What does Revelation 11:7-14 mean to us now?

 

The two witnesses model to us what is important in our Christian life—and that is faithfulness. We must exhibit a willingness to withstand and endure persecution and to face our fears while looking to our Lord. If not, we will look to our fears and turn our face from our Lord; that will only bring us haplessness and distress. And, the payback is God is faithful; He gets us through and vindicates us. The witnesses are examples of courage and faithfulness, and that no matter what circumstances we face, Christ is here and our trust is to be in Him. They are protected for a time, and then they are slain; we can see this as a great loss, and that Satan wins, but his victory is a temporary illusion; eventually, it becomes a total defeat. In God’s eyes, this is a victory, for their job was a success. They and we are made for eternity, not for this world (Acts 12:1-10).  

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. What should a Christian do when experiencing extreme exasperation? How does it make a difference to you that God is still in control in times of insurmountable chaos and suffering?
  1. Do you believe that if you do not know the Old Testament you will not know much or get much from the New Testament, especially Revelation? What happens to our theology when we leave the interpretation up to readers who may not know the Bible as well as they think?
  1. Why would people seek what is terrifying, repulsive, and evil to lead the world? Why would Christians seek such an event or person to lead the Church astray? How would they rationalize it?
  1. Why must our allegiance be a pure loyalty to Christ and His Kingdom, and come first in our lives?
  1. What happens when we are in Christ, yet we seek other things to replace Him that we think are greater such as our race, nationality, or political agendas? How do you balance political pursuits with Christ-like character?
  1. How have you shown faithfulness of character by standing in Christ with an authentic, consistent testimony?
  1. How can you see that God is still in control even over the beast, and in times of insurmountable chaos and suffering? What would this mean to your faith?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 11:7-14

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the introduction of the beast, the enemy of God and man, and how he ascends (Psalm 87:4; 89:10; Is. 51:9; Dan. 7:3-8, 16-25). They place the emphasis on the testimony of the two witnesses (who represent the Old Testament Prophets), which was finished before they were martyred. Their opposition was from the discords of the Roman war against Jerusalem, and the eventual downfall of Jerusalem from God because of civil and religious rebellion that the two witnesses spoke against. The rejoicing of the pagans is reminiscent of how they treated Christ; now, it is the anarchist’s celebration for civil dissension (Matt. 27:27-31, 39-44; Luke 22:63-65; 23:8-12, 35-39). Some in this camp see the two witnesses’ resurrection as a look back to Christ and His resurrection; others see it as an event that already took place and is lost to history or an allegory of the battle of good versus evil. The earthquake is seen as the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. 

The Futurist view: There are varying views in this camp as to whether the beast in this passage is the same as in chapters 13 and 17. But, it is agreed that the beast is the enemy of the Church and/or false teachers and leaders of the Church. The point is that the beast is powerless to withstand Christ and His people. The wicked people seem to capitalize on their fiendish victory over the two witnesses, but are quickly turned to shame. The resurrection of the two witnesses is about the awe and horror seen by its viewers on T.V. Then, God causes a great earthquake that destroys Jerusalem. The glory of the Lord is seen as fear—not authentic repentance—but it may bring about real converts. 

The Idealist view: They see the beast as representative of antichristian endeavors throughout the world and time, who seek to silence the godly. The completion of the testimony means God allows suffering but also sustains us through it (Matt. 16:18). The great city is representative of rebellion against God and that the triumph of the wicked will be brief. The resurrection of the two witnesses is seen as the honor they are given in heaven and the consternation of the evil people who did evil to them. Resurrection is also seen as the triumphant church as they see in 1 Thess. 4:16-18. 

The Historicist view: They see the completion of the testimony not applicable to a specific age, but about the truth of the Gospel that prevails. The denial of burial is seen as papal decrees and the Lateran Councils (1179-1215) that would not let faithful people who opposed the mismanagement of the Church to be buried. This is how Wycliffe’s and Huss ‘bodies were desecrated. The beast and the great city are seen as Rome and its evil rule. Stood on their feet refers to the Reformation. The resurrection is seen as the triumph of the Reformation. The earthquake is seen as the political upheavals that happened after the Reformation.

