Revelation 11

Some say one of the most difficult chapters to interpret. Reference to: Temple the Holy City Two prophets The beast 1,260 days A great earthquake 7,000 dead People who glorify God Two main approaches to interpret this chapter: 1) the Jewish items such temple, altar Holy City deal with the Jewish people 2) this all refers to the church Commentaries present a wide range of explaining this chapter. If the reader understands this chapter literally it will both fit with the flow of the book and the details (temple, city, months, days, etc.) will make sense: Literally: 1)  Verse 11:14 says these events are part of the second woe.  So, these events are part of the sixth trumpet.   The sixth trumpet involves the biggest part of the last 3 1/2 years.  The sixth trumpet would be sounded days before the 3 1/2 year mark and the witnesses would be resurrected 3 1/2 days after their 1,260 days are over.  This leaves a matter of weeks for the seventh trumpet and the last 7 bowls. 2)  The great city is Jerusalem 3)  The two witnesses are two men 4)  1,260 days, 42 months and 3 1/2 days are just what they say they are. 5)  The earthquake and the 7,000 dead are real. In chapters 10-14 we have parenthetical section that stops and gives details of various topics.   The exception in these chapters is the sounding of the seventh trumpet though 11:1   I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there." Measuring and counting indicate God is interested in these things.  It may be for protection, for judgment, for ownership or some personal concern. So the temple (here, it is the holy place and the most holy place, but not the outer court), the altar, and the believers are of concern to God here. Measuring these things indicates that the area belongs to God in some way. Zechariah 2:1, "Then I looked up - and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand!  I asked, "Where are you going?"  He answered me, "To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is." Here God is preparing for Israel's fuller return, their population explosion, the increase in livestock and their overall prosperity.  Also, the Lord was going to be a wall around Jerusalem to protect it. Ezekiel 40:2, "In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city. . . I saw a wall completely surrounding the temple area.  The length of the measuring rod in the man's hand was six ling cubits . . .He measured the wall; it was one measuring rod thick and one rod high. . ." The details of the new temple is measured right before the millennium begins.  Here again we see a new phase of God's plan about ready to begin. Revelation 21:15, "The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of fold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. . . He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using." The city called New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven to the new earth for the eternal state is measured at the beginning of eternity. 11:2  "But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles.  They will trample on the holy city for 42 months." This 42 months is the next 3 1/2 years. The fact that a distinction is made between the Gentiles and the Jews is support for the belief that the church age has ended with the rapture. God is not concerned with the outer court since he does not measure it.  It will be 42 months before he is personally involved in the outer court again. This again is speaking of the second half of the tribulation since the Gentiles control the outer court.   During the first 3 1/2 years the Jews control their land and their temple until the Anti-christ breaks the treaty. Jesus spoke of this time period in Luke 21:24, "They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.  Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." During the age of the Gentiles Jerusalem has been ruled by: Assyria Babylon Medo-Persia Greece Rome Turks British Arabs The sounding of the seventh trumpet indicates that the times of the Gentiles are over. 11:3  "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." "Power" This word means "authority" "Two witnesses" "witnesses" is "martus" These are two individual men.  Some commentators say they represent the church, the church and Israel, Deut. 17:6; Matt 18:16 say that two witnesses are required to confirm a thing to be true. Their Identity: Option One—Moses and Enoch because: 1) Mal 4:5 specifically says that Elijah will come again before the day of the Lord. 2) The causing of a drought is very much in Elijah’s line. In fact his first drought was three and half years. 3) Calling fire from heaven is another Elijah style behavior 4) Hebrews 9:27 says that it is appointed for man to die once. Elijah has not yet died, thus he could go through death here without violating this statement. In fact it could be argued that he was due a death experience. The second is more problematic. Many plump for Moses. The main arguments for are his predisposition for turning water into blood, his experience in harassing the Egyptians with plagues, and his accompaniment of Elijah on the mount of transfiguration. Some however think the second witness is not Moses: it is Enoch for the following reasons: - A) It is appointed unto man once to die[2]. Moses died[3]; he cannot die again. It is true that Moses’ burial was a little unusual but that does not detract from his death; if anything it emphasizes it. Enoch was translated, he is thus able to return and then die. B) Moses is primarily associated with the Law. Christ satisfied the law. The judgment during the tribulation is split into two: the relationship of God with the Jew and the relationship of God with the gentile. Enoch would be in a far better position to expound upon the latter. C) As Jamieson Fausset Brown points out in Rev 11 there are two candlesticks, in Zec 4 from which the imagery comes