Revelation 11: He Shall Reign Forever and Ever


Introduction:

We are now amid the great tribulation. God’s judgments on the inhabitants of the earth, represented by the first six trumpets (Rev. 8:6-21), have been especially severe and unparalleled since the beginning of the world (Mat. 24:21). However, they were limited so as to spare some of mankind (only “one third” were destroyed). God is not finished. Before the seventh trumpet sounds, we find ourselves at another interlude as “two witnesses” are sent to those remaining on the earth. This is a fascinating time that seems to tie up many loose threads of prophecy. Things envisioned by Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah millennia ago are now coming to pass.

I.  The Two Witnesses

11:1-2: A New Temple in the Holy City

V. 1: “Go and measure the Temple of God.” This is a new construction in Jerusalem (“the holy city” v. 2) and may been built according to the measurements given to Ezekiel (Ez. 40:1-4). We are to assume at this time that the Jewish people (a) possess the holy city, and (b) have constructed a new Temple on the mount where the Original once stood.

V. 2: “They will trample the holy city for 42 months.” Jerusalem is the geographical centerpiece of our end-time conflict. The 42 months (3 ½ years) is in keeping with the seventieth “seven” that is divided in two parts, according to Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27). The first part is marked by a full-scale assault against Jerusalem by the Gentile nations (Ps. 79:1; Isa. 63:18; Zech. 12:3; Luke 21:24).

**“The weeks of years began with the commandment by Artaxerxes in 445 BC to restore Jerusalem. Chronologically, they are divided as:

  • Seven sevens-49 years—445 to 396 BC (From Artaxerxes’ decree to the arrival of Nehemiah and the covenant renewal celebration at Jerusalem)
  • Sixty-two sevens-434 years—396 BC to AD 32 (From the dedication of the second temple to the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ)
  • One seven-7 years—Unfulfilled.” (Jack Hayford, New Spirit-Filled Bible Study Notes on Daniel 9:24)

11:3-6 The Ministry of the Two Witnesses

VV. 3-4: “I will appoint my two witnesses.” For the first half of the tribulation (3 ½ years / 42 months / 1,260 days), there will be two witnesses who will “prophesy” (v. 3) and give “testimony” (v. 7). We can only speculate about their identities, or whether they are even literally two people or represent two groups: the “144,000,” and those who are saved through their witness.

  • Sackcloth: Itchy and unpleasant on the skin, was worn by the prophets as a show of contrition as they warned about impending judgment.
  • Two lampstands, olive trees: They are appointed to shine light and bear fruit for God (see Zech. 4:3-4, 14). They are unmovable and unstoppable from their God-given assignment.

VV. 5-6: “Fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies.” Their ability to exercise divine judgments reminds us of Moses and Elijah.

  • Fire comes from their mouths: Fire consumed the messengers of Ahaziah (cf. 2 Ki. 1:10, 12)
  • Power to shut up the heavens: Elijah caused a draught during the reign of Ahab (cf. 1 Ki. 17:1)
  • Power to turn the waters into blood: Moses turned the Nile to blood (cf. Ex. 7:17-21)

VV. 7-14: The Witnesses are Killed, Raised and Raptured

VV. 7-10: “When they have finished their testimony.” Once God’s work for them is done, those who want to kill them will be able to.

  • The Beast: A demonically influenced leader (see Rev ch’s 13, 17) will be the one to put them to death.
  • Their bodies will lie in the public square: They will be refused burial as a form of public shaming and that others may take warning.
  • The great city: Israel was figuratively called Sodom in the past (Isa. 1:9-10). Perhaps the leadership in Jerusalem betrayed the Witnesses and handed them over to the Beast as part of their covenant (Dan. 9:27).
  • The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them: The news of the death of the Witnesses will be spread around the world and celebrated.
  • Because they tormented those who lived on earth: The Witnesses were the scapegoats of the plagues and calamities that followed the trumpets, but it was truly the wickedness of the people that brought all of this on.
  • After three and a half days: They didn’t stay dead for very long!
  • Breath of life from God: They were physically raised to life like the valley of dry bones (Ez. 37:5, 9).
  • Terror struck those who saw them: The moment you realize you done messed up!
  • Come up here: They are raised and then raptured in view of all (cf. Rev. 4:1; 2 Ki. 2:11; Acts 1:9; 1 Thess. 4:17).
  • A severe earthquake: A deadly quake in Jerusalem puts the fear of God into the survivors (cf. Rev. 6:12-15).
  • Second woe: God is not finished; the third woe is coming!

II. The Seventh Trumpet

VV. 15-19: The Kingdom of God Has Come

V. 15: “There were loud voices in heaven.” The seventh trumpet takes us back to the heavenly scene around the throne, and to the true heavenly temple (vv. 16, 19). The announcement is made in heaven that the kingdom of the world has been subdued by our Lord and His Messiah. The Kingdom is no longer coming, it has come! Lord’s prayer has been answered (Mat. 6:9-10; cf. Rev. 8:3-5)!

VV. 16-18: “The twenty-four elders… fell on their faces and worshipped God.” The content of their praise clues us into what is taking place.

  • We give thanks to you: God is deserving of our gratitude.
  •  You have taken your great power: God, in His great patience, has held back His power and anger- but no more!
  • The nations were angry: Indicates willfulness and enmity on behalf of the nations towards God
  • The time has come: Jesus said the same when He inaugurated the Kingdom almost 2,000 years ago (cf. Mark 1:15). It sets forth events that unfold later in Revelation.
  • Judging the dead: This will happen soon (cf. Rev. 20:11-15).
  • Rewarding your servants: God’s people will be vindicated, crowned with glory, and clothed with immortality (cf.; Rom. 8:18-21; 1 Cor. 15:5-7; 2 Cor. 4:16-18).
  • Destroying those who destroy the earth: God will hold accountable those who failed in their stewardship and commission to take dominion over the earth.

V. 19: “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened.” Parallel to the earthly temple (11:1)- the “ark of the covenant” i.e. God’s throne (Heb. 4:16; 9:11, 24-25) is revealed!

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