Section: Chapter Ten - The Little Scroll
ELEVEN - DANIEL 9:24 COMPLETED
[Trumpet Judgment 7]
(1) Then there was given
me (2) a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, (3) "Get
up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship
in it. (4) Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not
measure it, (5) for it has been given to the nations; and (6) they will
tread under foot the holy city for (7) forty-two months.
1. Chapter 11 begins somewhat
abruptly from a grammatical standpoint. Specific grammatical indicators
that suggest types of transitions usually support chapter divisions.
These are usually not evident in an English translation, but are very
clear in the original Greek. A grammatical connection between chapters
10 and 11 is absent. However, there is a logical reason for why the
content of chapter 11 follows chapter 10. The strong angel announced
the end of Gods "delay" in punishing the living earth-dwellers
responsible for the death of His faithful followers. We were told
the "what," but not the "why." Why is the end
of Gods "delay" suddenly and dramatically announced
following the sixth trumpet, just before the seventh trumpet sounds?
Chapter 11 will explain
that the announcement of Gods suspension of His "delay"
is neither sudden nor unexpected. In fact, it comes at Gods
precisely intended point in the sequence of end-time events. In step
with the rest of the NT, the sequence of the end time events in the
Revelation is known, but the exact timing when these events will occur
is not known. Therefore, chapter 10 is a critical chronological marker.
In addition, chapter 11 will explain why John must prophesy against
nations, tongues, peoples and kings.
One other note: modern
commentaries are much too quick to spiritualize this chapter. While
there are figures of speech employed to communicate Johns intended
meaning, this is no basis to claim nothing literal or yet futuristic
about Revelation 11. The only obstacle to a futuristic literal fulfillment
of Revelation 11 is the intellectual bias of modern theologians.
2. A measuring rod = is
similar to Ezekiel 40:3. John is given an instrument for measuring.
3. Get up and measure the
temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it = explains
what John is to measure. John is clearly on the earth, since the strong
angel of chapter 10 descended from heaven and stood on the earth.
We are not told how John will get to the temple, when he will actually
carry out the measuring or the results of his measurements. The
temple of God is a clear reference to the earthly tabernacle of
God. One can be sure that there is no outer court that the nations
trample in heaven. "The temple (naos) of God" is
referred to in Revelation 11:19 with the designation which is in
heaven. This clearly sets it apart from the temple on earth. The
term temple can translate two Greek words: naos or hieron.
Naos normally only refers to the building that houses the holy
of holies. Hieron refers to the complete temple area including
the building that houses the holy of holies as well as the courts.
From the building that
houses the holy of holies (naos), John is to proceed to measure
the altar. Since the altar of incense is located in the holy
place, which is part of the building that houses the holy of holies,
this altar is more than likely the altar of burnt offerings. It (in
the Herodian temple) was located in the court of the priests, which
is the next area one sees when leaving the building that houses the
holy of holies.
The third and final thing
to be measured by John concerns "those who worship in (near)
it (the altar located in court of the priests). "Those who worship"
in this particular area are the priests. Naturally, John would not
measure people the same way he would measure a building. Therefore,
John is to count the priests who worship in the area of the altar
of burnt offerings. Why does God want these three entities measured/counted?
We shall return to this question later.
4. Leave out the court
which is outside the temple and do not measure it = is the second
half of Johns instructions. John is told to exclude the outer
court, which was the area designated for Gentiles. It is not to be
5. For it has been given
to the nations = explains the reason the outer court is not to be
measured. God has ordained by His sovereign choice to allow the outer
court, reserved for Gentiles to honor Him, to be dishonored by Gentiles.
"The nations" usually refer to Gentiles only.
6. And they will tread
under foot the holy city = explains what the Gentiles will do.
To tread under foot is a figure of speech. It means "to mistreat
or abuse (BADG 640 §1ag)." "The holy city" is
a clear and unmistakable reference to Jerusalem. However, there is
doubt on the part of some that it refers to the literal earthly city,
Jerusalem. Some argue that the reference concerns a spiritualized
"mother of cities." All arguments betray a bias against
a literal interpretation of this chapter. As the earthly home of God
Almighty, Jerusalem was referred to as a "holy city" in
the Old Testament (Isa 52:1, Neh 11:1). Gentiles will dishonor Gods
place of worship and abuse the city.
7. Forty-two months = defines
the length of time "the holy city" will be abused. Forty-two
months equals three and a half years or 1,260 days. This numerically
specific number has a pre-history in the book of Daniel. Daniel predicted
a future period of human history, which he described in several ways:
(1) time, times, and half a time (Dan 7:25; 12:7); (2) half a week
(Dan 9:27); (3) 1,290 days (Dan 12:11). The fact that the Revelation
refers to a period of human history, which is also described as: (1)
1,260 days (Rev 11:3; 12:6); (2) time, times, and half a time (Rev
12:14); and (3) forty-two months (Rev 11:2), confirms a Danielic connection.
This unique time frame
is specifically prophetic in connection with the prophesied reign
of "the prince." There is no doubt on the part of scholars
that Daniel and the Revelation speaks of the fulfillment of the same
prophetic event. However, the problem concerns the fulfillment itself.
