Revelation 11

Revelation 11  •  20 min. read  •  grade level: 8
AFTER John had eaten the book and been told that he must prophesy again, a reed was given him like unto a rod. And the angel stood, and said, "Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein." Now the scripture saith that "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Rom. 11:2929For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (Romans 11:29).) His word is full of promises concerning His beloved and privileged earthly people Israel. "Lo-ammi," not my people, is written upon them for the moment, on account of their grievous departure from Him, and their many sins. But He has neither forgotten them, nor His promises to restore and bless them. At the moment indicated in the opening of Rev. 11, the Jews recommence to come into prominence in the governmental ways of God. It is clear from scripture that they, speaking generally (i.e., Judah and Benjamin), will return to the holy land before the ten tribes (often spoken of in prophecy as Ephraim). Many Jews have already returned, but it is estimated that some thirteen millions or so are still scattered among the Gentile nations. Great numbers will return, and be found in the land shortly after the removal of the heavenly saints to glory. (1 Thess. 4:15-1815For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15‑18).) They will set up the altar and rebuild the temple, but still in unbelief. (2 Thess. 2:44Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4).) But in chapter 11 we find that God has raised up a witness for Himself in their midst. It is the commencement of the last half-week, the hour of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:77Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:7); Dan. 12: 1), during which two-thirds are cut off and die, one-third being preserved through it. (Zech. 13:88And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. (Zechariah 13:8).) The Lord speaks to His own in view of that day. "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast." (Isa. 26:2020Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (Isaiah 26:20).)
Turning to the detail of the chapter before us, the prophet is told by the angel to measure first the altar (compare Ezra 3:1-31And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. 2Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. 3And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening. (Ezra 3:1‑3)), because it is only on the ground of sacrifice, which points to the one perfect sacrifice of Christ, that God and His people could meet. Apart from redemption, no one now could have a standing before, or be in relation with God. Secondly, the temple, the recognized visible dwelling-place of God (though, alas, as we shall see, an usurper appears in the midst of the people, and exalts himself as God (2 Thess. 2:44Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)); and before the shekinah glory returns (Ezek. 40-44), the temple will be rebuilt by the Man whose name is called "the Branch" (Zech. 6:1212And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: (Zechariah 6:12)); the one referred to in this chapter xi. being probably, destroyed). Thirdly, "them that worship therein," which skews that there will be a remnant restored to a recognized position before God, on the ground of redemption, and that He Himself takes care to secure all this for Himself and them.
“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." The court of the temple is not to be measured. It is to be left, or cast out. (The hour of blessing for the Gentiles as such, subordinate to Israel, of which the prophecy more or less testifies, had not yet arrived.) The Gentiles generally at this time, lapsing more and more from God, and given over to strong delusion and infidelity, will be manifesting their wickedness, and will tread under foot the holy city, Jerusalem. The temple, altar, and the worshippers (the remnant) having been measured, God secures in faithfulness at that day all that is morally of Himself. But the court of the temple is cast out, and given to the Gentiles. It is not to be measured. This treading down of the holy city will last forty-two months, Daniel's last half-week of years. (Chapter 13:5.)
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth." (Ver. 3.) God had said, "Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the matter be established." (Deut. 19:1515One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. (Deuteronomy 19:15).) Two is sufficient witness; three is full witness. At this dread moment, when the mass of the Jews will be back in their land in unbelief, and under the oppression of the Gentiles, God will raise up sufficient witness in a remnant of His earthly people. And He will give them power to render a testimony, which is very precious to Him. So much so, that its duration is reckoned by days instead of months. Every day of the one thousand two hundred and sixty, the forty-two months of the Gentile oppression and desecration of the holy city, these witnesses, sustained by divine power, render their faithful testimony. They are clothed in sackcloth. The reader who is familiar with Old Testament scripture will knew that this is a sign of repentance, self-judgment and humbling before God. (Jonah 3:5-105So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (Jonah 3:5‑10).) These witnesses take to heart before Him the sad moral state and suffering of Jehovah's ancient people. Sighing and crying, they look to God for support and final deliverance.
