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Wk8 The Seven Trumpets 8 6 11 19
 

Wk8 The Seven Trumpets 8 6 11 19

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This is the slide show for week 8 of Spring 2010 Revelation Class for the Bible Chair of Amarillo College

This is the slide show for week 8 of Spring 2010 Revelation Class for the Bible Chair of Amarillo College

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    Wk8 The Seven Trumpets 8 6 11 19 Wk8 The Seven Trumpets 8 6 11 19 Presentation Transcript

    • “ The trumpet plagues are reminiscent of the plagues on Egypt, signifying God’s judgments on idolatrous power” (Poythress, The Returning King, 121). The Seven Trumpets: Rev. 8:6-11:19
    • The cycle of Judgments in Revelation (Seals, Trumpets, and bowls) increase in intensity. Trumpets Bowels One-third of the land One-third of the sea Bitter drinking One-third of the heavenly bodies All land All sea Drinking blood The sun
    • The limited scope of the trumpets is God’s judgment on sin, but it is not his final judgment. Moreover the goal is repentance .
      • “ Modern readers are apt to be shocked at the idea that God should be prepared to kill off large numbers of men in order to provide an object lesson for those who survive. John is more realistic about the fact of death. All men must die, and the question mark which death sets over their existence is just as great whether they die late or soon, alone or in company, violently or in their beds. Their ultimate destiny is not determined either by the moment or by the manner of their death, as the untimely death of the martyrs should prove, but by the opening of the heavenly books and by the true and just judgments which proceed from the great white throne (xx. 11-15). The idea that life on earth is so infinitely precious that the death which robs us of it must be the ultimate tragedy is precisely the idolatry that John is trying here to combat” (Caird, The Revelation of St. John, 113).
    • The trumpets are thematically and formally parallel to the Exodus plagues Trumpet Plague Parallel to Exodus 1st- Rev. 8:7 2nd- Rev. 8:8-9 3rd- 8:10-11 4th- 8:12 5th- 9:1-11 6th- 9:13-21 7th- 11:15-19 Hail and fire Blood Bitter water Darkness Locusts Army Storm 7th- hail and fire 1st- blood *(Ex. 7:20)*(Ex. 7:15-24) 9th- darkness 8th- locusts Ex. 19:16-19
    • The trumpets as a whole could be a response to the prayers of the saints in 6:9-11, thus we see the last three trumpets called “woes” directed toward the “earth dwellers (8:13 and 11:10).
    • The First four trumpets: 8:6-12
    • Rev 8:7
      • Verse 7 is patterned after the seventh of the Exodus plagues (Ex. 9:22-25). In both of these scenes hail and fire is sent from heaven (throne room scene Rev. 4-5) against three parts of creation: earth/land, trees and grass.
      • The limited scope of the first trumpet (one third of the…) might be parallel to the limited scope of the third seal (Rev. 6:6). One should also note the limitation of the harm in the Exodus plague Ex. 9:31-32).
      • See also the figurative use of one third in Ezek. 5:2, 12. Based upon the Ezekiel background, 8:7 and the fire that burns a third of the land, trees and grass should be understood as metaphor for famine.
    • Rev 8:8-9
      • In verses 8-9 the picture of a mountain that is on fire is thrown into the sea which causes the sea to be turned into blood and a third of the fish and ships were destroyed. This picture is probably best understood as an evil nation that is judged. Revelation 18:20 would support this interpretation by alluding to the destruction of Babylon the great city in terms of a “millstone” thrown into the sea.
      • Thus the burning mountain is the object not the agent of judgment. Beale cites Isa. 42:15; Ezek. 35:2-7 and Zech. 4:7 for support of the notion that mountains resembling nations are always portrayed as objects of judgment (Beale, Revelation, 476).
    • Rev 8:10-11
      • In verse 10-11 the third trumpet is blown and a great star blazing like a trumpet is cast onto the springs and rivers. This trumpet continues the picture of famine by describing undrinkable water.
