The 11th chapter is quite complex. It gives an account of the two witnesses coming to earth during the latter half of the Great Tribulation period. It announces the third woe and talks about the sounding of the seventh trumpet angel. It breaks down as follows:
1. The Invasion of Israel by the Antichrist – Revelation 11:1-2
2. The Two Witnesses – Revelation 11:3
3. Their Identity – Revelation 11:4
4. Their Power – Revelation 11:5-6
5. Their Physical Death – Revelation 11:7-8
6. Enemies Celebrate Their Death – Revelation 11:9-10
7. Their Triumph Over Death – Revelation 11:11-12
8. The Great Earthquake: Which is the Same as Under the Seventh Vial – Revelation 11:13
9. The Third Woe – Revelation 11:14
10. The Seventh Trumpet – Revelation 11:15
11. Announcement by the Twenty-Four Elders – Revelation 11:16-18
12. The Heavenly Temple Opened – Revelation 11:19
The Invasion of Israel by the Antichrist – Revelation 11:1-2
John says that the reed resembling a rod was given him. A measuring reed was about 12 ½ feet long. John is told by the angel to “…Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” This measurement is for judgment pertaining to the antichrist in the middle of the week, after 3 ½ years. He will invade Israel moving his capital from rebuilt Babylon (Isaiah 14) to Jerusalem, taking over the temple and fully desecrating it. He is talking about the temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. There have been five temples in history and prophecy:
1. Solomon’s temple
2. Zerubbabel’s temple
3. Herod’s temple
4. The future Jewish temple in the days of the antichrist
5. The millennial temple yet to be built
The measurement for judgment refers to the antichrist’s stopping all sacrifices, the Brazen Altar and all worship which pertains to the Altar of Worship in front of the Holy of Holies.
When the second verse says the court without the temple should not be measured, for it is given to the Gentiles, it refers to the “Court of the Gentiles.” This is the area where the Gentiles in past Jewish temples have been allowed to stand. The Court of the Gentiles has always been set apart for Gentiles who had partially embraced Judaism but had not become proselyte Jews. There was a wall approximately two feet high separating the Court of the Gentiles from the area of Jewish worship. If a Gentile crossed that wall, he could be stoned to death, so John was told not to measure this area because it always belonged to the Gentiles, and it will belong to the Gentiles even in the temple that is soon to be rebuilt in Jerusalem.
“…and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Revelation 11:2) This speaks of the antichrist’s taking over the temple for the last 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation period, which at the time will close out what is referred to as “the time of the Gentiles.” Luke 21:24 declares, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
Jerusalem is thought of even now by the Jews as their capital. It will remain so until the middle of the Great Tribulation period. Then, the antichrist will break his seven-year covenant with Israel and enter Palestine. He will take over Jerusalem and the future Jewish temple as his capital building and start the beast worship according to Daniel 9:27; 11:4-45; 12:7; Matthew 24:15-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
Jerusalem will then be in Gentile hands for 42 months, finally being liberated at the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).
At that point, the times of the Gentiles will end. These times refer to that period in Israel’s history when she was oppressed by the Gentiles from bondage in Egypt to the second coming of Christ. It began long ago with the Egyptian bondage. In the 7th and 8th chapters of Daniel, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, Rome, and revised Rome (The ten horns) are persecuting Israel. These number seven, and then the eighth will be the antichrist himself according to Revelation 17:9-11.
The times of the Gentiles will end at the battle of Armageddon. Jerusalem will be surrounded by the armies of the antichrist and half of the city will be taken Zechariah 14:1-5. Then Jesus Christ will return, and the times of the Gentiles will forever end, meaning that Gentile oppression and persecution of Israel will never happen again.
The Two Witnesses – Revelation 11:3
Who are the two witnesses? They are two men, not two covenants or dispensations. They are Christ’s witnesses. Christ said, “My two witnesses.” They will also prophesy the last 42 months (3 ½ years) and will be clothed in sackcloth. They were symbolized in the Old Testament by two olive trees and two candlesticks which stand before God (Zechariah 4:11-14). They were already in Heaven when Zechariah prophesied about 500 years before Christ (Zechariah 4:11-14).
Understanding this, we realize that this excludes John the Baptist, John the Apostle and every other man living after 500 BC. These individuals will be invincible for the first 3 ½ years of their ministry, and they will have power to destroy their enemies the same way their enemies seek to destroy them. They will be able to blow fire out of their mouths to devour their enemies. Whether or not this will be literal is not stated. They will have power to stop rain all the days of their prophecy. When their ministry is finished, the antichrist will be allowed to kill them. They will remain dead for 3 ½ days, symbolizing the 3 ½ years that they prophesied. Then, they will be resurrected.
