Revelation Chapter Eleven Part III

Two Olive Trees, Two Witnesses

Two Olive Trees

Rev 11:6a These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy:

 

 

 

The two witnesses will prophesy for 3.5 years. No rain will fall during that period. Elijah stopped the rain for 3.5 years (Luk 4:25; Jas 5:17). Here are reasons why rain is stopped:

  • “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.” (Deut 11:16-17).
  • But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt
    not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee” (Deut 28:15). “
    And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed” (Deut 28:23-24).
  • “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass” (Lev 26:18-19).

When the Witnesses prophecy, lawlessness will be reigning universally. The Scriptures tell us about time of the end:

  • But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Mat 24:37-39).
  • Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luk 17:28-30).

    Lawlessness will reign in the end times. It will be just like it was it the days of Noah. Except for the remnant of God’s people it will be like this:

  • Gen 6:5, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
  • Gen 18:20-21  And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

This is why the rain is stopped. We must understand that rain in the Scripture is not strictly about precipitation. It is also about what the rain brings. Yes, the rain the Scripture is literal rain, but the blessings rain brings are spiritual.

Through the rain, God sends, us blessings. He blesses us with salvation, good food, prosperity, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and abundant life.

  • Deut 11:13-15  And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,  (14)  That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.  (15)  And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
  • Hos 6:3  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
  • Zec 10:1  Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
  • Joe 2:23-24  Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.  (24)  And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.

James uses the rain given by God to evoke patience in us like the farmers have patience for the rains. Believers in the days of the prophesying of the Witnesses will need great patience. They will receive it from God.

  • Jas 5:7  Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

This is what the world of unbelievers in the time of the end will fail to realize:

  • Jer 5:24  Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

The idea behind the Two Witnesses stopping the rain is that there will be no blessings from God for the world of unbelievers in the times of the end. Yet just like the plagues of Egypt, God’s people, the remnant, that is, believers in Christ, will be able to get through this time with the grace of God. Withholding the rains results in famine. Let us not forget there will be a famine in the end times:

  • Amo 8:11-12  Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:  (12)  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

Such a dearth of the Word of God is occurring already and will expand exponentially during the prophecy of the Two Witnesses. The world will furiously despise the word of God, but the Two Witnesses will exclaim it and be hated because they do. As of the writing of this commentary, 2019 AD, despising the Word of God and Christians that believe that Word has already begun to sporadically occur.

Rev 11:6b and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

The power to turn the waters into blood hearkens back to the ten plagues in Egypt. Aaron stuck the waters of the Nile in Egypt and turned the all the waters in Egypt to blood (Exo 7:20). This was the first plague. We must remember in Rev 8:8, that the second Angel sounded the Second Trumpet and one third of the waters of earth were turned to blood.

In Revelation, and in other prophecies (e.g. Isa 17:12-13), seas and waters are often used to signify multitudes of people. Multitudes of people represent the nations of the world. That is the case here in this verse. Turning the waters to blood pollutes them making them unfit for consumption and unfit for aquatic creatures to survive:

Exo 7:17-18, “Thus saith the LORD, “‘In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.'”

Figuratively, when waters are turned to blood in Scripture we could say that it means death to the multitudes of people; Rev 16:3 agrees: “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” The soul here applies both humans and animals. See also Isa 15:9 were the river is blood because of the deaths of all the people in Moab that conquering armies killed.

Rev 8:8-9  And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;  (9)  And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

These are not two separate incidents; they are the same. This is an example of recapitulation. In chapter 8 we are given a glimpse of an event, and in a later passage given a fuller explanation of that event. Here we learn who and how this occurred. The angel blew the trumpet and turned the water to blood. For an explanation of the mountain, see the notes at Rev 8:8.

According to Roberson, the phrase in the KJV, “with all plagues,” is more accurately, “with every plague.” Robertson states: “With every plague (εν πασει πλεγει, en pasēi plēgēi). In 1 Sam 4:8 but with reference to the plagues in Egypt.” 1 Sam 4:8 tells us that the Philistines were afraid that God would send all ten plagues in Egypt against them. Apparently, John had the ten plagues of Egypt in mind when he wrote.