They are spoken of in a fourfold way. First, as witnesses, then as olive trees, next as candlesticks (ver. 4), and finally as prophets. (Ver. 10.) We think there is clear evidence to show that we must not limit this testimony to two individuals. We have no doubt that, as the twenty-four elders represent the sum of the heavenly saints, so here the two witnesses represent a company among the Jews. In verse 7 the beast, then at the zenith of his power, makes war with them at the close of their testimony, and overcomes and kills them. Such language could scarcely be employed if only two individuals were in question. There is a remarkable allusion to these witnesses as olive trees on either side of a candlestick all of gold in Zech. 4:3-143And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. 7Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. 8Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 9The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. 11Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? 13And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. (Zechariah 4:3‑14). They are said to be "the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.",(Ver. 14.) And in Rev. 11:44These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:4) these two olive trees stand before the God of the earth. Oil is produced by olive trees, and is often used in scripture as a figure of the Holy Ghost. Candlesticks, or lamp stands, are for the support of the light. We gather from this that this witnessing remnant of Jews testifies in the power of the Holy Ghost to the rights of Christ (the angel of the covenant of chapter 10.) as the God of the earth, maintaining a light for Him amid the surrounding and increasing 'darkness till the seventh trumpet is sounded, and the kingdoms of the world become His. In the scripture already referred to, the prophet asks the angel who showed him the olive trees what they are. And he explains that it 'is the word of the Lord, saying, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." (Zech. 4:1-61And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, 2And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:1‑6).) So, also, in the future hour of trouble, this Jewish remnant will testify to the word of the Lord, not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. The olive trees in Zechariah are further said to empty the golden oil out of themselves through the two golden pipes, a figure, we apprehend, of the word of God in righteousness flowing out from the remnant in the midst of the prevailing corruption. It should be clear to all our readers that this testimony is of a very different character from that which Christians are called to bear in the power of the Holy Ghost. We should testify to the glory of Christ at God's right hand, and to the grace of God which saves and associates believers with Him in heavenly blessings. But this Jewish testimony is in relation to the God of all the earth. His rights were refused in Christ at His first appearing. But Christ will surely reappear, and take possession of it, as well as of the heavens, and these witnesses assert His rights against the usurper that Satan will set up (of which we shall shortly hear more), and the Gentile oppressors.
“And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed." (Ver. 5.) We get here a further contrast to Christian testimony. The Christian is taught to love and pray for his enemies, returning good for evil. But if any man wills to hurt these Jews (and the original is as strong as that), the word of God goes forth from their lips as devouring fire. If any man wills to hurt them, in this manner, he must be killed.
“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." (Ver. 6.) Power is given to them to execute judgments similar to those which the Lord executed through the instrumentality of Elijah and Moses of old. As in the days of the apostasy of Israel under Ahab and Jezebel, Elijah having prayed earnestly, God closed the heavens, and rain ceased for three years and a half, so in the coming apostasy, these witnesses of God will have power to shut heaven, so that it rain not for that same period, during which their prophecy will be maintained. And, as Moses was used of God in Egypt to turn the waters into blood, and to smite the Egyptians and their land with ten plagues when Pharaoh refused the emigration of Israel, so also these witnesses will have power to execute similar judgment—all plagues—as often as they will.