These are two men who never died, and there are only two men in the Bible who could fulfill these facts concerning these two witnesses. These individuals are Enoch and Elijah. That Elijah will be one of them is clearly predicted in Malachi 4:5-6. Enoch is the only other man translated who has not seen death in his time on earth. Both were prophets of judgment. Each must come back and meet his own appointed death on earth as all men must who lived before the Rapture. They are now in Heaven in their natural bodies and will continue there until returning to earth to fulfill Revelation Chapter 11. The lives of Enoch and Elijah are parallel in every sense. These two men are the two witnesses spoken of by Christ in Revelation 11:3.
Their Identity – Revelation 11:4
This is the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy – Zechariah 4:11-14
Their Power – Revelation 11:5-6
These men will accomplish all or at least most of their ministry in Jerusalem. They will be there during the time the antichrist has control of the Holy City. How exasperating it will be for the antichrist with these two individuals having free run of the city of Jerusalem. They will have power to shut heaven so it can’t rain. Elijah had this power in his earthly ministry in Samaria. They will be able to smite the earth with plagues as often as they want. No doubt, they will be heralded on every television station in the world. They will be shown performing miracles. The anger of the antichrist will know no bounds, but he will be powerless to stop them until their ministry is finished. They will be the subject of commentaries in magazines, newspapers and television programs the world over. The irony is they are in Jerusalem, the very seat of the beast and the antichrist with all of his vauntful power for 3 ½ years, for 3 ½ years will be unable to stop them. Every cordon of soldiers he sends to arrest them is killed as fire comes out of their mouths. Every plan concocted to hurt them will be turned upon its planners. They, instead, are killed (Revelation 11:5).
Their Physical Death – Revelation 11:7-8
At the end of the 3 ½ period, their testimony and ministry will be finished. Then, we are told the beast coming from the bottomless pit shall make war against them and kill them. Who is this horrible beast? Even though the antichrist himself is called the beast, the beast that is spoken of there is not the antichrist. This is the one John characterized in Revelation 17:8.
The beast out of the abyss, bottomless pit, is a satanic angel and not the human spirit of some dead man. He does not incarnate himself into the human antichrist or beast out of the sea but merely uses him as a tool to carry out his designs. This is the same spirit that, through Alexander the Great, ruled the Grecian empire.
When the kingdom of Grecia fell, this satanic prince was confined to the abyss where he has remained until he will be loosed out of that pit to help the antichrist take over the world. He will not succeed, but he will give the antichrist greater power than any other man has ever had.
Please understand, this is a satanic prince. He will be invisible to the natural eye. He will be a fallen angel abiding the antichrist. With this aid, the antichrist will overcome the two witnesses and kill them. He will, no doubt, have no idea what is giving him this power.
The 8th verse tells us that their dead bodies shall lie in the street of Jerusalem. Jerusalem being called “Sodom and Egypt,” (where Our Lord was crucified) indicates something to us. After the antichrist takes over, of course satan, though him, will do all within his power to desecrate the Holy City. Jerusalem will become the headquarters of homosexuals and harlots. This indicates that sex and religious perversions will be predominant sins ending this age.
Enemies Celebrate Their Death – Revelation 11:9-10
When God allows them to be killed because their work is finished, a tremendous celebration will take place. The Scripture says that their dead bodies will lie in the streets for 3 ½ days. Possibly, their enemies will be afraid to approach even their corpses because they will remember their extraordinary power. One can get an idea of the tremendous effect they had during the 3 ½ years of ministry by the amount of rejoicing done by their enemies of their death. The cause of merriment will be that the prophets who tormented them, the enemies of God, are dead. God’s prophets have always tormented the devil and his followers, and they have never met with approval. God is still calling prophets today according to Ephesians 4:11. Perhaps the reason most God-called prophets do not call themselves such is because historically, they had been killed for their testimony.
Their Triumph Over Death – Revelation 11:11-12
For whatever reason, these individuals were not buried. No doubt, television cameras will focus upon the bodies in the street these 3 ½ days. After 3 ½ days, the Spirit of life from God will enter into them. Perhaps television cameras will record it all, sending it to the far corners of the earth. When it says “…great fear fell upon them which saw them.” that could well mean billions of people. As God speaks from Heaven, not only will those in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem hear it, but also through television much of the world will also hear this great voice saying, “…Come up hither...” Television cameras may record their ascent into Heaven in a cloud because it says, “…their enemies beheld them.”
