Kalamos (measuring rod) refers to a reedlike plant that grew in the Jordan Valley to a height of fifteen to twenty feet. It had a stalk that was hollow and lightweight, yet rigid enough to be used as a walking staff (cf. Eze. 29:6) or to be shaved down into a pen (3Jn. 1:13). The stalks, because they were long and lightweight, were ideal for use as measuring rods.1Later, one of the seven angels (having one of the seven bowls of the seven last plagues) talks with John and uses a golden reed to measure the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21:15+). Measuring rod is ῥάβδῳ [hrabdō] which is translated elsewhere by “rod,” “staff,” or “scepter.”2 This is the word used for the rod of iron by which the rule of Jesus is asserted (Rev. 2:27+; 12:5+; 19:15+).And the angel stood, saying
Verses 1 and 2 indicate there will be a distinction between Jew and Gentile in this period. The two earlier Jewish temples were divided into four areas: first, the sanctuary itself, which only priests (not even Levites) could enter (this is called the temple of God); second, the area the men of Israel could enter (this included the altar); third, the court of the women in which Israelite women worshiped God; and finally, the court of the Gentiles. John’s instruction was to measure the first three, thus symbolizing God’s interest in, and protection of, the Jewish nation. Chapter 12 confirms this interpretation, for it describes the divine protection symbolized here.5temple of God
Five distinct temples are alluded to by the Scriptures. Solomon’s temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes pillaged and consecrated to Jupiter the temple of Zerubbabel in 168 B.C. Herod’s magnificent temple was reduced to ashes by Titus in A.D. 70. The fourth temple, the edifice described in this chapter, is to be the focus of attention during the Great Tribulation. Finally, the fifth temple will be the Millennial Temple described in Eze. 40-47.7Much confusion has been needlessly brought to bear upon this passage by interpreters who insist on ignoring the literal details of the description and spiritualizing nearly everything as pertaining to “the church.” Barnhouse summarizes:
One commentator has brought together on one page the interpretations of his fellows in a way that will explain much of the confusion that has arisen out of this passage. He points out that almost universally the commentators have tried to force the church into the picture that is painted here when, of course, the church is not in view at all. “The temple is here figuratively used of the faithful portion of the church of Christ.” The command is given to John “to measure the temple of God” in order to call his attention to “the size of the church of God.” The “altar” is again, in the mind of one commentator, “the church.” The “outer court” signifies “a part of the church of Christ.” The “Holy City,” according to these expositors is “always in the Apocalypse the title of the church.” The “two witnesses” represent “the elect church of God,” says one (embracing both Jew and Christian), “and the witness which she bears concerning God, especially in the Old and New Testaments.” “The twelve hundred and sixty days” constitutes the period “during which the church although trodden under foot, will not cease to prophesy.” Concerning the war of the beast against them we are told, “The whole vision is symbolical, and the intention is to convey the idea that the church, in her witness for God, will experience opposition from the power of Satan” and so on and on and on. . . . “What wonder, when such diverse expressions are forced to mean the same thing, if there be endless confusion. Literalism may not solve every perplexity, but it does not lead into any such inexplicable obscurity as this.”8We can avoid much of this mischief by following the Golden Rule of Interpretation.See Temple of God and Tribulation Temple. This temple is to be contrasted with the “temple of God . . . in heaven” (Rev. 11:19+).the altar
In the Temple which had been built by Herod, in which Jesus walked when He was here upon earth, the outer court was marked off from the inner one where Israel was permitted to go and it was separated by “the middle wall of partition” (Eph. 2:14). Beyond this no Gentile could go. Paul, accused of breaking this rule, and bringing Gentiles into the holy place, was almost destroyed by angry Jews (Acts 21:28).12
In the time of the Second Temple [the Jews] had erected a boundary fence, the Soreg, between the Court of the Gentiles and the Court of the Israelites, with a warning inscription promising death to any non-Israelite who passed beyond it into the Court of the Israelites. The New Testament (Acts 21:27-28) records a Jewish crowd’s violent reaction to Paul when they mistakenly believed that he had taken a Gentile proselyte (Titus) into the Temple to offer sacrifice.13it has been given
This casting out of the court of the Gentiles because it is the court of the Gentiles, proves the present dispensation at an end. Now Gentiles and Jews stand on the same level. The one has no prerogatives or rights above the other. In the Church there is neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but all nationalities and conditions in life yield to one common brotherhood and heirship. The text, therefore, tells of a new order of things. . . . the Jew is again in the foreground for the fathers’ sakes, and the Gentiles are thrust back.14they will tread the holy city underfoot
Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?” And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” (Dan. 8:13-14+) [emphasis added]As in Daniel 11+, treading underfoot speaks of having authority over the city, just as when the mighty angel stands on the sea and land indicating his authority over the globe (Rev. 10:2+, 5+). Here, the Gentiles, or nations, exert authority over the holy city while the Jews have authority over the temple of God and the altar. The trampling of the holy city also speaks of occupation without appreciation—the occupiers treat that which is holy as a common thing, failing to understand its significance in the eyes of God (Heb. 10:29). God has promised to make the earthly Jerusalem “a praise in all the earth” (Isa. 62:7), but the nations steadfastly refuse to acknowledge God’s plan for Jerusalem which includes her ownership by Israel. In some settings, treading or trampling may also denote destruction (Isa. 63:18).When Jesus responded to his disciples’ question concerning when Herod’s temple would be destroyed (Luke 21:7), he indicated that following the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews would “be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Thus, this trampling is an indication that during the time period which John sees in his vision the “times of the Gentiles” have still not come to a close. “John indicates that Jerusalem is still in Gentile power and that from the beginning of the series of judgments, which this parenthesis interrupts, until the end of the Gentile dominion is three and one-half years.”16 Jesus indicated that the trampling would take place after the destruction of A.D. 70—which supports the futurist interpretation that takes this temple to be a tribulation temple yet to be built. The preterist interpretation holds that the trampling described here occurs before the temple is destroyed—for if this is Herod’s temple, as they maintain, then the nations are trampling while it still stands. Yet the sequence indicated by Jesus (Luke 21:24) is just the opposite: first Jerusalem is destroyed and the Jews dispersed among the nations, then the trampling begins. The trampling only ends when the “times of the Gentiles” are fulfilled and jurisdiction of Jerusalem returns fully and permanently to the Jews.17
The Times of the Gentiles can best be defined as that long period of time from the Babylonian Empire to the Second Coming of the Messiah during which time the Gentiles have dominion over the City of Jerusalem. This does not rule out temporary Jewish control of the city, but all such Jewish control will be temporary until the Second Coming. Such temporary control was exercised during the Maccabbean Period (164-63 B.C.), the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (A.D. 66-70), the Second Jewish Revolt (the Bar Cochba Revolt) against Rome (A.D. 132-135), and since 1967 as a result of the Six Day War. This too, is temporary, as Gentiles will yet trod Jerusalem down for at least another 3 1/2 years (Rev. 11:1-2+). Any Jewish takeover of the City of Jerusalem before the Second Coming must therefore be viewed as a temporary one and does not mean that the Times of the Gentiles have ended. The Times of the Gentiles can only end when the Gentiles can no longer tread down the City of Jerusalem.18It is our belief that at the liberation of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, the bizarre circumstance where the Jews gave control of the Temple Mount back into the hands of Muslims rather than retaining control of the Mount and removing the Dome of the Rock is a modern-example of the hand of God which has determined that the time has not yet been fulfilled for Israel to obtain exclusive and lasting control over all of Jerusalem. How significant it is today that most nations of the world refuse to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel while pressuring the Jews to continue to subject this historic site of Judaism to support an Islamic religious site while at the same time restricting the religious access of their own people. One would think this situation sufficiently strange to obtain the attention of the atheist who denies the divine hand in history!It is interesting that the same root word (πατεω [pateō] ) which denotes the trampling of the courts in Isaiah (LXX) appears in this chapter to describe the treading underfoot of the holy city by the nations. Even though the nations occupy the holy city, it would seem that God’s response to their activities may be akin to how he responded to the Jews when they offered sacrifices which appeared righteous externally, but when in fact their hearts were far from him:
When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies-I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. (Isa. 1:12-15)for forty-two months
‘Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.’ (Jer. 30:6-9) [emphasis added]Jeremiah explains the reason the times of the Gentiles will come to an end is so that the nation of Israel will be free to serve God under the Messianic economy of the Millennial Kingdom. It is God’s jealousy over His chosen nation which will bring this about. Woe to the nations who will fail to appreciate God’s zeal for Israel!
‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD, ‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.’ (Jer. 30:10-11) [emphasis added]The forty-two months correspond to 3 1/2 years of 360-days each. See Prophetic Year.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. . . . How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? . . . But I say, did Israel not know? . . . I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! . . . For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? [Eze. 37] . . . God is able to graft them in again . . . For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rom. 10:1, 14-15, 19; 11:11, 15, 23, 25-26a)These two witnesses are among the “beautiful feet” which preach the gospel of peace (Rom. 10:15) to Israel. Their ministry involves the entire earth, but takes place in Jerusalem and has all the markings of OT Jewish prophets. They are a key element in the plan of the Deliverer to “turn ungodliness from Jacob” (Rom. 11:26) in preparation for the Millennial Kingdom to come. “The purpose of God to make Israel and her land the centre round which He shall gather the nations, is not frustrated, but postponed. Our chapter presents the initial stages in the development of this glorious earthly purpose.”20 The breadth of interpretations expositors have assigned to these two witnesses is legend: from literal individuals such as the apostles James and Peter21 to symbolic ideas such as the church preaching Christ in the two testaments.22 There are two forks in the road of interpretation on the way to determining who these individuals might be. The first fork which separates interpreters is whether the text describes symbols, institutions, or individuals?
|“Expositors within [the symbolic] category agree on one point: The witnesses are not human beings. These scholars vary, however, in their opinion of what the witnesses represent. The main interpretations in this group are these: (1) The two witnesses represent the testimony of the church from the Law and the prophets, (2) the Old and New Testaments, (3) the Word of God and the Spirit of God.”23||“Ten views on the witnesses’ identity have been suggested in this category: (1) the church in its function of witness-bearing, (2) the church represented in the east by the Paulikians and the west by the Waldenses, (3) believers who suffer martyrdom, (4) a literal group of people (i.e., the number two may be symbolic of a large multitude), (5) the Christian church and the Christian state, (6) the line of witnesses in the Eastern and Western church against the papacy, for 1,260 years (taking each day for a year, Rev. 11:3+) until the sixteenth century, when it was exterminated, (7) Israel and the church, (8) the house of Israel and the house of Aaron, (9) the believing Jewish remnant during the tribulation, (10) the two nations descended from Abraham (i.e., the Arabs and the Israelites).”24||“Expositors in this category agree that the witnesses are two individuals, but they disagree on who these people are, as exemplified by the following ten interpretations: (1) Elijah and Moses, (2) Elijah and Enoch, (3) Elijah and John the Baptist, (4) Elijah and John the Apostle, (5) Elijah and an unidentified person, (6) Peter and James, (7) Peter and John, (8) Peter and Paul, (9) the two high priests, Ananus and Jesus, who nobly withstood the zealots in Jerusalem, and were massacred by them, and (10) two unknown persons who will minister in the spirit and power of Moses and Elijah in the future.”25 “These witnesses are individuals. No reader of the account, having no preconceived theory to defend, would ever think of taking them for bodies, or successions of people. All the early fathers, from whom we have any testimony on the subject, regarded them as two individual men.”26|
The classical use of μάρτυς [martys] is “in the sense of human attestation or testimonial.” The word thus implies that the “witnesses” (μάρτυσιν [martysin] ) are human beings. This consideration is further suggested by John’s use of the article τοῖς [tois] , which indicates specific persons. Elsewhere in the New Testament μάρτυς [martys] is always personal (Mat. 18:16; Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 1Ti. 5:19; Heb. 10:28; Rev. 1:5+). Therefore symbolic interpretations must be rejected. Second, Revelation 11:3+ states that the two witnesses “shall prophesy” . . . The activity of prophesying, then, is personal and involves personal beings. This too suggests that symbolic interpretations are inadequate. Third, the overall context in which the activity of the two witnesses is described (Rev. 11:3-12+) supports the preferred view. In these verses witnesses, depicted as individuals, speak (Rev. 11:3+, 6+ ); are given power to kill their enemies (Rev. 11:5+ ); are heard, handled, and hated (Rev. 11:3+, 7+, 10+ ); have mouths, ears, and feet (Rev. 11:5+, 11-12+ ); wear “sackcloth,” and after their martyrdom John saw their “dead bodies” (τό πτώματα αύτῶν [to ptōmata autōn] , Rev. 11:8-9+ ). By no stretch of the imagination, then, can an interpreter regard these witnesses as other than real persons.28
|Identity||Reasons For||Reasons Against|
|Moses and Elijah29||“Based on the miracles they are to perform, some have said they are Elijah (commanding fire to devour enemies and shutting up the sky so that it does not rain, Rev. 11:5-6+; cf. 1K. 17:1; 2K. 1:10-14), and Moses (water turned to blood, the earth smitten with every plague, Rev. 11:6+; cf. Ex. 7:20; 9:14 ; etc.).”30 “Some writers argue that Moses and Elijah must be the two witnesses because their return is prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 and Malachi 4:5-6.”31 “Both [Moses and Elijah] left the earth in unusual ways. Elijah never died, but was transported to heaven in a fiery chariot (2K. 2:11-12), and God supernaturally buried Moses’ body in a secret location (Deu. 34:5-6; Jude 1:9).”32 “Moses appeared with Elijah at the transfiguration (Mat. 17:13) . . . the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) would be joining in witness unto Christ during the announcement of the coming of the King.”33 The transfiguration is connected with the second coming (Mat. 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27) which these prophets help usher in. Some claim that John the Baptist already fulfilled the coming of Elijah but, “The Lord’s statement that John was Elijah was a statement based on contingency. John was Elijah ‘if ye will receive it’ (Mat. 11:14). The Lord indicated that if they received the offered kingdom John would be the one to do the work of Elijah. But they rejected this offer (Mat. 17:12) and therefore John is precluded from being the one to fulfill the prophecy.”34 John himself indicated he was not Elijah (John 1:21).||“There is nothing in Scripture that limits miracles such as these to Moses and Elijah. Elijah raised a person from the dead (1K. 17:17-24); but so did Jesus (Mark 5:35-42; Luke 8:49-56; John 11:14-44), Peter (Acts 9:36-41), and Paul (Acts 20:9-12). To argue that Moses and Elijah must be the witnesses because of the miracles mentioned, then, is weak.”35 “The expression ‘like me’ in Deuteronomy 18:15 seems to preclude using that verse as a means of identifying the witnesses in Revelation 11:3+ [as Moses and Elijah], for the promised prophet was not Moses, but one ‘like’ Moses. Also, Jesus said, ‘For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you care to accept it, he himself is Elijah, who was to come’ (Mat. 11:13-14). Christ later said, ‘Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished?’ (Mat. 17:11-12 ). These statements of Jesus show that John the Baptist was, in a real sense, the anticipated Elijah of Malachi, though there may yet be a future fulfillment of that prophecy. The point is that while the prophecy does speak of a literal witness, the person need not be Elijah himself but one who is like Elijah (cf. Luke 1:17). This apparently is the Lord’s interpretation of Malachi’s prophecy (Mat. 17:11-12). In view of this, it is not necessary to insist that Elijah the Tishbite must be one of the two witnesses.”36 “The likelihood that Elijah and Moses appeared in glorified bodies (Luke 9:30-31) on the Mount of Transfiguration is a problem for the return of Elijah as well, for since Elijah has already received a glorified body, he cannot die. An exponent of the Elijah view might respond that Elijah’s appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration was not in a glorified body, for which death could never be a possibility, but ‘in glory’ (i.e., some other state such as the glorious characteristics manifested in Christ’s own natural body at that time). It might also be argued that Moses had died and that Scripture never records a special resurrection and glorification for him, so that he may have appeared at the Transfiguration only by some act of God’s power to visualize his old body in a ‘vision’ intelligible to the disciples (Mat. 17:9), or as Samuel was made to appear, though still actually in the state of death (1S. 28). By this logic, Elijah, like Moses, was on the Mount of Transfiguration in a vision and not a body at all. However, since Elijah was caught up into heaven in his natural body, it seems more likely that he appeared in that body (presumably glorified) on the mount. If Elijah was glorified, it would then be most appropriate to interpret Moses’ body as also glorified (though some may say that this requires the assumption of a resurrection for Moses, which Scripture nowhere records, and that this is too large an assumption). If Elijah was still in his mortal body preserved for centuries by powers known only to God and enabled to appear on the mount, then, in the interest of consistency, Moses also was there in person in his mortal body. However, the fact that Moses died, and his body was buried (Deu. 34:5-8; Jude 9), makes it less likely that he reappeared in that mortal body. It seems then that both Elijah and Moses probably have already received glorified bodies of some kind and so could not die. This rules them out as candidates for a future return.”37 “An objection to this interpretation is that those blessed departed servants of God would have to submit to death (Rev. 11:7+, 8+), and this in Moses’ case a second time, which Heb. 9:27 denies.”38 “No second coming of Moses is anywhere promised in the Word.”39 “While the transfiguration is identified with the millennial age (2Pe. 1:16-19) it is nowhere identified with the tribulation period or the ministry of the witnesses.”40|
|Elijah and Enoch41||“Some, on the basis of Jewish tradition and the wider context of Scripture, interpret the two witnesses as Elijah and Enoch. One reason is that according to an early rabbinic opinion it is believed that Enoch will rejoin Elijah for a ministry like that of the two witnesses (1 Enoch 90:31; cf. 4 Ezra 6:26). But this is simply an ancient Jewish opinion, not necessarily correct. Also there are many statements in 1 Enoch that are bizarre and questionable. Another reason for saying these witnesses will be Elijah and Enoch is that neither of these two men saw death but were translated to heaven (Gen. 5:24; 2K. 2:11). Since Hebrews 9:27 says that ‘it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,’ God, it is argued, must have reserved Enoch and Elijah as His witnesses for this future time. The merit of this argument is that it helps rule out Moses and others as possible candidates, for they have already died.”42 “Neither [Enoch] nor Elijah were given immortal bodies when they were translated, however, because it was necessary for Christ first to die for their sins and rise again. . . (1Cor. 15:22-23). Thus Enoch and Elijah have been waiting in heaven in their natural bodies through all the intervening ages since their respective translations.”43 “In Revelation 11:4+ the word ‘standing’ suggests that they were already there in John’s day, and must be two people who have already been translated. Thus, it is held, only Elijah and Enoch could meet this requirement.”44 “Even after His incarnation, on the mount with Peter, James, and John, [Jesus] was much arrayed in heavenly glory as Elijah who there appeared in converse with him; yet, from that holy mount, and glory, and sublime transfiguration, he came down, and suffered, and died. Paul was once in heaven, caught up, he knew not how, and saw and heard things he dared not tell; and yet, he came back, and preached, and suffered, and died. John was called up to heaven, to behold the wonders that are described in this Book; yet he also returned, and suffered, and died.”45||“It should be pointed out, however, that since there will be a whole generation of believers who are raptured and thus will not die physically (1Cor. 15:51-57; 1Th. 4:16-17), the idea that Enoch and Elijah must return in order to die once to make Hebrews 9:27 absolutely all-inclusive, is without basis. It should also be noted that Hebrews 11:5 says that Enoch was translated ‘so that he should not see death.’ To allow a future return and death, then, would nullify God’s promise.”46 “Those who claim them to be Enoch and Elijah base it on the fact that these two men never died, and so they will return to die in the Tribulation. Often, Hebrews 9:27 is used as evidence for ‘it is appointed unto men once to die.’ But it is a general principle and not an absolute rule. For example, take the word once: some people have died twice, namely, all those who had been resurrected in the Old and New Testaments apart from Messiah. Furthermore, what about the living Church saints? If indeed Hebrews 9:27 is an absolute rule, it would mean that all living Church saints at the Rapture will also have to die at some time. Both I Corinthians 15:51 and I Thessalonians 4:15-17 show that Hebrews 9:27 is only a general principle. Also in the light of Hebrews 11:5 [‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death. . .’], it cannot be that Enoch will die in the future.”47 “Enoch is clearly said to have been translated, and this involves corruption putting on incorruption and mortality putting on immortality (1Cor. 15:50-58). Since Elijah has already been taken into Heaven, the same is true of him, for no man in his physical state can enter Heaven (1Cor. 15:50). This means that neither Elijah nor Enoch can die, for they are now immortal.”48 Enoch seems an unlikely candidate on the grounds that he is a type for the Church which is removed prior to the Tribulation as Enoch was taken before the flood.49 “It is the stated purpose that Enoch was translated ‘in order that he might not see death’ (Heb. 11:5). In view of this it could hardly be stated that he will be returned to die. . . . It would seem that an antediluvian prophet would not be sent into a time when God is dealing with Israel.”50 If the nature of their ministry serves to identify the individuals, and it may not, then we have no indication for Enoch: “A further difficulty for this view is Enoch’s failure to match the criteria assigned to the two witnesses.”51|
|Two Future Prophets52||The two witnesses are taken as two unknown Jewish prophets who will minister at the time of the Tribulation. This view avoids the various problems which attend the other views. The passage does not positively identify the individuals so there is no need to find fulfillment in previous individuals having already died or been translated. “If God wished us to know He could have told us. The fact that He has not done so ought to stop our mouths.”53 “There are great difficulties in all points of view identifying the two witnesses with historical characters.”54||Although Jesus indicated that John the Baptist served in a capacity like that of Elijah who would come prior to the day of the LORD (Mat. 11:14), John himself indicated he was not Elijah (John 1:21). If Malachi is to be taken literally, then it is necessary for Elijah to come, not his likeness (Mal. 4:5). Both Moses and Elijah are connected with the coming of Christ in His kingdom (Mat. 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27) by their appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mat. 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30). The character of the ministry of the witnesses seems to intentionally recall that of Moses and Elijah.|
The candlestick itself—the central object of this vision—is doubtless a figurative representation of the seven-branched candlestick in the Temple. There it stood in the Holy Place . . . not only as the emblem and representation of what the whole redeemed family shall finally be “when in union with their risen, glorified Lord they shall for ever shine in the sanctuary of God,” but also as typifying Israel’s high calling in relation to the other nations. In his midst a great light had shone—the light of the self-revelation of the glory of Jehovah—not only for his own illumination, but that he might be the candlestick, the light-bearer, and light-diffuser all around. . . . We know how terribly and sadly Israel failed to respond to God’s purpose concerning Him.60
