The Messianic Judgments, 6:1-16:21

2. The judgment of the seven trumpets, 8:6-11:18

iv] Interlude
b) The two witnesses


We now come to the second part of the interlude. Warned that the Gentiles are set to move against the temple, John is told to measure the sanctuary. In the face of this threat, two witness are appointed to prophecy for a shortened time - half of the perfect number 7. Their witness will be powerful. Yet, the beast from the Abyss, the powers of darkness, are set against them, even unto death, and when brought low, Godless humanity gloats over them. Yet, with the shortening of time, "life from God entered them", and "they went up to heaven in a cloud." As for the Godless, their end is judgment.


In the face of the coming kingdom of God, the Great Day of the Lord, the day of judgment, faithful believers are to witness to the coming day in the knowledge that witnessing brings suffering, but also inevitably, vindication and glorification.


i] Context: See 10:1-11.


ii] Background: See 1:1-8.


iii] Structure: The two witnesses:

John measures the temple sanctuary, v1-2;

The appointment of prophetic witnesses, v3-6;

The powers of darkness oppose the witnesses, v7-10;

The witnesses are glorified, v11-12;

Judgment ensues, v13-14.


iv] Interpretation:

In his vision, John is given a measuring rod in order to measure the temple's sanctuary, but he is not to go on to measure the outer court of the nations / Gentiles. This establishes the perspective of the vision; it concerns God's people in a world facing judgment. Godless humanity has its time, but it is not a full time (seven years), rather it is a shortened time (three and a half years - see below).

During this time, the church is to fulfill its mission of making the gospel known to lost humanity. John represents this with the two witnesses who prophesy. Note how they align with Jesus' sending out his disciples two by two - also note their dress, v3. It is also likely that John is alluding to the priest / king relationship of Zerubbabel and Joshua, much in the same way as believers are both kings and priests, Zech.3-4. The power of the gospel they proclaim is illustrated in the fire that "comes from their mouths and devours their enemies", v5. Jesus sent out his disciples "with authority over unclean spirits", with a gospel that condemns the world, but a gospel that also has "the power of God unto salvation", v6.

Using apocalyptic imagery, John describes the reaction of a Godless world to the gospel, v7-10. The witnesses are set upon by the beast from the Abyss. John is probably referring back to the locusts plague that burst from the Abyss in chapter 9. The beast, the plague, may represent the Antichrist, but ultimately Satan is the one pulling the strings, and it is he who manipulates Godless humanity to set upon Christ's missioners, attacking, overpowering and killing. Rejection through indifference or opposition is the name of the game. It is probably unwise to view martyrdom as the norm - opposition is the norm, sometimes leading to persecution and this because of the torment of the gospel, v10. Nor should we conclude that there is a point where witnessing ceases before the day of judgment. Witnessing will cease on the day of judgment; up till then repentance is possible.

Again we are reminded that the age of the church, the messianic age, the era between Christ's ascension and glorification, is limited for the sake of the elect - the halving of the perfect number 7, v11. John refers to this limitation in time terms, but in practical terms it involves a limitation on the powers of darkness (the binding of Satan??, 20:1-3). Believers will be set upon in a Godless world, the gospel resisted and scorned, but only for a time (the resistance is limited), and then, in the Great Day of the Lord, we will be caught up in the clouds with Christ, v12, with the Godless left to face judgment, v13.

So, in addressing a church compromised by its assimilation in both belief and practice to the surrounding secular culture (the heresy of syncretism), John, through his vision, reveals the kind of behavior that is worthy of God's promised reward. The victorious, those who persevere in faith, do not adopt the shibboleths of Babel, but proclaim the gospel to Babel, and do so in the knowledge that although witnessing brings with it persecution, even unto death, it is but for a moment, and thereafter eternal glory.


The time and two times and half a time - half the perfect number of seven: In v2 John mentions the time signature "months forty and two." John will mention this unit of time a number of times, here as "42 months", or three and a half years. This time signature represents half the perfect number of seven and John seems to use it to emphasize that the attack of the powers of darkness on God's people will be limited - restrained??. John is again drawing on imagery from Daniel, and may also have in mind the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes which covered a period of close to three and a half years, 167-164BC. John will refer to this time signature in terms of "1,260 days", v3, 12:6, "three and a half days", v9, "times and half a time", 12:14, and "2,300 mornings and evenings" (this is actually a shorter period of time, the significance of which is somewhat of a mystery).

