7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.9 Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
11 But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them.12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.13 And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
Some Christians, including Dr. Hendriksen, believe that the Two Witnesses portray the Church in this present Gospel Age between the First and Second Coming of the Lord: its witness (ministerial and missionary), proclamation and judgements, and suffering. Others believe that they are individuals who will appear at the End of the Age. May the Lord give us light and peace about these important truths!
The book of revelation in Art
Below are illustrations from a 13th century manuscript housed in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, MS Douce 180 (The Douce Apocalypse). According to Wikimedia Commons, “The manuscript was never finished, and the illustrations are in various states of completion. Some survive as exceedingly sensitive line drawings; others have their gold leaf added, while others are partly coloured.”
Bamberg Apocalypse, Folio 027v – The Two Prophets And The Beast From Abyss
3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6 These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
19 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff andstretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
1 Kings 17:1
Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Careful students of the book of Revelation will probably agree with Alford that chapter 11 “is undoubtedly one of the most difficult in the whole Apocalypse.” A comparison of many commentaries will reveal the widest kind of disagreement as to the meaning of this chapter.
Brethren, I regret having started this project. I see now that it’s inappropriate for a woman, and someone with limited training. Also, differences in views on eschatology cause pain and dissension. Discussion is good but most of us are so invested in our views that that is nearly impossible, except among those who hold the same ones. Incorrect and imprecise terms or ones that wound – such as “heretical” or “from the pit of hell” – add to the confusion and pain. Today, I offer an exposition by John Gill. His words show that Revelation throws light upon the long history of the Church, not merely its consummation. After this, I will finish my project using works of art and literature.
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses,…. By whom are meant, not Enoch and Elias, as some of the ancient fathers thought, who, they supposed, would come before the appearance of Christ, and oppose antichrist, and be slain by him, which sense the Papists greedily catch at; nor are the Scriptures, the two Testaments, Old and New, designed, though their name and number agree, and also their office, which is to testify of Christ; but then to be clothed in sackcloth, to be killed, and rise again, and ascend to heaven, are things that cannot so well be accommodated to them: but these witnesses intend the ministers of the Gospel and churches of Christ, who have bore testimony for Christ, and against antichrist, ever since he appeared in the world; and particularly the churches and ministers in Piedmont [Waldensian] bid fair for this character; who were upon the spot when antichrist arose, always bore their protest against him, and were ever independent of the church of Rome, and subsisted in the midst of the darkness of the apostasy; and suffered much, and very great persecutions, from the Papists; and have stood their ground, and continue to this day; and have been like olive trees and candlesticks, imparting oil and light to others. Though they ought not to be considered exclusive of other ministers and churches, who also have bore, and still do bear a witness for Christ, and against the idolatries of the church of Rome: no two individual persons can be meant, since these witnesses were to prophesy 1260 days, that is, so many years, but a succession of ministers and churches; and these are called two, both on account of the fewness of them, and because the testimony of two is sufficient to confirm any matter; and it may be in allusion to the various instances of two eminent persons being raised up at certain periods of time, as Moses and Aaron, at the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt; Caleb and Joshua, at their entrance into Canaan; Elijah and Elisha in the idolatrous times of Ahab; and Joshua and Zerubbabel at the rebuilding and finishing of the second temple. Now the Angel, and who is Christ, here promises that he will give something to these witnesses: some supply the words, ‘I will give it’; that is, the holy city, or the church, to them, to be taken care of and defended; others, ‘I will give’ them a mouth and wisdom, which their adversaries shall not be able to resist, according to the promise in Luke 21:15. We supply the words, ‘I will give power’; that is, authority to preach the Gospel, and strength to profess it, and to continue to bear a testimony to it, signified by prophesying; see 1 Corinthians 14:1.”
1 Then there was given me a [a]measuring rod like a staff; [b]and someone said, “Get up and measure the [c]temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.2 [d]Leave out the court which is outside the [e]temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations”
means to leave without, literally, to cast without. “In this outer court,” he says, “was a house of prayer for the Gentiles (Mark 11:17), but now John is to cast it out and leave to its fate (given to the Gentiles in another sense) to be profaned by them. They shall tread under foot . . . trample with contempt as in Luke 21:24.”
