Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the Bible

Revelation 11

Revelation 10:1-19

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4NKJVNRSVTEVNJB
The Angel and the Little ScrollThe Mighty Angel with the ScrollAn InterludeThe Angel and the Little ScrollThe Imminence of the Last Punishment
Revelation 10:1-7Revelation 10:1-7Revelation 10:1-7Revelation 10:1-4Revelation 10:1-7
John Eats the Little BookRevelation 10:5-7The Seer Eats the Small Scroll
Revelation 10:8-11Revelation 10:8-11Revelation 10:8-10Revelation 10:8Revelation 10:8-11
Revelation 10:9
Revelation 10:10-11
Revelation 10:11
The Two WitnessesThe Two WitnessesThe Measuring of the Temple and the Two WitnessesThe Two WitnessesThe Two Witnesses
Revelation 11:1-13Revelation 11:1-6Revelation 11:1-3Revelation 11:1-3Revelation 11:1-10
The Witnesses KilledRevelation 11:4-6Revelation 11:4-6
Revelation 11:7-10Revelation 11:7-10Revelation 11:7-13
The Witnesses Resurrected
Revelation 11:11-14Revelation 11:11-13Revelation 11:11-13
The Seventh Trumpet
Revelation 11:14Revelation 11:14Revelation 11:14Revelation 11:14
The Seventh TrumpetSeventh Trumpet: the Kingdom ProclaimedThe Seventh TrumpetThe Seventh Trumpet
Revelation 11:15-19Revelation 11:15-19Revelation 11:15-19Revelation 11:15-18Revelation 11:15-18
Revelation 11:19Revelation 11:19

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired but it is the key to following the original author's intent which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. The first interlude (chapter 7) came between the sixth and seventh seals. This second interlude (Revelation 10:1-14) comes between the sixth and seventh trumpets. There is no interlude between the sixth and seventh bowls (Revelation 16:0), but there is another interlude before them (Rev. 12-14).

B. This interlude, like Revelation 7:0, uses OT terms (tabernacle, altar, Jerusalem). However, just as the Jewish allusions in Revelation 7:0 refer to the NT people of God, the Church, so too, in this chapter. The allusions are drawn from Daniel 9:0 but they have been adapted to the Greco-Roman, first century setting.

Here is a brief quote from Alan Johnson's Commentary on Revelation, "The Jewish view suffers from its inability to relate this chapter to the context of chapter 10, to the parallelism with the seal interlude (Revelation 7:0), to the ministry and significance of the two witnesses, and to the further chapters in Revelation (esp. Rev. 12-13). Therefore, it is better to understand Revelation 11:0 as referring to the whole Christian community" (p. 104).

C. As Alan Johnson sees Revelation 11:0 in its relationship to Revelation 7:10, and 12-13, George Ladd sees it as an independent literary unit related to the preservation of the Jewish people and their final salvation (cf. Matthew 23:39; Luke 21:24; Romans 11:26). See his Commentary on the Revelation of John, pp. 150-151.

It is difficult to decide between these two views. I certainly feel that because of God's promises to Israel, there will be an end-time revival among natural or proselyte Israel in which many will turn to faith in Christ (cf. Zechariah 12:10); this is part of Paul's argument in Romans 11:0 (it is surely possible that the revival alluded to in Zechariah 12:10 occurred in the Palestinian church of the first century). However, the context of Revelation 7:10, and 12-13 implies a universal scope both of protection to all of God's people and judgment against all unbelievers. In this context a believing Jewish emphasis or even a Jewish-versus-Gentile emphasis is out of place.

D. Will there be two end-time witnesses, or is this symbolic of an end-time witness? It is so hard to be confident in interpreting the symbols of this book. If John intended them to be literal, he would have chosen a different genre to reveal this to believers of all ages.

Did this reference to "two witnesses" have special meaning to the first century believers experiencing persecution (probably Emperor worship cults)? This cannot be answered with finality. John's choice of imagery is drawn from several sources: the Old Testament, apocalyptic literature, Greco-Roman culture and at times Near Eastern mythology (chapter 12). Did the first hearers completely and fully understand his sources and symbolism? Possibly not, not in a specific way, but they did understand the genre! They would not have forced a literal historical fulfillment for all the details.