The resurrection and translation of the two witnesses will complete the first resurrection of all the righteous dead before the millennium. It will be the fifth translation or rapture. The 5 raptures that take place are:
1. Christ and his many saints that were resurrected after the Resurrection – Matthew 27:52-53
2. Afterward, they that are Christ’s at His coming – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
3. The 144,000 Jews saved from the first 3 ½ years of Daniel’s 70th week, The Great Tribulation period – Revelation 7:1-8
4. The great multitude of tribulation saints who are saved after the Rapture of the Church – Revelation 6:9-11
5. The rapture of the two witnesses, ending the first resurrection which began with the resurrection of Christ – Revelation 11:7-11
The Great Earthquake: Which is the Same as Under the Seventh Vial – Revelation 11:13
At the same time that the translation of the two witnesses takes place, there will be a tremendous earthquake that will strike the city of Jerusalem. This will happen under the seventh vial which is at the very conclusion of the Great Tribulation period. We are told that a tenth part of the city will be destroyed and that 7,000 men will be killed in this earthquake.
The translation of these two witnesses before the very eyes of the people, accompanied by the great earthquake, will be why the remnant in Jerusalem will glorify God. It doesn’t say they will be saved but simply infers that out of fear, they will give glory to The Lord.
The Third Woe – Revelation 11:14
When he talks about the second woe being passed, he is referring to Revelation 9:12-21. The third and last great woe is introduced here. Please understand, the third woe is not the earthquake of verse 13. It is the casting out of satan under the seventh trumpet (Revelation 12:12). So, the casting out of satan, which will be the third woe, is announced here. That does not take place at the exact time of the announcement. It simply says it’s coming quickly.
The Seventh Trumpet – Revelation 11:15
When the seventh trumpet angel blows his trumpet, the Bible said there are great voices in Heaven. They talk about the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of Our Lord and how He will reign forever and ever.
The seventh trumpet will blow in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, after 3 ½ years. There will be about 3 ½ years from the blowing of the seventh trumpet to the coming of the Lord. So, we have the seven seals and the first six trumpets completely fulfilled in the first 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation period. Even though the announcement of the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of Our Lord is announced here, it does not take place until 3 ½ years later. It is an announcement that will come to pass.
Announcement by the Twenty-four Elders – Revelation 11:16-18
The four and twenty elders that are mentioned here are all the same that are referred to in Chapter 4, Verse 4. When hearing about The Lord taking over the kingdoms of this world and reigning forever and ever, they will fall on their faces and worship God. They are thanking Him that the long battle has ended. The anger of the nations indicates the great turmoil taking place. Satan will have been cast down from Heaven to earth and God will be pouring out His wrath upon the planet.
The time of the dead and of their being judged is not the Great White Throne judgment. That will not take place until after the Millennial Reign, a thousand years later. It is of the judgement seat of Christ when the Christians should be judged. It does not mean judgment of their sins because that was done at Calvary. It is talking about their motives and life’s work being judged. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, rewards will be given to every saint of God who has earned them. Sadly, many rewards will be lost because motives were not Christlike, but we emphasize this is not speaking of Christians being judged for their sins. This refers to the works of Christians according to 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. In the battle of Armageddon, The Lord will destroy them which have destroyed the earth (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).
The Heavenly Temple Opened – Revelation 11:19
The temple spoken of here is the Temple of God in Heaven. It is also referred to in Chapter 4, Verse 1. The ark is the one after which Moses patterned the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 8:5; 9:23).
When the Temple of God is opened, a series of things start to happen. There are lightnings and voices and thunderings. All of this is happening on earth along with a great earthquake and great hail. When these things take place on earth, it will not be known what precipitates these happenings. However, we are told in the Word of God that it is the opening of the Temple and the visual appearance of the Ark of His Testament (The Ark of the Covenant). We are not told why this will trigger these happenings on earth. More than likely, it is because of the great holiness of God. Any time there is sin, the great holiness of God causes death. If there is righteousness, it gives continued life (Leviticus 10:1-2).
The Two Witnesses
1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel (Christ) stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
-refers to the literal temple which will be rebuilt in Jerusalem, with Israel, once again, instituting the sacrifices. In fact, plans are being made at this moment for the rebuilding of this structure. As well, Daniel, prophesied of this event some 500 years before Christ (Daniel 9:27).
