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Bible Commentaries

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 11

Verse 1

Chapter 11 - The Two Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Final Woe

The Measuring of the Temple, Revelation 11:1-2

The Two Witnesses, Revelation 11:3-12

The Fall of One Tenth of the City, Revelation 11:13-14

The Final Trumpet, Heaven Rejoices, Revelation 11:15-19

- - - - -

11:1-14 These verses comprise the second interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments. Similar to ch. 7 during the seal judgments, ch. 10 and this episode in ch. 11 disrupt the sequence of events. - FSB

and . . (then) . . “And” (Gr. kai) ties this chapter closely to the previous one.

was given . . Perhaps by the angel from ch. 10 or by God.

In the previous sections John watched as the angels performed tasks, but in the following trumpets John will be involved in the action. - Utley

a reed . . A hollow, bamboo-like cane plant that grew in the Jordan Valley. Because of its light weight and rigidity, it was commonly used as a measuring rod (cf. Ezekiel 40:3-5). -SB

measuring reed . . A staff with a standardized length used for taking measurements . = Zechariah 2:1-2 ff (Amos 7:7 ) ; Ezekiel 40:2-3 ; Revelation 21:15

The term “measuring rod” comes from the OT usage of river reeds which were used as horizontal measuring instruments. They were between eight and twenty feet long (cf. Ezekiel 40:5Ezekiel 42:20). - Utley

We know the word of God is the divine standard for it is required in 1 Peter 4:11 - Zerr

the temple . . = Representing the Jewish worship and worshippers. (Implies the temple was still standing, and evidence this was written before AD 70 when the temple was destroyed by the Romans.)

the temple . . Some would argue it is used in a figurative way, cf - Revelation 3:12 ; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16 ; Ephesians 2:20 ;1 Peter 2:5; however the mention of those who worship there seems to take away the figurative argument of it being a reference to the church.

The temple of God means the church (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). The altar was the center of worship in the Mosaic system, and it is referred to here as a symbol of the worship under that of Christ. The in that worship therein means Christians, whose personal lives must be measured (regulated) by the word of God and not by the decrees of Rome. - Zerr

the temple of God . . The word used is not that for the whole “Temple-precinct,” but the “Temple” in the narrowest sense—what in the O. T. is called “the house” or “the palace.” - CBSC

The word is not ερόν, “the Temple” (our versions), for this includes all the courts; but ναός, “the Sanctuary,” the one building that contained the Holy and the Holy of Holies where God is present. - Lenski

thos who worship there . . This is done to see if the worshippers "measure up" to God’s standard, see the OT references.

Interesting, the church [the New Jerusalem] is also measured in Revelation 21:15 , with a golden measuring rod.

Verse 2

leave out the court . . which refers to the court of the Gentiles and shows the measurement is concerned with the Jews, Israel, proper.

The outer courtyard in the Jerusalem Temple, outside the stone warning fence, was regarded as the place for the Gentile nations. John makes a clear distinction between the Jewish worshippers and all others.

holy city . . The only cities referred to as "Holy" are Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem.

How, and Why would "Rome" be called the "holy city"? Jerusalem, (the city where our Lord was crucified, Revelation 11:8) and unbelieving Israel are the one facing God’s wrath in Revelation and not the city of Rome.

the holy city shall they tread under foot . . Jerusalem was the once holy city: but was no longer that. It was here called holy because of its past association with the covenanted and the sainted ancestors. "How is the faithful city become harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers." (Isaiah 1:21)

"0 Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee . . . Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Matthew 23:37-38) By divine decree Jerusalem was to be desolated and "trodden down of the Gentiles." (Luke 21:24) The judgment had already been passed, and John was commanded to leave Jerusalem out, and "measure it not," as that which had been cast away. - Wallace

Gentiles … will trample on the holy city . . May refer to Rome destroying the Jerusalem temple (cf. Luke 21:24) or unbelievers persecuting God’s people, heirs of the “new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2). - NIVZSB

forty-two months . . = Luke 21:24 = 3 1/2 years, or times (2) and time (1) and 1/2 a time, or 1260 days. They are all equal!