My only fear in making this statement is how OT predictive prophecy was interpreted by the inspired NT authors! Often they saw literal fulfillment of OT details in the life of Christ. Some of these fulfillments were rabbinical word plays or type/antitype symbols. Under the Spirit's guidance (or Jesus' teaching, cf. Luke 24:13-35) the Apostles' current historical setting was viewed through OT prophetic texts. This same thing may occur for the last generation of persecuted believers. However, intervening interpreters are not able to predict which of these details through theology or hermeneutics! Modern interpreters must not (1) force their history into these apocalyptic texts nor (2) seek literal fulfillment on every detail of this highly symbolic genre. Time will tell!

E. The literary patterns and imagery of the seals and the trumpets is almost identical. Both bring human history up to the very end (cf. Revelation 6:12-17 and Revelation 11:15-19).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the purpose of this interlude?

2. Why do so many interpreters try to identify the angel in chapter 10 with Christ?

3. What is the mystery of God mentioned in Revelation 10:7?

4. What was the little book that John was commanded to eat?

5. Who are the two witnesses? What was their message?

6. Does Revelation 11:9 describe the city of Jerusalem or anti-God world kingdoms? Why?

7. List the Old Testament allusions found in this interlude.

Verses 1-6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 11:1-6 1Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2"Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. 3"And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.

Revelation 11:1 "a measuring rod like a staff" In the previous sections John watched as the angels performed tasks, but in the seventh trumpet John will be involved in the action.

The term "measuring rod" (kalamos, used in this sense only here) possibly reflects the OT usage of river reeds which were used as horizontal measuring instruments (see SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS at Revelation 19:11). They were between eight and twenty feet long (cf. Ezekiel 40:5-20).

"Get up and measure" Measuring was a sign of (1) promised growth and protection (cf. Jeremiah 31:38-40; Revelation 21:15). This could be an allusion to Ezekiel's end-time temple (cf. 40-48) or Zechariah's new Jerusalem (cf. Zechariah 1:16; Zechariah 2:1-13); or (2) judgment (cf. 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Kings 21:13; Isaiah 28:17; Lamentations 2:8). Here, like the sealing of chapter 7, it is a sign of God's protection of believers. If this interlude parallels chapter 7 then this temple is the whole people of God (believing Jews and believing Gentiles). This then would also parallel Revelation 12:0.

"the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it" The identity of this temple depends on one's interpretive presuppositions.

1. If we assume that John's imagery is drawn from Ezekiel 40-48, then this is a literal end-time temple in Jerusalem (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

2. If, however, we assume the allusion to be to Zechariah 2:0 then the imagery is the city of God, new Jerusalem.

3. If we assume the heavenly temple (cf. Revelation 7:15; Revelation 11:19; 15:58; Hebrews 9:23) then the multitude of Revelation 7:9 (the Church, and the woman of Revelation 12:0) may be the focus (cf. Revelation 21:15-16).

It is interesting to note that John is told to measure the people who worship there. This is unusual terminology. This image involves more than just a building. This is imagery that marks off the people of faith from the unbelievers about to experience the wrath of God. Therefore, it is parallel to God's mark on believers' foreheads (cf. Revelation 7:3-4).

Revelation 11:2 "the court which is outside the temple" This concept of the outer court refers historically to the court of the Gentiles in Herod's Temple. There are several OT allusions to the idea of Jerusalem and the Temple being trodden down by Gentiles (cf. Psalms 79:1-7; Isaiah 63:18; Daniel 8:13; Zechariah 12:3 in the Septuagint). Jesus seems to make a direct allusion to Daniel 8:13 in Luke 21:24.

"the nations" See notes at Revelation 2:26 and Revelation 10:11.

"forty-two months" See Special Topic below.

