Reading through Revelation – Chapter 11, Part 3, The Lord’s Two Witnesses


Revelation 11:7-14

NASB

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. 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. 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.


thoughts

More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation - eBook  -     By: William Hendriksen
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.”  

 


Douce Apocalypse - Bodleian Ms 180 - p.035 - The witnesses breathe fire and prophesy to the people

Douce Apocalypse – Bodleian Ms 180 – p.035 – The witnesses breathe fire and prophesy to the people

 

Douce Apocalypse - Bodleian Ms 180 - p.036 -Death of two witnesses

Douce Apocalypse – Bodleian Ms 180 – p.036 – Death of the witnesses

Douce Apocalypse – Bodleian Ms 180 – p.037 – The people rejoice at the death of the witnesses

Reading through Revelation – Chapter 11, Part 1, John is commanded to measure the Temple, altar, and those who worship there



Revelation 11:1-2

NASB

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. [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.

Footnotes

[a] Lit. reed 

[b] Lit. saying

[c] Or sanctuary

[d] Lit. throw out

[e] Or sanctuary


A Little Greek

In Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, Robertson explains that the Greek in verse 2,

“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.”


thoughts
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!

 


Related Passage

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 will dwell in them and walk 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.

Footnotes

[j] Lit. unequally yoked

[k] Gr. Beliar

[l] Lit. what part has a believer with an unbeliever


Historicists

§

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

“. . . 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. . .

§

Horae Apocalypticae by E. B. Elliott

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 Final Prophecy of Jesus by Oral Edmond Collins

“To measure” in our text is to indicate the true dimensions in the abstract sense of determining the true people of God.


a Dispensationalist

Dr. John F. Walvoord

“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. ”

An amillennialist

More than Conquerors by Dr. William Hendriksen

“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. 


Reading through Revelation – Chapter 10, Part 2 – The Seven Thunders


BambergApocalypseFolio024vSixthTrumpet

Bamberg Apocalypse Folio 024v The SixthTrumpet


Revelation 10:1-4

NASB

1 I 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; 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; 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. 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.”


Thoughts

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

The Bamberg Apocalypse Folio 025v Angel With Little Book – 11th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

“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. . .’’

Horae Apocalypticae by E. B. Elliott

Volume II., Chapter IV. Commencement of the Reformation

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.


a Dispensationalist and an amillennialist agree

Dr. John F. Walvoord

“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. 

~ More than Conquerors, Baker Book House 1992


Reading through Revelation – Chapter 10, the Mighty Angel and the Little Book, Part 1


A page from the Bamberg Apocalypse with a large decorated initial "A". Text from Revelation 1:1-4.


Revelation 10

NASB
The Angel and the Little Book

1 I 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; 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; 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. 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.” Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, and swore by  Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He  preached to His servants the prophets.

Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he *said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And they *said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and  kings.”


Thoughts

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is greta-with-specs-meme-e1539663073396.jpgIn studying chapter 10 I learned that Christians question and disagree about the identity of the strong (mighty) angel: 

Is he simply an angelic being who reflects God’s glory to an extraordinary degree, or

Is he Christ Himself?

In his book, More than Conquerors, William Hendriksen argues that this is an angel. John Gill in Exposition of the Whole Bible (see below), G.K. Beale in Revelation: A Shorter Commentary, and E.B. Elliott in HORAE APOCALYPTICAE argue that the angel is the Lord.  

Most certainly we know that this strong angel’s glorious and terrible words are of utmost importance.


Related passages

Ezekiel 2:9

Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe.

Ezekiel 3:1,2

1 Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.

Zechariah 5:1-4

1 Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll. And he said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.” Then he said to me, “This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land; surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side. I will make it go forth,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones.”

Revelation 5:1,2

1 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” 


17th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

John Gill was a Baptist pastor, premillennialist, and historicist.