The time of the influx of the warring, persecuting powers who invaded Jerusalem in AD 67 and the Romans invading Galilee and proceeding to capture Jerusalem in AD 70 was 3 1/2 years. - See Josephus.

forty two months . . Restated in Revelation 11:3 as 1,260 days (compare Revelation 12:6; Revelation 1:1). Both figures define, according to traditions from Daniel, the length of the persecution of God’s people (e.g., Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:11-12). - FSB

forty and two months . . Revelation 11:2-3 Revelation 12:6 Revelation 13:5. From the imperial order and the beginning of the siege to its end and completion it was forty-two months, or a thousand two hundred and threescore days, or the oft-mentioned twelve hundred and sixty days--that was the exact period of time, as a matter of historical record, which covered the events of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.

An example of such necessary mathematical application is in the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the end of the ten tribes, Isaiah 7:1-9. - Wallace

42 months . . Equivalent to 1,260 days (v. 3; 12:6) and “a time, times and half a time” (Revelation 12:14; cf. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:7). May denote a literal time period ... - NIVZSB

Because this language echoes Jesus’ prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction (Luke 21:24; cf. Daniel 8:13), some believe that Revelation was written before a.d. 70 and predicted that disaster. Again, however, others do not think that “the holy city” (cf. Revelation 21:2; Revelation 22:19) refers to earthly Jerusalem. Instead, they understand it as a reference to the true church. They argue that Revelation 11:8 implies that the earthly Jerusalem that rejected its Messiah now belongs to “the great city,” along with Sodom and Egypt (see Revelation 17:18) - ESVSB

Verse 3

And I will grant authority . . This seems to imply God the Father speaking because Jesus is referred to in Revelation 11:8. - Utley

The speaker seems to be the angel who spoke in verses 1–2, who here speaks for God (cf. v. 8). - Constable

Two witnesses . . = the Jewish legal code required two witnesses (so the point is that there is ample evidence and witnesses.) John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28; Deuteronomy 19:15;

Who are they?

1) Enoch and Elijah

2) Zerubbabel and Joshua (Zechariah 4:3-6 )

3) Moses and Elijah (Law and the Prophets)

4) Are they symbolic for the OT and NT prophets?

5) Symbolic for the church (Luscombe, Coffman)

6) Symbolic for the apostles and NT prophets

Matthew 24:14; John 8:17; Matthew 23:31-37; Acts 7:52;

7) We do not know!

Are they literally two witnesses, i.e, prophets?

Are they symbolic for all prophets of God, (Christians) martyred?

Are they symbolic for all the apostles and prophets? (JJ)

my two witnesses . . May be modeled after Moses and Elijah, Matthew 17:1-3. Remember Jesus send out his ambassadors two by two, Luke 10:1; From what appears later there is an allusion to Zechariah 4:3-6; Zechariah 4:11; Zechariah 4:14. where Zerubbabel and Joshua who sought to restore Israel after a previous exile

The OT required two or more witnesses to confirm testimony (cf. Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28), and these two prophets will be the culmination of God’s testimony to Israel: a message of judgment from God and of His gracious offer of the gospel to all who will repent and believe. - MSB

"By the prophets of the old dispensation and the apostles of the new covenant, the testimony, divine revelation, was completed and by "the two witnesses" thereby established." - Wallace

for twelve hundred and sixty days . . (See Revelation 11:2) Forty-two months of thirty days each equals twelve hundred and sixty days. The gospel will be proclaimed during this period of persecution by the unbelieving nations (cf. Matthew 24:8-14, Matthew 24:21-22). This symbolic number comes from Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7 and is used often in Revelation (cf. Revelation 12:6; Revelation 13:5).

When the O.T. speaks of the "end of the age" or "the last days"it always is speaking of the last days of that dispensation, the Jewish system of Jerusalem temple worship with is high priest system, for Jesus would become the High Priest and all God’s saints would be priests, and the temple would be his church everywhere (John 4:23-24).

sackcloth . . Symbolizes mourning over sin and judgment and possibly a message of repentance (cf. Daniel 9:3; Jonah 3:5-8; Matthew 11:21). - NIVZSB

Coarse, rough cloth made from goat or camel hair. Wearing garments made from it expressed penitence, humility, and mourning (cf. Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31; 2 Kings 6:30; 2 Kings 19:1; Esther 4:1; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 6:26; Matthew 11:21).

