Revelation 11:1-13 – The Two Witnesses

Left Behind 2 Scene – ararat4life – Published on Jan 24, 2009 – a clip from left behind 2 – This video is not my own, it belongs to Cloud Ten pictures.

This article is one of others that can be found in my Word Press blog that teaches “not only about Israel, not only about the end times, not only about Israel ‘and’ the end times, but about Israel ‘in’ the end times’ (from the Old Testament, as well as from the New Testament). The emphasis that is placed on Israel in these articles is due to the promise of God to Israel in the Abrahamic Covenant, as formed in Genesis 12:1-4, and confirmed in Genesis 13:14-17; 15:1-7,18-21; 17:1-8, and has three main aspects. The third aspect of God’s covenant with Abraham has great emphasis as it relates to non-Jews.

1. Genesis 12:2 (NASB). 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;
2. Genesis 12:3a (NASB). 3a And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.
3. Genesis 12:3b (NASB). 3b and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

The opening video in this post comes from the movie, “Left Behind 2,” and relates to the two witnesses that are discussed in this article (Moses and Elijah?). Rabbi Ben-Judah is confronted with the truth of God’s Word concerning Christ, as being the promised Messiah. The following video shows the effect that God’s Word had on Ben Judah, and on many others, whom also had been left behind after Christ caught up His born again believers in the rapture.

Left Behind 2 movie comments. None of the people that are seen in this Left Behind video had been born again at the time of the rapture of the church (John 14:2-3, 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The movie shows some of those people coming to saving faith in Christ, and becoming a “tribulation force” of believers. Rabbi Ben-Judah is one of those “former unbelievers” coming to saving faith in Christ, to include the pastor of African descent (John 3:3; 16-18).

Consider the effect that the Word of God has on Rabbi Ben-Judah in the following video; notice the reaction of the antichrist.

Hebrews 4:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Testimony of Ben-Judah – gregorija1 – Published on Jan 4, 2009 – From “Left Behind – Tribulation Force”

Comments on Rabbi Ben-Judah. The following links come from another series of Left Behind movies that followed the videos that are shown in this article.

Dr. Tsion Ben-Judah, who is a character in the Left Behind series, is a Jew, a rabbinical scholar, and former student of Chaim Rosenzweig. Dr. Chaim Rosenzweig (KI-am Rozen-zvieg) is introduced as a chemical engineer and politician from Israel. The reader first meets Dr. Rosenzweig as he is being interviewed by Cameron “Buck” Williams as Global Weekly’s Man Of The Year. Dr. Rosenzweig is a man of science, somewhat stubborn and takes his Israeli heritage lightly. Rosenzweig believes that God is basically an idea.
https://leftbehind.fandom.com/wiki/Tsion_Ben-Judah

Dr. Rosenzweig’s character is often used by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins as a “bridge character.” That is the character of Rosenzweig, through his many contacts, helps bring the other characters of the series together. https://leftbehind.fandom.com/wiki/Chaim_Rosenzweig

Immediately after all born again believers in Christ are caught up in the rapture, no one will be left on earth, that has the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit. Lacking the individual prompting of God’s Holy Spirit to righteous living, there will be rampant lawlessness throughout the world (John 14:26; 16:8). In a nutshell, godless people will be leading godless nations, which will consist of godless citizens, who will all be under the control of a godless United Nations. The United States of America will no longer be a force of law and order. The hatred of the nations of the world toward Israel will escalate, and will end in a failed world-wide attack on Israel at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-19:21). The events of this Eleventh Chapter of Revelation take place during the time of the Tribulation, which follows the rapture. During the tribulation all people on earth will come under the oppression of the antichrist, as well as under the judgments of God; Revelation Chapter 6 shows the beginning; the antichrist will act under the control of God. In Matthew 24:4-28 Christ speaks to the disciples about the signs of the end of the age; 4-14, is a list of the characteristics of the first half of the tribulation period, whereas verses 15-28 deal with the second half (Ryrie Study Bible).

The scripture text of Revelation 11:1-13, along with comments, is provided, as follows:

Revelation 11 (NASB) (Unless otherwise noted, comments are from the MacArthur Study Bible. Everyone should have a MacArthur Study Bible.)

The Two Witnesses

1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.

Note. 11:1 Measuring the temple signified God’s ownership of it (cf. 21:15; Zech. 2:1–5). the temple of God. Refers to the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place, not the entire temple complex (cf. v. 2). A rebuilt temple will exist during the time of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4). altar. The reference to worshipers suggests this is the bronze altar in the courtyard, not the incense altar in the Holy Place, since only the priests were permitted inside the Holy Place (cf. Luke 1:8–10).

2 Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.

Note. 11:2 court which is outside. The court of the Gentiles, separated from the inner court in the Herodian temple by a low wall. Gentiles were forbidden to enter the inner court on penalty of death. That John is instructed not to measure the outer court symbolizes God’s rejection of the unbelieving Gentiles who have oppressed His covenant people. tread the holy city underfoot. Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome all oppressed Jerusalem in ancient times (cf. 2 Kin. 25:8–10; Ps. 79:1; Is. 63:18; Lam. 1:10). This verse refers to the future devastating destruction and oppression of Jerusalem by the forces of the Antichrist. forty-two months. This 3½ year period covers the second half of the Tribulation and coincides with the visibly evil career of the Antichrist (v. 3; 12:6; 13:5). During this same time, the Jews will be sheltered by God in the wilderness (12:6, 14).

