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SPECIAL DOCTRINO-ETHICAL AND HOMILETICAL NOTES (ADDENDUM)
Veiled Heaven-Picture of the Seven Thunders. (Revelation 10:1-66.10.11.)
General.—Here the mystery of prophecy is raised to a higher power within the mysterious Apocalypse itself. A contrast even is presented consisting in the fact that the Seven Thunders are to be specially sealed (Revelation 10:4), whilst the Revelation in general is not to be sealed (Revelation 22:10). We have already endeavored to explain the motive of this special sealing, and have at the same time set forth the hypothesis that the Seer has in a correspondent exoteric form furnished a sketch Of the sealed esoteric contents of the Seven Thunders (Revelation 11:1-66.11.14). For Christianity can in no point be absolutely esoterical. It may also safely be assumed, that the elements of the Seven Thunders are to be found in the Apostolic Epistles and even in the Gospels. There is, e. g. (if we regard thunder as the symbol of a spiritual purification of the atmosphere and refreshment of life), an oppugnment of orthodoxistic legality in the Epistle of James; a reform of unfree chiliastic externality in the first Epistle of Peter and in both the Epistles to the Thessalonians; libertinism is opposed by the second Epistle of Peter and the Epistle of Jude; the Pauline Epistles reform, in rich gradation, the faith, the Church, Christology, etc.; and beyond them there is yet another Johannean reform of Christian gnosis. John not only knew that the Law, as the first reformation of Israel, was given amid thunder and lightning, that the fiery chariot of Elijah had formed a turning-point between the legal and the Messianico-prophetic period, but he had also himself been present when Christ’s prayer for the glorification of His Father’s name was answered with a word of assent that sounded like thunder. And it was in harmony with the development of revelation that thunder, which in the Old Testament, was a symbol of the Law, should become for the Son of Thunder, under the New Covenant, a symbol of the Gospel and its seven-fold holy evolutions. In respect of the beautiful, elevated and elevating aspect of thunder, even the Scandinavian mythology is in advance of the standpoint of popular terror, so largely occupied in Christendom with regard to this phenomenon (comp. also Sophocles, Œdipus at Colonos).
In referring, at this juncture, to our Exeg. Notes, it will be understood, as a matter of course, that it is the part of Homiletics to treat the present section of the Seven Thunders with especial caution, although, of course, the phenomena accompanying the voices of the Thunders are not sealed. As to the sealing itself, the expression is to be taken in its broader sense. In a literal sense, written matter is sealed; but here the command is: write not.
Special.—a. [Revelation 10:2-66.10.3.] The Angel of the End-time. A presage and symbol of the Coming of Christ. 1. His appearance; 2. The little book in his hand relating to the end-time; 3. His dominion and power: his feet planted on the land and
the sea; 4. His cry as the roaring of a lion—the awakening call to the awaking seven Thunders. The word of Christ, the eternal source of all spiritual operations in the Church.—b. [Revelation 10:3-66.10.7.] The Seven Thunders as mysterious mediations of the end-time. As sealed mysteries. The more complete their sealing as canonical and doctrinal certainties of prophecy, the more powerful their operation upon the religious presentiment, the feelings, the spirit of prayer. The Seven Thunders in nature (Psalms 29:0.), emblems of the Seven Thunders of the Kingdom of God.—The mysteries of Christianity, prefigured by the mysteries of the Theocratic Sanctuary; manifest in the facts and fundamental doctrines of Christianity (1 Timothy 3:16); mediated by the evangelic form of mystery (Matthew 10:27), by mysteries sacramental, Church-historic (disciplina arcani), especially those pertaining to the mediæval period of Church-history, and by eschatogical mysteries.—The sealing of the Thunders, the mystery of mysteries.—The certainty of certainties, or the solemn oath of the Angel concerning the approaching end.—The oaths of God recorded in Holy Writ are Divine assurances which re-echo in the surest certainty of elect human hearts.—How is this to be understood—to wit, that the time of Christ’s coming is unknown, that it may, in a chronological sense, still be distant, and yet that it is emphatically near? 1. We are in the midst of a constant, uncheckable movement toward that goal; 2. The movement is continually increasing in rapidity, and the catastrophe of this periodic course will come, at all events, more suddenly than we think. The motives of this catastrophe are to be found in the depths of the religious and moral world (where the carcase, etc.). Every great event has, from time immemorial, taken men by surprise, like a sort of Last Day.—The time of the Seventh Trumpet, the time of the end.—The blessed secrets intrusted to the servants of God, contrasted with the unblessed secrets of the children of wickedness.—c. [Revelation 10:9-66.10.11] New and second calling of the Seer.—Command to the Seer to eat the little book. The act itself, and its import. The hearty reception of the prophecy of the last time in its sweet charm and its convulsing and painful effect. (Anguish and terror, especially the terrors of war, not only attack the heart, but are frequently the occasion of cholera-like epidemics.)—The converse orders of the operations of the book, as presented by the Angel and by the Seer. Joy and sorrow, says human feeling; sorrow and joy, says the heavenly Spirit.—Thou must prophesy again, or the commission to publish the tidings of the last time in the midst of the course of the world, as an imminent Divine doom upon the whole world, peoples and kings.
