And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
In the previous chapter (Revelation 10), John introduced us to a “mighty angel” carrying a Little Book who instructed John to eat it. There is a debate as to the identity of this “mighty angel.” I am in the camp that believes this “mighty angel” is none other than Jesus Christ, and the chapter that follows supports this claim, I think.
As you may know, John did not write his Apocalypse with chapter breaks, paragraphs, verses, or sentences separated by periods. Scholars added modern formatting schemes centuries later for ease of reading and locating book, chapter, and verse. John’s was one continuous writing. Therefore, Chapter 10 flows right into Chapter 11.
“And he [the “mighty angel”] said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the [mighty] angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein” (Revelation 10:11; 11:1). Angels do not command men to “prophesy” without the qualifier “thus saith the Lord.” That this angel gives such a direct command argues in favor of this being Christ. Immediately, John receives a measuring rod with which he is to measure the Temple. “What temple?” one might ask. Since the destruction of Herod’s Temple in AD 70, no physical temple building (of God) has existed on earth nor in Jerusalem in particular. This is not the “temple” in heaven, as we will see in the verses that follow.
Presently, there is no temple for John to measure, nor did one exist at the time of John’s writing, so this must still be future. However, it is not too far in the future. Devout Jews in Israel, known as the “Temple Mount Faithful,” are labeled as “an extremist Orthodox Jewish movement, based in Jerusalem, whose goal is to rebuild the Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and re-institute the practice of ritual sacrifice.” That description takes a very antisemitic point of view; however, the goal is real. As far as I know, everything is ready for the third Temple to be built. “Today, of course, radical Islam holds sway over the Moslem [SIC] world, and until this phenomenon is defeated, the likelihood of a peaceful preparation for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple remains nil.”
John is given instructions to measure this future temple, but he is told not to measure the outer court “for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” Forty-two months is three and one-half years representing the remaining three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation and which is known as “Great Tribulation.” Chronologically, this starts at about the time that the first trumpet sounds. This is also when Antichrist defiles the Temple setting himself up to be worshiped as God. Right now, however, we are in a “parenthesis” as John provides some “behind-the-scenes” details.
The “mighty angel” continues, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (Revelation 11:3-4, emphasis mine). Another reason for concluding that the “mighty angel” is Jesus is because He “will give power” to His “two witnesses.” No normal angel would make such a claim. He identifies these two witnesses as “two olive trees” and “two candlesticks.” The prophet Zechariah saw these two olive trees, and he asked the messenger, “So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? … Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:4,14). That they are anointed signifies that they are set apart for a special purpose and they “stand by the Lord of the whole earth” awaiting their assignments. Now comes the time for the “mighty angel” to give them their assignments.
These two will prophecy (i.e., preach) for 1260 days or three and one-half years (based on a 360-day year). Earlier we saw that the three and one-half years referred to the last half of the Tribulation. Remember, we are in a parenthesis at this time and this three-and-one-half-year period refers to the first half of the Tribulation; the time when the six seals are opened. During this time, the 144,000 sealed servants of God are preaching all over the world protected by God. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, these two witnesses are preaching proving again that “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis mine).
They are given supernatural power for their mission. “And 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. These 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” (Revelation 11:5-6). The identity of these two prophets has been a topic of debate over the years. Some suggest that they are Enoch and Elijah because the Bible records that neither of these men died. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); therefore, these two are good candidates for the role since neither experienced death; however, we see later that they do indeed die.
Still, there are others that suggest that the two witnesses are Moses and Elijah. They conclude this from the miracles they are said to perform – fire to devour their enemies (Elijah), shut up the rain (Elijah), turn water into blood (Moses), and smite the earth with plagues (Moses). Another point they argue is that these two are the two that met with Jesus at the Transfiguration, and together they represent the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah), which are the Word of God. Of the two views, I think the latter offers greater substance; however, I am not ready to make a dogmatic stance either way. For all we know, from John’s description (who, by the way, was present at the Transfiguration), it could be two totally different characters.
Regardless, they minister for the first 3½ years of the Tribulation. “And 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. And 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” (Revelation 11:7-8, emphasis mine). We are introduced to “the beast” in Chapter 13; however, he has already been on the scene since the opening of the first seal. Prior to this, no one could touch the two witnesses, but this is their appointed time to go, which is the only reason “the beast” has the power to kill them. Their bodies are left to rot in the street of the “great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt.” We conclude that the city is Jerusalem because we are told that it is the city where “our Lord was crucified.” Why Sodom and Egypt? Currently, Israel boasts a large homosexual population. Tel Aviv is listed as one of the top gay-friendly cities in the world. Aside from a minority of practicing and orthodox Jews in Israel, the majority of the population is mostly secular of which many are atheists having come out of Communists countries. One might say they are in “spiritual bondage.” So, Sodom and Egypt are apt descriptions for Jerusalem.
“And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And 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. And after three days and an 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. And 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.” (Revelation 11:9-12, emphasis mine).
The whole world witnesses this amazing event. Many years ago, even within my lifetime, eschatology students wondered how it would be possible for the whole world to witness this event. Today, there is no question. We see events take place in real time from around the world. So, the world will see and hear the preaching of these two prophets. They will witness fire proceed from their mouths when they are attacked. The world will know who is stopping the rain and who is bringing the plagues. And when they are killed, the world will celebrate. For three and a half days they will see their dead bodies in the streets of Jerusalem. Then suddenly, all the world sees life return to their lifeless bodies, and they will rise. Then the microphones that are aimed at the revived figures will pick up the thunderous voice commanding, “Come up here!” The two will slowly lift off of the ground and slowly ascend until they disappear into the clouds. We have been here before! More than three and a half years before millions all over the earth heard the same command and instantly vanished from the face of the earth. John heard the same command and was transported into heaven to record these events. “And their enemies beheld them” (11:12). This time, the Rapture is no secret.
“And 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” (Revelation 11:13). I suspect that “the remnant” are Jews that recognize the significance of what they have witnessed. They heard the message of the two prophets along with the message of their brothers, the 144,000, and they believe, “and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) and that applies to both Jews and Gentiles. In the end, Israel will be saved, but it will be a remnant, and it will be through faith in Christ alone, Who is the Only Way.
“The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly” (Revelation 11:14). Close parenthesis.
The time is drawing near. The pieces of the end-times puzzle are falling into place and Christ’s return is closer now than at any time in history. Reader, are you prepared to meet Him? If not, check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
 “Temple Mount Faithful” – Temple Mount Faithful – Wikipedia
 The first Temple was Solomon’s Temple. The second Temple was Zerubbabel’s Temple built after the return from Babylonian captivity and later expanded by Herod the Great. The third Temple is the Tribulation Temple that will be defiled by Antichrist (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
 frequently-asked-questions – Temple Institute
 Matthews 24:21; Revelation 7:14
 “The First Four Trumpets” – The First Four Trumpets | Ernie’s Musings (erniecarrasco.com)
 Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4
 Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11
 Matthew 17:1-3; Mark 9:2-4; Luke 9:28-30
 Top 20 World Gayest Cities You Must Visit – Gay Friendly