It seems likely that this time signature represents a shortening of the times of tribulation for the sake of the elect, cf., Matt.24:22. The period of time probably refers to the age between the cross and Christ's return (ie., the messianic age / the age of the Christian church); "three and a half years signify the time from Christ's ascension and Satan's expulsion from heaven to Christ's return to defeat evil at the end of the age", Koester. Although unlikely, the three and a half years may refer to the period of heightened tribulation before the day of judgment (the "short time" when Satan is set free from the Abyss, 20:3). Either way, the troubles of this age (a moment of divine grace when witnessing is still possible) has its limits, limits determined by a divine consideration for the plight of the church / believers / the Christian community in a godless world. So, John draws on Daniel's "a time and two times and half a time", the duration of the oppression of God's people (Dan.7:25, 9:24-27, 12:7), to define the limits of the age before the end.

This interpretation stands in stark contrast to the interpretation offered by dispensationalists - the cutting short of the time of tribulation / reign of antichrist to three and a half years. Although futuristic Millennialism is rejected by most recognized commentators, it has had a wide popular following from the late 1800's. In the USA William Miller (d. 1849) was a key proponent, and although his date for the return of Christ didn't eventuate (1843/4) his views led to variant proposals taken up by the Seventh-Day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses, and later widely popularized by Dwight Moody during his evangelistic crusades (d. 1899), later Scofield (d. 1921), and in the 1970/80s by Hal Lindsey in his popular work The Late Great Planet Earth. See Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More - Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, HUP, 1994.


The continuity problem, with respect to timing, in the Revelation: See 10:1-11.

Text - 11:1

The Interlude Part II: The two witnesses, v1-14. i] John measures the temple sanctuary, v1-2. John's imagery becomes increasingly difficult to interpret in this passage. In his vision he sets out to measure the temple sanctuary. Most commentators take the temple and its sanctuary as a symbol for the Christian community, with the measuring serving to mark the limits of God's divine protection in the coming day of judgment. It seems best we understand this temple as a heavenly reality which is represented on earth by the Christian community, probably each individual Christian community / church rather than a "church universal." So, as each Christian fellowship gathers Sunday by Sunday, they are an earthly representation of a heavenly reality - even now we are gathered with Christ in the throne room of the Ancient of Days. Beyond the measured area is what John calls the "outer court", the place of the Gentiles / Nations. It is they who will set upon God's people, trampling them under foot. As the day of judgment draws near, the Christian community will face increasing opposition from the powers of darkness, but the Lamb will not abandon his people, rather, he will limit the trampling to "42 months", three and a half years - half the perfect number. Although often interpreted in time terms, the limiting of time probably reflects the limiting of trouble. In the great tribulation we may end up singed, but we will be safe.

moi dat. pro. "I [was given]" - [a reed, cane was given] to me. Dative of indirect object.

oJmoiV adj. "like" - Comparative.

pabdw/ (oV) dat. "a measuring rod" - a stick, staff. Dative complement of "like".

legwn (legw) pres. part. "and was told" - saying. Again John introduces speech with the participle "saying", although here it is somewhat awkward; "a cane ..... was given to me saying ....." - nominative complement, or attributive adjective, "which said." It is unlikely that John intends the reed to speak. The NIV, as with many translations, opts for a passive treatment of what is an active participle; "I was told." John may have in mind something like "A reed .... was given to me and I heard a voice from heaven (the Lamb / God??) saying 'go ....'", ie., an object complement, although the participle is in the nominative case. Aune suggests John probably intended "he gave me a reed saying", ie., an object complement, although the verb would have to be active, edwken, and "reed" would have to be accusative, kalamon. So technically we have here is a solecism, a grammatical mistake, although is far as John is concerned, the use of the participle is primarily stylistic; see legwn 1:17.

metrhson (metrew) aor. imp. "[go and] measure" - [rise and] measure. Note that the verb "go" takes a present tense, while "measure" is aorist. The choice of tense reflects aspect, "going" bering imperfective / a durative action, while "measuring" is a perfective action / complete, punctiliar. "Measuring will define the place where true worship takes place and show that it is protected", Koester.

