Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 11:5

And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - World-System;   The Topic Concordance - War/weapons;   Witness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Elijah;   Restore, Renew;   Zechariah, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Elijah;   Gentiles;   Judah, Kingdom of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Beast;   Revelation, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Eschatology;   World;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fire;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Fire proceedeth out of their mouth - That is, they are commissioned to denounce the judgments of God against all who would attempt to prevent them from proceeding in their ministry.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And if any man will hurt them - This implies that there would be those who would be disposed to injure or wrong them; that is, that they would be liable to persecution. The word “will” is here more than the mere sign of the future; it denotes “intention, purpose, design,” θέλεὶ thelei- “if any man wills or purposes to injure them.” See a similar use of the word in 1 Timothy 6:9. The word “hurt” here means to do “injury” or “injustice” - ἀδικῆσαι adikēsai- and may refer to wrong in any form - whether in respect to their character, opinions, persons, or property. The general sense is, that there would be those who would be disposed to do them harm, and we should naturally look for the fulfillment of this in some form of persecution.

Fire proceedeth out of their mouth - It is, of course, not necessary that this should be taken literally. The meaning is, that they would have the power of destroying their enemies as if fire should proceed out of their mouth; that is, their words would be like burning coals or flames. There may possibly be an allusion here to 2 Kings 1:10-14, where it is said that Elijah commanded the fire to descend from heaven to consume those who were sent to take him (compare Luke 9:54); but in that case Elijah commanded the fire to come “from heaven”; here it proceedeth “out of the mouth.” The allusion here, therefore, is to the denunciations which they would utter, or the doctrines which they would preach, and which would have the same effect on their enemies as if they breathed forth fire and flame. So Jeremiah 5:14, “Because ye speak this word, Behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire and this people wood, and it shall devour them.”

And devoureth their enemies - The word “devour” is often used with reference to fire, which seems to “eat up” or “consume” what is in its way, or to “feed on” what it destroys. This is the sense of the word here - κατεσθίει katesthiei- “to eat down, to swallow down, to devour.” Compare Revelation 20:9; Septuagint Isaiah 29:6; Joel 2:5; Leviticus 10:2. As there is no reason to believe that there would be literal fire, so it is not necessary to suppose that their enemies would be literally devoured or consumed. The meaning is fulfilled if their words should in any way produce an effect on their enemies similar to what is produced by fire: that is, if it should destroy their influence; if it should overcome and subdue them; if it should annihilate their domination in the world.

And if any man will hurt them - This is repeated in order to make the declaration more intensive, and also to add another thought about the effect of persecuting and injuring them.

He must in this manner be killed - That is, in the manner specified - by fire. It does not mean that he would be killed in the same manner in which the “witnesses” were killed, but in the method specified before - by the fire that should proceed out of their mouth. The meaning is, undoubtedly, that they would have power to bring down on them divine vengeance or punishment, so that there would be a just retaliation for the wrongs done them.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-11.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And if any man desireth to hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies; and if any man shall desire to hurt them, in this manner must he be killed.

This verse never pertained to any mere individual in the history of the world. How then does it symbolize the truth regarding the Word and the Church? "One should not think of the witnesses being able to perform such miracles literally."[39] Cox explained it as the witnesses' consumption of their enemies "by the fire of truth which they proclaim";[40] and there is surely an element of profound truth in this as indicated by Heb. 11:17,2 Corinthians 2:16; but we believe that something else is indicated, namely, the providential protection of both the Word and the Church by Almighty God through Christ. God will, in the last analysis, permit no man to destroy either! Look at what happened to Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12th chapter); and there have been many other historical examples of the interposition of the heavenly will against the purposes of wicked men who would have destroyed either the Bible or the Church of God. We do not believe that it is possible for any wicked authority, no matter how powerful, to "hurt" in any meaningful sense, either of God's faithful witnesses, both of whom are commissioned to testify throughout the entire Christian dispensation, and who will most certainly be protected in the discharge of that commission until it is accomplished. This verse is therefore the apocalyptic presentation of the divine promises recurring throughout the New Testament to the effect that God's word endures forever, and that the Lord will be "with" his church even to the end of the world.

