Revelation commentary: chapter 11 - two prophets for 1260 days

by Don Koenig

 

Revelation chapters 11 through 14 are an amplification of the detail (more information) about the prophecy given in the previous chapters. Chapter 11 tells us about the ministry of God s two witnesses during the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel. All these informational chapters go back and further describe things that started sometime before the seventh trumpet.

 

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.

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.

John is first told to measure the holy ground in Jerusalem. He is told to leave out the court because it was given to the Gentiles to tread it underfoot for 42 months. The rebuilding of the temple apparently is part of an agreement that is brokered between Israel and the nations during the first half of this seven-year period. The temple is rebuilt but the outer court is not measured because it may contain the pagan mosque known as the Dome of the Rock. It also could be that the court is not measured because under the agreement Gentiles will be in control of the mount but not be in control of the Jewish temple on the mount.

During this period of watered down forms of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, all may use the temple mount under the protectorate of the World Church. The peace covenant brokered will probably make the Holy City an international city with its sites administrated by the World Church that at this time will be headquartered at the Vatican.

 

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

The two witnesses are two prophets who will prophesy in Jerusalem for exactly 1,260 days. These two witnesses are witnesses of the God of creation and His Messiah. The message they will give will be that Jesus is coming and to tell Israel and the world it is time to prepare to set up His kingdom on earth that He will rule from Jerusalem. They may also set the record correct about all past historical biblical events. They will give the world the truth and give the world dictates from God to prepare for His Messiah and the Jewish kingdom.

They will use persuasion and judgment to bring the Jews back from the nations to the land of Israel. The world will not want to hear what they have to say from the God of heaven but for 1,260 days the world will be given no choice. If the world will not accept the truth that comes by way of these two prophets God said, He will send the world a strong delusion so they will believe a lie. Those who do not believe the truth from God later will believe the lies of the Antichrist and his False Prophet.

2 Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

The wording in the passages about the two witnesses makes it crystal clear that they are real persons. Those who attempt to spiritualize them and say they are not real persons but only represent the prophet and the law have embraced a theology of nonsense. The many details of the following passages make it clear enough to those living in reality that these two witnesses are actual physical persons.

There are different views about the identity of the two witnesses. Just about all scholars who read this book of prophecy in a normal literal sense think one of the two witnesses is Elijah but there is honest disagreement among them on the identity of the other. Elijah is most likely one of them because scripture says Elijah will come before the day of the Lord .

Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

 

The Orthodox Jews and many Conservative Jews still expect Elijah to come at any time and they set a place for him at their Passover feasts. Elijah in the Old Testament said it would not rain and it did not rain for three years. Since this prophet will also have this power this appears to be Elijah. In addition, Elijah never died - he was taken off the earth. So there is good reason to believe that Elijah is being preserved in the heavens by angels and at the appointed time he will come to complete his ministry on the earth.

The other prophet may be Moses because of the other things that these prophets do. The main problem with it being Moses is that Moses did die and scripture says it is appointed for man once to die and these prophets are killed at the end of their testimony. Nevertheless, when Moses died scripture indicates it was not because there was any weakness or sickness in his body. It could be that Moses body is protected from decay by the angels and that he will rise from the dead in the same body in the same manner that Lazarus rose from the dead after four days and then died again in that same body of flesh years later. There is a scripture that indicates that this supernatural protection of Moses body is indeed what might have taken place.

Jud 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

 

Some also think it will be Moses and Elijah because both of their ministries were not completed during their time on earth. Further, Moses was seen with Elijah when Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of the future at the time Jesus was transfigured before them to His future glory. (Matt 17:2)

 

For many other good reasons some think the second prophet is Enoch. Scripture indicates Enoch never died but was taken alive to heaven. If he is one of the witnesses he can tell the world the truth about events prior the flood. I think this may be important because I believe the great deception will be something similar to what happened in the days prior to the flood.

The scriptures suggest that angels came to earth and produced a race called the Nephilim on the earth (the word Nephilim is translated in most bible versions as giants - they were a race of giants but that is not all they were). After this event, the world became very violent and evil. It got so bad that God had to destroy all flesh. Jesus said that just before His second coming it would be as it was in the days of Noah. I believe the great deception in the last days may involve fallen angels and demons disguising themselves as an advanced civilization from another dimension or planet.

Enoch could explain why this corruption of flesh brought the world judgment of Noah's time and why this could occur again with the mark of the Beast. The sons of Seth theory taught by most in Christianity to explain these scripture passages is just not credible. Other writings found in ancient books shed further light on the account in Genesis and in Jude, when angels came to earth, took human wives and produced a mighty evil race called the Nephilim. This most likely is the root of most ancient mythology of gods on earth.

