Revelation 11

Revelation chapter 11 continues the parenthesis that began in chapter 10. John is told to measure the temple of God, which may be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation period or more likely the prophesied millennial temple. The rod is a surveyor’s instrument.

The outer court represents the control of Jerusalem and Israel by Gentiles during the last half of the Tribulation period.

The holy city is the earthly Jerusalem.

The forty and two months show that Jerusalem will be under Gentile control for three and one half years, probably the last half of the seven year Tribulation period, where the period of the Great Tribulation is seen as the Seventieth Week, or seven year period, in God’s postexilic program for Israel.

Chapter 11

11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

This angel is telling John to take a measurement of the temple and the people. We read in Ezekiel 40:5, that this reed is nine feet long (six cubits). This seems to be a similar message in Ezekiel to the one here in Revelation.

The terrible thing in all of this is that among the outer court (the unsaved) are many nominal Christians, who believe that they will be saved. This seems to be just asked of John to make him aware of the multitude of true believers who will be in the very presence of God.  It is, also, to remind him of those so-called Christians that have brought compromise and pleasing of the flesh into God’s church.

The outer court for the Gentiles means just this, the believer who is a Christian in name only, not in deed. The faithless portion of the church that we read about in 2nd Timothy 3 verse 5 “has a form of godliness but denies the power”.  This outer court is not the place for believers to be.

This statement about the “temple and them that worship therein” is speaking of the true believer’s who collectively make up the temple (body of Christ).

11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty [and] two months.

I would like to say again here that the Bible (and especially Revelation) must be understood by its signs and symbols through the spirit, and cannot be understood literally. As any dream or vision has to be interpreted, so does Revelation.

The outer court represents the control of Jerusalem and Israel by Gentiles during the last half of the Tribulation period. In other words it is too worldly for God. He is saying (throw them out) they are not part of the elect. They are not part of the body of Christ.  The inner court makes up the body of believers.

We see here in this forty-two months that the holy city is trodden down; that the believers in Jesus “holy city” will go through 3-1/2 years of trials and tribulations. All through Revelation, the “holy city” is symbolic of the body of believers.

The holy city is the earthly Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24; Zech. 13:8, 9; 14:2). The forty and two months show that Jerusalem will be under Gentile control for three-and-a-half years, probably the last half of the seven-year Tribulation period (Dan. 9:24-27, where the period of the Tribulation is seen as the Seventieth Week, or seven year period in God’s postexilic program for Israel.


Next “A Powerful Proclamation to the World” – Christ is certainly not saying that this gospel must be preached to every person. Millions have already died without hearing it. Rather it must be proclaimed in; “in all the world for a witness to all nations.” That phrase sounds as though the day is coming when not only individuals but all the nations of the world will be powerfully confronted by the gospel and the consequences of rejecting it. John seems to have been shown such a time in his vision in (Rev. 11 v.3-6).

11:3-6 “And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will”.

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 will have awesome power and impact, together with the 144,000 witnesses, in producing the enormous soul harvest of the first forty two months of the Tribulation described in Rev. 7. They will provide the millions of Jews in the Holy Land a theological and spiritual bridge to the Christian gospel. Many of the souls harvested at that time will be the sons and daughters of Abraham.

What a dynamic and compelling message from God these two amazing witnesses will bring to “all nations!” No one can write them off as crazies, for they display incredible supernatural powers and defy the Antichrist and his underlings to stop them. No doubt they will be seen daily on international television in every corner of the earth as they warn mankind of God’s coming judgment.

The world police and even the military will be powerless to silence them. Anyone who attempts to stop them from preaching is instantly destroyed. Even Antichrist’s satanic powers are no match for these two fearless and God empowered preachers of truth. There can be no doubt that these two witnesses will have the attention of the entire world! Their message will be a declaration to all the nations on this earth to repent and to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the world’s rightful ruler.

The 3-1/2 years of their compelling preaching would seem to coincide with the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. Many will believe the gospel they proclaim and will thereafter refuse to worship the Antichrist or to take his mark, and will be martyred for their faith.

Who Are They -Some try to identify one of the witnesses with Enoch (because he never died, Gen. 5 v.24) and the other with either Elijah (who also never died, (2 Kings 2 v.11-12) or Moses. For three reasons Tim LaHaye is inclined to think they are Moses and Elijah.

Moses and Elijah are the two most influential men in the history of the Jews. Moses introduced God’s written law to Israel and wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. Elijah was the first of the writing prophets and started the school of the prophets. Whenever the Jews said, “Moses and Elijah,” they usually meant “the law and the prophets.”