ton naon (oV) "the temple" - Accusative direct object of the verb "to measure." The allusion to Israel's temple probably serves as an image of the Christian community, so Mounce, Koester, ... It is unlikely that John is referring to the heavenly temple where believers will be eternally secure, but see Collins.

touV proskunountaV (proskunew) pres. part. "with its worshipers" - [the temple of god and the altar and] the ones worshipping. The participle serves as a substantive.

en + dat. "-" - in [it]. The preposition is local, expressing space. The antecedent of autw/, "it", would normally be taken to be the nearest suspect, namely "altar", so "measure the temple of God and the altar and those worshipping at it", but logically "temple" seems more likely, so "those worshipping in it." The ESV solves the problem nicely with "measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there."


kai "but" - and. Best taken as an adversative here.

thn "[exclude the outer court]" - [the courtyard] the [outside of the temple, cast outside]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the adverbial phrase "outside of the temple", into a substantive standing in apposition to "courtyard"; "but the courtyard, the one outside the temple, leave that out of the measurements, don't measure it."

tou naou (oV) "-" - of the temple. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. The imagery is of a temple representing the Christian community surrounded by a hostile world of unbelievers, so Reddish. The temple in Jerusalem was far more complex that John's heavenly image, having courts for women and Gentiles and then finally the pagan world beyond. We have already noted that John simplifies his temple imagery, eg., one altar in his temple when in the Jerusalem temple there were two. Although it is likely that the "outer court" represents the unbelieving world, other interpretations have been offered: Caird, Mounce, Osborne, .... argue that the outer court images the church in its vulnerable state, influenced and imposed upon by an unbelieving world. Kiddle in his Moffatt commentary argues that the out court is the syncretized / heretical section of the church and as such accommodates those members who have not conquered / persevered.

mh ... metrhsh/V (metrew) aor. subj. "do not measure [it]" - A subjunctive of prohibition.

oJti "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why John should not include the outer court in his measurements; "because".

toiV eqnesin (oV) dat. "[it has been given] to the nations" - [it was given] to the nations, people, gentiles. Dative of indirect object.

thn polin thn aJgian (oV) "[they will trample on] the holy city" - [and they will trample, walk about on] the city the holy. Accusative direct object of the verb "to trample on." The holy city in mind is obviously Zion / Jerusalem, serving to represent the church, the fellowship of believers, although Giblin in Revelation 11:1-13, NTS.30, argues that the holy city is Babel, the secular world, presenting as a holy city, but corrupt through and through, and about to face judgment. The trampling of the holy city alludes to Daniel 8:10, 13, Zechariah 12:3, where the sanctuary / Jerusalem is trampled on by the nations for three and a half years, a prophecy taken up by Jesus, Lk.21:24. On one level, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD fulfills this prophecy, so serving as a paradigm for the coming day of judgment when Satan and his minions attempt their final assault upon God's people - the great tribulation, Armageddon.

mhnaV tesserakonta duo "for 42 months" - months forty and two. Accusative of time, duration. See "Interpretation" above.


ii] The appointment of prophetic witnesses, v7-10. Although John's apocalyptic imagery is somewhat complex, he does seem to be making a simple point. In this moment of grace before the coming of the terrible day of judgment, the Christian community ("two witnesses" - we go out two-by-two) is to witness to the gospel ("prophesy"), and to do so as a people with divine support, authority (v4), and protection (v5). The gospel we proclaim is as powerful as the words uttered by Elijah and Moses, it is "the power of God unto salvation."

toiV ... martusin (uV uroV) dat. "[I will appoint my two] witnesses" - [and i will give authority] to the [two] witnesses [of me]. Dative of direct object where the verb "to give" takes the sense of "bestow authority on, assign authority to", as NIV, "appoint." The NIV takes the genitive pronoun mou as possessive, so "my two witnesses", although possibly idiomatic, "two witnesses who will testify about me." A classification of verbal, objective, is possible, so Mathewson; "witness about me." Presumably the voice from heaven is still speaking, namely, the Lamb / God. Most commentators argue that John uses the image of the two witnesses to represent Christ's disciples throughout time, those who serve as witnesses to the gospel, ie., "witnesses representing the Christian community", Koester. Witherington argues that the two witnesses represent the congregations of Smyrna and Philadelphia, but surely the whole church is in mind. There has been a long history of identifying these two witnesses with particular people, eg., Enoch and Elijah (popular throughout the middle ages), Moses and Elijah, James and John, Peter and Paul. Osborne opts for historical figures, not of the past but of the future, who will appear in the days of tribulation prior to the end; "two major eschatological figures expected in the last days." Osborne may be right, but it is dangerous when we try to specify apocalyptic images; more often than not they are symbolic. Osborne notes that the Antichrist is often taken to be a person, so why not the witnesses? Of course, specifying the Antichrist as a person is just as unwise since it is more likely that he represents personified evil. The Beast from the Bog can be an individual, a society, a philosophy, Fake News, ..... and all at once. "I will give my two witnesses the task of proclaiming my message", Barclay.

