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Revelation 11:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And I will give unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “And I will grant [authority] to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And I will give [power] to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And I will give [power] to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And I will give unto my two witnesses, that they shall prophesy, a thousand two hundred and sixty days, arrayed in sackcloth.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— and I will give to My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy days, a thousand, two hundred, sixty, arrayed with sackcloth;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And I will give unto my two witnesses: and they shall prophesy, a thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And I will giue [power] vnto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesie a thousand two hundred and threescore dayes clothed in sackcloth.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— And I will give my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy, Days a Thousand and Two Hundred and Sixty, clothed in sackcloth.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— And I will give my two witnesses; and they will prophesy a thousand and two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
I will give 1325
{1325} Prime
A prolonged form of a primary verb (which is used as an alternate in most of the tenses); to give (used in a very wide application, properly or by implication, literally or figuratively; greatly modified by the connection).
<5692> Grammar
Tense - Future (See G5776)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 814
[power] unto my 3450
{3450} Prime
The simpler from of G1700; of me.
two 1417
{1417} Prime
A primary numeral; 'two'.
witnesses, 3144
{3144} Prime
Of uncertain affinity; a witness (literally [judicially] or figuratively [generally]); by analogy a 'martyr'.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
they shall prophesy 4395
{4395} Prime
From G4396; to foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration, exercise the prophetic office.
<5692> Grammar
Tense - Future (See G5776)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 814
a thousand y5507
[5507] Standard
Plural of uncertain affinity; a thousand.
two hundred y1250
[1250] Standard
From G1364 and G1540; two hundred.
[and] threescore 1835
{1835} Prime
The tenth multiple of G1803; sixty.
(5507) Complement
Plural of uncertain affinity; a thousand.
(1250) Complement
From G1364 and G1540; two hundred.
days, 2250
{2250} Prime
Feminine (with G5610 implied) of a derivative of ἧμαι [[hemai]] (to sit; akin to the base of G1476) meaning tame, that is, gentle; day, that is, (literally) the time space between dawn and dark, or the whole 24 hours (but several days were usually reckoned by the Jews as inclusive of the parts of both extremes); figuratively a period (always defined more or less clearly by the context).
clothed x4016
(4016) Complement
From G4012 and G0906; to throw all around, that is, invest (with a palisade or with clothing).
in y4016
[4016] Standard
From G4012 and G0906; to throw all around, that is, invest (with a palisade or with clothing).
<5772> Grammar
Tense - Perfect (See G5778)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 463
sackcloth. 4526
{4526} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H8242]; 'sack' cloth, that is, mohair (the material or garments made of it, worn as a sign of grief).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Revelation 11:3

_ _ I will give power — There is no “power” in the Greek, so that “give” must mean “give commission,” or some such word.

_ _ my two witnessesGreek,the two witnesses of me.” The article implies that the two were well known at least to John.

_ _ prophesy — preach under the inspiration of the Spirit, denouncing judgments against the apostate. They are described by symbol as “the two olive trees” and “the two candlesticks,” or lamp-stands, “standing before the God of the earth.” The reference is to Zechariah 4:3, Zechariah 4:12, where two individuals are meant, Joshua and Zerubbabel, who ministered to the Jewish Church, just as the two olive trees emptied the oil out of themselves into the bowl of the candlestick. So in the final apostasy God will raise up two inspired witnesses to minister encouragement to the afflicted, though sealed, remnant. As two candlesticks are mentioned in Revelation 11:4, but only one in Zechariah 4:2, I think the twofold Church, Jewish and Gentile, may be meant by the two candlesticks represented by the two witnesses: just as in Revelation 7:1-8 there are described first the sealed of Israel, then those of all nations. But see on Revelation 11:4. The actions of the two witnesses are just those of Moses when witnessing for God against Pharaoh (the type of Antichrist, the last and greatest foe of Israel), turning the waters into blood, and smiting with plagues; and of Elijah (the witness for God in an almost universal apostasy of Israel, a remnant of seven thousand, however, being left, as the 144,000 sealed, Revelation 7:1-8) causing fire by his word to devour the enemy, and shutting heaven, so that it rained not for three years and six months, the very time (1260 days) during which the two witnesses prophesy. Moreover, the words “witness” and “prophesy” are usually applied to individuals, not to abstractions (compare Psalms 52:8). De Burgh thinks Elijah and Moses will again appear, as Malachi 4:5, Malachi 4:6 seems to imply (compare Matthew 17:11; Acts 3:21). Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ at the Transfiguration, which foreshadowed His coming millennial kingdom. As to Moses, compare Deuteronomy 34:5, Deuteronomy 34:6; Jude 1:9. Elias’ genius and mode of procedure bears the same relation to the “second” coming of Christ, that John the Baptist’s did to the first coming [Bengel]. Many of the early Church thought the two witnesses to be Enoch and Elijah. This would avoid the difficulty of the dying a second time, for these have never yet died; but, perhaps, shall be the witnesses slain. Still, the turning the water to blood, and the plagues (Revelation 11:6), apply best to “Moses (compare Revelation 15:3, the song of Moses”). The transfiguration glory of Moses and Elias was not their permanent resurrection-state, which shall not be till Christ shall come to glorify His saints, for He has precedence before all in rising. An objection to this interpretation is that those blessed departed servants of God would have to submit to death (Revelation 11:7, Revelation 11:8), and this in Moses’ case a second time, which Hebrews 9:27 denies. See on Zechariah 4:11, Zechariah 4:12, on the two witnesses as answering to “the two olive trees.” The two olive trees are channels of the oil feeding the Church, and symbols of peace. The Holy Spirit is the oil in them. Christ’s witnesses, in remarkable times of the Church’s history, have generally appeared in pairs: as Moses and Aaron, the inspired civil and religious authorities; Caleb and Joshua; Ezekiel the priest and Daniel the prophet; Zerubbabel and Joshua.

