text has ἤκουσα
] instead of ἤκουσαν
] indicating I heard
emphasizing what John heard said to the two witnesses rather than what they heard.1 Come up here. ἀνάβατε
] , you all come up here
. The same command was heard by John when he arose to heaven (Rev. Rev. 4:1+
). See commentary on Revelation 4:1
. See Rapture
. they ascended to heaven in a cloud
Their ascent to heaven is much like that of Jesus following His resurrection (Acts Acts 1:9
; Rev. Rev. 12:5+
) and that of the Church at the Rapture
(1Th. 1Th. 4:17
). Their ascent, having been resurrected from the dead, is part of the first resurrection
Although the resurrection of the righteous is called first in Rev. Rev. 20:4+, it is not one event but embraces a series of resurrection events, Every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christs at his coming (1Cor. 1Cor. 15:23). Under the single profile of the first resurrection, therefore, is to be comprehended the resurrection of Christ, the rapture-resurrection of church saints, and the resurrection of tribulation saints (such as the two witnesses of Rev. Rev. 11:1-19+). It also comprehends the resurrection of Old Testament saints at the end of the tribulation.2
See commentary on Revelation 2:11
. their enemies saw them
We are specifically told that their resurrection is seen by their enemies. Their resurrection is perhaps the greatest moment of their ministry since they manifest the power and promise of God: the power to overcome death and the promise to raise believers from the grave. This, their greatest and last testimony, is not ineffectual for it contributes to the fear of those who survive the coming earthquake and results in their apparent salvation.
1 Not only does the weight of external evidence favor ἤκουσαν [ēkousan] , but since the Seer constantly uses ἤκουσα [ēkousa] throughout the book (24 times), copyists were more likely to substitute ἤκουσα [ēkousa] for ἤκουσαν [ēkousan] than vice versa.Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994), 672.
2 Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation of Prophecy (Dallas, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1993), 94-95.