      • Craig Keener writes, “Like the preceding plague, this judgment alludes to the poisoned water of Exodus 7:20–21, but through a sort of poisoning or embittering agent called “wormwood” (Jer 9:15; 23:15; cf. Jer 8:14), often used figuratively (for idolatry—Deut 29:18; fruits of adultery—Prov 5:4; suffering—Lam 3:19). This plague strikes local fresh-water supplies and would naturally worry John’s readers in Asia, especially in Laodicea (see comment on Rev 3:15–16).” IVP Background commentary.
      • The overall image that is transcribed in the trumpets is that of the “new exodus.” John is picturing the church as the new Israel which in some sense is held in bondage by the power of Rome; furthermore, in the same way that plagues preceded the first exodus, now John describes plagues preceding the second exodus.
    • 8:13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"
      • The threefold woe oracle highlights the harshness of the coming plagues (trumpets). Caird suggests that the Greek word for “eagle” aetos should be translated vulture since the word can represent both birds (Caird, The Revelation of St. John, 117).
      • … If this is the case then this eagle along with the woes is a symbol which anticipates the greater destruction of the last three trumpets. Luke 17:37 "Where, Lord?" they asked. He replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures [ aetoi ] will gather."
      • Notice also the OT references that picture an eagle as the bringer or announcer of Judgment. (Deut. 28:49; Jer. 4:13; 48:40; 49:22; Lam. 4:19; Ezek. 17:3; Hos. 8:1; Hab. 1:8).
      • “ The picture in Rev. 8:13 is of an eagle hovering over its prey. Unbelieving ‘earth dwellers’ are the prey” (Beale, Revelation, 490).
      • It could also be important to note that the eagle is used as a metaphor for God in Exodus 19:4. “You saw what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” Thus it would have a dual function in Revelation; it could symbolize protection for God’s people and wrath for the “earth dwellers.”
    • The Fifth Trumpet 9:1-12
    • At the outset of the fifth trumpet, John sees a star that has fallen to the earth. There is debate over what this star actually represents. Two options present themselves:
      • archangel Uriel (chief over Tartarus) or the archangel Saraqael
      • An evil angel (Jewish literature talks about “stars that have fallen from heaven into the abyss”, and Jesus mentions that disobedient angels were cast into the Abyss Luke 10:17-20).
      • Further support to the notion that this is an evil angel is seen in verse 11 where this angel is given the name “Abaddon” (Destruction) and “Apollyon” (Destroyer).
      • A Note on the “Abyss”: In order to understand the image of the Abyss, one must have a knowledge of the ancient Near Eastern creation myth Enuma Elish. There the sea is pictured as a sea monster (Tiamat coming from the Hebrew word Tehom “the Deep”)which is subdued and cut in half.
    • Rev 9:2
      • In verse 2 , smoke comes from the abyss and the sun is darkened. The darkening of the sun is an OT allusion to divine judgment (Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15). Also included in this image is the Exodus plague of locusts that “darkened the land” (Exod. 10:1-15). Thus the judgment that reigned in the demonic realm is now unleashed on the earthly realm.
    • Rev 9:4
      • Verse 4 illustrates the limited scope of the locust plague. They were told not to harm the earth or those who had the seal of Christ on their foreheads. This is very similar to the Exodus motif in which the plagues struck the unbelieving Egyptians but they did not effect the believing Israelites.
    • Rev 9:5-6
      • Verses 5 and 6 describe the twofold restraint on the power that was given to them. First, they are not able to kill anyone (physical death); they are only allowed to torment. Second, their tormenting of people is only for a limited time (five months). The period of time could be derived from the typical five-month lifespan of locust; however, it is best not to take this reference literally.
      • The plagues function in Revelation in the same way as that of the exodus, they testify that the gods of the nations (Egypt and Rome) are false and only Yahweh is the true God.
    • Rev 9:7-10
      • Verses 7-10 describe the locusts in a detailed manner (cf. Joel 1-2). Caird remarks, “…at one stage in their development locust have a remarkable resemblance to horses equipped for battle, as Joel had already noticed; and their antennae bear comparison with waving hair. Nevertheless, this is no natural plague like the first four. These are demonic locusts; instead of injuring grass and plants they are to injure men, they are armed with a scorpion’s sting, and, unlike the natural locusts, they have a king (cf. Prov. xxx. 27). It is the more noteworthy that they are said to have human faces. Evil may take many sinister forms and ramify far beyond the immediate implications of individual sin; but in the last analysis it has a human face, for it is caused by the rebellion of human wills against the will of God” (Caird, The Revelation of St. John, 120).
