Revelation 11:1-14 Part 7


1)    Then a reed like a measuring rod was given to me saying, ‘go and measure God’s temple and the altar and the worshippers in it.

2)    And cast out the exterior courtyard of the holy place; you shall not measure it, for it and the holy city have been given to the nations and they shall be trampled forty-two months.

3)    And I will give to my two witnesses and they will prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days having been clothed in sackcloth;

4)    these are the two olives and the two lamps standing before the Lord of the earth.

5)    And if anyone wills to harm them, fire goes forth out of their mouth and consumes their adversaries; this is how anyone who wills to harm them is doomed to be destroyed.

6)    The authority to shut the heaven belongs to them in order that it might not rain during the days of their prophecies.  And they have the authority over the waters to turn them into blood and to smite the land in every plague as much as they wish.

7)    And when they have completed their testimony, the beast which is coming up out of the abyss will wage war against them and will overcome them and will kill them,

8)    their bodies on the street of the great city (which is called, spiritually, Sodom and Egypt where also their Lord was crucified),

9)    their bodies being observed for three and a half days from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations suffering not their bodies to be entombed.

10) And those dwelling on the land rejoice and are gladdened; and they will send gifts to one another, for these two prophets did torment those dwelling on the land.’

11) Then after the three and a half days Breath of Life from God did enter in to them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them.

12) Then they heard a great sound from the heaven saying to them: ‘Come up here!’  And they did go into the heaven in the cloud, and their adversaries beheld them.

13) And in that hour great shaking did arise, and the tenth of the city fell.  And killed in the shaking were names of men… seven thousands.  And the rest became terrified and gave credit to the God of heaven.

14) The woe, the second, did go forth; lo, the woe, the third, comes quickly.


The two lamps and olive branches standing before the judgment seat of God are bearing testimony of Israel’s great history-long rebellion, and bearing testimony of the nations of the world poised to annihilate her… all designed and calculated by powers of hostility; yet the powers (beasts) are deceived.  For the strong man’s household will be emptied of all his goods; because the “Victor” has ascended the throne and poured out His Spirit!  And now the nations and tongues and tribes will all be included in the redemptive covenant; and the hostile powers will have accomplished their roles in the divine decree!

In God’s perception, the beast coming up out of the abyss to make war with the two witnesses and overcome them and kill them, is another in a history-long line of conspiracy scenarios by which the covenantal decree is meant to be interrupted or thwarted.  In fact, this is a representation of the “cosmic” hostility toward God and His covenant.  And, you see, the beast is released from the abyss for that very purpose!  It “overcomes” for a time… so it seems – to all appearances.  It looks as if it overcomes in its effort to sabotage God’s covenantal decree!

But what do we see at the beginning of chapter six?  (You see, we have to keep all of this in mind, don’t we?  Because it’s all perceived by our Lord – it’s HIS history.)  What’s the first thing we see (chapter six) when the first seal of Daniel’s scroll is loosed? 

The first Horseman (from the prophecy of Zechariah) – the crowned King of Kings – rides forth “overcoming and to overcome”.  The very first event in the scroll that was sealed in Daniel’s prophecy (sealed because it was only for the “last days”) is the “Overcoming” One!

The beastly, hostile powers, set on overcoming the covenantal decree for the salvation of the world are, themselves, deceived and tricked.  Their very “beastliness” is mockingly used by Yahveh Lord of Hosts in the accomplishment of His covenant.

But the two witnesses here in chapter eleven are testifying in the covenantal law-suit in the last days; and killing the prophets of God and leaving them in the streets of Jerusalem (to the delight of the people) is Israel’s defiance of God’s Word.  And that defiance is part of the Law-suit testimony against them!

What our Lord is saying to John is the testimony against Israel.  And it is history-long rebellion, and a history-long testimony.  This peculiar people with which Triune God established His covenant has fashioned its own law; and it has anticipated a false messiah, which are the two prominent matters in all the prophetic Word.

The Lord Jesus Christ, as promised in all His Word, has “saved” Israel by marking and sealing and removing His remnant, and sending them into the nations to establish His Church.

The covenant, you see, has been extended to the Gentiles of every nation, tribe and tongue; and now the witnesses are testifying in the covenantal law-suit as to Israel’s history-long violations of the covenant.  This chapter eleven is the testimony! 

And what comes next in this very chapter (verse fifteen) is the sounding of the seventh trumpeter!