Starke: The Lion roareth—who shall not fear, examine himself, and truly repent (Amos 3:8)? He that dwelleth in Heaven may keep silence for a while, but in His own time He shall speak so that both our ears shall tingle (Psalms 2:5; Psalms 50:21; 1 Samuel 3:11).—Some commentators think that they (the Seven Thunders) discovered the saddest fortunes of the true Church.—Here, also, Starke presents the antithetic view of “those who regard this as fulfilled” and “those who deem it to be still future.”—The Prophets and Apostles did not write down all things that they saw and heard, but only so much as was necessary for us and as the Holy Ghost commanded them to write.—Although the prophetic predictions remain for a time sealed, when the time of their fulfillment and dénoument arrives, all becomes intelligible and manifest (Daniel 12:9).
Jung Stilling, Die Siegesgeschichte der christl. Religion in einer gemeinnützigen Erklärung der Offenb. Joh. (Sämmtliche Schriften, Vol. III. Stuttgart, 1835. On Revelation 10:1): His countenance shineth like the sun, for He dwells in the light and enlightens all things that He looks upon; since His appearance until now it has been growing brighter and brighter. About His head the rainbow gleams; for He is a Messenger of the Covenant,—a Messenger Who is to proclaim the unveiling of the mystery of God, in which mystery God’s covenant with Noah and all His promises are to be fulfilled. He is clothed with a cloud—which is the chariot and travelling apparel of Him Who is to come in the clouds (Revelation 1:7; Daniel 7:13). And His feet are like pillars of fire; for where He stands, He stands firm; the gates of hell cannot move Him from the spot, and whoso thinks to drive Him away, burns his own fingers. All this is surety to us for the validity of His embassage, for the truth of the little book that He has in His hand, and which John now communicates to us.
Riemann, Die Offenb: St. Joh. (see p. 73): Every word of God, as heavenly food from the tree of life, is sweet when we first receive it in faith, but afterwards, though the sweetness does not cease, it becomes bitter also, as a judge of the thoughts and intents of the heart, when the old Adam must sink in death under the sharpness of this two-edged sword: again, this word is doubly sweet when it proclaims the final triumph of Christ over the kingdom of darkness, and yet at the same time it is bitter, for with this proclamation it conjoins lamentation and mourning and woe that sorely come upon the Messianic Church through the last desperate conflict of the prince of darkness with the Kingdom of God.
[From The Comprehensive Commentary: Revelation 10:9-66.10.11. It becomes God’s servants to digest in their own souls the messages they bring to others in His name, and to be suitably affected therewith themselves; also, to deliver every message with which they are charged, whether pleasing or unpleasing to men. (M. Henry)]
Exoteric Intimations from the Earth-picture of the Seven Thunders. (Revelation 11:1-66.11.14)
General.—The remarks made by us in reference to the preceding section, apply with equal force to this. The exegetical foundation is not yet sufficiently sure, clear and firm to warrant the erection of a doctrinal and homiletical superstructure. We must distinguish, here as well as elsewhere, between our own firm conviction and the conventional status of exegesis in the Church, which it is not admissible to leave entirely out of consideration in an official undertaking.
We must, first of all, settle the relation which this section bears to the preceding one. It is not difficult to perceive that the Seven Thunders are recognizable in the procedures of the two Sons of Oil, since fire goes forth from their mouths and they can shut and open Heaven like Elijah.
Another unmistakable fact is that we have here to do with a sketch of those Church-historical circumstances which form a transition to the time of the end.