There are ten references to plagues in the book of Revelation in the KJV and several other translations. Ten plagues in Egypt and ten instances of the word ‘plagues’ in Revelation. Coincidence? No there are no coincidences in God’s Word. As we continue our studies in Revelation, we will learn more about plagues as they are presented to us. The ten plagues in Egypt were: 1: Nile Turned to Blood, 2: Frogs, 3: Lice (or Gnats), 4: Flies, 5: Death of Cattle by pestilence, 6: Boils, 7: Hail, 8: Locusts, 9: Darkness, 10: Death of the Firstborn. We find many of those same plagues in Revelation.

Revelation 11:7 “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.”

Their testimony is not only the words of their mouths, but the exercises of their powers. Those powers are the ability to prophesy, their ability to stop rain and to smite the earth with every plague. Symbolically, fire coming from their mouths and devouring their enemies means to speak the truth that torments those who hear it (see Jer 5:14). They do not like it. Stopping the rain is to prevent God’s message from being heard. Blood and plagues represent illness, famine, death and a lack of peace.

There will be no peace for unbelievers as long as the witnesses testify on earth. The people who do not have the seal of God, meaning all unbelievers living at the time, will become infuriated and filled with rage and hate towards these witnesses. They will be psychologically “triggered” by the word of God; it will cause them to have a personality meltdown like some are doing even now. The powers of these Witnesses are thoroughly explained in the notes on verses three through six of this chapter (above).

Is this any different from today? No, for throughout history until this very day people have been persecuted, imprisoned, purposely injured, tortured, banished, exiled, burned at the stake, beheaded, and otherwise treated with horrendous cruelty for their faith in Christ. In the West at this very moment, talking to others about our faith in Jesus (witnessing) is considered by many to be hate speech. In many countries in the world Christians are summarily killed for witnessing to unbelievers. Why should it be any different for God’s Two Witnesses?

The beast here in this verse is from a word meaning a dangerous and venomous or vicious wild animal. The word beast in other passages in Revelation means living thing. Here it is a wild animal.

The word rendered beast in this verse indicates three possibilities. The first is simply an animal, such as a cow, sheep, or any animal, wild or domestic, but the implication is that such an animal is not ferocious. The second is a wild animal; one that is not domesticated; either a ferocious wild animal such as a lion or a docile wild animal like a deer. The third, and most likely possibility is metaphorically vicious and ruthless, cruel men who are fierce and aggressive.

Daniel describes such a beast: “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns” (Dan 7:7).

In the passage, Daniel is describing the Romans as a great and terrible beast. It cannot be a real fleshly wild and ferocious animal because no other animal has iron teeth. The idea of the iron teeth is that this beast can overwhelm any other wild beast no matter how powerful. No other beast could stand against it. Daniel is actually prophesying about the empires of the world in his future and our past. Daniel was from the Hebrew captives in Babylon, though when he when he received this vision, he was a high official in the Medo-Persian government.

In the past, God gave him visions of the major kingdoms of the world that succeeded Babylon. While in Babylon, in a previous vision, Daniel saw a statue that symbolized those empires. That vision took place in a dream, and prophesied the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, the coalitions of states that remained after Rome fell, and the final kingdom—the Kingdom of Heaven (Dan 2:31-45). Here, in Medo-Persia, Yahweh gave him a vision of the same empires using animals as metaphors.

The beast we have here in Dan 7:7, is an empire that is powerful, ruthless, strong, and able to easily overcome its enemies and its conquests that is represented by a ferocious animal or wild and terrifying beast. The Iron teeth are indicative of its massive strength that exceeds the strength of gold, silver, and brass metals of the earlier empires. That empire, which was the first empire to use iron and steel for its weapons and armor was Rome. It is almost unanimous among commentators that this beast in Daniel is a metaphor for the Roman Empire.

