Revelation
1-8 The Two Witnesses 9-19 The Seventh Trumpet
The Two Witnesses

1Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2Leave out the court which is outside the 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. 3And I will grant [authority] to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5And 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. 6These 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. 7When 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. 8And 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.

V11Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.. Although it is not said in so many words it seems that this chapter tells about the contents of the little book from the previous chapter. The place of activity is Jerusalem with the temple of God. The temple is called “the temple of God”, because God takes into consideration the true worshipers who draw near to Him there. But in reality it is the temple of the antichrist, which was built in unbelief and where the antichrist will place an image of the beast from the sea during the three and a halve years of the great tribulation (Rev 13:14-1514And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life.15And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.; 2Thes 2:44who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.).

It is most likely that this image will be placed in the court of the temple and not in the building itself. The court is also allowed for the people to enter. Because of the image of an idol that is placed there, the court is not measured.

This temple is next to the last temple of all temples that have been built in the course of time on earth. We read in Scripture about five earthly temples:
1. the temple of Solomon (1Kgs 7; was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.);
2. the temple of Zerubbabel (Ezra 3; 6; was robbed later and consecrated to Jupiter by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 and 170 B.C.;
3. the temple that was built by Herod (Jn 2:2020The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”; its construction was started in 17 B.C. and it was destroyed by the Romans in 70); this temple is by the way not a completely new temple, but an enlargement of the temple of Zerubbabel;
4. the temple built for the antichrist (2Thes 2:44who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.) and
5. finally the temple of Christ (Eze 40-48).

For the sake of completeness I would like to point out that in the New Testament there is still mention of three spiritual temples: the body of the Lord Jesus (Jn 2:2121But He was speaking of the temple of His body.), the body of the believer (1Cor 6:1919Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?), and the church (1Cor 3:1616Do you not know that you are a temple of God and [that] the Spirit of God dwells in you?). Finally, we read in Revelation 11 about a temple of God in heaven (Rev 11:1919And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.) and in Revelation 21 that God Himself and the Lamb is called the temple of the new Jerusalem (Rev 21:2222I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.).

Just like it was with the eating of the little book John has to participate actively in the events. He is ordered to rise and measure some matters. Therefore “a measuring rod like a staff” was given to him. This ‘measuring rod’ is to define the border of what belongs to God; it defines His ownership (cf. Psa 16:66The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
; Zec 2:1-51Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, [there was] a man with a measuring line in his hand.2So I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is.”3And behold, the angel who was speaking with me was going out, and another angel was coming out to meet him,4and said to him, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.5For I,’ declares the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”; Rev 21:15-1715The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.16The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.17And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, [according to] human measurements, which are [also] angelic [measurements].). The temple is His, the altar is His and those who worship Him in the temple are His. The measuring rod like a staff represents the support, which faith finds in the thought that God also in times of darkness makes clear what is His and who belong to Him.

V22Leave out the court which is outside the 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.. John is not allowed to measure the court. He even has to reject it. That is, because the court does not belong to God. He has no relation with it, for the nations have got access to it, because the antichrist has made a covenant with them (Dan 9:26-2726Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end [will come] with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.27And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations [will come] one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”). With “the holy city” Jerusalem is meant.

During a period of forty-two months (that is three and a half years, the duration of the great tribulation) Jerusalem will be in the hands of these unholy allies. They will trample underfoot and profane the city in such a way that in the (court of the) temple which is built for the antichrist, a gruesome image of the Roman emperor will be placed.

V33And I will grant [authority] to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”. Despite the domination of the gentiles and the pressure of the antichrist, God will kindle a powerful testimony in Jerusalem. Many people would have fled from Judea (the region around Jerusalem) to the mountains (Mt 24:1616then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.), but in the city itself there will be a remnant of worshipers (Zep 3:1212“But I will leave among you
A humble and lowly people,
And they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.
). In the midst of it God will revive two witnesses whom He calls “My two witnesses”. Two represent a sufficient testimony (Deu 19:1515“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.; 2Cor 13:11This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.). Many will repent because of their witness (Dan 12:1010Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.).

