1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod
and was told,
'Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers
. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it,
because it has been given to the Gentiles.
They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.' 4
They are 'the two olive trees'
and the two lampstands,
and 'they stand before the Lord of the earth.' 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6
They have power to shut up
so that it will not rain
during the time they are prophesying;
and they have power to turn the waters into blood
and to strike the earth with every kind of plague
as often as they want.
7 Now when they have finished their testimony,
the beast that comes up
from the Abyss will attack them,
and overpower and kill them. 8Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city--which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt--
where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies
and refuse them burial.
10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
11 But after the
three and a half days the
breath of life
from God entered them,
and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, 'Come up here.' And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were
loud voices in heaven, which said:
'The kingdom of the world has become the
kingdom of our Lord
and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.'
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God,
fell on their faces
and worshiped God,
17 saying: 'We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry, and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead, and for
rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
both great and small-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth.'
God's temple in heaven was opened,
and within his temple was
seen the ark of his covenant.
And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings,
peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.
What does Revelation chapter 11 mean?
This chapter introduces two prophets referred to as the "two witnesses."
supernatural power, death, and resurrection
are dramatic moments in the story
of the end times
Their influence precedes the end of the trumpet judgments,
and sets the stage for the final series:
the seven "bowl" judgments.
John is first given a measuring device
and told to measure the temple, altar, and worshippers.
Measuring, in that era, was symbolic of ownership.
Only those who had rights to something—land, a building, or people—were allowed to measure them.
As part of this task, John is told that the outer court of the temple is not to be measured.
This area, occupied by "the nations,"
which is a term for Gentiles, is part of a "trampling"
experienced by Jerusalem in the end times
God next introduces
two un-identified "witnesses"
who stand in Jerusalem and proclaim Him.
Obviously, at this time, that message will not be well-received.
However, the men are supernaturally protected.
Everyone who tries to hurt them is obliterated by fire from
the witnesses' own mouths.
These men are also able to bring various plagues on earth,
such as drought (Revelation 11:3–6).
Finally, these two men will be murdered by "the beast that rises from the bottomless pit." Most interpreters believe this is the same "beast" described in Revelation chapter 13, also referred to as the Antichrist. To the unbelieving world, this will seem like a major victory—their leader will have defeated those claiming to speak for God. The world will be so overjoyed at this triumph that they will celebrate and exchange gifts, while leaving the bodies to rot in the streets. Thanks to modern technology, it's entirely possible that people across the entire world can see these events happen in real time (Revelation 11:7–10).
After three and a half days, however, the joy of the world will turn into shock and horror. God will resurrect the two witnesses in full view of the world. Announced by a voice, and carried by a cloud, they will be taken into heaven. At the same time, a massive earthquake will strike Jerusalem, destroying a tenth of the city and killing seven thousand.
Those who survive will not honor God deliberately,
but their fearful reactions will demonstrate
Earlier, those reading Revelation were warned about certain "woes" yet to come. The first and second of these were the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments, respectively. These were far worse than the terrible trumpet judgments that came before.
The third woe will be inaugurated with the seventh trumpet. Just as the seven trumpet judgments were all part of the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet will contain individual events, know as the "bowl judgments."
In the meantime, as the seventh trumpet sounds, heaven
for His righteous judgment
on evil (Revelation 11:14–19).
The next few chapters will discuss seven major figures in the end times, including the "Antichrist and the false prophet." Chapter 16
will resume the sequence of judgments
and begin bringing
the book of Revelation to a close