It is equally certain, furthermore, that in the provision concerning the Temple. Revelation 11:1-66.11.2, we have a picture of the Christian Church, and not a prophecy relating to the Temple at Jerusalem, to be apprehended literally and, in such case, manifested to be erroneous. In regard to the Temple and the subsequent history of the Two Witnesses, as well as the judgment at the close of the section, we refer to the Exeg. Notes. A cautious treatment of the subject might base itself upon the following fundamental lines: The inner and outer (or invisible and visible) Church (Revelation 11:1-66.11.2); the New Testament order of God’s Kingdom in the antithesis of Church and State (Revelation 11:3-66.11.7); the grave prospect that the hemming in of Antichristianity will at some future day be done away with (Revelation 11:7-66.11.10; 2 Thessalonians 2:0.); the certainty that the forms of Church and State, though suffering a temporal extinction, will celebrate their resurrection in the consummation of the Kingdom of God (Revelation 11:11-66.11.12). Finally, the social earthquake connected with the preceding events, which shakes the New Testament City of God of externalized Christian order and, by a precursory judgment, calls many to repentance, whereby such as comply with the call withdraw themselves from the consummate apostasy of the time of the Beast, and are preserved from the final judgment at the Parousia of Christ.
Special.—[Revelation 11:1-66.11.2.] The Temple arrangements of the Old Covenant, in their symbolic import for the Christian Church. (a) The priestly Sanctuary, which has become one with the Holy of Holies; (b) the Altar; (c) the Worshippers; (d) the outer court of the Gentiles.—Import of the outer court: a figurative testimony (1) against that view which reckons the outer court as forming part of the Sanctuary; (2) against the other idea which denominates the outer court the world, simply.
[Revelation 11:3.] The two ground-forms of witness concerning Christ in the Christian age: The Churchly communion, and the Christian and humane social morals and manners which it inculcates.—[Revelation 11:4.] The olive trees, by which the life of the sons of oil, Christians, is, not generated, but mediated.—Olive trees and candlesticks [lamp-stands] at once; i.e., on the one hand, gifted with a source of spiritual life (John 4:0.), and, on the other, elaborated into a form favorable for the mediation of the Spirit to men.—The whole Christian age, a time of the one Spirit of Christ in the change of different temporal forms. In the main, the olive trees are at the same time candlesticks [lamp-stands], and the candlesticks [lamp-stands] olive trees: i.e., spiritual life and formal organization, knowledge and practice, run together, in parallel development, through the ages. In individual cases, however, the candlestick [lamp-stand] that should stand beside the olive tree is occasionally missing, and still more frequently the candlestick [lamp-stand] lacks the accompaniment of the olive tree.—[Revelation 11:5-66.11.6.] Competition of the mediæval Church and State in the training of Christian humanity. Their union. Their terrible severity. Their strainings of authority and their gradual loss of the sympathy of Christian popular life.—[Revelation 11:7.] The Beast out of the abyss as the prelude of Antichristianity or the Beast out of the sea, or how demonic Antichristian dispositions precede the final Antichristian figurations in human characters.—Dying and dead forms of the old order of things (Revelation 11:9).—The Antichristian feasts of the future (Revelation 11:10).—[Revelation 11:11-66.11.12.] The time of three days and a half, or the time of the apparent downfall of the Kingdom of God, always, at the same time, the time of a glorious exaltation of it.—Prospect of the final fulfillment of all Churchly and Stately foretokens in the unity of a heavenly Kingdom.—[Revelation 11:13.] The Apocalyptic earthquakes in their grand significance: (1) In their spiritual import; (2) In their social import; (3) In their cosmical import.—Fall of the external historic City of God.—Twofold effect of the judgments and terrors of God: Many are killed, the rest are affrighted and give glory to God.
Starke: The true Church should not be judged by its magnitude and visibility, because (just as) the outer court many times surpasses the Temple in length and breadth.—The teachers of the Christian Church must, internally, resemble olive trees, and be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit, whilst outwardly they must shine as lights, with an irreproachable life—Quesnel: When God has used His servants for the sanctification of others, He uses the wicked to purify those servants themselves by suffering and martyrdom.—The world is to be deplored, in that it celebrates its sins with rejoicings, as a public festival.