They will pass through the city “clothed in sackcloth”. The sackcloth is a sign of mourning because of the miserable situation the people find themselves in (cf. Joel 1:1313Gird yourselves [with sackcloth]
And lament, O priests;
Wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth
O ministers of my God,
For the grain offering and the drink offering
Are withheld from the house of your God.
; Jer 4:88“For this, put on sackcloth,
Lament and wail;
For the fierce anger of the LORD
Has not turned back from us.”
). It also supports the gravity of the message which is an appeal for repentance. They will warn and point out to the people who want to enter the temple to worship the image of the beast that Christ is coming soon. You also see with John the baptist that his clothing was fitting to the gravity of his preaching (Mt 3:44Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.) and how he finally had to pay with his life for this preaching (Mt 14:5,105Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet.10He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.).

The duration of their preaching is indicated in days, probably to make clear and to emphasize that their preaching is heard every day. This indication is also to make clear how valuable each day is to God that a testimony of Him is given on earth. Another thought attached to that is that these twelve hundred and sixty days are again the same period of the great tribulation. Twelve hundred and sixty days is three and a half years. Because the testimony is given under the greatest possible tribulation, the count is indicated in days. God counts the days of His tested and persecuted witnesses. Because He has given power to His two witnesses the enemies cannot do anything until God allows them to.

V44These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.. The witnesses are compared with “the two olive trees and the two lampstands” (see Zec 4). As ‘two olive trees’ they show the full power of the Holy Spirit (oil) and as ‘the two lampstands’ they spread Divine light as a testimony in the darkness that will then be reigning. They stand “before the Lord of the earth” (Psa 24:11A Psalm of David.
The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
), which means that their testimony is related to the Lord Who sets His foot on the earth and on the sea and Who will soon claim His right to it.

V55And 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.. As long as they are to testify, they are unassailable and nobody can harm them. Every attack will be paid with the lives of the attackers. The witnesses actually have the fire of God at their disposal. That fire comes out of their mouth and it consumes every enemy that wants to harm them in order to eliminate them and silence them so that they cannot testify anymore.

This course of action makes clear that this concerns a totally different time than the time in which we now live. Instead of consuming our enemies who want to harm us when we testify of our Lord, we are to bless them. The Lord rebukes John and James when they suggest to Him to command fire to come down from heaven to consume the village of the Samaritans because He is not welcome there (Lk 9:53-5653But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.54When His disciples James and John saw [this], they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”55But He turned and rebuked them, And they went on to another village.).

V66These 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.. The witnesses have even more power. As often as they desire they can shut heaven, they can turn water to blood and they can strike the earth with all kinds of plagues. If you know some of the history of the Old Testament, particularly the histories in which Moses and Elijah play a role, you will recognize them in these plagues. These expressions of power you find in particular with these two greatest prophets of the Old Testament. “The power to shut the sky” you find with Elijah (1Kgs 17:11Now 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.”) and the “power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague” you find with Moses (Exo 7:14-10:2914Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go.). Elijah testified towards God’s people who had become apostate. Moses testified against the enemy of God’s people, namely Egypt.

Elijah and Moses are more often mentioned together. In that sense you find them both with the Lord on the mountain of transfiguration, where they as it were get a foretaste of the millennial kingdom of peace (Mt 17:33And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.). Also Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, speaks about Moses and Elijah as persons who in the last days will perform once more (Mal 4:4-64“Remember the law of Moses My servant, [even the] statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.5“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.6He will restore the hearts of the fathers to [their] children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”; cf. Mt 11:1414And if you are willing to accept [it], John himself is Elijah who was to come.; 17:11-1211And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things;12but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”; Lk 1:1717It is he who will go [as a forerunner] before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”). It is not much in the sense of their performance in person, but it relates to a performance in which the characteristics of their services are to be seen.

