Revelation 11:1-8

The Two Witnesses

1 Then there was given me a 1measuring rod like a staff; and 2someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.
2 "Leave out the 3court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for 4it has been given to the nations; and they will 5tread under foot 6the holy city for 7forty-two * months.
3 "And I will grant authority to my two 8witnesses, and they will prophesy for 9twelve * hundred * and sixty days, clothed in 10sackcloth."
4 These are the 11two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
5 And if anyone wants to harm them, 12fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, 13he must be killed in this way.
6 These have the power to 14shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during 15the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to 16turn them into blood, and 17to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
7 When they have finished their testimony, 18the beast that comes up out of the 19abyss will 20make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.
8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the 21great city which mystically is called 22Sodom and 23Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

Revelation 11:1-8 Meaning and Commentary


This chapter contains the order to measure the temple of God; an account of the two witnesses, their prophesying: and power, their slaying, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, with what followed upon it; and the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and the effects of that. A measuring rod is given to John, with an order to rise and measure the temple, altar, and worshippers, and to leave out the outer court, which was to be given to the Gentiles, who tread the holy city under foot forty and two months, Re 11:1,2, the same date with the 1260 days the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, Re 11:3, who are compared to two olive trees and to two candlesticks, and are said to stand before God, Re 11:4, and who are further described by their power to destroy those that hurt them with fire that proceeds out of their mouths; to shut the heaven, that it rain not during their prophecy; to turn water into blood, and smite the earth with all manner of plagues at pleasure, Re 11:5,6; but when the time of their prophecy and testimony is expired, their enemies will have the advantage of them; the antichristian beast of Rome, described by the place of his ascent, the bottomless pit, will fight against them, overcome, and kill them; their dead bodies will be exposed publicly within the Roman jurisdiction, and not suffered to be interred; and their enemies will make a public and general rejoicing over them, Re 11:7-10; but after a short space of time they will revive, and stand upon their feet, to the surprise of all spectators; and being invited by a voice from heaven, will ascend thither, in the sight of their enemies; upon which will be an earthquake, in which the tenth part of the city of Rome will fall, and seven thousand men be slain; which will cause consternation in the rest, and put them upon giving glory to God, Re 11:11-13; and this will put an end to the second woe, and the third will quickly follow, Re 11:14, which is the sounding of the seventh trumpet; the effects of which are, voices heard in heaven, declaring that the kingdoms of the world are become Christ's, and that he shall reign for ever and ever, Re 11:15; upon which the four and twenty elders, that sat on their seats before God, congratulate him, worship, and give thanks unto him, at the Lord God Almighty and eternal; partly because of his visible power and kingdom he now takes to himself; and partly because the time of avenging his people that had suffered for him upon the nations, which makes them angry, was now come; as also because now would be given rewards to all his prophets, saints, and those that feared him, as well as antichrist and his followers would be destroyed, Re 11:16-18; and other effects of this trumpet are, the opening of the temple of God in heaven, a sight of the ark of the testament, lightnings, voices, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail, Re 11:9.

Cross References 23

  • 1. Ezek 40:3-42:20; Zechariah 2:1; Revelation 21:15
  • 2. Revelation 10:11
  • 3. Ezekiel 40:17, 20
  • 4. Luke 21:24
  • 5. Luke 21:24
  • 6. Isaiah 52:1; Matthew 4:5; Matthew 27:53; Revelation 21:2, 10; Revelation 22:19
  • 7. Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 13:5
  • 8. Revelation 1:5; Revelation 2:13
  • 9. Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 13:5
  • 10. Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31; 1 Kings 21:27; 2 Kings 19:1; Nehemiah 9:1; Esther 4:1; Psalms 69:11; Joel 1:13; Jon 3:5f, 8
  • 11. Psalms 52:8; Jeremiah 11:16; Zech 4:3, 11, 14
  • 12. 2 Kings 1:10-12; Jeremiah 5:14; Revelation 9:17
  • 13. Numbers 16:29, 35
  • 14. 1 Kings 17:1; Luke 4:25
  • 15. Revelation 11:3
  • 16. Exodus 7:17f; Revelation 8:8
  • 17. 1 Samuel 4:8
  • 18. Revelation 13:1f; Revelation 17:8
  • 19. Revelation 9:1
  • 20. Daniel 7:21; Revelation 13:7
  • 21. Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:18; Revelation 18:2, 10, 16, 18, 19, 21
  • 22. Isaiah 1:9, 10; Isaiah 3:9; Jeremiah 23:14; Ezekiel 16:46, 49
  • 23. Ezek 23:3, 8, 19, 27

Footnotes 6

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