It is most in harmony with the scope of these visions (one of the great objects of [the vision] was to encourage the two heads, or leaders, of the restored remnant of the nation in their task of rebuilding the Temple) to regard the olive trees as representing Joshua the high priest, and Zerubbabel the prince.61The fourth (Zec. 3) and fifth (Zec. 4) visions of Zechariah are related. In the fourth vision, upon the stone which is laid before Joshua are seven eyes (Zec. 3:9). Similarly, the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel is seen by seven “eyes of the LORD which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” (Zec. 4:10). As we have seen, these eyes represent the Holy Spirit, the “seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6b+). The fifth vision concerns seven lamps which also allude to the Holy Spirit: “Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Rev. 4:5+). Zechariah’s two visions concern the work of the Holy Spirit through two individuals during two restorations:
The history of corporate Gentile Christianity is not as the shining light that “shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” as some who boast in the supposed progress and speak of the conversion of the world before the glorious appearing of Christ ignorantly suppose, but rather that of a bright dawn, developing into an increasingly dark and cloudy day, and ending in blackness of darkness. And there is no hope for Christendom which continued not in the goodness of God when once it is “cut off”; nor is there any promise of the restoration and relighting of its candlestick when once its light has been quenched in anti-Christian apostasy. But it is different with Israel. There is always hope in his end. Not only shall the sceptre of governmental rule and the kingdom come back to the daughter of Jerusalem, after the long centuries of subjugation and oppression, but her candlestick, too, shall be restored after the long period of Israel’s spiritual darkness and blindness, to shine in more resplendent glory than even in the past. This is the meaning of Zechariah’s fifth vision, and it sets forth in symbol the great truth proclaimed by the former prophets in relation to Israel’s future glory as the centre of light and blessing to all the nations of the earth.68It is the role of the people of God, be they Israel or the Church, to shine forth so that those who do not God may “see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mat. 5:14). This mission was fulfilled in the life of John the Baptist (John 1:7-8; 5:35) and also in Jesus (John 1:9; 3:19). In the absence of Jesus, the Church had presented the light (Rev. 1:13+, 20+; 2:5+). Why the need for these two lampstands if the previous seven are still present on the earth? It is our view that this is additional evidence in favor of a pretribulational Rapture for the seven lampstands are not present on the earth during this period of time when the two lampstands minister.standing before the God of the earth
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth; and your judgments are like light that goes forth. (Hos. 6:5)
Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts: “Because you speak this word, behold I will make My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.” (Jer. 5:14)
“Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29)Hosea likens the words spoken by God through the prophets to a weapon. The prophets spoke forth God’s judgments which eventually resulted in the literal death of those judged. The words of the prophets are likened to a sword (“I have hewn”), but there is no literal sword in the prophets’ mouths. Similarly, Jeremiah’s words are likened to fire and the people wood. It would be easy to conclude from these figurative uses of fire and the mouth as a weapon that such must be the case here too. But there are important differences between the previously cited passages and what is said here. Passages wherein figurative language occurs typically contain an indication of such. For example, Hosea says, “I have hewn them by the prophets.” Obviously, people were not literally cut in two by the prophets. This is an indication that figurative language is employed. Similarly, Jeremiah is told that the people will be made “wood”—another indicator that figurative language is in use. It is not good enough simply to establish that similar themes in related passages are figurative and therefore conclude that this passage must be too. The immediate context of the passage in question must itself provide indication that figurative language is in use.It would seem there are three alternatives for interpreting the passage before us:
And Moses said: “By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the LORD.” Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. (Num. 16:28-33) [emphasis added]Moses explains that the unusual nature of the judgment serves a specific purpose. It provides unique testimony to the source of the judgment (God) and the authority of Moses as His spokesman. So will this fire-consuming ability testify that God is the one judging the opponents of His two witnesses and that they have His full authority in their ministry.We should also remember the unique period in which these two individuals minister. This is a time in history during which demonic powers are at a peak (Rev. 9:1-2+, 13-19+; 12:12+) and the time of the lawless one, the Antichrist, whose coming “is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish” [emphasis added] (2Th. 2:9-10a). These are the days of the false prophet who “performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men” (Rev. 13:13+).These unique historic factors also argue for a completely nonfigurative interpretation because these two witnesses must exhibit miraculous powers which are on a par with, or even superior to, that of the man of sin and his false prophet in an age frequented by demonic manifestations.
The third trumpet judgment resulted in the poisoning of one-third of the earth’s fresh water supply (Rev. 8:10-11+). Added to that, the three-and-one-half-year drought lasting throughout the 1,260 days of their preaching (Rev. 11:3+; cf. Luke 4:25; Jas. 5:17) brought by the two witnesses will cause widespread devastation of crops and loss of human and animal life through thirst and starvation.73The lack of water and the sackcloth worn by the prophets allude to a time of fasting and mourning on the earth which is intended to produce repentance.See Who are the Witnesses? See Events of the 70th Week of Daniel.power over waters to turn them into blood
This name “the Beast” contrasts the Antichrist from the true Christ as “the Lamb;” and it is a significant fact that by far the great majority of passages where the Lord Jesus is so designated are also found here in the Apocalypse. The “Lamb” is the Saviour of sinners; the “Beast” is the persecutor and slayer of the saints. The “Lamb” calls attention to the gentleness of Christ; the “Beast” tells of the ferocity of the Antichrist. . . Under the Law lambs were ceremonially clean and used in sacrifice, but beasts were unclean and unfit for sacrifices.77Revelation mentions two different beasts: Antichrist (Rev. 13:1+) and the False Prophet (Rev. 13:11+). Which beast is in view here? Evidence indicates it is Antichrist who slays the witnesses.
The “beast” most probably refers to the future Antichrist. Five facts support this view.
First, the persecutor of the witnesses is not “a beast” but “the beast” (τό θηρίον [to thērion] ). This use of a definite article indicates that he is a figure well known to the writer. Since teaching on the Antichrist was so familiar to Jews and Christians through Old and New Testament prophecy (Dan. 7:2-25+; 9:27+ ; 11:35-45+ ; Mat. 24:15; Mark 13:14; 2Th. 2:3-12; 1Jn. 4:1-6), it is not impossible that John was thinking of him here.
Second, since the word “beast” (θηρίον [thērion] ) in the Apocalypse is always used with reference to the future Antichrist or his system (Rev. 13:1+ ; 14:9+, 11+ ; 15:2+ ; 16:2+ ; 17:3+ ; 19:20+ ; 20:10+ ) [we note one exception: Rev. 13:11+], the beast in 11:7+ should be seen in the same light.