kai "and" - A consecutive sense is possible here; "and so they will prophecy ....", so Aune.

hJmeraV ciliaV diakosiaV exhkonta "1,260 days" - [they will prophecy one thousand two hundred sixty days]. Accusative of time, duration. See above for the significance of this period of time.

peribeblhmenoi (periballw) perf. mid./pas. part. "clothed in [sackcloth]" - having been clothed in [sackcloth]. The participle is probably adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their prophesying; "clothed in sackcloth, they will prophesy ..." Throughout the OT prophets would often wear sackcloth (usually made of dark goat hair), and it was also worn as a sight of impending disaster, cf., Jer.3:24. Possibly also an allusion to the clothing worn by Christ's disciples on mission.


Most commentators / translators take the dominant present tense of v4-10 to indicate a change in agent from the voice from heaven, the Lamb / God, to the prophet John. The voice from heaven prophesied "I will appoint ... and they will prophesy", future tense, , v3, but now in v4-10 the present tense is dominant, eisin, "they are", indicating that John is explaining the nature and actions of the two witnesses. Yet, other than a change in tense, there is no indication that a change in agent has taken place which may indicate that John's choice of tense serves to emphasize aspect rather than time: "I will appoint", punctiliar action, whereas the state of being two olive trees is durative and so therefore a present tense. If this is the case then the voice from heaven is still speaking and eisin is best treated as a future present. Note also how the phrase ouJtoi eisin, "these are", serves as a formula explanation, cf., 7:14. So, it seems likely that the voice from heaven is still speaking and is now explaining the nature and actions of the two witnesses he is about to appoint. See Mathewson on how aspect applies to this passage.

ouJtoi "they" - these ones. This demonstrative pronoun is used as a substantive, subject of the verb to-be. Note the discord: the pronoun is masculine, whereas "olive trees" and "lampstands" are feminine. It is common in apocalyptic literature to view a symbolic image as masculine.

eisin (eimi) pres. "are ['the two olive trees' and the two lampstands]" - John seems to be alluding to Zechariah 4:2-3, "the sons of oil" who supply the fuel for the lampstand (a single stand with seven lamps) that "stands before the Lord of the earth", Zech.4:14. These two symbols apply to Joshua and Zerubbabel, priest and king / leader, in the post-exilic community in Jerusalem. So, the voice from heaven is saying that in the eyes of God the witnesses will be to him as priests and kings.

aiJ ..... eJstwteV (iJsthmi) perf. part. "they stand" - the one .... having taken stand, put. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "the two olive trees and the two lampstands"; "which / who stand before ......" Note that the participle is masculine, but that the adjectivizer aiJ, along with "olive trees" and "lampstands", is feminine. John is very flexible in the way he uses participle and here its person reflects those whom the images represent, ie., a constructio ad sensum, so Plummer DDG.

enwpion + gen. "before" - Spacial preposition; "before, in front of."

thV ghV (h) gen. "of the earth" - [the lord] of the earth. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "over the earth."


ei + ind. "if" - [and] if [anyone]. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true (here for argument sake, so Smalley, but true / real is more likely); "if, as is the case, anyone wants to harm them, then fire pours from their mouth." "If anyone tries to hurt them, a blast of fire from their mouths will incinerate them - burn them to a crisp just like that", Peterson.

adikhsai (adikew) aor. inf. "[tries] to harm" - [wills] to harm, injure [them]. The infinitive is usually classified as complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to will", but given that the verb qelw, "I will", is cognitive, the infinitive may be taken as introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what is willed, namely, "that they harm them."