Exegetical look into Revelation 11:11-14

 

  • Three and a half days refers to the bodies that were decaying and/or the time of their prophesying; it denotes a short time (see last study). Some see this as the last half of the great tribulation, may be possible, however this is not shown in the text or context either.
  • People, tribe, language refers to the people, their political power, and their allegiance to either God or to evil. A warning is given that allegiance must be pure loyalty to Christ and His Kingdom, and must come first in our lives. When we are in Christ, we are part of His greater Kingdom—more than just our race or nationality (Psalm 33:10; Phil 3:20; Rev. 5:9; 8:13; 13:3-14; 17:2-8).
  • Sending each other gifts refers to pagan celebrations; it probably does not refer to The Feast of Purim, the Jews’ celebration of their deliverance from the Persians (Esth. 9:19-22).
  • Those who live/dwell on the earth indicates that there are two types of people—those who belong to God and those who oppose Him. Thus, all of humanity either belongs to God or are rebellious, rejecting His Truth and hostile to Him, choosing to remain in their sin (Rev. 6:10).
  • Breath of life from God entered them. This refers to a spectacular validation of authentic faith. The context emphasizes that these are the good churches that stay faithful, and what can happen for us when we, too, stay faithful. However, there are many theories. If these are literal people—which is possible—they are physically resurrected as Christ was. If they represent the Church, it means vindication and victory (Gen. 2:7; Ezek. 37:5, 10; John 20:22; Rev. 6:9-10; 20:1-6).
  • Went up to heaven in a cloud is referring to how Elijah ascended (2 Kings 2:11; Acts 1:9-11), not necessarily about the “rapture” (1 Thess. 4:15-17).
  • Seven thousand people were killed is sometimes referring to a tenth of the population, or a remnant (1 Kings 19:18).
  • Earthquake. This theme is associated with end times and divine visitations (Ex. 19:18; Is. 2:19; Hag. 2:6; Zech. 14:4-5; Ezek. 38:19-20; Amos 8:8; Rev. 6:12).
  • Gave glory to the God of heaven. This probably not an act of genuine repentance, but they were terrified to realize that Christ is the real Lord rather than the evil people or political shenanigans they had put their trust in.
  • Second woe. This refers to look out, terror is coming, or a stern warning of more trouble to come (Amos. 5:18-6:1; Rev. 6:10; 8:13; 10:1-11:14; Rev. 9:12).

Exegetical look into Revelation 11:7-10

 

  • The beast in the Original Greek refers to a “bestial” man, one who is brutal, savage, and ferocious. In context, this in its context infers that the sea is a dwelling place for monsters, suggesting terrifying, repulsive, and evil things that seek to lead the world and the Church astray. This passage also depicts how God is still in control even over the beast, and in times of insurmountable chaos and suffering (Job 7:12; 41:1; Psalm 74:13; 89:9-10; Is. 27:1). Here, “the beast” makes his first appearance; this may not be the same person all of the time such as the antichrist, rather a metaphor or a theme of intent rather than a specific personality (The reason why we do not always take these images literally is for the reason that this is “apocalyptic literature” written in symbolism, poetry and imageries conveying ideas and representations. Whereas most of Scripture is narrative and epistles (letters) that we do take as literal). At this place, the beast it denotes someone of power and influence who is doing the persecution, and more on the beast when we get to chapter 13 (Psalm 87:4; 89:10; Is. 51:9; Dan. 7:3-8, 16-25). Some say this indicates that the antichrist will take over the Temple and John is seeking to prevent or at least slow it down; however, this is not shown in the text or context (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
  • Abyss means “very deep” (the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament word for bottomless). Jewish tradition saw this as a literal, subterranean place, used for the imprisonment of evil demons and Satan, which was actually on the earth (for more detail see Rev. 9:1-11 study). John is using this image to show the beasts “demonic character” (Gen. 1:2; 7:11; Prov. 8:28; Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1; 20:1).
  • Their bodies. The denial of burial was considered one of the most grievous insults and a great cruelty and sin in ancient cultures (Deut. 21:22-23; Isa. 5:25; Acts 14:19).
  • Great city likely refers to Jerusalem, but the context suggests it is symbolic of any city that is in rebellion and opposition to God. Thus, many commentators have suggested it refers to Rome or Babylon. It is more than a specific, worldly Jerusalem, but any city or people group that fights against God deteriorates into apostasy—such as Sodom—and thus becomes primed for judgment (Is 1:10; Gal. 4:25-26; Rev. 11:1; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18-19, 21).
  • Figuratively refers to the contrast between Jewish and Roman authorities, both of whom are performing evil. Revelation often gives clues to those who are not 1st century Jew’s who may not understand the metaphors of this type of literature  that is based on Old Testament imagery and 1st century life and  customs. We can understand just as well when we seek to understand the Old Testament and get a better handle on the original language and culture.
  • Sodom refers to a city that had little to no morality and/or compromised greatly, such as first century Jerusalem that betrayed its covenant with God (Is. 1:9-10, 21; Jer. 23:14).
  • Egypt represents accentuated oppression and slavery; as Egypt oppressed Israel, so Jerusalem oppresses the righteous Jews and Christians (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).
  • Where also their Lord was crucified is perhaps an Early Church metaphor to contrast pagan with righteous. It could be a metaphor for Rome that had the authority to crucify, but also had authority to stop it.