Preterists argue that the events are synonymous, but were fulfilled
in the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. Those who spiritualize the
text see an on-going fulfillment as God and His people battle against
evil in the world. Futurists see a literal future fulfillment of Daniels
prophecies that are confirmed in the Revelation.
Daniel predicts that a
beast (a king) from the sea would arise and persecute the people of
God for time, times and half a time. The Revelation confirms this
(Rev 12-13). The crucial question concerns how this event relates
to "the holy city" suffering abuse by the nations for forty-two
months. Luke 21:24 states, "and they (the Jews) will fall by
the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations;
and Jerusalem (the holy city) will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles
(the nations) until the times of the Gentiles (the nations) are fulfilled."
The Lord Jesus prophetically indicates that Gentile abuse of the Jews
and Jerusalem would be set in motion by a terrible destruction "by
armies (Luke 21:20)." As Luke 21:12 indicates this terrible destruction
and enslavement of the Jews and Jerusalem would begin during the lifetime
of the Disciples and would eventuate into the coming of the kingdom
of God. This prophetic event begun in AD 70 is said to continue "until
the times of the Gentiles (the nations) are fulfilled." Therefore,
the preterists are half right and half wrong. The events of AD 70
did fulfill prophecy, but not all prophecy. The events necessary to
inaugurate the Lords return began, but not the consummation
of His return.
In content, one characteristic
of "the times of the Gentiles (the nations)" is an abuse
of Jerusalem by the Gentiles. Their abuse consists of their fundamental
disregard for Jerusalem as the city of God upon the earth. Their willingness
to worship other gods upon the very site the true God of heaven calls
His home is the gravest and most abusive act of human history. This
God will allow during this Gentile dispensation. The final three and
a half years of this Gentile dispensation will be the worst of all.
It is during this period that the ultimate act of abuse of Jerusalem
will occur. This event will be presented in detail in Revelation 12-13.
However, the reason this
detail appears at this point in the narrative of the Revelation is
because while the Gentile dispensation of abuse of the Jews and Jerusalem
runs its course, God has at the same time been taking a people for
his name from among the Gentiles. The mystery of God (Gods
special work in Jesus to bring Gentiles to glory) ends at the same
time that "the times of the Gentiles" ends. They run concurrent
and they culminate at the same time. While God has poured out grace
on the Gentiles (the nations), they have returned his mercy with abuse
of His people (the Jews) and His City (Jerusalem). The termination
of the "delay" also means the termination of the Gentile
abuse of Gods people and their city. The punishment of the abusers
of Gods holy city is Johns first prophecy in fulfillment
of his charge to prophesy against people, nations, tongues and kings.
(1) And I will grant (2)
authority to (3) my two witnesses, and (4) they will prophesy
for (5) twelve hundred and sixty days (6) clothed in sackcloth."
1. And I will grant = is
another very abrupt comment. There is no grammatical connection indicated.
However, the connection is a logical one. The ministry and death of
the two Jewish witnesses is another example and reason for Johns
prophetic ministry against peoples, nations, tongues and kings. Specifically,
the abuse the two Jewish witnesses will experience justifies Gods
wrath against the living earth-dwellers (peoples, nations, tongues,
and kings). The unspecified speaker of Revelation 11:1 (someone
said) is specified in Revelation 11:3 (I will grant). The
speaker is none other than God, Himself.
2. Authority = is put in
italics in the NASB because it is not in the original text. The translators
have added it to give the reader a sense of what John intended.
3. My two witnesses = identifies
who receives authority from God. With the definite Greek article "the"
before it, John indicates his audiences familiarity with the
witnesses--not their specific names and identity, but their specific
roles. Verse four will deal with this issue in detail.
Wild and unnecessary speculations
about the identity of these two witnesses have filled many pages.
Enoch and Elijah are by far the leaders in this theological guessing
game. Given the fact that both are murdered and savagely treated,
it is highly unlikely that the two witnesses are historical figures
from Israels past. The Lord Jesus, Himself, states, that the
living "will not be persuaded" to repent "even if someone
rises from the dead (Luke 16:31)." A point proved by His own
resurrection. Equally, given that these two witnesses are murdered,
it is extremely unlike God to resurrect faithful giants like Moses,
Elijah, Enoch or any other great figure from the OT only to have them
murdered in the streets of Jerusalem. Another point that argues against
past historical figures, particular Elijah, concerns the ministry
of the two witnesses.
The ministry of Elijah
is specifically defined. Malachi 4:5-6 states,
Behold, I am going to
send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible
day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their
children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that
I will not come and smite the land with a curse.
What exactly is Malachi
predicting here? The Lord Jesus helps us understand the meaning of
this text. He states in Matthew 17:11, "Elijah is coming and
will restore all things
." Literally, "Indeed, Elijah
is coming and he will restore all things." This demands that
John the Baptist was in a figurative sense, Elijah. However, the verse
also supports the conclusion that the real literal Elijah is going
to come. Jesus summaries Elijahs mission: to restore all things.
Elijah is going to bring reconciliation among the people of Israel.
Now the reader must pay close attention to the Lords words.
Elijah will restore all things. Notice Elijah will not try to restore.
