Chapter 11 - Measuring the Temple, the Two Witnesses, and Blowing the Seventh Trumpet

Revelation Chapter 11: measuring the temple; the two witnesses; blowing the seventh trumpet to announce the Day of the Yehovah ("the LORD") and the final plagues of the Wrath of Elohim ("God"); the celebration in Heaven that the kingdom of Satan and his incarnation, the anti-messiah, on Earth has ended and the reign of Yehovah  and His incarnation, the true Messiah, has begun. 

Chapter 11 is another transition chapter between the events of the sixth trumpet judgment and the events that follow the blowing of the seventh trumpet.  The purpose of Chapter 10 is to reveal that there is a significant and important difference between the events that precede the blowing of the seventh trumpet and the events that follow the blowing of the seventh trumpet.  The purpose of Chapter 11 is to reveal the timing of these events.

11:1-2 Then (a) I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And (b) the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of [Yehovah], the altar, and those who worship there. But (c) 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.”

a. After eating the little book, John is given a measuring stick (a reed - a variety of cane that grows in the area of the Jordan River, which was used for measuring, among its other functions).

b. Some commentators state that the words "the angel stood" should not be part of the text because the next verse seems to make it clear that it is the Messiah - the One who will give power to His two witnesses to prophesy - who is speaking to John.  But other commentators state that it is the same angel who spoke to John in Chapter 10, which records Adonai ("the Lord") also speaking to John. But, whether or not this is a scribal error, John is given another assignment: to measure the Temple, the altar, and those who worship there. Because the bulk of the evidence indicates that the Revelation was written about 95 CE, this is obviously not the Temple which was destroyed in 70 CE, approximately 25 years before John received the Revelation, but is a vision (not a literal temple) illustrating how Yehovah is going to deal with the Gentiles vis-à-vis Yehovah’s physical people the Jews during the last half of the Final Seven Years. In Hebraic symbolism, to measure something is to preserve it. In his vision, John is told to measure the part of the Temple where (true) Israel worships, because that numbered (measured) remnant of Israel will be saved (not trodden down by the Gentiles). (The literal, rebuilt Temple will be totally taken over by the Gentiles and by Antimessiah when he desecrates it and sits in it proclaiming himself to be "God" at the midpoint of the Final Seven Years [cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Revelation 13:4-6]).

c. John is told not to measure the court outside (not part of) the Temple, where the Gentiles had been permitted to worship in the past and where Yeshua ("Jesus") taught, because during the last half of the seven years (42 months), the “holy city” (Jerusalem) will be given totally over to and trodden down by the Gentiles, who, in the end will be destroyed - not saved.

11:3-13 And (a) I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (b) These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the [Elohim] of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, (c) 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. When they finish their testimony, (d) the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the (e) great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our [Elohim] was crucified. Then (f) 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. Now (g) after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from [Yehovah] entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard (h) a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. (i) 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 (j) the rest were afraid and gave glory to the Elohim of heaven.

a. Either Adonai himself or the angel speaking for Adonai,  who had just told John that Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles for 42 months, during the last half of the seven years (cf. 13:5), tells him that during that time, 1260 days (Hebrew months are 30 days each), there will be two “witnesses” in the city who will be empowered by Yehovah to prophesy.  Also confirming that this occurs during the last half of the seven years is that the only other text in the Revelation in which 1260 days is mentioned (12:6) is about the length of time Israel will be forced to flee from Jerusalem into the wilderness to escape the wrath of Satan - obviously the time of "great tribulation" or the second half of the seven years.