V77When 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.. When the time of their testimony which was ordained by God, has come to an end, they will be killed. This also happened to the Lord Jesus, Who was delivered only when His time had come, not a single hour earlier. They will be killed by the beast. In chapter 13 you will be more informed about the beast.

It may look strange that the beast will make war with two men, but there are more examples that an army was sent out to take one single man captive. You see that for instance with Elijah who several times was attacked by a small army (2Kgs 1:8-148They answered him, “[He was] a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”9Then [the king] sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him, and behold, he was sitting on the top of the hill. And he said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’”10Elijah replied to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.11So he again sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he said to him, “O man of God, thus says the king, ‘Come down quickly.’”12Elijah replied to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.13So he again sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. When the third captain of fifty went up, he came and bowed down on his knees before Elijah, and begged him and said to him, “O man of God, please let my life and the lives of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight.14Behold fire came down from heaven and consumed the first two captains of fifty with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight.”), with Elisha in Dothan (2Kgs 6:11-1411Now the heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?”12One of his servants said, “No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”13So he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him.” And it was told him, saying, “Behold, he is in Dothan.”14He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.) and even more with the Lord Jesus in Gethsemane (Mt 26:4747While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, [who came] from the chief priests and elders of the people.). The witnesses have shown their power and that makes clear to the beast that he is facing very dangerous persons.

V88And 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.. When the two witnesses are killed, their dead bodies will lie ”in the street of the great city”. From the addition “where also their Lord was crucified” it becomes clear that it is about Jerusalem. But that name is not mentioned. The names that are mentioned indicate the spiritual decay of the city, where the city spiritually has landed. It has become like Sodom and Egypt. Jerusalem is ‘Sodom’ because of its corruptness and ‘Egypt’ because of its oppressing God’s people. This wickedness altogether has shown its pinnacle in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus.

The two witnesses are killed, after they have borne their witness, in the very same place where their Lord had borne His witness and was killed. They suffer His fate and partake in it.

Now read Revelation 11:1-8 again.

Reflection: What does God make His two witnesses perform for?


The Seventh Trumpet

9Those 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. 10And 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. 11But 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. 12And 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. 13And 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. 14The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly. 15Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become [the kingdom] of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” 16And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. 18And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time [came] for the dead to be judged, and [the time] to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” 19And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

V99Those 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.. Now the two witnesses are killed. The ‘successful’ performance of the beast is shown to the whole world. The dead bodies are shown to the world through the internet, television and satellite connection by the assembled large crowds of journalists. Today you can imagine well how this news will be spread worldwide, while also images are shown of the defeated ‘enemies’. As a matter of fact, the mass media play a major role in the formation of human thinking. Just like somebody said: Today you see a generation growing up that is not raised by parents, but by the media.

The dead bodies of these ‘enemies’ are not worthy of a funeral. He who would want them to be buried will get no permission to (Psa 79:1-31A Psalm of Asaph.
O God, the nations have invaded Your inheritance;
They have defiled Your holy temple;
They have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2They have given the dead bodies of Your servants for food to the birds of the heavens,
The flesh of Your godly ones to the beasts of the earth.
3They have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem;
And there was no one to bury them.
). The dead bodies remain to lie down as a trophy of victory, a remembrance of the victory that the beast has achieved and a proof of his power. This altogether serves for the glory of the dictator who has ‘redeemed’ the world from these people. This is also a warning that this is the fate of everyone who resists the beast.

V1010And 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.. When this very annoying testimony has come to an end the world population will have a celebration as in a euphoria of victory. In order to celebrate the victory they will send gifts to one another (cf. Est 9:19,2219Therefore the Jews of the rural areas, who live in the rural towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar [a] holiday for rejoicing and feasting and sending portions [of food] to one another.22because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and [it was a] month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions [of food] to one another and gifts to the poor.). They will congratulate one another on the death of these miserable prophets who have tortured them so badly. They have not opened themselves for the message of God that was proclaimed by them. The torture that was done to them did not make them to seek God, which was God’s purpose with His two witnesses.