Elijah will not desire to restore, but in fact, Elijah will restore
all things. Such a ministry is not reported to be a part of the ministry
of the two witnesses. It is therefore best to see the two witnesses
as two future individuals whom God will use in ministry reminiscent
of Moses and Elijah (for reason to be stated below).
4. They will prophesy =
explains the two witnesses' ministry. The two witnesses are specially
called prophets in Revelation 11:10. These prophets will function
as Old Testament prophets functioned. They will speak for God to the
people and judge those who refuse to obey. What they will prophesy
is not stated explicitly, but the objects of their punishment is stated
5. Twelve hundred and sixty
days = is the length of the ministry of the two witnesses. This numerical
designation finds affinity with Daniel 7:26 and 12:7. It is the same
time frame during which the holy city will experience the worst abuse
and dishonor the Gentile nations will ever level against it.
6. Clothed in sackcloth
= explains the dress of the witnesses and gives us a clue to the content
of their prophecies. "Sackcloth" (of OT fame) was usually
made of coarse animal hair like goats or camels. Genesis 37:34 indicates
sackcloth was a garment of mourning. I Kings 20:31-32 indicates the
wearing of sackcloth evidences humility in the face of authority (see
also Dan 9:3). Sackcloth could also be used to indicate a desire for
forgiveness when repentance is made, which is evidenced in John 3:5-8.
Zechariah 13:7 indicates that sackcloth was the attire of the prophets
on various occasions (See Isa 20:2). Zechariah indicates that the
wearing of sackcloth was or will be the habit of those attempting
to deceive the people of God. Thus, the wearing of sackcloth by a
prophet evidenced true or faked sincerity. It was a mark of authenticity
for the prophet.
These are (1) the two olive
trees and (2) the two lampstands that stand before (3) the Lord of the
1. The two olive trees
= offers one more clue to the identity of the two witnesses. Here
we have an explicit allusion to Zechariah 4:14. Where the two olive
trees are identified as the two anointed ones who are standing
by the Lord of the whole earth." Exactly who the anointed ones
are is not explicitly stated, but this explains Johns use of
the definite article back in verse three. Johns audience knew
the witnesses as prophetic characters, but did not know their names
or unique identities.
2. The two lampstands =
is the second clue given about the two witnesses. This also appears
to allude to Zechariah 4:11.
3. The Lord of the earth
= is God, Himself.
(1) And if anyone wants to
harm them, (2) fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies;
so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.
1. If anyone wants to harm
them = is curious to say the least. Why would anyone want to harm
them? To harm means to hurt or to harm, with the implication
of doing something which is wrong and undeserved (Louw & Nida
§ 20.25). Therefore, whoever it is that seeks to harm the witnesses,
there reason to do so is fraudulent. John describes those who will
want to harm the two witnesses as "their enemies."
2. Fire flows out of their
mouth = is one of the many reasons most scholars either see a spiritualized
or symbolical significance to the book of Revelation. Fire proceeding
from the mouth can hardly be taken literally or can it? Jeremiah 4:14
speaks metaphorically of Gods word as fire. However, the fact
that John emphasizes by restatement, "if anyone wants to harm
them, he must be killed in this way," argues strongly for a literal
interpretation here. In the tradition of the Old Testament, particularly
Elijah, the miraculous use of literal fire in judgment has precedent.
In addition, John describes the death of the enemies of the two witnesses
as devouring. Incineration by fire would be an effective means
of disposing of your enemies.
(1) These have the power
to shut up the sky, (2) so that rain will not fall during the days of
their prophesying; and (3) they have power over the waters to turn them
into blood, and (4) to strike the earth with every plague, (5) as often
as they desire.
1. These have the power
to shut up the sky = is the first of three prerogatives of the two
witnesses. Power is better translated authority. This
prerogative is assigned to both witnesses. While Elijah is typically
pictured, as the one shutting up the heavens, both witnesses will
have this authority. Interestingly, Elijah did in fact shut the heavens
of rain for three and a half years during his earthly ministry (Luke
4:25; James 5:17).
2. So that rain will not
fall during the days of their prophesying = is the result of a shut
up sky. "Rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying"
is a severe judgment. The fact that Israel experienced a three and
a half-year period without rain means it is possible to survive, but
with great difficulty. Water will be an expensive commodity. Given
the trumpet and bowl judgments that deal with salt and fresh water
sources, it is clear that the two witnesses will limit their influence
to specific geographical areasJerusalem and its environs will
be one of them.
3. They have power [authority]
over waters to turn them into blood = is the second prerogative of
the witnesses. Not only will they stop the rain from heaven, but they
will also ruin water sources on earth. Turning water into blood is
reminiscent of the prophet Moses. However, both witnesses will have
4. [They have authority]
to strike the earth with every plague = defines the third prerogative
of this group. They both have this ability. The witnesses have an
unlimited range of possible plagues; are unlimited as to how many
times they strike; and the total earth surface can be their victim.
This does not bode well for the world.
5. As often as they desire
= indicates that God has given these witnesses the choice concerning
how often they strike. This indicates a tremendous amount of trust
on Gods part in these witnesses.
(1) When they have finished
their testimony, (2) the beast that comes up out of the abyss (3) will
make war with them, and (4) overcome them and kill them.