If any man desire to hurt them, in this manner must he be killed ... God still rules over his creation; and wicked men who actually desire to thwart God's will are scheduled to receive swift and terrible punishment now, in this present time. Read Luke 18:6-8. "Shall not God avenge his elect? I say unto you that he will avenge them speedily." Dummelow's comment on this passage in Luke is thus: "Jesus' words here were literally fulfilled in the calamities which overtook the Jews and the chief heathen persecutors of the Christians."[41] Lactantius has twenty pages regarding this phenomenon.[42] See my Commentary on Luke, pp. 387,388 for further comment on this. Roberson agreed with Cox that, "The witnesses slay their enemies by the fire of the word which they utter."[43] We noted above the great element of truth in such views; but it appears to be some power which is above the witnesses themselves which thus destroys their enemies. Note that the witnesses here are not actually depicted as doing the slaying. The use of the passive voice emphasizes this.

[39] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 90.

[40] Frank L. Cox, op. cit., p. 74.

[41] J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 763.

[42] Lactantius, Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, from The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1951), Vol. VIII, pp. 301-322.

[43] Charles H. Roberson, op. cit., p. 71.

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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 11:5". "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

And if any man will hurt them,.... Do any injury to their persons, or properties, oppose their writings, blaspheme their doctrines, and hinder their ministrations; whoever; they be, whether they be any that live among them, or in other parts; whether they be secret or open enemies; or whether they be of the outward court, or be really Gentiles or Papists; and especially if they do them any injustice, if they wrong, oppress, afflict, and distress them knowingly and willingly:

fire proceedeth out of their mouth; by which may be meant the word of God, which they preach and hold forth, which is comparable to fire, Jeremiah 23:29, both for light, it being a means of enlightening sinners, who are darkness itself; and of directing saints in their walk and conversation; and of detecting the errors, immoralities, idolatry, and superstition of men, and particularly of the church of Rome, who cannot bear the light of this word, and therefore forbid the reading of it to the laity, and keep it locked up from them in the Latin tongue: and also for the heat of it, it being the means of quickening, or of conveying a vital heat to dead sinners; and of warming and comforting the saints, causing their hearts to burn within them, while they bear or read it, or meditate upon it; and of scorching and tormenting reprobate sinners, and filling them with wrath, pain, and anguish, especially the followers of antichrist; and this is greatly designed, for this has a particular reference to the pouring out of the fourth vial, Revelation 16:9. Likewise, the word of God may be compared to fire for its purity in itself, for every word of his is pure; and for its purifying nature, when faithfully preached, and powerfully applied, it penetrates deep, it searches, and discovers, and purges from the dross of profaneness, false doctrine, and will worship; and for its consuming nature, as follows, it pronouncing damnation to unbelievers and impenitent sinners, and it being the savour of death unto death to such: or else the prayers of these witnesses are intended by the fire that proceeds out of their mouth, for vengeance on their enemies, who hinder their ministrations, blaspheme the truth, and shed their blood; which do not arise from a passionate and revengeful spirit, but from a pure zeal for the glory of God, and the honour of his name, and truth; and which prayers are heard by God, who will avenge his elect, that cry unto him day and night: the allusion is to the fire, which, at the request of Moses, came forth from the Lord, and destroyed two hundred and fifty persons, that opposed him and Aaron; and to the fire which Elias called for from heaven, upon the captains, and the fifties, that came to take him, who were types of these witnesses; see Numbers 16:3. And also this fire may denote the denunciations of God's wrath by them upon the antichristian party, these being as wood, and their words as fire, to consume them; see Jeremiah 5:14.

And devoureth their enemies: whether open or secret; just as the fire devoured Nadab and Abihu, the offerers of strange fire, which the Lord commanded not; so the fire out of the mouth of God's faithful servants devours such who introduce divers and strange doctrines, and the inventions of men, into the church of God; the light of God's word convinces and confounds them, though it may not convert them; it flashes in their consciences, and distresses them, so that they gnaw their tongues for pain; there being nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour and destroy them, though not corporeally, yet spiritually and eternally; for even these shall afterwards make war against them, conquer them, and slay them, and shall see them ascend to heaven, Revelation 11:7.