      • The result of the locust plague in Joel 1-2 is a severe famine that causes the people to wail in anguish. Thus, famine could be seen in this text (Rev. 9) as well and it could be used by demonic agents to cause torment to the people. However, one must note again that this is not a literal famine; rather, it is a famine of spiritual nature.
    • OT and 1 st century background for the locusts
      • “ Joel 1:6 described locusts with “teeth like lions” to emphasize their destructiveness to the crops and everything else. In Joel, the image would terrify an agrarian society; in Revelation, it would remind readers of the lion’s proverbial ferocity. The “hair like women” would be a more obvious allusion to most of John’s readers: everyone in the Roman Empire knew that “barbarians” outside the Empire, unlike most people in Greco-Roman society, had long hair. In the context of a military invasion, the readers would immediately think of the Parthians (or, in apocalyptic terms, perhaps the evil spiritual realities behind them). By way of illustration, the reigning emperor Domitian’s father was reported—perhaps fictitiously—to have joked about the Parthians’ long hair in view of a long-tailed comet portending his death.
    • OT and 1 st century background for the locusts
      • The “noise of chariots” is borrowed from the military imagery for locusts in Joel 2:5; the swarms would be so intense that they would sound like an invading army, a sound great enough to make a land quake (Jer 8:16). The scales of a kind of locust’s thorax are compared with scaled armor in a later Jewish text; here John uses a more updated armor image.
      • Their tails may be mentioned simply because that was the weapon of scorpions (9:5), but the reverse could also be true; scorpions could be mentioned because of the tails. It may be of interest that the Parthians (9:8) had become famous for their rearward archery: they had retreated up hills mounted on horseback, and when unwary Roman legions had followed them, the Parthians had released a backward hail of arrows, wiping out several legions before the Romans learned not to follow them up hills.” Craig Keener, IVP Background Commentary
    • Rev 9:11
      • Verse 11 describes their leader as the angel of the abyss. The leader of the locusts is probably Satan himself. We have already commented about the Greek and Hebrew names that he is given in this text. Abaddon (name for the ruling angel of the underworld (Abyss), transl. into Gk.) is a synonym for Sheol, Hades, the realm of the dead, darkness, silence, oblivion, and the destroyer of life and hope.
      • The name could also point to Domitian since he believed that he was the god Apollo incarnate. (cf. Aeschylus, Agam. 1082, where the name Apollo is derived from the verb is derived from the verb apolluein , to destroy).
    • The Sixth Trumpet: 9:13-21
      • 9:13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God.
      • The voice coming from the horns of the altar thematically ties the saints’ prayer (6:9-11) into this scene.
    • 9:14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
      • The voice commands the angel to release four angels who are bound at the great river. “The threat of invasion by armies from beyond the Euphrates was guaranteed to produce a true apprehension in both Roman and Jew. For beyond the great river lay the empire of Parthia, which superstitious imagination was always ready with people to inexhaustible hordes of barbarian warriors (cf. 1 Enoch lvi. 5; xc. 13, 16). The Roman neurosis about Parthia began in 53 B.C. with the defeat of Crassus at Carrhae and the loss of the eagle standards of his legions, was renewed by the disgraceful capitulation of Paetus to Vologeses in A.D. 62, and was not finally exorcised until Trajan earned the title Parthicus by his victories of A.D. 114-116. To the Roman the Euphrates was the eastern frontier, but to the Jew it was the northern frontier of Palestine, across which Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian invaders had come to impose their pagan sovereignty on the people of God. All the scriptural warnings about a foe from the north, therefore, find their echo in John’s bloodcurdling vision (Isa. Xiv. 31; Jer. i. 14f.; vi. 1, 22; x. 22; xiii. 20; xxv. 9, 26; xlvi. 20, 24; xlvii. 2; Ezek. Xxvi. 7; xxxviii. 6, 15; xxxix. 2)” (Caird, The Revelation of St. John, 122).
