"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Eleven OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To examine the remaining visions in the interlude between the sounding of the sixth and seventh trumpets, and what happens when the seventh trumpet sounds 2) To offer explanations concerning the significance of these visions, and to summarize what we have seen in the first half of the book of Revelation SUMMARY As the interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets continues, two more visions are seen. The first involves John himself as he is given a reed and told to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those worshipping there. He is instructed, however, not to measure the court outside the temple, for it has been given to the Gentiles who will tread underfoot the holy city for forty-two months (1-2). This vision may illustrate that while the church will undergo great persecution, and outwardly appear to be trodden underfoot, its inner spirit will not be harmed. Then there is the vision of the two witnesses, which falls into three sections. With power they prophesy 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. Identified as the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the throne of God, they have the power to devour with fire from their mouths those who wish to harm them. They also have power to stop the rain during the days of their prophesying, to turn water to blood, and to strike the earth with plagues (3-6). But when their testimony is completed, the beast from the bottomless pit makes war with them and kills them. For three and half days their bodies lies in the street of the great city that is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt (where Jesus was crucified). Those who had been tormented by the two prophets rejoice, make merry and exchange gifts (7-10). However, after three and a half days they are raised to life and ascend into heaven, bringing great fear on those who saw them. In the same hour a great earthquake occurs in which a tenth of the city fell and 7000 men were killed. The rest were afraid and gave glory to God (11-13). The two witnesses are certainly reminiscent of Moses and Elijah, but I do not believe they portend two literal persons. Rather, they represent the witness of the church, with the number two signifying the strength of their witness (e.g., "two or more witnesses"). As suggested by Hailey, the first period may be the apostolic age during which the witnesses could not be destroyed. When their testimony is completed, there will be a time of persecution by "the beast" and those of "the great city" (who will be identified later). Ultimately, however, the witnesses (i.e., the church) will be victorious, symbolized by their resurrection and ascension to heaven. The interlude ended, it is time for the third woe, and the final trumpet. As the seventh angel sounded, loud voices in heaven proclaimed "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" The twenty-four elders then fell on their faces and worshiped God, giving thanks to Him for having taken His great power and reigned. While the nations were angry, His wrath has come. So has the time for the dead to be judged, for His servants the prophets and the saints to be rewarded, and for the destruction of those who destroy the earth. Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, with the ark of the covenant in the temple, accompanied by lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake and hail (15-19). With the seventh trumpet we reach the climax of the first half of the Revelation, in which we have been shown an overall look at the conflict. In general terms, the conflict between the Lamb and His enemies has been described, without really mentioning who those enemies are. What has been stressed is that the wrath of God and His Lamb was coming! Through the visions of the seven seals and seven trumpets we learn of the arsenal at God's disposal: military conquest, civil war, famine, pestilence, natural calamities, internal and moral decay, external invasion. Just as God used such instruments in His dealings with the nations in the Old Testament, so His Son would use His power to reign over the nations with a rod of iron (cf. 1:5; 2:27; 3:21). We have also seen visions designed to comfort the saints being oppressed by their enemies. God has taken notice of their suffering, and while persecution may temporarily be their lot, victory will ultimately be theirs! Even those who suffer death at the hands of their enemies are promised salvation and the blessing of being in the presence and care of the Lord. But nothing can totally stop their witness, and nothing can keep God from remaining true to His covenant with them! OUTLINE I. MEASURING THE TEMPLE OF GOD (1-2) A. THE COMMAND TO MEASURE THE TEMPLE AND ITS OCCUPANTS (1) 1. John is given a reed like a measuring rod 2. Told to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there B. THE COMMAND NOT TO MEASURE THE OUTER COURT (2) 1. Told not to measure the court outside the temple 2. For it has been given to the Gentiles, who will tread the holy city under foot forty-two months II. THE TWO WITNESSES (3-14) A. PROPHESYING FOR 1260 DAYS (3-6) 1. Two witnesses given power to prophesy, clothed in sackcloth 2. Identified as the two olive trees and two lampstands standing before God 3. Those trying to harm them are devoured by fire from their mouths 4. Having power: a. To shut heaven so no rain falls during their prophesying b. To turn water to blood c. To strike the earth with plagues as they desire B. KILLED AND DEAD FOR THREE AND A HALF DAYS (7-10) 1. Their testimony finished, the beast will kill them a. The beast that ascends from the bottomless pit b. Who will make war against them and overcome them 2. Their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city a. Spiritually called Sodom and Egypt b. Where our Lord was crucified 3. The peoples, tribes, tongues, and nation who dwell on the earth a. Will see their bodies three and a half days b. Will not allow them to be put into graves c. Will rejoice over them, make merry, and exchange gifts, because the two prophets had tormented those who dwell on the earth C. RAISED AND ASCENDED TO HEAVEN (11-14) 1. After three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them 2. They stood, and great fear fell on those who saw them 3. A loud voice from heaven tells them to "Come up here" 4. They ascend to heaven in a cloud as their enemies saw them 5. In that same hour there was an earthquake a. A tenth of the city fell b. Seven thousand men were killed c. The rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven 6. The second woe is past; the third woe is coming quickly III. THE SEVENTH TRUMPET: THE KINGDOM PROCLAIMED (15-19) A. VICTORY PROCLAIMED (15) 1. The seventh angel sounded his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven 2. Saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" B. THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS WORSHIP GOD (16-18) 1. The elders fell on their faces and worshiped God 2. Giving thanks to the Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come 3. Because He has taken His great power and reigned 4. The nations were angry, and His wrath has come 5. The time has come a. That the dead should be judged b. That His servants the prophets, the saints, and those who fear His name, should be rewarded c. That He should destroy those who destroy the earth C. THE TEMPLE OF GOD OPENED IN HEAVEN (19) 1. The temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple 2. There were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What was John given and told to measure? (1) 3) What was he told to leave out? Why? (2) 4) What were the two witnesses to do? (3) 5) How are they identified? (4) 6) What happens to those who try to harm them during this time of prophesying? (5) 7) What power do these two witnesses have? (6) 8) What will happen when they finish their testimony? (7) 9) Where will their dead bodies lie? (8) 10) How long will people see their dead bodies? (9) 11) How will those on the earth react to their deaths? Why? (10) 12) What happened to the two witnesses after three and a half days? (11-12) 13) What happened in that same hour? (13) 14) What was heard when the seventh angel sounded his trumpet? (15) 15) What did the twenty-four elders do? (16) 16) For what did they give thanks? (17) 17) As expressed in their praise, what had come? (18) 18) What was then opened in heaven, and what was seen in it? (19) 19) What then followed? (19)