SPECIAL TOPIC: FORTY-TWO MONTHS

"the holy city" This could refer to Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 52:1; Matthew 27:53). However, following the interpretation of the temple in Revelation 3:12 as referring to the NT believers, the same method must be followed with this phrase. In the later chapters of Revelation it refers to the NT people of God (cf. Revelation 20:9; Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:10; Revelation 22:19).

John is pulling metaphors from the OT but applying them to the NT people of God. The church is made up of believing Jews and Gentiles. There is no emphasis on racial Jews versus Gentiles in Revelation. There is no more Jew and Greek (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11).

Revelation 11:3 "I will grant authority to my two witnesses" This seems to imply God the Father speaking because Jesus is referred to in Revelation 11:8 (although there is a Greek manuscript problem with the pronoun, which is omitted in P47 and א).

"two witnesses" There have been many theories about the identity of these two powerful preachers:

1. The allusion (cf. Revelation 11:4) is from Zechariah 4:3, Zechariah 4:11, Zechariah 4:14. This originally referred to the returning Davidic seed, Zerubbabel, and the returning High Priestly seed, Joshua, who were the two Spirit-led leaders (two olive trees) who led the return from Babylonian captivity (i.e., the restored people of God).

2. The two lampstands (cf. Revelation 1:20) may imply the two faithful churches, Smyrna, Revelation 2:8-11 and Philadelphia, Revelation 3:7-13.

3. The two witnesses may imply testimony in court (cf. Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15).

4. The description of these two witnesses implies Elijah (shut up the sky from Revelation 11:6, cf. 1 Kings 17:1; 1 Kings 18:1; Luke 4:25; James 5:17 and called down fire, cf. 1 Kings 18:24, 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10, 2 Kings 1:12) and Moses (turn water to blood from Revelation 11:6, cf. Exodus 7:17-19). Both of these appeared to Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration (cf. Matthew 17:4).

5. The intertestamental apocalyptic book of I Enoch 90:31 and two early church fathers, Tertullian and Hippolitus, asserted that they were the two persons from the OT who did not die natural deaths, Enoch (cf. Genesis 5:21-24) and Elijah (cf. 2 Kings 2:11).

6. The NJB footnote asserts that it refers to Peter and Paul, both martyred in Rome in the reign of Nero (p. 435).

I personally see them as symbolic of the witness of the entire people of God because of the parallel structure of the seven seals and interlude and seven trumpets and interlude. Therefore, both the 144,000 (believing Jews) and the innumerable group (believing nations), as well as the two witnesses, refer to the church.

"clothed in sackcloth" This can be either (1) a sign of mourning and repentance (cf. Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31) or (2) simply the normal dress of a prophet (cf. 2 Kings 1:8; Isaiah 20:2; Zechariah 13:4).

"they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days" 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).

Revelation 11:4 "the two olive trees" This is an allusion to Zerubbabel, the Davidic seed of the returning exiles and Joshua, the Aaronic seed of the returning exiles (cf. Zechariah 4:3, Zechariah 4:11, Zechariah 4:14). This may imply that the gospel witness of the end-time will represent a royal Messianic and priestly Messianic emphasis (Jesus as King and Priest, cf. Psalms 110:0; Hebrews 1:3). These two inspired preachers of repentance bring God's light (cf. Zechariah 4:0) to a rebellious world (the rebellious Israel is now a rebellious humanity, cf. Isaiah 6:9-11; Isaiah 43:8-13; Jeremiah 5:21-29; Ezekiel 12:2).

Revelation 11:5 "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.

"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).

Revelation 11:6 These OT actions remind one of Elijah (cf. 1 Kings 17:1) and Moses (cf. Exodus 7:17-19).

Verses 7-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 11:7-10 7When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. 8And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

Revelation 11:7 "the beast that comes up out of the abyss" If this is an allusion to Daniel 7:0, then the beast is a composite figure of all the four beasts mentioned in Daniel 7:0, which stands for the ultimate Anti-Christ of the end-time (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

The "abyss" is the home of the demonic (cf. Revelation 9:1; Revelation 20:1). This concept of a beast is developed in Revelation 13:0 and 17.