Löwe, Weissagung und Geschichte in ihrer Zusammenstimmung (see p. 73): [Revelation 11:3 sqq.] This twofold number, doubtless, denotes a twofold, Divinely commissioned ministry, but not an external condition; thus there are always in existence Rome few powerful witnesses—testifying of repentance and faith—of ecclesiastical and secular office and vocation, in order to the support of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom in the world.
Wilhelm Friedrich Rinck, Apokalyptische Forschungen,. Zürich, 1853 (see p. 72): As the Lord sent out His disciples by twos, thus the many witnesses and servants of Christ are here introduced as two messengers (?). Their ministry lasts as long as Jerusalem (the outer court) is trodden down by the Gentiles; the whole time, consequently, from the destruction of Jerusalem to the end of the world.—Two olive trees and two lamp-stands. Oil and lamp-stands belong together.—The city. Neither Jerusalem nor Rome is intended, but an allegorical great city, which lays violent hands on the messengers of God, and even on His own Son, It is impossible that it can be any particular single city when they of the peoples, tribes, tongues and nations are to see the bodies of the slain witnesses. Constance is a part of that great city.*
*[It was at the Council of Constance (A.D. 1414–1418) that Huss and Jerome of Prague, the forerunners of the Reformation, were condemned and martyred.—E. R. C.]
[From M. Henry: Revelation 11:1. Observe, 1. The temple was to be measured; the gospel-church in general; whether it be so built, so constituted, as the gospel rule directs. 2. The altar. That which was the place of the most solemn acts of worship may be put for religious worship in general; whether the Church has the true altars, both as to substance and situation: as to substance, whether they take Christ for their Altar, and lay down all their offerings there; and in situation, whether the Altar be in the holiest; that is, whether they worship God in the Spirit and in truth. 3. The worshippers. Whether they make God’s glory their end, and His word their rule, in all their acts of worship; and whether they come to God with suitable affections, and whether their conversation be as becomes the gospel.]
Heaven-picture of the Manifestation of Antichristianity on Earth. [Revelation 11:15 to Revelation 12:12)
General.—The present section, and also the subsequent chapters, Revelation 12:13 to Revelation 13:18, are peculiarly adapted to illustrate and confirm the construction of the Apocalypse as presented by us. Our section is not readily intelligible without a definite reference to the subsequent Earth-picture, and the development of Antichristianity brought to view in that picture can be apprehended only as illuminated by our Heaven-picture:—as a judgment foreseen in the counsel of God; as an apparent domination of Antichristianity, completely overruled by the victorious power of Heaven, by the triumph of Christ and the victory of His heroic spirit over Satan in the spirit-sphere.
Here, as elsewhere, the heavenly celebration of victory (Revelation 11:15-66.11.19) precedes the earthly judgment (Revelation 13:1 sqq.). The Woman clothed with the sun, the Divine Congregation of the Kingdom, appears conformably to her heavenly phase, in full splendor (Revelation 12:1-66.12.6); high above her fugitive phase, menaced with mortal peril, on earth (Rev 15:13–17). The true offspring of her heart (Revelation 12:2-66.12.5) is a holy counterpart of the wicked False Prophet, who, in the guise of a lamb, comes forth from her terrestrial order, the earth. The great red Dragon who appears in Heaven, the region of spirit, with great seductive power; whose intention it is to destroy the male Son and conquer His spirit-host, but who here makes an utterly fruitless attempt against that Son, Who is caught up to God,—an utterly abortive attack upon Michael and his angels—and is, in consequence, cast down to earth,—subsequently appears on earth as a terrible persecutor of the Woman: he vomits forth his water-floods, i. e., masses of peoples, against her; he wars against her individual children; he incarnates himself, with his seven heads, in the seven-headed Antichrist; he helps the horrid Beast, after it has been wounded to death, to an apparent healing; he institutes, by the semblance of demonic omnipotence, devil worship and blasphemies on earth; he draws the False Prophet, with his delusive works, into his service, and attains, for the time being, to a dominion on earth which is, to all appearance, legally organized through the medium of social symbols.