And what did our Lord say about the sounding of the seventh trumpeter?  Chapter Ten….


5)    Then the Messenger that I saw having stood upon the sea and upon the land raised His right hand into the heaven

6)    and promised in the One living into the ages of the ages, Who created the heaven and all that’s in it, and the earth and all that’s in it, and the sea and all that’s in it, that there would be no more delay,

7)    but that in the days when the sound of the seventh messenger is to be trumpeted, the mystery of God would be fully accomplished as announced to His Own servants the prophets.


So, what is the “mystery of God”?  Where in all of the older Scripture is the “mystery of God” revealed?  There’s only the one.  Listen to the words:


27) Daniel answered the king (chapter two): "No wise man, medium, diviner-priest, or astrologer is able to make known to the king the mystery he asked about.

28) But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has let King Nebuchadnezzar know what will happen in the last days.  Your dream and the visions [that came into] your mind [as you lay] in bed were these:

29) Your Majesty, while you were in your bed, thoughts came [to you] about what will happen in the future.  The Revealer of mysteries has let you know what will happen.

30) As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but in order that the interpretation might be made known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.


And what was the mystery revealed to Daniel the prophet concerning the last days (and, as he later says, the “time of the end”?)  King Nebuchadnezzar was the first of (what would be) four great civilization-changing, language-changing, culture-changing world dominions called out of the tumultuous sea of humanity.

But then there would be a fifth and eternal Kingdom – a Rock taken from the mountain without a hand touching it, which would crush all the others and be established over all the mountains of the earth forever.  In other words, a Savior of the world!  An eternal King over all the nations, tongues and tribes of the earth… Gentiles.

That’s the mystery.  The only one.

And Nebuchadnezzar, you remember, was a “beast”; for he sought to be the “one” great king of all the earth rather than “faith” in the mystery revealed to him, and rather than anticipate the One promised by God Whose Kingdom would be greater than them all.  He wanted to impede the covenant; he wanted to interrupt it; he wanted to be “as God” and put an end to that which had been revealed to him (just as the serpent had done before him).  And therefore God gave Nebuchadnezzar to be the beast; and He gave him the appearance and behavior of the beast that he was.

And our Lord, the “Overcomer”, the very “embodiment” of the covenantal mystery of the salvation of the world, used the same language in describing the rulers and priests and pharisees and scribes of Israel.  It’s His history-long language of beasts that conspire to abrogate the covenant God made with His Own creation.

He called them serpents born of serpents; He called them jackals and wolves; He called them dogs and bulls; he called them roaring lions lying in wait for their prey.  They’re all beasts roiling up out of the abyss, gnashing their teeth in anger, persecuting and killing all of God’s prophets, turning God’s Law-word upside down, persecuting and killing God’s Own Son; and then, according to Jesus Himself, the worst of it all: persecuting and killing many of those for whom our Lord died, and who He kept for Himself of the twelve tribes of Jacob.  For that, the rulers and priests and pharisees of Israel would suffer the blood of all the righteous in history.  And it would so come to them “in this generation”.

In our Lord’s perception of His Own history, this is the testimony that’s being presented before the throne of judgment “in the last days”.  In His perception this is the two officers of the covenant which was established with this peculiar people; and they are Word and Spirit – the lamps and olive branches before the throne; and they are all the persecuted and murdered prophets of God to this people in history; and they are the very Word of God humiliated, persecuted and crucified and raised the third day; and they are the persecuted and murdered lost sheep of the house of Jacob who Jesus came to seek and to find and to mark and to seal – and to rescue.

This is the testimony of two witnesses in the covenantal law-suit, for Israel (first) had never, in all of its history, been faithful to obey God’s Law-word.  And (second) Israel’s great hope was for its own messiah… one for Israel alone.  Its hope was not for a savior of the world.  Therefore its hope was in a false Messiah.

But the great mystery of God which, according to Jesus (and written down by John for the Churches), was for the One Who would take away the sin of the world… Who would be an eternal King over all the nations, and all the tribes, and all the tongues of the world.

And that mystery would come to its “fullness” in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpeter!

The sixth trumpeter signaled the Lord of heaven and earth – the risen and ascended and crowned King of Kings, standing on the land of Israel and the sea of humanity; His left pillar on the land, and His right on the sea.  And He gives John the scroll which has been fully un-sealed (loosed) – the scroll sealed since Daniel’s prophecy; and the scroll would be sweet to his taste but would embitter him as he ate its contents.