Moses and Elijah accompanied Jesus and the 3 disciples when He was “transfigured before them” on the mount and where He discussed His impending sacrifice on the cross (Mat. 17).

The 2 witnesses are said to reproduce the very miracles that Moses and Elijah performed while on this earth. John said of them, “And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. 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.” (Rev. 11 v.5-6)

Elijah is famous for calling down fire from heaven. The most famous instance occurs in 1 Kings 18 v.36-38) in the account of the contest between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. The Lord sent fire on Elijah’s altar on Mt. Carmel in response to his simple prayer: “Lord God of  Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your Word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”

Elijah is connected to divinely caused drought as well as to judgments of fire. In fact, the very first time he is mentioned in the Scriptures he is heard saying to wicked King Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” (1 Kings 17 v.1) And there wasn’t; God honored the prophet’s word.

Moses, of course, is intimately connected with the ten plagues that struck Egypt just before the Exodus (Exodus 7-12) In the very first plague God turned the waters of Egypt into blood – including the Nile, all streams, rivers, ponds, pools, and even the water in buckets of wood and stone. The water turned to blood, killed the land’s fish and caused the water to stink, and conditions did not return to normal for a week.

How fitting that Moses and Elijah would return to Jerusalem to commence these last 7 years of the Tribulation to “witness, testify and prophesy.”

11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

“The beast that comes up from the Abyss” refers to the beast described in Rev. 13 v.1 to 7″ and is an expression used here for the first time. The fact that he will come up out of the Abyss is a reference to the death and resurrection of the Antichrist. However let me interject something here. Satan actually indwelled two people in the bible. Who can tell me who they were? If you said Judas and the Antichrist you are correct.


The Antichrist will die and be resurrected. Rev. 17 v.8 states that “the beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.” In other words, the Antichrist will die in the middle of the Tribulation. Since Satan will be cast out of heaven, aware that his time is short, he will indwell the Antichrist and duplicate the resurrection. From that point on, indwelled by Satan himself, Antichrist will have power to perform “counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders” (2 Thess. 2 v.9-12) and can potentially deceive “those who are perishing.”


The beast or Antichrist, the man of sin, will hate the two witnesses, make war against them, and kill them. However, note that he will have no power over them until “they have finished their testimony.” In other words, they will be “immortal until their work is done”, which can be said of all God’s servants who walk in obedience to His will.

The completely degenerate and inhuman characteristics of people living during the Tribulation period is seen in Rev. 11 v.8, which informs us that the bodies of the two witnesses will be left open in the streets of Jerusalem.

The Holy City will be so degenerate spiritually that she will be called Sodom and Egypt – Sodom being a symbol of immorality and Egypt a symbol of materialism. The lives of the people going back to occupy the Holy Land today are anything but Holy. They seldom even attend synagogues on the Sabbath.

11:8-10 “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.” “And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth”.

And then the unsaved people of the world that hate the witnesses so much will comment an incredibly evil deed. They refuse them a decent burial, leaving their dead bodies to decay in the streets of Jerusalem. They even make a Christmas like celebration out of their murders by sending and receiving gifts “in honor” of the occasion. Then an even more incredible thing happens. John prophesies that “those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days” (Rev. 11 v.9). How could the whole world see their dead bodies? Not many years ago it was impossible to fulfill that prophecy, but today it could happen at any moment. We are the first generation ever to have that televising capability through Satellite transmission technology!

The most supernatural event of those times will be televised instantly around the world – “to the people, tribes, tongues, and nations.” Among other things, this will be a loving gesture by God Almighty, not only to resurrect and take to heaven His two prophets, but also to make known His existence and power around the world. We have no doubt that millions of souls to whom the 144,000 Jewish witnesses will be speaking and whom the Holy Spirit will be convicting will see this demonstration of the divine and respond to the Savior.

God is a loving Father who is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3 v.9). That “all” means those left behind after the Rapture as well as those who have the privilege of responding in faith before it occurs. And the two witnesses are a big part of God’s means in the first half of the Tribulation to see that many men and women do, in fact, repent and enter into eternal life.

These are the same people who “rejoice,” “make merry,” and “send gifts to one another” over the murders of God’s two witnesses at the midpoint of the Tribulation (Rev. 11 v.10); the same people who “blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory” (Rev. 16 v.9); the same people who “blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds:” (Rev. 16 v.11) the same people who “blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail” (Rev. 16 v.21); and the same people whose “sins have reached to heaven”, who are guilty of “the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth”. (Rev. 18 v.5, 24)

11:11-12 “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”

The Witnesses Resurrected – But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud.