Third, the beast will come up out of (ἐκ [ek] ) the abyss, that is, it will have a satanic, demonic source and character (cf. Rev. 9:1+). This feature corresponds with that of the coming Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10.
Fourth, the description of the beast as “coming up out of the abyss” (ἀναβαῖνον έκ τῆς ἀβύσσου [anabainon ek tēs abyssou] , Rev. 11:7+) corresponds with the beast “about to come from the abyss” (ἀναβαίνειν ἐκ τῆς ἀβύσσου [anabainein ek tēs abyssou] ) in Rev. 17:8+ (cf. Rev. 13:1+ ). This correspondence is illuminating, for since the beast in Rev. 17:8+ probably refers to the future Antichrist with his kingdom, the same is probably the case in Rev. 11:7+.
Fifth, νικάω [nikaō] (“to overcome”) is used three times in the Apocalypse with reference to the enemy of God’s people (Rev. 6:2+ ; 11:7+ ; 13:7+ ). Since other occurrences of the term are related directly to the coming Antichrist (Rev. 6:2+ ; 13:7+ ), the same may be true in Rev. 11:7+.78
This beast was not mentioned before, yet he is introduced as “the beast,” because he had already been described by Daniel (Dan. 7:3+, 11+), and he is fully so in the subsequent part of the Apocalypse, namely, Rev. 13:1+; 17:8+. Thus, John at once appropriates the Old Testament prophecies; and also, viewing his whole subject at a glance, mentions as familiar things (though not yet so to the reader) objects to be described hereafter by himself. It is a proof of the unity that pervades all Scripture.79The individual before us is found in many passages of Scripture and given many different titles. “Across the varied scenes depicted by prophecy there falls the shadow of a figure at once commanding and ominous. Under many different names like the aliases of a criminal, his character and movements are set before us.”80
It is unfortunate that the great variety of names bestowed upon him has led some brethren to the conclusion that they must belong to separate persons, and has caused them to apportion these out to different individuals; only confusion can result from this. There is almost as much ground to make the Devil and Satan different persons, as there is to regard (as some do) the Beast and the Antichrist as separate entities. That the Devil and Satan are names belonging to the same person, and that the Beast and the Antichrist is the selfsame individual, is proven by the fact that identically the same characteristics under each is found belonging to the one as to the other.81Pink cites the Teaching of the Apostles (said to be dated to the beginning of the 2nd century), the writings of Cyril (Bishop of Jerusalem in the fourth century), and Gregory of Tours (who wrote at the end of the 6th century) as evidence of the early view that the Beast is an individual rather than a system. He attributes the idea that the Antichrist was the Roman system to the Waldenses: “It is not until we reach the fourteenth century (so far as the writer is aware) that we find the first marked deviation from the uniform belief of the early Christians. It was the Waldenses,—so remarkably sound in the faith on almost all point of doctrine—who, thoroughly worn out by centuries of the most relentless and merciless persecutions, published about the year 1350 a treatise designed to prove that the system of Popery was the Antichrist.”82 “This shows that these Witnesses are upon the earth during the thirteenth chapter; and that the Beast is on the Earth during the eleventh chapter.”83 See The Beast.ascends out of the bottomless pit
That this incident will happen after his resurrection from the dead is clear from the statement, the beast that comes up from the abyss, and he will come back from the Abyss by means of his resurrection by Satan. Along with his resurrection, the act of killing the Two Witnesses will provide another reason why mankind will worship him. All previous attempts to kill the Two Witnesses fail.85
Immediately upon his resurrection, he kills . . . the Two Witnesses. Consequently, their 1,260 days must just overlap into his 42 months. They must have witnessed, therefore, for nearly 1,260 days during his mortal stage, before his assassination.86See Events of the 70th Week of Daniel.
That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment? Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, and his head reaches to the clouds, yet he will perish forever like his own refuse; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’ He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night. The eye that saw him will see him no more, nor will his place behold him anymore. (Job 20:5-9)Although the time of the end is characterized by war and disruption, worldly enemies will unite in their hatred for these two witnesses and join hands rejoicing in their demise (Luke 23:12).98 send gifts to one another
Although the resurrection of the righteous is called “first” in 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 Christ’s at his coming” (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. 11:1-19+). It also comprehends the resurrection of Old Testament saints at the end of the tribulation.100See commentary on Revelation 2:11.their enemies saw them
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:25-27)The two witnesses are special servants of the Deliverer and through their ministry ungodliness was turned away from a portion of Jacob. In the midst of the time of Jacob’s trouble, remaining aspects of the New Covenant as it relates to the Jewish nation (Jer. 31:33-34) are being fulfilled in preparation for the Millennial Kingdom to follow.Although some commentators connect the resurrection of the two witnesses with Ezekiel’s promise of the spiritual regeneration of Israel (Eze. 37), it is more correct to connect the repentance of this Jewish remnant in Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s passage, although complete fulfillment will not be realized until the Second Coming of Christ.
This cannot be what is meant by the last trump [1Cor. 15:52]; at the time that I Corinthians was written, John had not written Revelation. The Corinthians would not have had any knowledge of the seven trumpets. The only knowledge they would have of trumpets are those spoken of in the Old Testament, especially those of the Feast of Trumpets. The last trump refers to the Feast of Trumpets and the Jewish practice of blowing trumpets at this feast each year. During the ceremony there are a series of short trumpet sounds concluding with one long trumpet blast which is called the tekiah gedolah, the great trumpet blast. This is what Paul means by the last trump.104
This seventh trumpet is the last of this series of seven, but not the last absolutely, and is not to be confused with the “last trump” of 1Cor. 15:52. Chronologically, the trumpet of Mat. 24:31 must follow this seventh trumpet of Revelation, for it occurs after the Tribulation, at the open manifestation of Christ’s Second Advent (Mat. 24:30), which in the book of Revelation is recorded in Rev. 19:11-16+, which is after the time expressed here. In the book of Revelation the seventh trumpet is never called “last” (Rev. 1:11+, 17+; 2:8+, 19+; 15:1+. 21:9+; 22:13+).105
The seventh trumpet covers an extended period of time, thus distinguishing it from the instantaneous (“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”) event of the “last trumpet.” Instead of calling for the moment of the Rapture of the church, as the “last trumpet” does, the seventh trumpet calls for prolonged waves of judgment on the ungodly. It does not parallel the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52, but does parallel the trumpet of Joel 2:1-2: “Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness.”106The seventh trumpet is typified by the seven trumpets of the conquest of Jericho by Joshua. See commentary on Revelation 8:2.kingdoms of this world
The use of the singular term kingdom of the world instead of the plural “kingdoms” introduces an important truth. All of the world’s diverse national, political, social, cultural, linguistic, and religious groups are in reality one kingdom under one king. That king is known in Scripture by many names and titles, including the accuser (Rev. 12:10+), the adversary (1 Pet. 5:8), Beelzebul (Mat. 12:24), Belial (2Cor. 6:15), the dragon (Rev. 12:3+, 7+, 9+), the “evil one” (John 17:15), the god of this world (2Cor. 4:4), the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), the roaring lion (1Pe. 5:8), the ruler of the demons (Mark 3:22), the ruler of this world (John 12:31), the serpent of old (Rev. 12:9+; 20:2+), the tempter (1Th. 3:5), and, most commonly, the devil (Mat. 4:1) and Satan (1Ti. 5:15).108The sounding of the seventh trumpet “proclaims the coming coronation of earth’s rightful king, the answer to the prayer of the ages, ‘thy kingdom come’ [Mat. 6:10].”109 The seventh trumpet is typified by Zadok’s blowing of the horn when Solomon was anointed as King (1K. 1:39). The coming of the kingdom of God is connected with the overthrow of Satan (Rev. 12:10+) and involves the reclamation of the earth as the Lord’s, but now, Satan is “god of this age” (Mat. 4:8-9; 2Cor. 4:4). See commentary on Revelation 20:2.