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." So long as their testimony, lasts their enemies are powerless against them and fall before them when they injure them. But at the close they suffer for their testimony unto death. The means of their overthrow is the beast. This is the first mention of this awful being. Much is said of him in subsequent chapters. It will suffice to say that he will be head of the revived Roman Empire, the chief power of the western Gentile world in this coming crisis. He is viewed here as deriving his power and having his origin from the abyss of evil. He will wield great military power, and will turn it against God's witnesses, seeking to blot out all testimony and light for Him upon the earth. He makes war against them, and conquers them. Their faithful testimony during the one thousand two hundred and sixty days being over, God allows them to suffer martyrdom for His glory. Judgment, swift and sure, comes upon those who kill them later on. (Rev. 19:20; 11:1320And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20)
13And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:13)
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." (Ver. 8.) So deadly is the enmity against these faithful witnesses, that instead of receiving an ordered burial, their bodies are left where they fall in the street of the great city. This is clearly Jerusalem. Three things are said of it. First it is called spiritually by the name of Sodom, secondly by the name of Egypt, and thirdly it is designated as the place where our Lord was crucified. Even in Isaiah's day, so gross was the corruption of the city, that the daughter of Zion is addressed as Sodom (Isa. 1:1-151The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. 10Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. (Isaiah 1:1‑15)), and now, many hundreds of years later, her character had not changed. Egypt would denote that Jerusalem, where God's people should have walked in holiness and liberty, had sunk down to the worldliness and bondage of the country out of which He had so graciously delivered them. “Where also our [or their] Lord was crucified brings before us the terrible guilt that had come upon them through the shedding of His blood. In short three things characterized the people, corruption, worldliness, and enmity. And they treat the witnesses as they treated their Lord. Israel and the world would not submit to the Lordship of Christ in the past, and the mass of the Jews and the Gentiles will refuse it again in the future. Hence the richly merited judgments of God.
“And they [men—J. N. D.' s Trans.] of the people [or peoples] and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth." (Verses 9, 10.) Not content with destroying the witnesses, they leave their bodies to corrupt in the street (a terrible witness to their wickedness), and refuse them, as said, an ordered burial. This lasts for three days and a half; or a day for every year of three hundred and sixty-five days of their living testimony. Their corpses openly witness against their enemies. The earth dwellers, the class so often, referred to, whose minds are wholly centered upon the earth, glad to be rid of men whose presence and testimony torment them, rejoice at their downfall (are full of delight), and bestow mutual gifts.
“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them." (Verses 11, 12.) The power of their foes is limited. Divine power intervenes at the close of the three days and a half. To the great amazement and fear of the onlookers, the Spirit of life from God suddenly enters into them, and they, stand upon their feet. Where was the delight and merriment of their enemies then? This is followed by the two witnesses hearing a great voice from heaven inviting them to that glorious sphere. "Come up hither." Their eternal portion is a heavenly one. Like their blessed Master whom they had so faithfully served, loving not their lives unto death, they ascend to heaven in a cloud. All takes place in the sight of their astonished enemies. They had seen them when testifying, when killed, when lying upon the streets of the city, when standing, after death, with the Spirit of life in them; and now they see them ascending to heaven, the sphere to which God had called them. How great and conclusive is their guilt!
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven." (Ver. 13.) The same hour that these witnesses stand upon their feet in the Spirit of life out of death and ascend to heaven, the death knell, so to speak, sounds for many in the guilty city, where they had been slain. It is signalized by a great earthquake. It is a manifest interference of divine power. The tenth part of the city comes down with a terrible crash. Seven thousand names of men are slain. God knows every name. He is wise and discriminating in judgment as in all else. And the remainder are affrighted. They feared, as they beheld God's judgment fall on others, lest a like fate should befall themselves. But, alas, it is not that fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom. (Prov. 9:1010The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10).) There is no fear unto repentance. The testimony already borne before them was in relation to God's rights in the earth. They had heard it, and had refused it. God publicly vindicates His witnesses in a most marvelous way by the fearful visitation of an earthquake upon their enemies. But the only effect upon these hardened men is that they give glory to the God of heaven. Their hearts would still keep Him at a distance. They refuse any approach to them or any thought of His rights over them. They will not have Him as the God of the earth.
