I was given a stick for a measuring rod and told, "Get up and measure God's Temple and Altar and everyone worshiping in it.
Exclude the outside court; don't measure it. It's been handed over to non-Jewish outsiders. They'll desecrate the Holy City for forty-two months.
"Meanwhile, I'll provide my two Witnesses. Dressed in sackcloth, they'll prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days.
These are the two Olive Trees, the two Lampstands, standing at attention before God on earth.
If anyone tries to hurt them, a blast of fire from their mouths will incinerate them - burn them to a crisp just like that.
They'll have power to seal the sky so that it doesn't rain for the time of their prophesying, power to turn rivers and springs to blood, power to hit earth with any and every disaster as often as they want.
"When they've completed their witness, the Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them, conquer and kill them,
leaving their corpses exposed on the street of the Great City spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, the same City where their Master was crucified.
For three and a half days they'll be there - exposed, prevented from getting a decent burial, stared at by the curious from all over the world.
Those people will cheer at the spectacle, shouting 'Good riddance!' and calling for a celebration, for these two prophets pricked the conscience of all the people on earth, made it impossible for them to enjoy their sins.
"Then, after three and a half days, the Living Spirit of God will enter them - they're on their feet! - and all those gloating spectators will be scared to death."
I heard a strong voice out of Heaven calling, "Come up here!" and up they went to Heaven, wrapped in a cloud, their enemies watching it all.
At that moment there was a gigantic earthquake - a tenth of the city fell to ruin, seven thousand perished in the earthquake, the rest frightened to the core of their being, frightened into giving honor to the God of Heaven.
The second doom is past, the third doom coming right on its heels.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)