The witnesses are mourning because of the wretched wickedness of the holy city.

Scripture requires two witnesses to confirm testimony (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16). The two witnesses here may symbolize the saints, as the parallel between Revelation 11:7 and Revelation 13:7 suggests. Wearing the sackcloth of repentance (cf. Isaiah 37:1-2; Jonah 3:5; Matthew 11:21) to symbolize their message, they prophesy while the holy city suffers trampling (Revelation 11:2), the Messiah’s mother is nourished in the wilderness (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:14), and the beast wields its authority (Revelation 13:5). - ESVSB

Verse 4

the two olive trees . . This echoes the reference in Zechariah to two anointed ones (Zechariah 4:11-14). These may be identified with the postexilic high priest Joshua and the Davidic descendant Zerubbabel, both of whom were instrumental in the temple restoration efforts (see Zechariah 4:1-14). - FSB

“two anointed ones” (Zechariah 4:11, Zechariah 4:14): a royal leader to rebuild God’s temple (Zechariah 4:6-10) and a high priest to lead worship in it (Zechariah 3:1-5). - ESVSB

two olive trees … two lampstands . . Alludes to Zechariah 4:2-14, where the gold lampstand represents Israel, and two olive trees probably symbolize Joshua and Zerubbabel, who were empowered by God and “anointed” (Zechariah 4:14) for rebuilding Israel’s temple. - NIVZSB

two olive trees and the two lampstands . . Olive oil was commonly used in lamps; together the olive trees and lampstands symbolize the light of spiritual revival. The two witnesses’ preaching will spark a revival, just as Joshua’s and Zerubbabel’s did in Israel after the Babylonian captivity. - MSB

These are two olive trees . . His identity is from Zechariah 4:1-3 and Zechariah 4:11-14 . See Exodus 25:31-40;

God’s light bearers!

the two lampstands Earlier in Revelation, lampstands are identified with the churches (Revelation 1:12, Revelation 1:20). Only two of these churches (Smyrna and Philadelphia) were entirely faithful and received no rebuke. The two witnesses thus may be a symbol of the Church bearing faithful witness. - FSB

Verse 5

God’s Protection

Reminsent of Ahaziah’s messengers sent to arrest Elijah in 2 Kings 1:10 ff. God’s vengeance.

if anyone wants to harm them … if anyone wants to harm them . . Both of these are FIRST CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCES which assume that there are those who want to hurt them, but they will be divinely protected until their mission is accomplished. - Utley

fire ... from mouth . . In one of the psalms, God is portrayed with fire coming from his mouth, a picture of judgment on his enemies (Psalms 18:8; see also 2 Samuel 22:9). Cp. Elijah, 2 Kings 1:1-15. - NLTSB

fire comes from their mouths . . Recalls Jeremiah 5:14, where the prophet’s word of judgment is likened to devouring fire. In 2 Kings 1:9-12, consuming fire from heaven validates Elijah as a man of God. - NIVZSB

fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies . . Notice that the power is in their mouth which implies the power of the message they proclaim. In Revelation the mouth is a weapon, the tongue a sword (cf. Revelation 9:17; Revelation 19:15; Hebrews 4:12). - Utley

Verse 6

power . . = Like Elijah - 1 Kings 17:1 ; 1 Kings 18:41-46; Luke 4:25; James 5:17; and like Moses Exodus 4:9 ; Exodus 7:17 Exodus 7:21-22; Exodus 8:1 ff

Moses and Elijah are at least proto-types of these two witnesses.

