Notes on Revelation 9, 10, and 11:18

Revelation 9-10; Revelation 11:18; Genesis 10; 2 Thessalonians 2:11
CHAPTERS 9, 10, 11:18
These present chapters carry us down to the close of the book of Revelation in the general scope of the prophecy. Chapter 11: 18 closes the general history. It is the conclusion of the history of the government and of the judgment of God on the earth. There is something progressive in the action of the providential government of God over men. We see, first, things of ordinary occurrence, such as famines, pestilences. After this there are judgments more striking, powers falling; then, in the first four trumpets, men judged in their circumstances. In the last three trumpets the judgments fall on men themselves. After chapter 12 we have the history of the apostasy.
Chapter 9. Fifth trumpet. The star falling on the earth is a heavenly power fallen. The key of the bottomless pit was given unto him. God permits Satan to act sometimes for the good of His children, sometimes to let His judgments fall on His enemies. Satan and his angels are rejoiced to lay hold of an opportunity to do evil. God is coming here to chastise the wickedness of men. There are already on earth elect ones of the twelve tribes in Israel who have the seal of God marked on their foreheads. They were sealed of God before they knew it themselves. The progress of their knowledge is not our subject here; but Daniel II, 12, and the Psalms may be consulted.
Verse 2. Here is a diabolical influence which obscures the government of the earth. The smoke darkens the air and the sun (that is, the ordinary state of the earth, with regard to its government and the general influences which act on men).
Verse 4. This diabolical power not only obscures that which gives light to men, but it torments them and exercises a deadly influence over them. Wholesome influences are poisoned by it, and this power which rises from the bottomless pit penetrates everywhere.
Verse 3. God's purpose is not yet to kill men. Satan, whatever his power and his malice, cannot do anything but what is in the purpose of God. It is a moral diabolical power over men who have not the mark of God on their forehead. This power has no influence on the grass, on the verdure (on circumstances), but only on those who are not recognized of God. Satan has power to torment the enemies of God with judgments, which affect them first in their circumstances, and then in their own persons, and torment them because the first judgments had not produced their due effect.
Verses 5, 6. The anguish is such that men desire to die. Verse 7. It is a people raised up to act in judgment over others. It is the form Satan's power takes. Crowns like gold have an appearance of royal justice, pretending perhaps to be divine. Verse 8. Their power of destruction is seen. Verse 9. Their power to hurt is in their tail. The tail is the image of the false prophets. Compare Isa. 9:1414Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. (Isaiah 9:14). Verse 1 1. They have a king who rules the satanical darkness, which can act upon the earth. He is the destroyer, Apollyon. Thus God acts in a much more direct way on men, not now merely on their circumstances only. This is the first woe.
Sixth trumpet (v. 13-21). The angel sounds on the summons of Christ. The Lord is still hidden; but He is already occupied with the earth, where He has a people for whom He is interceding. (Compare Isaiah 3o: i 8.) A voice is heard from the four horns of the golden altar, or the altar of incense (Exodus40: 26, 27), from the altar of intercession. The voice gives an order to the angel who sounded the sixth trumpet. The intercession does not apply to the moral condition or to the spiritual conflicts of those who profit by them, but to the manifestation of the judgments of God, which will in time operate the deliverance of an earthly people.
Verse 15. Men are not only tormented now, but their life is attacked. Verse 17. Fire and sulfur are the power of judgment, of death and hell, in the hands of Satan, over men. Verse 19. There is further here the power of the prophet of lies; at the same time, as a special satanical power, that of the ancient serpent. Verses 20, 21. All these previous judgments do not alter men, who are poisoned by the tails of the horses (which, like unto serpents, have power with their heads to hurt men). They have been given up to Satan, and strong delusion has been sent unto them that they should believe a lie; 2 Thess. 2:1111And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (2 Thessalonians 2:11). The same had happened to the Pagans, who were given up to a spirit of darkness and of unbelief
God did send them the word of truth, but they preferred a lie, and God gave them up to their own desire-a lie, and a lie that works efficaciously. It is an awful judgment. Those who will not receive the word of truth may prosper in their outward circumstances; but this prosperity precedes their ruin. This is what the world has to expect.
