Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 11:4

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Candlestick;   Olive;   Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - World-System;   Thompson Chain Reference - Olive-Trees;   Trees;   The Topic Concordance - War/weapons;   Witness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Olive-Tree, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lamp;   Light;   Olive;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Elijah;   Restore, Renew;   Zechariah, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Olive-Tree;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Candlestick;   Elijah;   Gentiles;   Judah, Kingdom of;   Olive;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Beast;   Revelation, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Arts;   Eschatology;   Fruit;   Lamp Lampstand;   Numbers;   Olive ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Anointing;   Lamp;   Numbers as Symbols;   Olive, Olive Tree;   Zechariah, Prophecy of;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Candlestick;   Olive (tree);  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Revelation of John:;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

These are the two olive trees - Mentioned Zechariah 4:14, which there represent Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest. The whole account seems taken from Zechariah 4:1-14. Whether the prophet and the apostle mean the same things by these emblems, we know not.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

These are the two olive-trees - These are represented by the two olive-trees, or these are what are symbolized by the two olive-trees. There can be little doubt that there is an allusion here to Zechariah 4:3, Zechariah 4:11, Zechariah 4:14, though the imagery is in some respects changed. The prophet Zechariah 4:2-3 saw in vision “a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which were upon the top thereof; and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” These two “olive branches” were subsequently declared Revelation 11:14 to be “the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” The olive-trees, or olive-branches Revelation 11:12, appear in the vision of the prophet to have been connected with the ever-burning lamp by golden pipes; and as the olive-tree produced the oil used by the ancients in their lamps, these trees are represented as furnishing a constant supply of oil through the golden pipes to the candlestick, and thus they become emblematic of the supply of grace to the church. John uses this emblem, not in the sense exactly in which it was employed by the prophet, but to denote that these two “witnesses,” which might be compared with the two olivetrees, would be the means of supplying grace to the church. As the olive-tree furnished oil for the lamps, the two trees here would seem properly to denote ministers of religion; and as there can be no doubt that the candlesticks, or lamp-bearers, denote churches, the sense would appear to be that it was through the pastors of the churches that the oil of grace which maintained the brightness of those mystic candlesticks, or the churches, was conveyed. The image is a beautiful one, and expresses a truth of great importance to the world; for God has designed that the lamp of piety shall be kept burning in the churches by truth supplied through ministers and pastors.

And the two candlesticks - The prophet Zechariah saw but one such candlestick or lamp-bearer; John here saw two - as there are two “witnesses” referred to. In the vision described in Revelation 1:12, he saw seven - representing the seven churches of Asia. For an explanation of the meaning of the symbol, see the notes on that verse.

Standing before the God of the earth - So Zechariah 4:14, “These be the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” The meaning is, that they stood, as it were, in the very presence of God - as, in the tabernacle and temple, the golden candlestick stood “before” the ark on which was the symbol of the divine presence, though separated from it by a veil. Compare the notes on Revelation 9:13. This representation, that the ministers of religion “stand before the Lord,” is one that is not uncommon in the Bible. Thus it is said of the priests and Levites: “The Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to staled before the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless his name,” Deuteronomy 10:8; compare Deuteronomy 18:7. The same thing is said of the prophets, as in the cases of Elijah and Elisha: “As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand,” 1 Kings 17:1; also, 1 Kings 18:15; 2 Kings 3:14; 2 Kings 5:16; compare Jeremiah 15:19. The representation is, that they ministered, as it were, constantly in his presence, and under his eye.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-11.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks, standing before the Lord of the earth.

These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks ... This pinpoints the vision of Zechariah 4:2-6, which contains a vision of the same seven candlesticks, representing the Lord's churches, with which this prophecy began (Revelation 1:12f); but John needed a "two" here instead of a "seven"; so he fastened upon "the two olive trees" of the same vision. These were also said by the angel of Zechariah's vision to be the "Word of the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6), thus making these two olive trees a fitting designation of the Word, as well as being a symbol of the church. For a fuller treatment of this, see in my Commentary on Hebrews, pp. 181-183. Now the two olive trees alone would best be understood as the Old Testament and the New Testament, but John did not use the olive trees alone as the two witnesses; he threw in the "candlesticks," already presented in Revelation as a symbol of the whole church; but, in order to conform the symbol to the requirements of presenting just two witnesses, he mentioned just two, instead of the seven. There is also something else in this. The seven candlesticks of chapter 1 represented the wicked and faithless churches, as well as the true ones, of which there were just two; and, since the two witnesses presented in this chapter are "faithful," the two candlesticks would represent "the faithful portion of the church," as distinguished from all of it, as being one of the faithful witnesses of this chapter. Therefore, the two olive trees represent the word of God (the Old Testament and the New Testament), and the two candlesticks represent the true church (the Smyrna and Philadelphia congregations as contrasted with the remainder of the seven). A reference to the tabulated pairs above will show how close some of the commentators came to this interpretation without ever seeing it. Thus this verse emphatically confirms the identification of these two witnesses as the personified Word of God and the Church of God.

