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Notes on the Book of Revelation

Chapter 11

The Two Witnesses


The two symbolic witnesses represent the scriptures or more specifically the law and the prophets. The two witnesses are a symbolic representation of the scriptures and not two actual or literal individuals. 


Although the two witnesses are symbolic and point to the scriptures, the story of the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 16, Mark 9, and Luke 9 provides a better understanding of the symbolic two witnesses here in chapter 11. “Moses represents the law, and Elijah represents the prophets. Moses is the great lawgiver, and Elijah is the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.”1 Malachi 4:4-5, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:”


Ellen White did a verse by verse analysis of Revelation 11 in her book, The Great Controversy, pages 265-288. 


  • Revelation 11:1, And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.


11V1: Measure = (In Greek) to judge. Since the temple is being measured, then it’s referring to judging God.2 But this is also a reference to judging God’s people. Judgment begins at the house of God. 


1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”


Ezekiel 9:6 says, “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.”


Ellen White understood that this chapter (measuring = judgment) was applied to the events of 1844. 

“The grand judgment is taking place, and has been going on for some time. Now the Lord says, Measure the temple and the worshipers thereof. Remember when you are walking the streets about your business, God is measuring you; when you are attending your household duties, when you engage in conversation, God is measuring you. Remember that your words and actions are being daguerreotyped [photographed] in the books of heaven, as the artist on the polished plate reproduces the face. . . Here is the work going on, measuring the temple and its worshipers to see who will stand in the last day. Those who stand fast shall have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When we are doing our work remember there is One that is watching the spirit in which we are doing it. Shall we not bring the Savior into our everyday lives, into our secular work and domestic duties? Then in the name of God, we want to leave behind everything that is not necessary, all gossiping or unprofitable visiting, and present ourselves as servants of the living God.” (Ellen White, MS 4, 1888. 7BC p. 972)


11V1: Three things to measure, temple, altar, and them that worship (pointing to the temple of God where the true picture of God is revealed). Exodus 25, the articles of furniture were measured in the temple which point to the character of God.3 

  • Ark of the covenant = God’s judgment.

  • Mercy seat = God’s mercy.

  • Candlestick = God as light. 

  • Table of shewbread = God sustains us.

  • Table of incense = God who is a friend and intercedes for us.

  • Laver = God cleansing us.

  • Altar = God of sacrifice.

  • Revelation 11:19, the law of God; Exodus 25:21-22, reflects God’s law, His character, His communication with us, His love.


Coming out of chapter 10 and the great disappointment, now we’re asked to measure the temple (God’s character) and His altar (the revelation of that character through His Son Jesus Christ.


Ephesians 3:14-19, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”


Length of God’s love = His longsuffering-patience, Exodus 34:6, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”


Breadth of God’s love = He loved all mankind, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


Depth of God’s love = His forgiveness of mankind, Micah 7:19, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”


Height of God’s love = God left His throne as Creator and became human (lower than angels) to save mankind, Hebrews 2:7, “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:”4


11V1: Altar = Sacrifice of Jesus (importance of the altar), Hebrews 13:10-13, our altar is the cross; verse 10, those that serve the altar in the time of Paul have no right to come to our altar, which is Christ outside the gates on the cross.


11V1: Them that worship = We have a stake in this, how is our character reflecting the character of God? The church is supposed to give a witness for the truth and for what God is like; God sends His two witnesses to show the truth, they were the only one faithful to the truth of God’s character.



  • Revelation 11:2, But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.


11V2: But the court which is without the temple leave out = The temple in Jerusalem had an outer court where the gentiles could go no further. The gentiles were not allowed to enter the inner area of the temple, especially the Holy Place. This statement means that gentiles are not being judged during the investigative or pre-advent judgment. Judgment is with the church first. 


1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”


Ezekiel 9:6 says, “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.”


This also refers to the papal power persecuting God’s people for 42 months, or 1260 years (from 538 to 1798 AD). 


11V2: 42 months = The 1260 year prophecy which brings us back into the dark ages; also in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7; Revelation 11:3; 12:6; 12:14; and 13:5. The 1260 year prophecy runs from 538 to 1798 AD. We can know for sure that 42 months is 1260 days (30 days a month) because Revelation 12:6 and 14 say the same thing but use two different ways to express the 1260 days. Both verse 6 and 14 refer to the woman fleeing to the wilderness, so we know they are talking about the same topic. Verse 6 uses “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” and verse 14 uses “a time, and times, and half a time”. So that is how we can be sure that all seven references to 42 months, a time, and times and half a time and 1260 days all refer to the 1260 year prophecy. 