The fallen angels apparently began corrupting all flesh. God had to destroy all corrupted flesh with the flood to provide a pure line from Adam to the Kinsman Redeemer last Adam and Savior of mankind (Jesus). These non-canonical ancient writings include but are not limited to the book of Enoch and the writings of the great Jewish historian Josephus. Further arguments against the bogus sons of Seth theory and information on the race called the Nephilim can be found on my website.

The Apocalypse of Peter (non-canon, dated about 120 AD) says the two prophets will be Elijah and Enoch. This gives some reason to believe that this is what at least some of the early Church taught about the identity of the two prophets.

I do not think we can know for sure who the second witness will be since a case can be made for either Moses or Enoch. When these two come with supernatural power, everyone will know who the two witnesses are even if they still do not know them by their biblical names.

Whoever they are they will be clothed in sackcloth. This is the dress of those in sad distress and those who are in mourning. They are in distress because God's chosen nation has rejected the true Messiah and now has made a covenant with a counterfeit Messiah that will bring upon Israel and the world the judgments of the great and dreadful day of the Lord .

 

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.

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.

These are not ordinary men. If anyone tries to hurt them, fire will come out of their mouth and destroy their enemies. We do see the calling cards of Elijah and Moses with the ability to shut up heaven, smite the earth with plagues, turn water into blood and call down fire on their enemies. The witnesses themselves are given power to judge and to smite the earth with plagues as often as they wish. The power given by God to these two witnessess to bring judgements themselves, gives further proof that these two beings lived in the presence of God. That fact alone seems to rule out any idea that the prophets are normal men born in contemporary times.

The passage on the surface would seem to indicate that it will not rain on the earth for 1,260 days but it is not likely to mean on all of the earth. Another passage in the Bible says there would always be seed time and harvest on the earth (Gen 8:22). The passage could just mean it will not rain in the land (in Israel) for that period of time. I expect the prophets will be able to do anything they wish to any nation they wish but these judgments will be selective and probably not global, although there probably could be some correlation to the trumpet judgments. Power to judge the nations might be given to them to bring the Jews out of the nations that they now dwell in, like power was given to Moses to bring Israel out of Egypt with God's judgments.

The ministry of the two prophets in my opinion is the most understated event in Revelation by prophecy teachers. We hear much speculation about the Antichrist but prophecy experts say little about the power that these two prophets will have over the world for 1,260 days. Most experts just have them walking the Holy City quoting passages of scripture but the message given here is clear. These two will bring great torment on the earth to those who will not obey God. They will be central world figures and the key focus of the world for 1,260 days.

We next will read about the world's gleeful reaction when a supernatural Beast comes out of the pit and kills them. The world will believe that they have been freed from the two prophets judgments and that their prophecy of a Jewish kingdom will not be fulfilled.

 

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.

After 1,260 days of testimony from these two prophets, the Beast will come out of the bottomless pit, make war against them, and kill them. This and other scripture makes it fairly clear that a world leader will be killed and come back to life or at least be healed of a deadly head wound.

This will occur right after Satan is cast out of heaven. At that time, there is war in heaven and Satan is cast out of heaven with all his angels. He then incarnates the Beast and kills God's two prophets. (God is the author of life and Satan by himself can raise no one back to life. However, God may allow Satan to have his desire to raise this sinful man back to life because the world rejected the truth told by these two prophets. They testified that Jesus would come back from heaven and Israelites would lead the Kingdom of God on earth. Now that the world has rejected God s message, He will allow a great delusion to come upon the earth for those who wish to believe a lie - 2Th 2:11)

We commonly call this supernatural man who kills the two prophets the Antichrist but the Bible calls him the Beast. The best prophecy scholars place the death of the two prophets at the midpoint of Daniel's 70th week of seven years. The key proof to me that their death occurs at the mid point of this seven years, is the passage that says Elijah would come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Mal 4:5). We know from many places in scripture that speak about these end times, that the actual judgment part of the day of the Lord comes in the final 3 ½ years that begins at the desecration of the temple by the Beast. It is the same 3 ½ year period in which Israelites are protected in the mountains by God angels from this Beast. Daniel spoke of this period that starts with the desecration of the temple by the Beast. Jesus, quoting Daniel, said this period would be the worst time on earth that ever was or ever will be (Mat 24:15-24).

The exact timing of the coming of the two witnesses can appear difficult if it all happens in a seven-year period from the rapture until the second coming (as most teach). I have no difficulties with my scenario because I claim their ministry actually starts at the opening of the seventh seal and not at the rapture. They will perform their ministry in the first half of a seven-year period that is preceded by a great earthquake and signs in the sun and moon and has people hiding in holes in the ground from the wrath of the Lamb. The two prophets will begin their ministry at the time of the signing of a seven-year peace covenant by a world leader with Israel.