Plummer identified these two witnesses as the Old Testament and the New Testament on the basis of that being their meaning in Zechariah 4:2-6; and that is surely correct as far as it goes. It is the injection of the candlesticks that indicates the Church as one of the witnesses. Of course, the Old Testament and the New Testament are the Word of God. Thus our interpretation is, in a sense, but a refinement of Plummer's.

Leon Morris' comment on this should also be noted: "Since there are seven lampstands, and only two are mentioned here, it is only part of the church which is meant."[38] This is true; only two of the seven churches symbolized by the seven candlesticks of Revelation 1 were true, Smyrna and Philadelphia. This justifies the conclusion, therefore, that the "part" mentioned by Morris is actually the "whole" of the true church. Some, of course, make those two congregations the "two witnesses" of this chapter, but have they prophesied throughout the whole Christian dispensation in sackcloth? No!

Standing before the Lord of the earth ... The stability and faithfulness of the two witnesses is manifest in such a statement as this. God's two faithful witnesses, the Word and the Church, are indestructible. The Word endureth forever, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.

ENDNOTE:

[38] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 148.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

These are the two olive trees,.... Or represented by the two olive trees in Zechariah 4:3, which there design Joshua and Zerubbabel; and who in laying out themselves, their gifts and wealth, in rebuilding and finishing the temple, were types of these witnesses, the ministers of the Gospel, in the successive ages of the apostasy; who may be compared to olive trees, because of the oil of grace, and the truth of it in them; and because of the gifts of the Spirit of God bestowed on them, or their having that anointing which teacheth all things; and because they freely impart their gifts, and the golden oil of the Gospel unto others, and also bring the good tidings of peace and salvation by Christ, of which the olive leaf is a symbol; and because they are like the olive tree, fat, flourishing, and fruitful in spiritual things; they are sons of oil, and God's anointed ones:

and the two candlesticks; which hold forth the light of the word, in the midst of Popish darkness: this shows that churches, as well as ministers, are designed by the witnesses, since the candlesticks are explained of the churches, Revelation 1:20, though the simile well agrees with ministers of the word, who are the lights of the world, or hold forth the light of the Gospel, which is put into them by Christ: and these olive trees and candlesticks are represented as

standing before the God of the earth; ministering unto him, enjoying his presence, and having his assistance, and being under his protection. The Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read, "the Lord of the earth"; and so the Complutensian edition; see Zechariah 4:14.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

These 8 are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

(8) That is, the ordinary and perpetual instruments of spiritual grace, peace and light in my Church, which God by his only power preserved in this Temple. See (Zechariah 4:3).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

standing before the God of the earth — A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas read “Lord” for “God”: so Zechariah 4:14. Ministering to (Luke 1:19), and as in the sight of Him, who, though now so widely disowned on “earth,” is its rightful King, and shall at last be openly recognized as such (Revelation 11:15). The phrase alludes to Zechariah 4:10, Zechariah 4:14, “the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” The article “the” marks this allusion. They are “the two candlesticks,” not that they are the Church, the one candlestick, but as its representative light-bearers (Greek, “{(phosteres},” Philippians 2:15), and ministering for its encouragement in a time of apostasy. Wordsworth‘s view is worth consideration, whether it may not constitute a secondary sense: the two witnesses, the olive trees, are THE TWO TESTAMENTS ministering their testimony to the Church of the old dispensation, as well as to that of the new, which explains the two witnesses being called also the two candlesticks (the Old and New Testament churches; the candlestick in Zechariah 4:2 is but one as there was then but one Testament, and one Church, the Jewish). The Church in both disp)ensations has no light in herself, but derives it from the Spirit through the witness of the twofold word, the two olive trees: compare Note, see on Revelation 11:1, which is connected with this, the reed, the Scripture canon, being the measure of the Church: so Primasius [X, p. 314]: the two witnesses preach in sackcloth, marking the ignominious treatment which the word, like Christ Himself, receives from the world. So the twenty-four elders represent the ministers of the two dispensations by the double twelve. But Revelation 11:7 proves that primarily the two Testaments cannot be meant; for these shall never be “killed,” and never “shall have finished their testimony” till the world is finished.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-11.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The two olive trees (αι δυο ελαιαιhai duo elaiai). The article seems to point to what is known. For this original use of ελαιαelaia see Romans 11:17, Romans 11:24. In Zechariah 4:2, Zechariah 4:3, Zechariah 4:14 the lampstand or candlestick (λυχνιαluchnia) is Israel, and the two olive trees apparently Joshua and Zerubbabel, but John makes his own use of this symbolism. Here the two olive trees and the candlesticks are identical.

