Revelation 11

The Two Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet

Measuring Rod

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff (Revelation 11:1).

The word “measuring rod” (Gk. kalamos) refers generally to a reed, stalk, staff, or cane; only the context here indicates that it was used for measuring (cf. the golden measuring rod of Rev 21:15). The use of the same word (Gk. kalamos) and a similar context (measuring a temple) invites a comparison to the rod used by Ezekiel, which is described as being six cubits (about 9 ft; 3 m) in length (Ezek 40:5). The tall reeds shown in this photo were photographed at a possible location of the Old Testament site of Gibbethon on Israel’s coastal plain, not far from Tel Aviv.​

Measuring the Temple

And he said, “Rise and measure the temple of God” (Revelation 11:1).

If John wrote the book of Revelation around AD 95, then Herod’s temple was destroyed about twenty-five years earlier. All the same, this model of the temple at Jerusalem that was built by King Herod can be used to illustrate the temple that John describes, whether it is viewed as the temple of God in heaven (so Rev 11:19) or a temple on earth. This model was photographed at the Israel Museum.

Two Witnesses

I will grant authority to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3).

Some scholars believe that Moses and Elijah, who appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, are the two witnesses described in Revelation 11. The area shown here, the foothills of Mount Hermon near Nimrod’s Fortress, is near the likely general location of the Transfiguration.

Absolute Rule

You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign (Revelation 11:17).

John attributes the absolute rule over all things to Jesus Christ. This concept is illustrated here from a Roman perspective by a fresco of Zeus. Everything in this fresco, from the throne he sits on to his scepter and staff, the eagle and globe at his feet, and the crown placed on his head by Victory is intended to suggest his power as the master of the universe. Christians of the 1st century would have recognized these symbols but would have attributed them to Christ rather than to a pagan god. This fresco comes from the House of Meleager in Pompeii. It was photographed at the Naples Archaeological Museum.

Judging the Dead

And the time came for the dead to be judged (Revelation 11:18).

This papyrus document includes a judgment scene from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It shows 40 judges prepared for the weighing of the heart of the deceased. This papyrus is from Thebes and dates to the 30th dynasty. It was photographed at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden.

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