3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

Note. 11:3 two witnesses. Individuals granted special power and authority by God to preach a message of judgment and salvation during the second half of the Tribulation. The OT required two or more witnesses to confirm testimony (cf. Deut. 17:6; 19:15; Matt. 18:16; John 8:17; Heb. 10:28), and these two prophets will be the culmination of God’s testimony to Israel: a message of judgment from God and of His gracious offer of the gospel to all who will repent and believe. one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Forty-two months or 3½ years (cf. 12:6; 13:5; see note on v. 2). sackcloth. Coarse, rough cloth made from goat or camel hair. Wearing garments made from it expressed penitence, humility, and mourning (cf. Gen. 37:34; 2 Sam. 3:31; 2 Kin. 6:30; 19:1; Esth. 4:1; Is. 22:12; Jer. 6:26; Matt. 11:21). The witnesses are mourning because of the wretched wickedness of the world, God’s judgment on it, and the desecration of the temple and the holy city by the Antichrist.

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.

Note. 11:4 This imagery is drawn from Zech. 3, 4 (see notes there). Zechariah’s vision had both a near fulfillment (the rebuilding of the temple by Joshua and Zerubbabel) and a far future fulfillment (the two witnesses, whose ministry points toward Israel’s final restoration in the Millennium). two olive trees and the two lampstands. Olive oil was commonly used in lamps; together the olive trees and lampstands symbolize the light of spiritual revival. The two witnesses’ preaching will spark a revival, just as Joshua’s and Zerubbabel’s did in Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6 These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.

Notes 11:5-6. While it is impossible to be dogmatic about the identity of these two witnesses, several observations suggest they might be Moses and Elijah: 1) like Moses, they strike the earth with plagues, and like Elijah, they have the power to keep it from raining; 2) Jewish tradition expected both Moses (cf. Deut. 18:15–18) and Elijah (cf. Mal. 4:5, 6) to return in the future (cf. John 1:21); 3) both Moses and Elijah were present at the Transfiguration, the preview of Christ’s second coming; 4) both Moses and Elijah used supernatural means to provoke repentance; 5) Elijah was taken up alive into heaven, and God buried Moses’ body where it would never be found; and 6) the length of the drought the two witnesses bring (3½ years; cf. v. 3) is the same as that brought by Elijah (James 5:17).

Note. 11:5 fire proceeds…and devours. Probably this refers to literal fire. These two will be invincible during their ministry, protected by supernatural power. The false prophet will counterfeit this sign (13:3).

Note. 11:6 power to shut heaven. Miracles have often authenticated God’s messengers. Here, bringing a 3½ year drought (as did Elijah before them) will add immeasurable torment to those experiencing the worldwide disasters of the Tribulation—and exacerbate their hatred of the two witnesses. waters to turn them to blood. The earth’s water, already devastated by the effects of the second and third trumpets, will become undrinkable, adding immensely to the suffering caused by the drought.

7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.

Note. 11:7 the beast. The first of 36 references to this person in Revelation, who is none other than the Antichrist (see chap. 13). That he will ascend out of the bottomless pit indicates that his power is satanic. kill them. Their ministry completed, God will withdraw the two witnesses’ supernatural protection. The beast will then be able to accomplish what many had died trying to do.

8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

Note. 11:8 bodies will lie in the street. Refusing to bury one’s enemies was a way to dishonor and show contempt for them (cf. Acts 14:19). The OT expressly forbids this practice (Deut. 21:22, 23). the great city. Identifying Jerusalem as a city like Sodom and Egypt stresses the city’s wickedness. Its Jewish population will apparently be the focus of the witnesses’ ministry, leading to the conversions of v. 13.

9 Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.

Note. 11:9 three-and-a-half days. The entire world will watch (undoubtedly on the latest form of visual media) and glorify the Antichrist as the bodies of the dead prophets who have been killed begin to decay.

10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

Note. 11:10 rejoice…make merry…send gifts. Wild with joy over the death of their tormentors, those who dwell on the earth (a phrase used 11 times in Revelation to speak of unbelievers) will celebrate the two witnesses’ deaths as a holiday.

11 But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them.

Note. 11:11 breath of life from God entered them. The festivities, however, are short-lived as God vindicates His faithful witnesses by resurrecting them.

12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.

Note. 11:12 ascended to heaven in a cloud. Some may wonder why God will not allow them to preach, assuming their message would have more force following their resurrection. But that ignores Christ’s clear statement to the contrary (Luke 16:31). enemies saw them. Those who hated and dishonored the two witnesses will watch their vindication.

13 And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Note. 11:13 earthquake. God punctuates the ascension of His prophets with a shattering earthquake. The destruction and loss of life may be primarily among the leaders of the Antichrist’s forces. the rest. This refers to the Jews still living, who will not yet have come to faith in Christ. gave glory to the God of heaven. A genuine experience of the salvation of Jews (cf. Luke 17:18, 19), in contrast to those who blaspheme and refuse to glorify God (16:9). This makes a key fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy (12:10; 13:1) and Paul’s (Rom. 11:25–27).

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Author: Equipping Site

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