Rome, however, is not the final kingdom; the Kingdom of God is. Rome was eventually divided into two kingdoms, one in the west headquartered in Rome; the other in the east, headquartered in Constantinople, which is modern Istanbul. The kingdom in the west became the Holy Roman Empire, which consisted of all the areas under the influence of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. That area was basically all of Europe. With the exception of Great Britain, which separated from Rome under Henry VIII.

The various colonies of the European states were included in the Holy Roman Empire. Those colonies were mostly in central and south America, some Islands, and some areas of north America. Those colonies are now the Countries of today and most of the are still under the influence of Roman Catholicism. In other words, the Holy Roman Empire still exists today, though not as a tight group. The toes mixed with miry clay and iron of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue represent this situation.

The eastern Roman empire, known as the Byzantine Empire, was headquartered in Constantinople under the direction of the Orthodox Catholic Church, which is better known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. The titular leader of Eastern Orthodoxy is the Patriarch of Constantinople. He has the title, Primus inter pares, which is a Latin phrase meaning “first among equals.” In other words, each local Eastern Orthodox church is semi-autonomous and headed by a bishop that does not report to any higher ranking bishop.

The Byzantine Empire once spread to southern Spain, parts of Italy, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, the Black Sea states, the Levant, and northern Africa. It extended along the Red Sea all the way to Ethiopia. In the Fifteenth Century, the Byzantine Empire was conquered by the Islamic Ottomans. Most of what used to be the Byzantine Empire became the Ottomon Empire, which was an Islamic realm with its headquarters in Istanbul. It ended in 1922 after World War One.

Today Eastern Orthodoxy has churches over most of the world, but the greatest concentration of Eastern Orthodox churches is in the Balkan States, Greece, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucuses states, Cyprus and Crete. The Patriarch of Constantinople is seated in Istanbul at St. George’s Patriarchal Cathedral of Constantinople.

The premise of the preceding analysis of the Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy is to show that the Roman Empire still loosely exists in those two Christian denominations. Although not as all-powerful as Rome once was, both denominations have great influence over their adherents, which can be found all over the world. Again, this fit well with the toes of iron and miry clay in Daniel’s statue. Let us review; here Daniel is giving Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of his dream of a gigantic statue in Dan 2:31-36:

And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” (Dan 2:41-45, ESV)

Just as Daniel described the Roman armies as a great and terrible beast, John describes the kingdom of the last days, which is the kingdom of the beast (Rev 11:15; 16:10), also known as Antichrist, as a terrible, dreadful, and exceedingly strong beast. And after that God will set up His Eternal Kingdom. The existence of those two divisions of Rome as two large Christian denominations today are indicators of the times we live in.

The word, antichrist, meaning “against Christ” or “in the place of Christ”1 is not used by John in the Revelation, but he does write of Antichrist in his first and second epistles. In his first epistle, he states “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming…” (1 Joh 2:18). We know from readings in Revelation that the beast is both opposed to Christ (Rev 19:19) and comes in the place of Christ (Rev 13:11), this proves that the beast is the Antichrist spoken of in John’s first epistle. The Antichrist is the Beast out of the sea (Rev 13:1)

Here John is identifying the beast out of the bottomless pit, or the abyss, who is give power by the Antichrist. In Revelation 19:20, we are told that this beast is also known as the False Prophet. This beast out of the abyss is the beast that causes the Antichrist and his image to be worshipped (Rev 13:12; 13:15). This dangerous, beast, later known as the false prophet, is the vicious beast that kills the Two Witnesses. Just as John the Baptist was killed after he finished his ministry to herald the coming Christ, by Herod the Great,2 a dangerous and vicious king, so the Two Witnesses, the heralds of the second coming of Christ, are killed by this dangerous and vicious beast out of the abyss. This was type and antitype.

Revelation 11:8 “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.”