"will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them" This is an allusion to Daniel 7:21 which will be more fully explained in Revelation 13:0. Here, the phrasing may imply that the two witnesses are symbolic of a large number of people (cf. Revelation 13:7 i.e., the people of God). Notice that they are not spared persecution and death.

Revelation 11:8 "their dead bodies will lie in the street" This humiliation of exposed dead bodies was a way to express contempt (cf. Revelation 11:9; Deuteronomy 28:26; Psalms 79:2; Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 8:2; Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 19:7; Jeremiah 34:20). However, God used their visible bodies in a powerful resurrection manifestation of His power and confirmation of their message.

"this great city" This seems to be a description of Jerusalem; however, the figurative language implies the spiritual struggle between the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom. Here are my reasons.

1. The phrase "that great city" is used of Babylon or Rome (cf. Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:18; Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:16, Revelation 18:18, Revelation 18:19, Revelation 18:21).

2. Although Jerusalem is called Sodom in Ezekiel 16:46-49 and Isaiah 1:9-10, she is never called Egypt; Sodom and Egypt seem to be metaphors for sin and bondage.

3. "Where the Lord was crucified" seems to refer to Jerusalem, but it could be another way of talking about the anti-God kingdoms of this world.

4. "The peoples and tribes and tongues and nations" in Revelation 11:9 implies

a. a city where the entire world will be present, which fits Rome better than Jerusalem

b. "city" used as a metaphor of rebellious mankind (cf. Genesis 4:17; Genesis 10:8-10)

5. "Those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate" in Revelation 11:10 implies that the message of these two witnesses was not simply for the Jews, but for the entire world of unbelievers.

This describes the ongoing battle between the kingdoms of this earth and the Messianic kingdom (cf. Revelation 11:15), particularly as in Daniel 2:0 and Psalms 2:0.

Revelation 11:9 "those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations" See note at Revelation 10:11.

"for three days and a half" The time of Revelation 11:9 combined with Revelation 11:11 equals the number seven, used so often in Revelation. This event was God's perfect timing.

Revelation 11:10 "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 ("the world will rejoice"). 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).

Verses 11-13

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 11:11-13 11But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. 12And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Revelation 11:11 "the three and a half days" This is an allusion from Daniel and is a symbolic period of persecution. See full note at Revelation 11:9.

"the breath of life from God came into them" This is an allusion to Ezekiel 37:0, the valley of dry bones. This is a play on the Hebrew word "ruach" which meant breath, wind, and spirit (as does the Greek word pneuma).

SPECIAL TOPIC: SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE

Revelation 11:12 "And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, 'Come up here'" As some see the secret rapture of the Church in Revelation 4:1 where John was summoned to heaven, others see here a mid-tribulation secret rapture of the Church as these two witnesses are called to heaven in this verse. Here again our presuppositions and theological grids drive the interpretation of symbolic, ambiguous texts!

"Then they went up into heaven in the cloud" This is the divine transportation. The Messiah rode on the clouds of heaven in Daniel 7:13. Jesus ascended to heaven in the clouds (cf Acts 1:9). Jesus will return riding on the clouds of heaven (cf. Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Mark 13:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 14:14).

Revelation 11:13 "in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell" There are seven references in Revelation to earthquakes (cf. Revelation 6:12; Revelation 8:5; Revelation 11:13, Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:18). This shows the ongoing, continuing, limited judgments of God on unbelievers. This may be an allusion to Ezekiel 38:17-23.

"the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven" There has been much discussion about the identity of term "the rest." It could refer to

1. the literal inhabitants of Jerusalem (cf. Zechariah 12:10) or Rome

2. those who are saved during the tribulation period, i.e.,those who truly repent

3. believing Jews, from Romans 11:0

4. people, like Nebuchadnezzer and Cyrus, who were awed by God's acts, but not truly converted.

Because of Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 14:7-8 and Revelation 16:10, #4 is the best option.

