Revelation 11

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

Revelation 11

The two witnesses
11 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, ‘Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshippers. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.’ 4 They are ‘the two olive trees’ and the two lampstands, and ‘they stand before the Lord of the earth.’ 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city – which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt – where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

The seventh trumpet
15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

‘The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.’

16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshipped God, 17 saying:

‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
both great and small –
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.’

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.


John is told to measure the temple (1). This echoes back to Ezekiel 10 and Zechariah 2, where both prophets were asked to do the same. The temple, however, is not the temple in Jerusalem, nor is it the heavenly temple we saw in chapters 4 and 5. Instead, followers of Jesus are the temple - the place where God’s Spirit dwelt (1 Peter 2:5). John is to mark them out so they may be protected from harm, but more than that, to mark them as people whom God will honour and bless with his presence.

In Revelation, the people of God are called to bear witness to Jesus, even though it will mean suffering and sometimes death. The two witnesses (3-13) symbolise the whole church and bring to mind two great characters in Israel’s history; Moses and Elijah. Moses stood up to the pagan king Pharaoh and saw great plagues come upon the Egyptians (we’ve seen some of these in chapters 8 and 9). Elijah stood up to Ahab who welcomed paganism into the kingdom. Elijah eventually called down fire from heaven to demonstrate God’s power over the pagan gods. John is showing there is a great tradition within the people of God to stand up to any worship that is not of the one true God and demonstrate extraordinary signs of God’s power among unbelievers.

The Holy Spirit dwells in you. Ask the Spirit to fill you again so you might witness to the living God today.

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