The sounding of the seventh trumpet signals God’s answer to the prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat. 6:10). That answer sweeps through chapters 12-22 as God finishes His mighty work of reclaiming creation from the usurper, Satan.110See commentary on Revelation 5:1.have become
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations. (Ps. 22:27-28).
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, and His enemies will lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him. (Ps. 72:8-11)
Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa. 9:7)
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Dan. 2:44+)
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed. (Dan. 7:14+)
And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be-“The LORD is one,” and His name one. All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananeel to the king’s winepresses. The people shall dwell in it; and no longer shall there be utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. (Zec. 14:9-11)
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:32-33)Not one of the above passages finds literal fulfillment in the present day Church as the adherents of Replacement Theology, Dominion Theology, and Covenant Theology claim because the sounding of the seventh trumpet remains future to our time. These passages do not speak of an invisible spiritual kingdom, but a visible earthly kingdom—the Millennial Kingdom of Revelation 20:4-6+. See The Arrival of God’s Kingdom.111
All attempts to equate this glorious reign of Christ over the whole earth with any past event or with the church is utterly foreign and contradictory to the clear eschatological teaching of Scripture, including especially this passage. There is no way this text can be fulfilled except by the universal reign of Jesus Christ over the whole earth—as the prophets had for so long predicted.112His Christ
“I will declare the decree: the LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” (Ps. 2:7-9)See commentary on Revelation 2:27.forever and ever
(1) “Thy servants the prophets” evidently points to those who have in all ages witnessed for God. . . . “Servants” is here qualified by the additional noun, “prophets.” “Thy servants the prophets.” To witness for God in a dark and evil day is a service which God never forgets. All such are peculiarly His servants. (2) “The saints.” This term is the common one in the New Testament to designate the general body of believers, and is nowhere used in the New Testament Scriptures to express a select company. It is the common appellation of the redeemed in both Testaments.119The rewards include the many promises found throughout Scripture (Dan. 7:18+; Mat. 5:12; 10:41; 16:27; 25:34; Luke 14:14; Rom. 2:7; 1Cor. 2:9; 2Ti. 4:8; Heb. 4:9; 11:10; 2Jn. 1:8) including those related to the inheritance of the believer (Acts 20:32; 26:18; Rom. 8:17; Eph. 1:11-14; 5:5; Col. 1:12; 3:24; Heb. 9:15; 1Pe. 1:4). This includes all the promises made to the overcomer (Rev. 2:7+, 11+, 17+, 26+; 3:5+, 12+, 21+; 21:7+) and the blessings which attend the Millennial Kingdom (see The Arrival of God’s Kingdom) and the eternal state (Rev. 21+, 22+).120 See Believer’s Crowns.those who fear Your name both small and great
The broken tablets of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 32:19) were a witness to the great spiritual defection and breaking of the covenant by the people—a defection which almost cost them their existence as Abraham’s seed (Ex. 32:10; Deu. 9:14). The pot of manna recalled the violations committed against its gathering (Ex. 16:20) and the complaints against its provision (Num. 11:16). The rod of Aaron was a visible reminder of the treasonous spirit that sought to replace God’s appointed leadership (Num. 16:1-50). . . . The pot of manna revealed God’s loyal love in that He continued His constant care of the nation by giving her ‘daily bread’ until everyone finally reached the Promised Land (Ex. 16:35; Jos. 5:12). Aaron’s budded rod was graciously given to validate God’s proper priesthood (Num. 17:5; 18:6-9, 23) and to preserve the lives of those who would otherwise have perished for their complaints (Num. 17:10). Finally, the book of the Law was present with the Ark to testify to every successive generation (Deu. 4:9) that God had chosen the nation not because of anything she had done but because of His own sovereign love and gracious choice (Deu. 7:6-9).127There has been much speculation concerning the location of the earthly Ark of the Covenant.
The ark of the covenant disappeared when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple and carried Judah captive into Babylon 600 years before Christ. At that time “all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord” were also taken to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:18), as were the brass and other metals that adorned the temple (2 Kings 25:13-20). No mention, however, was made of the ark, the most important and perhaps most costly (the ark was overlaid with gold and the mercy seat and cherubim were of pure gold) item in the temple, as well as certainly the most significant item to the writers of the accounts in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Jeremiah (chapter 52, as well as the book of Lamentations). Neither was there any mention of the ark when Cyrus commissioned the rebuilding of the temple and sent back all its vessels as well (Ezra 1:1-11).128Numerous locations have been suggested for the earthly Ark of the Covenant:
1 John MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), Rev. 11:1.
2 James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996), G4464.
4 A figure of speech: “Zeugma. The verb measure is by this figure ‘yoked’ to a second object which does not fit it as equally as the first, for worshippers would not be measured but taken account of.”—Jerome Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), Rev. 11:1.
5 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 11:1.
6 Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 269.
7 W. A. Criswell and Paige Patterson, eds., The Holy Bible: Baptist Study Edition (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), Rev. 11:1.
8 Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), Rev. 11:1.
9 E. W. Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935), Rev. 11:1.
10 Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Rev. 11:2.
11 Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 121.
12 Barnhouse, Revelation, Rev. 1:2.
13 Randall Price, The Coming Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1999), 484.
14 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), Rev. 11:2.
15 “The best conclusion is that the twenty-three hundred days of Daniel are fulfilled in the period from 171 B.C. and culminated in the death of Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 B.C. The period when the sacrifices ceased was the latter part of this longer period. Although the evidence available today does not offer fulfillment to the precise day, the twenty-three hundred days, obviously a round number, is relatively accurate in defining the period when the Jewish religion began to erode under the persecution of Antiochus, and the period as a whole concluded with his death. The alternate theories produce more problems than they solve.”—John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1971), Dan. 8:14.
16 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 213.
17 “The period termed by our Lord the ‘Times of the Gentiles’, commences with the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It is a period coincident from its beginning to its close, with the treading down of Jerusalem.”—Arthur Walkington Pink, The Antichrist (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1999, 1923), s.v. “Israel and the Antichrist.”
18 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 21.
19 Although Daniel 11:31+ was fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes, it stands as an example of a future desecration which Jesus spoke of (Mat. 24:15).
20 Walter Scott, Exposition of The Revelation (London, England: Pickering & Inglis, n.d.), 218.
21 “We have no hesitation in naming St. James and St. Peter as the persons indicated.”—J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia: The New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1999, 1887), 434.
22 Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 324.
23 Daniel Wong, “The Two Witnesses in Revelation 11,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 154 no. 615 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, July-Sep 1997), 345.
24 Ibid., 345-346.
25 Ibid., 346-347.
26 Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation, Rev. 11:3.
27 Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 304-313.