Obviously all these interpretations can’t be completely correct since they’re contradictory, but I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful. Once again, forgive me for not keeping up with reading your blogs. I hope to get back to doing this shortly!
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
14 Do not be [j]bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?15 Or what harmony has Christ with [k]Belial, or [l]what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I willdwell in them andwalk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18 “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.
[j] Lit. unequally yoked
[k] Gr. Beliar
[l] Lit. what part has a believer with an unbeliever
“. . . by ‘the temple of God’ is here meant the church, of which the temple was a type; and so particular congregated churches are called temples, 1 Corinthians 3:16. Solomon, a man of peace, was the builder of the one, and Christ, the Prince of peace, the builder of the other. . .”
Chapter VI. Progress and Ecclesiastical Establishment of the Reformation — § 2. The Ecclesiastical Constitution and Establishment of the Reformed Churches, and Separation from the Church of Rome.
Elliott is insightful but somewhat difficult to read. His explanations with supporting arguments accumulate over many chapters. In chapters 10 and 11, he sees John as representative of the Reformers. In chapter 10, the Bible is given back to them; in chapter 11, a measuring rod, or reed, is given to them do the work of reform with authority derived from those in secular power. Importantly, he condemns the Church of Rome as schismatic and therefore excluded from the true Church as “the outer court.”
“The act of measuring seems to signify that the area belongs to God in some special way. It is an evaluation of His property. . . The Temple here is apparently that which will be in existence during the great tribulation. ”
“Why this measuring? What does it mean?” Dr. Hendriksen believed that the sanctuary represents “the true children of God” who are by definition indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and who offer on His altar the incense of prayer. Measuring the sanctuary represents setting apart the holy from the profane for the purpose of protection from all harm while judgments are falling upon the wicked, persecuting world. We suffer but never perish. Hendriksen also states that: “The sanctuary is accepted while the court is rejected” for the court represents mere nominal Christians.
1I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire; 2 and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land;3 and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. 4 When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.”
In studying this chapter I had a lightbulb moment. My posts on Revelation should be shorter. I need to give brief quotes or summarize, having pity on my readers who have a lot else to read. So from now on my somewhat historical treatment of this glorious book will be a kind of digest. Happier reading!
Similar views of two Historicists
The Bamberg Apocalypse Folio 025v Angel With Little Book – 11th Century
“Mr. Daubuz is of opinion, that by these seven thunders are meant seven kingdoms which have received the Reformation, and established it by law within their several dominions, whereby the doctrine and worship of the reformers are become the established religion there; and the laws by which it is established are the voices uttered by those supreme authorities; and they are these, 1. The German princes, making one republic. 2. The Swiss cantons. 3. Sweden. 4. Denmark, with Norway. 5. England and Ireland. 6. Scotland. 7. The United Provinces of the Netherlands. And whereas John, who represents the first reformers, and other faithful men, was for writing what these thunders uttered, this denotes the zeal and earnest desires of these good men to push the Reformation further, and make a thorough work of it, as well as their expectation that now was the time in which the mystery of God was to be fulfilled, in which they were mistaken; wherefore John is bid to seal up these things, and not write them, which shows that the progress of the Reformation was to be stopped from doing fully what the first reformers were prompted to. . .’’
In essence, this very learned gentlemen believed – as others did – that this vision portrays the Bible being given back to us at the time of the Reformation and the thunderings of Rome, in encyclicals and anathemas, etc., against this priceless gift. The thunderings then were sealed because they were imposture thunderings from Heaven.
“This illustrates a divine principle that while God has revealed much, there are secrets which God has not seen fit to reveal to man at this time.”
Dr. William Hendriksen
Hendriksen’s view about Heaven’s prohibition against revealing what the seven thunders said is this: some things are beyond our ability to understand or describe – that is, all the things that work together to determine the prophetic future.