1. When they have finished
their testimony = refers back to the designation of "twelve hundred
and sixty days," in Revelation 11:3. It is critical for the reader
to discover which half of the of Daniels seven-year prophetic
week the ministry of the two witnesses will occur. There are those
who would debate whether Daniels Seventieth Week is in view
throughout Revelation 4-19. Linguistic, theological, semantic and
historical details make any other conclusion unacceptable. We shall
deal with this question at chapters 12-13, later.
When will the two witnesses
finish their work: the first half or the second half of Daniels
Seventieth Week? It is our belief that they prophecy and torment the
wicked during the second half of Daniels Seventieth Week. Our
reasons are thus: The unique length of the two witnesses ministry
is proof that Revelation 10-11 coincides with the end of Daniels
Seventieth Week and the beginning of the seventy-five day period that
immediately follows it. God states in Revelation 11:3 that He would
"grant authority to my two witnesses and they will prophesy for
twelve hundred and sixty days
." Twelve hundred and sixty
days is equal to forty-two months, three and a half years or time,
times, and half a time.
These particular time references
are explicitly identified only in the books of Daniel and Revelation.
In every case, the same prophetic period is indicatedthe second
half of Daniels Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:27). Daniel 7:25, 12:7
and Revelation 13:5 indicate that "time, times and half a time"
or "forty-two months" is the amount of time given to the
beast to persecute the saints of God. Daniel 9:27 indicates that "the
prince" will have half a week, which is three and half years,
to persecute the people of God. Revelation 12:6 and 14 indicate that
"twelve hundred and sixty days" or "time, times, and
half a time" is the amount of time God will protect "the
woman" in the wilderness from Antichrists persecution.
There is no significant debate, among those who hold to the futurity
of Daniels last week of prophecy, that the six references above
refer to the second half of Daniels Seventieth Week.
Revelation 11:3 is the
seventh explicit reference to a three and a half year period in the
books of Daniel and Revelation. The burden of proof that Revelation
11:3 does not refer to the second half of Daniels Seventieth
Week lies with those who would argue differently. This question might
have been left in the unsolvable category if it were not for the three
woes. The strategic placement of the ministry of the two witnesses
between woes one and two prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the
ministry of the two witness must occur during the second half of Daniels
Seventieth Week. Johns choice to place the details of the ministry
of the witnesses in Revelation 11 is logical. The death of the two
witnesses coincides with the end of the Seventieth Week and provides
another reason for John to "prophesy against many peoples and
nations and tongues and kings."
2. The beast that comes
up out of the abyss = is identified as the primary antagonist of the
two witnesses. The beast (tharion) is not an animal,
but a man or kingdom. This is a figurative extension of the literal
sensewild animal. Louw and Nida state, "a bad person in
the sense of being both harmful and dangerous (88.199)." John
clearly wants the reader to understand that this beast is both harmful
John introduces the "beast"
at this point because of his relationship to the two witnesses. Scholars
are inclined to make a big deal of the fact that John introduces the
beast with the article "the." This indicates that the readers
are familiar with this entity, but not the specific name and identify.
It is true that this is the first explicit reference to the beast
(singular) in the Revelation. However, the beasts (plural) were introduced
in the fourth seal. There, John indicates that "the beasts of
the earth" will be agents of Death prior to the wrath of God.
The literal referents of
the beasts of Revelation are very difficult to identify.
the beast that comes up out of the abyss.
Revelation 12:3 the red dragon (seven heads and ten horns)
Revelation 12:9 the dragon (Satan)
Revelation 13:1 a beast that comes up out of the sea (seven
heads and ten horns).
Revelation 13:11 Another beast (the false prophet)
Revelation 17:3 a red beast (seven heads and ten horns) comes
up out of the abyss.
See the lengthy discussion
of the identity of the beast in chapters 12-13.
3. Will make war with them
= describes the agenda of "the beast." War is not
typically used to describe an attack on two people. However, given
the abilities of the two witnesses, "the beast" will use
every avenue available to defeat them. The two witnesses are more
than the beasts armies.
4. Overcome them and kill
them = is the result of three and a half years of desire. Having tormented
the people without mercy, authority or permission is granted the beast
to kill the witnesses.
(1) And their dead bodies
will lie in the street of (2) the great city (3) which mystically
is called Sodom and Egypt, (4) where also their Lord was crucified.
1. Their dead bodies will
lie in the street = indicates the level of contempt the beast and
his faithful followers will have for the witnesses. That the two witnesses
will be put to death argues against the identification of Elijah and
Moses or angelic beings as the two witnesses.
2. The great city = can
be none other than Jerusalem for reasons to follow.
3. Which mystically
= indicates that author is employing a figure of speech. Mystically
is a translation of the Greek word pneumatikos. This same word
is used in 1 Corinthians 2:14, where it is translated spiritually.
The point John is making is this: spiritual perception is necessary
to understand "the great city." The great city is a literal
city, however, it is great for a different reason than normal.
Sodom is the first
clue to why this is the great city. Destroyed by God for gross immorality
(homosexuality), Sodom became a by-word for wickedness. It is always
depicted as a city destroyed by God because of its wickedness (Deut
29:23; Isa 1:9; Jer 49:18; Amos 4:11; Zeph 2:9; Matt 10:15; Luke 10:12;
2 Pet 2:6; Jude 7).
Egypt is the second
clue to why this is the great city. Egypt is not a city, but a state.
However, it is what the state represents that is the point of comparison.
Egypt is depicted in Scripture as a symbol of slavery (Deut 5:6; Judg
6:8; Neh 9:17; Jer 34:13) and idolatry (Isa 19:1; Ezek 20:7). Both
Sodom and Egypt were destroyed by God because of their wickedness.
4. Where their Lord was
also crucified = is the third and final clue that positively identifies
the great city. This phrase clearly identifies this city as Jerusalem.
Yet, many scholars will not accept a literal interpretation at this
point. The spiritual interpretation only applies to Sodom and Egypt.
Jerusalem will forever be known as the place of the Lords death.
This supports the authors intent that Jerusalem is a wicked
city. Wicked because Gentiles are dishonoring Gods place of
worship and abusing Gods holy city.
This is the first place
in the Revelation where the title Lord is applied directly
to Jesus. The title is specifically applied to God the Father in the
Old Testament, but in the New Testament Jesus is Lord. In the Revelation,
the title is applied to God the Father fifteen times. It is applied
to Christ eight times. The absolute use of this title for Jesus here
argues against the notion that these witnesses are not part of the
church family. This is a NT designation for the believers relationship
to his savior.
Whether Jerusalem and its
environs are the sole focus of the two witnesses ministry cannot
be dogmatically stated. However, the fact that they are killed in
Jerusalem, which is consistent with OT parallels, seems to support
the conclusion that it is their base of operation. Jesus indicates
in Luke 13:33 that Jerusalem is the death site for the prophets.
(1) Those from the peoples
and tribes and tongues and nations (2) will look at their dead bodies
for (3) three and a half days, and (4) will not permit their dead bodies
to be laid in a tomb.
nations = indicates a universal presence in Jerusalem
at the death of these witnesses. The reason for the gathering of such
a wide selection of the world in Jerusalem at this time is not indicated.
2. Will look at their dead
bodies = is a very unpleasant detail included in the text. This is
the first response of the wicked earth-dwellers to the death of the
witnesses. Why would the dead bodies of these witnesses bring pleasure
to this universally represented people group?
3. Three and a half days
= is a literal reference. There is nothing here to suggest a non-literal
4. Will not permit their
dead bodies to be laid in a tomb = suggests a spirit of meanness.
This is the second response of the wicked earth-dwellers to the death
of the two witnesses. Having been tormented, the people are not satisfied
with the mere death of the witnesses. They take satisfaction from
allowing the bodies to rot in the streets of Jerusalem. This expresses
the degree of anger and hatred they have for the witnesses.
(1) And those who dwell on
the earth (2) will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they
will send gifts to one another, (3) because these two prophets tormented
those who dwell on the earth.
1. Those who dwell on the
earth = further defines who the universal gathering in Jerusalem is.
This or a similar phrase is used nine times in the Revelation and
always refers to the wicked people of the earth who are hostile to
God and His people. The wicked earth-dwellers are in contrast to those
who are of God and whose citizenship is in heaven.
2. Will rejoice
over them = is the third response of the wicked earth-dwellers to
the death of the witnesses. They are genuinely happy at the death
of the witnesses. This elevates our understanding of the suffering
the witnesses will cause the wicked earth-dwellers. "(They
will) celebrate" is the fourth response of the wicked earth-dwellers.
This party spirit follows good news. They will send gifts to one
another is the fifth and final response of the wicked earth-dwellers.
In ancient times, there is information that suggests men often gave
gifts at festivals, marriages and other similar joyous events. However,
events that involved the exchanging of gifts is a rare event and heightens
the sense of joy the wicked earth-dwellers experienced at the death
of the witnesses. This again makes the degree of torment by the witnesses
of the wicked earth-dwellers apparent.
3. Because the two prophets
tormented those who dwell on the earth = is the directly stated reason
for the response of the wicked earth-dwellers. Notice that they are
now called prophets. They have declared the will of God. They
have also unleashed plagues and punishments upon the wicked earth-dwellers.
Nothing brings the wrath of the world more than plagues and preaching.
Whoever would do either must be fully prepared to suffer!
(1) But after the three and
a half days, (2) the breath of life from God came into them, and they
stood on their feet; and (3) great fear fell upon those who were watching
1. After the three and
a half days = is repeated from Revelation 11:9. Many have attempted
a spiritual or allegorical understanding of these numbers. However,
there is no basis to such findings. A literal three and a half day
period is intended.
2. The breath of life from
God came into them = has OT parallels (Gen 1:30; 2:7; 6:17; Job 32:8).
As God gave Adam breath for the first time, the two prophets will
receive it a second time. This is a beautiful picture of the resurrection
for all the dead that awaits Gods breath in the grave.
3. Great fear fell upon
those who were watching = has NT parallels as a response to a supernatural
display of Gods power (Luke 1:12, 65; Acts 5:5; 19:17).
(1) And they heard a loud
voice from heaven saying to them, (2) "Come up here." (3)
Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, (4) and their enemies watched
1. They heard a loud voice
from heaven saying = is an oft-repeated motif thoroughout the Revelation.
The voice is not identified. It is loud enough for all wicked
earth-dwellers to hear.
2. Come up here = is the
exact same command given to John in Revelation 4:1.
3. Then they went up into
heaven in the cloud = or on the cloud would be another way to say
it. The two prophetic witnesses are taken up to heaven in bodily form.
Their transportation system is the cloud. The cloud as a divine transportation
system has broad biblical usage (Acts 1:9; 1 Thess 4:17; Dan 7:13;
Isa 19:1; Mark 13:26; Exod 14:24).
4. Their enemies = is a
final identification of the wicked earth-dwellers.
(1) And in that hour (2)
there was a great earthquake, (3) and a tenth of the city fell; (4)
seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, (5) and the rest
were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
1. In that hour = speaks
to the immediate judgment of God that followed the witnesses rapture
to heaven (Matt 8:13; 10:19; Luke 7:21; John 4:53).
2. There was a great earthquake
= is Gods response of judgment on the wicked earth-dwellers
in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem.
3. A tenth of the city
fell = clearly suggests a literal city is in view. Some scholars still
insist that John is referring to a city that represents the whole
wide world. Clearly, a tenth of the city of Jerusalem is destroyed.
4. Seven thousand people
were killed in the earthquake = is both a precise number and small
in comparison to the present number of people who live in Jerusalem.
We are not told if this number represents a tenth of the inhabitants
of Jerusalem at the time. Gods sense of balance is evident.
For the death and inhuman treatment of the prophetic witnesses, 7,000
souls were required as just payment.
5. The rest were terrified
and gave glory to the God of heaven = is Johns final comment
concerning the ministry of the prophetic witnesses. A reaction of
fear and the giving of glory are two reactions typical of supernatural
manifestations of God.
Matthew 17:6 indicates
fear was the disciples (believers) reaction to Gods voice at
the transfiguration of Jesus. Matthew 27:54 indicates "fear"
was the centurion and company (unbelievers) reaction to the events
connected with the death of Christ. Matthew 8:27 indicates the disciples
(believers) were amazed at Jesus ability to command the winds
and the sea.
Luke indicates that a typical
acclamation at the conclusion of a supernatural event is "they
glorified God (Luke 13:13; 18:43)." Both were recipients of miraculous
healing. Mark 2:12 indicates that both believers and unbelievers "were
glorifying God" at the conclusion of Jesus miracle concerning
the man let down through the roof on a pallet. This is important because
some scholars indicate the possible conversion of the living earth-dwellers
in Jerusalem following this supernatural event.
To give glory to God
is used in Scripture in several ways. First, it can mean "to
tell the truth ([John 9:24], Louw-Nida, § 33.468). Second, it
can summarize the praise and honor one gives to God as a result of
His goodness (Luke 17:18; Acts 4:21; 11:18; 12:23; 13:48; 21:20).
What then is the significance of this phrase for the wicked earth-dwellers
in Jerusalem? Perhaps, Acts 13:48 is helpful at this point. Luke writes,
"When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying
the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal
life believed." This verse clearly teaches that while all rejoiced
and glorified, not all believed. Thus, it is possible for an unbeliever
to speak the truth with those who believe in the God of truth. Equally,
while those who are converted do "give God glory," it not
the same to say that everyone who gives God glory is saved. It is
one thing to recognize Gods power and abilities and to audibly
express it, but it something altogether different to suggest the mere
act proves conversion.
The wicked earth-dwellers
in Jerusalem express the obvious, but there is no indication of repentance.
There is no calling upon the name of Jesus for forgiveness. To
give God glory can be nothing more than the mere recognition of
Gods sovereignty over heaven and earth. This is exactly the
meaning of this phrase in 1 Samuel 6:5. The priests and diviners of
the Philistines command the capturers of the Ark to acknowledge Gods
sovereignty (give glory to the God of Israel) by sending the Ark home.
The Philistines (in context) are clearly unbelievers, both before
and after the experience with the Ark. This is the meaning of Revelation
16:9 where the living wicked earth-dwellers refuse to repent and give
God glory (recognize his sovereignty) as sovereign of heaven and earth.
It renders the wicked without excuse. They consciously chose to worship
the creature rather than the creator. Thus, the sixth and seventh
bowl is necessary. This is the point of Acts 12:23 where Herod is
killed because he refused to acknowledge Gods sovereignty and
his submission to that God.
The death of the two witnesses
is the second important reason John must prophesy against the living
wicked earth-dwellers again. Equally, their death is the final installment
of Gods promise to the fifth seal martyrs. With the death of
the two witnesses, the number of those to be killed as the martyrs
who had been killed is complete. Thus, the mystery of God is complete.
(1) The second woe is past;
behold, (2) the third woe is coming quickly.
1. The second woe is past
= is perhaps one of the most important sentences in the whole Revelation
in relation to the chronology and sequencing of the book of Revelation.