28 Wong, The Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, 348.
29 So [Barnhouse, Revelation], [MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary], [Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995)]. See [Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation, 248-249] for a summary of the writings of various church fathers in support of the coming of Elijah prior to the end.
30 Wong, The Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, 349.
31 Ibid., 349-350.
32 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 11:3.
33 Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 306.
34 Ibid., 311.
35 Wong, The Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, 349.
36 Ibid., 349-350.
37 Ibid., 351-352.
38 A. R. Fausset, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Rev. 11:3.
39 Arno C. Gaebelein, The Revelation (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1961), Rev. 11:3-6.
40 Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 306-307.
41 So [Henry Morris, The Revelation Record (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983)], [Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation], “The ancient church, including such as Tertullian, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus, were consistent in identifying the two witnesses as Enoch and Elijah.”—Thomas, Revelation 8-22, Rev. 11:3. See [Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation, 248-249] for a summary of the writings of various church fathers in support of the coming of the Elijah prior to the end.
42 Wong, The Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, 350-351.
43 Morris, The Revelation Record, Rev. 11:3.
44 Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 307.
45 Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation, Rev. 11:3.
46 Wong, The Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, 350-351.
47 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 234-235.
48 Ibid., 235.
49 Barnhouse, Revelation, Rev. 11:3.
50 Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 307.
51 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), Rev. 11:3.
52 So [Wong, The Two Witnesses in Revelation 11], [John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1966)], [Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 308].
53 Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation, Rev. 11:3.
54 Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev. 11:3.
55 “The duration of man is often reckoned in days (Gen. 47:9, 28; Ps. 90:10, 12; 119:84), whereas judgments are sometimes reckoned in months (Gen. 8:5; Rev. 9:5+, 10+; 13:5+).”—Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Rev. 11:3.
56 [MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary], [Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John]
57 “The three-and-a-half year period of the prophecy of the two witnesses corresponds to the first half of the tribulation. . . . [The] absolute rule by the beast (Revelation 13:5+) apparently becomes possible only by the execution of the two witnesses by the beast (Revelation 11:7+) As long as the witnesses exercise such power over both men and nature, it is impossible for the beast to acquire world power.”—Morris, The Revelation Record, Rev. 11:6.
58 “But here in revelation 11 instead of the awful advent of the Lord from heaven ‘immediately’ after the killing of these witnesses, we read of a hideous celebration of their death by the nations and tribes of the earth. . . . it is at the beginning of the Beast’s successful blasphemous career, that he kills these two witnesses.”—William R. Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1994,c1935), Rev. 11:14.
59 Pentecost cites English: “There is thought-provoking logic in the argument that their testimony will be given during the first half of Daniel’s prophetic week, and that their martyrdom will be the first persecuting act of the Beast, after he breaks his covenant with the Jews (Dan. 9:27+).”—Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 309.
60 David Baron, Zechariah: A Commentary On His Visions And Prophecies (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1918), 131.
61 Ibid., 135.
62 Ibid., 136.
63 “A picture is given of a day of similar gladness and joy of heart when, on account of sin pardoned, free access to God’s throne granted, and the Deliverer having come anointed with the plenitude of the Spirit and sealed by God the Father, each true Israelite would invite his friends as joyful guests to partake of festal cheer under his own vine and fig-tree. The days of peace once more are seen. The glorious era of the earthly Solomon has indeed returned in greater splendour under the reign of the Prince of Peace. ‘Paradise lost’ has become ‘Paradise regained.’ ”—Ibid., 122.
64 The offices of both Joshua (priestly) and Zerubbabel (civil, or kingly) will be combined in one in Messiah and the counsel of peace shall be between both offices (Zec. 6:11-13).
65 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 11:4.
66 Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation, Rev. 11:4.
67 We do not believe it to be coincidental that the subsequent vision of Zechariah is that of a flying-scroll wherein wickedness in the form of economic measures is transported “to build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base” (Zec. 5:11). We see the corresponding fulfillment of Zechariah’s vision in subsequent events concerning Babylon in Revelation 17+ and 18+.
68 Baron, Zechariah: A Commentary On His Visions And Prophecies, 134.
69 “The verb θέλει [thelei] (‘desires’) is present indicative and makes the assumption that some will want to harm the two.”—Thomas, Revelation 8-22, Rev. 11:5.
70 “These men are accorded miraculous power to bring fire down from heaven—they are filled with the Holy Spirit.”—J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1981), Rev. 11:5.
71 The only possible exception would be the source of the fire being their mouths. This could be construed as a possible indicator of figurative language. Then again, how else could God indicate literal fire directly originating in their mouths? It seems there will always be room for some uncertainty when interpreting potentially figurative passages which prophesy miraculous events because the boundary between normalcy and miraculous is highly elastic and subject to the purpose of God in any given setting.
72 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 434.
73 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 11:6.
74 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 361.
75 Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 198.
76 Therion describes the Antichrist in Rev. 11:7+; 13:1-4+, 12+, 14-15+, 17-18+; 14:9+, 11+; 15:2+; 16:2+, 10+, 13+; 17:3+, 7-8+, 11-13+, 16-17+; 19:19-20+; 20:4+, 10+. Arnion describes the Lamb in Rev. 5:6+, 8+, 12-13+; 6:1+, 16+; 7:9-10+, 14+, 17+; 12:11+; 13:8+, 11+; 14:1+, 4+, 10+; 15:3+; 17:14+; 19:7+, 9+; 21:9+, 14+, 22-23+, 27+; 22:1+, 3+.
77 Pink, The Antichrist, s.v. “The Beast.”
78 Wong, The Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, 353-354.
79 Fausset, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Rev. 11:7.
80 Pink, The Antichrist, s.v. “intro.”
81 Ibid., s.v. “Names and Titles of the Antichrist.”
82 Ibid., s.v. “The Papacy Not the Antichrist.”
83 Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation, Rev. 11:7.
84 Scott, Exposition of The Revelation, Rev. 19:18.
85 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 250.
86 Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation, Rev. 17:12.
87 J. B. Payne, “Burial,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979, 1915), 1:556.
88 The Jewishness of Revelation contributed to its lack of acceptance in the Eastern Church. See Acceptance into the Canon.
89 The phrase “great city” in Revelation 16:19+ probably denotes Jerusalem: “The likelihood of Babylon’s being named twice (or even three times if ‘the cities of the nations’ refers to Babylon) in the same verse is quite remote. Revelation 11:8+ has a clear identification of Jerusalem as ‘the great city’ (Moffat, Ford). Furthermore, its separation from ‘the cities of the Gentiles (or nations)’ in the next phrase indicates that Jerusalem is in view. This interpretation that does justice to this context also concurs with predicted topographical changes that will take place around Jerusalem in conjunction with the second advent (Zec. 14:4) (Seiss). Jerusalem experienced a fairly severe earthquake earlier (Rev. 11:3+), but that was only partial. This earthquake will divine the city into three parts.”—Thomas, Revelation 8-22, Rev. 16:19.
90 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 679.
91 Thomas, Revelation 8-22, Rev. 11:8.
92 “The reference to Sodom may relate to Dan. 11:37+; the Beast may well encourage homosexual orgies, thus God’s blast of ‘Sodom.’ ”—Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 11:8.
93 Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation, Rev. 11:8.
94 Thomas, Revelation 8-22, Rev. 11:8.
95 Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation, Rev. 11:9.
96 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 524.
97 Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 181.
98 Demonstrating the political parable: “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.”
99 “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.