b. The witnesses are identified as olive trees and lampstands. Olive oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit  (cf. 1 Samuel 16:13; Matthew 25:8) and the lampstand (Menorah) is a symbol of the presence and light of the Lord (cf. Matthew 5:15; Revelation 2:5). So, in other words, this appears, in symbolic terms, to refer to two followers of the Messiah Yeshua who stated, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).  Also, this appears to be a clear allusion to the two anointed olive trees of Zechariah 4:11-14, who were, according to most commentators, literally Joshua, the religious leader of the Jews (Israelites), and Zerubbabel, the civil leader of the Jews. So, a prophetic literal interpretation is that the two witnesses are Messianic (followers of the Messiah Yeshua) Israelites prophesying the truth (light) of Yehovah in the streets of Jerusalem after it is taken over by the anti-messiah at the midpoint of the seven years. Some have speculated that they are Israel and the Church, the "Old Testament" and the "New Testament," or some other entities, but common sense and literal interpretation argue to the contrary, because they are both represented by olive trees and lampstands, and they both wear sackcloth, a distinctly Jewish (Israelite) way of expressing grief.  

Besides, there is no difference in the eyes of Yehovah between “true Israel” and “the Church.”  They both believe in the coming Messiah, although Israel, at the present time, does not recognize that He is Yeshua ("Jesus").  

c. There are many ideas as to the identity of the two witnesses, but common sense and Scriptural context would also seem to indicate that they are antitypes of Moses and Elijah, working in the Spirit and power of Moses and Elijah, just as did John the Baptist - another antitype of Elijah (cf. Mark 9:12; Luke 1:13-17). These plagues may be clues to their identity: Moses and Elijah brought the same types of plagues on the earth (cf. Exodus 7-11; 1 Kings 17:1, 7; Luke 9:54). Also, the glorified Messiah appeared with Moses and Elijah as His witnesses at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3). And Yeshua had told his disciples that Moses (through whom the law, which testifies of Yeshua, was given) and the prophets (of whom Elijah was the primary representative) testified of Him (Luke 24:44; John 1:45). He also hinted that Elijah would be coming again after the Transfiguration (cf. Mark 9:12). So, the fact that the central focus of the Revelation is the second coming of the Messiah would seem to lend support to the interpretation that the two witnesses (undoubtedly testifying in the streets of Jerusalem that Yeshua, not Antichrist, is the true Messiah) are one who will come in the spirit of Elijah (just as did John the Baptist) - the leading prophet of Israel - and one who will come in the spirit of Moses - the civil leader and law-giver of Israel. These are Yehovah's primary two witnesses throughout the Bible.  Children in Israel today sing a song about the return of Moses and Elijah and a place is set for Elijah at the Passover seder (meal) in symbolic anticipation of his return.  They will not be literally Moses and Elijah because those who have already received their incorruptible, glorified bodies (in which Moses and Elijah appeared at the transfiguration) will not die (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:52-55).

d. Antimessiah (cf. 17:8), who undoubtedly had been extremely annoyed, even tormented, by the testimony and power of the two witnesses, is finally enabled to kill them at the end of the seven years.

e. This is Jerusalem (“where our Lord was crucified”), but, during the reign of Antimessiah, it has sunk to such depths of depravity that it is called spiritual Sodom and Egypt, two pagan, idolatrous places where Elohim's people where persecuted and had to leave.

f. The unredeemed people of the world allow the bodies of the two witnesses to lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and one-half days, where they can view them and celebrate their death and the murderous power of Antimessiah over them.  

g. But, their revelry is short lived; after the three and one-half days, the two witnesses are resurrected, filling those who had been celebrating their death with fear.

h. Then, with the same words with which John had been summoned to Heaven (4:1), the Two Witnesses are told, “Come up here,” and ascend into Heaven, as if to proclaim prophetically to their enemies on Earth, “In the same way that we were dead and you gloated over us for three and one-half days, your three and one-half years of treading down Jerusalem and gloating in your power over Yehovah’s people is at an end!” (Days sometimes indicate Years in the Bible - e.g., Numbers 14:34).  Also, the three and one-half days may be an allusion to the three and one-half days after Yeshua was crucified until the first witnesses saw Him after His resurrection.

i. This appears to be the final event of the sixth trumpet judgment (the second woe) (cf. verse 14). A tenth of Jerusalem, which has become as Sodom and Egypt, is destroyed and 7,000, presumably of the ungodly Gentiles who have been trampling the city underfoot for the past 42 months (3 1/2 years), are killed.  This also appears to be the first precursor on Earth to Elohim's Wrath being poured out (see the commentary on 11:19e below.

