The Two Witnesses
Then I was given a measuring rod as long as a walking stick. I was told, “Go and measure the temple* of God and the altar, and count the people worshiping there. But don’t measure the yard outside the temple. Leave it alone. It has been given to those who are not God’s people. They will show their power over the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses. And they will prophesy for 1260 days. They will be dressed in sackcloth.”
These two witnesses are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to hurt the witnesses, fire comes from the mouths of the witnesses and kills their enemies. Anyone who tries to hurt them will die like this. These witnesses have the power to stop the sky from raining during the time they are prophesying. These witnesses have power to make the water become blood. They have power to send every kind of plague to the earth. They can do this as many times as they want.
When the two witnesses have finished telling their message, the beast will fight against them. This is the beast that comes up from the bottomless pit. It will defeat and kill them. The bodies of the two witnesses will lie in the street of the great city. This city is named Sodom and Egypt. These names for the city have a special meaning. This is the city where the Lord was killed. People from every race of people, tribe, language, and nation will look at the bodies of the two witnesses for three and a half days. The people will refuse to bury them. 10 Everyone on the earth will be happy because these two are dead. They will have parties and send each other gifts. They will do this because these two prophets brought much suffering to the people living on earth.
11 But after three and a half days, God let life enter the two witnesses again. They stood on their feet. All those who saw them were filled with fear. 12 Then the two witnesses heard a loud voice from heaven say, “Come up here!” And both of them went up into heaven in a cloud. Their enemies watched them go.
13 At that same time there was a great earthquake. A tenth of the city was destroyed. And 7000 people were killed in the earthquake. Those who did not die were very afraid. They gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second terror is now past. The third terror is coming soon.
The Seventh Trumpet Blast
15 The seventh angel blew his trumpet. Then there were loud voices in heaven. The voices said,
The kingdom of the world has now become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah.
And he will rule forever and ever.”
16 Then the 24 elders bowed down on their faces and worshiped God. These are the elders who sit on their thrones before God. 17 The elders said,
We give thanks to you, Lord God All-Powerful.
You are the one who is and who always was.
We thank you because you have used your great power
and have begun to rule.
18 The people of the world were angry,
but now is the time for your anger.
Now is the time for the dead to be judged.
It is time to reward your servants, the prophets,
and to reward your holy people,
the people, great and small, who respect you.
It is time to destroy those people who destroy the earth!”
19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened. The Box of the Agreement could be seen in his temple. Then there were flashes of lightning, noises, thunder, an earthquake, and a great hailstorm.
* 11:1 temple God’s house—the place where God’s people worship and serve him. Here, John sees it pictured as the special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. Also in verse 19. 11:19 Box of the Agreement This is like the special box kept in the Most Holy Place of the Israelite Holy Tent and, later, the Jerusalem Temple, which contained “proof” of the agreement between God and his people. See “Box of the Agreement” in the Word List.