Revelation 11 in Bible Prophecy – The Temple, the Two Witnesses and the Coming Kingdom

Revelation 11 in Bible Prophecy – The Temple, the Two Witnesses and the Coming Kingdom

Temple Profaned
Measurement of the Temple

Revelation 11:1-2

11: 1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.


Sequence of Events
We take a step back in time. Chapter 10 finishes with the sixth trumpet. The angel tells John “there will be delay no longer,” the mystery is finished and John eats the little book of judgments and woes for a likely completion of the great tribulation.


Revelation 11:1 does not follow with a “then” or “after these things.” It starts with the Greek word “kai” which means “and” or “also.”  The sequence of John’s vision does not indicate a chronological sequence of events.


The Temple Desecrated for 42 Months
The apostle John is given a reed and told to measure the temple of God, the altar and those who Revelation 11worship in the temple. He is told not to measure the court outside the temple. For the court has been given to the gentiles. The city of Jerusalem is to be tread under for 42 months or three and one-half years. The Abomination of Desolation starts a great persecution of the Jews. The Jews are told to flee from Judea (Matthew 24:15-21) at this times as the gentiles take over the city of Jerusalem for 42 months.


The temple John is measuring is the tribulation temple which must be built prior to the Abomination of Desolation. The Abomination of Desolation occurs at the middle of the seven year tribulation (Daniel 9:27) at which time the Antichrist will stand in the temple and claim to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The temple will likely be build on the temple mount in Jerusalem beside the Dome of the Rock. The court outside the temple, given to the gentiles, may be referring to the Dome of the Rock.


Two Witnesses
Prophecy for 1260 Days
Revelation 11:3-12

11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
11:11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.


When are the Two Witnesses on the Earth?
God grants authority and power to His two witnesses.  They prophecy for 1260 days or three and one-half years. When does this fit into end-time prophecy?  More than likely the two witnesses prophecy for the duration of the Great Tribulation. The two witness are killed at the end of the Second Woe (Revelation 11:11-14). The Second Woe is the completion of the sixth trumpet judgment. This is when the 200 million man army kills one-third of mankind. This likely is the War of Armageddon which occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation.


Who are the Two Witnesses?
The two witnesses proclaim the testimony of Jesus (verse 7) and bring people to Jesus through the testimony of miracles. Who are the two witnesses? We know that one of the two witnesses is Elijah.  This prophecy which speaks of Elijah as a witness comes out of the last chapter of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:5.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5.)


The other witness is not revealed. It may be either Enoch or Moses. Enoch makes good sense for only Elijah and Enoch did not experienced physical death.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)


Moses is a good choice because he performed the miracles accomplished by the two witnesses. The two witnesses perform the following miracles in the latter days.

Two Witnesses  (Old Testament Prophet)

Call fire from heaven to kill men          (Elijah)
Stop the rain          (Elijah)
Turn water into blood          (Moses)
Smites the earth with a plague          (Moses)

Additionally, Moses appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Elijah in Matthew 17:1-13.


Two Olive Trees
John calls the two witnesses Olive Trees and Lamp Stands. Both the Olive Trees and Lamp Stands are present before the Lord.


Many New Testament passages are fulfillments of Old Testament passages and this is the case with the two Olive Trees and two Lamp Stands. In Zechariah chapter 4, Zechariah had a vision of a golden lamp stand with a bowl on top and seven lamps sprouting out from it. On each side of the lamp stand are two Olive Trees, one on the right and one on the left. The Olive Trees refer to Joshua, the High Priest, and Zerubbabel, the Governor of Judah. Is there some correlation of Joshua and Zerubbabel with those of the coming two witnesses? Both are referred to as olive trees and lamp stands.

“And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:1-14)

“Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:4)


The Beast from the Bottomless Pit
A beast, in verse 7, arises out of the bottomless pit. The pit likely is a deep gulf or pit at the lowest part of the earth where the dead and demons are located. This beast, likely a demon, is released out of this pit by Satan (Revelation 9:1-2, 11). This beast is the Antichrist or the Kingdom of the Antichrist.

“And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” (Revelation 9:11)


The beast or Antichrist which comes from the botttomless pit is also mentioned in Revelation 17.

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” (Revelation 17:8)


Death and Resurrection of the Witnesses
At the end of 1260 days the Antichrist kills the two witnesses. People from every nation see the bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem. This is great news to the people in the world as many rejoice over them and send gifts to each another. But after three and one-half days the two witnesses come to life and raise up. A great voice from heaven says “Come up here” and they ascend into heaven.


Great Earthquake
Jews Give Glory to God

Revelation 11:13

11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The same hour the two witnesses are resurrected, there is a great earthquake and one-tenth of the city of Jerusalem collapses. Seven thousand men are killed.


The remnant of Jews in Jerusalem are fearful for their lives but they give glory to God.  The judgments in the Great Tribulation are to point the Jews to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. This is first time in which the Jews give glory to God.  This places the great earthquake near the end of the Great Tribulation. This may be the same earthquake as the great earthquake which occurs during the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12).

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.” (Revelation 6:12)


Second Woe is Past
Sixth Trumpet Judgment is Complete
Revelation 11:14

11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

The second woe is the completion of the sixth trumpet judgment. The sixth trumpet judgment is the War of Armageddon where many nations come against the state of Israel. Many die during this war; however,  there is still time to repent and turn to God. The death and resurrection of the two witnesses occurs at the end of the War of Armageddon. This is when the second woe occurs.


Jesus has not yet come to earth at His second coming to rescue His people and wipe out the wicked with His sword. For His coming is the third and final woe.


Seventh Trumpet
World’s Kingdom Becomes God’s Kingdom
Revelation 11:15-19

11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.


The Last Trumpet
The seventh angel sounds the seventh and last trumpet. The seventh angel is also mentioned in Revelation 10:7.

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7)


The mystery of God is finished when this seventh angels sounds. This indicates the coming of the Lord.
This is the last trumpet and may be the trumpet referred to in 1 Corinthians.

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).


The Transition to the Kingdom of God
Great voices in heaven say, “The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.”


This is the transition from the Kingdom of this World to the reign of Jesus Christ at the Millennial Kingdom . The Kingdom of this World with the corruption from the curse of Adam (Genesis 3:17-19) becomes the Kingdom of God. Jesus begins his reign from Mount Zion and the saints reign with Him.
The 24 elders fall on their faces and worship God saying,

“We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, because you have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.”


At this point the following events are complete (verse 18):

  • God wrath (Day of the Lord, Bowl Judgments and wrath of God on those who have taken the mark of the beast)
  • Destruction of the wicked (Armageddon and the Second Coming of the Lord)


At this point it is time for the following to take place (verse 18):

  • Judgment of the dead (Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats)
  • Rewards given (Judgment Seat of Christ or Bema Seat Judgment)

“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:18)

Lightning, voices, thunderings, an earthquake and great hail occur on earth.


In Heaven
At the start of the Millennial Kingdom the temple of God in heaven is opened. The temple in heaven is not the temple on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.


The Ark of the Covenant appears in the temple in heaven. Jeremiah tells us the Ark of the Covenant is not needed in the temple on Mount Zion. The Ark will not even be remembered. The lid of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat. It was here the High Priest made atonement once a year on the Day of Atonement for the nation (see Leviticus 16). In the Millennial Kingdom Jesus reigns with us.

“And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” (Jeremiah 3:15-18)


In Revelation 15:5 the temple in heaven is opened. This may be the same event which takes place here at the seventh trumpet.

“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.”  (Revelation 15:5)


Written by Timothy Brown

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