ek + gen. "[fire comes] from [their mouths]" - [fire comes from] from [the mouth of them and destroys the enemies of them]. Expressing source / origin. Note the distributive singular stomatoV, "mouth", translated in English as a plural, "mouths". Note also the stylistic repetition of the prefix ek of the verb ekporeuetai, "comes from." For this image John is probably alluding to the Word of God proclaimed by the prophets, cf., Jer.5:14. The witnesses are set apart to proclaim the gospel, a message that is a "two-edged sword." A person can hear the message and find blessing, or a person can react negatively to it, even ignore it, and find cursing. When it comes to the Word of God, we get back what we give.

kai "-" - and. Coordinate seems best, as NIV, but causal is possible, "because ....."

ei + subj. "this is how [anyone who wants to harm them]" - if [anyone wills to harm, injure them]. Conditional clause as above. Note the irregular use of a subjunctive verb rather than an indicative - there is evidence for the occasional use of ei + subj.. The variant indicative qelei is an attempt to correct the problem. The presence of the indefinite pronoun tiV, "a certain one = anyone", may have subconsciously prompted John to use a subjunctive this time. Maybe he intended an, or ean, for a 3rd. class conditional clause, although the condition here seems more real than the first. This has prompted some commentators to argue that John has used the subjunctive to indicate that the first conditional clause is for argument sake, and only this one is intended to be real, see Smalley. This argument is evident in the translation offered by NIV11.

apoktanqhnai (apokteinw) aor. pas. inf. "[must] die" - [in this way it is necessary him] to be killed. The infinitive serves as the subject of the impersonal verb dei, "it is necessary." The accusative subject of the infinitive is auton, "him". Divine necessity is probably implied.


ouJtoi "they" - these ones. This demonstrative pronoun is used as a substantive, subject of the verb "to have."

kleisai (kleiw) aor. inf. "[have the power] to shut up [the heavens]" - [have the power, authority] to shut up [the heaven]. The infinitive here is epexegetic, specifying he power / authority that the witnesses possess. Obviously an allusion to Elijah, cf., 1Kgs.17:1, 18:1. Their witnessing will evidence the power of Elijah. "They have the authority to shut up the sky so that there will be no more rain during the time they proclaim God's message", TEV.

iJna mh "so that [it will not rain]" - that no [rain may fall]. Introducing a final clause expressing negated purpose, "in order that no rain may fall", or a consecutive clause expressing result, "with the result that ....."

taV hJmeraV (a) acc. "during the time" - the days. Accusative of time, duration, as NIV; "during the days ....."

thV profhteiaV (a) gen. "[they are] prophesying" - of the prophesy [of them]. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / temporal; "during the days when they are prophesying."

epi + gen. "-" - [and they have authority, power] over [the waters]. John uses his favorite preposition to express subordination. The allusion is to Moses and the plagues he wrought on Egypt, not just water into blood, but "every kind of plague as often as they want", cf., Exodus 4-7. Such plagues express divine anger / wrath upon a people who resist God's will, but can serve to prompt repentance. The gospel proclaimed by the Christian community today is just such a message. Although we like to call it "good news", it is only good when people repent, for it is a message of blessing and cursing.

strefein (strefw) pres. inf. "to turn [the waters into blood]" - to turn [them into blood]. The infinitive is epexegetic, specifying the authority / power.

pataxai (patassw) aor. inf. "to strike [the earth]" - The infinitive is epexegetic, as above.

en + dat. "with [every kind of plague]" - with [every plague, blow, wound]. Instrumental use of the preposition expressing means; "by means of ..."

oJsakiV ean + subj. "as often as [they want]" - Introducing an indefinite temporal clause; "whenever they like", REB.


iii] The powers of darkness oppose the witnesses, v7-10: John's exposition of inaugurated eschatology continues as he exposes the trying times faced by the the Christian community ("the two witnesses") seeking to fulfill Christ's command to communicate the gospel in the days before the end. Witnessing to the secular city / world / age (Babylon / Babal / Sodom / Egypt) will bring with it humiliation; few will repent, most will ignore the gospel and some will respond violently. The gospel may be "the power of God unto salvation", but it also stirs up strong feelings of anger in those who resent the exposure of their rebellion against God.

kai "now"- and. Used instead of de to indicate a step in the narrative, although Smalley argues that it is adversative here, "but".