_ _ in sackcloth — the garment of prophets, especially when calling people to mortification of their sins, and to repentance. Their very exterior aspect accorded with their teachings: so Elijah, and John who came in His spirit and power. The sackcloth of the witnesses is a catch word linking this episode under the sixth trumpet, with the sun black as sackcloth (in righteous retribution on the apostates who rejected God’s witnesses) under the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Revelation 11:3-13

_ _ In this time of treading down, God has reserved to himself his faithful witnesses, who will not fail to attest the truth of his word and worship, and the excellency of his ways. Here observe,

_ _ I. The number of these witnesses: it is but a small number and yet it is sufficient. 1. It is but small. Many will own and acknowledge Christ in times of prosperity who will desert and deny him in times of persecution; one witness, when the cause is upon trial, is worth many at other times. 2. It is a sufficient number; for in the mouth of two witnesses every cause shall be established. Christ sent out his disciples two by two, to preach the gospel. Some think these two witnesses are Enoch and Elias, who are to return to the earth for a time: others, the church of the believing Jews and that of the Gentiles: it should rather seem that they are God's eminent faithful ministers, who shall not only continue to profess the Christian religion, but to preach it, in the worst of times.

_ _ II. The time of their prophesying, or bearing their testimony for Christ. A thousand two hundred and threescore days; that is (as many think), to the period of the reign of antichrist; and, if the beginning of that interval could be ascertained, this number of prophetic days, taking a day for a year, would give us a prospect when the end shall be.

_ _ III. Their habit, and posture: they prophesy in sackcloth, as those that are deeply affected with the low and distressed state of the churches and interest of Christ in the world.

_ _ IV. How they were supported and supplied during the discharge of their great and hard work: they stood before the God of the whole earth, and he gave them power to prophesy. He made them to be like Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two olive-trees and candlestick in the vision of Zechariah, Zechariah 4:2, etc. God gave them the oil of holy zeal, and courage, and strength, and comfort; he made them olive-trees, and their lamps of profession were kept burning by the oil of inward gracious principles, which they received from God. They had oil not only in their lamps, but in their vessels — habits of spiritual life, light, and zeal.

_ _ V. Their security and defence during the time of their prophesying: If any attempted to hurt them, fire proceeded out of their mouths, and devoured them, Revelation 11:5. Some think this alludes to Elias's calling for the fire from heaven, to consume the captains and their companies that came to seize him, 2 Kings 1:12. God promised the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 5:14), Behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people shall be wood, and it shall devour them. By their praying and preaching, and courage in suffering, they shall gall and wound the very hearts and consciences of many of their persecutors, who shall go away self-condemned, and be even terrors to themselves; like Pashur, at the words of the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 20:4. They shall have that free access to God, and that interest in him, that, at their prayers, God will inflict plagues and judgments upon their enemies, as he did on Pharaoh, turning their rivers into blood, and restraining the dews of heaven, shutting heaven up, that no rain shall fall for many days, as he did at the prayers of Elias, 1 Kings 17:1. God has ordained his arrows for the persecutors, and is often plaguing them while they are persecuting his people; they find it hard work to kick against the pricks.

_ _ VI. The slaying of the witnesses. To make their testimony more strong, they must seal it with their blood. Here observe, 1. The time when they should be killed: When they have finished their testimony. They are immortal, they are invulnerable, till their work be done. Some think it ought to be rendered, when they were about to finish their testimony. When they had prophesied in sackcloth the greatest part of the 1260 years, then they should feel the last effect of antichristian malice. 2. The enemy that should overcome and slay them — the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit. Antichrist, the great instrument of the devil, should make war against them, not only with the arms of subtle and sophistical learning, but chiefly with open force and violence; and God would permit his enemies to prevail against his witnesses for a time. 3. The barbarous usage of these slain witnesses; the malice of their enemies was not satiated with their blood and death, but pursued even their dead bodies. (1.) They would not allow them a quiet grave; their bodies were cast out in the open street, the high street of Babylon, or in the high road leading to the city. This city is spiritually called Sodom for monstrous wickedness, and Egypt for idolatry and tyranny; and here Christ in his mystical body has suffered more than in any place in the world. (2.) Their dead bodies were insulted by the inhabitants of the earth, and their death was a matter of mirth and joy to the antichristian world, Revelation 11:10. They were glad to be rid of these witnesses, who by their doctrine and example had teased, terrified, and tormented the consciences of their enemies; these spiritual weapons cut wicked men to the heart, and fill them with the greatest rage and malice against the faithful.