And then the Lord Jesus Christ shows John the testimony of the two witnesses against this harlot nation (that He calls Sodom and Egypt, where the Lord was crucified).  And it’s a “last days” setting of the three and half year siege of the city of Jerusalem.  And all the testimony, of all the history of Israel’s perversions against God’s covenant are presented before the judgment seat right in that last days setting!

It’s the way God perceives it, you see.  And since it is His perception, then we have to see it that way.

Within the setting of the last days of Israel’s existence as the peculiar, covenant people, the entire history of the broken covenant is witnessed.  The broken perfect “seven”, i.e. “three-and-a-half”, is God’s perfect setting, having been prophesied in Daniel chapter seven as the prophet is shown the demise of the fourth great kingdom of the earth and the rise of the fifth and eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ over all the nations of the earth.

That perfect (three and a half) setting is also prophesied through Elijah, as the prophet calls upon God for three and a half years of horrific drought and plagues and misery and death due to Israel’s idolatry.  And remember once again, that Elijah then went to the Gentiles and blessed them with an abundance, and raised a Gentile boy from death.  The course of the covenant is clearly seen in the movement of Elijah from Israel (where there is misery and death) to Gentile nations (where there is given abundance and life).

It is a “broken” covenant with Israel, you see; so there is a “broken” seven.

So, as the two witnesses prophesy to Israel’s history-long harlotry and idolatry and her persecution of God’s prophets, it is all in the setting, God’s setting, of the last days of Israel’s existence (the “broken” three and a half years), at which time the kingdom of this world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord.  And He shall reign for ever and ever.  For He is the Redeemer/Savior of the world.

And, once again, it is God’s perception of His Own covenantal decree; and we must see it as He sees it.  He has revealed the Savior of the world – One Who will complete the (perfect seven) work decreed in His covenant.

In verses eight through ten, the witnesses are overcome and killed; and their dead bodies lay in the streets of the city for (once again, the broken seven) for three and a half days.  It is the streets of the great city which, by the Revelation of Holy Spirit, is called “Sodom” and “Egypt” where also the Lord was crucified.

Our Lord, in Matthew chapter twenty-three, says that Israel is guilty of all the righteous blood from Abel to Zachariah.  And that this generation will be held liable for them all.  The two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, are representatives and officers of the covenant; and they represent all the righteous blood shed in the streets of Jerusalem.  Israel is the killer of the prophets.  In fact, as recorded by Luke in chapter thirteen of his Gospel, he quotes Jesus in saying: “it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem”.

The two witnesses, overcome as all the prophets were, and persecuted as all the prophets were, and killed and left unburied in the streets of the city as the prophets sent to Jerusalem were, are the testimonies heard at the judgment seat… and all in God’s “last days” setting.  They are the (minimum) two-witnesses to convict and execute for a death-penalty offense.  That’s God’s Law.

On Israel as “Sodom”, one need go no further than the sanctions prophesied against Israel should it not obey God’s covenant.  Listen to a few verses from Deuteronomy chapter twenty-nine, as Moses elaborates on the sanctions:


22) So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which Yahveh hath laid upon it;

23) And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor bears, nor any grass grows therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah ……… which Yahveh overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:

24) Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath Yahveh done thus unto this land? what means the heat of this great anger?

25) Then men shall say, because they have forsaken the covenant of Yahveh God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:

26) For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods who they knew not, and who he had not given unto them:

27) And the anger of Yahveh is kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book….


And as we follow God’s language in covenantal continuity from older Scripture to newer Scripture, the language of “Egypt” comes very clear.  Our Lord is constantly referred to as the “greater Moses” and the “new Israel” and the “new temple” and the “new Jerusalem”.

He is the living embodiment of the entire history of the Exodus from Egypt.  And remember, He conferred with Moses and Elijah about His “Exodus” in the scene on the mount of transformation.

And here in the Revelation that same language continues in chapter eight and over in chapter sixteen, which speak of the plagues brought upon Egypt being now poured out upon Israel.