oJtan subj. "when [they have finished]" - when [they complete the testimony of them]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause, "whenever", although translated as definite. The temporal sense is unclear. "Ended / finished" probably means "fulfilled", but when is the mission of the Christian community ("the two witnesses") fulfilled? This may be totally symbolic of a mission which is faithful even unto death, a mission which continually completes its task and is persecuted as a result. On the other hand, the day of judgment may be in mind such that the mission continues until the seals are broken, the trumpets sounded, .... and the Beast released. Paul's "man of lawlessness" is most likely the Beast / Antichrist, yet to be revealed and destroyed, but who "is already at work, cf. 2Thes.2.

to anabainon (anabainw) pres. part. "[the beast] that comes up [from the Abyss]" - The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "the beast." The preposition ek is used to express source / origin, "from". John is alluding to Daniel's Beast from the Bog, cf., Dan.7. The Beast is often identified with the Antichrist, often as a charismatic individual who leads the world into ruin. He is the personification of evil, the instrument of the Red Dragon, Satan, "already at work" but "doomed to destruction" in the day of judgment. John's use of the definite article to with qhrion, "beast", indicates a specific entity known to the readers. Certainly Daniel's beast is a likely contender, but for John the beast is probably Rome, although some commentators have suggested Israel (unlikely if the Revelation is written post 70AD). I was leading a Bible Study on the Revelation and one member suggested that todays "beast" is America. His comment prompted a rather heated political debate. No one political entity represents the beast / secular city.

met (meta) + gen. "[will attack]" - [will make war] with [them]. Expressing association / accompaniment, with the sense of "engage in battle with", Mathewson; "the beast from the bog will make war on them." Smalley sees this as the "last epic struggle", but this implies a temporal sense for teleswsin, "finished" - "fulfilled."

kai "and" - Possibly here with a final sense, "in order to conquer them and kill them"; "that he might overcome them."


thV polewV (iV ewV) gen. "[their body will lie in the public square] of the [great] city" - [and the bodies of them will lie upon the broad way] of the [great] city. The genitive is adjectival, probably best treated as idiomatic / local; "the street located in the great city." The noun plateiaV, "broad", can refer to a public square, or plaza, and this seems likely here, so Smalley, Aune, ... The noun "body" is distributive, "bodies". The "great city" is for John the secular city, the power structures of this age which war against the Christian community. The dumping of the bodies of the martyred witnesses in the public square symbolically describes the indignity faced by the Christian community as it witnesses / testifies to the gospel; "The deprival of burial was totally undignified in the biblical world", Smalley. There may also be a victory motif in the imagery where a defeated enemy is put on public display, so Koester. Of course, the victory is limited; the streets of the New Jerusalem are paved with gold, not dead bodies.

pneumatikwV adv. "figuratively [called Sodom and Egypt]" - [which is called] spiritually [sodom and egypt]. The adverb of manner, "spiritually", takes the sense here "as seen through spiritual eyes", Beale, although Aune suggests "prophetically". John often identifies the secular city / world as Babylon / Babel, in an underhand reference to Rome. Sodom, the evil city, and Egypt, the oppressor, well represent the secular city of John's age, just as much as they do of our age. John goes on to state that it is where Christ was crucified. This is a rather strange comment, but Jerusalem is part of the Babylonian / Roman empire. Christ stands as the perfect example of a witness set upon by the dark powers at work in the secular city.

o{pou "where" - Here the conjunction takes a local sense.

kai "also" - and [the lord of them was crucified]. The NIV takes the conjunction here as adjunctive; "also"


hJmeraV treiV kai hJmisu acc. "for three and a half days" - days three and one half. Accusative of time / duration, as NIV. See "Interpretation" above.

ek + gen. "[some] from [every people" - [and some] of [the peoples and tribes and tongues and nation see the body of them for three days and one half]. The preposition here serves as a partitive genitive with "some" assumed. With the assumed nominalizer tineV, "some / certain", the prepositional phrase serves as the subject of the verb "to see." Note that the verb blepousin, "to see", as with "to permit", is present tense, when the previous verbs were future. Probably an issue of aspect; usually translated as future. Note again the distributive sense of the singular "body", translated "bodies".

teqhnai (tiqhmi) aor. pas. inf. "[refuse them burial]" - [they do not permit the corpses of them] to be placed, put [into a tomb]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to allow, permit." As noted above, to refuse a person burial is the height of indignity.