Revelation 11:7-14

Introduction 

The Third Woe Commences 

The two witnesses complete their testimony to the extreme exasperation of the beast, who declares all-out war against them. The beast rises out of his bottomless pit and kills them, and then their bodies are defiled as they lie in the streets. Everyone sees this madness, but no one is allowed to either take care of their bodies properly or celebrate their life. Then, after all seems lost, the Lord returns them to life—resurrects them—and they stand up and strike terror in their tormenters. As this is happening, they also are rising to Heaven; a terrible earthquake occurs and those remaining are either terrified and/or are giving glory to God. Then comes the warning that, although this terror is over, more is to come. 

This passage describes many themes and metaphors from the Old Testament, such as the visions of Zachariah and the “kingdoms” in Daniel. We have to realize that one of the main, interpretive aspects of Revelation is that it borrows heavily from the entire Old Testament, not just from Daniel. If you do not know the Old Testament, you will not know much about the New Testament, especially Revelation and thus read into it what we think and not gain what is actually there. This leaves the interpretation up to the reader who may not know the Bible as well as he or she might think, and thus may read into it only what he or she thinks. This would be utterly ridiculous to the original readers and Author. In conjunction, many Jewish texts (“War Scroll” from the Dead Sea Scrolls) predicted a final, climatic, all-out battle at the end of days, giving those who are faithful to God victory, but only after suffering beforehand and Johns readers knew this and this type of apocalyptic literature (2 Kings 2:1-12; Ezek. 37; Zech. 4:1-14; 14:1-3; Daniel 8; Matt. 17:3-4; Luke 10:1).

What doesRevelation 10: 1-4 mean to us now?

God does not always tell us everything because we may not be ready for it, or we may not be able to handle it. Perhaps with John, it was both. We can still trust that His judgment and what He gives us is sufficient. We have all we need in His Word to know Him, grow in Him, and make Him known. We have all we need to know what is relevant and important for our spiritual formation, to lead a godly purposeful life, and to know about future happenings. If we crave what we have not been given, and seek to make up for ourselves our own doctrine, we will greatly stray from His path by our ignorance and arrogance. God wants us focused upon Him and the building of our faith and character, not to satisfy our lust for what He says we are not ready for. God wants us to take what He has given and exercise ourselves with it, living out our doctrine without becoming fat by it. He would have us take what He has given and apply it with passion, pointing others to live by His heart and call by the application of faith. This means God wants us to be faithful and not instigative. We are to be revolutionary with our faith, not with His doctrine. We are to stir up our complacency, not our rebellion of His ways (Acts 1:6-8; 1 Thess. 5:2). 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How would you describe the glory of our Lord? What does it mean to you to be reflecting His glory? Why does God not always tell us everything? What if He did?
  1. If we assume that God is serious (and He is), why would some Christians choose to ignore Him and the source of His precepts?
  1. How is this passage an example to us as a Church that one day, we too may witness these events at their fruition? What can you do to prepare your faith and perseverance so that in the meantime, you can handle the “micro” applications by the sins of those around you?
  1. What can you and your church do to take more seriously and pay more attention to what God is saying so you can be better at obeying Him through His most precious Word? What does it mean to you that we have the call and the responsibility to examine and apply His Word?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 

