Revelation 11: The 2 Witnesses and the 7th Trumpet

Posted on March 3, 2021


By David Ettinger

What This Is
Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, I taught a Sunday school class verse by verse on the Book of Revelation. This series represents my notes for each class. (I have done some updating as some of my understandings have changed over the years.) I came across them recently and decided to post them. If you wish to use these notes as a study guide, the way to do it is as follows: Read the verse first in your Bible, then look at the corresponding notes here for commentary.

For some reason, I don’t have notes for Chapters 1-3, therefore this series begins with Chapters 4-5. Following the Chapter 4-5 study notes, each chapter will be presented individually.

Read Chapter 4-5 notes here.
Read Chapter 6 notes here.

Read Chapter 7 notes here.
Read Chapter 8 notes here.
Read Chapter 9 notes here.
Read Chapter 10 notes here.

* The seventh trumpet has not yet sounded.

* We are in a parenthetical time, a time of filling in crucial details about what is going in the world during the latter seals and the trumpets.

* Note: Because the death of the 2 witnesses is mentioned, it is clear we are still in the latter part of the Great Tribulation

Verse 1
* The first thing will learn is that there WILL be a physical, literal temple rebuilt in Jerusalem during the final time of this era of human history.

* Daniel 9:26-27 talks about the covenant the Antichrist will make with Israel when he will commit “the abomination that causes desolation.” What this means is that the Antichrist will set up an image of himself (the abomination) in the temple which will cause the facility to be forsaken (the desolation) by religious Jews because the temple would have become “unclean.”

* Daniel 11:41-45 tells us that the Antichrist will set up his world government in Jerusalem. This is where his power base will be.

* From 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 we learn that the Antichrist will take over the temple.

* By the time we come to Chapter 11, the temple will have already been desecrated.

* Asking John to measure the worshipers is symbolic. John, to follow the analogy, would have searched for worshipers and found none. The probable meaning is that the Jewish nation will be measured spiritually and fall short of God’s standards.

* Measuring the temple will indicate Israel’s apostasy and its need for revival and restoration.

* Note: The word used here for temple does not indicate the same kind of massive structure as in biblical times. The word used here could refer to the temple proper, not all the structures surrounding it. The word could indicate something which could be built in a short period of time.

Verse 2
* The outer court. Though Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967, the Arabs still control the Temple Mount, which contains the third holiest site in the world for Arabs/Muslims – not the Dome of the Rock, but the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

* The Arab police still control the Temple Mount.

* Because of this, it is easy to see how no Jewish authorities will be given any power over Jerusalem for 3½ years.  

Verse 3
* The 2 witnesses. Their time of witnessing will last the duration of the Great Tribulation. They will be a real thorn in the Antichrist’s side.

Verse 4
* The 2 witnesses are called lampstands because of their witness and testimony.

* For more on God’s servants as “lampstands,” see Zechariah 4:1-6.

* In Zechariah, the lights are basically being lit by the oil of the olive trees. The oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit which gives strength to the witnesses.

* Olive oil was used to fuel lampstands.

* The olive tree indicates an unending supply.

* Also, olive trees can live for hundreds, even thousands of years.

Verse 5
* The 2 witnesses kill people by fire.

* They destroy people just as demons destroy people, with fire. Fire will be the chosen instrument of death during the Great Tribulation (2 Peter 3:10).

* The witnesses will be supernaturally protected by God.

Verse 6
The Identity of the 2 Witnesses
* Just as the witnesses will have power to shut up the sky, so did the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:1).

* Just as the witnesses will have power to turn the waters into blood and bring plagues upon Earth, so did Moses (Exodus 17:14-18; 7:25-8:4).

* For this reason, some believe the witnesses with be Elijah and Moses.

* Some believe the 2 witnesses will be Enoch and Elijah because both were taken up to Heaven without dying (Enoch, Genesis 5:21-24; Elijah, 2 Kings 2:11).

* However, there is the mystery concerning Moses’ body (Deuteronomy 34:5-6; Jude 9).

* Also, regarding Elijah, Malachi 4:5 tells us plainly that Elijah will return before the great and dreadful Day of the Lord.

* In Matthew 17:1-3, we have the Transfiguration when Elijah and Moses are seen talking with Jesus.

* Moses represents the Law; Elijah represents the prophets.

* Therefore, IF we accept that the 2 witnesses are biblical personalities, Moses and Elijah would be the best candidates.

* On the other hand, the 2 witnesses could simply be 2 men of little renown.

Verse 7
* “When they have finished their testimony”: They will not be killed until they have fulfilled the purpose for which they were sent. They will die according to God’s timetable, not anyone else’s.

* The “beast” is the Antichrist, who will be empowered by Satan.

Verse 8
* Their bodies being left on the street is the worst kind of reproach.

* Jerusalem will be called “Sodom” and “Egypt” because of its spiritual condition.

Verse 9
* That the entire world will be able to gaze upon their dead bodies probably has much to do with the media.

* However, consider that many cosmic disturbances could severely hamper communications systems.

* It could be that millions will flock to Jerusalem to worship the Antichrist.

Verse 10
* That people are so overjoyed by the witnesses’ deaths shows how intensely the witnesses will disturb them with their testimony.

* “Torment” – there will be all kinds of torment during the Great Tribulation.

Verse 11
* “Breath of Life” – see Ezekiel 37:1-10.

* One reason why the resurrection of the witnesses will terrify the world is that the Antichrist’s followers will see there is something more powerful than him.

Verse 12
* The resurrection of the 2 witnesses is a major testimony of God’s power. Though Satan – through the Antichrist – will seem to be in control, it will actually be God controlling world events and circumstances.

Verse 13
* At this, God will unleash a portion of His fury upon Jerusalem.

* This time, however, people DO respond.

Verse 14
* With the resurrection of the witnesses and the earthquake in Jerusalem, the sixth trumpet – the second “woe” – has begun.

Verse 15
* It is at this point – chronologically – that Christ is set to return to Earth.

* Jesus is about to claim full authority over Earth.

Verse 16
* The 24 elders seen here are the same as in 4:4.

Verse 17
* God is getting set to enter into His final time of judgment.

Verse 18
* To come now:

1) God’s wrath.

3) Rewarding the prophets.

2) Judgment of the dead.

4) Rewarding ALL who follow Christ.

5) Destruction of those who destroy the earth.

Verse 19
* Very ominous foreboding for what is to come.