oiJ katoikounteV (katoikew) pres. part. "the inhabitants [of the earth]" - [and] the ones dwelling [upon the earth]. The participle serves as a substantive. This descriptor is used a number of times in the the Revelation, and also the LXX, to identify unbelievers standing under divine judgment because they persecute God's people, so probably not "the whole population of the earth were glad to see them dead", Barclay.

ep (epi) + dat. "[gloat] over [them]" - [rejoice] over [them]. John's favorite preposition, usually spacial with the genitive, "on, upon", here takes a dative to express cause / basis; "because of / on the basis of." The godless gloat because the witnesses are humiliated.

allhloiV dat. "[will celebrate by sending] each other [gifts]" - [and are being glad and they will send gifts] to one another. Dative of indirect object. On the issue of aspect, as noted above, John uses a present tense for the act of being glad, a durative action, and then returns to the future tense for the giving of gifts, a future punctiliar action. So obviously, with respect to time, the action of celebrating, of being glad, is similarly future. The NIV's instrumental "by sending" works nicely, but is not born out by the text; "they make merry and (kai) exchange presents", TEV.

oJti "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why the godless gloat, celebrate and exchange presents.

ebasanisan (basanizw) aor. "tormented [them]" - [these two prophets] tormented, tortured [the ones dwelling on the earth]. The aorist here is interesting. Mathewson suggests that it is used "to summarize the activity of the two witnesses from verses 3-6". It is interesting how the gospel can prompt an overreaction, probably by stirring up unresolved guilt - "methinks thou protest too much!", or more properly, as Bill put it, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." "For these two prophets pricked the conscience of all the people on earth, made it impossible for them to enjoy their sins", Peterson.


iv] The witnesses are glorified, v11-12: John's vision describes the ultimate vindication of Christ's witnessing community. The persecution faced by the Christian community is not only limited, it is also reversed when the community is vindicated on the last day, the day of resurrection. The image of the godless "terror struck" and abandoned on the day of resurrection is particularly relevant to believers who have drifted in their allegiance to Christ to find solace in the secular city / Babylon. It is only those who conquer, who persevere, who will be glorified, who will rise to join Christ in the clouds at his "coming / appearing" in the heavenlies before the Ancient of Days, when he is crowned Lord of all.

kia "but" - Probably serving instead of de to indicate a step in the narrative.

meta + acc. "after [three and a half days]" - Temporal use of the preposition. There is a possible allusion to the resurrection of Jesus, cf., Mk.8:31. See above for "three and a half days."

zwhV (h) gen. "[the breath] of life" - [the spirit, breath] of life. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, idiomatic, "the divine breath which gives life" / "the spirit which gives life." There is a strong allusion to Ezekiel 37, although in the terms of the resurrection of Israel / the new Israel, rather than individual resurrection. If weight is given to Zechariah 4:6 then John intends the "divine spirit from God", the spirit of life, rather than God's life-giving breath, but possibly the Holy Spirit is in mind. The ultimate vindication of Christ's witnessing community is certainly in mind, so Beale, but in a more literal sense, the final day of resurrection could also be in mind, so Koester. Either way, ultimate vindication and life eternal is promised to the suffering Christian community.

ek + gen. "from [God]" - Expressing source / origin.

eishlqen (eisercomai) aor. "entered [them]" - entered into [in them and they stood upon the feet of them]. The aorist tense now dominates the rest of the vision. The time signature is obviously future, but the aorist serves as the "main narrative tense", Mathewson. Note again the common practice of repeating the prepositional prefix of a verb, here en for eiV.

touV qewrountaV (qewrew) pres. part. "[terror struck] those who saw [them]" - [and a great fear fell upon] the ones seeing [them]. The participle serves as a substantive. The resurrection of deceased believers is but one element of the parousia (the appearing / coming of Christ for his enthronement), which event fills rebellious humanity with terror.


fwnyV (h) gen. "a [loud] voice" - [and they heard] a [great] voice. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to hear." The voice from heaven, when unidentified, is usually God's voice, or the voice of the Lamb, Christ.

ek + gen. "from [heaven]" - Expressing source / origin; "out of heaven."

legoushV (legw) gen. pres. part. "saying" - Technically serving as the genitive complement of the genitive object "voice." Again John introduces what is said in a vision with a participle; See legwn 1:17.

autoiV dat. pro. "to them" - Dative of indirect object.