The bodies of the Two Witnesses will lie in the open in a square in Jerusalem. The word translated street is actually an open square like squares in many cities worldwide. There are numerous markets, squares, and open areas in Jerusalem today that would fill the bill here. Another possible place for this scene is the Temple mount or the Temple precincts. The bodies will be out in the open for all to see. It is likely that the major TV news organizations of the world will be there with world-wide coverage. Where there is news like this, the media will be on hand.

We already know from verse 2 that this is Jerusalem. Here she is compared to Sodom, where great iniquity abounded, and to Egypt the uncircumcised, undependable, and two-faced ally. Both Samaria and Judah made arms pacts with Egypt to keep the Babylonians and Assyrians at bay. But when they were attacked, Egypt did not keep its end of the bargain, but allowed its allies to face their enemies alone. They put their trust in Egypt instead of in God. (1 Kings 18, etc.) Egypt was also the uncircumcised heathen neighbor of Israel. Samaria and Judah played the harlot with Egypt, worshipping her gods (Eze 23). Basically, Egypt was a land of idolatry and the Israelites liked to dabble with them and their religion.

John is comparing Jerusalem to both Egypt the uncircumcised heathen and Sodom the city of great iniquity. Egypt and its many gods enticed Israelites to worship them (Eze 20:8) and the iniquity of Sodom had reached to Yahweh in Heaven (Gen 18:19-20). And worse yet, Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem where He should have been worshipped as Messiah. Because of all these things, this city was to receive the cup, which is a metaphor for divine judgment, of God’s wrath.

Revelation 11:9 “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.”

Jerusalem is an international city with many different nationalities in residence there. There are many tongues spoken there. When Peter preached on Pentecost in c. AD 33, there were then many different nationalities and tongues present in the city. It is certainly conceivable that the peoples of the world will be able to see this spectacle on satellite TV. The verse tells us this will be a world-wide event.

When a dignitary dies, the body is reverently taken and prepared for burial and then lies in state for several days in a noble place. Many times people from other countries will come and pay their respects either for personal reasons or for the political good will of such an action.

When Israelites died their bodies were lovingly washed and anointed with oils and spices to prepare them for burial. Until the bodies were buried, they were not left alone. Someone stayed with the body at all times. Mourning lasted for seven days after the burial of the body. In other words the deceased’s body was well cared for, respected, and treated with dignity.

There are places in the world today where the bodies of enemies are not treated with dignity but are paraded in the streets for all to see. Such desecration of the body is the ultimate form of disrespect for a human being. In most civilized societies it is illegal to desecrate a body.

The Law of Moses states, “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance” (Deut 21:22-23). Even the bodies of criminal were not left in the open for several days.

These two witnesses, men of God placed there by God, will be given just the opposite treatment. They will receive no burial, no state funeral, and no funerary preparations. They will be left in the street to decompose before the whole world. The world will want to gloat, and they will not want any respect to be shown these men.

Leaving a corpse unburied is considered to be a great indignity to the individual. This is that way the world will hold the Two Witnesses in contempt (Psa 79:2-3; Isa 14:19).

It is very unpopular to advocate God in the world today. The worship of the One True God, Yehovah, is unacceptable to the world. To say that there is only one way to salvation is considered to be bigotry. In fact, it is so unpopular that in many countries it is illegal to say so. In the one world government of the future, it will probably once again be unlawful to be a Christian or to say that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

The people involved in this experience are like most others who felt the same way about God. They have been successful in shutting God out of their lives and their consciences. The witnesses remind them of this fact producing much pain in them. They resent this torment and are only too happy to see the witnesses silenced.

This scenario has played throughout history. This is the reason for the persecution of Christians. Those who wanted the Christians to forsake Christ and bow down to Caesar or to another god or gods were interested in pursuing their own desires. They did not want a God like Yehovah to tell them when they were sinning. The scenario will continue to play out for the remainder of history culminating in the deaths of the two witnesses. The torment will be so bad that the people will rejoice at the deaths of the witnesses and have gala celebrations.

Revelation 11:11 “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.”