_ _ VII. The resurrection of these witnesses, and the consequences thereof. Observe, 1. The time of their rising again; after they had lain dead three days and a half (Revelation 11:11), a short time in comparison of that in which they had prophesied. Here may be a reference to the resurrection of Christ, who is the resurrection and the life. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Or there may be a reference to the resurrection of Lazarus on the fourth day, when they thought it impossible. God's witnesses may be slain, but they shall rise again: not in their persons, till the general resurrection, but in their successors. God will revive his work, when it seems to be dead in the world. 2. The power by which they were raised: The spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet. God put not only life, but courage into them. God can make the dry bones to life; it is the Spirit of life from God that quickens dead souls, and shall quicken the dead bodies of his people, and his dying interest in the world. 3. The effect of their resurrection upon their enemies: Great fear fell upon them. The reviving of God's work and witnesses will strike terror into the souls of his enemies. Where there is guilt, there is fear; and a persecuting spirit, though cruel, is not a courageous, but a cowardly spirit. Herod feared John the Baptist.

_ _ VIII. The ascension of the witnesses into heaven and the consequences thereof, Revelation 11:12, Revelation 11:13. Observe, 1. Their ascension. By heaven we may understand either some more eminent station in the church, the kingdom of grace in this world, or a high place in the kingdom of glory above. The former seems to be the meaning: They ascended to heaven in a cloud (in a figurative, not in a literal sense) and their enemies saw them. It will be no small part of the punishment of persecutors, both in this world and at the great day, that they shall see the faithful servants of God greatly honoured and advanced. To this honour they did not attempt to ascend, till God called them, and said, Come up hither. The Lord's witnesses must wait for their advancement, both in the church and in heaven, till God calls them; they must not be weary of suffering and service, nor too hastily grasp at the reward; but stay till their Master calls them, and then they may gladly ascend to him. 2. The consequences of their ascension — a mighty shock and convulsion in the antichristian empire and the fall of a tenth part of the city. Some refer this to the beginning of the reformation from popery, when many princes and states fell off from their subjection to Rome. This great work met with great opposition; all the western world felt a great concussion, and the antichristian interest received a great blow, and lost a great deal of ground and interest, (1.) By the sword of war, which was then drawn; and many of those who fought under the banner of antichrist were slain by it. (2.) By the sword of the Spirit: The fear of God fell upon many. They were convinced of their errors, superstition, and idolatry; and by true repentance, and embracing the truth, they gave glory to the God of heaven. Thus, when God's work and witnesses revive, the devil's work and witnesses fall before him.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Revelation 11:3

And I — Christ. Will give to my two witnesses — These seem to be two prophets; two select, eminent instruments. Some have supposed (though without foundation) that they are Moses and Elijah, whom they resemble in several respects. To prophesy twelve hundred and sixty days — Common days, that is, an hundred and eighty weeks. So long will they prophesy, (even while that last and sharp treading of the holy city continues,) both by word and deed, witnessing that Jesus is the Son of God, the heir of all things, and exhorting all men to repent, and fear, and glorify God. Clothed in sackcloth — The habit of the deepest mourners, out of sorrow and concern for the people.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Revelation 11:3

And (6) I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall (7) prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

(6) I would rather translate it "illud" than "illam" the temple than the city: for God says, I will give that temple, and commit it to my two witnesses, that is, to the ministers of the word, who are few indeed, weak and contemptible: but yet two, that is, of such a number as one of them may help another, and one confirm the testimony of another to all men, that from the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be made good among men; (2 Corinthians 13:1). (7) They will exercise their office enjoined by me by the space of those 1260 years, in the midst of afflictions though never so lamentable, which is figuratively shown by the mourning garment.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
I will give power:
etc. or, I will give unto my two witnesses, that they may prophesy,
John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;


Numbers 11:26 But there remained two [of the] men in the camp, the name of the one [was] Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they [were] of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; [but] at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
2 Corinthians 13:1 This [is] the third [time] I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.


Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Luke 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
John 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Acts 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
Acts 13:31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

they shall:

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

a thousand:

Revelation 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty [and] two months.
Revelation 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.


Genesis 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
1 Chronicles 21:16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders [of Israel, who were] clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
Esther 4:1-2 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; ... And came even before the king's gate: for none [might] enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.
Job 16:15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.
Isaiah 22:12 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
Lamentations 2:10 The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, [and] keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
John 3:5-8 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ... The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
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Gn 37:34. Nu 11:26. Dt 17:6; 19:15. 1Ch 21:16. Es 4:1. Jb 16:15. Is 22:12. Lm 2:10. Mt 18:16. Lk 24:48. Jn 3:5, 27; 15:27. Ac 1:8; 2:32; 3:15; 13:31. 1Co 12:28. 2Co 13:1. Ep 4:11. Rv 11:2; 12:6; 19:10; 20:4.

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