Summary: In Revelation chapter 11 we see God's two great witnesses. We'll explore their identity as well as message and death. We'll also took at the sounding of the 7th trumpet and God's declaration.
The Book of Revelation
“God’s Two Great Witnesses”
Last week we looked at the great angel and the re-commissioning of the Apostle John in chapter ten. Today we’re going to be in chapter eleven and look at the two witnesses.
The next several chapters of Revelation are some of the most difficult in the whole Apocalypse scenario, given the wide range of their various interpretations. For our study, however, I’ve chosen to remain as true to the literal interpretation as possible, so let’s get right into our study.
Read Revelation 11:1-2
I stopped here because in these two verses we see prophecy fulfilled, that is, the Temple of God being rebuilt.
• The first temple was built by Solomon and destroyed in 587 BC by the Babylonians.
• The second temple was built after Israel’s return from their Babylonian captivity. This was the temple Jesus entered while He was upon the earth. This temple was destroyed in 70 AD by Rome.
The Scriptures, however, speak of a third temple.
The prophet Ezekiel after his vision of God’s restoration of the Jewish people in the valley of dry bones, chapter 37, and God’s victory over the armies of Gog and Magog, chapters 38-39, sees not only the city of Jerusalem rebuilt, but a whole new temple as well, dimensions and all, chapters 40-43).
The prophet Amos talking about the end of times speaks of repairing the temple and rebuilding it as in the days of old, Amos 9:11.
And according to the prophet Daniel, this temple needs to be in place during the time of the Tribulation.
“Then he (the Antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” (Daniel 9:27a NKJV)
For the sacrifice to end means it had to have been started, which means the Temple of God needs to be rebuilt. Daniel’s prophecy is actually a duel fulfillment.
During the times of the Maccabees, around 168 BC, Antiochus Epiphanies, ruler of Syria, was turned back from his campaign against Egypt by the Roman army. On his way back to Syria he vented his wrath against the Jewish people, and in the process defiled the temple by sacrificing a pig upon the altar, forbidding the daily sacrifices, and erecting an idol of Zeus in the Holy Place where the Ark of the Covenant was.
This was foretold by Daniel in his 11th chapter, yet, at the end of this prophecy Daniel foretells of a future abomination with the same consequences, which will occur exactly 3 ½ years prior to the end of the Tribulation, or as Daniel refers to it as “The Time of Trouble.”
Jesus also speaks of this as He foretells this time of the end. He said,
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place.” (Matthew 24:15 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul explains exactly what this abomination is that happens midway through the Tribulation period
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NKJV)
So what we see in these two passages is the fulfillment of these prophecies in the rebuilding the Temple of God and the re-institution of the sacrifices during the time of Tribulation.
What’s really exciting is to see what’s going on in Israel. There are several groups working towards this very end.
• Some extremists are advocating the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, Islam’s third most holy sites, so that the temple can be rebuilt.
• Other groups, like the Temple Institute, see the temple mount being divided between the Temple of God and the Dome of the Rock. They have actually recreated many of the temple implements including the altar of sacrifice and training priest on how to offer the sacrifices.
A divided temple mount makes sense, and what I see happening in how the Antichrist is going to bring peace to the Middle East, but even more, it fits into God’s design as outlined in Ezekiel.
Several scholars have made extensive studies and along with archaeologists have determined that Solomon’s temple actually stood north of the present day Dome of the Rock, which when built in accordance to the dimensions outlined by Ezekiel would place the Dome of the Rock into the court of the Gentiles, the place God told John not to measure, and which Ezekiel saw measured with a wall separating the holy areas from the profane.