Revelation 11

Chapter eleven continues the break in the judgment timeline as John was told about the coming of two unique witnesses. (There is nothing in chapter eleven to indicate that he saw them in a vision but was rather told about them.) These two witnesses will “prophesy for 1,260 days” (Revelation 11:3). This period is also referred two as 42 months (Revelation 11:2) and “a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:6, 14), which refers to the second half of the Tribulation in each case. This makes a strong support for the two witnesses preaching during that time as well, although this is often debated.

The identity of the two witnesses is never given and has undergone wide speculation. The most common guesses often include Elijah for four reasons: 1) he appeared with Jesus during his transfiguration (Matthew 17:3); 2) the miracles the two witnesses will do resemble Elijah’s miracles; 3) Malachi prophesied that Elijah would appear “before the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5); and 4) Elijah did not die, but was raptured alive (2 Kings 2:11). Because of the Transfiguration account, Moses is sometimes suggested as the second witness, as is Elisha (making the duo Elijah and Elisha) and Enoch (because only he and Elijah are recorded to have not died, Genesis 5:24). A second major suggestion is Zerubbabel and Joshua from Zechariah 3-4, because they are called “the two olive trees and the two lampstands” (Revelation 11:4; cf. Zechariah 4:3, 11, 14). Because they will be killed and resurrected, perhaps the best option is that they will be two people from that time (possibly two of the 144,000) rather than an ancient Hebrew prophet who has already died.

During the time of their prophecy, no one will have the power to stop these witnesses, including the Beast. However, at the determined time, the Beast will kill them, and the entire world will celebrate their demise, leaving their bodies in the streets of Jerusalem for all to see and mock. After three and a half days, however, they will be physically resurrected and ascend to Heaven in sight of the whole world. This, plus an earthquake, will point people again to God.

The final section in Revelation 11:15-19 reveal the seventh trumpet. Rather than a judgment like the first six, the seventh trumpet is similar to the worship of chapter 5 and the multitude of chapter 7. In all three cases, the onlookers said that the end was at hand. Any more judgments that come after this (e.g., the bowls/vials) must happen very quickly.

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Daniel Goepfrich

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