Chapter 10. This chapter forms a parenthesis, an episode. There is a system of great moment, which is to develop itself, the apostasy. It is what we have most minutely described in the Apocalypse. Before closing what is connected with the government of God on earth, it is necessary to introduce the subject of this apostasy. This is done here. The scene passes in Judea. The nations have gathered round Jerusalem like unto sheaves ready for the judgments of God to pass on them. Till this time the immediate intervention of God had not taken place on the earth.
The first book had seals. Here, it is a book open, where every one may read, which, while applying to the earth, is also applicable to an open and public testimony to His name and the walk or profession which accompanies it, not to the hidden things of God in providence. Verse i. The rainbow designates God's alliance with creation, and His faithfulness towards creation; the sun, supreme power; the pillars of fire, firmness of judgment. Verse 2. This revelation is given by Christ Himself, as having dominion over the earth, and as going to take possession of it in judgment. There is no more mystery, for the book is open. We do not see here Christ as the Lion of Juda, but the rights which belong to Christ. He sets one foot on the earth, the other on the sea; that is to say, on the prophetic earth and on things standing outside, particularly the world. Verse 3. The seven thunders. All God's rights over the earth, and His voice, which makes those rights be heard. The manner in which this takes place is not revealed.
Verses 5-10. Judgment is still suspended until the seventh trumpet should have sounded. There would, however, no longer be delay, but the mystery of God would be accomplished, as He had announced to the prophets. There will be a special object of the last judgment, the beast which comes up from the bottomless pit. The object of that judgment must appear, before the judgment can take place. The revelation of God that was given to John was very sweet to him. But when he meditates on the contents of the prophecy for his people, his soul is filled with bitterness.
Verse 11. The nations and the kings must appear again at the end to be the object of the last judgment. God has never lost sight of them. Those nations, those tongues, which are the result of the confusion of Babel (that is to say, all the nations spoken of in Gen. 10 and 11) reappear either in Daniel, or Ezekiel, or elsewhere, as in Psa. 83, in order to be the objects of judgment.
Chapter 11:1-18. There are worshippers and prophets, that is to say, a testimony. The Gentiles do their own will, and tread the holy city under their feet. God has a remnant which is sealed, and He communicates with them. Verses r, 3. We see here the altar of holocausts; the temple and the worshippers found therein are distinguished. The rest is trodden under foot.
Verse 2. Forty-two months. There is one week remaining out of the weeks of Daniel: seven weeks and sixty-two weeks to the time of the Messiah. The events of the last week are irrespective of what concerns the church. It is of this last week, as it is of the sixty-nine others; they were " determined " on the people of Israel and on the holy city; Dan. 9:2424Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24). " Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city." Sixty-nine weeks were elapsed up to the Messiah, but He was cut off; Dan. 9:2626And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26). The church is a heavenly system, not providential, which has nothing in common with earthly things, or with the temple at Jerusalem. The remaining week remains still to be fulfilled. We have here the history of this last week. At that time, God will resume with the Jews His laws, His judgments, and His terrestrial government.
As to Daniel, Christ was cut off and took nothing (see margin-the real sense-did not take the kingdom then), after sixty and two weeks, that is sixty-nine. Now we learn from the gospels His ministry was as nearly as possible three years and a half, so that for intelligent faith there is only half a week left, and, in fact, only that of the great tribulation. For unbelief-the beast and the apostate Jews-there is a week; and they enter into covenant for this time, but he breaks it when half through, takes away the sacrifice, and the great tribulation begins-that which is spoken of in Matt. 24, after verse 15, and in Mark 13-and this only in the Revelation.-Letter, February, 1881.
See also in Prophetic Volume 4, " Are there two half-weeks in the Apocalypse? ")
We now have something precise in statement-Jerusalem; a people at Jerusalem; the city trodden under foot by the Gentiles. These are Israel's relations with God. Israel would not submit to Christ; they will submit to Antichrist. There is a small remnant who will not recognize Antichrist; but the mass of the people will recognize him. God is watching over this remnant whom He has sealed. I do not mean to say, however, that the sealed remnant is confined to these, for there are others of the twelve tribes that are sealed also. There is a testimony of God against men by prophets.