    • 9:15) And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
      • The time has come and the angels are released according to the will and timing of God.
      • “ All the forces of History are under the sovereign control of God. He is the Almighty One (1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 19:15; etc.)” (Beale, Revelation, 508).
    • 9:16 The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
      • In the Greek text the number is simply “double myriad of myriads.” Some interpreters take this number literally 2 X 10,000 X 10,000; however, there is no need to put an exact number to this metaphor. It should be understood as an innumerable host of troops.
    • 9:17) The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.
      • Verses 17-19 further explain what John has previously seen in verses 13-16. The picture of these horses is very similar to that of the locusts (9:7-10). John stacks metaphors of hellish monsters to illustrate the fierce and devastating manner by which these creatures would attack.
      • The presence of “fire and sulfur” in this text alludes to judgment. “Elsewhere in the Apocalypse the same phrase is always used in references to the final judgment of ungodly idolaters (14:10; 21:8) and of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet (19:20; 20:10)” (Beale, Revelation, 510). This is a similar judgment to that of the final judgment; however, it precedes the final judgment.
    • 9:18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.
      • This inclusion of “fire, smoke and sulfur” is a verbal indicator for divine judgment. In Gen 19:24, 28 we see God destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with “fire, smoke and sulfur.” The present text runs along the same tradition, yet it extends the application. These horses are permitted to kill the whole person, both body and spirit. This is the plague of death, that prepares for the final judgment. Again it should be noted that “fire and sulfur” outside of Rev. 9:17-18 refers specifically to the final judgment.
    • 9:19) The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
      • The torture that these horses inflict is both spiritual and physical in the case of the unbelieving; however, in the case of true saints this is merely a physical ailment because they are protected spiritually by the seal of God.
      • Note especially that the power of these horses comes from their mouths, this would highlight the emphasis on their deceptive nature.
      • We can be confident that these creatures are meant for destruction and deception because their tails are compared to snakes. Snake or serpent in Revelation exclusively refers to Satan (12:9, 14-15; 20:2). This serpent is none other than the symbol of cosmic evil the sea dragon (Job 40-41).
    • 9:20) The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-- idols that cannot see or hear or walk.
      • The fact that part of mankind did not repent, links this verse to the deception associated with verse 19; the plagues here do not have a redeeming effect, rather they are meant for damnation. In the same way that the exodus plagues were not meant to turn out for Pharaoh’s redemption, the purpose of the plagues is to harden the heart.
    • The danger of Idolatry
      • Psalm 135:15-18 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.16 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; 17 they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. 18 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. (see also Isa. 6:9-10 and Psa 115:8)
      • Idols of any kind spiritually weaken those who worship them. In the end, they become as spiritually lifeless as the image they worship. The spiritual lifelessness is naturally followed upon death by the second death (both spiritual and physical torment).
    • 9:21) Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
      • These four sins are commonly associated with idolatry in the Bible (Jer. 7:5-11; Hos. 3:1-4:2; 2 Kgs. 9:22; Isa. 47:9-10; Mic. 5:12-6:8; Acts 15:20; Rom. 1:24-29; Gal 5:20…etc.).
    • The Parenthesis in Chapters 10:1-11:13
      • There was an interpretive parenthesis between the sixth and seventh seal`s of chapter 7; in chapters 10-11 the reader is introduced to a similar parenthesis between the sixth and seventh trumpets.
      • Poythress comments, “Between the sixth and seventh trumpets stands an interlude (10:1-11:14) with two scenes. Both scenes are concerned with the role of God’s people and their prophetic witness during a time of trial. In the first scene (10:1-11), John receives prophetic messages and is commissioned to proclaim them. The second (11:1-14) depicts the history of the two witnesses and their larger environment” (Poythress, The Returning King, 125).
    • John is commissioned to prophecy about Judgment; thus he rejoices and mourns (10:1-11)
    • Part 2.
