Rev 11:1–14

11:1–14 This second part of the interlude concentrates on the story of the two witnesses. Like Moses and Elijah, these witnesses perform striking miracles (vv. 5, 6). Other Old Testament backgrounds are woven into the vision. The mention of two olive trees and lampstands (v. 4) likens the witnesses to the vision of Zech. 4, in which the trees probably symbolize the ruling and priestly offices of Zerubbabel and Joshua. Thus the witnesses are prominent representatives of God. The witnesses’ stand against “the beast” (vv. 7–10) reminds us of the conflicts against bestial kingdoms in Daniel. There is a reminder of wicked, oppressive cities and powers in v. 8: Sodom, Egypt, and the Jerusalem that crucified Jesus. The resurrection in vv. 11, 12 recalls the resurrection of Christ, but also the language of Ezek. 37 and the rapture of Elijah. The two witnesses, along with John (ch. 10), are models for the saints. All are to be faithful to the testimony of Jesus, even in the face of violent persecution from the beast. They must be willing to face martyrdom, God guaranteeing their vindication (vv. 11, 12).