As our Lord was crucified, buried, and in three days rose from the dead, these men, after being slain and exposed to the eyes of the world, will hear the voice of God resurrecting them. A cloud will receive them out of sight in the face of their enemies. It is no wonder that “terror struck those who saw them.” The resurrection of these men will be the final confirmation that they were men of God, another illustration that God does not forget His own.

11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

God loses no time dealing with those who have rejected the Lord or even those who have said, I will straiten up later. There is no later. It is now. We see here that one tenth of the people lose their life in this earthquake.

11:14-15 “The second woe is past; [and], behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” “And the seventh angel sounded; 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”.

The Seventh Trumpet – Loud Voices in Heaven – The 3rd “woe,”. The blowing of the 7th trumpet is like the breaking of the 7th seal in that it introduces the next series of divine judgments. The 7th trumpet is not in itself a judgment but rather shows all heaven rejoicing at the soon to be consummated victory of Christ over the Antichrist. John records that “loud voices” in heaven shouted, “The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (v.15) Great rejoicing and loud worship fill heaven, and on earth many lightning’s, noise, thundering, hail, and an earthquake announce the approaching end.

The seventh trumpet results in the establishment of the millennial kingdom of Christ. The seven vials or bowls (16:1) are probably contained in the judgment of the seventh trumpet. They will occur in a very brief period of time at the end of the Great Tribulation.

The second coming of Christ, while a great blessing for believers, will be God’s most severe judgment of the earth. The kingdoms of this world will be completely overthrown by the coming kingdom of earth. The kingdoms of this world will be completely overthrown by the coming kingdom of Christ (19:11-21; Dan 2:34,35,44), who will reign for ever and ever (Dan 7: verses 13, 14 and 27).

11:16-17 “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,” “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, ad hast reigned.

These you remember, represented all of the believers. They have something to praise about, seeing that they were spared the wrath of God. It was the time to fall on their faces in total adoration to God.

God is worshiped by the elders because what He promised is now accomplished. Their gratitude is for the establishment of the millennial kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24).

( Kingdom )

The Gentile nations will be subjugated (Ps 2:1, 2). The wrath of God will take vengeance on His enemies (Ps 2:5; 2 Thess. 1:7,8). The dead of all ages will be judged at the future Great White Throne Judgement (Rev. 20:11-15).

( Great White Throne Judgment )

Old Testament and Tribulation saints who have died will be raised and rewarded (Is. 26:19, 20; Dan 12:2; Matt. 25). Those who have tried to destroy the earth will themselves be destroyed by God (Rev. 19:20,21). The ark of his testament (covenant) is a symbol of the presence of God and of His faithfulness in fulfilling His covenant promises.

God meant this earth to be a rich source of blessing to mankind, but Satan, the Antichrist, and thousands of their false prophets have led mankind to rebel against God, causing this earth to be a place of great suffering. The elders in heaven rejoice because the time of God’s judgment and rectification of all things is only three and one-half years away.

We see here that Jesus took power. The establishing of His kingdom brings final victory to the Christian. The thanks really go to Jesus here; the believers have not established the kingdom, Jesus did. All we can do is to praise him for establishing the Kingdom. It was not done through our power and might, but by His (Lord-Supreme Authority, Divinity, Almighty-Omnipotent). You see from this, He is all of it. His power is beyond reproach. His reign is forever and ever. He has no beginning and no end. He alone is worthy of our praise.

11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, 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; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

The nations, (worldly people} had a hay-day persecuting the believers. They were angry and very unfavorable to those with faith. Now the tables are turned. These very ones, whom they persecuted, will rule over them. Here we see punishment for those who did not accept the gift of salvation and great rewards given to those who did accept and live for Jesus. These, who will be destroyed, are actually the cause of the earth being destroyed. The wrath of God not only destroyed them, but damaged the earth as well.

11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

We see here the dwelling of God in all its awesomeness. There was an ark of the covenant in the tabernacle in the wilderness. There is much speculation about where that earthly ark is today. Some believe that it is underneath the city of Jerusalem; some believe it is in Rome.  The strange thing is that it is unimportant where it is.

When the children of Israel traveled to the promised land, It was a visible reassurance that God was with them and would keep His covenant with them.

The one that is really important to believers, we see here at the throne of God. We are reassured that God’s covenant with us will never fail. We see God’s power and might in all these manifestations such as these earthquakes. We must remember continually, that Revelation is not in chronological order. God does not tell us just exactly when each thing happens. We just know they will happen. All of these earthquakes etc., just show God’s dealing with man.



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