100 Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation of Prophecy (Dallas, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1993), 94-95.
101 “In the letter to the church in Sardis, the Lord stated that He would not blot out of the scroll of life the names of the overcomers (Rev. 3:5+). Is this not further proof that there is a book containing the record of every individual who is ever born into this lost world?”—Barnhouse, Revelation, Rev. 11:13.
102 This pattern does not extend to the sixth and seventh bowl judgments which are consecutive and lack any discernible gap (Rev. 16:12-21+).
103 See [Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 188-192].
104 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 149.
105 Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Rev. 11:15.
106 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 11:15.
107 “It should be noted that the word kingdom is singular, and so Messiah will gain the one-world kingdom of the Antichrist.”—Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 273.
108 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 11:15.
109 Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Rev. 11:15.
110 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 11:15.
111 Concerning the future aspect of the kingdom: Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:11-14+, 21-22+, 25-27+ (cf. Rev. 19:20+); Mat. 6:2; 7:21-22; 19:28; 25:31; 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 11:2; 19:11, 15; 21:31; 22:16-18, 29; 22:30; 23:51; Acts 1:6-7; 1Cor. 15:24; Heb. 2:8; 2Ti. 4:1; Rev. 3:21+; 12:10+; 11:15+, 17+; 19:20+ (cf. Dan. 7:11-14+).
112 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 11:15.
113 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 886.
114 The arbitrariness of the heuristics behind textual criticism and the prevailing bias of Critical Text advocates against the Byzantine texts are demonstrated in the reason given for rejecting and who is to come from the Critical Text: “The addition of ὁ ἐρχόμενος ὅτι [ho erchomenos hoti] . . . is a typical Byzantine accretion, in imitation of the tripartite expression in 1.4, 8; cf. 4.8.”—Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 672. It seems when a longer reading is favored by advocates of the Critical Text they reason that omissions are a common copyist error. When a shorter reading is favored then the longer reading is dismissed as a “typical Byzantine accretion.” The fact that the former are errors of omission, whereas the latter are errors of commission, doesn’t seem to be considered. A copyist with any reverence for the text is much more likely to commit the former (resulting in the shorter reading) than the latter (resulting in the longer reading). Therefore, in lieu of other considerations, the longer reading should normally be favored.
115 “Millenarian writers have always insisted that a personal [Premillennial] Advent is to be witnessed under the seventh or last trumpet. Now, Bengel in his Gnomon has shown, that by the authority of the earliest MSS. the phrases ‘and art to come’ in Rev. 11:17+, and ‘and shalt be’ in Rev. 16:5+, are to be rejected. This criticism is fully sustained by the authoritative Sinaitic MSS. discovered by Prof. Tischendorf. . . . Thy should the title of ‘Who is to come,’ or ‘the Coming One’ given in Rev. 1:4+, 8 and 4:8 be omitted in 11:17+ and 16:5+? The reason, so corroborative of our faith, was given long ago by Ansbert (as quoted by Bengel): ‘They do not here subjoin, as they are accustomed, “and Who art to come;” they speak of Him as already present.’ This omission, as the weightiest MSS. (admitted by Anti-Millenarians, as Prof. Stuart, Com.) prove, is not accidental but intentional, showing that the Coming One is no longer expected to come, but has already come. It is a beautiful, incidental, and most powerful proof confirmatory of our position, indicative of a [Premillennial] arrival and presence.”—George H. N. Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1978, 1884), 2:185.
116 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 395.
117 “The sounding of the seventh messenger is a prolonged blast which covers the announcement of events to take place in the distant future, even after the millennial reign of Christ has been completed.”—Barnhouse, Revelation, Rev. 11:2.
118 “The linking of prophets with apostles in Rev. 18:20+ and the angel’s reference to them as ‘your [John’s] brethren’ in Rev. 22:9+ shows the impossibility of excluding NT prophets from the term.”—Thomas, Revelation 8-22, Rev. 11:18.
119 Scott, Exposition of The Revelation, Rev. 11:18.
120 The reward of the believer is a vast topic spanning innumerable Scriptures from which only a small sample is listed here.
121 So too are they found in Antichrist’s: Rev. 13:16+; 19:18+; 20:12+.
122 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 190.
123 Morris, The Revelation Record, Rev. 11:18.
124 “The event is a fulfillment of the double prophecy, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth” (Isa. 24:21). There can be no doubt that here is a division that recognizes Satan and his followers on the one side and the earthlings on the other.”—Barnhouse, Revelation, Rev. 11:18.
125 Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 230.
126 Concerning the contents of the ark: Ex. 16:34; 25:16, 21; 40:20; Num. 17:10; Deu. 10:2-5; 31:26; 1K. 8:9, 21; 2Chr. 5:10; 6:11; Heb. 9:4.
127 Randall Price, In Search of Temple Treasure (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), 53,54.
128 Morris, The Revelation Record, Rev. 11:19.
129 The inventory in Ezra 1:9-11 lists gold and silver dishes, silver pans, gold and silver bowls, and other articles for a total of 5,400 items. The Ark of the Covenant is not specifically listed.
130 “Vespasian resolved to build a temple to Peace, which he finished in so short a time, and in so glorious a manner, as was beyond all human expectations and opinion: for he having now by Providence a vast quantity of wealth, besides what he had formerly gained in his other exploits, he had this temple adorned with pictures and statues; for in this temple were collected and deposited all such rarities as men aforetime used to wander all over the habitable world to see, when they had a desire to see them one after another: he also laid up therein, as ensigns of his glory, those golden vessels and instruments that were taken out of the Jewish temple.”—Flavius Josephus, The Complete Works of Josephus (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1981), s.v. “Wars VII, v7.” Elsewhere, Josephus records the Holy of Holies was empty: “The inmost part of the temple of all was of twenty cubits. This was also separated from the outer part by a veil. In this there was nothing at all. It was inaccessible and inviolable, and not to be seen by any; and was called the Holy of Holies.” [emphasis added]—Josephus, The Complete Works of Josephus, s.v. “Wars V, v 5.”
131 “Certain Rabbis claim to have seen the Ark in a tunnel under the Temple ground in Jerusalem. The Israeli government sealed the entrance with cement because of protests from the Arabs, because it was near the Dome of the Rock. There is no proof that the Ark is there.” [www.bibleandscience.com]
132 “Supposedly, King Solomon had a son by the Queen of Sheba named Menelik. When he grew up Menelik returned to Jerusalem for a copy of the Ark of the Covenant which Solomon gave to him. But Menelik secretly switched the real Ark with the replica. Menelik took the real Ark back to Ethiopia. Traditionally, Sheba is located in Saudi Arabia not Ethiopia.—[www.bibleandscience.com]”
133 “Certain it is, that the ark in the future is not to be brought to light, spite of speculation and guess-work to the contrary. On this Jeremiah speaks with no uncertain voice (Jer. 3:16). The ark, the sign of Jehovah’s presence and faithfulness, will no longer be needed in the palmy days of the kingdom, for that which it signified will then be an accomplished reality. Jehovah will have made good His unchanging grace to His people, and His throne and presence in their midst will gloriously supersede the ark in the tabernacle and temple of old.”—Scott, Exposition of The Revelation, Rev. 11:19.
134 Morris, The Revelation Record, Rev. 11:19.
135 [Scott, Exposition of The Revelation, Rev. 11:19], [Gaebelein, The Revelation, Rev. 11:19].