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I am reading through Revelation again, in the NKJV. I recently read chapter 11, and something stood out at me that I have never seen before. I want to ask about it, hence this post.

Revelation 11:1-8 (NKJV),

  1. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
  2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
  3. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
  4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
  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.
  6. 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.
  7. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
  8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

It appears clear to me the following:

  1. An angel is speaking with John (Verse 1)
  2. The angel calls the two witnesses his (Verse 3)
  3. The angel that spoke to John about his two witnesses, is not Jesus (Verse 8)
  4. Jesus is the Lord of both John and the angel (Verse 8)

So, then, who is this angel and why does he claim that the two witnesses belong to him, and not to the Lord Jesus, even though he says Jesus is his, and their, Lord?

  • See also Judges 2:1. – Lucian Nov 24 '17 at 7:20
  • Hi, Lucian. Is the recommendation to see Judges 2:1 your way of saying that the angel in Revelation 11 is the Angel of the LORD (YHVH)? Thanks! – The Votive Soul Nov 24 '17 at 8:18
  • I've spent just a few minutes looking at this and my head hurts and I feel nauseous! There doesn't seem to be a textual issue and no place for a change of speaker. I'll look forward to seeing if anyone can sort this out. Very interesting catch! – Ruminator Nov 24 '17 at 21:41
  • One challenge with some texts is working out who is saying what. The NIV finishes the angel's words at v3. So v4 onwards is John's response and reflection. I'm not sure if I agree with this, but it will certainly influence the overall interpretation. – Peter Kirkpatrick Nov 25 '17 at 10:17
  • @TheVotiveSoul: It is quite customary for angels to speak in the first person in the place of the One Who sent them, and Whose message they are delivering, sometimes verbatim. – Lucian Nov 25 '17 at 17:23
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You ask an excellent question! It recently stood out to me as well. The angel that spoke in Rev. 11:1-3 is the mighty angel that spoke throughout Rev. 10. Therefore "my two witnesses" would have to refer to the two men who witnessed the mighty angel. John the Apostle is his second witness, and his first would have to be Daniel the Prophet. Daniel called him a "man clothed in linen." Daniel encountered him twice (Dan. 10:5-9 and 12:5-7).

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the phrase "and the angel stood" (Rev. 11:1) is left out of most Bible translations. It's omitted in the Majority Text but included in the Textus Receptus, which the KJV scholars went by. I agree with them, because the sentence is vague if it only says: "There was given to me a reed like unto a rod, saying, 'Rise and measure the temple of God'."

That sentence leaves the reader guessing as to who was saying that. There were no chapter breaks in the original text. So, even if we leave out the phrase "and the angel stood" (Rev. 11:1), I think we still have to conclude that the mighty angel of chapter 10 must have been speaking in Rev. 11:1-3, and that his two witnesses are Daniel the Prophet and John the Apostle.

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Rev 22:16  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 

The angel was not speaking his own words but the words of Jesus when he said "my two witnesses" The "my" is Jesus not the angel. At times Jesus is the one speaking but at some times it is an angel speaking on Christ's behalf.

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When a verse does not make sense in its immediate context we sometimes look for a 'double reference' revelation.

John 14:9-10
(9) Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? (10) Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

While John wrote down his experience in Koine Greek the poetry is very Jewish.

What I mean is that it is both the LORD Jesus speaking and immediately after it is John commenting and prophesying through the Holy Spirit in blocks of logic closely clustered together.

In the Book of Revelations the Holy Spirit moves freely through John between what the Lord says and what John observes with full Holy Ghost commentary.

This kind of poetry is called a 'double reference' Hebrew poetry which was used in some Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament sowing seeds about the identity of the Messiah through blocks of logic closely clustered together in the midst of other prophecies.

The 'double reference' principle states that one block of Scripture dealing with one person, one event, and one time may be followed by another block of Scripture dealing with a different person, place, and time, yet there is no clear distinction between the two blocks indicating that there is a gap of time between them. The gap of time is known only from other Scriptures. (Isaiah 7:14)

When we prophecy it is you speaking and sometimes it is God speaking directly through you and it is the hearers job to discern and divide the word.

The insight here is that the Holy Spirit in Revelations moves freely between what the Lord says, what John observes and Holy Ghost commentary. The information may be easily overlooked as we often read the 'double reference' poetry in a single block of context.

The bottom line is without a revelation from the Holy Spirit prophecy is dangerous, its easily misunderstood and is impossible to decode ahead of time much like our internet passwords because of the great number of interpretive options.

Revelations 2:17. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."

Therefore ahead of time prophecy can only be understood by them who receive it from His person.

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  • This doesn't answer anything; it doesn't even address the issue: which is the identity of the "angel" in question. – The Votive Soul Sep 28 '18 at 8:10
  • Perhaps a more humble and productive comment would be "I don't understand how this is addressing the question?" It helps to clarify first by asking the author of the answer. One line states... "What I mean is that it is both the LORD Jesus speaking and immediately after it is John commenting and prophesying through the Holy Spirit in blocks of logic closely clustered together." What the above is saying is.. its the Angel of the Lord who is speaking then immediately in the next line without a clear indication of a change of person in the next line it is John and Holy Ghost commenting. – Newby Sep 29 '18 at 15:04
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    Your first answer doesn't even contain the word angel in it, so that's why it doesn't answer the question posed. This comment above is an explanation of the explanation. All you needed to originally write is "its the Angel of the Lord who is speaking..." just as you've done above, then support the claim. Otherwise, there's no need to correct (your presumed level of) my pride or lack of productivity. That's not what this site is about. Pride and lack of productivity goes both ways, because your claim also lack humility and productivity. More succinctly: Address the issues, not the issuer. – The Votive Soul Sep 29 '18 at 22:36
  • You said I didn't answer anything when I felt you didn't take the time to understand what I wrote. I accept it wasn't spelled out with the word 'angel etc but I thought I argued clearly that in that particular section of Revelations it is (1) the Lord speaking, (2) John or (3) the Holy Ghost commentary through John. ANYWAY I finally get your point regarding the clarity that answers are required on this website hence I will abstain for a while. I also apologies for hitting the issuer but I was annoyed and felt you threw my answer under the bus without taking the time to understand it. Peace – Newby Sep 30 '18 at 17:24
  • No hard feelings, Newby. I understood your answer as it was relayed, but didn't see any connection to the question posed. Now, with this further explanation, I understand what you were intending. A follow question: Do you see how saying it was either Jesus, John, or the Holy Spirit makes it look like you are calling one of those three an "angel"? Is that your intention here? If so, okay, but will you edit or add to your answer to explain why you see it that way? Thanks. – The Votive Soul Sep 30 '18 at 22:55

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