THE TWO WITNESSES
Revelation 11:1-14 (NKJV)
The Two Witnesses
11 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood,saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 5 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 be killed in this manner. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
The Witnesses Killed
7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
The Witnesses Resurrected
11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
God always has His witnesses! Even in this time of great wickedness and absolute rebellion against God, He has His witnesses in this sin cursed world. The goal of this chapter and the entire book of Revelation, is to give glory to and to exalt the blessed Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is possibly the most difficult chapter in this book. It is simply so deep that we could literally spend hours explaining all the twist and turns that are available here. However, we will try to get the gist of the passage and glean some truth from it.
Please notice that the events described here probably take place within the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. The Anti-Christ has established world-wide peace, a world religion, world economy and a seven year contract with the nation of Israel.
Let’s notice the events of this awful period.
I. v.1-2 THE TEMPLE WORSHIP
(Ill. The wonder! Men will build a temple to worship and sacrifice to a God who has already accomplished all things)
(Ill. 3 Temples in the Word of God (BIBLE) – 1. Solomon’s Temple – Destroyed 583 BC by Nebuchadnezzar; 2. Zerubabbel’s Temple – Destroyed 168 BC by Antiochus Ephiphanes; and 3. Herod’s Temple – Destroyed 70 Ad by Titus the Roman.)
(Now, the Temple is the church of believers – Eph. 2:21; 1 Cor. 6:19) There are two temples in the future – The Millennial Temple – Eze. 40-44; and the Tribulation Temple. The Jews will rebuild their temple! They are already beginning the processes that will make
As we study this passage, keep 2 things in mind, 1. We are on Jewish ground; 2. This discusses a future temple.
A. v.2b The City Mentioned – Holy Cuty – Jerusalem,
(Ill. Moslem, Christian, Jew)
1. The Jews Must Return To Their Homeland – (Exiled returned in 1948!
2. The Temple Must Be Rebuilt – (The difficulties and time involved).
B. v.2c The Chronology Mentioned – 3 1/2 years. v.2, 3, 12:6 ,12:14 (Ill. Daniels prophecy concerning Antichrist, Dan. 8:10. He will allow the temple to be rebuilt, but after 3 1/2 years, he will set himself up as God to be worshiped – 2 Thes. 2:4
C. v.1a-2a The Chastisement Mentioned – Ill. Rod is a type of judgment! This temple is under judgment from God! Why? It rejects the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross and substitutes the sacrifices of men!
1. A part is given to the gentiles. They will be the instruments of judgment – Lk.21:24.
II. v.3-12 THE TWO WITNESSES
(Ill. The church is gone, but God still has His men!)
A. v.3-6 The Inauguration of Their Ministry –
1. v.3 They are real (REAL) people.
2. v.3 Sackcloth – Mourning – Preaching Misery – No message of hope and comfort!
3. v.3 Preach – Probably preach Jesus as the fulfilment of Holy Scripture.
4. v.4 Olive trees, Candlesticks – Spirit and Light. They will minister in the power of God’s Spirit preaching His Light. (Ill. Zech 4:3 ,14)
5. v.5 They are Unstoppable – Power to devour enemies with fire, stop the rain, and send plagues., turn the water to blood.
6. Who are they? Several guesses!
a. Elijah – Mal. 4:5, Ill. Elijah never died. Ill. Elijah’s power. (Ill. A lone voice in his generation)
b. Moses – Moses mentioned in Mal. 4:5 with Elijah. Moses seen with Elijah in Matthew 17 on Mt of Transfiguration. The miracles and plagues were performed by Moses. (A lone voice!)
c. Enoch – He too was a lone voice for God. He never died, and all must die – Heb. 9:27
7. It doesn’t really matter! What matters is that God has always got His man on the ground. (Ill Noah.)
B. v.7-10 The Completion Of their Ministry
1. v.7 Killed by the beast – Rev. 13:1. If you are in God’s will, nothing can harm you.
2. v.8 Their bodies lie “unburied” in the street for 3 1/2 days in the city of Vice, Vanity and Violence. Jerusalem!
3. v.9 Ill. Ridiculed with the advent of TV. Ill. This will feed the drug induced, godless, wickedness of the day.
4. v.10 The earth Dwellers will throw a party. The “Devil’s Christmas”. Why? Their preaching troubled the sinners! Ill. The preaching of the Word brings torment and conviction. It bugs people! People do not like to be faced with their sin! People hate it now, they will definitely hate it then!
C. v.11-12 The Vindication Of Their Ministry
1. They are raised from the dead.
2. God then reenacts the rapture. He shows a godless world what they missed! (Ill. God will vindicate His people – Ill. Death and Resurrection!)
III. v.13-14 A TERRIBLE WOE
A. Earthquake – tenth part of Jerusalem falls.
B. 7,000 notable men die – Ill. Seven number of perfection, God shows who is still in control.
C. The remnant must admit that this is the work of God.
(Ill. This will stick in Antichrists craw!) (Ill. No more the Jail house and death bed salvation!) True Repentance and Salvation – The kind that will save you and take you to Heaven is the kind that comes from conviction and conversion.
D. The second woe is past, but a worse on is coming!