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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 11

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-3

Throne Section-The Seven Thunders

1 The symbol of the rainbow suggests the covenant of God with creation.

2 The planting of the messenger's feet on the sea and on the land is a token of possession. "Every place on which the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours" ( Deu_11:24 ; Jos_1:3 ). The opened scroll shows that the incumbrance has been lifted, just as the sealed scroll was a sign of the bond which burdened it. Were it not for the fact that this opened scroll is, according to the best readings, always called a little scroll ( biblaridion ) while the closed scroll was the usual diminutive ( biblion ), we would be tempted to identify these two scrolls. It seems best to take this as a still smaller scroll which deals with the deliverance of Israel as the larger scroll dealt with the whole earth. It is evident from the messenger's acts and his words that the earth and the sea are no longer under bond, and that there will be no further delay in ejecting the usurpers out of the sovereignty which is Christ's.

3 Bellowing-not roaring after its prey ( 1Pe_5:8 ), but the sound lions use when calling to one another. Applied to cattle this word is used for their lowing.

3 Besides the seven thunders here introduced, thunder is mentioned seven times, three before and four after these special seven. Thrice it describes the voice of one speaking: one of the four animals saying Come ! ( Rev_6:1 ), the song of the 144,0000 ( Rev_14:2 ), and ( Rev_19:6 ) the voices of God's slaves saying " Hallelujah ! for the Lord our, God, the Almighty, reignsl" Four times it is associated with voices and lightnings, They issue out of the throne ( Rev_4:5 ), follow the casting of the thurible into the earth ( Rev_8:5 ), the opening of the temple ( Rev_11:19 ), and the pouring out of the seventh bowl into the air ( Rev_16:18 ). As thunder is the audible effect of that which we see as lightning, and always follows it, the thunders probably record the effect of the seven final lightning strokes, or bowls. This brings us to the coming of the kingdom. The next vision is retrospective, going back to the middle of Daniel's seventieth heptad.

6 The delay commences under the fifth seal ( Rev_6:11 ).

Throne Section-The Two Witnesses

7 Surely Adonai Jehovah will do nothing but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets ( Amo_3:7 ).

9 Compare this action with Eze_2:9 ; Eze_3:3-14 .

9 The eating of the scroll, corresponding to the digesting of its contents, was very sweet to John, for it assured the ejection of the usurpers and the establishment of the kingdom. But it also involved much more bitter judgment which he had not yet apprehended.

11 Concerning, literally on ( Luk_12:52-53 ) .

1 The rod or mace is the shepherd's means of defense against the sheep's enemies. The crook s for the sheep. It is the symbol of power and as such may be called a sceptre ( Heb_1:8 ). To shepherd with an iron club will be the reward of the conqueror in Thyatira ( Rev_2:27 ), the place of the male son ( Rev_12:5 ), and the White Horse Rider ( Rev_19:15 ). To measure with a mace is significant of the fact that Israel's Shepherd will maintain these measurements by force. The sheep will be safe within them.

1 The temple seems to be a sanctuary for the faithful. The period of forty-two months (measured by the moon, a symbol of the powers of darkness, Rev_12:1 ) measures the career of the "wild beast" ( Rev_13:5 ). The same length of time expressed in days (measured by the sun, a symbol of God's glory, Rev_12:1 ) marks the duration of the ministry of the two witnesses ( Rev_11:3 ) and the period during which the star-crowned woman is nourished in the wilderness ( Rev_12:6 ). The same period is called, after the Hebrew of Dan_12:7 , "a season, seasons, and half a season" ( Rev_12:14 ). This period is probably the last half of Daniel's seventieth heptad ( Dan_9:27 ). The prince that shall come makes a treaty with the majority of the Jews, but breaks it after three and a half years, causing the sacrifice and gift offering to cease, leaving the period here spoken of, in which he insists that all worship must be directed to him. It appears from this that the worship of Jehovah will be stamped out of the earth except in the temple in Jerusalem, which will be preserved with divine power, and in the wilderness, where the woman (the faithful inhabitants of Jerusalem) is sustained by miraculous means.