And if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed; this is repeated, partly to show the certainty of this destruction; and partly to point out the manner of it, which will be not by the use of carnal weapons: these enemies of the witnesses will not be killed by the sword, or any other weapon, but by the word of God, and through the prayers of the saints, and by the denunciations of God's judgments on them. The Jews express the doctrines and traditions of their Rabbins, delivered from one to another, by fire, proceeding out of their mouths; who sayF18T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 137. 2. Juchasin, fol. 113. 2. ,

"Rab sat before Rabbi, and "there went forth" זיקוקין דנור מפומיה, "sparks of fire from the mouth of Rab", into the mouth of Rabbi, and from the mouth of Rabbi, into the mouth of Rab;'

which the gloss explains of their communicating their doctrines and traditions to one another.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

9 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

(9) The power and surety of the holy ministry, which is truly evangelical, is declared both in earth and in heaven, protecting the administers of it, and destroying its enemies, in this verse, divine power, most mightily showing itself forth in heaven, earth and the sea in (Revelation 11:6) as it is described in (2 Corinthians 10:4) according to the promise of Christ in (Mark 16:17). This is the second place (as I said before) of the combats which the servants of God must undergo in the executing of their calling, and of the things that follow the same combats or conflicts are these things to overcome, in these two verses: to be overcome and killed in (Revelation 11:7) After the slaughter follow these things, that the carcasses of the godly, laid abroad in (Revelation 11:8) and being unburied, are scorned, together with cursing and bitter abhorrance (Revelation 11:9) and that therefore congratulations are publicly and privately made in (Revelation 11:10).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

will hurtGreek, “wishes,” or “desires to hurt them.”

fire  …  devoureth — (Compare Jeremiah 5:14; Jeremiah 23:29).

out of their mouth — not literally, but God makes their inspired denunciations of judgment to come to pass and devour their enemies.

if any man will hurt them — twice repeated, to mark the immediate certainty of the accomplishment.

in this manner — so in like manner as he tries to hurt them (compare Revelation 13:10). Retribution in kind.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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 11:5". "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

If any man desireth to hurt them (ει τις αυτους τελει αδικησαιei tis autous thelei adikēsai). Condition of first class, assumed to be true, with ειei and present active indicative (τελειthelei) “if any one wants to hurt” (αδικησαιadikēsai first aorist active infinitive). It is impossible to hurt these two witnesses till they do their work. The fire proceeding out of the mouths of the witnesses is like Elijah‘s experience (2 Kings 1:10).

Devoureth (κατεστιειkatesthiei). “Eats up (down),” present active indicative of κατεστιωkatesthiō any man shall desire (ει τις τελησηιei tis thelēsēi). Condition of third class with ειei and first aorist active subjunctive of τελωthelō as in Luke 9:13; Philippians 3:12, but MSS. also read either τελειthelei (present active indicative) or τελησειthelēsei (future active, condition of the first class like the preceding one. The condition is repeated in this changed form, as less likely to happen and with inevitable death (δει αυτον αποκταντηναιdei auton apoktanthēnai must be killed, first aorist passive infinitive of αποκτεινωapokteinō with δειdei).

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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 11:5". "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

Fire proceedeth

Compare 2 Kings 1:10; Jeremiah 5:14.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "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

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

If any would kill them — As the Israelites would have done Moses and Aaron, Numbers 16:41.

He must be killed thus — By that devouring fire.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-11.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The meaning is, that those who injure them shall suffer a terrible retribution. The image of fire from their mouth--that is, fire coming at their call--may have been suggested by the case of Elijah, (2 Kings 1:10-14,) a supposition which is confirmed by the language of the Revelation 11:6, which also corresponds with events in the history of Elijah. (1 Kings 17:1-18:46:)

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-11.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Ver. 5. Fire proceedeth out of their mouths] So that a man were better anger all the witches in the world than God’s faithful witnesses; for they have ever vengeance in a readiness for the disobedient, 2 Corinthians 10:6. God inflicting what they either denounce or desire of him against their adversaries.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-11.html. 1865-1868.

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

Revelation 11:5 sq Description of the miraculous power with which the two witnesses are furnished in order, until their testimony is finished,(2843) to ward off their enemies, and to attest their divine commission. The particular features of the description, viz., Revelation 11:6, are derived from the histories of Elias and Moses. Even this retrospective allusion, acknowledged by all expositors, to the miracles of those ancient prophets which are in no way understood allegorically, of itself renders it in the highest degree improbable that the description here is meant to be allegorical; but also the individual expressions of the text guard against the “spiritual” interpretation, as it has been applied from Primas and Beda to Hengstenb. and Ebrard.