j. These who fear Yehovah and give Him glory are apparently Jews who have not been allowed to take the mark of the beast (the anti-messiah) so they can engage in commerce (cf. 13:16-17), and perhaps also some grafted-in Gentiles (“the Church”), but have been subjected to horribly harsh conditions and servitude by the anti-messiah and his followers, just as the Israelites were oppressed by Pharaoh before they were saved from his dominion.  Notice an important difference here in the response of the inhabitants of Jerusalem who are not killed from the response of the earth dwellers to the plagues of the Lord.  The followers of Elohim who have not taken the mark of the beast fear Yehovah and give Him glory, preparing them to be saved in the end (cf. Romans 11:26), but the ungodly Gentiles refuse to repent and blaspheme Yehovah (cf. 9:20-21; 16:11, 21), dooming themselves to destruction.

11:14-19 (a) The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Then (b) the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our [Adonai] and of His [Messiah], and He shall reign forever and ever!" And the twenty-four elders who sat before [Yehovah] on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped [Yehovah], saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord [Yehovah] Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And (c) 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." Then the (d) temple of [Yehovah] was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were (e) lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

a. Some have postulated that the two witnesses appear during the first half of the Final Seven Years. However, because it states here that they ascend just before the catastrophe that ends the second woe (sixth trumpet judgment), it is clear that their time on Earth spans the second half of the seven years. 

b. It is also clear that, because the two witnesses ascend on the last day of the seven years, the seventh trumpet sounds immediately following the 1260 days of the last half of the Final Seven Years. And the scene in Heaven is one in which the 24 elders are rejoicing and praising Yehovah because, at the time that the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, the battle is virtually over; Antimessiah has been dethroned. So, the voices in Heaven begin to celebrate the victory and dominion of the Lord, even before the “last plagues” of the Wrath of Elohim are poured out on Earth (cf. 15:1) during the ten “Days of Awe” between Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (the Feast of Atonement).

c. Throughout Israel’s history, the awesome day known as Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets), Yom haDin (the Day of Judgment) has been celebrated as a rehearsal for (1) the sounding of the Last Trump, (2) the judgment of the dead, (3) the resurrection of the Righteous (teruah means “an awakening blast”), and (4) the gathering of the Righteous for the coronation of the Messiah. So, this day - the day of the sounding of the Last Trump - will also be the day of the coming of the Messiah in the clouds to gather His Elect (His Bride) (the "Rapture") and take them to Heaven for the marriage of the Lamb and His coronation as the King of Kings (cf. Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Revelation 19:7, 16).

d. The Temple on the earth, including the Ark of His Covenant, which was the location of the Lord's presence with his People Israel (cf. Leviticus 16:2), was apparently a model of the Temple in Heaven. His presence with His People the Followers of Yeshua after the seventh trumpet is sounded is in Heaven.

e. These are more ominous precursors to the final execution of the judgments of Yehovah which follow the blowing of the seventh trumpet blast (cf. 6:12-17).

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Has the Lord Yehovah given you additional insight into Chapter 11 of the Revelation of the Lord? If so, you are invited to add your own page of commentary. (To be approved for inclusion in this website, your commentary must be relevant to this page's topics the two witnesses, measuring the Temple, the seventh trumpet, contribute to our understanding of the topics, and be solidly based on Scripture.)

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Common English translations of Hebrew and Messianic terms used in this commentary:

Yehovah - the LORD or GOD
Yah - I Am (the short form         of Yehovah)
Elohim - God
El - God (the short form of         Elohim)
Adonai - my Lord or Master
Yeshua - Jesus
Followers of Yeshua - 
Messiah - Christ
Assembly of Followers of
     Yeshua - the Church
Antimessiah - Antichrist
BBM - Before the Birth of
     the Messiah (rather than
     BC or BCE)
ABM - After the Birth of the      Messiah (rather than AD
    or CE)

For a complete explanation of Hebrew terms used, go to Important Terms and Concepts.

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