However, in Revelation 16:9, giving glory is related to repentance. It is surely possible that these (Jews or pagans) believed! This is the stated purpose of God's judgments (cf. Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 16:9, Revelation 16:11)

Verse 14

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 11:14 14The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

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

Verses 15-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 11:15-16 15Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." 16And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

Revelation 11:15 "The kingdom of the world" The KJV and NKJV have "the kingdoms of this world." The plural is not present in any of the ancient Greek manuscripts.

"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 (cf. Revelation 12:10). 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. Revelation 19:0). Revelation is not in a chronological, sequential order, but a dramatic presentation in seven cycles, each viewing the same period, but the seals, trumpets, and bowls in successive and intensifying degrees of judgment (1/4, 1/3, full).

"our Lord and of His Christ" Notice how closely the Father and Son are linked (cf. Psalms 2:0). Notice, also, that the emphasis of 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 and Ephesians 5:5 has now been fulfilled. Some see an allusion to Zechariah 14:9 which is possible because John's favorite sources of apocalyptic images in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah.

"and He will reign forever and ever" This refers to the eternal reign of our God (cf. Exodus 15:18; Psalms 10:16; Psalms 29:10; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 4:34; Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:27; Zechariah 14:9; Luke 1:33; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Peter 1:11), not a millennial reign (cf. Revelation 20:0) of Christ. This is really a fulfillment of Jesus' prayer in Matthew 6:10 that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

The kingdom of God is a major theme in the Gospels and in the Revelation. There is a fluidity and tension between its current reality (post-millennial and amillennial) and its future consummation (historical premillennial and dispensational premillennial). This same fluidity is also between its earthly aspect (millennial) and its eternal aspect. Some commentators, schools, and denominations dwell on one aspect of the fluidity, but ignore or twist the others to fit their presuppositions and theological systems. It is so hard for western people to appreciate the fluidity, figurativeness, and tension of eastern literature, especially its apocalyptic genre. Our God and His Christ have reigned, are reigning and will reign; the details are insignificant! There may be an earthly messianic reign for some period (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23-28); national Israel may have some part (cf. Romans 11:0). However, the figures and symbols of Revelation address the Church universal, not Israel (cf. Daniel 2:34-35, Daniel 2:44). I personally leave open the possibility of Israel having a part in end-time events because of God's OT promises to Abraham's descendants (cf. Isaiah 9:6-7; Zechariah 12:10) based on God's character (cf. Ezekiel 36:22-38).

Revelation 11:16 "the twenty-four elders" See Special Topic at Revelation 4:4.

Verse 17

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 11:17-18 17"We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. 18"And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, 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 to destroy those who destroy the earth."

Revelation 11:17-18 This prayer of praise is written in poetic form in the NKJV, NRSV, and TEV and in prose form in NASB and NJB. These outbursts of prayer and praise are often the best interpreters of the preceding visions (along with the songs and angelic interpretations).

Revelation 11:17 "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 103:0)

2. Elohim, the Creator God as provider and sustainer (cf. Genesis 1:1; Psalms 104:0)

3. El Shaddai (cf. Revelation 1:8), the strong or compassionate God which was the Patriarchal name for deity (cf. Exodus 6:3)

See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY at Revelation 1:8.

NASB"who art and who wast" NKJV"The One who is and who was and who is to come" NRSV"who are and who were" TEV"the one who is and who was" NJB"He who is, He who was"

Notice that the future aspect of this common description of God (except for some sixteenth century late minuscule Greek manuscripts) is left out because God has begun to reign. The last of these three chronological aspects will never be mentioned again in the book of the Revelation. The Kingdom has come (cf. Revelation 11:15-16)! This gives evidence that the recapitulation theory of the parallel relationship between the seals, trumpets, and bowls is true!

NASB"because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign" NKJV"Because You have taken Your great power and reigned" NRSV"for you have taken your great power and begun to reign" TEV"that you have taken your great power and have begun to rule" NJB"For assuming your great power and beginning your reign"

This is perfect active indicative followed by an aorist active indicative. The power has always been His, but His reign has now begun (ingressive aorist).