Whether in Revelation 11:5 ( πῦρ ἐκπορεύεται ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτῶν, κ. τ. λ.) there be an allusion to 2 Kings 1:10 sqq., where Elijah calls down fire from heaven which consumes his enemies,(2844) remains uncertain; the parallel with Jeremiah 5:14(2845) is more probable, but in connection with this the different character of the two passages dare not be overlooked. In Jeremiah the words of God are mentioned, and how when given in the mouth of the prophet they are like fire; just as it is said in Sirach 48:1 : ἀνέστη ἡλιας προφήτης ὡς πῦρ, καὶ λόγος αὐτοῦ ώς λαμπάς ἐκαίετο.(2846) In this passage, however, nothing is said of God’s words coming like fire from the mouth of the prophet,(2847) but only of fire which proceedeth from his mouth. What is said in Jeremiah 5:14, by way of comparison, appears here, just as above, Revelation 9:17, in dreadful reality; and that the words πὺρ ἐκπορ. ἐκ τ. στόμ. αὐτ. are, nevertheless, meant figuratively, follows from their deadly(2848) effect described immediately afterwards in the parallel clause, which, besides, is expressly referred by the οὕτως to the fire; for this οὕτως(2849) says: “By the fire proceeding out of their mouth;”(2850) and designates the punishment corresponding to the guilt of the θέλειν ἀδικῆσαι.(2851) But if the πῦρ is understood figuratively, the ἀποκτανθῆναι must then be referred to the fact that to unbelievers the gospel is a savor of death unto death; for the ἀδικῆσαι must also then be figurative no less than the entire succeeding statement. The allegorists are, also, mostly consistent in this, but they arrive at the most wonderful interpretations. In the “power to shut heaven, that it rain not,” Revelation 11:6, the two witnesses are like Elijah;(2852) even the specification of time here corresponds, as the days of their prophetic employment during which it is not to rain,(2853) agree, according to Revelation 11:3, with the three and a half years during which Elijah kept the heaven shut.(2854) The further “power over the waters ( ἐπί)(2855) to turn them to blood,” the two witnesses have in common with Moses;(2856) the last words also, καὶ πατάξαι τὴν γῆν ἐν πάσῃ πληγῇ, κ. τ. λ., contain a retrospective view to the plagues with which Moses smote the Egyptians,(2857) although unlimited power is given both witnesses “to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will.” These decided words once more make it manifest in the most definite way, that the issuing of fire from the mouth of the witnesses, the closing of the heaven, and the turning of water into blood,(2858) are clearly particular plagues of the kind inflicted by Elijah and Moses. If we are not to interpret 1 Kings 17, James 5:17, Exodus 7 sqq., allegorically, we must abide also in this passage by the literal sense, yet must not deduce therefrom that “the power of the keys”(2859) is here ascribed the two witnesses, in virtue of which they close the heaven spiritually, and hold back the spiritual rain of the gospel,(2860) cause bloodshed to come from the gospel,(2861) or—if the ὓδατα which are turned into blood be understood as the waters out of which the antichristian beast (i.e., the papacy) arises—could excite the conflicts between popes and antipopes.(2862) This kind of consequent allegorizing was doubtful already to Grot., who, therefore, tries to escape with the vague explanation, “There is nothing so great which they do not obtain on asking from God.”(2863)

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-11.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And if any man will hurt them; that is, my faithful ministers, the two olive branches before mentioned, which fill the candlesticks with oil.

Fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: here is a plain allusion to the stories of Moses and Elijah, calling for fire from heaven; but God showeth, that the victory of his ministers under the gospel shall not be by a miraculous fire called for down from heaven, (as Elijah hurt the captains and their bands sent to apprehend him), but by fire out of their mouths; according to that, Jeremiah 5:14, Behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them: see also Jeremiah 1:9,10. This also is according to Zechariah’s vision before mentioned, and the revelation of the will of God in it, Revelation 11:6: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. The meaning is, that they shall be too hard for them, either by their faithful, lively, and powerful preaching, or by their fervent prayers.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-11.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And if anyone desires to hurt them fire comes from their mouth and devours their enemies, and if any man will desire to hurt them, in this manner must he be killed.’

