Sunday, February 7, 2010

#Revelation 11> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> Trumpet Judgments ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22) 
     A. Judgment on the inhabitants of the earth (4 - 19) 
          5. The trumpet judgments (8, 9, 11b) 
          Summary of two witnesses during half the tribulation (11) 
          Summary of preparation for seventh trumpet (11b) 

Chapter 11 continues the break from the main list of events, to give more detailed information on what will occur during the course of the tribulation. It includes a reference to the culmination of the times of the Gentiles, the ministry of two prophets who minister during half the tribulation (the second woe) and an introduction to the seventh trumpet judgment (the third woe). 

1. Summary of two witnesses during half the tribulation (11) 

John received a reed, like a rod, and an angel told him to measure the temple of God, the altar, and them that worship therein. Apparently, during the tribulation, Israel will once again worship in the temple. 

In Zechariah 2, a man measures Jerusalem, and seems to picture God's judgment on that city. Ezekiel 40 records a careful measuring of the Temple of the future kingdom. In Revelation 21:15-17, New Jerusalem is measured. In chapter 11, not only is the temple measured, but also the altar and people who worship before it. Thus, measuring with a rod may denote God's ownership, and judgment, and show the failure of those who worship to measure up to God's standards. 

The court without the temple, however, was not to be measured. It was given unto the Gentiles, who will tread the holy city underfoot for forty two months (three and a half years). 

Daniel 9:25ff. describes the tribulation as a seven year period which will conclude with the bringing in of Christ's righteous kingdom. Verse 27 says that anti-christ will confirm a covenant with the nation Israel, and that they will continue in their offering of sacrifices in the temple, until the middle of this week. At this time, anti-christ will break his peace covenant with Israel, put an end to their worship, and cause abomination by establishing himself as God in the temple (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4). This would seem, then, to indicate that the last half of the tribulation ("42 months") is the time during which the Gentiles will trample Jerusalem underfoot. 

At this point, John mentions the two witnesses who will minister during "a thousand two hundred and threescore days" (three and one half years, or half the tribulation). The question is, during which half of the tribulation do they minister? Good arguments have been made for both halves of the tribulation. 

These witnesses testify in sackcloth, and are described as the two olive trees and candlesticks which stand before the God of the earth. "Olive trees" and "candlesticks" (cf. Zechariah 4:2-4) is a reference to Joshua, the high priest, and Zerubbabel, leaders who were raised up as a lampstand, or witness during the time of Zechariah. As the olive oil represented the power of the Holy Spirit in the times of those two prophets, so the power of God will energize the two witnesses of Revelation 11. 

Power to devour enemies with the fire of their mouths, to stop rain, to turn the waters into blood, and to smite the earth with plagues as often as they will, will be given to the two witnesses. When they have finished their testimony, "the beast (anti-christ)... shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and shall kill them". They will lie dead in the street of Jerusalem (which will then be likened to Sodom and Egypt) for three and a half days, and, getting relief from the prophets who "tormented" them, those who dwell on the earth will rejoice. 

At the end of three and a half days, "the Spirit of life from God" enters the witnesses, and they stand to their feet. Great fear falls upon those who see this. At the same hour, there will be a great earthquake which will cause a tenth of the city to fall, killing 7,000 people. Those who survive, will be "affrighted, and give glory to the God of heaven (as opposed to the anti-christ who set himself up as God). This constitutes the "second woe". 

2. Summary of preparation for seventh trumpet 

Sounding the seventh trumpet, the angel marks the introduction of the third and final woe. This results in great voices of praise in heaven, as "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever". The final events of judgment upon the angry nations mark the beginning of Christ's reign on earth. 

The concluding revelation of the temple and ark of God in heaven, may serve to show the contrast to the false system of worship which the anti-christ introduced. 

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