According to the Heaven-picture, the Woman is sheltered in the wilderness, whither she herself has fled, by a place prepared for her by God (“A stronghold sure”), and there finds food and maintenance through her whole trial-time of a thousand two hundred and sixty days and days’ works. According to the Earth-picture, the two wings of the great Eagle must be given her for her flight; in the place of refuge to which she has fled, she is sustained through the same period that was before indicated, which, however, is here designated by the ominous number a time, (two) times and a half—whereby a great, sore and apparently endless time of temptation [trial] is expressed, a period which seems to continue even to hopelessness; she is, moreover, oppressed in a twofold manner by the Serpent. To save herself from being drowned and carried away by the water-floods, the sun-woman must accept the aid of the earth, by which acceptance her visible existence is itself made dependent upon the earth; and after the abortive attack upon the kernel of her totality, war is waged against her in the remainder of her seed, her individual children.
The high import of the seventh Trumpet, which continues from now to the seven Vials of Anger or to the judgment, is first expressed by a great celebration in Heaven. There is a sublime paradox in the fact that the beginning of Satan’s apparent rule on earth is celebrated in Heaven by great voices saying: The kingdom of the world is become our Lord’s and His Christ’s, and He shall reign from eternity to eternity. This epoch of heavenly victory is so completely decided with the appearance of Antichristianity that the heavenly Elders can make the festival already one of thanksgiving. There is a grandeur in the intuition or deduction by which they recognize in the very wrath of the nations the forth-breaking of the Divine anger (with its Vials of Anger); in the death-time of those who live in and for this world, a new life-time of the [blessed] dead in the world beyond—the beginning epoch of their restoration, which, in accordance with its nature, brings with it destruction for the destroyers of the earth.
Upon this festal antiphony between the heavenly voices and the thanksgiving of the Elders, follow the opening of the heavenly Temple, and the events connected therewith. The full revelation of Satan is anticipated by the perfect revelation of revelation, if we may thus speak. For those who will see with the Seer, the Temple is opened; the idea of the Kingdom of God becomes generally intelligible; the Ark of His Covenant becomes visible: i. e., the profoundly dark mystery of reconciliation and grace is converted into the clear light of knowledge for all those who see; and the effect of this glorious development of the life of the Church of God cannot fail of supervention; viz., lightnings of particulars of revelation, voices of proclamation, thunders of preaching, earthquakes of mental convulsions, and a great hail storm of fanatical sentiments originating in the commingling of sultry heat and icy cold.
Together with the glory of revelation, the glory of the Congregation of the Kingdom becomes manifest,—the Woman clothed with the sun, in the astral adornment of the terrestrial cosmos.
All the pangs [woes] of earth appear, in connection with the Woman’s pangs, as travail-pangs, birth-pangs of the Messiah.
Next appears the enemy, the great red Dragon. He is a union of serpent and swine, “Spottgeburt von Dreck und Feuer,” resplendent in the gloomy radiance of his fiery nature and blood-guiltiness; he has seven mock-holy heads instead of the one holy head, and there attaches to him the contradiction of the ten horns of his authority, expressive of the fact that that authority reposes entirely upon the decenary of the world, whilst the crowns upon his seven heads indicate a legal power falsely gained by the semblance of the sacred seven. Not, however, by the lustre of his crowns, but by the terrible lashings of his tail—apparent power—does he cast the third part, or a spiritual third, of the stars, the geniuses of the spirit-world of Heaven, down to earth, into the earthly service of the ecclesiastico-worldly order of things. The frustration of his plans, however, is expressed in a series of defeats: 1. Christ, in the light of eternity, is caught up as the Male into Heaven, to the Throne of God; 2. The Woman is made secure in her place of refuge, and provided for; 3. The Dragon, with his angels, is, by Michael and his angels, precipitated from Heaven to earth, from the sphere of pure spirit of the inner Church to the external Churchly and Stately ordinances; 4. Even in this world an invisible Church Triumphant has been establishing itself, and is as deep and high, as wide and broad, as the perfect joyousness of faith extends in its two fundamental features; faith-righteousness in the Reconciliation, and martyr-faithfulness unto death.
A transition to the Earth-picture is formed by the following thought: The highest weal of the heavenly-minded becomes a woe upon earth and sea, the Hierarchy and popular life.
Special.—Reciprocal action betwixt the development and consummation of the kingdom of darkness, on the one hand, and the Kingdom of God on the other.
[Revelation 11:17-66.11.18.] Heavenly rejoicing over earth’s last time of need.—Judgment of the wrath of God in the wrath of the nations.—The end-time, a joyful celebration of the justification of all God’s witnesses.
[Revelation 11:19.] Transfiguration of the whole revelation of salvation in knowledge and life: a sure hope of Christendom.—Great effects of this ever more manifest revelation, [ch. 12] Revelation 12:10.