    • 10:1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,
      • “ Mighty angel” is only mentioned three times in Revelation (5:2; 10:1 and 18:21). Moreover only two of these references describe the angel crying out in a loud voice. Thus, one would logically identify this angel along with the one mentioned in 5:2. This angel looks suspiciously like God or Christ.
    • Identity of the Angel in Rev 10
      • This angel is clothed with a cloud, which is similar to the OT image of God or Christ coming on the clouds (Dan. 7:13; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27; Acts 1:9; Rev. 1:7; 14:14-16).
      • Note also Rev. 14:14 where Christ is pictured in terms like an angel.
      • Beale says that this figure is equivalent to the angel of Yahweh, “In this light, the figure in 10:1 is probably equivalent to the ‘angel of Yahweh’ in the OT, who is referred to as Yahweh himself (e.g., Gen. 16:10; 22:11-18; 24:7; 31:11-13; Exod. 3:2-12; 14:19; Judg. 2:1; 6:22; 13:20-22; cf. Zech. 3:1-3 with Jude 9; see also Dan. 3:25; Acts 7:30, 35, 38)” (Beale, Revelation, 523).
      • The only other use of “rainbow” in the NT is Rev. 4:3, thus this same rainbow is now applied to the figure in 10:1. Furthermore, the fact that this angel’s “face shown like the sun” and “his leg were like fiery pillars” is identical to the picture of Christ in 1:16.
      • The imagery of legs like “pillars of fire” would have conjured up the image of God and his faithful leading in the Exodus campaign.
      • The little scroll in the angel’s hand is probably best broadly associated with the contents of chs. 11-16 and the judgment and redemption coupled with the gospel of Jesus.
      • Note that this figure of Christ has his feet on the land and on the sea, thus Christ has sovereignty over the whole earth. This phrase “sea and land” stands for the totality of God’s creation (Gen. 1:26, 28; 9:2; Ps. 72:8; Zech. 9:10).
    • 10:3-4) and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."
      • Thunder is often used to describe the voice of God in the OT (Exod. 9:23-34; 19:16, 19; 1 Sam. 7:10). The fact that it has a definite article in front of it would lead one to believe that John knows the content of the thunder. This could be an article of previous reference, which would refer back to the content of the trumpets and the seals as God’s wrath (see Psalm 29).
      • John is about to write down the content that the seven thunders spoke; however, he is told to seal it up.
    • 10:5-7) Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."
      • Keener comments on the raising of the hand and oaths, “Raising one’s hand toward a god was used in solemn oath formulas in Greek culture as well as in the Old Testament and later Jewish literature. Here John alludes to Daniel 12:7, where an angel lifted his hands toward heaven and swore by the one who lives forever that there would be only three and a half more years until the end; here this angel swears that the time has come, and there is no further delay. (Some apocalyptic texts spoke of countable time itself ending, but the point here seems to be “time before the end,” given Dan 12:7; cf. Rev 2:21; 6:11; 20:3; Hab 2:3.)” IVP Background Dictionary
      • No more delay: The idea is that God has a predetermined set of time in which his purposes for history will be completed. When God has decided to terminate history there will be no delay in its completion.
      • The mystery of God is related to the message that some of the OT prophets spoke about concerning the end time. This mystery has an inaugurated fulfillment in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
      • The verb euangelisen “announce” comes from the Greek word for “gospel” or good news. The mystery is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news
    • 10:8-11) Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." 9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." 10 I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."
      • Poythress writes about the OT imagery of taking the scroll and eating it, “John takes and eats the little scroll, in a manner parallel to Ezekiel 2:3-3:9, indicating that God commissions him with the Ezekiel-like task of prophesying woe to an unrepentant world. The scroll will turn your stomach sour. That is, the contents of the scroll contain much news of suffering. At the same time, it is as sweet as honey in the mouth (cf. Ezek. 3:3; Pss. 119:103; 19:10). The word of God provides communion with him and his goodness; hence, sweetness accompanies even a message of woe” (Poythress, The Returning King, 126).
      • The fact that John is told to take the scroll introduces the theme of him being recommissioned as a prophet in the same manner as Ezekiel (Ezek. 2:8-3:3).
      • “ Bitterness” in the OT is a metaphor for suffering that resulted from divine judgment (Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4; Jer. 23:15; Lam. 3:15, 19).