Revelation 11:18 "the nations were enraged" This is an allusion to Psalms 2:0; Psalms 46:6; and Ezekiel 38-39 (and possibly the apocalyptic introduction to Esther in the Septuagint). This anger of the nations can be viewed in two ways.

1. the fallen world system hates God and His plans and His rule and His people

2. there will be an end-time rebellion against God characterized by a battle (Armageddon, cf. Revelation 20:0)

"Your wrath came" This may be an allusion to Revelation 11:2 or 110:5-6. This is the Greek term orgç. See full note at Revelation 7:14.

"the time came" The Day of the Lord is a day of judgment for some and reward for others. These twin aspects can be seen in Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:11-15. All humans (the small and the great) will one day stand before God and give an account of their lives (cf. Galatians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

SPECIAL TOPIC: THAT DAY

"the time came for the dead to be judged" The end-time judgment of God is discussed in Matthew 25:0 and Revelation 20:0. This phrase confirms the interpretation of Revelation in seven acts (scenes) where the end of time occurs after each unit (especially clear in the seals, trumpets and bowls).

"your bond-servants the prophets" This exact phrase appears in Revelation 10:7. John identifies himself as a prophet and his book as a prophecy, therefore, this term is used often in the book of the Revelation. It can almost be said that this term takes the place of the title "apostle" (cf. Revelation 10:7; Revelation 11:10, Revelation 11:18; Revelation 16:6; Revelation 18:20, Revelation 18:24; Revelation 22:6, Revelation 22:9). See Special Topic: NT Prophecy at Revelation 16:6.

"saints" The term "saints" referred to the believers' position in Christ, not their sinlessness. It should also describe their progressive Christlikeness. The term was always plural except in Philippians 4:21. However, even in this context it was corporate. To be a Christian is to be part of a community, a family, a body. See SPECIAL TOPIC: SAINTS at Revelation 5:8. This designation surely represents the NT people of God, the church.

"the small and the great" There seem to be only two groups mentioned in this verse, prophets and saints. This phrase "small and great" is found in Revelation 19:5. It was a favorite expression in John's Gospel (cf. Revelation 13:16; Revelation 19:5, Revelation 19:18; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 19:5 is an allusion to Psalms 115:13, which included all of a given group).

"to destroy those who destroy the earth" This characterization of fallen humanity reflects Genesis 3:0 and Romans 8:18-22. Evil humans allow greed and self to use, abuse, and misuse God's physical creation.

This could be interpreted as evil mankind that forces God to bring judgment on the earth (the flood, Genesis 6-9; the plagues of Egypt, Exodus 7-12; the covenant curses, Deuteronomy 27-28; or the earth destroyed by fire, 2 Peter 3:10). In Revelation, the seals destroy 1/4, the trumpets 1/3, and the bowls total physical destruction of the earth.

Verse 19

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 11:19 19And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

Revelation 11:19 "the temple of God which is in heaven was opened" Remember that this vision began with a door being opened in heaven (cf. Revelation 4:1; Revelation 15:5). Now, the very inner sanctum of God's heavenly temple can be seen (cf. Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:23-28).

When Jesus died the veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom, indicating that access to God was now available to all through Christ (cf. Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; alluded to in Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 10:20). This same symbolism is repeated here. God is available to all. Heaven's inner sanctum is now fully open and visible.

"the ark of His covenant" The ark of the covenant was lost sometime during the Babylonian Exile (or to Pharaoh Shishak of Egypt, cf. 1 Kings 14:25). It symbolized the presence of God after Israel's crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land. It also symbolized God's covenant promises, which may refer to the mystery (cf. Revelation 10:7), God's plan of redemption for all mankind (cf. Romans 16:25-26). In the OT only the High Priest could approach this article of holy furniture, once a year on the Day of Atonement (cf. Leviticus 16:0). Now, all of God's people can come into the very presence of God.

"flashes of lightning and sounds of peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm" This is very similar to Revelation 11:5 and 16:18-21, which reflect Revelation 11:4 and 19:16-19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Revelation 11". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/revelation-11.html. 2021.