Standing (εστωτεςhestōtes). Masculine perfect active participle agreeing with ουτοιhoutoi instead of εστωσαιhestōsai (read by P and cursives) agreeing with ελαιαι και λυχνιαιelaiai kai luchniai even though αιhai (feminine plural article) be accepted before ενωπιον του κυριουenōpion tou kuriou (before the Lord).

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-11.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Two olive trees

See Zechariah 4:1-14.

Candlesticks

See Zechariah 4:1-14, and note on Matthew 10:15.

The God

Read κυρίου theLord. Compare Zechariah 4:14.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-11.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

These are the two olive trees — That is, as Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two olive trees spoken of by Zechariah, Zechariah 3:9; 4:10, were then the two chosen instruments in God's hand, even so shall these. be in their season. Being themselves full of the unction of the Holy One, they shall continually transmit the same to others also.

And the two candlesticks — Burning and shining lights.

Standing before the Lord of the earth — Always waiting on God, without the help of man, and asserting his right over the earth and all things therein.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-11.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

God

Adonai. Zechariah 4:14.

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 11:4". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-11.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Ver. 4. These are the two olive trees] See Zechariah 4:3; Zechariah 4:11; Zechariah 4:14. in this book of the Revelation the Holy Ghost borrows all the elegancies and flowers in the story of the Old Testament, thereby to set out the story of the New in succeeding ages.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-11.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. A double title given by God unto the two witnesses, spoken of in the former verse; they are styled olive-trees and candlesticks. As the olive-tree is always green, so the ministry of these witnesses is lively and efficacious; as the olive is a sign of peace, and the oil that drops from the olive an emblem of grace, so the ministry of these witnesses was a ministry both of grace and peace. Again, they are called olive-trees, because they are to minister oil to the candlesticks, which are to hold out light unto others.

Here note, That the title of candlesticks given to the churches, chap. 1 is here given to the ministers of the church; partly to show the near relation that is between them, and partly to point out the duty that is mutually incumbent upon them; namely, to hold forth the light of truth unto others.

And farther, these candlesticks are said to stand before the God of the earth, signifying their fidelity in the discharge of their duty, as in the presence of God, before whom they stand.

Observe, 2. The efficacy and power of these witnesses' ministry in the certain effects of it. What was said of Elijah and Elisha literally, is applied unto them spiritually.

1. As Elijah brought fire down from heaven, which devoured the enemy, so fire proceeds out of these witnesses' mouth, not by way of imprecation, but by way of denunciation, pronouncing the threatenings and judgments of God against them, continuing in their impenitency.

2. As Elijah had power to shut heaven, so have these witnesses power to do the like during the time of their prophecy; that is, God is provoked for the world's ill treatment of his faithful witnesses to withhold the spiritual rain of the word, and the refreshing doctrine of the gospel, from them.

Again, when it is said that these witnesses have power to turn the waters into blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, there is a manifest allusion to Moses and Aaron, who exercised such a power. Exodus 7.

Accordingly, God being provoked by the indignities offered to his faithful witnesses, permits the pure doctrine of the gospel to be corrupted, and avenges their cause, by bringing judgments on the world, as Moses did upon Egypt, according to the threatenings denounced by them.

Whence we may learn, what great credit and esteem the faithful witnesses and ministers of Christ are in with God; what power and prerogative is given to them, far surpassing the power of any mortal prince, even a power to open and shut heaven, to turn waters into blood, and to smite the earth: that is, God doth all these things upon a just occasion in vindication of them, and in revenge for the injuries done unto them.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-11.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 11:4. The two witnesses of Christ (Revelation 11:3) are further characterized in their nature and calling, and that, too, from Zechariah 4; for the definite art., αἱ δύο ἐλ., αἱ δύο λυχν., points back to this, as the entire verse is based upon the sense and expression of Zechariah 4. There Zech. beholds a golden candlestick with seven lamps, the symbol of the Church of God,(2833) besides two olive-trees, to the right and left of the candlestick, which receives from them its oil. The two ἐλαῖαι (LXX.) designate, besides the λυχνία, “two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth;”(2834) viz., the two defenders and guardians of the theocracy given by God,

Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua;(2835) but the symbol represents that only by the Spirit of God, and not by man’s own power, the restoration of the kingdom of God can be effected, Revelation 11:6. With this symbol of Zech., John agrees when he designates the two witnesses of Christ as αἱ δύο ἐλαῖαι, and as ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου τῆς γῆς ἑστῶτες. The latter expression, whose harsh incorrectness ( αἱ