Portrait of John Gill by George Vertue 1684Rev. 10:1

“And I saw another mighty angel, . . . Not any mere man, as Justin the emperor, as some have thought, who sent letters abroad in favour of the orthodox doctrine, against the Arians, which they suppose is meant by the little book open in his right hand; and still less the pope of Rome, whether in the sense of Papists or Protestants, which latter represent him as a tyrant, treading upon men both in the islands and in the continent, and holding forth the book of canons and decrees; rather, as Mr. Daubuz thinks, Luther, with the rest of the reformers, is intended, and especially since the prophecy of this chapter respects the Reformation, which began before the end of the sixth trumpet; and the epithets given to this angel may denote his strength and courage, his divine authority, the protection of him, and the clear doctrine of peace and reconciliation he brought: however, a created angel is not intended: not the angel that made proclamation for the opening of the book, and unsealing it, Revelation 5:2; between which, and having the book in his right hand open, is a wide difference; nor any other, though the epithet “mighty” belongs to angels in common; and though this angel swears by the living God; and though it was an angel by whom Christ signified the things contained in this book to John; but the uncreated Angel, the Lord Jesus Christ, seems rather designed, as appears both by comparing this with Daniel 12:7; and from the power  he gave to the two witnesses, Revelation 11:3; which cannot agree with a created angel; and besides, who so proper to hold the book open as he who unloosed the seals, and opened it, and to whom the epithet “mighty” may be applied in the highest sense, as God; and who as man may be said to swear by the living God, and to whom the whole description well agrees? he is sometimes called an Angel simply, Genesis 48:16; sometimes the Angel of the Lord, and who appears to be Jehovah himself, the second Person, Genesis 16:7, compared with Genesis 19:1; and sometimes the Angel of God’s presence, Isaiah 63:9; and the Angel of the great council in the Septuagint on Isaiah 9:6; and the Angel, or messenger, of the covenant, Malachi 3:1; and may be so called, because he is a messenger from God as man and Mediator, being sent by him to declare his will and redeem his people: and he is a “mighty” one; not only as God, being the mighty God, the Almighty, which appears by his creation of all things, and upholding them in their beings; but as Mediator, having all power in heaven and in earth, and being far above all principality, power, and might; and, as man, made strong by God for himself, and for his people: he appears now as “another” angel, distinct from the seven angels who had trumpets given them to sound, and six of which had already sounded; and particularly from the angel of the sixth trumpet, who had just sounded; though some copies, and the Complutensian edition*, leave out the word αλλον, “another”; and very opportunely does he appear for the comfort of his church, when the trumpets that had been blown had brought such desolations upon the empire, western and eastern, and when both the western and eastern antichrists had appeared, and before the seventh trumpet sounds, and brings in the last and greatest woe. . .”

* “Complutensian Polyglot Bible: the first printed polyglot of the entire Bible, initiated and financed by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436–1517) and published by Complutense University in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. It includes the first printed editions of the Greek New Testament, the complete Septuagint, and the Targum Onkelos.” (Wiki)

Volume II, Chapter II. Intervention of the Covenant Angel Fulfilled in the Reformation

© 2018, Cross The Border Publishing, all rights reserved.

Edward Elliott, an “historicist premillennial” (Reformed Books Online), interpreted the vision of Chapter 10 as a portrayal of the commencement of the Reformation. 

“The fact is, there exists what I may call documentary, and indeed almost ocular evidence of it, to my own mind singularly striking. It is such, I think, as will not only satisfy us as to the justness of our reference of the opening clause of the vision generally to the Reformation: but will connect it, by certain most remarkable chronological and historical coincidences, with the precise epoch of commencement of that wonderful event. . . the grandest and most glorious, so it is of all others that which was prefigured most fully and circumstantially in the Apocalyptic prophecy.”