Power and authority. 1 Samuel 4:8

Verse 7

the beast . . The Two witnesses persecution by the the beast (Romans), Romans 1:1-10; Revelation 3:10; cf Daniel 7:21; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 17:8;

the beast . . (cp. Revelation 13:1) is introduced for the first time; it is associated with the bottomless pit ... Like all enemies of God, the beast engages in war against God’s witnesses, and he kills them. -NLTSB

bottomless pit . . [the abyss] . . See note on Revelation 9:1.

the abyss . . Where demons and fallen angels were thought to be kept—the underworld (see 2 Peter 2:4 and note; Judges 1:6; compare the ancient Jewish work of 1 Enoch 90:22–27). - FSB [Revelation 9:11]

bottomless pit . . Lit. “pit of the abyss.” Mentioned 7 times in Revelation, it always refers to the prison where some of the demonic hordes are incarcerated, the place of severest torment and isolation (vv. 1, Revelation 9:2, Revelation 9:11; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:1, Revelation 20:3; Luke 8:31; 2 Peter 2:4; Judges 1:6-7). - MSB

shall overcome . . = Fut. Ind.

attack … overpower . . The same Greek phrase occurs in Revelation 13:7: “power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them” (cf. Daniel 7:21). - NIVZSB

will kill them . . They will be killed because of their prophetic ministry and message of Christ (see v. 6). - FSB

The irony of using the word conquer to speak of the death of the witnesses is that, while it may seem that the beast is victorious (vv. Revelation 11:7-10), these witnesses, as martyrs, come back to life (Revelation 11:11-12). - CSBSB-N

Verse 8

*** Key Verse

The Greek has no verb in this verse.

bodies in the streets . . The Jewish custom was to bury the same day. So this is an indication of war or persecution.

bodies will lie in the street . . Refusing to bury one’s enemies was a way to dishonor and show contempt for them (cf. Acts 14:19). The OT expressly forbids this practice (Deuteronomy 21:22, Deuteronomy 21:23). - MSB

the street . . For the sing. cf. Revelation 21:21, Revelation 22:2. The word in fact means a broad street, such as the principal street of a city would be. The modern Italian piazza is the same word; but Revelation 22:2 seems to shew that it is a street rather than a square—perhaps most accurately a “boulevard” in the modern sense, only running through the city, not round it. - CBSC

that great city . . here identified as Jerusalem, where our Lord was crucified.

the great city . . Identifying Jerusalem as a city like Sodom and Egypt stresses the city’s wickedness. - MSB

symbolically ESV . . (spiritually NKJV, mystically NASB; figuratively NIV; allegorically RSVA; )

Sodom and Egypt . . Used metaphorically to highlight spiritual corruption. In biblical literature Egypt is vilified for its oppression and idolatry, and Sodom for its wickedness and immorality. - FSB

Do these symbols fit the leaders of first-century Jerusalem? Preston argues they do: "only one other city, other than historical Sodom, was ever call Sodom. In Isaiah 1.20; Jeremiah 23.13 f and Ezekiel 16.44 f, it is none other than Jerusalem! It was Jerusalem’s sin that caused her to earn the epithet Sodom . . ." - Quoted by Barfield. p. 84

“The great city” is further identified symbolically (or “spiritually”; see ESV footnote) as “Sodom” (known for its depravity and rebellion against God) and as “Egypt” (known for its persecution of God’s people), both of which again correspond to the city of Jerusalem, both in its persecution and martyrdom of the prophets and its rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah. - ESVSB

Jerusalem is called Sodom in Ezekiel 16:46-49 and Isaiah 1:9-10, Sodom and Egypt seem to be metaphors for sin and bondage. Galatians 4:24-25; Galatians 5:1;

Sodom . . (infamous for its sexual immorality) and Egypt (where God’s people had been slaves). This depicts the wickedness of Jerusalem’s inhabitants at this time.

The brutal death of the two witnesses, the sacrilege of not giving them a proper burial, and the glee of the non-elect “earth dwellers” (see notes at 13:8; 17:7–8) at their deaths demonstrate that wickedness.

That the witnesses are also called prophets in the context of their death at the hands of the beast places them in the category of other prophets who had died for their faith and who are honored in Revelation (v. Revelation 11:18; Revelation 16:6; Revelation 18:20; Revelation 18:24). - CSBSB

where also their Lord was crucified . . Refers to Jerusalem. FSB

where their Lord was crucified . . There is a direct connection between how the Lord was treated by evil forces and the experience of persecuted Christians (see Acts 9:5). - NLTSB

where also their Lord was crucified . . Recalls Jerusalem (Luke 13:33-34). Jesus’ witnesses follow their suffering master (cf. Revelation 1:9; John 15:18-20). Revelation emphasizes the great city’s ungodly nature and heritage, not its geographic location. - NIVSB