The Four Main Views of Revelation 10: 1-7

The Preterist view: They see the mighty angel as Jesus Himself because of the description, and the rainbow as the throne of God (Rev. 1:16; 4:3). Sea and land represent the Gentile nations, and the little scroll as the Book of Revelation itself. The seven thunders are seen as the voice of Psalm 29 that rocks the nation Israel. Seal up is seen as events too terrible to tell or comprehend so as to spare discouragement to the people. Others in this view see this as the event not fulfilled by 70 A.D. that was still to be fulfilled, mainly the “Partial Preterits.” No more delay is seen as indicating the wait was over and the prayers of the saints have been answered; their blood would be avenged and Israel would be destroyed. The mystery is seen as the Gentiles being included in the Church as the Jewish reign will end, or else they will be equal (Eph. 3:3-6). 

The Futurist view: They see this passage, chapters 10 and 11, as literal and as a series of extra information as in “parenthetical,” a further, in-depth description of the events of chapters five to nine. The mighty angel is Christ Himself, and the little scroll that contains extra information we do not have in Revelation is explained in the next chapter. Others see this as the prophesies of the O.T. about the Great Tribulation and Israel. Seal up means some things we can’t understand or are not ready for. The mystery is seen as God allowing Satan to have his way during the tribulation; others have suggested this is the start of the Kingdom of God on earth, while others have said this is God’s “predestination” of those who are to be saved, or that God will reveal what it is in His time. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as an interlude between judgments as was chapter seven. This passage is not in chronological order, but overlaps or further explains these events. The mighty angel is seen as Christ Himself or His representative. A foot in the sea and land refers that he has a message for the whole world. The little scroll contains more prophecies. The seven thunders are seen as a voice to the whole world. Seal up refers to things John was not ready to understand or be able to explain (1 Cor. 13:8-12; 2 Cor. 12:4). The mystery is seen as a reference to Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:3-6 and Colossians 2:2, the union of Jews and Gentiles. Others see it as God’s purpose in history and human affairs. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the time period when Rome fell to the Barbarians in 476 and the rise of the Papacy (The control of the Holy Roman Empire as the Catholic Church). The corrupt Popes become the antichrists and the opposition to the true believers setting up the Reformation in the 16th century. The mighty angel is seen as Christ Himself (it is interesting that all views see this when the context seems to denote otherwise). The little scroll is the Bible that Christ opens up to us through the Reformers and the printing press. The seven thunders and loud voice are seen as Christ’s challenge to the Catholic Church or the seven crusades. No more delay is seen as the start of the Reformation.

 

Exegetical look into Revelation 10: 5-7

John is taking notes like a typical rabbinic or Greek student, an example of being studious, paying attention to what God is saying, and obeying Him through His most precious Word. This is also about how we are to glorify Him and not just seek what we want to get from Him. God’s judgment is at hand; the angel says there will be no more delays. If this does not strike fear in people, what will?  

  • Raised his right hand was a way people at this time proclaimed an oath to vow allegiance in general or a specific task before their god. The book of Daniel also showed this; possibly, John is making the connection to Daniel, as Revelation is closely tied to it (Gen. 14:22-23; Deut 32:40; Dan. 12:7).
  • Lives forever and ever refers to the eternal nature of God. As His faithful, we will also be preserved, as we will have a place in His marvelous eternity, heaven. This was also meant to encourage John’s readers who were going though persecutions and imminent martyrdom (Rev. 1:18; 4:9-10; 15:7).
  • No more delay. This shows that the waiting is over and time has come. There will be no further postponement or interruption. The prayers of those in chapter six have been heard and God is at work (Dan. 12:7; Hab. 2:3; Mark 13:19; Rev. 2:21; 6: 9-11; 20:3).
  • Mystery of God. The entirety of all that has been prophesied in the Old Testament has come or will come to its culmination by this time. All will be known; nothing will be hidden.