      • John’s taking and eating of the scroll represented his total submission to the divine call upon his life.
      • In verse 11, John has digested the scroll and now he must make know its punitive contents to all of the ungodly people of the earth. “Prophecy” carries more meaning than just future realities, it represents present situations that John is called to preach against.
    • God is present with his people who undergo apparent defeat, but which ultimately climaxes in the judgment and defeat of their enemies. (11:1-13)
      • The church is sealed in 11:1-13 so that it will be able to be a light to the nations in spite of persecution and opposition from the world. This enduring is the basis for the final judgment of those who reject the gospel message. Chapter 10 focused on the commissioning of John, and now chapter 11 illustrates the nature of his message. The message is one of judgment for those who reject the testimony of Jesus.
    • 11:1-2) I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.
      • In the first two verses of chapter 11, we can see that God’s decree protects his people in the midst of persecution. This is illustrated by a lived parable of John measuring the temple of God.
    • there are at least five interpretations to these verses
      • Dispensational futurist: This is the time of tribulation right before the second coming. Thus the temple is a literal temple in a restored Jerusalem, and the worshipers are a remnant of ethnic Jews.
      • Preterist: understand it as a literal temple, and the events are those in or around the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70.
      • Modified future: The narrative is about the future however this is a figurative description. The images of the sanctuary, altar, and worshipers are ethnic Israel who is sealed until the end of history by the measuring rod.
      • The outer court is the professing but apostate church, who will be deceived and align themselves with the persecutors of spiritual Israel.
      • *The outer court is the true spiritual Israel which is susceptible to harm. Thus, “cast outside” refers to the group of God’s people who are persecuted (Matt. 21:39; Mark 12:8; Luke 4:29). The measuring line means that their salvation is secure despite physical harm and suffering.
      • The measuring of the temple comes from the background of Ezekiel 40-48. Beale writes, “What is figuratively established by the measuring in Ezekiel and in Revelation 21 is the infallible promise of God’s future presence, which will dwell forever in the midst of ‘a purified cult and purified community.’ In Revelation 11 the measuring connotes God’s presence, which is guaranteed to be with the temple community living on earth before the consummation. The faith of his people will be upheld by his presence, since without faith there can be no divine presence” (Beale, Revelation, 559).
      • In this vein of thought the measuring of the temple would have the same effect as the sealing in 7:3-8.
    • 42 Months or 3 ½ years or 1260 days:
      • (1) Could be a literal time of tribulation on the earth shortly before the second coming.
      • (2) Figurative for eschatological tribulation prophesied in Daniel. 42 might recall Elijah’s ministry of judgment that is expressed in the same way, and the period of wandering in the desert that involved 42 encampments.
      • “ Regardless of which Danielic three and a half year period(s) Revelation alludes to, the point is that there is no time in which the church is ever in a peaceful relationship with the world, whether during the course of its testimony or at the end” (Beale, Revelation, 567).
      • 11:3-6) And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
      • Because of the measuring that we have seen in verse 1-2 the two prophets are protected by God to give their testimony. These two prophets are cast in the clothes of two great OT prophets: Moses and Elijah.
    • Who are the two witnesses?
      • Moses and Elijah
      • Enoch and Elijah
      • Paul and Peter
      • A part of the Christian community
      • “ the word of God” and “the testimony of Jesus”
      • The whole community of faith that represents prophetic witness to the Gospel.
      • Option (6) is the best option due to the fact that these witnesses are described in the same terminology as that of the church “lampstand.” Furthermore, they represent the whole community of faith who had the job of being a light to the nations. The number two is from the OT law which states that 2 witnesses must be present in the case of a legal hearing (Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; 19:15). The main point is that the church is a just and valid witness.
      • The witness are clothed in sackcloth which would be representative of the mourning that takes place because of the proclamation of their message
      • In verse 5 one will note the spiritual protection provided by the presence of God. God’s faithful witnesses will not be harmed ultimately in a spiritual sense, but as we shall see the earthly life of the witnesses is not guaranteed.
