressed in His cry from the Cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).

[2] In this sense they will be like Jesus, who spoke of Himself as being in heaven even as He was facing the trials of His earthly life (John 3:13).

[3] Chapters 10 and 11 are highly symbolic. The “great city” is based on 3 literal cities (v. 8), showing that it is symbolic of all the cities of the world, and “seven thousand” is a highly symbolic number. A literal earthquake that killed 7000 people would not be “great” considering that earthquakes in history have killed hundreds of thousands of people. This points to a symbolic earthquake with spiritual results.