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles
-refers to the Court of the Gentiles which was the furthest court from the temple. This “measurement” is for judgment.
and the holy city (Jerusalem) shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
-This refers to the period that will end the “…times of the Gentiles...” (Luke 21:24). At the midpoint of the Great Tribulation, the antichrist will turn on Israel, actually attacking her, and she will be temporarily defeated. He will occupy the temple, making it his religious headquarters (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He will occupy it for 3 ½ years.
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses,
-Enoch and Elijah, two men who have not yet died, actually being translated before they saw death (Genesis 5:21-24; Malachi 4:5-6)
and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
-This refers to the 3 ½ years, the last half of the Great Tribulation. Clothing in sackcloth suggests that the witnessing includes the preaching of repentance (Isaiah 37:1-2; Daniel 9:3-5).
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
-Both represent the two witnesses and refer to the vision given by the Lord to the prophet, Zechariah (Zechariah 4).
5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies:
-pertains to judgment and not literal fire
and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
-This proclaims the protection of The Lord and in whatever manner it is needed. No doubt, the antichrist will seek to kill them in many ways.
6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy:
-does not mean that there will be no rain for 3 ½ years but that they can shut up heaven as often as they so desire. Undoubtedly, there will be months without rain.
and have power over waters to turn them to blood,
-At that time what this miracle will be ascribed to will be anyone’s guess.
and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
-refers to sicknesses and diseases of every nature along with plagues of insects such as flies, frogs, etc.
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony,
-will be at the conclusion of the 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation. Ironically, this is the same period of time of Christ’s earthly ministry.
the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
-The beast out of the abyss is a satanic angel, not a human spirit of some dead man. It is the one described by John in Revelation 17:8. He is a fallen angel who will be invisible but will greatly help the antichrist, and with the help of this fallen angel, the antichrist will kill the two witnesses but not until their ministry is completed.
8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
-As is obvious, it is Jerusalem. Satan will turn this city into the capital of homosexuality, which is Sodom, and worldliness, which is Egypt.
9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half,
-no doubt, by television which will be beamed all over the world.
and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
-proclaims the spectacle lasting 3 ½ days.
10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another;
-proclaims a worldwide celebration because the two witnesses, who have caused so many problems for the antichrist ,have now been killed
because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
-This proclaims that which two prophets have a tendency to do.
11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet;
-refers to these two men being raised from the dead. Again, this will, no doubt, be televised all over the world.
and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
-It will be a miracle, as is obvious, of astounding proportions.
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither.
-These will be raptured at the very conclusion of the Great Tribulation. They will be among the last of those included in the first resurrection of life,
And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
-As stated, television will portray this miraculous scene, with it being observed all over the world.
13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake,
-This is one of the five times that earthquakes are mentioned. It is the last one that will take place. It happens under the seventh vial, which is at the very conclusion of the Great Tribulation.
and the tenth part of the city fell,
-refers to Jerusalem
and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
-There is some indication in the Greek text that some of these people gave their heart to Christ.
The Seventh Trumpet
14 The second woe is past;
-This woe took place under the sixth trumpet judgment (Revelation 9:12-21).
and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
-It is not the earthquake of verse 13, but rather, the casting out of satan under the seventh trumpet (Revelation 12:12).
15 And the seventh angel sounded;
-marks the beginning of the last 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation
and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
-This is said in anticipation and will definitely come to pass at the conclusion of this 3 ½ year period at the Second Coming of The Lord.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, (thrones) fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
-These elders are human beings, possibly some of the prophets and apostles of the Bible, and represent the entirety of the plan of God as it refers to redemption.
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come;
-pronounces Christ as the “eternal one”
because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
-This, once again, speaks of anticipation, in other words, what The Lord is going to do and which He most definitely will do.
18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come,
-has to do with the coming battle of Armageddon (Psalms 2)
and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great;
-refers to the coming Judgment Seat of Christ, not the Great White Throne Judgment
and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
-Once again, speaks of the battle of Armageddon in which Christ will engage at the Second Coming (Revelation 19)
19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven,
-In some way, it might be similar to Solomon’s temple for which the Heavenly temple was the pattern.
and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament:
-refers to the Ark of the Covenant, which again, served as the pattern of the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle and temple on earth during the time of the law.
and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
-This presents that which is symbolic of the awful presence of God and His majesty and glory.
The Book of Revelation
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT