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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Revelation 11

 

 

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Verse 1

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

This Revelation 11:1-19 is a compendious summary of, and introduction to, the detailed prophecies of the same events to come, in Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 13:1-18; Revelation 14:1-20; Revelation 15:1-8; Revelation 16:1-21; Revelation 17:1-18; Revelation 18:1-24; Revelation 19:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15. Hence, occur anticipatory allusions to subsequent prophecies (cf. Revelation 11:7, "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" (not mentioned before), with the detailed accounts, Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:11; Revelation 17:8; also Revelation 11:8, "the great city," with Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:10).

And the angel stood. So B, Syriac; omitted in A 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, Coptic. If it be omitted, the reed will agree with "saying." So Wordsworth. The canon [from qaneh (Hebrew #7070), "a reed"] of Scripture, the measuring reed of the Church, our rule of faith, speaks. So Revelation 16:7, the altar is personified speaking (cf. note). The Spirit speaks in the canon. (John it was who completed the canon.) So Victorinus.

Like unto a rod - straight; of iron (Revelation 2:27), unbending, destroying all error, that 'cannot be broken' (Hebrews 1:8, "a rod," or 'sceptre of straightness,' margin). Added to guard against the reed being thought to be one 'shaken by the wind.' In the abrupt style of the Apocalypse, "saying" may be indefinite for 'one said.' Wordsworth's view agrees with the Greek. So Andreas of Cesarea, in the end of the fifth century (note, Revelation 11:3-4).

The temple , [ naon (Greek #3485), distinguished from hieron (Greek #2411), or temple in general] - the Holy Place, 'the sanctuary.'

The altar - of incense, for it alone was in the sanctuary. The measurement of the Holy Place seems to stand parallel to the sealing of the elect of Israel under the sixth seal. It implies, there shall be always an inner true Church, however the outer courts of hollow profession, without self-dedication, be desecrated. God's elect are symbolized by the sanctuary at Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, where the same [ naos (Greek #3485)] occurs for "temple" as here). Literal Israel in Jerusalem, with the temple restored (Ezekiel 40:3; Ezekiel 40:5, where also the temple is measured with the measuring reed; Ezekiel 41:1-26; Ezekiel 42:1-20; Ezekiel 43:1-27; Ezekiel 44:1-31), shall stand at the head of the elect Church. The measuring implies at once the exact proportions of the temple to be restored, and the definite completeness (not one wanting) of the numbers of the Israelite and of the Gentile elections. The literal temple at Jerusalem shall be typical forerunner of the heavenly Jerusalem, in which there shall be all temple-no portion exclusively temple.

John's accurately distinguishing in subsequent chapters between God's servants and these who bear the mark of the beast, is the way whereby he fulfils the direction given him to measure the temple. The fact that the temple is distinguished from them that worship therein, favours the view that the spiritual temple-the Jewish and Christian Church-is not exclusively meant, but that the literal temple is also meant. It shall be rebuilt on the return of the Jews to their land. Antichrist shall there put forward his blasphemous claims. The sealed elect of Israel-the head of the elect Church-alone shall refuse his claims. These shall constitute the true sanctuary, here measured - i:e., accurately marked, and kept by God-whereas the rest shall yield to his pretensions. Wordsworth objects, that in the twenty-five passages of Acts, wherein the Jewish temple is mentioned, it is called hieron (Greek #2411), not naos (Greek #3485); so in the apostolic letters; but this is simply because no occasion for mentioning the literal Holy Place [ naos (Greek #3485)] occurs in Acts and the epistles; indeed, in Acts 7:48, there does occur naos (Greek #3485), indirectly referring to the Jerusalem temple Holy Place. John 2:20 uses naos of the Jerusalem temple. In addressing Gentile Christians, to whom the literal temple was not familiar, it was to be expected naos should not be in the literal, but the spiritual, sense. In Revelation 11:19, naos is used in a local sense: cf. also Revelation 14:15; Revelation 14:17; Revelation 15:5; Revelation 15:8.


Verse 2

But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

But - `And.'

The court ... without - all outside the Holy Place (Revelation 11:1).

Leave out - of thy measurement; 'cast out;' reckon as unhallowed.

It - emphatic. It is not to be measured; whereas the Holy Place is.

Given - by God's appointment.

Unto the Gentiles. In the wider sense, 'the times of the Gentiles' are meant; wherein Jerusalem is 'trodden down of the Gentiles,' as Luke 21:24 proves; for the same word is used here [ patein (Greek #3961)]. Compare also Psalms 79:1; Isaiah 63:18.

Forty and two months - (Revelation 13:5.) The same period as Daniel's (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7) "time, times, and an half" (Revelation 11:3, and Revelation 12:6; Revelation 12:14, the woman a fugitive in the wilderness "a thousand two hundred and three-score days"). In the wider sense, we may adopt the year-day theory of 1,260 years (on which, and the papal rule of 1,260 years, see notes, Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:14; Daniel 12:11), or rather, regard the 2,300 days (Daniel 8:14), 1,335 days (Daniel 12:11-12), 1,290 days, and 1,260 days, as symbolical of the long Gentile times, dating from the subversion of the Jewish theocracy at the Babylonian captivity (the kingdom having been never since restored to Israel), or from the last destruction of Jerusalem under Titus, and extending to the restoration of the theocracy at the coming of Him "whose right it is" (Ezekiel 21:27). The different epochs marked will not be cleared up until the grand consummation; but, meanwhile, our privilege urges us to investigate them.

Some one of the epochs assigned may be right, but as yet it is uncertain. The times of the Gentile monarchies during Israel's seven times' (Leviticus 26:18; Leviticus 26:21; Leviticus 26:24) punishment will probably, in the narrower sense (Revelation 11:2), be succeeded by the restricted times of Antichrist's tyranny in the Holy Land. The long papal misrule may be followed by the short time of the man of sin, who shall concentrate in himself all the apostasy, persecution, and evil of the forerunning antichrists-Antiochus, Mohammed, Popery-just before Christ's advent. His time shall be THE RECAPITULATION and open consummation of the "mystery of iniquity" (so long leavening the world). Witnessing churches may be followed by witnessing individuals-the former occupying the longer, the latter the shorter period. The three and a half (1,260 days-three and a half years of 360 days each), during which the two witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, is the sacred seven halved, implying the anti-Christian world-power's time is broken at best.

It answers to the three and a half years of Christ's witness for the truth, when the Jews, His own people, disowned, and the God-opposed world-power crucified Him (note, Daniel 9:27). The three and a half marks the time in which the earthly rules over the heavenly kingdom. It was the duration of Antiochus' treading down the temple, and persecuting faithful Israelites. The world-power's times never reach the sacred fullness of seven times 360 - i:e., 2,520, though they approach it in 2,300 (Daniel 8:14). The forty-two months answer to Israel's forty-two sojournings (Numbers 33:1-50) in the wilderness, contrasted with the Sabbatic rest in Canaan: reminding the Church that here, in the world-wilderness, she cannot look for her Sabbatic rest. Also, three and a half years was the period of the heaven being shut up, and of consequent famine in Elias' time. Three and a half represented to the Church the toil, pilgrimage, persecution.


Verse 3

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

I will give power - or commission. There is no "power" in the Greek.

My two witnesses - `the two witnesses of me.' The article implies the two were well known.

Prophesy - preach under the Spirit's inspiration, denouncing judgments against the apostate. They are symbolized as "the two olive trees," "the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." The reference is to Zechariah 4:3; Zechariah 4:12; Zechariah 4:14, where two individuals, 'the two anointed ones,' are meant-Joshua and Zerubbabel, who ministered to the Jewish Church-as the two olive trees emptied the oil out of themselves into the bowl of the candlestick. So in the final apostasy, God will raise up two inspired witnesses to minister encouragement to the afflicted, though sealed; remnant. As two candlesticks are mentioned, Revelation 11:4, but only one in Zechariah 4:1-14, the twofold Church, Jewish and Gentile, may be meant by the two candlesticks represented by the two witnesses; just as in Revelation 7:1-17, there are described first the sealed of Israel, then those of all nations. But see note, Revelation 11:4. The actions of the two witnesses are just those of Moses when witnessing for God against Pharaoh (the type of Antichrist, the last and greatest foe of Israel), turning the waters into blood, and smiting with plagues, and of Elijah (the witness for God in Israel's almost universal apostasy), a remnant of 7,000, however, being left, as the 144,000 sealed (Revelation 7:1-17), causing fire by his word to devour the enemy, and shutting heaven, so that it rained not for three years and six months-the very time (1,260 days) during which the two witnesses prophesy.

Moreover, "witness" and "prophesy" are usually applied to individuals, not to abstractions (cf. Psalms 52:8). DeBurgh thinks Elijah and Moses will again appear, as Malachi 4:5-6, may imply (cf. Matthew 17:11; Acts 3:21). Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ at the transfiguration, which foreshadowed His millennial kingdom. As to Moses, cf. Deuteronomy 34:5-6; Jude 1:9. Elias' genius and procedure bear the same relation to Christ's second coming that John the Baptist's did to the first (Bengel). Many of the early Church thought the two witnesses Enoch and Elijah. This would avoid the difficulty of the dying a second time; for these have never yet died. Still, the turning the water to blood, and the plagues (Revelation 11:6), apply best to Moses (cf. Revelation 15:3, "the song of Moses"). The transfiguration-glory of Moses and Elias was not their permanent resurrection-state, which shall not be until Christ shall glorify His saints, for He has precedence before all in rising. An objection to this interpretation is, that those blessed servants of God would have to submit to death (Revelation 11:7-8), and this in Moses' case a second time, which Hebrews 9:27 denies. See note, Zechariah 4:11-12, on the two witnesses, answering to "the two olive trees." The two olive trees are channels of the oil feeding the Church, and symbol of peace. The Holy Spirit is the oil in them. Christ's witnesses, in remarkable times of the Church, have appeared in pairs: as Moses and Aaron, the inspired civil and religious authorities; Caleb and Joshua; Ezekiel the priest, and Daniel the prophet; Zerubbabel and Joshua.

In sackcloth - the garment of prophets, especially when calling people to mortification of their sins, and to repentance. Their exterior aspect accorded with their teachings: so Elijah, and John who came in his spirit and power. The sackcloth is a catchword, linking this episode, under the sixth trumpet, with the sun black as sackcloth (in righteous retribution on the apostates who rejected God's witnesses under the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12).


Verse 4

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Standing before (in the presence of) the God of the earth. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas, read 'Lord' for "God;" so Zechariah 4:14. Ministering to (Luke 1:19) Him who, though now so widely disowned on earth, is its rightful King, and shall at last be openly recognized as such (Revelation 11:15). The article "the" implies allusion to Zechariah 4:10; Zechariah 4:14. They are "the two candlesticks; not the Church, the one candlestick, but its representative light-bearers [Philippians 2:15, foosteeres (Greek #5458)], ministering for its encouragement amidst apostasy. Wordsworth's view is, the two witnesses, the olive trees, are THE TWO TESTAMENTS ministering testimony to the Church of the old dispensation, as well as to that of the new, which explains the two witnesses being called also the two candelesticks (the Old and New Testament Churches: the candlestick in Zechariah 4:1-14 is but one, as there was then but one Testament, and one Church-the Jewish). The Church in both dispensations has light, not in herself, but from the Spirit, through the witness of the twofold Word, the two olive trees (cf. note, Revelation 11:1). The reed, the Scripture canon, the measure of the Church: so Primasius X., p.

314. The two witnesses preach in sackcloth, marking the ignominious treatment which the Word, like Christ Himself, receives from the world. So the 24 elders represent the ministers of the two dispensations by the double twelve. But Revelation 11:7 proves that primarily the two testaments cannot be meant; for these shall not be "killed," or "have finished their testimony," until the world is finished.


Verse 5

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Will hurt - `desires to hurt them.'

Fire ... devoureth - (cf. Jeremiah 5:14; Jeremiah 23:29.)

Out of their mouth. God makes their inspired denunciations of judgment to come to pass and devour their enemies.

If any man will hurt them - repeated, to mark the certainty of the accomplishment.

In this manner - in like manner as he tries to hurt them (cf. Revelation 13:10). Retribution in kind.


Verse 6

These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

These have power , [ exousian (Greek #1849)] - 'authorized power.'

It rain not , [ huetos (Greek #5205) brechee (Greek #1026)] - 'rain, shower not,' 'moisten not' (the earth).

Smite ... with all plagues - `with (in) every plague.'


Verse 7

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Finished their testimony. The same verb is used of Paul's ending his ministry by a violent death (2 Timothy 4:7).

The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit - `the wild beast ... the abyss.' This beast was not mentioned before, yet is introduced as "the beast." John, viewing revelation as a whole, mentions objects to be described hereafter by himself (Revelation 17:8 : cf. Daniel 7:11): a proof of the unity that pervades Scripture.

Make war against them. So Daniel 7:21; the little horn among the ten on the fourth beast: Rev. 11:31 , the willful king, answering to 'the little horn' of the third beast; Rev. 8:9,23-25 : the earth-sprung beast: Revelation 13:11, note: seeming to be the 'beast from the bottomless pit,' or abyss, which is distinct from "the sea" (Revelation 11:1; Daniel 7:3).


Verse 8

And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Dead bodies. So 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas; but A B C, Coptic, read singular, 'dead body.' The two fallen in one cause are considered one.

The great city - eight times elsewhere used of BABYLON (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:18; Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:18-19; Revelation 18:21). In Revelation 21:10 (the new Jerusalem), the oldest manuscript omit "the great" before city; so it forms no exception. The reference is, by anticipation, to mystical Babylon. Which - `the which.'

Spiritually - is a spiritual sense.

Sodom - the term applied by Isaiah 1:10 to apostate Jerusalem (cf. Ezekiel 16:48).

Egypt - leaning on which was the Jews' besetting sin.

Where ... Lord was crucified. This identifies the city as Jerusalem, though the Lord was crucified outside. Eusebius mentions that the scene of Christ's crucifixion was enclosed within the city by Constantine: so it will be at the time of slaying the witnesses. The Beast (e.g., Napoleon and France) has been long struggling for a footing in Palestine: after his ascent from the bottomless pit he struggles more (Bengel). One of the Napoleonic dynasty may obtain that footing, and even be regarded as Messiah by the Jews, in virtue of restoring them to their own land; and so may prove the last Antichrist. The difficulty is, How can Jerusalem be "the great city," i:e., Babylon? By becoming the world's capital of idolatrous apostasy, such as Babylon, and then Rome, has been; just as she is called also "Sodom and Egypt."

Also our. A B C, Origen, Andreas, etc., read, 'also their.' Where their Lord also, as well as they, was slain. Compare Revelation 18:24, where the blood of ALL slain on earth is said to be found IN BABYLON as in Matthew 23:35, 'upon the Jews and JERUSALEM' (cf. Rev. 11:37-38 ) shall 'come ALL the righteous blood shed upon each.' Jerusalem shall be the last capital of the world-apostasy, and so receive the last and worst visitation of all the judgments ever inflicted on the apostate world, the earnest of which was given in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. In the church-historical sense, the Church being the sanctuary, all outside is the world, the great city, wherein all the martyrdoms of saints have taken place. Babylon marks its idolatry, Egypt its tyranny, Sodom its desperate corruption, Jerusalem its pretensions to sanctity, because of spiritual privileges, while being the murderer of Christ in the person of His members. True of Rome. In the special sense, Jerusalem is (Hebrews 13:12-14) the world-city from which believers were then to go forth to "seek one to come."


Verse 9

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

They - rather, '(some) of the peoples.'

Kindreds - `tribes:' all except the elect; or, some of the peoples, etc., may be those of the nations, etc., who at the time shall hold possession of Palestine and Jerusalem.

Shall see. So Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Andreas, present [ blepousin (Greek #991)], 'look upon.' Prophetic present.

Dead bodies. So Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Coptic, singular, as Revelation 11:8, 'dead body.' Dead bodies. So Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Coptic, singular, as Revelation 11:8, 'dead body.' Three and a half days answer to the three and a half years (notes, Revelation 11:2-3); half of seven, the perfect number.

Shall not suffer. So B, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas; but A C 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, 'do not suffer.'

In graves. So Vulgate, Primasius; but 'Aleph (') B C, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas, singular, 'into a sepulchre,' a monument. In righteous retribution, the flesh of the anti-Christian hosts is not buried, but given to all the fowls in mid-heaven to eat (Revelation 19:17-18; Revelation 19:21).


Verse 10

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

They that dwell upon the earth - citizens belonging to earth, not to heaven (Revelation 3:10; Revelation 8:13; Revelation 12:12; Revelation 13:8).

Shall. So Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic; but 'Aleph (') A B C, present: cf. note, Revelation 11:9,

Rejoice over them. The anti-Christianity of the last days shall probably be under the name of philosophical enlightenment, really man's deification of himself. Fanaticism shall lead Antichrist's followers to exult in having silenced in death their Christian rebukers. Like her Lord, the Church will have her dark passion-week, followed by bright resurrection-morn. It is a historical coincidence that, at the 5th Lateran council, May 5, 1514, no witness (not even the Moravians who were summoned) testified for the truth, as Huss and Jerome did at Constance. An orator, mounting the tribunal before the representatives of Papal Christendom, said, 'There is no reclamant, no opponent.' Luther, on October 31, 1517, exactly three and a half years afterward, posted up his famous theses on the church at Wittenberg. The objection is, the years are 365, not 360 days; so two and a half days are deficient: still the coincidence is curious.

Send gifts one to another - as was usual at a joyous festival.

Tormented them - namely, with the plagues (Revelation 11:5-6); also, by their testimony against the earthly.


Verse 11

And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

'After the three days,' etc. The Spirit of life - which breathed life into Israel's dry bones (Ezekiel 37:10-11, notes). Both passages are connected with Israel's restoration to national and religious life. Compare Hosea 6:2, Ephraim says, 'After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.'

Into. So B 'Aleph ('), Vulgate [ eis (Greek #1519)]; but A [ en (Greek #1722) autois (Greek #846)], '(so as to be) IN them.'

Stood upon their feet - the very words, Ezekiel 37:10, which proves the allusion to be to Israel's resurrection, in contrast to 'the times of the Gentiles' wherein these 'tread under foot the holy city.'

Great fear - such as fell on the soldiers guarding Christ's tomb at His resurrection (Matthew 28:4), when also there was a great earthquake (Revelation 11:2).

Saw , [ theoorountas (Greek #2334)] - 'beheld.'


Verse 12

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

They. So 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate; but B, Coptic, Syriac, Andreas, 'I heard.'

A cloud - `the cloud:' possibly the generic expression for what we are familiar with, 'the clouds.' I prefer taking the article as definitely, alluding to THE cloud which received Jesus at His ascension, Acts 1:9 (where there is no article there being no allusion to a previous cloud, as here). As they resembled Him in their three and a half years' witnessing, their three and a half days' lying in death (though not for exactly the same time, nor put in a tomb as He was), so also in their ascension: which is the translation and transfiguration of the sealed of Israel (Revelation 7:1-17), and the elect of all nations, caught up out of the reach of the anti-Christian foe. In Revelation 14:14-16, He sits on a white cloud.

Their enemies beheld them - openly convicted by God for unbelief and persecution of His servants: unlike Elijah's ascension, in the sight of friends only. The Church caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and transfigured in body, is justified by her Lord before the world, even as the man-child (Jesus) was "caught up unto God and His throne" from before the dragon standing ready to devour the woman's child as soon as born (Revelation 12:4-5).


Verse 13

And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

'In that same (literally, the) hour.'

Great earthquake - answering to the "great earthquake" under the sixth seal, at the approach of the Lord (Revelation 6:12). Christ was delivered unto His enemies on the fifth day of the week, on the sixth was crucified, and on the Sabbath rested: so under the sixth seal and sixth trumpet the Church's last suffering, begun under the fifth seal and trumpet, is to be consummated, before she enters on her seventh day of eternal Sabbath. Six expresses the world-power's height, at the same time verges on seven, the divine number, when its utter destruction takes place. Compare 666, Revelation 13:18.

Tenth part of the city fell - "the great city" (Revelation 16:19; Zechariah 14:2). Ten is the number of the world-kingdoms (Revelation 17:10-12), the beast's horns (Revelation 13:1), and the dragon's (Revelation 12:3). In the church-historical view, one of the ten apostate world-kingdoms falls. In the narrower view a tenth of Jerusalem under Antichrist falls: nine-tenths remain, and become, when purified, the center of Christ's earthly kingdom.

Of men - `names of men:' men as accurately enumerated as if their names were given.

Seven thousand. Elliott, seven chiliads or provinces, the seven Dutch united provinces lost to the papacy; and 'names of men,' titles of dignity, duchies, lordships, etc. Rather, seven thousand combines the perfect and comprehensive numbers, seven and thousand, implying the full and complete destruction of the impenitent.

The remnant - the Israelite inhabitants not slain. Their conversion forms a blessed contrast to Revelation 16:9; and Revelation 9:20-21. These (Zechariah 12:10-14; Zechariah 13:1) become in the flesh loyal subjects of Christ reigning over the earth with His transfigured saints.

Gave glory to the God of heaven - which, while apostates, worshipping the beast's image, they had not done. "God of heaven:" the apostates of the last days, in self-wise enlightenment, recognize no heavenly power; only the earth's natural forces which come under their observation. His receiving up into heaven the two witnesses who had power while on earth to shut heaven from raining (Revelation 11:6), constrained His and their enemies witnessing it, to acknowledge the God of heaven to be God of the earth (Revelation 11:4). As He declared Himself God of the earth by His two witnesses, so now He proves Himself God of heaven also.


Verse 14

The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

The second woe - under the sixth trumpet, Revelation 9:12-21; including also Revelation 11:1-13 : Woe to the world, joy to the faithful, as their redemption draweth nigh.

The third woe cometh quickly - not mentioned in detail, until there is given a sketch of the origination, suffering, and faithfulness of the Church in apostasy and persecution. Instead of the third woe, the grand consummation is summarily noticed-the thanksgiving of the 24 elders in heaven for the establishment of Christ's kingdom on earth, attended with the destruction of the destroyers of the earth.


Verse 15

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Sounded - with his trumpet: 'the LAST trumpet.' Six is close to seven, but does not reach it. The world-judgments are complete in six; but by the seven, the world-kingdoms become Christ's. Six marks the world given over to judgment. It is half of twelve, the Church's number, as three and a half is half of seven, the divine number. [Bengel thinks the angel Gabriel, compounded of 'Eel (Hebrew #410), GOD, and geber (Hebrew #1397), MIGHTY MAN (Revelation 10:1).] Gabriel appropriately announced to Mary the advent of the mighty God-man (Isaiah 9:6 : cf. the man-child's birth which follows, Revelation 12:1-6), to which this forms the transition, though the seventh trumpet in time is subsequent, being the consummation of the historical episode, (Revelation 12:1-17 and Revelation 13:1-18.) The seventh trumpet, like the seventh seal and seventh vial, being the consummation, is accompanied differently from the preceding six: not the consequences on earth, but those IN HEAVEN, are described, the great voices and thanksgiving of the 24 elders in heaven, as the half-hour's silence in heaven at the seventh seal, and the voice out of the temple in heaven, "It is done," at the seventh vial. Parallel to Daniel 2:44, 'the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall break to pieces all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever:' the setting up of heaven's sovereignty over the earth visibly, which, heretofore invisibly exercised, was rejected by earthly rulers. There will then be no beast in opposition to the woman. Poetry, art, science, and social life will be at once worldly and Christian.

Kingdoms. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, singular, 'the kingdom (sovereignty) of (over) the world is our Lord's, and His Christ's.' The kingdoms of the world give way to Christ's kingdom of (over) the world. The earth-kingdoms are many: His shall be one. "Christ," the Anointed, here, where His kingdom is mentioned, is appropriately for the first time used in Revelation: for it is equivalent to KING. Though priests and prophets also were anointed, yet it is peculiarly applied to Him as King, insomuch that "the Lord's anointed" is His title, in places where He is distinguished from the priests. The glorified Son of man shall rule mankind by His transfigured Church in heaven, and by His people Israel on earth; Israel shall be priestly mediator of blessings to the world, realizing them first herself (Exodus 19:6).

He - not emphatic.

Shall reign forever and ever - `unto the ages of the ages.' Here begins the millennial reign, the consummation of "the mystery of God" (Revelation 10:7).


Verse 16

And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

Before God. So A C, Vulgate, Coptic; B, Syriac, read, 'before the throne of God.'

Seats - `thrones.'


Verse 17

Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Thanks - for the answer to our prayers (Revelation 6:10-11), in destroying them which destroyed the earth (Revelation 11:18), preparing the way for the kingdom of thyself and thy saints.

And art to come. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Cyprian, Andreas. The consummation having come, they do not address him as when it was still future. Compare Revelation 11:18, "is come." From the seventh trumpet He is to His people Yaah (Hebrew #3050), the ever-present Lord WHO is, rather than Yahweh (Hebrew #3068), 'who is was, and is to come.'

Taken to thee thy great power. "To thee" not in the Greek. Christ takes the kingdom as His own of right (Ezekiel 21:27).


Verse 18

And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

The nations were angry - alluding to Psalms 99:1 [cf. note, Raagaz (Hebrew #7264)]; Septuagint, 'The Lord is become King: let the peoples become wroth;' rage combined with alarm (Exodus 15:14; 2 Kings 19:26-28). Translate, 'the nations were wroth, and thy wrath is come.' How impotent is man's wrath side by side with that of Omnipotence!

Dead ... be judged. Therefore this seventh trumpet is at the end of all things, when the judgment on Christ's foes, and reward of His servants, long prayed for, shall take place.

The prophets - for instance, the two prophesying witnesses (Revelation 11:3), and those who showed them kindness for Christ's sake. Jesus shall effect by His presence what we have looked for long, but vainly, in His absence. Destroy them which destroy the earth - retribution in kind (cf. Revelation 16:6; Luke 19:27; Daniel 7:14-18, notes).


Verse 19

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

A similar conclusion to the seventh seal, Revelation 8:5, and to the seventh vial, Revelation 16:18. Thus, the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials, are not consecutive, but parallel, ending in the same consummation. They, from distinct stand-points, unfold God's plans for bringing about the grand end, under three aspects, mutually complementing each other.

The temple - the Holy Place [ naos (Greek #3485)]; not the whole temple [ hieron (Greek #2411)].

Opened in heaven. So B 'Aleph ('); but A C read the article, 'the temple of God, which is in heaven, was opened.'

The ark of his testament - `His covenant.' As in Revelation 11:1, the earthly sanctuary was measured, so here its heavenly antitype, and the antitype above to the ark of the covenant in the Holiest below, are seen, the pledge of God's faithfulness to His covenant in saving His people, and punishing their enemies. A fit close to the trumpet-judgments, and an introduction to the episode (Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 13:1-18) as to His faithfulness to His Church. First, His secret place (Psalms 27:5) is open for the assurance of His people; thence proceed His judgments in their behalf (Revelation 14:15; Revelation 14:17; Revelation 15:5; Revelation 16:7; Revelation 16:17), which the great company in heaven land as "true and righteous." Parallel to the scene at the heavenly altar closing the seals and opening the trumpets (Revelation 8:3), and at the close of the episode (Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 15:1-8), and opening of the vials (Revelation 15:7-8). Note, opening of Revelation 12:1-17.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-11.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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