      • Fire is typically symbolic in Revelation for judgment; thus the fire that comes from the witnesses mouth should not be understood in a literal fashion. Rather, it is their testimony that brings about a judgment before the final consummation of history.
      • Verse six is loaded with OT imagery of the prophetic witness modeled after the ministries of Moses and Elijah.
      • Note Elijah’s prevention of rain in Israel (1 Kgs. 11; cf. Deut. 11:16-17) and Moses turning the water into blood (Exod. 7:17-25). These judgments pronounced by God’s prophet were both directed toward kings who persecuted God’s people, and who were idolaters. The narrow application in the OT is expanded in Revelation as the church gives its prophetic witness to the world of God haters and idolaters.
    • The church is defeated at the end of its appointed period of witness (11:7-10)
    • 11:7) Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.
      • The opening phrase “when” in verse seven is a temporal indicator that points out that the events of 7-13 occur at the end of history. This is due to the observation that history will conclude at the end of the church age, which I have already said that we are currently in this period. The church appears to be defeated at the end of the age (Matt. 24:9-22), and one would note the same language of “completing their witness” in 6:9-11 where it is said that the end will come when “the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.”
      • Note the parallels that exist between this scene and other judgment scenes in Revelation in which we see “the beast” (11:7; 17:8; 20:7). All of these parallel references refer to the final onslaught and destruction of the beast and his associates at the end of the age. Thus we are correct in saying that 11:7 (when) is a formal indicator referring to the climatic assault of satan at the end of the age.
      Daniel 7 Revelation 11:7 The fourth beast arising from the abyss…will make war with them and overcome them. The beast who ascends from the abyss will make war with them and overcome them.
    • 11:8) Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
      • Commenting on the lack of burial given to the witnesses Keener writes, “Refusing to bury the dead was the greatest cruelty one could offer throughout the ancient world (e.g., Is 5:25) and was usually a mark of grave impiety as well.” IVP Background Commentary.
      • The adjective “figuratively (literally) spiritually” would point to the fact that this is not a literal city that is being mentioned. Rather it is figurative for the forces that oppose God. At the end it will look very bleak for the church and its witness.
    • 11:9) For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.
      • Just as verse 8 pictured a worldwide city characterized by those who persecute followers of Jesus, so also is there a worldwide scope to verse 9 “every people, tribe, language and nation.”
      • “ The bodies of the witnesses lie unburied for three and a half days (vv. 9, 11). This repeats on a smaller scale the period of three and a half years (12:14; see on 11:2), or forty-two months, in which the saints experience persecution. By analogy, the three and a half days are a period of such intense persecution that the witness of the church seems to be completely snuffed out. The two witnesses are killed by the Beast. Not only in the Roman Empire, but nowadays, and in the final crisis, faithful witnesses sometimes seem to go down in defeat. Christians are all in prison or dead, and apparently the idolatrous state has triumphed. The anti-Christian tyrant is in control, whether Domitian or Diocletian or the Spanish Inquisition or North Korea communism or Saudi Arabia’s Islamic state. But note: three and a half days are seven days cut in half, signifying that domination that aspires to completeness is cut off halfway through. Moreover, this period of three and a half days reminds us of the three days of Christ’s suffering (Matt. 12:40; Mark 8:31). Christ’s martyrdom and resurrection provide the pattern, the firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:23, 49). We who belong to Christ cannot but share in his victory. So the martyr’s death is not defeat, but victory in union with Christ” (Poythress, The Returning King, 130-31).
    • 11:10) The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
      • “ Earth dwellers” is a technical term for unbelievers who suffer judgment because they persecute God’s people (6:10; 8:13). This phrase is also used of idolaters in chs. 13-17; they ultimately trust in some aspect of the world and not in God.
      • The earth-dwellers rejoice because the witness of the church persecuted them in the form of judgment. Now it appears that their pronouncement of judgment will not come about.
    • God restores his people and executes final judgment on their persecutors. (11:11-13)
    • 11:11) But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.
      • Caird comments, “The martyrs die in the same city as their Lord, and like him they have their Easter Day. For them it comes, not on the third day, but after three and a half days, because John’s mind is still running on the mysterious half-week of Daniel’s prophecy” (Caird, The Revelation of St. John, 138).