The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly."(Ver. 14.) That which we have been considering is included under the sixth trumpet. It is part of the second of the three woes, bringing us historically to the end of the last half of Daniel's seventieth week, the close of the present age." Behold, the third woe [the seventh trumpet] cometh quickly." It succeeds immediately the second, and introduces the age or world to come.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." This third woe, the last of the seven trumpets, ushers in the day of the Lord, so widely treated of in the pages of the Old Testament. It is the moment when Christ shall appear, assert His rights and take possession of the kingdom. Deep interest is called forth in heaven. Great voices are heard there. They are occupied with what is happening in relation to this world. John hears them, saying, "The kingdom of the world of our Lord and of his Christ is come." This is the more correct rendering. The goal to which all prophetic testimony points is here reached at last. God who hitherto has ruled in secret is about to rule openly. The whole world is about to come under the sway of Christ, before whom every other king shall fall down. He will come and sit upon the throne of His glory, wear the crown and, wield the scepter forever and ever, (or, unto the ages of ages).
“And the four and twenty elders which sat before God on their seats [or thrones], fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which 'art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned." (Ver. 16, 17.) The heavenly saints are deeply interested in this wonderful event and its attendant circumstances, when the world's great day of sorrow shall be over and Christ shall judge and' reign. They enter into the mind of heaven and gladly recognize God's glory and His righteous ways. Prostrating themselves before Him, they worship Him, the source and author of all this wondrous blessing. Addressing Him who is Jehovah Elohim Shaddai, they render thanks to Him who is the ever existing One, and who ever was, without beginning. The words "art to 'come" are not in the original. The ground of their thanksgiving is, that He hath taken His great power and hall reigned. It is a subject of great joy to those who owe everything to Him, that His rights are no longer refused, but all brought to bow before His great power and righteous rule.
“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth." (Ver. 18.)
All judgment is committed unto the Son. (John 5:2222For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (John 5:22).) This remarkable and comprehensive verse embraces the whole scope of judgment and reward at His hand, and carries us down to the end of an things. To understand it we must bear in mind that Christ's reign will last a thousand years and that it is ushered in and closed by judgment. Hence, though the different acts of judgment and reward are all grouped together here, it does not follow that they are executed at one and the same time. Different classes become the subject of His dealings at different times and in different circumstances. First, we read, the nations are angry. Having thrown off the yoke of the Lord's authority, destroyed all true religion, and lapsed into apostasy (of which we shall see more further on), the self-will of the nations is paramount, and they are angry against the Lord and each other, and resent any interference. But it adds, "thy wrath is come." The Lord Himself will be angry, and execute His sure and righteous judgment on the quick. (2 Tim. 4:11I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2 Timothy 4:1); 1 Peter 4:55Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5).) It passes on next "to the time of the dead, that they should be judged." This is the judgment of the great white throne, that which will take place at the close of the kingdom. (Rev. 20:11, 1211And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:11‑12).) It embraces all who have died in unbelief from the fall onwards right through all the cycles of time. All will be raised to judgment and judged according to their works. (Rev. 20:12, 1312And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Revelation 20:12‑13).) Three classes are next mentioned: His servants, the prophets, the saints, and them that fear His name, small and great, as receiving reward from Him according to their goodness and faithfulness, fruit of faith. And the passage concludes with the threat of destruction against those who destroy the earth. The Judge, the judgment, and the Day of Judgment are all appointed. (John 5:2222For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (John 5:22); Acts 17:3131Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31); Heb. 9:2727And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27).) He is strong, who executeth His word.
The closing verse of chapter 11 commences a fresh line of things. As so often in the Revelation, we must turn back from that which we have been tracing in the previous verses of the chapter. From here on we get further details, and from another point of view, of things which will transpire during the last half week.
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." (Chapter 11:19.) In chapter 4 a door was opened in heaven. Here the temple of God is opened in the same sphere. And being opened, the ark of the testament (or, rather, covenant) is seen. Now the ark of the covenant of old was the Lord's, and His ways with, His people Israel were bound up with it, the temple on earth, the altar, and the worshippers, as we have seen, having been measured and set apart for God. (Chapter 11:1) The Ark of the Covenant is seen in heaven, as God is about to unroll many of His future ways with them before the eyes of the prophet. And again we get the solemn tokens of God's judgment in view of that which is about to be accomplished for the vindication of His glory. Great hail, figurative of a tremendous downpour of God's wrath, is added to those already mentioned in chapter 8:5 and chapter 4:5.