Volume III, Chapter III. Epoch of Antichrist’s Triumph, and Christ’s Intervention

Raphael's Portrait of Leo X with cardinals Giulio de Medici - later Pope Clement VII - and Luigi de' Rossi, his first cousins

Leo X by Raphael

“Just when, on the day of his ascension [inauguration of Pope Leo X], as on a day of high festival, there were exhibited paintings, amidst the applause of congregated Christendom, on which art seemed to have lavished all its ingenuity of decoration: and which, as the devices that might best symbolize these his threefold prerogatives and functions as Christ’s Vicar and impersonator, represented this same usurping Antichrist, in one part as beaming like the new risen sun from heaven upon earth, together with a rainbow to reflect his brightness,— in another as planting one foot on the land and the other on the sea,— in a third as looking and roaring, with the world in his clutch, even as when a lion roars on his prey. Just at this very time it was that there occurred the fulfillment of another symbolic figuration, devised by higher than human art, and evidently in purposed contrast to the former, though pictured above 1400 years before it:— a figuration which, in the visions of Patmos, exhibited Christ to St. John as now at length intervening, after long forbearance, in vindication of his own rights, truth, and people:— revealing Himself as the true Covenant Angel from heaven, with his face shining as the sun, and a rainbow about his head, planting moreover his right foot on the sea, his left on the land, and crying with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. . . so was the Lord represented as now “coming down to fight for Mount Zion,” against Antichrist and Antichrist’s assembled Council.

“And whereas the Papal lion’s voice, in vindication of his usurping claims on the church and world, and to counteract all opposition, enacted decrees, as we have seen, preventive of the printing of all books on religion except as approved by him, and especially of God’s book the Bible,— preventive also of all preaching, except in accordance with the established Roman interpretations of Scripture,— and further enjoining that there should be no mention by them of the coming of Antichrist, or of the time of the great final judgment:

“So in the Apocalyptic vision there was prefigured, as what would take place at the same precise epoch, Christ’s own opening to the world of that forbidden book of God,— his revival of that forbidden gospel preaching,— his exposure of Antichrist, as even then alive in the Popes,— and revelation too (so far as man might know it) of the time of the fated judgment, as involving the Papal destruction, and placed at but one Apocalyptic Trumpet’s interval from the chronological epoch of the intervention here symbolized.— All these things, I say, were foreshadowed in the vision before us: and in the Protestant Reformation all these things, as we shall see, were done.”


20th Century

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, pp. 720-721

The CAPS for emphasis are in the original.

“In chapter 5 it was a Sealed Book. Here it is an Open Book. The Open Book is one of the messages of the Sealed Book, for it appears under the Sixth Trumpet, which came out of the Seventh Seal. . .

“But, in addition to this, may it not be that the ‘Little Book OPEN,’ itself, in its very phraseology, coming, as it does, just before the Seventh Trumpet, may have been a symbolic hint that there would be an Era of The OPEN BOOK just preceding the End of the World? 

“If so, it exactly fits in with the course of History. Strange as it may seem, the Church, in the Middle Ages, TOOK THE BIBLE FROM THE PEOPLE.

“But the Protestant Reformation, under the leadership of Martin Luther, RESTORED THE BIBLE TO THE PEOPLE. And the Invention of Printing, about that time, contributed greatly toward making it a Book of the People. And Modern History has been an Era of the OPEN BOOK, in a sense never before known. . .”

We’ve all seen that in our own time the Bible has been attacked constantly, not only as before by being kept from people, but by having its authority and trustworthiness undermined in every evil way that man can invent.


Reading through Revelation – Chapter 7:9-17, “a great multitude” and “the great tribulation”

 


 


Thoughts

Greta with specsStarting here and now, my focus in this series will be to present interpretations of Revelation from Church History – a subject I love. Please think of me as your little old librarian lady with specs on and pray I don’t stumble in the stacks. My hope is that you will be edified by something taken down from the shelves.

Presenting interpretations on Revelation is no longer a simple thing for me. I’m a little afraid of rejection for not believing in what many of my brothers and sisters believe in: a seven-year tribulation before, and a literal Millennium after, Jesus’ return. Though I’m willing to discuss whatever you find here, I’m not interested in debate. Also, please know that I don’t want to discourage you about how you’ve come to understand these things after studying long and prayerfully. I’ve learned that genuine Christians can and do hold different views about them, and that this is fine as long as we are not talking about heresy such as Full Preterism.

May the Lord Jesus be glorified in all that each one of us attempts to do for His Name and eternal Kingdom! 


Revelation 7:9-17

NASB
A Multitude from the Tribulation

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;  10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 16 They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”


Related passages

 John 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Hebrews  11:35-38

35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy),  wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

Revelation 21:1-4

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be  any death; there will no longer be any  mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Glorious, brethren!