The fact that not one seal is punctuated with a pronouncement of a
"woe" fulfilled argues against recapitulation or the overlapping
of seals, trumpets, and bowls (with the exception that seal seven
contains the first six trumpets and the seventh trumpet contains the
The pronouncement of the
second woe is also critical to understanding the placement of the
summary of the prophetic witnesses ministry in the book of Revelation.
There are basically three
options: first, that the ministry to the two prophetic witnesses recorded
in Revelation 11:1-13 occurs between trumpets six and seven; or second,
that the ministry of the two witnesses runs concurrent with the trumpet
judgments, but is summarized in Revelation 11:1-13; or third, that
the ministry of the two prophetic witnesses symbolically represent
the struggles of all believers during the period of the church.
Daniel specifically limits
the time frame "three and a half-years" (represented in
the Revelation as time, times and half a time, one thousand two hundred
and sixty days, forty-two months) to the eschatological period just
prior to the coming of "One like a Son of Man." Daniel indicates
that two "three and half-year periods" would characterize
his Seventieth Week. A unique beginning would mark the second period.
Jesus, in Mathew 24:15 calls it "the Abomination of Desolation."
Of the three other references
to a three and a half-year period in the Revelation, each reference
concerns persecution. Revelation 12:6: the woman flees to protective
custody for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Revelation 12:14:
the woman escapes form the Dragon (Satan) to protective custody for
time, times and half a time. Revelation 13:5: the beast from the sea
is authorized by the Dragon (Satan) to act for forty-two months. Thus,
we conclude that the Revelation is unconcerned with the life of the
beast from the sea prior to his authorization by the Dragon.
It is clear that the ministry
of the two prophetic witnesses is presented in summary fashion. The
emphasis is a focus on the termination rather than the beginning of
their ministry. Therefore, it is our contention that the ministry
of the two prophetic witnesses begins before the trumpet judgments,
but terminates with the sixth trumpet. Consequently, the ministry
of the two prophetic witnesses runs concurrent with the time of the
dragon-empowered-beast that comes from the sea. The purpose of the
strategic placement of Revelation 10:1-11:13 is clear. The termination
of the mystery of God and the ministry of the two prophetic witnesses
set in motion the final display of Gods wrath against the living
wicked earth-dwellers. With the death of the two witnesses, Gods
promise to the fifth seal martyrs that with the completion of the
death of those who were to be killed, He would avenge and punish the
living wicked earth-dwellers is vindicated.
2. The third woe is coming
quickly = is significant for the debate about imminency. The only
way one may designate that the third woe is imminent is the second
woe must have been initiated. Similarly, the Rapture is imminent only
if some event sets it in motion. Jesus indicated that His return is
imminent only after a season of unparalleled suffering has been initiated.
Then and only then will the Rapture be imminent.
(1) Then the seventh angel
sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, (2) "The
kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of
His Christ; and (3) He will reign forever and ever."
1. Then the seventh angel
sounded = establishes a chronological sequence that is important to
recognizes. The seventh trumpet must be the third and final woe. The
three woes (trumpets five, six and seven) are the worst expression
of Gods wrath recorded in the Book of Revelation. Nothing in
the seals can compare to the trumpet judgments without over generalizing
the similarities and minimizing the differences of the trumpets and
Loud voices distinguish
this oft-repeated phrase from other occurrences by the fact that it
is plural in this particular case. This points to the significance
of what is announced at this point.
2. The kingdom of the world
has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ = is none
other than Gods reclamation of the earth. God almighty and His
Christ are now in complete physical control of the earth. Physical,
in the sense that God and His Christ are physically manifested on
the earth and are in the process of removing all that is unlike Themselvesthe
Gospel of the Kingdom fulfilled. Heaven has already been cleansed
through the war of Michael and his angels (Rev 12:7-90), which occurs
at the middle of Daniels final week. The gospel of the kingdom
of God is in its final phase of clean up. It will be complete when
Satan and his forces are locked away for one thousand years in the
abyss. The end of the end of the age is in view. This by definition
means that Satan is no longer the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4). He
will be defeated, arrested, bound and imprisoned for a millennium.
Has become is past
tense and suggests that this is a done deal. However, some scholars
argue that this is an example of prophetic perfect; i.e. something
stated as completed, but still future. That is, the loud voices are
so certain that this will happen that they state it as if it has already
happened. However, this conclusion is unnecessary. It grows out of
a failure to understand the sequence of end-time events and the chronology
of the book of Revelation. This is merely the announcement that God
has publicly reclaimed his rightful rule over the earth. However,
God is still in the process of cleansing the earth of the living wicked
earth-dwellers and their satanic leaders, which is the result of the
Our Lord and of His
Christ is not an unusual way to refer to God the Father and His
Anointed. This is an allusion to Psalms 2:2, which will control the
content of this section--Revelation 11:15-18. The temporal kingdom
of Christ (the millennium) has not begun at this point. Therefore,
Christ who will rule during the temporal kingdom is subordinate to
the Father. Since God the Father is invisible and will never manifest
Himself in physical form, God the Son will act as visible King on
3. He will reign forever
and ever = does not agree with the previous statement. One would expect
the last sentence to say; "They will reign." However, the
loud voices from heaven are correct in their theology. He will
reign applies to God the Father. God the Father will reign forever
and ever. This is specifically declared in OT Scriptures (Exod 15:18;
Ps 10:16; Dan 4:3). Jesus, on the other hand, will reign over a temporal
kingdom (one millennium) after which He will subject Himself and all
rule and authority to God the Father forever (1 Cor 15:27-28).