Again, the narrative of the two witnesses symbolizes that even though we may suffer the death of the body, as long as we are God’s own we will be raised again to eternal life. In today’s literal world with its scientific bent and its technology and its materialism, it is difficult for many to realize that there is a supernatural realm or a spirit world, if you will. Many will be absolutely taken aback to realize that the supernatural is reality. They will be sorely frightened when they realize they have turned their back on what they thought was a myth only to find out at this moment that that the myth of God is actually true.

There will be great fear throughout the world. It will amaze those who are familiar with this passage of Revelation to find out the that passage is really true. This will prove that the resurrection of Christ was an actual verifiable and historical event. Many will be terrified.

Revelation 11:12 “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.”

This is NOT the rapture!! It seems that many will strain a gnat to prove the pre-trib rapture theory. The reason they do so is that there are no passages that really go along with the current teaching on the pre-trib rapture theory. While there are passages that talk about our being changed and going to meet Jesus in the air, there are no passages that prove when our gathering back to the Savior will take place.

There is a good passage telling us when that gathering to Christ will NOT take place and that is 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5. Read it. It says that we will not be gathered back to Christ until after the coming of the antichrist. The only ones to ascend into heaven in this verse are the two witnesses. This will most likely occur on global satellite television in front of the entire world. This resurrection and ascent will force people to know and understand that it is a supernatural event. After this, the world will be looking for further events. They won’t need to look for long…

In 11:12, the two witness have just been resurrected and recalled into heaven. There will be great terror on earth at that time. The entire world will see their ascent into heaven on global satellite TV.

Revelation 11:13 “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.”

This takes place in Jerusalem (Rev 11:8). A tenth (a tithe?) of Jerusalem will be destroyed by the earthquake taking the lives of seven thousand. God always preserves a remnant of His own people (1 Kings 19:18 & Romans 11:5). The number seven thousand is representative of this remnant. This number, 7000, is symbolic of the complete number of the people loyal to God. The actual number of the remnant may be many times more than seven thousand (e.g. 144,000). Notice that in the same thought, John mentions the remnant along with the people killed by the earthquake. He is telling us that a number of those who oppose God equal to the number of the remnant will be killed by this earthquake.

It is the old corollary, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and hand for hand described in Exodus 21:23-27 revisited. That is man’s way. But God’s way is described by Jesus in Matthew 5:38-39: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: {39} But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Since men want an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth and hand for hand, God is giving it to them the way they want it. There is Biblical precedent for God doing just this.

In Judges 10:10-14 “And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. {11} And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? {12} The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. {13} Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. {14} Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

AND in Proverbs 1:28-31 “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: {29} For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: {30} They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. {31} Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

AND in Romans 1:28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

John says that “the remnant were affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven.” The word rendered “affrighted” is emphoboi (Strong’s 1719), which literally means “in fear”. What does it normally mean when God’s people are in fear of Him? It means that they revere Him. Fear, when applied to God’s people, means reverence or awe.

In this verse, it appears that the earthquake was very severe and frightening to be involved in. I was involved in an earthquake in Guam decades ago and the buildings shook and moved but did so gently wait very little damage. This earthquake was extremely violent, destroying a tenth of the buildings in the city were destroyed, taking the lives of seven thousand. Of course, seven thousand in a perfect number, which means that the complete number that God willed were destroyed, which could have been more that 7000.

The remnant of God’s people experienced the earthquake without injury, but it is apparent that they were considerably frightened while it was happening. In other words they experienced the same terror that those slain experienced except they were delivered, hence their praising of God. When the remnant saw this evidence of God’s power they were in awe of God and they revered Him, and thus they gave glory unto Him.

Revelation 11:14 “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.”

This is a parallel of Revelation 9:12, where the Second Woe began. The third and final woe happens almost immediately. The seventh trumpet now sounds. This is the final trumpet of the age. It is the one referred to by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:52. Immediately after the seventh trump is blown, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of Yehovah and His Anointed One, Jesus. But God is not through dealing with this world and there are still judgments to come upon this world. There are still the seven vials of the wrath of God to be poured out upon the world.