ἑστῶτες) is explicable by the reference to the persons represented under the symbols of ἐλαῖαι and λυχνίαι,(2836) designates as little as the corresponding words in Zech. the two witnesses as representatives of the Church against the world,(2837) but as servants of God,(2838) who is here called, accordingly, the Lord of the world,(2839) because he shall establish the fact that he is the Almighty, who sends his servants into their office, and protects them against all enemies, Revelation 11:5, and to the terror of their enemies can glorify(2840) the κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, Revelation 11:10 sqq. Deviating, however, from Zech., John designates the two witnesses, not only as two ἐλαῖαι, but also as two λυχνίαι. He, of course, derives this symbolical idea from Zech., but gives it another application; for what is said here is neither concerning the kingdom of God in itself, nor its up-building through Christ’s two witnesses, but concerning a judgment upon “the holy city,” during which the two witnesses preach repentance, and that, too, in vain, Revelation 11:7 sqq. In no respect have the two witnesses aught to do with the preservation of the temple.(2841) The idea of the one λυχνία in the sense of Zech. has therefore no place here. But John comprehends the symbol of the λυχνίαι in essentially the same significance as that of the ἑλαῖαι, when, precisely in the sense of Zechariah 4:6, he portrays what was just before expressed in clear words ( δώσω τοῖς μάρτ. μ. καὶ προφητεύσουσιν); viz., that the efficiency of the two witnesses depends upon the Divine Spirit, not upon their own power, and hence becomes truly prophetic. John, therefore, describes the prophetic character of the two witnesses of Christ as like those two anointed ones in Zech.; but that he will not express the identity of the persons, nor designate the two witnesses as Zerubbabel and Joshua, who then must be regarded as repeated, follows partly from the deviation from Zech., and partly from other specifications in the context, Revelation 11:3, Revelation 11:5 sqq.(2842)

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-11.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 11:4. αἱ δύο ἔλαιαι καὶ αἱ δύο λυχνίαι αἱ ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου τῆς γῆς ἑστῶτες) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. In Revelation 11:13 He is called the God of heaven, and Isaiah 54:5, the God of the earth; Genesis 24:3, the God of heaven and the God of the earth; but in this passage He is called the Lord of the earth, as in the parallel passage, Zechariah 4:14.— ἑστῶτες altogether agrees with grammatical rules and the taste of many, and still more so does αἱ ἑστῶσαι;(110) nor should I refuse to regard αἱ ἑστῶτες as a fault of the copyists, if this were the only instance of such a construction. But because the Apocalypse abounds in figurative expressions, as we have everywhere shown, in any passage where there is a variety of reading, I take it for granted, I admit, that the reading which is contrary to that which we should have expected is the true one, and that it has been simply and faithfully handed down by less perverse copyists; and I think that the others have been altered and conformed to the common rule by more recent copyists. In the present instance that הומדים is expressed from Zechariah, the passage quoted above, although the construction is easier in Hebrew than in Greek, as lately in לאמר, λέγων, Revelation 11:1. The article is necessary in this place for the connection of the discourse, as ה in העמדים. No book has οἱ: therefore αἱ remains. The Greek article is much, more flexible than our custom admits: as τῷ τὸν φόρον, τὸ πολὺ, οἱ μακρὰν, κ. τ. λ. Therefore αἱἑστῶτες, if it pleases you, is said, as though it were said, αἵεἰσὶν ἑστῶτες, where αἱ as the subject, and ἑστῶτες as the predicate, are not ill agreed. There is a disparity of genders not unlike this, ch. Revelation 14:19. See also Notes on Chrys. de Sacerd. p. 504. If any one is positive that John could not have thus written, let him follow the reading which he judges that he wrote.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-11.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Here is a manifest allusion to Zechariah’s vision, Zechariah 4:2,3,11-14, though with some little difference. He saw a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which were upon the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. The angel tells him, that these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes did empty the golden oil out of themselves, were the two anointed ones, or the two sons of oil, that stood by the Lord of the whole earth. By which some understand Zerubbabel and Joshua; some, those godly magistrates and priests, which after the captivity the Jewish church should have, and prefigured a gospel ministry, who being filled with knowledge and grace, should feed the Lord’s church (as pastors after his own heart) with wisdom and understanding, from the gifts and graces of God’s Holy Spirit, which they should receive; which further confirmeth me, that by the two witnesses, Revelation 11:3, we are to understand a godly magistracy and ministry, or rather the latter only, to whom prophesying most strictly agreeth, and who have a more special relation to the candlesticks here mentioned, by which churches are meant, Revelation 1:20.