(1) And the twenty-four elders,
who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped
God, saying, (2) "We give you thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty,
who are and who were, (3) because You have taken Your great power and
have begun to reign.
1. And the twenty-four
elders = are the only group specifically identified at this grand
celebration of Gods reclamation of the earth. Why this is the
case is not stated. However, the elders are given the opportunity
to up-date the reader concerning what transpire at the sounding of
the seventh trumpet. When God reclaims the earth as His sovereign
domain, four very important events find their fulfillment.
2. We give you thanks =
is prayer of thanksgiving. This prayer is directed to the Lord God,
which indicates God the Father. He (God the Father) is pantokrator
(almighty) (Rev 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 21:22), which is a literal
translation of the Hebrew phrase Jehovah, the Lord of Host (Amos
3:13; 2 Sam 5:10; 1 Kigs 19:10; Jer 5:14; Ps 89:8). As the Almighty
nothing could, can or will stop Him. He is sovereign.
3. Because You have taken
Your great power and have begun to reign = indicates the reason for
the prayer of thanksgiving. You have taken reflects the Greek
tense of this verb. It is an accomplished fact. It is not that God
has not always had the power. Rather, He at this point has determined
to use it. Have begun to reign also suggests a past act. However,
the emphasis is ingressive. That is, God the Father has taken his
great power and just started to reign. This confirms the pronouncement
of the loud voices in heaven that "the kingdom of the world has
just become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ."
(1) And the nations were
enraged, and (2) Your wrath came, and (3) the time came for the
dead to be judged, (4) and the time to reward Your bond-servants
the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small
and the great, and (5) to destroy those who destroy the earth."
1. And the nations were
enraged = is the first reaction to Gods reclamation of the earth
by those on the earth. Ta ethna (the nations) refers to the
Gentiles. Israel would not be involved because the kingdom of God
is their temporal hope. Psalm 2:1-2 speaks of an enraged response
from the nations when God enthrones His Son as king of the nations.
The reason the nations are enraged is that Jesus lordship demands
submission and recognition of His sovereignty which the nations reject
2. Your wrath came = is
Gods response to the rage of the nations. Their failure to submit
to God results in their destruction. Gods wrath is expressed
in the bowl judgments (Rev 15:1).
3. The time came
for the dead to be judged = is the second of four events that follow
Gods reclamation of the earth. The verb came is understood.
Scholars recognize a difficulty with the judgment of the dead at this
point in the sequence of the Revelation. The dead can refer
to either the righteous dead, the wicked dead or both. Since God is
not through with his judgment of the living wicked earth-dwellers,
it hardly seems proper to judge the wicked dead at this point. Particularly,
given that more wicked-dead will follow and a judgment will follow
the 1000-year kingdom. This judgment involves the righteous dead only.
An event necessary before the Lord of lords returns at Armageddon
with His armies.
4. And the time
to reward Your bond-servants = requires extra thought. The Greek conjunction
and can be translated even when an apposition type sense
is intended. We believe this to be the better interpretation at this
point. Therefore, we translate this portion to say, "and the
time came for the dead to be judged, even to reward your bond-servants
." To judge the righteous dead means the same
thing as to reward Gods bond-servants. Misthos (reward)
refers to the payment one is due based on prior work. Scripture promises
the faithful rewards. Ultimate on the list of rewards, is the right
to reign with Christ.
Since the judgment of the
righteous is in view, what groups are indicated is important. Scholars
do not agree concerning the grouping indicated in Revelation 11:18b.
We suggest the following translation, "and the time came for
the dead to be judged, even Your bond-servants the prophets and the
saints, namely those who fear Your name, the small and the great
This allows a qualifying phrase for both prophets and saints. The
prophets are the bond-servants and the saints are those who fear Your
name. Revelation 16:6 speaks of saints and prophets. Revelation 18:24
also speaks of prophets and saints. These are clearly two separate
groups. The Revelation also speaks of the prophets as servants of
God (Rev 10:7d). This is a reference used for the prophets more than
eighteen times in the Old Testament (Dan 9:6; Amos 3:7; Zech 1:6).
5. [The time came ] to
destroy those who destroy the earth = is the final event introduced
by John that occurs immediately after God Almighty takes back His
rightful rule over the earth. The verb to destroy in the Greek
literally means "to cause the complete destruction of someone
or something to destroy utterly (Louw-Nida, § 20.40)."
The object of this utter destruction is "those who destroy the
earth." Those who destroy have the same verb as to
destroy just referenced. Scholars do not agree on its meaning
here. Most claim a figurative meaning here. The sense is those
who morally ruin the earth (Louw-Nida, § 88.266). God will
physically destroy those who have bankrupted the people. This is the
expressed purpose of the bowl judgments, which constitutes the third
"woe." The primary party guilty of morally ruining the earth
is the "great harlot" of Revelation 17-18.
SEE CHAPTER TWELVE
Section: Chapter Twelve - The Beginning