    • 11:12) Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
      • The phrase “come up here” does not refer to the rapture (1 Thess. 4:16-17) since we have already seen this same phrase in 4:1.
      • Rather, being taken up into a cloud is a reference to God’s presence and approval of his witnesses. See Elijah’s example (1 Kgs. 2:11).
    • 11:13) At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
      • The “great earthquake seen in the sixth trumpet should be interpreted in the same manner as that of the “great earthquake” in the sixth seal (6:12). In 6:12 it marked the beginning of the end which is further elaborated upon on by the seventh seal (8:5), and in Rev 11:13 we should see this as the precursor to the final judgment scene that will be painted using the same yet more detailed imagery in 11:19.
      • The greatest problem in interpreting this verse is in the last phrase, “and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Are we to assume that these people: (1) had a fear of God in the believing sense, or (2) that they are simply giving glory yet are still obstinate to the gospel.
      • “ Giving glory to God” does not always indicate that the person doing so actually believes in God, it could be that they are forced into submission to acknowledge God’s sovereignty (e.g., Josh. 7:19; 1 Sam. 6:5; cf. 1 Pet. 2:12; Dan. 2:46-47).
    • The Seventh Trumpet (11:14-19)
    • 11:14) The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
      • The literary parenthesis of 10:1-11:13 is now ended, and verse 14 introduces us to the final trumpet where 9:21 ended.
      • Verses 15 through 19 then contain the content of the seventh trumpet/third woe which is the final judgment and the consummation of all history.
    • 11:15) The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."
      • “ The consummated fulfillment of the long-awaited messianic kingdom prophesied in the OT finally has come to pass (12:10 makes the same point). It is difficult to say how Christ’s delivering up the kingdom to the Father and subjecting himself to the Father at the consummation in 1 Cor. 15:24-28 relates to the present text. Perhaps Christ gives up the redemptive historical phase of his rule and then assumes an eternal rule alongside but in subjection to his Father” (Beale, Revelation, 611).
    • 11:16-17) And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
      • The kingdom has now come in its complete and final form, thus the elders fall on their faces and worship God. In verse 18, we will see that all of God’s enemies are defeated and that they have received their final judgment. There is no one left for Christ and his followers via the testimony that they maintain to defeat.
      • There is a parallel to this verse in 19:6 which also describes the final completion of God’s plan. Here God is described as the “Lord God Almighty, the one who is and who was…have begun to reign.” God is not only sovereign over all time and the events of this world; this verse points to the fact that God is sovereign over the end of history, and he will end it.
      • Contrary to popular belief this is not the millennial kingdom described in Rev. 11:15-17; because in verse 15 this kingdom is said to be eternal rather than temporary. Thus these verses and the preceding are not to be understood in a strict chronological order; rather, they depict culminating and expanding judgment and salvation scenes.
    • 11:18) The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth."
      • Verse 18 both begins and ends on the same note: the judgment of the ungodly. The middle of this verse pertains to the reward given to the people of God. The reward itself is the presence of Christ.
      • The judgment of the dead lends convincing and almost irrefutable proof that this is the final judgment. The OT and the NT together with other Jewish writings support the notion of one final judgment of the living and the dead (Jn 5:24-29; Dan. 12:2; Rev. 20:12-13).
    • 11:19) Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
      • The special effects that we see in this verse is an indicator of final judgment in Revelation (8:5; 16:18) and in the OT.
      • “ This presence of God without a literal reappearance of the ark is the idea in Rev. 11:19, which is expanded in 21:3, 22, where the establishment of the end-time temple is interpreted as God’s presence in the midst of his people. At the consummation God dwells with his people in a more complete and intense manner than previously, as indicated by the observation that the curtain that has separated the ark from the rest of the temple and from the people is now gone. All believers, ‘small and great,’ enjoy God’s presence in a greater manner than was possible in the OT. Therefore, the ark in 11:19 is a suitable symbol for both the judgment and the reward of the last day. Therefore, the full answer to the saints’ petition for vindication in 6:9-11 is revealed in 11:15-19” (Beale, Revelation, 619).