Chapter 11 starts with the measuring of the temple. Measuring the temple might suggest the idea of protection similar to the sealing of the 144,000 earlier. The outer court however is left out is given to the Gentiles who will tread the holy city underfoot for 42 months.
Next we are introduced to two witnesses who prophecy on behalf of God for 1260 days (another way of saying 42 months). So while the Gentiles are treading the holy city, the witnesses are prophesying.
When their prophecy is complete a beast from the bottomless pit kills the witnesses causing rejoicing on earth, but after three and a half days the witness come back to life, are raised to heaven, and the city is hit with an earthquake that kills 7000 people. This causes repentance among the people who were not killed.
The last paragraph describes what sounds like an ultimate victory and firm establishment of God’s kingdom. Remember, this completes the 7th trumpet and 3rd woe (14,15).
Summary of 11
- Temple measured (presumably for protection)
- Gentiles oppress the rest of the city.
- Two witnesses prophecy, are killed, and are raised.
- A time of great tribulation causes many to repent.
- Victory celebrated in heaven.
How did the unbelievers react to the death of the two witnesses?
How is the outcome of this judgment different from the outcome of the war led by the 200 million horseman army? (Compare 9:20-21 with 11:13)
Note: The 1260 days / 42 months / 3 1/2 years number will occur again several times in this book. It is good to associate it with the things that happened: It was the time when the Gentiles were treading the holy city and the witnesses were prophesying and God’s people were protected.