Two great prophetic signs:

1. The sign par excellence of God’s acceptance of Jesus was his resurrection - Acts 17:31; Romans 1:4

2. The sign par excellence of God’s rejection of the Jews was the destruction of Jerusalem - Matthew 24:1-4 ;see note at Matthew 24:30 KJV, ASV

Jerusalem was filled with iniquity like Sodom and mistreated God’s people like Egypt. It was Jerusalem that was condemned for killing the prophets, Luke 11:47-51 ; Luke 18:7 ; Luke 21:20-22 ; Matthew 23:34-36 ; Revelation 6:9-10 ; Revelation 16:6

Revelation 17:6 The woman "Babylon" drunk with the blood of the martyrs.

Jerusalem was the place where Jesus was crucified (not Rome).

*** This verse identifies the city to be judged as JERUSALEM!

The judgment described in Revelation is God’s vengeance on Jerusalem for rejecting His Son, and for their persecution of his saints, in both the OT times and Christian age.

Verse 9

The Roman Army was made up of men from all over the empire. See Josephus.

Vv. 9 & 10 - the whole world would know what was done to Jerusalem!

Verse 10

those that dwell on the earth . . The whole world would see the corpse (pagans and Jews). The beast wants all to see his victory and celebrate it.

those who dwell on the earth . . (a phrase used 11 times in Revelation to speak of unbelievers) will celebrate the two witnesses’ deaths as a holiday. - MSB

celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another . . Some see this as a perverted Feast of Purim (cf. Esther 9:19, Esther 9:22). It is more likely an allusion to John 16:20. This rejoining of the unbelieving world reveals the power of the two witnesses’ message, but the unbelievers would not repent (cf. Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 16:9, Revelation 16:11). - Utley

make merry . . This is the only instance of rejoicing during the Tribulation recorded in this book. It reflects the widespread wickedness of that day (cf. 1 Kings 18:17; 1 Kings 21:20). Earth-dwellers will celebrate because they do not have to listen to messages from God any longer. - Constable

two prophets . . Designates the two witnesses (v. 3); recalls John’s call to prophesy about [to] nations (Revelation 10:11). - NIVZSB

That the witnesses are also called prophets in the context of their death at the hands of the beast places them in the category of other prophets who had died for their faith and who are honored in Revelation (v. Revelation 11:18; Revelation 16:6; Revelation 18:20, Revelation 18:24). - CSB [cf Matthew 23:29-31 ]

tormented . . = i.e. disturbed their consciences.

Their exultation is short.

Verse 11

after the three and a half days . . This is an allusion from Daniel and is a symbolic period of persecution. See full note at Revelation 11:2.

breath of life . . John likely borrows this phraseology from Ezekiel 37:5, Ezekiel 37:9-10. - FSB

The breath of life from God will revive the witnesses’ dead bodies (cf. Genesis 6:17; Genesis 7:15, Genesis 7:22; 2 Kings 13:20-21; Ezekiel 37:5, Ezekiel 37:10). Their resurrection will terrify onlookers because these God-haters could do no more to silence their enemies than kill them. - Constable

stood on their feet . . This reminds us of the Valley of Dry Bones - Ezekiel 37:1-7 ; Ezekiel 37:8-14 which was a symbolic of Israel’s revival after exile and their resurrection of a new nation.

This could also be symbolic of some sort of a revival.

great fear . . = in contrast with the merriment in Revelation 11:10.

It is a fearful experience for sinful humans to face the power of the living God (see Hebrews 10:31). - NLTSB

Verse 12

they heard a loud voice . . Probably the awesome, majestic voice of God.

voice from heaven . . Those who hated and dishonored God’s messengers and message will become aware of their vindication.

Their acceptance by God is now seen by all!

See note on Revelation 11:8 .

Come up here . . Reminiscent of Enoch and Elijah being taken up to heaven (see Revelation 11:3 and note; Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11; compare Revelation 4:1

John’s point of view had changed from heaven in earth in Revelation 11:1, now John hears this voice from heaven where he had seen God’s throne, Rev. 4.

in a cloud . . = Acts 1:9 This picture seems to be based on Jesus’ ascension. cf. Revelation 10:1. (1 Thessalonians 4:17) 2 Kings 2:11-12. It conveys to our mind "divine transportation." cf. Daniel 7:13; and Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Mark 13:26; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 14:14).