en + dat. "in [a cloud]" - [come up here, and they went up into heaven] in [the cloud, and the enemies of them saw them]. Local, expressing space. Presumably the invitation is for the resurrected two witnesses / the Christian community to enter the cloud surrounding the coming Son of Man / Christ, who, with his angels / messengers (believers??) enters the throne room of the Ancient of Days to take up his rightful place of eternal authority, cf., 1Thess.4:16-17. The specifics of the parousia are always unclear in apocalyptic imagery, and made more difficult by the now / not yet reality of the kingdom. The coming Son of Man in Daniel 7 is of a coming to heaven in a cloud, not a coming to earth, such that it is virtually an extension of Christ's ascension without the age of Christian witness, an age which in our experience has extended for 2,000 years. Rightly we can call this age a moment of divine grace, a twinkle in the eye of God; See the continuity problem, with respect to timing, in the Revelation: See 10:1-11. We do often forget that God created time and so is obviously not bound by it, Psa.90:4, 2:Pet.3:8. Interestingly, John does not mention Christ's coming to earth, possibly in line with the fact that his coming is to heaven, but it is unwise to draw specifics from apocalyptic imagery. The point is simple enough, the Christian community will be vindicated in the last day as it shares glory with Christ. John will certainly attempt to draw out what this means in his final chapters. Even so, what it actually means is beyond us. I am always led back to the words of Jacob, a fellow African theological student, who said that "in the end there will be just you and Jesus." My Anglo mind finds this just too simple, but that's why I found the notion of grace so hard to understand, it's just too simple. "And they went up to Heaven in a cloud in full view of their enemies", Phillips.


v] Judgment ensues, v13-14. And so, with the resurrection of the righteous through faith and the enthronement of Christ, the day of judgment is inaugurated, dispelling once-and-for-all the glory of the secular city / Babylon.

en + dat. "At [that hour]" - [and] in [that hour]. Temporal use of the preposition.

thV polewV (iV ewV) gen. "[a tenth] of the city" - [a great earthquake occurred and the tenth] of the city [fell]. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. In judgment terms it is usually a tenth survive, here nine tenths survive, cf., Amos 5:3. Partial judgment indicates that John has brought us again to the unfolding day of judgment. He relates the full fall of the cities of the nations in 16:18. John again uses an earthquake as a portent of judgment.

anqrwpwn (oV) gen. "[seven thousand people were killed]" - [and there were killed in the earthquake seven thousand names] of men. The genitive is adjectival, wholative. Note again the use of a person's name to represent the whole. Other than seven being a whole / complete number, there is probably no significance in 7,000 dying.

en + dat. "in [the earthquake]" - Probably instrumental, expressing means; "by the earthquake."

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "[gave glory] to God" - Dative of indirect object. Commentators divide on whether giving glory is an act of belief / conversion on the part of the "survivors" / godless (for "true repentance" sees Osborne, Koester, Blount, ......, contra Beale p607), or just a realization, driven by fear, that their trust in Babel has proved worthless - "Oops! God is real!" Those arguing for a "true repentance" must contend with the fact that this is the only instance in the Revelation where judgment prompts repentance. The whole point of the interlude is to drive home the fact that divine grace, operative through gospel communication, applies up to the day of judgment. The most kindly conclusion is that "the survivors offered homage", Smalley - whatever that means! For Millennial commentators this "repentance" is aligned with the conversion of the Jews, or a major part of humanity post the rapture, etc., .... For a commentator who supports an end-time mass conversion of unbelievers see Bauckham.

tou ouranou (oV) gen. "of heaven" - The genitive is adjectival, attributive, idiomatic; "the God who dwells in heaven."


aphlqen (apercomai) aor. "[the second woe] has passed" - The content of the second woe is unclear. Does it include chapters 10 and 11? The first woe relates to the events following the sounding of the fifth trumpet, and the second woe to the events following the sounding of the sixth trumpet, but probably only the plague, 9:13-21, and not the interlude, so Beale. John is telling us that we are back at the end of the judgment of the sixth trumpet and about to witness the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

tacu adv. "[the third woe is coming] soon" - Temporal adverb. The third woe is coming "quickly, soon." Theories abound as to what woe John is referring to, but it is most likely the sounding of the seventh trumpet announcing the finality of judgment in the destruction of the earth and the coming of the kingdom of God.


Revelation Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]