And the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth: in Zechariah’s vision was but one candlestick, how comes here a mention to be made of two? Mr. Mede confesseth himself at a loss here, unless here another candlestick be added to signify the Gentiles’ conversion to Christ. Others think that it denoteth the small number of gospel churches that should be left; they were reckoned seven, Revelation 1:20; here they are reduced to two. Possibly it may denote the different state of God’s church. In the Old Testament God had but one church, viz. that of the Jews; but now he hath many churches, and they are all fed from faithful ministers, as olive branches pouring out their oil of grace and knowledge upon them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-11.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Эти образы взяты из гл. 3 и 4 Захарии (см. пояснения там). Предсказания Захарии касаются близкого будущего (перестройка храма Зоровавелем во времена великого иерея) и далекого будущего (два свидетеля, чьи пророчества говорят о полном восстановлении Израиля во время миллениума, т.е. тысячелетия).

две маслины и два светильника Обычно оливковое масло использовалось в лампах; оливковые деревья и лампады вместе символизируют свет духовного возрождения. Проповеди двух свидетелей зажгут искру возрождения, подобно тому как проповеди великого иерея и Зоровавеля повлияли на Израиль после вавилонского плена.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-11.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The two olive-trees-the two candlesticks; compare Zechariah 4:2-6; Zechariah 4:11-14, from which the imagery is taken, but with free changes. Oil is a symbol of divine grace: a lamp replenished with oil and shining brightly, represents the light of a holy life and holy doctrine. The two witnesses are God’s two olive-trees and two candlesticks, because they are the repositories of his grace, and the lights which he has appointed to shine in this dark world.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-11.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

The Two Witnesses.

‘These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the Lord of the whole earth.’

The two olive trees appear in Zechariah 4:3 and are ‘ the sons of oil (anointed ones) who stand by the Lord of the whole earth’ (Zechariah 4:14). There they refer to Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel the Prince, both anointed for their roles in accordance with the laws of Israel. So here are two similar leaders set apart by God as His servants in a time of crisis.

Joshua had his filthy garments removed and was clothed with rich apparel and had a fair turban set on his head (Zechariah 3:3-5). This turban is described in Exodus 28:36-38. It bears the words ‘holy to the Lord’ on a plate of gold and means that the High Priest is, especially through the sacrificial system, bearing the iniquity of the people in such a way as ensures the acceptability of their gifts and offerings. Later a crown (or crowns) of gold and silver is set on his head (Zechariah 6:11). Both turban and crown designate him as the Branch who will build the Temple of the Lord (Zechariah 3:8 with Revelation 6:12).

Zerubbabel is the one who will prevail ‘not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord’ (Zechariah 4:6). He has laid the foundations of the house of the Lord and he will finish it (Zechariah 4:9). They are thus two selected men of God whose purpose is to establish the house of God as a witness to the nations.

The imagery in Zechariah is remarkably similar to imagery in Revelation, where what is applied to the individuals in Zechariah is applied to all the redeemed. In Revelation the redeemed washed their garments and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14), compared with the removal of Joshua’s filthy apparel, and the overcomer will receive a crown (Revelation 2:10) similarly to Joshua, and will be arrayed in white garments (Revelation 3:5). In Revelation white always replaces the jewelled splendour of the Old Testament. Wisdom and virtue are seen as far above rubies (Job 28:18; Proverbs 3:15; Proverbs 8:11; Proverbs 31:10). Thus the robes are white and the stone containing the name is white (Revelation 2:17).

So Joshua is a ‘type’ of the redeemed. Furthermore, as the New Testament constantly makes clear, it is the redeemed who receive the power of the Spirit. So again Zerubbabel is typical of the redeemed. Thus we may see the two witnesses in Revelation as two representatives of the people of God in Jerusalem, yet representing in themselves the whole church, whose responsibility it is to establish the sanctuary of God (the church of Christ) as a witness to Jerusalem and to the nations.

The witnesses are also ‘two lampstands’. In Revelation 1 the seven lampstands represent the seven churches, the new Temple of God, the complete church, who are God’s witnesses and light to the world, and each lampstand represents a particular church. In Zechariah 4 the sevenfold lampstand represents the God of Israel feeding the two sons of oil and also Israel with its function to rebuild the Temple, again as a witness to the world. The lampstands therefore represent the whole true people of God. So the two witnesses stand at the forefront as fulfilling the witness of the church and of true Israel. (That the two witnesses can be both leaders of the church and the whole church compares with how Daniel could speak of kings while including in the word the nations that lay behind the kings).

‘I WILL GIVE to my two witnesses’ - this remarkable change of expression from ‘it was given’ emphasises God’s deep personal concern for His witnesses. Again and again in Revelation we have seen ‘there was given’ (the phrase appears thirteen times in the book). The activity was God’s but described impersonally. But to these two witnesses God gives directly. God is actively involved. This brings out the vital nature of their ministry. And what will He give? He will provide them with all that they need to complete their task, including the Spirit’s power (as with Zerubbabel).