As in Revelation 1:7, Acts 1:9, and several OT passages, the “cloud” symbolizes the mysterious active presence of God. - ESVSB

Verse 13

In the same hour . . Apparently coinciding with the two prophets called up into heaven.

a great earthquake . .An earthquake often accompanies key moments in biblical hi story (see Exodus 19:18; 1 Kings 19:11-12; Matthew 27:51). - NLTSB

Alludes to Ezekiel 38:19; anticipates the earthquake accompanying Babylon’s destruction (Revelation 16:18-19). - NIVZSB

cf. Ezekiel 38:17-23

a tenth of the city fell . . The temple area was about 1/10 of the city. Josephus says 10,000 lives were claimed the day the temple area fell.

The remnant . . = the rest, some gave God the glory. Those who were not killed saw God’s hand in the matters.

seven thousand . . The number who died shows God’s involvement in judgment (contrast 1 Kings 19:18). - NLTSB

afraid and gave glory . . [doxa];

gave glory to the God of heaven . . The intended goal of the judgments throughout the book (compare Revelation 9:20-21). - FSB

Those who survived the earthquake were forced to acknowledge God’s power and sovereignty over the world (see Philippians 2:9-11). - NLTSB

This doesn’t speak of conversion but an acknowledgement of God’s hand in these events. (Walvoord, The Revelation . . ., p. 183; Newell, p. 157.)

The title "the God of heaven" was often used by Daniel Daniel 2:18. It appears in the NT only here and in Revelation 16:11.

Verse 14

Second woe past - Revelation 8:13; Revelation 9:12

The third woe comes ... Revelation 11:15

11:14 This is a transitional device (cf. Revelation 9:12; Revelation 12:12). - Utley

The second woe has passed . . The sixth trumpet judgment - Revelation 8:13.

The interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets ends. - MSB

the third woe . . The seventh trumpet judgment (see Revelation 11:15). The seventh and last trumpet (Revelation 10:7; Revelation 11:15-18). - ESVSB

the third woe . . In what does this consist? Perhaps we are to see the answer in Revelation 12:12: but at any rate we have an instance of the way that, throughout this book, the last member of each series of signs disappoints us; we think (cf. Revelation 10:7) that the end of all things is come, but instead a new series begins. - CBSC

The end of the second woe Revelation 11:14

This verse is transitional (cf. Revelation 9:12). It refers to the end of the second woe (the sixth trumpet, Revelation 9:21) and ties this judgment in with the third woe (the seventh trumpet). It clarifies that God interjected the revelations of the mighty angel and the little scroll (Revelation 10:1-11) and the two witnesses (Revelation 11:1-13) into the chronological sequence of trumpet judgments. He did so to give supplementary, encouraging information. The final woe will follow “quickly” (Gr. tachy, “soon,” cf. Revelation 2:16; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20) on the heels of the second woe. - Constable

quickly . . “quickly” (Gr. tachy, “soon,” cf. Revelation 2:16; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20)

Verse 15

The Seventh Trump

All will be over -- the complete overthrow of Jewish temple worship.

A summary from the spiritual standpoint.

God used the kingdoms of men to accomplish his purposes.

Picture returns to ... Heavenly Activities

seventh angel blew the trumpet . . This completes the cycle of seven trumpets. There is no woe explicitly stated in relation to this trumpet . - FSB

The seventh trumpet includes the 7 bowl, final judgments depicted in chapter 16. - MSB

The interlude was over. The seventh trumpet sounded the finish--the end of the tribulation period. It was the completion of the "mystery of God" which was "according to the good tidings" of the prophets, fulfilled in the fall of Judaism, the triumph of Christianity, the success of gospel, the victory of the church, and the expansion of the kingdom of Christ. - Wallace

loud voices in heaven . . Loud voices in the court of heaven sing a victory hymn; - NLTSB

Recalls worship in Revelation 5:12; Revelation 7:10. - NIVZSB

The "great voices in heaven" were the combined voices of the vision united as one to proclaim the announcement of the seventh trumpet.