How do we know there are 12 months and 30 days each month in the Jewish calendar?

1 Kings 4:7, “And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision.”


Genesis 7:11, “In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.


Genesis 8:3-4, “And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.”


The ark rested after 150 days and the Bible says it was 5 months. That comes out to 30 days a month. 


11V2: Holy city = God’s people who are registered in heaven, Hebrews 12:22-23.


11V2: Gentiles tread under foot = The papal power persecuting the saints or God’s people.



  • Revelation 11:3, And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 


11V3: 1260 days = 1260 year prophecy in Daniel 7:25 (see Revelation 11:2); this timeframe occurs during the dark ages from 538 to 1798 AD.


11V3: Since this 1260 prophecy is years, since it fits into the 2300 year prophecy, the two witnesses cannot be two actual beings (this is not Moses and Elijah); in verse 3 it says they shall prophesy for the entire 1260 years; Revelation 11:7: Kill them, so if this was Moses and Elijah, they cannot die, so this cannot be them; the two witnesses have to be symbolic.5


11V3: Two Witnesses = Cannot be humans, they witness = Testify for God. John 5:39, testify of me (scriptures) = The two witnesses are symbolic and represents the scriptures (the law and the prophets) although many now refer to them as the Old and the New Testament. 


11V3: Sackcloth = Mourning because of persecution, distress or great calamity, Genesis 37:34; Esther 3:13 and 4:1, 3. The Word of God was obscured and in many instances it was forbidden by the RCC during the 1260 years from 538 to 1798 AD. 


11V3, 6: Power = The power of the Word of God; Genesis 15:1 (word of the Lord); Jonah 1:1 (word of the Lord); Ezekiel 1:3 (the word of the Lord); Matthew 4:4 (every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God).6



  • Revelation 11:4, These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.


11V4: Two candlesticks = Also translated as lampstands. This represents the light of God’s people (His church).


Revelation 1:20, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”


Maybe representing the light given to the old testament and the light given to the new testament churches; Psalm 119:105 (light unto my feet).7


11V4: Two olive trees = The Word of God. Zechariah 4:1-6, 11-14 (two anointed ones = the Word of God); Matthew 5:14-16, light of the world; Zechariah 4:6: the oil is the Holy Spirit which keeps the light burning; The trees represent the Word of God = through the Holy Spirit the churches are fed to be the light of the world; through the Word of God we know the Holy Spirit; the Bible kept the church alive during the dark ages (two witnesses); Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:29; 3:6; 3:13; 3:22) = The Spirit is speaking to the churches through the Word of God.8 Oil as a representation of being filled with the Holy Spirit, 1 Samuel 10:1, 6; 16:13; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38.



  • Revelation 11:5, 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.


11V5: Fire = Both Moses and Elijah, which symbolically represent the law and the prophets or the scriptures, had experiences that involved fire from God. Moses witnessed the fire from God that troubled the army of the Egyptians as they pursued the Israelites (Exodus 14:24), and the fire from God that consumed the sons of Aaron because of their disobedience (Leviticus 10:1-2). Elijah witnessed the fire from God that consumed the soldiers that came to arrest him (2 Kings 1:10, 12) and the fire that came down from God to burn the sacrifice on mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:36-38).9


11V5-6: 1 Kings 18:1, the word of the Lord came to Elijah (as a witness); Exodus 4:10-12, with thy mouth (it was God’s word).


11V5: Hurt them = If we hurt the Word, we’ll be hurt, Revelation 22:18-19.



  • Revelation 11:6, 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. 


11V6: Rain/blood/plagues = Both Moses and Elijah, which symbolically represent the law and the prophets or the scriptures, had experiences that involved rain, blood and plagues. Moses and the Israelites witnessed the plagues that fell on Egypt (Exodus 7 & 8) which included water turning to blood. Elijah prophesied that there would not be rain for three and a half years (1 Kings 17:1) and then prayed for rain at the end and it rained (1 Kings 18:41-45). The prophets of God spoke and brought plagues and calamities on the earth.10



  • Revelation 11:7, 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.


11V7: Beast = A kingdom or country, Daniel 7:17, 23.


11V7: Bottomless pit = Dark ages/domain of Satan and the rise of atheism in France, Revelation 9:1.


