THE TWO WITNESSES


Revelation (Chapter 11)

AIM:

To teach some of the facts, events, and characters of the Tribulation that will help pupils to get a better picture of the Tribulation Period.

POINT OF CONTACT:

This chapter indicates that two Bible characters will be brought back to life during the Tribulation Period. Who do you think they will be? (Allow time for discussion, but do not give away who they are.)

INTRODUCTION:

This chapter continues the parenthetical section beginning with chapter ten and extending through chapter fourteen, except for 11:15-19. In these chapters various things are presented which help us understand the whole picture. The contents of the seventh trumpet are revealed in chapters fifteen and sixteen. In this chapter some more of the astounding and supernatural things that are coming on the earth during the Tribulation are revealed to us.

I. The Temple in Jerusalem (Verses 1,2)

The Temple in Jerusalem will have been rebuilt by this time (the middle of the Tribulation) and John is instructed to measure it. The word "reed" is the original word which the Septuagint uses for the Hebrew word "Kaneh" from which comes our word "canon" or rule of religious belief." The Bible is called the "canon" of Scriptures. This reed is God’s strict law of worship and the Temple, the altar and the worshipers will be measured by it. NOTE: This reminds us that God is the judge of man’s worship and character and that all must give an account to Him (Romans 2:9; 3:23).

The "court" is that area outside the Holy Place and Holy of Holies. The gentiles will evidently be allowed access to this area as they were in Herod’s time but they will not be expected to take part in the Mosaic services; therefore, God does not measure them according to the prescribed standard. NOTE: God will judge all men by the light they have received on earth (Romans 2:11-16).

The Holy City refers to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:1;18; Isaiah 52:1). Jerusalem will be "trodden under foot" or chastised by the gentiles for forty-two months or 1,260 days (Daniel 7:25). This forty-two months will be the time when the political world leader, the Anti-Christ, will break his covenant of protection to the Jew. The Jews will be forced to leave Jerusalem and flee to the hills (Zechariah 13:9; 14:1-4; Luke 21:24). This 1,260-day period will conclude the "times of the gentiles."

II. God’s Two Witnesses (Verses 3-12)

A. The time they witness (Verse 3) — the last half of the Tribulation and for 1,260 days.

B. Their identity (verses 4-6) — The two olive trees and candlesticks remind us of Zerubabel and Joshua in Zechariah 4:2-14. They were two men who at a time in Israel’s history were used of the Lord for the restoration of Jerusalem, its Temple, its worship and its system of ordinances. They were God’s ministers for that work. Now in Revelation 11:4, a new work is needed to be done on earth (after the Temple is restored) so God has two men who will be God’s dependable servants in this period who will labor by God’s own power.

From what verse six tells us they have power to do, it seems evident that these two witnesses are Moses and Elijah. Some say Elijah and Enoch because these were the two Old Testament saints who were raptured, but by this time thousands of other saints will have been raptured just as Enoch was.

Moses was used of the Lord to deliver Israel out of physical bondage in Egypt. Elijah was used to deliver Israel out of spiritual bondage in the days of Ahab. Now God has them return to have apart in the deliverance of Israel out of physical and spiritual bondage of the Tribulation. Remember too, it was Moses and Elijah who talked with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17; Malachi 4:5). This could not have meant John the Baptist alone for after his death, Jesus said Elijah shall come (Matthew 17:11; James 5:17,18; Exodus 7:20). Elijah had power to stop rain and Moses had power to turn water into blood.

C. Their work (Verses 3-7) — They are to be Christ’s (MY) witnesses.

Verse Three

They have power to kill as Moses and Elijah did (II Kings 1; Numbers 16:35). The things they do and say will cause the people of the world to repeatedly realize they are sent from God with God’s message. No doubt many will be saved from their work.

Note the words, "Finished their testimony". As they testify of the Lord’s grace they will be a continual thorn in the side to the Anti-Christ.

D. Their death (Verses 7-10)

Verse Seven

The Anti-Christ (13:1) will eventually kill them.

Verse Eight

Their dead bodies will lie in the street of Jerusalem. This will seemingly be a great victory for the Anti-Christ.

Verse Nine

Because of Satellites and world-wide television coverage, it is now possible for this verse to be fulfilled.

Verse Ten

The Devil’s Christmas — Here the occasion of sending gifts is the celebration of what the Anti-Christ has done, rather than the celebration of the coming of Christ to Bethlehem. NOTE: Christmas now is becoming more and more Anti-Christ. December is one of the poorest attended months each year in the church.

E. Their resurrection (verse 11) — For the television channel that happens to be focused on this scene, this will be the TV scoop of the ages. Even outdoing the Jack Ruby slaying of Harvey Oswald or Princess Diana’s funeral.

F. Their ascension (verse 12) — God calls them home after a life of dedicated victorious service. What a reception they must receive!

III. The Great Earthquake (verses 13 and 14)

This is all to be taken literally. Here the significance is that they recognize the true God to the extent indicated as in contrast to their worship of the Anti-Christ. Even though they recognize the power of God in Heaven, it does not seem to indicate that all the lost come to the point of true faith in Christ — but, no doubt, many will be saved upon seeing this. With this the second woe is past as the sixth trumpet is ended.

IV. The Seventh Trumpet (verses 15-18)

These verses carry us through the remainder of the Tribulation and the Millennium and to the beginning of eternity (Revelation 21:1).

The Great Choirs of the Universe sing praises to our Christ. "And thy wrath is come" is a strange phrase in the light of so many preachers proclaiming ONLY the love of God. God’s wrath is coming upon this earth and the rebellious of the earth (Psalm 9:17; Revelation 20:11-15).

The righteous (saints) shall be rewarded (I Corinthians 3:11-15). These choirs sing at the sounding of the seventh trumpet in happy anticipation of the culmination of the judgments and the rewards to the saints. NOTE: This will come to pass. Let us work so our rewards will be great!

V. The Temple in Heaven (verse 19)

The events of this verse will occur at or just before the moment of the actual Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15. This judgment closes human time.

This confirms that there is a literal Temple in Heaven (Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 8:2-5; 9:23,24).

"Was opened" indicates worship and access to God. We will have direct access to God in Heaven.

"The Ark of His testament" reminds us that God is a covenant keeping God. Is not that wonderful to know (Titus 1:2; John 6:31)?

CONCLUSION

This chapter now has shown us important things about the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation. (Recap these things.)


QUESTIONS

1. Is chapter eleven a parenthetical chapter?

2. By when will the Temple in Jerusalem be restored?

3. The reed will be used for what purpose by John?

4. What city is referred to in Scripture as "the Holy City"?

5. How long will it be "trodden under foot" by the gentiles?

6. What part of the Tribulation Period will this be?

7. When will the" times of the gentiles" be fulfilled?

8. When will the two witnesses testify?

9. Who are the two olive trees of the Old Testament?

10. Where did they get their power?

11. Who does it seem will be the two olive trees of the Tribulation?

12. State why you believe so.

13. How long will the two witnesses lie dead in Jerusalem?

14. What will be the TV scoop of the ages?

15. The fact that the Ark of the Testament is seen in the Temple in Heaven reminds us of what great truth?