Revelation 11:15 “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.”

Up to this point, who has been in control of the kingdoms of this world? Satan. He has been in control at God’s pleasure (See Jeremiah 27:4-5; 1 Joh 5:19). There are many passages that prove this statement, but the most definitive one is Luke 4:6 “The devil said to him [Jesus], “I will give you their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. ” Now the kingdoms of the world are taken out of Satan’s hands and given to the Messiah Who will reign over them for eternity. This is the ushering in of the next age.

Revelation 11:16-17 “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, {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.”

This verse closely parallels Revelation 4:4. When the seventh trump sounds and Jesus takes over the kingdoms of the world, it is not surprising that the twenty four elders would worship God. The remnant will also rejoice as will the heavenly hosts. Remember when Christ was born?

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luk 2:10-14).

Revelation 11:18 “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 events outlined is this verse are the

  • Anger of nations (of men)
  • The Wrath of God (Great Tribulation)
  • The time of the judgment of the dead (Great White Throne Judgment)
  • The rewarding of God’s people (Judgment Seat of Christ)
  • And the destruction of the enemies of God (the Lake of Fire)

This verse summarizes the order in which these events will take place. However, there will also be many events intertwined within these major events.

Let us once again distinguish between tribulation and wrath. Tribulation is Satan’s persecution of the saints (Rev 12:17). Wrath is the wrath of God poured out on unbelievers at the end of the age (Rev 6:16, 14:10, 15:7, etc.). The Wrath of God is the Great Tribulation of Mat 24:21, For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

The people of the world do not want Jesus to reign over them. That is why they have rejected him throughout the last ages. This begins the Great Tribulation, which is the wrath of God; His wrath has finally come. This verse discusses the judgment of the people, but the Great White Throne judgment is not yet come. There is the wrath of God to come before the Great White Throne Judgment. The events of the seventh trump and the seven vials occur before the Thousand Years; the Great White Throne Judgment happens at the end of the Thousand Years.

This passage mentions the rewards of God’s people and of the judgment of His enemies. The seventh trumpet speaks to that time period. The seventh trump ushers in the kingdom age and all these things mentioned in this verse will happen at some time during the kingdom age, which, by the way, lasts for eternity. So to say that this passage refers solely to the Great White Throne Judgment or the Judgment Seat (βημα, bema) of Christ is premature. These events will happen in their time as outlined in this verse.

Revelation 11:19 “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.”

This passage affirms for us that there is a temple in Heaven. Remember that the things on earth are a shadow of those things in Heaven (Heb 8:5). Since there was an earthly temple, so there is a Heavenly temple. Can we apply this rule to the Ark of the Covenant? Yes. Some say that this ark in the temple in Heaven is the actual Ark of the Covenant made by Moses in the wilderness. It would certainly be possible for God to take the earthly ark into His temple in Heaven after that, for nothing is impossible with God. But that ark on earth was just a shadow of the one in Heaven, and that this is the heavenly ark and the earthly ark still resides somewhere on earth. After all, the ark is one of those things that is a shadow of heavenly things. (Refer to Exodus 25, especially verses 10-22 and verse 40). The heavenly things are much more splendid and spectacular that the things on earth and much more beautiful than we can imagine (1 Cor 2:9)

The presence of lightning, voices, and thunder, earthquake, and great hail indicates the presence of God Almighty in His Temple. (See the notes on Rev 8:5).

 

Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? He is going to return to the world soon. Are you ready? When He does if you do not know Him as your Savior, you will join all those who do not know Him in “Outer Darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 22:13-14).

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Mark Oaks,  February 6, 2020

  1. The Greek prefix, αντι, anti, means both instead of, and against. Thus αντιχριστος, antichristos, or Antichrist, comes in the place of Christ and stands against Christ and His people..
  2. Herod the Great viciously murdered all of the following and more: the male children under two years old in Bethlehem and vicinity, John the Baptist, the high priest, his uncle, three of his sons, his first wife and her mother, his brother-in-law, and anyone that threatened his power.
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