11V7: And kill them = To get rid of the Bible or to suppress the Bible by outlawing the translation of the Bible into the common language of the people. The Bible was outlawed in France during the French revolution from 1789 to 1799 AD. “There are many good Christians out there who believe that in the last days, Moses and Elijah will literally come down to the earth again to preach, only to be killed and lay in the streets for three-and-a-half days. It’s a half-truth, because the two witnesses, the Word, is symbolized by Moses and Elijah.”11



  • Revelation 11:8, 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.


11V8: Spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt = Sexual immorality and Atheism/Paganism; Did a nation arise out of the dark ages and make war on the Bible (two witnesses)?; Egypt denies God, Exodus 5:2; France decriminalizes sodomy in 1791; French revolution was 1789 to 1799. This occurred during the tail end of the dark ages and the time of persecution of God’s people during the 1260 years from 538 to 1798.12 



  • Revelation 11:9, 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.


11V9: Three days and an half = November 1793 to June 1797 (Bible banned for 3 1/2 years during the French revolution).13



  • Revelation 11:10, 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. 


11V10: Two prophets = Old and New Testament; also represented by Moses and Elijah, Moses = law; Elijah = prophets; Malachi 4:4-5; Mark 9:1-13.



  • Revelation 11:11, 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. 


11V11: Stood upon their feet = After the Bible was banned for 3 1/2 years (see verse 9); France reinstated religion and allowed people to own the Bible and allowed the churches to open again.



  • Revelation 11:12, 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. 


11V12: Heaven in a cloud = Bible is being lifted up and printed in many languages.


11V12: Ascended in a cloud = Close to 1798; Revelation 10:1, clothed with a cloud; This same angel is clothed with a cloud and has a book.



  • Revelation 11:13, 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.


11V13: Same hour = During the French revolution.


11V13: Earthquake = A spiritual earthquake; shaken by the events of the revolution.14


11V13: Tenth = Either literal tenth or it refers to France as one of the ten horns in Daniel (ten kingdoms); France was one of the ten nations.


11V13: Seven thousand = God’s people (faithful) that were being persecuted during this time of the revolution, 1 Kings 19:18; 20:15.15


11V13: Affrighted = Fear God.


11V13: Fear God and gave glory to God = The three angel's messages being proclaimed by the remnant (The first angel’s message was being proclaimed after 1798 from around 1833 to 1844). See Revelation 14:7, Fear God and give glory to Him. 



Seventh Trumpet (3rd Woe).

The trumpets = The taking away of the enemies of God; First trumpet = Taking away the Jews; Second trumpet = Taking away pagan Roman Empire; Third and fourth trumpets = the rise of an enemy of God (which will be taken away later); Fifth trumpet = Islam fighting RCC; Sixth trumpet = Islam fighting RCC; Seventh trumpet = Final deliverer of God’s people (the return of Christ).16


First woe = Army of horses (Revelation 9:7); Second woe = Army of horses (Revelation 9:16-17); Third woe = Jesus with army of horses (2 Kings 2:11; Revelation 6:2).17


  • Revelation 11:14, The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. 


11V14: Woe = The three woes are the fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets. 


11V14: Quickly = Second coming, Revelation 3:11; 22:7; 22:12; 22:20.



  • Revelation 11:15, And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.


11V15: Kingdoms of our Lord = Jesus going to the Father in the Most Holy to receive His kingdom (the beginning of the investigative judgment in 1844, see notes in Revelation 14:7).



  • Revelation 11:16, And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,



  • Revelation 11:17, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 



  • Revelation 11:18, And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.


11V18-19: These two verses should not be considered a part of the trumpets, but as the beginning of new material. This verse (18) is a summary of the rest of the book of Revelation. (Pastor Stephen Bohr, Anchor 2021, Video 2)


11V18: This verse is a parenthetical statement that breaks the flow of thought.

11V18: Nations were angry = Refers to Revelation chapters 12-14. 1844, close of probation for the protestant churches; investigative judgment begins for the righteous first, 1 Peter 4:17 (judgment to begin at the house of God); Ezekiel 9:6 (judgment begins in His sanctuary); Matthew 24:9 (God’s people being persecuted, killed, afflicted and hated).


11V18: Wrath is to come = Refers to Revelation chapters 15-19, which all cover the seven last plagues.


11V18: They should be judged = Refers to Revelation 20:4, 11, which is the to the beginning of the millennial judgment in heaven of the wicked.