We are told that the two prophets are killed at the end of the second woe (6th trumpet). The second woe is about the 200,000,000-man army of horsemen that comes from the East. Right after this war of East against West, we are told that the Beast ascends out of the pit, wars against the two prophets and kills them. What probably happens is the world leader is killed by a Jewish zealot and rises back to life incarnated by Satan. He then kills the two prophets, breaks the seven year covenant with Israel, desecrates the Jewish temple, claims to be above anything called God, ends the wars, is accepted as the world's savior and sets up his counterfeit kingdom of god from Babylon.

When the Beast that comes out of the pit kills the two prophets, he will have almost total control of the earth for the 3 ½ years allotted to him in scripture to deceive those who wish to believe this lie that he is God. Those in Israel who believed the two prophets and who were led to the true Messiah by the 144,000 witnesses will flee to the mountains for supernatural protection by Michael the archangel. When the King of the Jews comes in his glory, He will destroy the counterfeit kingdom and remove all those on earth that were against His rule and the establishment of a Jewish kingdom.

 

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.

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.

The passage makes it quite clear where their dead bodies will be. Their bodies will lie in the street where Jesus was crucified. That of course is Jerusalem. The world will gloat over killing them. I surmise that they will intend to gloat for a world holiday that will last one week to celebrate their deaths. The whole event will have worldwide video coverage. People will watch on their TV monitors but by then, world news events most likely will be received on broadband video cell phones on everyone's wrist.

I think part of the great deception may be to convince the willfully ignorant that the two prophets of God fulfilled the Bible prophecies of the predicted Antichrist and his False Prophet. The world will then be ready to receive the type of all-inclusive lawless Christ they desire. They will get the false Christ, which will deceive them and tell them things that tickle their ears. They will also get a false kingdom that will brainwash and enslave all who choose to worship the Beast and kill all those who will not.

 

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.

The people who survive the seal and trumpet judgments and any other judgment that came from these two prophets will think that they survived the tribulation and they will throw a great party and send gifts to one another. These two prophets obviously were a torment to those that loved to live a sinful lifestyle on the earth.

Many people counted down from the great disappearance (rapture) or the end of the Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 war. They will let everyone know that seven years have passed and a Christ is due. They probably will teach that the biblical Beast and False Prophet were actually the two leaders killed. Instead of Christ, they will receive a counterfeit Christ that the Bible calls the Beast Antichrist.

This term antichrist can also mean someone who comes in place of Christ rather than someone opposing him. In this instance, both are true. The world will accept the Christ from hell and his new age kingdom.

With the replacement supercession theology that will prevail in the World Church, they will not accept the truth of a literal Jewish kingdom on earth that the two prophets proclaimed. Instead, they will be looking for a Christ that will fulfill all world religious beliefs and that will nullify the claims of these two Jews that were killed.

The Christ they will accept will claim to be above anything called God. He will say the Jewish sacrifice system has been done away with and that he fulfilled the sacrifice. He will then stop the sacrifice system that had been reinstated in the temple in Jerusalem and set up an image of himself in the holy place. The image will be animated and it will speak. By going into the most holy place in the temple, he will show himself and the world that he is God.

2Th 2:4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

 

The whole world will love it and believe that this man actually is God and their Christ savior. Only the elect will not be deceived. The two prophets that the world hated who spoke of a kingdom under God's law and a Jewish king are now dead. The sinful will now believe this phony savior nullified the law God gave the Israel. Therefore, they will believe that there are no longer any moral absolutes and they can do whatever they think is right in their own eyes. This is nothing new; all who oppose God's eternal law have always believed this lie from Satan. Christ did not come to do away with the law He came to fulfill the curse of the law and to allow us to keep the full spirit of the law by being born of His Spirit.

 

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.

As Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days, these prophets will get life from the Spirit of God and their bodies will be raised after 3 ½ days. It will literally be God's April fool joke on the world! The week-long world holiday is interrupted in the middle of the week by a rude awakening! The two prophets the world thought their savior had killed stand on their feet in the sight of all their enemies.

 

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.

I am sure the two prophets could have dealt with their enemies at that time but instead they are told to come up to heaven. They are taken from earth so Satan and his angels and his Antichrist can deceive those on earth who did not love the truth and are the enemies of God. Perhaps the Beast will say that their rising from the dead fulfilled the prophecy that the Beast and False Prophet will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire and that is where he sent them.