Verse 3. The two witnesses are prophets in affliction. Verse 4. God is Lord over the earth. He will not permit the times of the Gentiles to last any longer, nor that they should tread under their feet what they cannot devour. This is finished. God is going to show Himself as Lord over the earth. He had given the earth to the Gentiles; Dan. 2:3737Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. (Daniel 2:37). His throne had judged and left Jerusalem; Ezekiel chaps. 1 to 11- particularly chap. 10:18 and chap. 11:22. And He gives the dominion over the earth to Nebuchadnezzar, to the Gentiles; Dan. 2:37, 3837Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. (Daniel 2:37‑38). And until the times of the Gentiles are expired, Jerusalem shall be trodden under their feet; Luke 21:2424And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24). But God will resume again His place as Lord over the earth. The two witnesses render testimony to this lordship, to the Lord over the earth, not to the Father, or to the heavenly glory, to the Lord of heaven.
In Zech. 4 we see a candlestick. All is in order, and everything in its place. Christ's royalty and priesthood sustain and nourish the Jewish people, and all is in its place. But here all is in confusion. There are two candlesticks, two olive trees, but one does not know where to put them. Nothing is as yet settled; but there is a testimony rendered to these things, to their future fulfillment.
Verses 5-8. Such is the fate of the two witnesses, because the beast, the wicked one, assumes his empire, according to Satan's power. The witnesses give testimony to God's right over the earth. There is an allusion to the character of Moses and Elias. Egypt was visited with plagues under Moses; God's people were then in captivity under the dominion of the Gentiles. Moses displayed God's power against Pharaoh, in a way preparatory to the judgment that was to come on him. Elias shut heaven, and made fire come down thence. Elias came at the time of the apostasy of Israel. The last condition of Israel is worse than the first. The spirit of idolatry, the demon of Israel, shall take with him seven other spirits worse than himself, and shall enter again into Israel. The service of the two witnesses is that of Moses against Pharaoh, and that of Elias in the midst of an apostate people. But the beast comes up out of the bottomless pit and kills the two witnesses. This is all that takes place before the sounding of the last trumpet. The particulars about Antichrist are revealed in the subsequent part of the Apocalypse.
It is a serious thing to see the end of the age, and the judgment coming, not on the dead, but on the nations; to see how men are despising all the judgments of God, and how everything concentrates itself in two witnesses, and a little remnant at Jerusalem. It is written that the publicans believed, having received the baptism of John. But the Pharisees reject this baptism and do not believe in Jesus, and they harden their hearts against the Holy Ghost; while the publicans, having received the first testimony, receive also Jesus and then the Holy Ghost. It is important to apprehend the least warning, to listen to the smallest whisper of God's voice, and to obey quickly His warning. There are always warnings that we have neglected previous to chastisements.
Verse 14. Two woes are passed, and the third woe, which ends with the judgment of Antichrist, comes quickly. Verses 15-18. Seventh trumpet. The particulars of this woe are not given here; they are given a little farther on; but the seventh seal is the signal for the intervention of God. (See chap. ro: 7.) When the sound of this trumpet is heard, the intervention is celebrated in heaven with all its consequences. It is the result that is celebrated. The course of what is judged is reserved for what follows. This intervention begins with the judgment of Antichrist and that of the nations which are angry; but if it is with regard to them the moment when they are moved to anger, it is with regard to God's servants and His saints and His prophets the time when God is pleased, in His faithfulness and His love, to give them their reward. Great voices are heard in heaven praising God and rejoicing, because the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. The four and twenty elders give thanks and worship God, because the Lord God Almighty has taken His great power and has entered upon His reign. There is great joy in heaven, because the reign of iniquity and of the prince of this world has come to an end; because creation, which from the time of Adam was made subject to vanity and to the bondage of corruption (Rom. 8:19-2219For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Romans 8:19‑22)), is come into blessing again, and, by the presence of the Last Adam, by the exercise of His blessed royalty and the manifestation of the children of God, and particularly because Jesus reigns-Jesus, hated by the world, Jesus despised and rejected of men, but Jesus, the beloved Son of the Father, the glorious Bridegroom of the glorified church!