Revelation 11: Two Special Witnesses

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 170

Revelation 11 tells of the seventh angel sounding his trumpet. But before that occurred, John saw another significant event that lasted more than three years. Look for it as you read. Also find what happened when the seventh trump sounded and how it is different from what happened when the other six trumps sounded.

Understanding the Scriptures

Revelation 11

Reed (v. 1)A long straight stick 
Rod (v. 1)Royal scepter, walking stick 
Without (v. 2)Outside 
Sackcloth (v. 3)Simple clothing made of black goat hair, usually worn by someone who is humbled 
Testimony (v. 7)Ministry; after they have said everything they needed to teach and testify of 
Make merry (v. 10)Be happy, celebrate 
Tormented (v. 10)Reminded them of their guilt for their sins 
Remnant (v. 13)The rest who were not destroyed 
Woe (v. 14)Something sad, grief 

Revelation 11:2–3—“Forty and Two Months” and 1,260 Days

Revelation 11:2 says that the Gentiles will “tread under foot” Jerusalem for forty-two months, which is three and one-half years. This has reference to a time of apostasy when the Lord’s work is symbolically trampled on. Verse 3 indicates that “two witnesses” will serve a special mission to the sacred city for 1,260 days—which is also three and one-half years. Symbolically, John saw that the ministry of the Lord’s servants balances out the time of apostasy, thus giving people an equal opportunity to choose between the Lord and those who oppose Him. Unfortunately, as this chapter records, many will not listen to those prophets.

Revelation 11:3–12—“Two Witnesses”

Doctrine and Covenants 77:15 reveals more about the two witnesses. These two prophets have power like unto Elijah (see 1 Kings 17:1) and Nephi (see Helaman 10:6–11). Their enemies have power over them only after their mission is accomplished (see Revelation 11:7). In Revelation 11:4 they are called “olive trees” and “candlesticks.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie suggested that these symbolize their mission to “provide oil for the lamps of those who go forth to meet the Bridegroom … [see Matthew 25:1–13; D&C 45:56–57]; and that as lamp stands they shall reflect to men that light which comes from Him who is the Light of the World” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:510).

Revelation 11:8—“The Great City, Which Spiritually Is Called Sodom and Egypt”

John called Jerusalem “Sodom” in Revelation 11:8 to symbolically represent the wickedness in the city at the time Jesus was crucified and any other time when the inhabitants reject Jesus and His authorized servants. John called Jerusalem “Egypt” to symbolize the spiritual bondage that results from such wickedness—like the bondage the children of Israel experienced in the days of Moses.

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Revelation 11.

Activity A iconWitnesses of the Lord

Prophets testify of Christ not only by what they say, but also by what they do. Carefully read Revelation 11:3–12 and list the similarities between what happened to the two witnesses and what happened to Christ and what He has done or will do.

Activity B iconWhat Would You Say?

  1. 1.

    According to Revelation 11:10, how did the people John saw in vision feel about what the two prophets did during their mission?

  2. 2.

    Describe how people might view modern prophets in the same way.

  3. 3.

    If you could talk to one of the people John saw in vision or someone today who views prophets in the same way, what would you say to help that person understand how prophets help, rather than “torment” us?

Activity C iconThe Seventh Angel Sounds

Revelation 8–9 tells that John saw seven angels, each of which had a trumpet to sound, and what happened when the first six angels sounded them. Revelation 11:15–19 tells what happened when the seventh angel sounded his trump.

  1. 1.

    What does the seventh trump announce?

  2. 2.

    How is what happened after the seventh trump sounded different from what happened after the first six sounded?

  3. 3.

    Why do you think the Saints seemed so overcome with gratitude and praise for God?