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Revelation 11:3-6 – The Two Witnesses

Summary

In the midst of a vision about measuring the temple of God, John is told about two powerful witnesses who will prophesy for 1,260 days. These figures represent faithfulness to God in the midst of opposition from the wider world.

Analysis

The two witnesses are figures that personify the community of faith calling the world to worship God. They wear sackcloth, which is a sign of repentance, and they look like figures from many points in Israel's history. Like Moses, they turn water into blood (Exodus 7:14-25). Like Elijah, they keep the rain from falling (1 Kings 17:1). Like Jeremiah, they are fiery preachers (Jeremiah 5:14). Like Zerubbabel and Joshua the priest, they are pictured as lampstands and olive trees (Zechariah 4:3, 14). By encompassing the traits of these many prophets and leaders, the two witnesses exemplify the way the faithful are called to bear witness in many times and places, despite hostility from the unbelieving world.

Revelation 11:3-6

3And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth.’

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5And if anyone wants to harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes; anyone who wants to harm them must be killed in this manner. 6They have authority to shut the sky, so that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have authority over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.

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10 February 2011

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