The 17th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Revelation 7

John Gill was “an English Baptist pastor,  biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.” ~ Wikipedia

Gill was a premillennialist and historicist

Portrait of John Gill by George Vertue 1684Verse 14

and he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation: seeing this company designs all the elect of God, that ever were, are, or shall be in the world; ‘the great tribulation’, out of which they came, is not to be restrained to any particular time of trouble, but includes all that has been, is, or shall be; as all the afflictions of the saints under the Old Testament; from righteous Abel to Zechariah; and all the troubles of the people of God in the times of the Maccabees, Hebrews 11:35; all the persecutions of the Christians by the Jews, at the first publication of the Gospel; and the persecutions under the Roman emperors, both Pagan and Arian; and the cruelties and barbarities of the Romish antichrist, during the whole time of the apostasy; and particularly the last struggle of the beast, which will be the hour of temptation, that will come upon all the world; and in general all the afflictions, reproaches, persecutions, and many tribulations of all the saints, and every member of Christ in this world. . .”

The brief article on Pastor Gill at Wikipedia is very interesting!


A 19th Century Explanation of a 2nd and 3rd Century Expositor

Horae Apocalypticae

APPENDIX TO VOL. IV.  PART I. A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF APOCALYPTIC INTERPRETATION.

E. B. Elliott – (1793 – 1875)

Edward B. Elliott “wrote here the most exhaustive historicist defense and exposition of the Book of Revelation, building upon all the commentators before him. The last volume includes a critique of all of the other main interpretations of Revelation. He was a historicist premillennial (as was Charles Spurgeon who has commended it). ‘Horae Apocalypticae’ in the title means ‘of the hours of the Apocalypse’.”

Reformed Books Online: The Best, Free, Biblical, Reformed Books and Articles Online

On Tertullian’s understanding of Revelation, Elliott wrote: “But by far the most interesting to my mind of his passing comments here are those on the 5th Seal’s vision of the souls under the altar, and that of the palm-bearing company, figured before the opening of the seventh Seal.[30] The martyrs of the former vision, he explains as martyrs then in course of being slain under Pagan Rome for the testimony of Christ: thereby distinctly assigning to the then passing æra [era] that particular place in the Apocalyptic prefigurative drama.[31] The palm-bearers of the latter vision, that had to come out of the great tribulation, he identifies as that same second set of martyrs that had been predicted to the souls under the altar; – those that were to make up the martyr-complement by suffering under Antichrist, and so suffering to become triumphant, and attain Paradise. And hence chiefly he formed to himself an Apocalyptic plan, and “ordo temporum” in the prophecy: – how that before the judgment and vindication promised to the souls under the altar, the imperial harlot-city Rome was to be destroyed by the ten kings, (mark, not the ten kings and Antichrist,) after the vial-plagues had first been poured out on its empire: then the Beast Antichrist to rise, make war conjunctively with his False Prophet on the Church, and add an innumerable multitude of sufferers, during the tribulation of his tyranny, to the martyrs previously slain under Pagan Rome, Christ’s two Witnesses, Enoch and Elijah, specially inclusive:[32]. . .”

You can purchase Horae Apocalypticae at Amazon and elsewhere in volumes but it’s expensive. 