Verses 4-19

Throne Section-The Two Witnesses

4 The two olive trees remind us of Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel (Zech. 3-4), who witnessed for Jehovah in a former apostasy.

The ministry of the two witnesses has much in common with the ministry of Elijah. Both cause a great drought for three and a half years ( 1Ki_17:1 ). Both kill their enemies by miraculous fire. The prophet Malachi predicts this ministry ( Rev_4:5 ) "Lo! I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and fearful day of Jehovah comes." John the baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah, but they did not receive him ( Mat_17:10-13 ; Mat_11:14 ; Luk_1:17 ), hence he is still to come as was foretold. As he did not die, but was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind ( 2Ki_2:11 ), and as he appeared with Moses on the Mount, speaking of the Lord's exodus which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem ( Luk_9:30-31 ), he would make an excellent witness to the Lord's life and death. Some think that Moses, because his place of burial is unknown ( cf . Jud_1:9 ) and because he, too, appeared on the mount, is the other witness. Others prefer Enoch

( Gen_5:24 ).

6 These judgments are just and salutary, for men reject the testimony to the blood of Christ and the blessing that it brings. They are taught that their souls depend upon the abiding efficacy of His death.

7 Just as the two witnesses will be invulnerable until their testimony is complete, so it is with every slave who is doing God's will. Nothing in heaven or on earth can hinder the witness which has God back of it. And when it is finished the enemies of God will be confounded even in their death.

11 The short space of time-three and a half days-allowed for the news of the death of the two witnesses to travel over the earth, besides giving time for them to celebrate and send gifts, would seem to be a great difficulty to early students of this prophecy. It would take months and years to do this a century ago. Yet we have come to a time when this would be a matter of course. Everything will move with incredible swiftness when the judgments of God are in the earth. Let us not doubt God or judge His Word by our own ignorance.

Throne Section-The Kingdom Comes

13 This earthquake, coming so near the end of the judgment period, may be a precursor of the one under the seventh bowl ( Rev_16:18 ). It seems to affect Jerusalem principally-the city in which the two witnesses testify and where they will be killed.

15 The details of the events under the seventh trumpet are not given here, but in connection with the Temple Section. That there is some terrible infliction is certain, for it is the worst of the woes. We suggest that it includes the bowls ( Rev_15:7 ) and the battle of the great day when the armies of the entire earth are arrayed against Jerusalem and are slain by the Rider on the White Horse ( Rev_19:11-17 ). It certainly ends with His coming in glory and taking over the governments of earth.

15 This completes the Throne Section. Christ is King! He reigns! This brings us to the era of the resurrection and the thousand years, which is detailed in the early part of the twentieth chapter.

18 The "judgment of the dead" here refers to the former resurrection and the awards given to those who have lost their lives for His sake. It corresponds with the word "judgment is granted them'. ( Rev_20:4 ).



The "opening" of the temple ( Rev_4:1 note), giving a view of the covenant , is the key to the first division of the Temple Section ( Rev_11:19 Rev_15:4 ). The covenant and the divine ritual are the exclusive prerogatives of one nation, Israel ( Rom_9:4 , etc.). Jehovah remembers His covenant with them, to fulfill it. In awful contrast with this is the opening of the second division of the Temple Section ( Rev_15:5 ). There the tabernacle of the testimony is opened and the law is exposed. The first division is filled with blessing for the faithful In Israel, the second with terrible judgments for those of them who apostatize. This division centers around the faithful city Jerusalem; the next division is much concerned with unfaithful Babylon. This section gives us the religious aspect of judgment, as viewed from the standpoint of the temple. Just as the books of Kings and Chronicles present

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 11". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/revelation-11.html. 1968.
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