This is not to be taken literally. The fire that comes from their mouths is like the two-edged sword coming from the mouth of the Son of Man, a pictorial image of a spiritual reality. John has in mind here the words of God in Jeremiah, ‘Is not my word like a fire?’ (Jeremiah 23:29). A similar picture was used of the unconverted Paul when it was said, ‘Saul was breathing threatening and slaughter against the saints’ (Acts 9:1). It speaks of powerful words producing powerful effects, possibly even in bringing fire down from Heaven like Elijah (2 Kings 1:10). Compare how God will ‘consume with the breath of His mouth’ the Lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:8). So we are told that the words of these witnesses will be effective and powerful against those who oppose them. We can compare with this 2 Kings 1:10; 2 Kings 1:12 where lightning struck the men sent to arrest Elijah at his fiery words (see Luke 9:54 which shows that this was a favourite concept of John in his early days).

‘If any man desires to hurt them --- if any man will desire to hurt them’. The first is actual, the second prospective. When men stand up against them to bring about their downfall, or seek to plot their downfall, their words will be powerful against such men both now and in the future. This double promise does seem to suggest an ongoing situation with possibly different individuals in mind. It is possible that as one is martyred another is seen as taking his place so that the ‘two witnesses’ remain. Alternately it may be that we are to see two individuals who are continually preserved by God. For the whole idea we can compare Moses standing against Pharaoh, and Elijah, followed by Elisha, standing against Ahab and Jezebel, who are both probably in John’s mind. Both succeeded against all odds.

‘If any man desires to hurt them fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies’. Had it not been for its use of the Son of Man (chapter 1) and the Word (chapter 19) John could have used the picture of a sharp two-edged sword, which would have meant a similar thing. But the mention of pure fire from their mouths is in contrast with the fire, smoke and brimstone from the mouths of the evil spirits (Revelation 9:14-21). What this is promising is that their words will be pure and effective in confounding those who come against them. The repetition stresses the truth, and continuity, of the promise. There are examples in Acts where words of strong rebuke led to deaths (Acts 5:1-11), and we have already mentioned the case of Elijah. The witnesses certainly need God’s protection for they are against powerful enemies. Jesus Himself also used strong words to defend His position until His hour was come, and they will do the same. Their witness is powerfully effective.

No doubt these witnesses received a lot of the blame for the effects of the activities of the evil spirits in Revelation 9:14-21. From the mouths of the evil spirits too came fire, but also smoke and brimstone. But there the words and actions were not pure and God-like but devilish and evil. The church of God often gets tainted with the activities of false religion.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-11.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

These witnesses will be able to protect themselves by calling down fire on their enemies who try to harm them, as Elijah did (cf. 2 Kings 1:10-14). This is probably the meaning rather than that fire will actually proceed from their mouths. No one will be able to kill them until God permits this at the very end of their ministry ( Revelation 11:7).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "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 11:5. if any man desireth to hurt them fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devonreth their enemies. There can be no doubt that the allusion is to 2 Kings 1:10; 2 Kings 1:12, although literal fire may not be thought of, but rather those ‘words’ of the Lord in the mouth of His prophet of which it is said, ‘I will make them fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them’ (Jeremiah 5:14). In the last half of the verse we have the lex talionis, judgment returning in kind upon the oppressors of the just. These oppressors hurt to the extent of killing, just as the Jews ‘went about to kill Jesus’ in the days of His flesh. As a consequence, in this manner must they be killed.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "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

And if any man would hurt them, &c. These two verses seem to signify both the miracles which God many times wrought by the prayers of his martyrs, as he had done frequently in the time of Elias [Elijah] and the exemplary punishments with which from time to time he chastised those by whom they were persecuted, and that he will do the like by Henoch [Enoch] and Elias, when they shall come. (Witham) --- In this and the following verse are expressed the miraculous powers with which the two witnesses will be invested. These powers will be necessary to enable them to prove the truth of their doctrine. Every messenger who appears with a commission from God, is always furnished with means to prove it. Thus our Saviour and his apostles worked miracles in testimony of the Christian religion. And in the Old Testament, Elias convicted the false prophets by a miracle. See 3 Kings xviii. Every new teacher consequently, who comes destitute of this sanction, can claim no credit, but is only to be considered as an imposter. (Pastorini)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

if. App-118. a, with the texts.

any man = any one. App-123.

will. App-102.

fire. Compare Jeremiah 5:14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "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

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Will hurt - `desires to hurt them.'