A little Greek for some of you from the 19th and 20th Century

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.org

Revelation 7:14

I say (eirhka). Perfect active indicative of eipon, “I have said.” “To the Seer’s mind the whole scene was still fresh and vivid” (Swete) like kekragen in John 1:15 and eilhpen in Revelation 5:7, not the so-called “aoristic perfect” which even Moulton (Prol. p. 145) is disposed to admit. My lord (Kurie mou). “An address of reverence to a heavenly being” (Vincent), not an act of worship on John’s part. Thou knowest (su oida). “At once a confession of ignorance, and an appeal for information” (Swete), not of full confidence like su oida in John 21:15They which come out of the great tribulation (oi ercomenoi ek th qlipsew th megalh). Present middle participle with the idea of continued repetition. “The martyrs are still arriving from the scene of the great tribulation” (Charles). Apparently some great crisis is contemplated ( Matthew 13:19 ; Matthew 24:21 ; Mark 13:10 ), though the whole series may be in mind and so may anticipate final judgment. And they washed (kai eplunan). First aorist active indicative of plunw, old verb, to wash, in N.T. only Luke 5:2Revelation 7:14Revelation 22:14. This change of construction after oi ercomenoi from oi plunhsante to kai eplunan is common in the Apocalypse, one of Charles’s Hebraisms, like kai epoihsen in Revelation 1:6 and kai planai in Revelation 2:20Made them white (eleukanan). First aorist active indicative of leukainw, to whiten, old verb from leuko (verse Revelation 13 ), in N.T. only here and Mark 9:3. “Milligan remarks that robes are the expression of character and compares the word habit used of dress” (Vincent). The language here comes partly from Genesis 49:11 and partly from Exodus 19:10 Exodus 19:14. For the cleansing power of Christ’s blood see als (Romans 3:25Romans 5:9Colossians 1:20Ephesians 1:71 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 9:141 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5Revelation 5:9Revelation 22:14. “The aorists look back to the life on earth when the cleansing was effected” (Swete). See Philippians 2:12 for both divine and human aspects of salvation. In the blood of the Lamb (en twi aimati tou arniou). There is power alone in the blood of Christ to cleanse from sin ( 1 John 1:7 ), not in the blood of the martyrs themselves. The result is “white,” not “red,” as one might imagine.”


The 20th Century

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 714

Chapter 7:9-17. The Great Multitude in Heaven

“The ‘144,000,’ of verse 4, and the ‘Great Multitude,’ of verse 9, seem to be two separate groups. One is the Elect of Israel. The other is from All Nations. With one group the scene was on Earth. With the other the scene is in Heaven. One group was sealed against a Coming Tribulation. With the other group, the Tribulation is Past. Yet they may be One and the Same group, under different aspects.

“One relates to the Call, or ‘Sealing’ period, on Earth; the other to the period of Victorious Blessedness in Heaven: the 144,000 of the Elect of Israel, turning out, in full fruition, to be the Great Multitude from Every Nation.

“The blood-washed throng, safe at last in the Father’s Home, as against the Day of Wrath on Earth (6:16), is the Answer to the Martyrs’ Cry (6:10). Arrayed in white Robes, Palms in their hands, Songs on their lips. They hunger no more. All tears wiped away. In the Land where Fountains are Forever flowing with Living Waters.”

This makes sense when we realize that “the Israel or God” is made up of believers, both Jews and Gentiles:

Galatians 6:12-16

12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Meme Hendriksen Dutch quoteMore than Conquerors, William Hendriksen, Baker Book House, 1962, pp. 113-114

The explanation given by the elder, in a most sublime and beautiful manner, closes this section, chapters 4-7. Constantly bear in mind that this section has as its theme, the Church in tribulation. We have seen the red horse of slaughter, the black horse of poverty and injustice, the livid horse of Death. We have heard the cries of the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. It has become clear that all these trials are controlled by the One who is sitting upon the throne. Now, in addition, it is made clear to us that the Church does not remain in the tribulation. The countless multitude is composed of individuals who come ‘out of’ the great tribulation. We read ‘And he said to me: “These are the ones coming out of the tribulation, the great one, and they have washed their flowing robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and they worship him by day and by night in his sanctuary, and the One sitting on the throne will spread his tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more: neither shall the sun fall upon them nor any heat, for the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd and shall lead them to life’s springs of waters and God shall wipe away every tear out of their eyes.”‘

“The elder tells John that these people who are clothed around with the white flowing robes come out of ‘the tribulation, the great one’. This one tribulation is great because it is all-inclusive: all the persecutions and trials of God’s people, symbolized by the seals, are included in it. That gives unity to this entire section, chapters 4-7. The point is that the saints come out of their trials. The Dutch have a term for ‘dying’ which literally means ‘to get over (or beyond) suffering’. It expresses the truth whenever a believer dies.”

Hendriksen is a heart-felt commentator and I’m looking forward to reading more of his book.