Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Revelation 11:3-14
Pastor Steve Schell
Revelation 11:3, 4
Verse 3: During the first 3 1Ъ2 year period, God will send two men to witness to Israel. They will preach to the Jews who live in Jerusalem but undoubtedly their message will be heard throughout Israel and in other parts of the world as well. They will be dressed in the traditional Jewish attire for mourning (Ge 37:34; 2Sa 3:31; Ne 9:1; Ps 69:10, 11; Jnh 3:5-9) indicating their grief that Israel has rejected her Messiah (Zec 12:10, 11) and inviting all who will join them to repent. Verse 4: John tells us these two witnesses are the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy (Zec 4:1-14) which says that God will, by His Spirit, relight the lamp of revelation in Israel. Zechariah saw two olive trees in his vision. Each tree sent a little golden pipe to each of the seven lamps on top of the seven-branded lamp stand (Menorah). The golden pipes carried olive oil to the lamps so they didn’t run out of oil. The message of this vision is this: God will fill these lamps by His Spirit and not by human might or power. The light of Holy Spirit revelation will shine once again. In particular, He will send two prophets to convince the final generation of Jews that the crucified and resurrected Jesus is their promised Messiah (Ro 11:25-32). Undoubtedly, their message will rely heavily on Old Testament scriptures.

Revelation 11:5, 6
Verse 5: The bold preaching of these two witnesses will draw violent opposition, but God will supernaturally protect them for a time like He did Elijah (2Ki 1:9-15). In this way, He will not allow their voices to be silenced until the 1,260-day period is finished (v 7). Verse 6: God will also use remarkable miracles to confirm the message of these two men (Mk 16:20). Though they are not named, their identities are revealed by the miracles they perform. First of all, they will have the power to stop the rain, which reminds us of Elijah who commanded the rain to stop for 3 1Ъ2 years (1Ki 17:1; 18:41-46; Jas 5:17, 18). The prophet Zechariah, who foresaw God’s work during the last days, also specifically mentioned that He would stop the rain from falling on nations that refused to worship Israel’s God (Zec 14:16-19).

Revelation 11:6
Verse 6 (continued): One final observation concerning Elijah’s return to Israel in the last days is Malachi’s prophecy, “Behold I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Mal 4:5). Jesus affirmed that Elijah would come at the end of the age, but went on to explain that John the Baptist had conducted the same type of prophetic ministry as Elijah though he had gone unrecognized by the religious and political leaders (Mt 17:9-13). Verse 6 (continued): The identity of the second witness is revealed by the statement, “They have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.” These references can only be pointing to Moses who performed such miracles in order to force Egypt’s Pharaoh to release Israel from slavery (Ex 7-11; Dt 18:15-19; 34:10-12). So, Moses, as the human representative through whom God revealed His Law, and Elijah, as one of the greatest prophets and a person who never physically died but instead was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire (2Ki 2:11), are both brought to life for a final season of ministry. Or, it is possible that rather than a literal physical return by Moses and Elijah, that two men will arise who carry the same “anointing” and function like Moses and Elijah. One final confirmation of the identity of these two persons should be mentioned here. When Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, it was Moses and Elijah who met with Him to counsel Him, undoubtedly concerning His upcoming crucifixion and resurrection (Mt 17:1-4). It seems God teams these two together for special assignments.

Revelation 11:7
Verse 7: When the 1,260-day period comes to an end, God’s appointed season for these two witnesses will be over. At the halfway point of the final seven years, a huge spiritual change will occur resulting in a dramatic increase in the power of the antichrist. As we will see shortly, that spiritual change will result because of the forceful removal of Satan from heaven and his subsequent arrival on planet earth (Rev 12:7-12; 9:1). Apparently, upon his arrival, he will completely possess the human being who is the antichrist (Rev 13:2). What began as a very evil man will be transformed into the incarnation of Satan. When that happens, his power and viciousness will escalate dramatically. This is why John uses the phrase, “the beast that comes up out of the abyss.” The word “beast” refers to the human side of the antichrist, but the fact that he “comes up out of the abyss” points to Satan who will then completely control him. Once this takes place, the antichrist will be able to “make war” with the two witnesses and kill them.

Revelation 11:8-10
Verses 8-10: After being assassinated, the dead bodies of the two witnesses will be left to decompose on the street where they have fallen. For 3 1Ъ2 days, their corpses will become the focus of a worldwide media event. This desecration of their bodies will be met with a savage sense of glee and triumph revealing how deeply they were hated. By the message they preached and by imposing miraculous judgments on the nations which refused to worship God (Zec 14:12-19) they tormented unbelievers. So when the sight of their dead bodies is broadcast around the world, people will feel such relief they will even send gifts to one another. From their perspective, the death of those prophets means the end of their harassment at the hands of Israel’s God. They have overpowered Him and are at last free from His demands to be worshipped. Verses 8-10: (continued): The two witnesses will minister and be killed in the city of Jerusalem but John doesn’t call it by its proper name. Instead, he identifies it as “the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (v 8). Sodom brutally welcomed God’s angels when they came to investigate the city (Ge 19:1-11), and Egypt enslaved God’s people and even committed infanticide on male Hebrew babies (Ex 1:8-22). So by using these titles of Jerusalem, John is exposing the hostile attitudes the Gentiles in that city will hold towards Israel’s God. The temple and altar may be allowed to function (v 1, 2) but the city will still be dominated by unbelieving Gentiles who will give God’s prophets the same kind of welcome they might have received in Sodom or Egypt.

Revelation 11:11, 12
Verses 11, 12: The circumstances surrounding the resurrection of Jesus were quite different from the resurrection of these two witnesses. He appeared to as many as 500 people at one time (1Co 15:6), but in each case, His appearances were reserved for His followers. However, when these two witnesses are resurrected, the whole world will be watching. With cameras still focused on their dead bodies, they will come back to life, stand on their feet and ascend into heaven in the same manner as Jesus (Ac 1:9-11). This will result in great fear falling on those who are watching. One can only imagine what 3 1Ъ2 days of lying on the pavement in the sun will do to a dead body, so when these come to life, no natural explanation can be given. If anyone had even the slightest inclination to believe their message, a miracle of this magnitude would certainly convert them.

Revelation 11:13, 14
Verse 13: It’s hard to imagine what more God could do to proclaim Christ but there is more and it happens quickly. A massive earthquake will level one-tenth of the city and kill 7,000 people. Those who survive appear to repent or at least worship God out of fear. Whether the repentant are Jews or Gentiles is not said but by this time most Gentiles show no inclination to repent (Rev 9:20, 21; 11:2, 9, 10), so it’s likely these who “gave glory to the God of heaven” are Jews. Verse 14: In this verse, John warns us that the third “woe” is about to occur. Earlier he told us the three woes corresponded to the final three blasts of the trumpets (Rev 8:13). The fifth trumpet brought the first woe which was deathless demonic torment (Rev 9:3-12) and the sixth trumpet brought the second woe, which killed a third of the human population with demonic plagues (Rev 9:13-21). But when the seventh trumpet sounds, a woe will be released which is far more sinister than either of the first two. As we will see (Rev 12:7-12), Satan himself will arrive on the earth “having great wrath.” Beginning at the next verse, John will show us how and why this takes place as God reveals to him the spiritual forces at work behind the events on earth.

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