Not only will the unbelieving mass in Israel find joy in their death. Like the Jews and the Gentiles together rejected the Lord Jesus, here also the whole world partakes in the demonic joy of the apostate Jews over the death of the Lord’s witnesses.

V1111But 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.. Their joy will however be of short duration. After three and a half days they will see something that will fill them with great fear. The witnesses will stand on their feet! That is caused by the “the breath of life from God” that “came into them”. But the spectators have no idea of it. Just like the world was a witness of their death, they also are of their resurrection. In this way they have to acknowledge that God is stronger than His enemies.

V1212And 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.. When the two witnesses are standing on their feet they receive the command from heaven to come up. The testimony of their life, death and resurrection is over. They are now called to come up to heaven. Such an enormous strength comes out from that voice that they ascend to heaven in a cloud. It seems that this cloud is the symbol of God’s presence. God draws them into His presence. They have glorified Him and now He glorifies them.

All their enemies “saw” them. The ascension of the Lord Jesus was not seen by unbelievers nor will the rapture of the church be seen by unbelievers. The resurrection and the ascension of the two witnesses differ from that. They are not only seen, but they are ‘viewed’. The spectators are watching these events, which they dismissed as impossible, with complete amazement. They cannot believe what they are seeing. But despite the fact that they cannot deny it and that these miracles are taking place right before their eyes, it has no effect on their conscience towards God.

V1313And 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.. Therefore nothing is left for them than the judgment. After the two witnesses are taken to heaven “a great earthquake” follows. Jerusalem is shaken by a mighty hand which causes that “a tenth of a city” is destroyed that cost the lives “of seven thousand people”. In the Dutch Bible translation it is written “seven thousand names of people”. That means that God knows the names of all those people who were killed. He knows the names of those who have bowed their knees to the beast, just like He knows the names of the seven thousand who in the time of Elijah did not bow their knees to Baal (1Kgs 19:1818Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”). God does not count in numbers; He does not care about statistics, but He cares about people.

“The rest”, those who were not struck by the judgment, become afraid. They also gave “glory to the God of heaven”. That does not mean that they repent, but that they acknowledge God’s hand in this event. When the Lord Jesus in mercy was on earth and acted in mercy, God was also honored for that by the people. But then also there was no mention of a real repentance. You may intellectually be convinced that God is in action without being moved in your heart and conscience.

V1414The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.. With the passing of “the second woe” the parenthesis that runs from chapter 10:1-11:13, has now ended. We are now ready for the seventh and last trumpet of judgment that is also called “the third woe”. The last three trumpets are called ‘woe’, because they are worse than the first four ones. The first ‘woe’ comes from the bottomless pit (Rev 9:1-121Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.2He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.3Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.4They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.5And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.6And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.7The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.8They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like [the teeth] of lions.9They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.10They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months.11They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.12The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.), the second ‘woe’ comes from the Euphrates river (Rev 9:13-2113Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,14one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”15And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind.16The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.17And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: [the riders] had breastplates [the color] of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone.18A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths.19For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.20The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk;21and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.) and the third ‘woe’ comes from heaven, from the Lord Jesus Himself.

V1515Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become [the kingdom] of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”. The sounding of the seventh trumpet actually makes it clear that the kingdom is very near indeed, but the time has not come yet that it is established. Still the reality of the kingdom is that close that heaven tells us that it has come. That is what the voices cry out from heaven. But more judgments are still to come. Those are described in the chapters 15-16. However these judgments are of short duration. They together form the seventh trumpet.

The kingdom that is considered as having come, is an undivided kingdom which extends over the whole world. That is only possible because the Lord and His Christ will take over all control. He will reign justly and mercifully. Once He reigns it will never come to an end, as long as sun, moon and earth endure (Psa 72:5,7,175Let them fear You while the sun [endures],
And as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
7In his days may the righteous flourish,
And abundance of peace till the moon is no more.
17May his name endure forever;
May his name increase as long as the sun [shines];
And let [men] bless themselves by him;
Let all nations call him blessed.
). He Who “will reign forever and ever” is the Lord God and He reigns in the Person of His Christ, the Son of Man, Who is God Himself. Our Lord and His Christ are one and the very same Person and still two Persons. This is and remains the miracle of eternity.