 

Exegetical look into Revelation 10: 1-4

  • Mighty Angel refers to one who is reflecting and/or carrying out the power of God¾perhaps the appearance of Christ Himself. This angel is not mighty himself (unless it is Christ; however, the word another denotes it is an angel and not Christ. Also, John does not worship him as before), just as we are not mighty; rather, he has God’s anointing in demonstrating faithfulness and obedience. In other Jewish writings (1, 2 and 3rd Enoch), such angels are depicted with rainbows as crowns, and standing tall and proud, shining as the sun¾much like the Greek god, Atlas. Perhaps, such an image was in God’s mind to send a formidable warning and/or to make His point (Rev. 5:2; 7:1).
  • Rainbow normally refers to God’s mercy and grace, which we are called to reflect. Also, this was God’s pledge not to destroy the earth again by water, but leaving room for other means if man’s sins escalate (Gen. 9:8-17; Ezek. 1:26-28; Rev. 4:1-5). Here, it is symbolic language, possibly meant to show the angel’s power and prestige.
  • Like the sun. A metaphor for describing someone who reflects the glory of our Lord.
  • Legs were like fiery pillars. A metaphor for describing one’s territory, dominion, and/or power. Also alludes to how God led and protected His people during the exodus (Ex. 13:21-22; 14:19-24; Rev. 8:12).
  • Little book/small scroll. This is not referring to the big scroll of chapter five as the seals of it have already been opened and examined. This little or small scroll refers to one that is different, or a particular scroll apart from the others. This little scroll, from the context, may refer to what will not be revealed until the time is upon us or when God sees fit (Rev. 6:1-8:1).
  • Which lay open. God’s precepts have been made known to us (entirety of God’s Word and/or Revelation up to this point). We have the call and the responsibility to examine and apply them.
  • Right foot on the sea, left foot on the land. This suggests the angel’s incredible size and symbolizes that he is coming as God’s representative, pointing to His omnipresence. This term also meant “destiny” as in all creation is in God’s control.
  • Seven thunders refers to God’s divine punishment and judgment that fall on those who will not bend to God or accept His love and grace. Perhaps, from the context, this implies that the little scroll’s revelations are too horrific for or are not understandable to us, or that we are not ready to know them. Some have suggested these are commandments that we already know, like the Ten Commandments (2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).
  • Seal up indicates that the prophecies are closed for review or are preserved until the proper time has come. The indication here is that something has not been disclosed, something God doesn’t want us to know yet (Deut. 29:29; Dan. 8:26; 12:4-9; Rev. 22:10).

Revelation 10:1-7

Introduction 

The Small Scroll  

John sees another mighty angel reflecting the glory of our Lord and coming down from Heaven with a small scroll. John describes him as surrounded by a cloud and a rainbow, and having the authority of the Most Sovereign God of the universe who continues to bring about more judgment. This angel carries with him the call and ability from God to shout out with a mighty roar. These images are frightful as he has a face like the sun, feet of fire, and the might of a lion to show us that God is serious and we are not to ignore the source, God Almighty. As this angel carries the little scroll and gives his shout, he is answered by the seven thunders, which God asks John to keep secret a little longer. Such a thunder conveys the sentence that God has pronounced to humanity. God can’t wait any longer. The “woe” He gave for all of humanity, including the Church, is at hand. God wants us to clearly understand that He is on the verge of releasing His judgment in whatever form He sees fit. All people know this, for humanity has been warned. Those who seek evil deserve the wrath of God’s judgment, signaled by the trumpet blast announcing that the time is at hand. God’s mysteries and judgment will be made known and will be fulfilled according to His timing, occasion, and schedule (Eccl. 3:1-8; Psalm 29).

This passage is related to Daniel 10:5-6 and Ezekiel 2:1-3:11, as John further warns what God has already decreed. This little scroll is unfolded to us in the upcoming chapters, as some of its contents are made known. John is witness to these events, an example to us as a Church that one day, we too will witness these events at their fruition. In the meantime, we will see the “micro” applications by the sins of those around us (Ezek. 1:27-28; Dan. 10:5-6; Rev. 1:14-16).  

These images are not meant just to strike fear in pagans and those who hate God; even if they were, people tend not to care. No prophecy, no matter how valid and true it is, will sway those who are evil or entrenched in their own ways. Look to Jeremiah, whose prophecy after prophecy came true, yet the Jewish leadership was totally against Him and finally had him killed. These images are more intended to make sure we as the Church (remember the audience is the seven churches of chapters one to four) keep the faith and walk the line with God. What do you think are your call and abilities are, given to you from God? How is this passage about being fully utilized by our Lord?