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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Revelation 11

 

 

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Introduction

The Gospel Will Triumph
- Revelation Eleven -

Revelation 11:1-19 begins with John being given a reed and instruction to measure the temple. The application here is that God is making a separation between the clean and the unclean for the purpose of judgment. The children of God will be protected and the worldly unbeliever and even the worldly in the worldly church will be rejected. The worshippers are to be measured by the word of God.

This chapter shows beyond doubt that the gospel will triumph. Early in the history of the church the gospel was preached with remarkable success. This was followed by a time when the gospel was seemingly crushed. However, the Roman Empire had not taken into consideration the power of God and might of His gospel. Rome came to be overthrown and the gospel lives on.

Revelation chapter eleven closed with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. (Revelation 11:14-19) This provided a picture of God"s final judgment on Rome and also on all nations. This vision carries over through the remainder of the book and the message is clear - the kingdom or church of God has won!


Verse 1-2

The command to measure the Temple - Revelation 11:1-2 : John was given a reed to measure: (1) the Temple of God, (2) the altar, and (3) the worshippers. He was not to measure the outer court. These are people that are associated in every way with Christianity, but who actually are no part of it at all. The reed John was to use is not a literally reed for how could it measure a worshipper? The reed symbolizes the Gospel in its function of determining who is in the church and who is outside of it.

The temple that was to be measured was not the Jewish Temple. Likely that Temple had already been destroyed. At best, if it was still around Jesus said it was a "den of thieves." (Luke 19:46) The Temple in this text is the church of Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) The measuring is very similar to what was seen in the book of Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 40:2-49; Ezekiel 41:1-26; Ezekiel 42:1-20) The measuring in Ezekiel was done to separate holy and the common. The measurements are made by the word of God.

The altar was to be measured. The altar refers to the worship itself, the doctrine and practice of the faithful portion of the church. God wanted people to understand how the atonement was made, and the true method of justification before God. There was no pardoned without sacrifice. It is by the sacrifice of Jesus that the only method of reconciliation with God has been provided. We must make sure that we believe correctly concerning what Jesus has done for us.

The worshippers were also to be measured. It was important that their lifestyle, character, and behavior be in harmony with what is taught in the word of God. Those who are not faithful to God will be allowed to be in contact with His faithful people for an extended period of time--described as three and one half years--to bring severe persecution against them. Through this time there is protection promised for God"s faithful church.


Verses 3-6

The description of the two witnesses - Revelation 11:3-6. The message of the two witnesses is that the gospel will triumph. It is easy to see that the figures behind the two witnesses are Moses and Elijah. The power to shut heaven that it rain not, have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues certainly reminds us of these two Old Testament greats. God"s two witnesses, the Law and the Prophets testify to the fact that Christ is Divine.

The true church of Christ is persecuted, and God"s Word is denied, and opposed by evil men continually. The two witnesses would prophesy 1260 days. This covers the entire Christian age. Each time 1260 days is used it speaks of the time that the church is nourished by God or of victory for God"s people. When the expression 42 months is used persecution is under consideration. The time frame under consideration for both is the entire Christian age.

There have been times when God used literal fire to punish or destroy the wicked. Here the fire is symbolic but the message is the same. This is much like when God said to Jeremiah "...I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood and it shall devour them." (Jeremiah 5:1) Those that oppose God"s church and God"s word face certain destruction.


Verses 7-13

The two witnesses are slain and arise again - Revelation 11:7-13 : During the miraculous age of the church the gospel was preached with great success. (Acts 12:24) This time was followed by a period when the beast came out of the bottomless pit and the gospel seemingly was crushed to the ground. It appeared that evil had won. At the time of the writing of the Book of Revelation the gospel was going through this critical stage.

The beast is mentioned with no introduction. He had been around sense the Garden of Eden. Satan constantly makes war against the church of Christ and against the gospel of Christ. Satan is able to kill the word of God in many hearts. He does this by scoffing at it, by denying it, by changing it and by contradicting it. The great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, is Rome. It is called Sodom because of its worldliness. It is called Egypt because of its false religion. It is called Jerusalem - where the Lord was crucified - because of persecution.

After a short, indefinite period of time - three and a half days - God's power would cause Rome to be overthrown and the message of redemption to again be proclaimed. Rome simply had not taken into account the power of the word of God. The two witnesses went up to heaven in a cloud. This is a picture of victory. The enemies of God would both see and feel His might.


Verses 14-19

The seventh trumpet is sounded - Revelation 11:14-19 : The seventh trumpet (third woe trumpet) pronounced final judgment on Rome. This section brings us to the end of the world and to the eternal peace of heaven for the righteous. Now we know that the kingdom of God has won. There is truly victory in Jesus. God"s judgment will come on every nation that forgets Him and eventually upon all nations.

In the seventh trumpet we have final victory for the faithful of God and final defeat for those that rebel against Him. Sinners were angry about God"s faithful church. The answer to man"s wrath was the coming of God"s wrath upon the wicked world. At the final judgment the righteous will receive their heavenly reward. The wicked also shall receive their reward simultaneously with the reward of the righteous. Are you ready for that final day?

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/box/revelation-11.html. 2014.

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