V1616And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God,. When this awesome news has sounded, the twenty-four elders respond. Through the Spirit they understand what is happening and what will happen. They are aware of the grandeur of the events and they even more realize the grandeur of Him Who makes all these things come to pass. Therefore they cannot remain seated on their thrones, but fell on their faces and worship God (Rev 4:1010the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,; 5:99And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.).

V1717saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.. While they are worshiping they give thanks to God. They address Him with several names. They call Him first “Lord”, which is Jahweh, the God of the covenant. He does what He Himself has promised to do. They also call Him “God Almighty”. That is God in His creating power, Who as the Almighty maintains and leads to His goal everything that He has created.

They say furthermore of Him that He is the One “who are and who were”. ‘He Who is to come’ is not added. ‘Who are’ indicates His eternal existence and Who were’ indicates His relation to the past. ‘Who is to come’ is not necessary to mention anymore, because He is considered here to have come already and that He has accepted His kingdom.

He did that because He has taken His “great power”. He has always had that great power, but now He is intervening with power in the events of the world. And what He has taken He will absolutely never allow anyone to take it out of His hands. His great power is the guarantee for that.

V1818And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time [came] for the dead to be judged, and [the time] to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”. The elders also talk about the wrath of God. They do that in relation to the anger of the nations, which is the whole human race. The nations have always been rebelling against God over the past ages and have been opposed to Him. But it is over now with their anger, because God makes an end to it in His wrath. The play of words shows how meaningless the wrath of man is opposed to the wrath of the almighty God. You also see these two sides in Psalms 2 (Psa 2:1-61Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3“Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
4He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6“But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
), where the distinction between the uproar where the nations are in and how God responds to it, is shown even stronger.

With the coming of the kingdom the time has come that God will judge the dead, although that judgment will only be executed after the millennial kingdom of peace (Rev 20:1212And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.). But the time has come to hand out the reward. That reward is for those who as real “servants” in obedience to God and as true “prophets” have spoken His words to those to whom they were sent. That has delivered them rejection and mockery, but now they receive their reward. This reward is given in the millennial kingdom of peace (Rev 22:1212“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.). Although it has not come that far yet, it nevertheless can be told like that, because the kingdom lies in the hands of the Lord Jesus.

Also “the saints”, those who have lived separately for His sake in a corrupted world, will now receive their reward. They have lived like that out of respect for His Name and each person according to the extent of his responsibility, which is expressed in “small and great”.

Finally God’s time has also come “to destroy those who destroy the earth”. The three beasts from the chapters 12-13 (the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth) and all their followers are meant by that. This is another category than the dead that were mentioned earlier in this verse.

In this way everything is removed that has always stood in the way and those are rewarded who lived by their faith in the Prince of peace and in His coming.

V1919And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.. With verse 1919And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm. a new parenthesis begins, which runs to chapter 15:4. From chapter 15:5 the seven bowl judgments are described. In the parenthesis the Holy Spirit shows the origin of the leading actors of chapters 8-11. There you see: the dragon (that is satan) and the first beast and the second beast. Other leading actors are: the woman (Israel), the Son (Christ), Michael and the great harlot Babylon. In total seven leading persons pass by.

The starting point of the parenthesis is “the temple of God in heaven” and “the ark of His covenant”. The temple is God’s dwelling place in the midst of His people. The ark of the covenant reminds us of God’s faithfulness with regard to His people. It is a sharp contrast to what is taking place in the temple on earth. That temple is profaned in a terrible way by the antichrist. God is deeply displeased by what is happening on earth. The “flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm” express that in a very impressive way.

Now read Revelation 11:9-19 again.

Reflection: Which similarities do you see between the two witnesses and the Lord Jesus? What could you learn from the two witnesses, regarding your own testimony?


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