[Revelation 12:1]. The Woman clothed with the sun, or the glory of the eternal Congregation of God’s Kingdom.
[Revelation 12:2.] Birth-pangs of the Church of God: 1. The Martyrs of Israel; 2. Christ, the Great Martyr; 3. The Martyrs of the Christian Church.—Christ, even as the universal, eternal Christ, issues from the travail-pangs of the Church of God in Time.—All the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared with the eternal glory.
[Revelation 12:3-66.12.4.] The doctrine of Satan, perfected in the Apocalypse. The great red Dragon (1) as a figurative representation of Satan; (2) of Satanic or demonic evil; (3) of evil in general. Unbelief has advanced from a denial of Satan to a denial of Satanic evil; from the denial of the latter to a denial of evil in general. The knowledge of faith must advance through a deeper-going doctrine of evil to an apprehension of Satanic evil, and through the latter to an insight into Divine revelation relative to the existence of Satan and his kingdom.—Evil in the figure of the Dragon: 1. Absolute hideousness, the Dragon, the monstrous shape, in its hypocritical pretension to beauty, in the pomp of fiery red, and with its seven crowns; 2. Absolute falsehood in the contradiction of horns and crowns, with its hypocritical pretension to holy intelligence in its seven heads; 3. Absolute badness in its conduct toward the “stars” or spirits of Heaven, toward God and Christ, toward the Woman and the destiny of humanity, with the hypocritical pretension to the founding of a free spirit-kingdom (of fallen stars).—Satanic evil, or conscious enmity to God and Christ.—Satan and his kingdom. The doctrine respecting these has, by reason of the mediæval classifications of it, which, in manifold ways, continued to obtain even in Protestant orthodoxy after the Reformation, called forth a reaction similar to that induced by the gross enhancement of the doctrine of election, by the fearful exaggeration of the power of excommunication, of Church discipline, clerical authority and letter-faith. This doctrine has hence become a difficult, and, more or less, an esoteric, subject for homiletics. It, nevertheless, must not be dropped, and still less should it be denied; its true treatment, however, is conditioned (1) by a prominent setting forth of that spirit-world which pervades the universe; (2) by the maintenance of the fact that the origin of sin consists not in animal sensuality, but in a spiritual abuse of liberty; that a fall of spirits is assumable neither as having taken place on our earth alone nor throughout the universe; and that from the earthly fall of spirits, we are, according to Scripture, to infer a previous fall of spirits, forming the centre and back-ground of the evil of this world.
The scattered manifestations of evil on earth, notwithstanding their plurality, constitute, in their opposition to the Kingdom of God, a unitous power as the Kingdom of Darkness. A unitous power against the Kingdom of God they are, but not a united power in themselves, as is evident from the monster with the seven heads.—Antitheocratic manifestations in the Old Testament as foreshadowings of Antichristian manifestations in the New Testament and in Church history.—Satan’s work in the invisible world becomes manifest here in Antichristian facts, and must be brought to view by means of these.—The enemy of man, according to John 8:44, as a seducer (to spiritual pride, Genesis 3:0; to fanatical fleshly lust, Numbers 25:0, etc.); as an accuser (Job).—Types of Antichrist: Balaam; Goliath; Ahithophel; Antiochus Epiphanes; Judas.—[Revelation 12:5.] Satan’s plot for the destruction of Christ defeated by Christ’s resurrection and ascension.—[Revelation 12:7.] The battle between light and darkness on earth is, in its decisive centre, a conflict of spirits in the spirit-realm (see Comm. on John, John 13:31).—[Revelation 12:9.] The casting of Satan out of the pure sphere of the Christian spirit into the sphere of earthly ordinances, (a) in the life of Jesus (Matthew 4:0.; Luke 10:18; John, l. c.); (b) in the sphere of the Church through the medium of the Spirit of Christ.—Song of triumph over the accuser, Revelation 12:10 (see Exeg. Notes).
Starke (Lösecken): “It is a noteworthy circumstance that there is here (Revelation 11:15-66.11.16) no mention of the four Beasts, which elsewhere throughout the Book precede the Elders in praising and thanking God (Revelation 5:14; Revelation 7:11). The reason of this seems to be that at this time the true public ministry of preaching, represented by the four Beasts (?), will be suppressed to such a degree as to be neither visible nor appreciable any more.” (A little problem lies before us, but the solution offered is a failure. Possibly the four Life-forms [Living-beings] are omitted because they denote the fundamental forms of the Divine Governance in the economy of salvation, whilst here an exercise of Judicial power is celebrated.)