So, the war of the beast against God’s witnesses (and all the prophets in history) is described here in the same terms as with the original Exodus from Egypt.  And now there is an Exodus of our Lord’s lost sheep of the house of Jacob from Israel!  The Exodus is from Israel as it was from Egypt!  Jerusalem is pagan and perverted.  And it is just as defiant against God’s covenant as was Pharaoh.  It has 1) treated God’s holy Law-word with complete disdain and, 2) it never did anticipate the coming Savior of the world; but instead it wanted its own messiah for Israel alone.  And in all its beastly demeanor, it sought to cut off the heritage of the Christ of God all through history; it sought to interrupt and sabotage the covenant that the Lord made with His creation; it sought to suppress and extinguish the Word of God through His prophets by killing them; in coalition with the nations it performed the ultimate circumcision by crucifying Jesus; and although marked and sealed by our Lord Himself, the lost sheep of the house of Israel for whom He died were pursued and persecuted and killed while in Exodus from Israel!

And that’s the scenario of testimony that our Lord is describing here to John – and all in the setting of the (broken) three and a half year period of Israel’s last days.

And in that same setting, the dead, unburied bodies of the witnesses indicates the contempt held for God’s Word.  In that light, listen to the Psalmist as he prophesies this very scene.  This is Psalm seventy-nine:


1)    O God, the heathen are come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.

2)    The dead bodies of Your servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of Your saints unto the beasts of the earth.

3)    Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there were none to bury them.


Then, after three and a half days there is a resurrection!  Listen to it one more time:


11) “Then after the three and a half days Breath of Life from God did enter in to them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them.”

12) Then they heard a great sound from the heaven saying to them: ‘Come up here!’  And they did go into the heaven in the cloud, and their adversaries beheld them.


How our God has decreed the salvation of His creation is marvelous in our eyes!  And we must pray for increasing discernment as we continue through this Revelation to John and the Churches, for we have to see these things from His perspective.  And the numbers occur over and over again, all through Scripture, don’t they?

Three In One, and One In Three is ontological perfection.  It is Triune God.

Seven appears often, as we’ve seen here in the Revelation in the appearance of the slain Lamb of God with seven eyes and seven horns; and there are seven lamps before the throne of Yahveh focusing “light” outward from the throne.  The sevens are indicative of qualitative perfection.

And there are seven seals of the scroll shown to Daniel, which are loosed in earlier chapters of this Revelation; and the loosing of the seals reveals events in fours.  The four cherubim at the four corners of the ark of the covenant call out the four horsemen prophesied in Zechariah.  And it is revealed, also to Daniel, that the four cherubim also call up out of the raging sea of humanity the four great kingdoms of history.  And the horrific plagues upon Israel loosed in the seals are all revealed in fours… and four winds and four corners of the land.

Twelves are prominent all through God’s Revelation of Himself and His creation.  There are twelve sons of Jacob and therefore twelve tribes of Israel.  And the lost sheep of the house of Jacob sought out by Jesus and His apostles, marked and sealed and rescued by our Lord, were twelve thousand of each of the twelve tribes.  Twelve is numerical perfection.  And as you may remember, the loss of one of the twelve disciples was a matter of great suffering of our Lord as all comfort was withdrawn from Him as He proceeded to the cross… the loss of “the twelve”.

Three and a half, or a time, times and a half, are prophesied in Daniel and in the prophetic activity of Elijah, both of whom are prominent in our text.  At the beginning of chapter ten, you remember that “silence was in the heaven for half a time”.  Absolute silence was created in the heaven for half a time at the loosing of the seventh seal of the scroll that was sealed to Daniel.  And it was Daniel who was shown the time, times, and a half a time to put an end to the sin and apostasy – a broken covenant, and establish the fifth and eternal kingdom of God’s Messiah.

Three and a half is a broken seven, revealed all through chapters eleven, twelve and thirteen; and God sees it as the time near the end when the righteous are oppressed and their bodies abused; a time when the remnant who Jesus came to seek and to save are pursued and persecuted and killed; a time of grief when the beasts are seemingly triumphant.

Yet the three and half “days” (still in the setting of time, times and a half), three and a half days is a brief and limited time when the covenant witnesses lie dead in the streets to the delight of all who wish to sabotage the covenantal salvation of the world.

But, you see, in God’s view of His covenant with all that belongs to Him, there is a resurrection.  “Breath of Life from God did enter in to them, and they stood upon their feet”, which is a direct quote from Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven!

And at the command from the heaven “they did go into the heaven in the cloud, and their adversaries beheld them”.  As with all the prophets of old, the witnesses don’t survive the persecutions; they were murdered.

And as with Stephen, as he was being stoned, he was shown the resurrected Christ at the Right in all His glory, so the witnesses are seen ascending into the glory cloud in the resurrection of Jesus.  In Christ’s resurrection the witnesses rose in His power and dominion; for it was the very Breath of Life from God.  “Not by might or by power, but by My Spirit, says Yahveh of Hosts.