Fire ... devoureth - (cf. Jeremiah 5:14; Jeremiah 23:29.)

Out of their mouth. God makes their inspired denunciations of judgment to come to pass and devour their enemies.

If any man will hurt them - repeated, to mark the certainty of the accomplishment.

In this manner - in like manner as he tries to hurt them (cf. Revelation 13:10). Retribution in kind.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "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

(5) And if any man . . .—Better, And if any one wills to injure them, fire goeth forth out of their mouths, and devoureth their enemies: and if any one wills to injure them, thus must he be slain. These have power to shut the heaven that the rain may not moisten (the earth) during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague as often as they will. Again the Old Testament basis becomes evident; the histories of Elijah and Moses supply the illustration. The fire devouring their foes seems to allude to 2 Kings 1:10; like Elijah, they can close the heaven (1 Kings 17:1); like Moses, they can turn water into blood and summon down every plague (Exodus 7:20, et seq.). These last characteristics remind us of the spirit and power of Moses and Elias, but we must not forget what has gone before: the witnesses are like olive trees and lights. In them is concentrated grace, light, and power; their witness recalls the great features of various Old Testament teachers and leaders; they display the light of truth, and men may not oppose or injure them with impunity; they wield a power which it is not safe to provoke. As from the mouths of the great Sixth Trumpet host there went forth fire and smoke and brimstone to kill the third part of mankind, so out of the mouths of these witnesses there goes forth a purer, but mightier flame. (Comp. Psalms 18:8.) We may compare the sword out of the mouth of Christ (Revelation 1:16), and the promise to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 5:14), “Behold I will make my words in thy mouth fire and this people wood, and it shall devour them.” The word which is like a sword to lay bare man to himself may become a consuming fire to those who resist or oppose it. The witnesses for God are thus armed with a spiritual might; for that word which, when accepted and lived by, brings peace, when rejected causes pain and danger. Thus often do the things which might have been for men’s peace become an occasion for falling; the stone which, used and built into the life, becomes a precious corner-stone and immovable foundation, grinds to powder those upon whom it falls. Thus is it with these witnesses: they come to witness for principles which go to make the world a Paradise once more. The world, which casts away their words, will find them come back with scorching force; just as the breath of God gives life and beauty to the world, and power to men’s hearts and lives (Psalms 104:30; John 20:22), yet with that same breath of His lips does He slay the wicked (Isaiah 11:4). Some have thought that there will be a time when witnesses for God will be raised up who will work literal wonders such as these. It is not for us to say that this will not be the case: all prophecy may take a sharper and clearer meaning as the times of the end draw near; but, meanwhile, it is needful for us to remember that the very power of truth is such that, when rejected, it can and does avenge itself by shutting heaven over our head, and making all the fresh rivulets of life’s purest pleasures loathsome as blood to the sensualised and perverted heart.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
fire
Numbers 16:28-35; 2 Kings 1:10-12; Psalms 18:8; Isaiah 11:4; Jeremiah 1:10; 5:14; Ezekiel 43:3; Hosea 6:5; Zechariah 1:6; 2:8; Acts 9:4,5
Reciprocal: Genesis 20:7 - pray;  1 Samuel 12:18 - sent thunder;  1 Kings 13:4 - his hand;  Job 38:35 - Canst;  Psalm 97:3 - GeneralJeremiah 23:29 - like as;  Daniel 10:2 - I Daniel;  Mark 11:18 - feared;  Luke 10:19 - and nothing;  John 7:7 - because;  Acts 5:5 - hearing;  Acts 27:24 - thou;  Revelation 11:10 - these;  Revelation 13:13 - he maketh;  Revelation 20:9 - and fire

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "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

If any man will hurt them,

fire proceedcth, etc. Both sentences of

this verse mean the same. We know

that no one was ever literally injured

by the Bible, hence we must under-

stand this to be a symbol. Its mean-

ing is that God is jealous for his word

and will inflict vengeance upon all who

oppose it. In times of "special provi-

dence" He caused various judgments

to come upon men who mistreated the

divine word. Otherwise the time will

come when eternal punishment will be

inflicted upon all who have not given

the word of God the respect it deserves.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". 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 11:5

