Bible Study: Revelation 11 – Two Witnesses

Revelation is the only book that says we are blessed to read, hear and keep the things that are written, for the time is near. Hence, let us not be like hypocrites without discerning times and seasons. Here we will look into Revelation 11 and understand what it says.

(Rev 1:3) Blessed [is] he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time [is] near.  

(Luke 12:56) “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how [is it] you do not discern this time?

Jerusalem Temple and Dome of the Rock

(Rev 11:1-2) 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. 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.

As we know, Dome of the Rock which is now located at the temple site and the only possible location that may have been given to the gentiles. The same people to whom the outer court is given, they will tread the holy City for 42 months. Outer court that holds tome of rock was given to Muslims. Hence, at this point in future, the Temple will be standing.

Identifying the Two Witnesses

(Rev 11:3-4) “And I will give [power] to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.

Who are referred as lampstands in the Bible?

(Rev 1:20) “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. 

(Zech 4:2,10) And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there [is] a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the [stand] seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. … For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

Lampstands refers to churches in the Bible. Seven lamps on the lampstands refer to seven eyes of the Lord. It is inappropriate to refer only two for the seven eyes of the Lord. Further, the seven eyes actually refers to the seven lamps on the lampstand and not to lampstand itself. Hence, the two lampstands refers to two churches.

Who are referred as olive trees in the Bible?

(Zech 4:3,14) “Two olive trees [are] by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” … So he said, “These [are] the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.” 

(Rom 11:24-25) For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who [are] natural [branches,] be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Two olive trees refers to two anointed ones. Olive tree also refers to both Israel which is cultivates and Church which is grafted in.

Who are referred as witnesses to God in the Bible?

(Isa 43:10-12) “You [are] My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I [am] He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, [even] I, [am] the LORD, And besides Me [there is] no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And [there was] no foreign [god] among you; Therefore you [are] My witnesses,” Says the LORD, “that I [am] God. 

(Acts 1:8) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

God calls Israel and the church as His witnesses.

(John 10:16) “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock [and] one shepherd.

Hence, the two lampstands and two olive trees are the two groups of God’s people, Israel and the Church. Israel at this point must have repented and accepted Christ as their messiah, which is why, they are referred not only as olive tree but also as a church. The church is referred as an olive tree because it is grafted into it. These are the two flocks of sheep Christ was referring to.

Power of the Two Witnesses

(Rev 11:5-6) 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. 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.

I am sure of that some people who call themselves Christians are very eager to kill their enemies with fire from their mouth and still be a witness to God. I am sorry to say the verse doesn’t mean that. You cannot kill someone and be a witness to Christ.

(Jer 5:12-14) They have lied about the LORD, And said, “[It is] not He. Neither will evil come upon us, Nor shall we see sword or famine. And the prophets become wind, For the word [is] not in them. Thus shall it be done to them.” Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts: “Because you speak this word, Behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, And this people wood, And it shall devour them.

Fire from the mouth of these witnesses are words of God. These witnesses have power to shut heaven like Elijah, turn waters to blood like Moses and with all plagues as often as they desire.

(Jas 5:17) Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. …. (Deut 11:16-7) “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the LORD’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.

(Exod 7:19) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in [buckets of] wood and [pitchers of] stone.’ ” …. (Isa 15:9) For the waters of Dimon will be full of blood; Because I will bring more upon Dimon, Lions upon him who escapes from Moab, And on the remnant of the land.” 

As we can see both the plague of Elijah and Moses are a punishment for wickedness.

(Rev 11:7) When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against themovercome them, and kill them.

Did you notice the word ‘beast’? Which beast is referred here? There are no beasts mentioned from Revelation 1 till this verse in Revelation 11. We will understand why this is the case only if we understand properly the decoded chronology of Revelation. The beast which is the final caliphate with his 200 million army who are camped at Armageddon will make war against these two groups of God’s people in Jerusalem, overcome and kill them. It is important to note that Armageddon is not the place of the battle but the place where the enemies of God had gathered.

(Rev 11:8-10) 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. 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. 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.

And their dead bodied will lie in Jerusalem for half a week and all the people in the world will be happy about their dead. Jerusalem here is referred as spiritual Sodom and Egypt.

(Jude 1:7) as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 

(Ezek 20:7) “Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I [am] the LORD your God.’

The spirit of Sodom is homosexuality and the spirit of Egypt is idolatry. Jerusalem had become like Sodom and Egypt and because these two witnesses spoke against them of them sins, they were happy and sent gifts when these two witnesses were killed.

Rapture & Jesus Christ’s Second Coming

(Rev 11:11-14) 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. 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. 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. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

Then, the two witnesses stood on their feet and went to heaven in a cloud. The very next event is our Lord’s second coming, which means, this event is referring to the rapture of His true church which includes the two witnesses, the gentile believers and the messianic Jews.

(Rev 11:15-17) Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become [the kingdoms] of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.

Paul already mentioned this in his first letter to Corinthians.

(1Cor 15:51-52) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

(1Thess 4:16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

The two witnesses of God will be caught up in the clouds to meet our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

(Rev 11:18) The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

The author of Hebrews writes the same event this way.

(Heb 9:27-28) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

(Rev 16:15) “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed [is] he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 

This is the same event mentioned later in Revelation when the prophesy regarding the world is told.

(Rev 11:19) Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

The ark of God’s covenant was seen in His temple in heaven. What does this mean?

(Heb 9:2-4,11) For a tabernacle was prepared: the first [part,] in which [was] the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which [were] the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; …. But Christ came [as] High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.

(Col 2:16-17) So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

We clearly see the Temple of God was a shadow of things to come but the substance is of Christ. Then, why is the temple of God in heaven and the ark of the covenant seen there? It’s because, while we are not under the law, Christ is under the law. Through new covenant which Christ gave to us, we have access to the Father.

(Gal 4:4) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 

(Matt 5:18) “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 

(Rev 21:22) But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

As we read, Christ was born under the law. Only after that, the heavens and the earth will be no more. In the new heavens, there is no temple for the law and all that is written in it will be fulfilled by Christ.