‘Two witnesses’. The testimony of two witnesses was required before a legal verdict could be given (Deuteronomy 19:15). These witnesses therefore are symbolic of a satisfactory and complete witness. In Genesis 19 we learn that when God would judge Sodom and Gomorrha he sent two angels to judge whether the cities were worthy of destruction. When they had assessed the situation they arranged for the deliverance of all who would listen (Lot and his family) and they then returned and gave their verdict to God and the cities were then destroyed. These are almost certainly symbolically in mind here (Revelation 11:8). But there is no reason to think that in Revelation they are angels, which is why they are connected with the two olive trees and the two lampstands. So the ‘two witnesses’ here are all those who bear testimony to God and bear witness against the sins of men, especially as represented by two effective leaders or ‘prophets’ (Revelation 11:10).

As we will have cause to see the two witnesses are also intended to represent Moses and Elijah, who themselves represented and summed up the Law and the prophets, and who as such testified of Jesus at His transfiguration, and ‘spoke of His decease which He would accomplish at Jerusalem’ (Luke 9:30-31) a decease which is firmly in mind here (Revelation 11:8). So ‘Moses’ and ‘Elijah’ will again testify of Him, not literally, but through like-minded representatives in Jerusalem, who utilise the Law and the Prophets (similarly to the way that John the Baptiser was ‘the Elijah that was to come’).

So the church and its leaders will give its testimony in these final days in the face of persecution and will suffer opposition and tribulation. John is again seeking to bolster up the church in the face of tribulation to come.

‘Clothed in sackcloth’. This was the rough garment of hair associated with prophets (Zechariah 13:4; 2 Kings 1:8; Mark 1:6). It also signified grief and distress (e.g. Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31). David clothed himself and the people in sackcloth when he was seeking to divert God’s judgment (1 Chronicles 21:16), and the spiritual leaders of the people were to lie in sackcloth when offerings to God were not forthcoming because of famine (Joel 1:13). Thus it denotes humility, earnestness in prayer and grief over sin. These witnesses then, either spiritually, or through physically wearing sackcloth, are examples of humility, earnestness in prayer and grief over sin.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-11.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

The two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth: Here the two witnesses are said to be two candlesticks and two olive trees. As already noted the number two stood for the established testimony of a complete revelation, being the number of witnesses required for testimony to be legally established.

The candlesticks signified light, the dispensing of light, which was its general significance always. The olive tree was then the source of the oil for the lamps, the light the two olive trees, standing in relation to two candlesticks, should dispense. Actually, our word candlestick is not exact, a sort of misnomer, since that light-dispenser held lamps only, supplied with the purest olive oil when used in the tabernacle or temple service of God. In chapters 1:20; 2:1 the candlestick was made an emblem of the church, which is not itself the light, but holds forth the light from Christ, who is Himself the light. The two witnesses were thus given an extended significance as representative of the prophets and the apostles, holding the lamp of light, burning the oil of the divine testimony of the two covenants, the Old and New Testaments. As Zerubbabel and Joshua in the same symbolism of Zechariah 4:1-14, were said to be "the two anointed ones, that stand before the Lord of the whole earth," so were the two witnesses of this vision standing before the God of the earth as the representatives of the whole body of believers, the collective "witness of Jesus" and "the word of God" by "the testimony which they held." (Chapter 2:9; 20:4)

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-11.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The ministry of these two witnesses resembles that of Zerubbabel and Joshua who sought to restore Israel after a previous exile ( Zechariah 4:2-3; Zechariah 4:11-14). There is only one lampstand in the Zechariah passage, but there are two here representing each of the two witnesses. In the Zechariah passage it is the Holy Spirit who empowered Zerubbabel and Joshua ( Zechariah 4:14), and the comparison strongly suggests that these latter-day witnesses will also receive power from Him (cf. Revelation 1:4). They will be God"s anointed servants who bear the light of His truth. They are dependent on the Spirit and speak for God, who controls the whole earth.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-11.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 11:4. First, the witnesses are described as the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the Lord of the earth. The figure is taken from Zechariah 4, with this difference, that there we have only one candlestick with an olive tree on either side of it, while here we have two candlesticks as well as two olive trees. Clear indication is thus given that, whoever the two ‘witnesses’ may be, each combines in himself the functions both of the olive tree and of the candlestick, and that they are not, the one, one of these objects, and the other, the other. They stand ‘before the Lord of the earth,’ before the universal Ruler and King. They too, therefore, must be sought in something universal. Their ‘standing before the Lord’ indicates their acceptance in His sight and their readiness to act for Him (comp. Revelation 7:9; Luke 21:36).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-11.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

These are the two olive-trees, flourishing with works of piety and mercy, and the two candlesticks shining with faith and good works. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

are. i.e. represent.

two olive trees. Compare Zechariah 4:3, Zechariah 4:11, Zechariah 4:14, where by the same Figure of speech (Metaphor) two persons are represented.

standing. The texts read "which stand".

