Verses 1-14 continue the Ch. 10 interlude in the ‘Trumpets’ narrative describing the two witnesses, which is the Ekklesia “called out ones” (the church) of both the old and new testaments.
1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God [not the court of the Gentiles, see v. 2 below] and the altar [east of the Holy of Holies, the location of sacrifice], and those who worship in it [we are the true ‘temple of God’, 1 Cor 6:19, those who offer up a “sacrifice of praise”].
2 Leave out the court [the Court of the Gentiles] which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations [the location of the Dome of the Rock Mosque]; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months [42 x 30.44 avg. days/month= 1278.5 years, beginning in 688 AD, the construction start of the Dome of the Rock, yields 1967, the year Israel regained Jerusalem].
3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses [Israel/the Jews and the Ekklesia], and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days [1260 years, from the establishing of the Abomination of Desolation in 688 AD on the temple mount until 1948, the year Israel was re-established as a nation], clothed in sackcloth [sign of mourning].”
4 These are the two olive trees [emblematic of Israel, the Ekklesia of the O.T., Rom 11:17, 24, Zech 4:2, 3] and the two lampstands [the Ekklesia (church), Rev 1:20; “two” is the number of witnessing; Jesus sent out the disciples by twos, Mk 6:7; every fact is to be confirmed by two witnesses, Mt 18:16] that stand before the Lord of the earth.
5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth [fire = the Word of God, Jer 5:14, 20:9], and devours their enemies [Jer 5:14, Ezek 20:47]; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way [Lev 10:2, Num 16:35; also Israel and the “Christian” nations have tremendous “fire power” against their enemies].
6 These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. [the witnesses come in the power of Moses & Elijah, two great prophets, 1 Ki 17:1, 2 Ki 1:10, Exo 7:14-21; Moses & Elijah meet Yeshua during his transfiguration, Mk 9:4]
7 When they have finished their testimony [at some point after 1948 the Ekkesia’s testimony is overcome & “killed”], the beast that comes up out of the abyss [the 5th Trumpet described in Rev 9:1, the emergence of Islam] will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them [the experience of the Ekklesia throughout the Middle East].
8 And their dead bodies [Grk: ptoma, principal meanings are “fallen”, “downfall”, “defeat”, not “dead”, first of 3 occurrences in vs. 8 & 9; the Ekklesia will be defeated and dead from the world’s viewpoint just before Yeshua returns] will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified [Jerusalem].
9 Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days [just like Yeshua was dead for 3 days & 3 nights; using “year for a day” accounting, 3.5 years of “defeat” and “death”], and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb [because they are so happy about the Ekklesia’s state of affairs].
10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate [because they feel vindicated in their hatred and disdain for the Ekklesia]; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets [the Ekklesia, or Christians & Faithful Jews] tormented those who dwell on the earth [by speaking the truth about spiritual matters].
11 But after the three and a half days [years], the breath of life from God came into them [a great revival broke out, at the very end of the age], and they stood on their feet [evidence of full health and vitality, spiritually]; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them [because this was clearly of God].
12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “ Come up here.” [the shout of the archangel as in 1 Thes 4:16] Then they went up into heaven in the cloud [ “The Rapture”, Mt 24:31], and their enemies watched them.
13, 14 And in that hour there was a great earthquake [as Jesus returns, per Eze 38:19, during the Gog-Magog war; after the sixth Seal per Rev 8:5 and the seventh Bowl per Rev 16:18, which both describe the same earthquake] and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
The ‘Trumpets’ narrative resumes; the 7th and last trumpet is blown, when the dead in Christ arise and the living are transformed, Yeshua comes to destroy the nations attacking Israel and the living are judged. Yeshua establishes His earthly, Millennial kingdom.
15 Then the seventh angel sounded [blew his trumpet, the 7th and last, see 1 Cor 15:52]; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “ The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ [Yeshua returns to rule the earth]; and He will reign forever and ever [He will always rule, for the rest of time].”
16, 17 And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign [it is Yeshua who will reign per v. 15; he is equated with ‘God Almighty’].
18 And the nations were enraged [time and “nations” still exist after Yeshua returns], and Your wrath came [against the Gog-Magog invaders, Eze 38 & 39, Zech 14], and the time came for the dead to be judged [not resurrected, as they are in Rev 20:9; here the martyrs are being vindicated per Rev 6:10], and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great [because the righteous are resurrected and living transformed to reign with Christ, Rev 20:4-6], and to destroy those who destroy the earth [see Mt 25 judgments].”
19 And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple [the true temple, of which the temple on earth was only a copy, Heb 8:5, 9:24], and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm [see the bowls of wrath being poured out in Rev 15 & 16].