In the resurrection of Christ, in union in Him, His people and their testimony concerning the Savior of the world are unstoppable; for it is “by His Spirit” that He “overcomes” the world.

We have no authority over the course of events in God’s creation.  But we are comforted, and we have assurance, and we have anticipation of our Lord’s complete authority; for He is the One who releases beasts, powers of the abyss, that act in such events as captivities, overcomings, defeats and, yes, even crucifixions.  And He “overcomes” those disasters; for they are “disguised” as defeats.

And when the disasters are turned to triumphs for the Christ, men everywhere give credit to God.  Once again, that’s how our Lord perceives His Own history!  He receives glory in the overcoming.

As our Lord prophesied in Matthew 24, and as it was prophesied in Ezekiel chapter thirty-eight, and Haggai chapter two, and in Zechariah chapter fourteen, in that day there will be a great “shaking”.  Because of the great overcoming of the Christ, the shaking of heaven and earth meant the ultimate defeat of all in treasonous mutiny against His covenant.

In the text, the Lord takes a tithe of the city in this shaking, for it is not yet time for the city’s complete destruction.  Remember, our Lord has revealed to John that in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpeter, the mystery of God would be fully accomplished.  So here in this text the seventh trumpeter has not yet sounded.  He only takes a tenth.

Also in this shaking, the seven thousand killed is a perfect number.  And there are a specific perfect number, for they are named.  It is a number revealed to Elijah in First Kings chapter nineteen that there were seven thousand in Israel who were faithful to the covenant.  The number indicates the completeness of God’s elect (in the case of Elijah), and the completeness of those reprobated (in the case of Israel in the last days).

Verse fourteen completes our Lord’s disclosure of His perception of that which is happening in Israel at this time.  John hears, “the woe, the second, did go forth; lo, the woe, the third, comes quickly”.

At the first “woe” we spent a considerable amount of time in Isaiah concerning the woes; but through the entire prophetic Word there are sixty five occasions in which God pronounces woes upon those who break His covenant.  And here in the Revelation the woes pronounced through the prophets are coming to pass.

The first was the full-scale release of demonic beasts from the abyss, during which time Israel was besieged with plagues and starvation and infestations.  The second (which we just completed) has to do with the time of the Jewish rebellion against Rome, the desolation of all of Israel, and the three and a half year siege of the city of Jerusalem (all within a forty year period).

But as John hears, the third comes quickly.  And it is associated with the sounding of the seventh trumpeter.

Next Lord’s Day, Lord willing, we’ll be finished with the translation and exegetical work required to preach from the last five verses here in chapter eleven.  Our Lord stops speaking to John at verse fourteen; and verse fifteen begins with the seventh long and loud sounding of the trumpeting voice of Yahveh Lord of Hosts.

Just a couple of minutes here, and we’ll be through.  I just want to reiterate what has been said all through the seven hours we’ve had together so far in this chapter.

As Mediator/Executor of the covenant, our Lord has all authority in the heaven and on the earth.  Creatures, whether called “beasts”, “serpents” or “dragons” (or any other appellation) have no authority of their own… just what’s been given them.

In all of their beast-like activities in trying to cut off, thwart, interrupt or sabotage the covenantal decree for the salvation of the world, they are deceived and manipulated; and they are mocked in all their contemptible and depraved purposes.

So, with our whole-Bible, covenantal-continuity-perspective, we see the Executor of the covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ bring the covenantal sanctions against those who defy God’s holy Law-word.  And from Moses to Christ’s Parousia, that peculiar people with whom God established His covenant, and to whom God foretold the coming Savior of the world, (Israel) was defiant and recalcitrant.  And as we read in this text, prior to that nation’s decreation the two witnesses are testifying to Israel’s history-long defiance.  This is the covenantal law-suit against the harlot.

As Mediator of the covenant, the One Who is fully God and fully man “expiates” the sin of all His Father’s people – an atonement also fully sufficient to cover the curse upon His creation.

AND, His atonement propitiates (satisfies) the wrath of Almighty God toward His creatures and His creation, so that we (His elect people) not die “the death”, and that His creation not be destroyed.

The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world isn’t yet done with His work.  It’s still ongoing, for He will overcome.  But we need to rest comfortably in Him, being faithful – being certain that He will finish that work and bring glory to the Father.