God. The texts read "Lord".

of the earth. App-129. See Joshua 3:11, Joshua 3:13. Zechariah 6:6, and compare Psalms 115:18.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Standing before (in the presence of) the God of the earth. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas, read 'Lord' for "God;" so Zechariah 4:14. Ministering to (Luke 1:19) Him who, though now so widely disowned on earth, is its rightful King, and shall at last be openly recognized as such (Revelation 11:15). The article "the" implies allusion to Zechariah 4:10; Zechariah 4:14. They are "the two candlesticks; not the Church, the one candlestick, but its representative light-bearers [Philippians 2:15, foosteeres (Greek #5458)], ministering for its encouragement amidst apostasy. Wordsworth's view is, the two witnesses, the olive trees, are THE TWO TESTAMENTS ministering testimony to the Church of the old dispensation, as well as to that of the new, which explains the two witnesses being called also the two candelesticks (the Old and New Testament Churches: the candlestick in Zechariah 4:1-14 is but one, as there was then but one Testament, and one Church-the Jewish). The Church in both dispensations has light, not in herself, but from the Spirit, through the witness of the twofold Word, the two olive trees (cf. note, Revelation 11:1). The reed, the Scripture canon, the measure of the Church: so Primasius X., p.

314. The two witnesses preach in sackcloth, marking the ignominious treatment which the Word, like Christ Himself, receives from the world. So the 24 elders represent the ministers of the two dispensations by the double twelve. But Revelation 11:7 proves that primarily the two testaments cannot be meant; for these shall not be "killed," or "have finished their testimony," until the world is finished.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-11.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) These are . . .—Translate, These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks which stand before the Lord of the earth. This is the verse which refers us to the vision of Zechariah for the basis of our present vision. There, as here, we have the two olive trees, which are explained to be “the two anointed ones which stand before the Lord of the whole earth.” The explanation is supposed to refer to Zerubbabel and Joshua. or, as others think, to Zechariah and Haggai. At that time these men were the witnesses for God in their land and among their people. But the answer of the angel is general: “the olive trees are the two anointed ones which stand,” &c. For the vision is general and age-long; it reminds us of the returned Jewish exiles, and of those who were then among them, as anointed witnesses, but it shows us that such witnesses are to be found in more than one era; for it is not Zerubbabel and Joshua who can exhaust the fulness of a vision which is the representation of the eternal truth that the oil of gladness and strength from God will rest on those who rely, not on might or power, but on God’s Spirit. The fact that the witnesses are two is brought more prominently forward here than in Zechariah. There, though the olive trees are two, the candlestick is but one, with seven lamps; here there are two candlesticks spoken of as well as two olive trees. This amplification of the original vision is, perhaps, designed to remind us of the greater latitude of diversity in the new dispensation. Just as in the early chapters of this book we had seven golden candlesticks, which, though one in Christ, yet are spoken of as separate, so here the double aspect, the diverse though united efforts of the two witnesses. are brought into prominence. It may serve to remind us. that the witnesses are to be expected to keep their individuality and to use freely their diverse powers. It is not from one class or with one mode of action that the witnesses come: they may be of the statesman class, like Moses and Zerubbabel; of the prophetic or priestly like Zechariah and Haggai, like Aaron and the later Joshua (Zechariah 3:1); for men may witness for God, according as the evils of their time and age require it in the State as well as in the Church. The work of Wilberforce, Clarkson, and Howard is a work and a witness for God as well as the work of Chrysostom, Athanasius, and Luther; for the witnesses are raised up to speak against the neglect of humanity as well as against errors in divinity; against a heartless as well as against a creedless Christianity, for both lead back to heathenism. These witnesses are burning and shining lights; in them is centred the light of their age; in them is found the token that the grace of God never fails, but as the Church’s day so shall her strength be. Here, too, we have the pledge that from Him who is both Priest and King the civil rulers as well as the ecclesiastical rulers may draw grace according to their gifts; and from Him, too, all who are made kings as well as priests to God may derive the power to give the double witness of a life anointed by the Spirit of consecration and ruled by the sceptre of righteousness.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
two olive
Psalms 52:8; Jeremiah 11:16; Zechariah 4:2,3,11-14; Romans 11:17
two candlesticks
1:20; Matthew 5:14-16; Luke 11:33
standing
Deuteronomy 10:8; 1 Kings 17:1
the God
Exodus 8:22; Isaiah 54:5; Micah 4:13; Zechariah 4:14
Reciprocal: Exodus 27:20 - pure oil olive beaten;  Leviticus 24:4 - the pure;  Zechariah 4:12 - What be;  Matthew 18:19 - That if;  Mark 11:25 - stand;  Mark 14:22 - this;  Luke 8:16 - when

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-11.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Verse4. Olive oil was the chief

source of artificial light in Bible times

( Exodus 27:20; Leviticus 24:2). Olive

oil requires olive trees and hence since

the word of God is the only source of

spiritual light. directly available to

Prayer of Manasseh, it is symbolized by olive trees.