there is only one. This could be explained by suggesting that the witness to the gentiles (Enoch) was hidden during within Zec. which is largely Jewish. It is hard to imagine Moses being hidden in that way. D) Enoch has already been given a vision of the end times (Jude 1:14). Although there could have been many reasons for that an obvious one would be because he was going to be there. E) One of the few characteristics given of these men is that they stand before the Lord of the Earth. It was noted of Enoch that he walked with God. Option Two—Moses and Elijah because: 1)  the miracles they perform - destroying enemies with fire, withholding rain, turning water into blood, striking the earth with plagues) 2)  3 1/2 year drought like Elijah (James 5:17) 3) Both OT and NT teach that Moses and Elijah are to return. a)  Malachi 4:5 b) Deut. 18:15-18 Moses promise that God would raise up a prophet like Moses. c) Matt 11:14 Jesus said John the Baptist was himself the Elijah who was to come.  Since, Jesus was rejected the first time, and is going to come a second time for national acceptance, then obviously Elijah must come again also.  Luke 1:17 says John the Baptist came, "in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared fro the Lord." d) Moses and Elijah (the law and the prophets) both appeared with Jesus at the Transfiguration e) Both had unusual death experiences.  Hebrews 9:27 says, "man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, does not mean these men can not return since Lazarus and others where resurrected. Option Three—A Similar Ministry as Moses and Elijah: I believe they will be two men who appear with a ministry like Elijah for sure and probably like Moses. I do not think that Elijah will live again anymore than I think that John the Baptist was really Elijah.   John the Baptist was John and did not remember his former life as Elijah.   I do not think Enoch even plays into this scripture unless you need to have actual resuscitations of two historical men.   In that case Elijah and Enoch could be the ones to come back.   Who ever they were they clearly have a clear path to witness for God for forty-two months. There will be some that try to prevent the witness but they will have the power to continue. "Prophesy" This word means "to speak forth, to proclaim, to preach."  It does not have to refer to predicting the future. They are basically preaching under the anointing of God. Their basic purpose is to associate God with the judgments that will occur during the last 3 1/2 years.   They will identify before hand what is coming and then preach about its meaning after the disaster has begun. They will also be preaching the gospel calling people to repent. "1260 days" This is a period of time that begins right before the first 3 1/2 years end.   These days will continue up until the last few weeks of the second 3 1/2 years. The Jews are protected in the widerness during this time (12:6) Tim La Hayes says: "These two individuals, specially sealed by God to be a witness to Jerusalem and Israel, will arise probably during the first half of the tribulation. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, the two witnesses will be able to perform miracles and they will be protected by God against those who try to harm them until their mission is complete. For three and a half years they will minister in Jerusalem without being harmed. At the end of the 1260 days, God will remove their special protection so that the Antichrist will then kill them and their bodies will be left in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days after which God will resurrect them and rapture them to heaven. Once they have ascended to heaven, a great earthquake will occur, destroying a tenth of Jerusalem killing 7000 people." "Sackcloth" Rough, coarse and heavy cloth worn as a symbol of mourning, grief, humility. Jacob wore it when Joseph was thought to have died David's people wore it after Abner had been murdered David wore it after he had counted Israel's fighting men These two witnesses will wear it to help communicate their message of woe and call to repentance. 11:4  These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. These two men will have a powerful and effective ministry Zechariah 4:1-14  Here two  men, Joshua (high priest) and Zerrubabel (the political leader) where the olive trees that supplied oil (The Holy Spirit) to the lampstand.   Joshua and Zerrubabel where anointed to provide this manifestation of the Holy Spirit.   The result was light that provided direction and spiritual enlightenment for the people of the time of the return and rebuilding of the temple. The two prophets are the same thing.   They will be anointed by the Spirit to provide light and guidance during these days.   They two will lead the rebuilding of the temple (indicating an appearance during the first half of the tribulation).   They will be successful in motivating and leading Israel and many in the world to revival.   These two will have a large influence on the national revival of Israel. 11:5  If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies.  This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men are going to organize and motivate large numbers of people.   They will have miraculous abilities and divine protection.   They will be equip with a divine self defense system. Many who oppose their message and suffer the consequences of their ministry will want to destroy these two men. If we are reading this chapter literally then this "fire" is real and it comes out their mouths. This fire could come out as literal fire or could be words that manifest the fire of God. Elijah did this from the hill in 2 Kings 1. Any one who tries to harm them "must die."   "Must die" is "dei auton apoktanthanai"   "Dei" means "it is binding," "it is necessary."   "Apoktanthanai" is the aorist passive "to kill" Any one who tries to harm them must be killed because these two men are on an assignment from God.   They can not be stopped until God has finished his work through them.   To oppose them is to oppose God. 11:6  These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. During the time of the demon release from the abyss and the angelic invasion of the 5th and 6th trumpets these two men will add to the calamities by directly controlling rain and contaminating water and any other kind of plague that can get the attention of the world.  I guess they'd appear to our modern world as "terrorist from God." 11:7  Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. They have an appointed time and an appointed mission.   When both are complete the beast from the abyss attacks them. This is the first of thirty-six mentions of the beast in Revelation. This beast is not Satan since Satan does not come from the Abyss.  This "beast" has spent time in the abyss.  Later in Revelation this "beast" is described as being a man who is a world leader.  The false-christ.  This beast is human but is empowered (possessed, energized, resurrected/resuscitated?) by a demon/fallen angel. 11:8  Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. In those days Jerusalem will be as overrun with evil and demons as Sodom and ancient Egypt. Since this says "where also their Lord was crucified" is a very clear and literal reference to Jerusalem. The fact that it says "figuratively" lets us know that as we read this literally, John tells us when it is figurative. 11:9  For three and a half days men from every  people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. Refusing burial is a way of dishonoring the dead. For years the commentators pointed out that it would be impossible for everyone to watch two bodies lying in Jerusalem. Of course we now have TV so this is easy. If only we would learn that Revelation is going to make good simple sense once we wait long enough to see it happen. 11:10  The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. The antichrist, the beast, had won a great battle. The whole world of "those who dwell on the earth" will be manifest their joy by giving.   Giving is something that has not happened for a long time. "Those who dwell on the earth" is a technical term for unbelievers 11:11  But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. You could image people getting a little nervous around the third day. They would have known that the Lord rose on the third day and they might have been concerned that the witnesses would to. But they didn’t. Twelve hours into the fourth day everyone would be convinced of victory: and then the witnesses are raised and called into heaven. The world will think they will begin their ministry again, but God's plan of grace and mercy from them is over. They could have gone on witnessing; but that ministry is over. The ambassadors have been removed. The final war and judgment is now going to occur. 11:12  Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here."   And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. 11:13  At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed.   Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the god of heaven. The word "people" is the Greek phrase for "names of men." This would indicate the identification and listing of 7,000 people or it may mean that 7,000 leaders in the antichrist's kingdom where killed. This occurs in Jerusalem.  1/10 of the city collapses and 7,000 (probably, manly Jews) die.   The survivors of this earthquake would be Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem.   They repent and give glory to God.     11:14  The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. 11:15  The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:  "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his  Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." The sounding of the seventh trumpet sets in motion the last events of the tribulation. Remember Rev. 10:7, “In the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” These events include: The final display of wrath of the judgments during the tribulation (16:1-21) The harvest of the earth (11:18; 16:19) The Lamb’s defeat of the kings of the earth (17:12-18) The final triumph of Christ at Armageddon (19:11-21) God’s answer to the prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt.6:10) These are the events of the rest of the book. This trumpet is not the trumpet of 1 Cor.15:52 or 1 Thes. 4:16. This could be the trumpet of Joel 2:1-2, “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand—a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.” The use of “kingdom or the world” instead of “kingdoms” is important because they are all under the heading of the kingdom of Satan. Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11 The verbs “has become” is a proleptic aorist. This is used to describe a future event that is so certain that it is proper to speak of it as if it has already happened. 11:16  And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, The twenty-four elders are the priestly representatives of the church age. 11:17  Saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. “You have taken” shows that God who is sovereign and controls history has been allowing freewill to have major input in history. This new level of reigning is different than he has been doing as he was controlling history. 11:18  The nations were angry; and your wrath has come.  The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name,  both small and great - and for destroying those who destroy the earth." “The nations were angry” is not referring to a temporary reaction to the tribulation but an on going frame of reference that has been going on through out time. 11:19  Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm."