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And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

11:4 two olive trees. The “two olive trees” are in reference to Zechariah’s vision of the trees providing oil for the lampstand (Zechariah 4). The angel told Zechariah that “these are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:14). That necessarily means that His two witnesses were both standing by Him in heaven during all the times between their translation and their return to earth. Both Enoch and Elijah had been accustomed to walking closely with the Lord and standing by Him during their earthly lives (note Genesis 5:24; I Kings 17:1), and they have continued close by Him in heaven ever since. It is even intriguingly possible that they were at His tomb, where it was noted that “two men stood by them in shining garments” (Luke 24:4). Also, as the disciples watched Jesus ascend into heaven, “two men stood by them in white apparel” (Acts 1:10): These two faithful witnesses have stood by their Lord for thousands of years, and He will be standing by them as they witness for Him once again in this age to come.

11:6 all plagues. The plagues being sent on the earth from heaven, as the Lamb opens the seals and the archangels blow their trumpets, are associated on the earth with the invocations of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3). As they proclaim that these are God’s judgments, many will “learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9) and believe on Christ for salvation, even though it may mean almost certain martyrdom for them. Those who refuse to believe will soon come to blame the two witnesses for all their problems, probably as encouraged by television commentators and other news media, and many will seek to kill them, but will be totally unsuccessful (Revelation 11:5), until the end of the days of their prophetic witness.

11:8 Sodom and Egypt. The two witnesses will have returned to Jerusalem as they finish their assigned ministry, where they, like their Lord, will be slain by His enemies. It is sad to note that, even with their enemies defeated and their temple worship restored, so many Israelis will have so quickly departed again from God that their “holy city” has become like Sodom and Egypt.

11:12 Come up hither. Here was the same voice and message which John, representing all believers of the church age, had heard as he ascended up to heaven (Revelation 4:1). This supports the previous understanding that the first call, like this one, is a call of resurrection and rapture, as per I Thessalonians 4:16-17.

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