Revelation 11:19. And there occurred lightnings and voices and thunders: the promulgation of the Law and the Gospel was set in motion again.—And an earthquake: great commotions arose.—And a great hail: with this, the judgments of God burst upon the Antichristian kingdom. [And the Temple, etc.] The things concerning which there has been so much strife shall be clearly shown and known—to wit, the Person, nature and attributes of Christ, the satisfaction made by Him, the whole nature of the covenant of grace and of Christ’s Kingdom on earth. After the offence has been taken away, God will yet give to all nations on earth free access to His Church and Throne of Grace.—(Revelation 12:3. “Dragons are said to be the largest of all serpents and beasts, some of them attaining the length of forty or fifty cubits. Alexander the Great is said to have had one shown him that was five hundred feet long.”)
Revelation 12:4. And his tail, wherein were his greatest power and cunning, drew, subdued by cruelty, torture, artifice, flattery, the third part of the stars, a great part of the teachers of mankind.
Revelation 12:11. This is the wondrous victory of Christians—to conquer through tribulation and death, to gain in losing (Romans 8:37).—Quesnel: The nearer we come to the end, the more earnestly does the devil strive to ruin us, and the more ought we to watch, pray and work.
N. Von Brunn, Blicke eines alten Knechts, der auf seinen Herrn wartet, in die Offenbarung, etc. (see p. 73): To us mortals, because of the limitations of our vision, much appears as in process of coming to pass, which, by celestial spirits, with sight unhindered by a veil of flesh, is seen to be already accomplished, (The Church-historical system of interpretation is pursued in this work. The practical remarks are significant and edifying.)
Graeber (see above): “The positions of Hengstenberg are as untenable with regard to Revelation 11:19 as in relation to Revelation 8:1. Suppose, for instance, that the Revelation really definitively closed here, which, according to Hengstenberg, is assumable. What! is the entire development of God’s Kingdom on earth to close with a 'great hail!'—The wilderness (Revelation 12:0). Thus says Thomas à kempis: ‘If thou wouldest know and learn somewhat that will be useful and profitable to thee, learn what so few know or are able to do—to be willing to be unknown and to be accounted as nought.’ The wilderness, then, is self-renunciation; not simply barrenness, want, poverty, or the concealment of the Kingdom of God in the Middle Ages.) The Lord withdraws His people from the turmoil of the world: a Moses He buries, as it were, for forty years in the wilderness with Jethro; an Elijah He conceals by the brook Cherith, and entombs a Luther in the narrow cell of a cloister, etc.”
[From M. Henry: Revelation 12:10. The accuser, etc. Though Satan hates God’s presence, yet he is willing to appear there, to accuse the people of God. Let us therefore take heed that we give him no cause of accusation against us; and that when we have sinned, we presently go in before the Lord, and accuse and condemn ourselves, and commit our cause to Christ as our Advocate.
Revelation 12:11. The servants of God overcame Satan, 1. By the blood of the Lamb, as the meritorious cause. Christ by dying destroyed him that hath the power of death, that is, the Devil. 2. By the word of their testimony, as the great instrument of war; the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; by a resolute, powerful preaching of the everlasting gospel, which is mighty, through God, to pull down strongholds; by their courage and patience in sufferings; they loved not their lives unto the death, when the love of life stood in competition with their loyalty to Christ; they loved not their lives so well, but they could give them up to death, could lay them down in Christ’s cause.—From Barnes: Revelation 11:15 : A time is to come when, in the proper sense of the term, God is to reign on the earth; when His kingdom is to be universal; when His laws shall be everywhere recognized as binding; when all idolatry shall come to an end; and when the understandings and the hearts of men everywhere shall bow to His authority.—From Vaughan: Revelation 12:11. The three weapons by which the Christian victory is won: The atonement made for all sin in the death of Christ; the word or message of God, to which all true Christians bear in act and in endurance a firm and intelligible testimony; and that spirit of entire self-devotion and self-surrender which perseveres even unto death, and stops not short (if God so require) of the sacrifice of life itself for Christ.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 10". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany