The two witnesses
1 Then I was given a staff like a measuring stick, and I was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count those who worship there. 2 Do not bother to measure the outer courtyard, for this has been given to the pagans who will trample over the Holy City for forty-two months. 3 Mean while, I will entrust my Word to my two witnesses who will proclaim it for one thou sand two hundred and sixty days, dressed in sackcloth.”
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps which are before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone intends to harm them, fire will come out of their mouths to devour their ene mies: this is how whoever intends to harm them will perish. 6 They have the power to close the sky and hold back the rain during the time of their prophetic mission; they also have the power to change water into blood, and punish the earth with a thousand plagues, any time they wish.
7 But when my witnesses have fulfilled their mission, the beast that comes up from the abyss will make war upon them, and will conquer and kill them. 8 Their dead bodies will lie in the square of the Great City which the be lievers figuratively call Sodom or Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. 9 And their dead bodies will be exposed for three days and a half to people of all tribes, races, languages and nations who will be ordered not to have them buried.
10 Then the inhabitants of the earth will rejoice, congratulate one another and exchange gifts among them selves because these two pro phets were a torment to them.
11 But after those three and a half days, a spirit of life coming from God entered them. They then stood up, and those who looked at them were seized with great fear. 12 A loud voice from heaven called them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in the midst of the clouds in the sight of their enemies.
13 At that moment, there was a violent earthquake which destroyed a tenth of the city and claimed seven thousand victims. The rest were overcome with fear, and acknowledged the God of heaven.
14 The second woe has passed. The third is coming soon.
15 The seventh angel blew his trumpet, then loud voices resounded in heaven: “The world has now become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. He will reign for ever and ever.”
16 The twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God bowed down to worship God, 17 saying,
17 We thank you, Lord God,
17 Master of the universe,
17 who are and who were,
17 for you have begun your reign,
17 making use of your invincible power.
18 The nations raged
18 but your wrath has come,
18 the time to judge the dead
18 and reward your servants the prophets,
18 the saints and those who honor your Name –
18 whether great or small –
18 and destroy those who destroy the earth.
19 Then the sanctuary of God in the heav ens was opened, and the Ark of the Covenant of God could be seen inside the sanctuary. There were flashes of lightning, peals of thun der, an earthquake and a violent hail -storm.
Towards the Future: The World and the Church