Author: Ron Graham
Times of Tribulation (Revelation 6-11) >Seven Trumpets >6th trumpet >The two witnesses prophesy
John has still yet to hear the seventh trumpet sound. Since the sixth trumpet sounded, he has seen two visions of "woes". Now he is about to see a third one, the vision of the two witnesses.
Temple John is given a measuring stick with which to measure the temple of God (Revelation 11:1-2). God's temple is no longer built by human hands or made of stone and gold. God's temple is now the church or kingdom of Christ, made of living stones who are the followers of Christ (Ephesians 2:19-22, Hebrews 8:1-6, Hebrews 9:24).
Measuring stick The measuring stick (Revelation 11:1-2) signifies the standard God has decreed for his temple and those who worship in it. When people worship by their own standard in a church established on their own standard, theirs is a church represented in the vision by the outer court. It is a church that is not the temple of God, but outside the temple. It needs to take up God's gospel standard and thereby restore its faith and worship so as to enter into the true temple of God.
Trampled underfoot Jesus himself prophesied an overrunning of God's city, its temple, and its people (Luke 21:24). This happened to the physical Jerusalem in AD70. However, John was seeing a vision of the true temple the church, rather than the old temple which was a type or foreshadowing of the new (Hebrews 8:1-6). This church and the blood that bought it is also trampled underfoot by those who are not of the truth and who are in the spirit of antichrist (Hebrews 10:29).
Forty-two months In the symbolic calendar this is three and a half years, as is twelve hundred and sixty days. We discuss the three-and-a-half symbol in a separate study. Briefly, in a time of trial and tribulation, signified by the three-and-a-half symbol embodied in the times given, we are fortified by the strength of our king and high priest Jesus Christ.
Two Witnesses In the vision there are two witnesses (Revelation 11:3) These represent the two-fold oath which God himself swore.
God made the prophet Zechariah put a crown on the head of Joshua the priest to symbolize that Christ would be like Melchizedek, a priest on his throne, occupying the offices of both king and high priest in the kingdom of heaven (Zechariah chapters 3-6).
The oaths God swore declare that Christ as head of the church is both king and high priest. The two witnesses in John's vision and the two olive trees in Zechariah's vision signify this promise of the double anointing of Jesus Christ.
Clothed in Sackcloth The two witnesses were to wear sackcloth (Revelation 11:3). Sackcloth is what the name suggests —a rough cloth for the making of sacks. It was worn as a sign of reproach and sorrow for sin, if not for one's own sin, then for the sins of others. In this vision, it represents the reproach of Christ —he bore the sins of the world (Psalms 69:7-21).
Two Olive Trees and the Two Lampstands The importance of these two witnesses (God's two oaths about Christ as Priest and King) is emphasized by the fact that they are seen in the vision not only as two prophets in sackcloth, but also as two olive trees and two lampstands standing before the Lord (Revelation 11:4). The olive trees signify the double anointing of Jesus as both Priest and King as promised in God's oaths. The lampstands signify the light which these two divine oaths, and the Person about whom the oaths were made, shed upon a dark world. Jesus, our Great High Priest and King of kings, is Lord of the earth and Light of the world (John 1:1-5).
Power to strike the earth In the vision, the two witnesses have power to kill their enemies with plagues (Revelation 11:5-6). This signifies the fact that the gospel of Christ (our Highpriest and King) torments the enemies of God and overpowers them. Satan tries to prevent the testimony of the gospel message, but he cannot.