11V18: Reward unto thy servants = Refers to Revelation 19:11-21; 22:12, when Jesus rewards His saints at the second coming. 


11V18: Destroy them which destroy the earth = Refers to Revelation 20:14-15, New heaven and new earth (white throne judgment or final executive judgment after the millennium).



  • Revelation 11:19, And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.


11V19: This verse is not the conclusion of the previous verses (15-18), but instead is the beginning of a whole series of events (the opening of the Most Holy for Christ to begin His work in the investigative judgment). Revelation 15:5-8 concludes the series with the end of the investigative judgment. (Pastor Stephen Bohr, Anchor 2021, Video 2)

11V19: Lightnings and thunderings and voices = A variation of this phrase is used four times in the book of Revelation; here, but also in Revelation 4:5, Revelation 8:5, and Revelation 16:18. 


In Revelation 4:5 and 8:5, it is describing the throne in the Holy Place of the sanctuary and the Holy Spirit is specifically mentioned in both verses. 


In Revelation 11:19 and 16:18, it is describing the throne in the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary and mentions hail (God’s judgment) in both verses. 


In Revelation 4:5, it is describing the throne without the presence of Jesus because He is still on earth (this is prior to His ascension). 


In Revelation 8:5, it is describing the throne room after Jesus has ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit is being sent back to earth for Pentecost during the apostolic age. 


In both Revelation 11:19 and 16:18, it is describing the throne of God in the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary after the completion of the investigative judgment and right before the second coming of Jesus Christ.


11V19: Ark of his testament = Ten Commandments, Exodus 25:16; 31:18; 24:12; Deuteronomy 10:1-4; Exodus 19:4-5, 16, 18-19; 20:1-18.


11V19: Lightnings = Angels; Matthew 28:3 (countenance was like lightning); Ezekiel 1:14 (appearance of lightning).


11V19: Voices = Voice of God, Ezekiel 43:2 (His voice was like a noise of many waters); Daniel 10:6 (voice of a multitude - waters represent multitudes or the sound of many voices speaking at once, Revelation 17:15). This can also represent a soothing voice as rushing waters is sometimes considered soothing, Jesus is attractive to those that seek Him. See Revelation 4:5.


11V19: Thunderings = Voice of God, John 12:28-29 (God speaking sounded like thunder); Exodus 20:18 (after God spake from the mountain, Exodus 20:1); Revelation 19:6 (God the Father speaking about Jesus which is described as thunderings); Revelation 14:2 (voice of a great thunder); Job 40:9 (voice of thunder); Psalm 104:7 (voice of thunder).


11V19: Earthquake = Presence of God. 


11V19: Hail = God’s judgment = See Revelation 8:5 and Revelation 8:7.


11V19: Sanctuary Symmetry of book of Revelation. 

  1. Seven churches = Jesus walking among the candlesticks (Holy Place).

  2. Seven seals = Jesus moves to the table of shewbread (Holy Place).

  3. Seven trumpets = Jesus ministers at the altar of incense (Holy Place).

  4. Revelation 11:19 = Jesus moves into the Most Holy Place. 

  5. Revelation 15:5-8 = Jesus closes His sanctuary ministration.

  6. Revelation 16-19 = Then the plagues fall. 

  7. Revelation 20 = Scapegoat ceremony and destruction of the wicked.

  8. Revelation 21-22 = New heavens and new earth.




Chapter 11 Resources and Notes

1.  Pastor Doug Batchelor, The Two Witnesses, Moses & Elijah, Published by Amazing Facts, Inc., 2004, Roseville, CA, page 6. 


2.  Pastor James Rafferty and Pastor Ivor Myers, Salvation in Symbols and Signs (Program on 3ABN’s Dare To Dream Network), video series can be accessed here:


3.  Ibid.


4.  Ibid.


5.  Ibid.


6.  Ibid.


7.  Ibid.


8.  Ibid.


9.  Pastor Doug Batchelor, The Two Witnesses, Moses & Elijah, Published by Amazing Facts, Inc., 2004, Roseville, CA, page 9.


10.  Ibid.


11.  Ibid, page 22.


12.  Pastor James Rafferty and Pastor Ivor Myers, Salvation in Symbols and Signs (Program on 3ABN’s Dare To Dream Network), video series can be accessed here:


13.  Ibid.


14.  Ibid.


15.  Ibid.


16.  Ibid.


17.  Ibid.



Ellen White references can be found here:

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