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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
Revelation 11

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

Church Victorious! Chapters 8-11 (Luk 18:7)

In this section of chapters, we again return to the First Coming of Christ. The Seals [of persecution] bring Trumpets [warning of Judgment] which bring Bowls [of judgment poured out]. Chapter 8 is God's pledge of destruction on unbelievers. It shows God's vengeance through the ages of time - by the medium of natural disasters. The first four Trumpets are sent by God as a warning! Notice that the Seals, Trumpets, Bowls of Wrath, and similar symbols, refer to Principles - of man's conduct and God's discipline - that are at work throughout history. The events symbolized by the Trumpets may be seen any day of the year in any part of the earth. Therefore, Trumpets are simultaneous with Seals.


Verse 1

I was given a measuring stick. To "measure" is symbolic of setting apart, making secure, clearly identifying. [This is still a vision. The fact that there is no temple in Jerusalem when he writes this, is not important,] Count those who are worshiping in the temple. These are God's people - the true church. They will suffer severely, but they will never lose God's promise - if they hold firmly to their faith!] [Compare 1 Thessalonians 3:3.]


Verse 2

But omit the outer courts. Symbolic of the "nominal Christian," who is an unfaithful church member, but not really one of Christ's people. John sees earthly Jerusalem and the earthly temple. The outer courts have been given to the heathen (unbelievers). 42months. 42months = 1,260 days = 3½ years [time, times, and half a time] = the entire Gospel Age, from Pentecost to the Second Coming. This period of time is symbolic of God's church being persecuted, yet not destroyed, Compare James 5:17 : Revelation 11:6; 1 Kings 17:1 to 1 Kings 18:10.


Verse 3

I will send my two witnesses. [The two witnesses are the Church Militant.] Jesus sent his disciples out two by two (Luke 10:1). Two witnesses symbolize the outreach [missionary spirit] of the messianic community in taking the "sacred and ever-living message of eternal salvation" to the whole world. 1,260 days. The Gospel Age (see note on Revelation 11:2). The church judges the world. Compare James 5:17-18.


Verses 4-6

The two witnesses are the two olive trees. The two olive trees symbolize evangelism - the outreach of the messianic community. The two lamps symbolize the fellowship within the messianic community. Compare Zechariah 4. God blesses his people through the preaching of the word [evangelism] and through the fellowship within the messianic community. In a very real sense, the messianic community is a "COLONY OF HEAVEN!" If anyone tries to harm them. God hears and answers the prayers of his persecuted people. (Revelation 8:3-5). The church may seem to be weak and helpless, but God's power backs them up! Whoever fights against the church of Christ will be destroyed by the fire that comes out of the mouths of the two witnesses. Symbolic, but no less real! The Trumpets of chapters 8 & 9 can be thought of as the church's judgment on the world. They have authority. A blessing, when rejected, turns into a curse! One who rejects the Good News of God's ACT in Christ to save men, brings God's curse upon himself (compare 1 Thessalonians 2:16). ARMAGEDDON - the cycle of the church. Originally a royal Canaanite city, on a hill guarding an important mountain pass. Many battles were fought there. Solomon built fortifications there. King Josiah was killed there (2 Chronicles 35:22-27), and the Jews held a special. memorial service for him each year. As a symbol, Armageddon represents fierce struggle. In Revelation we meet this "battle of Armageddon" four times: Revelation 11:7-13; Revelation 16:12-21; Revelation 19:19-21; Revelation 20:7-10.


Verses 7-10

The beast . . . will fight against them. In the vision, a beast comes up out of the abyss [hell before the Judgment], fights against the two witnesses, defeats them and kills them. This is Satan, working through the entire anti-christian world. He defeats the church of Christ, and their dead bodies lie on the street. Earthly Jerusalem symbolizes the anti-christian forces of Satan. Sodom symbolizes immorality. Egypt symbolizes slavery. The people of the earth will be happy. They think that by silencing the voice of the church of Christ, they have freed themselves from God's power. They think they can do as they please, without any messianic community to "judge them" and bring suffering upon them because of their sins.


Verses 11-14

After three and a half days. The two witnesses [the Church Militant] is "dead" only a short time. The world is happy too soon! God sends a life-giving breath, and they stand up! The wicked are terribly afraid! Come up here! God honors them by calling them to come up to where he is. They went op into heaven in a cloud. They go up in the same way that their Lord went up (Acts 1:9). A violent earthquake. Symbolic of God's judgment on the wicked. Compare Revelation 6:12-17. CENTRAL IDEA. Revelation 11:7-13 show a continuing cycle of events. Satan himself fights against the church of Christ [through the antichristian world] and destroys it. But after 3½ days, God sends a life-giving breath into it. The church seems to die, and is reborn, AGAIN AND AGAIN! The church does not terminate. It is taken up to God and continues to be with him forever, in the eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9), God's purpose in the First Coming of Jesus, is stated in John 3:16-17.


Verses 15-18

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet. This introduces the End of the World and the Final Judgment, but does not describe it! The loud voices in heaven announce: "The power to rule over the world belongs now to our Lord and his Messiah, and he will rule forever and ever!" Compare 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. It may seem as if Satan is the supreme ruler, and that all the power is on the side of the forces of evil. Revelation shows us that God is in control NOW! Judgment will reveal God's mighty power as it actually is!!! Then the twenty-four elders. Symbolic of the Redeemed. They respond to what the loud voices announced by falling down [see note on Revelation 5:14] and worshiping God. And have begun to rule! God has been ruling all along, but not in ways clearly seen. As Judgment begins, all opposition is crushed forever! Because it is the time. It has not been the right time, up till now. To reward your servants. God keeps his promises! Compare Revelation 22:12. It is the time to destroy those who destroy the earth! Sin pays its wage. The wicked earn the punishment they will receive. Compare Revelation 18:6.


Verse 19

God's temple in heaven was opened. This symbolic picture shows the beauty of God's love to his children. The temple is wide open so all can see the box holding the covenant. That box symbolizes the real and perfect union [fellowship of John 1:7 given real meaning] of God and his people. Flashes of lightning. The same box holding the covenant is symbolic of God's wrath to those who have rejected him. The lightning, sounds, thunder, earthquake, and hail symbolize God's mighty power brought in wrath against the ungodly (compare Jude 1:15).

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-11.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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