Before this it had been an angel or a voice but now it was all of the voices together in one great voice to announce the end of all events of the vision. - Wallace

the kingdom of the world . . The KJV and NKJV have “the kingdoms of this world.” The PLURAL is not present in any ancient Greek manuscripts. - Utley

the kingdom of the world . . The singular (kingdom) is the preferred reading. Despite its many political and cultural divisions, the Bible views the world spiritually as one kingdom, with one ruler—Satan (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Following Satan’s lead, the human rulers of this world are generally hostile to Christ (Psalms 2:2; Acts 4:26). - MSB

have become the kingdoms of our Lord . . This kingdom also belongs to God the Father (see notes on Daniel 4:3; Daniel 6:26; 1 Corinthians 15:24). - MSB

-the worldwide expansion of Christianity. It was the fulfillment of the words of Christ in Matthew 24:31 to send his angels with a great sound of trumpet, after the destruction of Jerusalem to gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other. With the fall of Jerusalem came the shaking down of all Jewish opposition to gospel.

Christianity was liberated from the fetters of Judaism and entered upon a worldwide career of leavening the civilizations of world by bringing them under the influence of Christ. Thus the kingdoms or dominions of men became the kingdoms of our Lord (God) and of his Christ. In Ephesians 5:5 the apostle designated it the kingdom of God and Christ, and declared in Colossians 1:13-14 that it was then present. - Wallace

our Lord and of His Christ . . God’s kingdom is inextricably bound to the Messiah, Jesus (cf. Psalms 2:1-2), who reigns in heaven following his ascension (Revelation 1:5; Acts 2:33-36) - NIZSB

our Lord and of His Christ . . Notice how closely the Father and Son are linked. Notice, also, that the emphasis of 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 has now been fulfilled. Some see an allusion to Zechariah 14:9 which is possible because of John’s favorite sources of apocalyptic images in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. - Utley

has become . . This is an AORIST MIDDLE (deponent) INDICATIVE.

This is a description of the end of the reign of fallen human governments and the beginning of the reign of our God. The new age of the Spirit has fully come. This confirms the recapitulation theory that the Second Coming occurs at the end of each of the three cycles of judgment: the seals (cf. Revelation 6:12-17), the trumpets (cf. Revelation 11:15-18), and the bowls (cf. 19). Revelation is not in a chronological, sequential order, but a dramatic presentation in three cycles, each viewing the same period, but in successive and intensifying degrees of judgment (1/4, 1/3, full). - Utley

and He shall reign forever and ever! . .This refers to the eternal reign of our God (cf. Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 4:34; Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:27; Luke 1:33; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Peter 1:11), not a millennial reign - Utley

reign for ever . . Fulfills the OT expectation that God will reign forever through the Davidic king (Isaiah 9:7; Daniel 2:44; Micah 4:7; cf. Luke 1:33). The redeemed will participate in this eternal reign (Revelation 22:5). - NIVZSB

Verse 16

What John saw in the heaven.

the twenty-four elders . . representing the people of God, confirm God’s victorious enthronement (see note on Revelation 4:4). Their worship acknowledges God’s sovereign rule as the Almighty (see Revelation 4:10-11; Revelation 5:8-10). - NLTSB

the 24 elders . . (Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:8, Revelation 5:14; Revelation 7:13-14) response to this announcement was to prostrate themselves before God. Worship in heaven contrasts with rebellion on earth. - Constable

which sat before God &c. . . Read, which are before God, who sit upon their thrones. - CBSC

Verse 17

We give thanks . . The only occurrence of the term “to give thanks” (eucharisteō) or its derivatives in Revelation. - FSB

O Lord God, the Almighty . . This refers to the three major OT titles for God: (1) YHWH, the covenant God as Savior (cf. Exodus 3:14; Psalms 103:1); (2) Elohim, the Creator God as provider and sustainer (cf. Genesis 1:1; Psalms 104:1); and (3) El Shaddai (cf. Revelation 1:8), the strong or compassionate God which was the Patriarchal name for deity (cf. Exodus 6:3). - Utley

who is and who was . . [NKJV "and who is to come"] The final phrase, “who is to come,” (used in Revelation 1:4, Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8) is omitted in the many manuscripts. The last of these three chronological aspects will never be mentioned again in the book of the Revelation.