Revelation 11:5-6 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

In these two verses is declared more particularly; I The power which Christ hath given unto his two prophetical witnesses, which power is three fold; first, they have power to shut heaven. Secondly, they have power over fire and waters. Thirdly, they have power to smite the earth with all plagues. { Revelation 11:6} II The objects upon whom their power is to be executed; to wit, their enemies that will hurt them. { Revelation 11:5} And, III The manner how they shall exercise their power;

fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

And if any man will hurt them

Revelation 11:5 kai ei tiv autouv qelh adikhsai pur ekporeuetai if any do them injury or injustice. There is no respect of persons with God; therefore saith Christ, who is the true and faithful Witness, If any one, viz. Power or Potentate, King or Emperor, Princes or Nobles, Pope, Priests or People will hurt them; that Isaiah, will persecute them, injure them, oppress them, and wrong them that are the Churches of God, and the faithful Ministers of Christ, who are his Witnesses, and do bear their Testimony for Christ against Antichrist.

Fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies.

By their mouth, here we are to understand their testimony, called the testimony of Jesus. { Revelation 1:2; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 12:11-17; Revelation 19:10} The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy, which Spirit of Prophecy, is called here the

fire which proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Christ's ministers and his churches of saints, when they are injured, wronged, and hurt by persecution, oppression, imprisonment, banishment, etc. ought not to betake themselves to their material arms, but to their spiritual prayers; their fire which devoureth and kills their enemies, must not proceed out of their guns, their brass or iron Canons, etc. but out of their mouth; viz. their prophecy and testimony of Jesus, {Read Acts 12:5-25} Herod the King stretched forth his hands (that Isaiah, his magisterial power) to vex certain of the church, and killed James the brother of John with the sword; -and he proceed further, and took Peter also, -and put him in prison, -but prayer was made (without ceasing) of the church unto God for him; and the angel of the Lord came, and delivered Peter out of prison. { Acts 12:7; Acts 12:11-12} And the Angel of the Lord smote Herod, and he gave up the Ghost. God made his word in the mouth of his prophets as fire { Jeremiah 5:14} etc. The faithful ministers of Christ, and churches of saints, have spiritual weapons; and especially the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. { Ephesians 6:11-17; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6} For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God.

These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy.

The ministerial and prophetical power of Christ's two witnesses, is here declared to be over waters (as well as fire) both the waters that are above the firmament of heaven, to shut heaven that it rain not; and this is the power of prayer also that Elijah had. { 1 Kings 17:1; James 5:17} Elias was a man subject to like (infirmities or) passions as we are; and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. Thus he shut heaven in the days of his prophecy; and thus Christ's two prophetical witnesses have power to shut heaven in the days of their prophecy. And they have power over the waters (under the firmament) to turn them into blood, as Moses did, { Exodus 7:19-21} and to smite the earth with all plagues, especially spiritual judgements { Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:13-15} and temporal also { Jeremiah 25:13} which God executeth according to the word of the Lord, which cometh forth out of their mouths.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-11.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.And—The imagery of these two verses seems to be based upon the history of Elijah.

Will—Rather, wills, or purposes to.

Fire—In 2 Kings 1:10; 2 Kings 1:12, fire came down from heaven, yet at the words of Elijah’s mouth. The powerful physical images under which the divine judgments following the rejected ministries of the evangelic witnesses need not perplex us. Physical miracles of far more gigantic figure are ascribed to the dragon Revelation 12:4, and to the beast Revelation 13:13-15. When even so sober a commentator as Alford is in profound doubt whether these two witnesses are not two literal men, who will in the future perform these physical miracles, and go through a martyrdom and miraculous resurrection after three days and a half, we are at once amazed and amused. Why not make the beast a real animal and his image a real automaton, by which physical miracles are wrought?

The sacred thought that underlies these physical images is easily disclosed by the ordinary laws of analogy. The fire that proceedeth out of the mouth of the evangelical prophet is forked. That is, it is alternative in its power; it must burn up the man’s sins or burn up his soul. He who hurts the prophets, by damaging the truth he represents, is devoured by that fire. It is the man, and not the sin, that dies. That the wages of rejecting the truth is death is so immutable a law that the speaker gives it an emphatically-repeated utterance.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 11:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-11.html. 1874-1909.