Satan and his angels will be given almost total control of the earth for the next 3 ½ years. Few have any idea about what this all entails. It will not just be one or two men with supernatural powers telling the world what to do. It will be someone who claims to be God and he, like God, will have millions of angels at his immediate command. The fallen angels that are cast out with Satan will enforce his decrees on the earth. It will be as if a superhuman race has come to earth from another dimension or from space and has set up control over the earth. The only place they will not control is the area in the mountains of Jordan that the archangel Michael is protecting for the faithful remnant of Israel.

They may even package the deception as a war between a controlling alien God in heaven who put the Jews on the earth to control it and the God who has come to earth to save mankind from their control (this, believe it or not, is already a new age concept). In any case, those who think they will not be deceived and that they can actually fight such supernatural forces with local militias or by physical resistance will have a reality check that they will not be able to cash.

 

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.

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

At the time of the two prophets ascension to heaven, a great earthquake hits Jerusalem. This great earthquake opens a great rift valley that allows the faithful remnant of Israel to escape by the valley to the area of Petra in Jordan where they will be protected by God's angels for 3 ½ years. Seven thousand are killed by this earthquake but the rest of the remnant in Jerusalem give glory to God for proving that He is the God of Israel and the God of heaven.

The remnant giving glory to the God of heaven are probably the ones that had been following the teaching of these two prophets but they might not have totally bought into the message until they rose from the dead. This remnant will probably be among those that flee to the mountains of Jordan for protection.

After the God of heaven raises these two prophets from the dead, the problem that remains is that most on earth will still be deceived into thinking that there is a God dwelling on the earth. All those that want this lawless man to be God more than the real God of heaven will follow him. They will turn against all world religion that claims God is in heaven and they will burn all such religious institutions with fire. This is all further explained in chapter seventeen.

 

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.

16  And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

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.

After the two prophets are raised from the dead, the angel blows the last trumpet of the seven. This trumpet brings in the seven vial judgments that will occur in these last 3 ½ years. They are the last judgments that will cleanse the earth before Jesus actually comes to set up His kingdom. It is also the last woe for mankind. When this trumpet is blown, the kingdoms of the world are given to Jesus. It will be time for Jesus to take the kingdom of heaven to earth but first rewards must be given to His saints in heaven and the earth must be cleansed of all evil doers.

The authority to rule on earth was won at the cross but the timing to take possession was set by the Father and delayed so that many people could come to His Son for salvation. The passage says that He has taken His great power and has reigned. It implies that up to this point in time He had the power but He had not taken His power to reign on the earth.

 

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.

Why are the nations angry? If we read the prophecies in Isaiah and Jeremiah about the counterfeit kingdom of Babylon, it seems many nations get angry at the Beast kingdom and come to destroy her after they learn the truth of the deception. They also are angry because they do not want Jesus to set up His Kingdom of God on earth and rule over them either.

Psalms 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.  6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

 

The world is now about to endure the seven vial judgments of the wrath of God. While the wrath of God is happening on the earth the dead in Christ are judged in heaven by Jesus and they are given rewards and positions of authority for the work they allowed the Spirit to do through their body. This passage gives us a hint that this judgment of rewards by Jesus occurs at the same time as the armies are being gathered for destruction. At this point, there is only a very short time before the return of Christ in glory. The body or bride of Christ is now in heaven and is completed.

Satan will deceive the nations through lying spirits and with the help of his angels he will gather all the worlds armies to come against Jesus who is coming to rule the world from Jerusalem.

The few people not killed in the final 3 ½ years will be judged at the sheep and goat judgments of the nations that takes place just after Jesus returns. Those that survived and did not take the mark of the Beast will be judged at this time to decide if they will be allowed to live and enter His kingdom or be gathered for destruction along with the forces of the Beast (Mat 25:31).

 

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.

When the temple is opened in heaven, the world sees the ark of God's testament in the temple in heaven. The Ark of the Covenant on earth was patterned after the heavenly ark. The copy on earth had Aaron s rod, manna and the Ten Commandments. These represented God's choice for high priest, God's supernatural bread of life and God's eternal law. When the Ark is seen it will provide final testimony to Israel and to the world that the God of Heaven made an everlasting covenant with Israel. God has decreed that His Law and His chosen high priest will rule in His kingdom from Jerusalem on earth. Jesus is not sitting on the mercy seat over the ark because the time for mercy on the earth is now over.

The lightnings, voices, thunderings, the earthquake and the great hail, are but a brief description of the seventh vial judgment that is poured out. John gives more detail about this in chapter16.

The fact that a temple can be seen in heaven at this time does not mean that there will be a physical temple structure in the Holy City in eternity. There will be the throne of God and the Lamb in heaven in eternity but there will be no temple because God, the Lamb and the people they indwell make up the temple.

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