It is not, however, likely that any importance is to be attached to the omission of the full expression we had in Revelation 1:4, Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8. CBSC

and have begun to reign . . God has always been sovereign over His creation, however in John’s visions he sees the completion of the end of the Mosaic dispensation, the Jewish temple rituals and hierarchy and is now revealed the authenticity and vindication of Christianity.

Verse 18

A picture of judgment.

God’s wrath comes...

The dead prophet and apostles are vindicated who had cried out from under the altar - Revelation 6:10-11 !

God’s judgment upon Jerusalem is parallel to the JUDGMENT in Revelation 20:12.

God’s judgment upon Jerusalem and Judaism is a fore-picture and an assurance that he will one day judge all men - Revelation 20:12 .

The vision closes with this verse. Revelation 11:19 begins a new vision.

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nations were angry . . The hostility of the nations against the Jews was manifest. This is an allusion to Psalms 2:1 and Ezekiel 38:1-39.

Your wrath has come . . God used the nations (Rome and her allies) to bring his wrath upon Jerusalem (the Babylon of Revelation).

time of the dead -- be judged . . All the pass leaders who had persecuted God’s prophets and had rejected the Christ would now be seen to have been in error. Their actions were judged as heinous and against God’s anointed. Matthew 23:28-36.

The phrase definitely shows us that the visions of Revelation comes in three parallel acts (seals, trumpets, and bowls) where each ends with a sever judgmental scenes upon Jerusalem and Israel that rejected the Messiah and persecuted his disciples .

reward Your servant the prophets and the saints . . All those who had suffered and were persecuted are now vindicated.

those who fear your name . . This is continuing part of the phrase of those whom God would reward, so it must be speaking of all those who honored, respected, and obey God.

small and great . . Describes everyone without distinction, whether ordinary or important. - FSB

destroy those who destroy the earth . . The Greek term for “destroy” (diaphtheirō) refers to those who kill, murder, and oppress persons or nations. - FSB

This seems to speak of God’s wrath and judgment of those who would destroy this genuine people, now the church, His true temple, 1 Corinthians 3:17.

destroy them which destroy . . The verb used twice over is ambiguous, and perhaps has a meaning that we should express differently in the two places; as in 1 Corinthians 3:17. Thus neither the marginal rendering nor the text is wrong. - CBSC

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The vision closes with this verse. Revelation 11:19 begins a new vision.

Verse 19

This verse should have been the beginning of ch. 12.

While some think this verse is the conclusion to John’s vision of chapter 11, it rather seems that Verse 19 begins a new vision.

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the temple . . on earth was now closed! A new temple is opened in heaven!

It is like two signs hanging out -

"Closed on earth" "Open in heaven"

With Christ’s death and the veil of the temple being torn we have God’s rejection of the earthly temple and now see Christ as the Great High Priest of the new covenant. Matthew 27:51.

ark of His covenant was seen . . Located in the temple’s inner sanctuary 1 Kings 6:19. The ark could now seen by all.

Under the Mosaic Law only the High Priest could view the ark of the covenant, and the only on one day of the year, the day of atonement. But under the New Covenant every disciple is a priest and has access to God’s mercy and grace.

The ark was the locus of God’s presence with His people and the symbol of His covenant with them, and here it carries the same significance (compare Revelation 21:3). - FSB

ark of His covenant . . This piece of furniture in the OT tabernacle and temple (see notes on Exodus 25:10-22) symbolized God’s presence, atonement, and covenant with His people. That earthly ark was only a picture of this heavenly one (see Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 10:20). It was there God provided mercy and atonement for sin. As the earthly Holy of Holies was open when the price of sin was paid (Matthew 27:51; Hebrews 10:19-20), so the Holy of Holies in heaven is opened to speak of God’s saving New Covenant -MSB

lightnings, noises, thundering, etc. -- All these indicate God’s mighty presence, as also seen at important times in the Old Testament.

As elsewhere, the storm theophany portrays the manifestation of God’s presence (cf. Revelation 4:5; Revelation 16:18; Exodus 19:16-19) - Constable

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Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Revelation 11". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/revelation-11.html. 2021.