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Revelation chapter 11

English Standard Version

4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. 7And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, 8and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. 9For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

1And 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. 2But 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. 3And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5And 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. 6These 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. 7And 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. 8And 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. 9And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10And 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. 11And after three days and a 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. 12And 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. 13And 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.
New King James Version

What does Revelation chapter 11 mean?

This chapter introduces two prophets referred to as the "two witnesses." Their message, supernatural power, death, and resurrection are dramatic moments in the story of the end times. Their influence precedes the end of the trumpet judgments, and sets the stage for the final series: the seven "bowl" judgments.

John is first given a measuring device and told to measure the temple, altar, and worshippers. Measuring, in that era, was symbolic of ownership. Only those who had rights to something—land, a building, or people—were allowed to measure them. As part of this task, John is told that the outer court of the temple is not to be measured. This area, occupied by "the nations," which is a term for Gentiles, is part of a "trampling" experienced by Jerusalem in the end times (Revelation 11:1–2).

God next introduces two un-identified "witnesses" who stand in Jerusalem and proclaim Him. Obviously, at this time, that message will not be well-received. However, the men are supernaturally protected. Everyone who tries to hurt them is obliterated by fire from the witnesses' own mouths. These men are also able to bring various plagues on earth, such as drought (Revelation 11:3–6).

Finally, these two men will be murdered by "the beast that rises from the bottomless pit." Most interpreters believe this is the same "beast" described in Revelation chapter 13, also referred to as the Antichrist. To the unbelieving world, this will seem like a major victory—their leader will have defeated those claiming to speak for God. The world will be so overjoyed at this triumph that they will celebrate and exchange gifts, while leaving the bodies to rot in the streets. Thanks to modern technology, it's entirely possible that people across the entire world can see these events happen in real time (Revelation 11:7–10).

After three and a half days, however, the joy of the world will turn into shock and horror. God will resurrect the two witnesses in full view of the world. Announced by a voice, and carried by a cloud, they will be taken into heaven. At the same time, a massive earthquake will strike Jerusalem, destroying a tenth of the city and killing seven thousand. Those who survive will not honor God deliberately, but their fearful reactions will demonstrate His glory (Revelation 11:11–13).

Earlier, those reading Revelation were warned about certain "woes" yet to come. The first and second of these were the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments, respectively. These were far worse than the terrible trumpet judgments that came before. The third woe will be inaugurated with the seventh trumpet. Just as the seven trumpet judgments were all part of the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet will contain individual events, know as the "bowl judgments." In the meantime, as the seventh trumpet sounds, heaven praises God for His righteous judgment on evil (Revelation 11:14–19).

The next few chapters will discuss seven major figures in the end times, including the Antichrist and the false prophet. Chapter 16 will resume the sequence of judgments and begin bringing the book of Revelation to a close.
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