The Two Witnesses 11 1I was given a stick for a measuring rod and told, “Get up and measure God’s Temple and Altar and everyone worshiping in it. 2Exclude the outside court; don’t measure it. It’s been handed over to non–Jewish outsiders. They’ll desecrate the Holy City for forty–two months. 3“Meanwhile, I’ll provide my two Witnesses. Dressed in sackcloth, they’ll prophesy for 1,260 days. 4These are the two Olive Trees, the two Lampstands, standing at attention before God on earth. 5If anyone tries to hurt them, a blast of fire from their mouths will incinerate them—burn them to a crisp just like that. 6They’ll have power to seal the sky so that it doesn’t rain for the time of their prophesying, power to turn rivers and springs to blood, power to hit earth with any and every disaster as often as they want. 7“When they’ve completed their witness, the Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them, conquer and kill them, 8leaving their corpses exposed on the street of the Great City spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, the same City where their Master was crucified. 9For three and a half days they’ll be there—exposed, prevented from getting a decent burial, stared at by the curious from all over the world. 10Those people will cheer at the spectacle, shouting ‘Good riddance!’ and calling for a celebration, for these two prophets pricked the conscience of all the people on earth, made it impossible for them to enjoy their sins. 11“Then, after three and a half days, the Living Spirit of God will enter them—they’re on their feet!—and all those gloating spectators will be scared to death.” 12I heard a strong voice out of Heaven calling, “Come up here!” and up they went to Heaven, wrapped in a cloud, their enemies watching it all. 13At that moment there was a gigantic earthquake—a tenth of the city fell to ruin, seven thousand perished in the earthquake, the rest frightened to the core of their being, frightened into giving honor to the God–of–Heaven. 14The second doom is past, the third doom coming right on its heels. The Last Trumpet Sounds 15The seventh Angel trumpeted. A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out, The kingdom of the world is now the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah! He will rule forever and ever! 16The Twenty–four Elders seated before God on their thrones fell to their knees, worshiped, 17and sang, We thank you, O God, Sovereign–Strong, Who Is and Who Was. You took your great power and took over—reigned! 18The angry nations now get a taste of your anger. The time has come to judge the dead, to reward your servants, all prophets and saints, Reward small and great who fear your Name, and destroy the destroyers of earth. 19The doors of God’s Temple in Heaven flew open, and the Ark of his Covenant was clearly seen surrounded by flashes of lightning, loud shouts, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a fierce hailstorm.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About