The phraseology in the last part of the

verse is drawn from Zechariah 4:11-14.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-11.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 11:4

Revelation 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

The olive tree is excellent for its beautiful greenness, for its plentiful fruitfulness, and its abundant fatness. But the olive-tree said unto them, should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and Prayer of Manasseh, { Judges 9:9} etc. Unto which God compareth His church, The Lord called thy name a green olive-tree; fair and of goodly fruit; his fruitful Saints. { Jeremiah 11:16} And his beauty shall be as the olive-tree; but especially his faithful ministers. { Hosea 14:4-6} These two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick, and upon the left side thereof. { Zechariah 4:11} These two olive branches, which through the two golden pipes, empty gold out of themselves. { Zechariah 4:12} These are the two sons of oil, that Isaiah, anointed one, etc. { Zechariah 4:14} The bishops and pastors, the prophets and teachers in the churches of saints, whom the Lord Jesus Christ hath raised up, spirited and appointed to be his witnesses, and to bear their testimony for the doctrine, worship, and kingdom of Christ, against the false doctrines, worships, and kingdom of Antichrist; the Pope of Rome, that beast, the great whore, and all the cities of the nations. { Revelation 16:19}

A candlestick all of gold in Zechariah's vision, { Zechariah 4:2} was a figure of the church of God, which was then but one visible constituted church; viz. the national church of the Jews. The two golden candlesticks in St. John's Revelation, { Revelation 11:4} were a representation of the true visible constituted churches of God in the latter days of the gospel; viz. congregational churches of the gentiles; such were the seven churches in Asia (at their first planting). { Revelation 1:12-20} So that we may upon those scripture grounds conclude, that by the two witnesses Jesus Christ meant and intended his churches of saints, and his faithful ministers in their generations. The churches of saints ought to be like golden candlesticks for purity, for visibility, and for holding forth the light of truth by their ministers. { Matthew 5:14-16}

Standing before the God of the earth.

Standing before great persons; viz. kings, princes, and nobles { 1 Kings 10:8; Proverbs 22:29} imports, waiting and serving them in obedience unto their commands, being in their presence, and also in their favour. So here, to stand before the God of the earth, is to minister unto God, to worship him, to obey his commands, and to keep his ordinances; as the tribe of Levi did of old, To stand before the Lord, to minister unto him;{Deuteronomy 10:8} and But the Priests, the Levites, the Sons of Zadock, that kept the charge of my Sanctuary, when the Children on Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me, to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord God, { Ezekiel 44:15-16} etc. So shall the faithful ministers of Christ stand before God to be his witnesses, and to bear their testimony for Christ against Antichrist: They shall be holden up, for God is able to make them stand. { Romans 14:4} He is called the God of the earth, for the earth is the Lords, and the fullness of it. God made the heavens and the earth; he rules and governs all things in Heaven and Earth, and he gives power to the faint { Isaiah 40:28-31; Revelation 7:14-17} and to them that have no might he increaseth strength, that so they may stand before the God of earth and serve him day and night in his temple.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-11.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4.Two candlesticks—The candlestick, in this book, uniformly represents a church, and the olive trees which supply the oil naturally represent the ministry. Hence the witnesses, as the impersonation of these two bodies, are two. Nothing is more common than the impersonating a collective body in an individual. In this book a nation is a beast, a corrupt church is a harlot. A testifying church and a testifying ministry are two witnesses.

The imagery is based, with free modifications, upon Zechariah 4:2-13. The prophet there sees two candlesticks, (or rather lamps,) into which two olive trees are pouring, through pipes, their golden oil. And these are there said to represent “the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” These two are Joshua, representing the priesthood, and Zerubbabel, representing the nation.

Before the God’ earth—Like prime-ministers before their divine Sovereign.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-11.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 11:4. They are further described in the terms applied by Zechariah to the two most prominent religious figures of his day, except that they are compared to two lampstands, not to one which is septiform. The idea is that their authority and influence are derived from God. As in Revelation 11:7, the function of the two witnesses (cf.Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15) is defined as “prophecy,” but no details are given.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-11.html. 1897-1910.