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Revelation 11 Commentary
Summary: Read Revelation 11 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
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Revelation 11 KJV
1And 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.
2But 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.
11:1-2 Two groups of people are mentioned here, “them that worship” and “the Gentiles.” The first group represents God’s true church, spiritual Israel, while the second represents a false and corrupt church that professes to worship God but is not true to him. God’s true people are “measured,” or judged, while the others are not. The Pre-advent Judgment which began in 1844 is just like the ancient Jewish Day of Atonement in that the only ones being judged are those who have confessed their sins and had them transferred to the temple. Accordingly, this judgment is to determine whether those who profess to be Christians are really Christ’s faithful people.
“The Holy City” represents God’s true church, also called Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:9), and we see in verse 7 its opposite, “the Great City,” called in Revelation 18 “Babylon, which is any system of false religion. Revelation 18:2, 10, 16, 18, 19, 21. The false church is seen to “tread” the true church “underfoot” for “forty and two months.” This refers to the same 1,260 year period of Papal domination seen in Daniel 7:25 and in Daniel 8:10, 23-25.
3And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
11:3-4 “The two witnesses,” which are said to be “two olive trees” and “two candlesticks,” represent the Old and New Testaments. The olive trees represent the power of the Holy Spirit. The candlesticks symbolize the spiritual light of the scriptures. Psalm 119:105; Zechariah 4:1-14. The two witnesses were to “prophesy…in sackcloth,” symbolizing mourning. The Bible was not readily available to the common people. There are several reasons for this:
1. It was only available in Hebrew, Greek and Latin;
5And 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.
6These 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.
11:5-6 There is a penalty for misrepresenting Bible truths and teaching error, Revelation 22:18. Here the “two witnesses” are represented as bringing Some Old Testament style punishment on those who “hurt” the scriptures by their false teachings. Medieval Europe suffered terribly from wars, famines and disease that killing millions of people because of the church’s rejection of the scriptures.
7And 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.
8And 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.
9And 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.
10And 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.
11:7-10 At the end of the 1,260 years when the “two witnesses” “have finished” prophesying “clothed in sackcloth” the beast comes out of the “bottomless pit” to “make war against them,” “and kill them.” The excesses and corruption of the Papal Church System and the church-supported aristocracy got so bad that their firmest supporter, France, because their worst enemy. This nation not only rejected Catholicism but God Himself; they cast out all morals and everything Christian and set up a new religion glorifying man, reason, and intellect of gods.
During “The Reign of Terror” in France, the Bible was not only openly rejected but was also forbidden and publicly burned. For “three days and a half” (symbolizing 3.5 literal years) the Bible would appear to be “dead.” For three and a half years the Revolutionaries of France did all in their power to oppose and destroy the Bible.
France embraced an atheistic philosophy/religion and became part of the “great city” of false religions. Its characteristics are symbolized by “Sodom and Egypt where also our lord was crucified.” “Sodom” is a notorious Biblical symbol for sexual perversion. Genesis 19:4-11; Jude 7. “Egypt” symbolizes atheism: “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” Exodus 5:2. “Where also our Lord was crucified” represents Christ, crucified in the person of His faithful followers when they are persecuted. John 13:20; Matthew 25:40, 45. In Hebrews 6:4-6 those who once loved Christ and are guilty of willful apostasy are said to “crucify… the Son of God afresh.” France during the French Revolution embraced sexual licentiousness and atheism, rejected the Bible, and persecuted all Christians, both the true and the false together.
11And 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.
12And 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.
11:11-12 The scene here is of the “two witnesses” as they are given new “life” and exalted in the sight of their enemies. After the French Revolution, protestant Europe looked back on its extremes with disgust, and sought with fervent effort to elevate the Bible to greater prominence than ever. The British Bible society, established in 1804, and the American Bible Society, established in 1816, began distributing large numbers of Bibles. In 1804 the total number of Bibles in circulation was about four million in over fifty languages. Today there are billions of Bibles in hundreds of languages making it the world’s most widely circulated book.
13And 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.
11:13 The French Revolution and the Empire which followed it under Napoleon Bonaparte left Europe in shambles.
14The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
15And 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.
16And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17Saying, 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.
18And 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.
11:15-18 The seventh trumpet is the final judgement to come upon the earth. Christ sets up His kingdom, and rewards his faithful people. They receive a home in Heaven, a crown of life and live with Jesus forever. Satan and his angels and all who have chosen to reject the kingdom of Christ, and those who have persecuted the saints, will receive their final reward as well. God will “destroy” them in the lake of fire intended for Satan and his angels.
19And 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.
11:19 Once again we are presented with a view of the Heavenly Sanctuary. In prior scenes we saw only the first compartment, the Holy Place. Now we move into the second section- the Most Holy Place containing the Ark of the Covenant, in which the Ten Commandments of God’s law are enshrined. The Most Holy Place in Heaven “was opened” to begin the Judgment in 1833. At the time Christ began His ministry in the Most Holy Place of heavenly Sanctuary. Daniel 9:22-25.
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