Revelation 11:11-19

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

THE TWO WITNESSES' ASCENSION TO HEAVEN AND THE SOUNDING OF THE SEVENTH TRUMPET

INTRODUCTION:

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:1-14 is a continuation of the same subject as Revelation of Jesus Christ 10 . It is an interlude or a parenthetical statement and does not advance the narrative of Revelation.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11 makes good sense literally and should therefore be interpreted literally.

In our last message, we considered verses 1-10.

We have seen -

I. THE MEASURING ROD OF GOD - 11:1-2

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:1-2 - (1) And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (2) 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.

We have also seen -

II. THE PROPHECY OF THE TWO WITNESSES - 11:3-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:3-6 - (3) And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (4) These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (5) 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. (6) 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.

In addition, we have seen -

III. THE DEATH OF THE TWO WITNESSES - 11:7-10

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:7-10 - (7) 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. (8) 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. (9) And they of the people 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. (10) 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.

As we finished our last message, we left the bodies of the two witnesses lying in the street of Jerusalem for three and one half days.

We continue with -

IV. THE RESTORATION OF THE TWO WITNESSES TO LIFE AND THEIR ASCENSION TO HEAVEN - 11:11-12

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:11-12 - (11) 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. (12) 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.

The merrymaking of those who rejoice in the death of the two witnesses is cut short after three and one-half days by the witnesses' restoration to life.

According to verse 11, after three and one-half days, to the utter amazement of those viewing the dead bodies of God's two witnesses, the Spirit of life from God enters into the two witnesses; and they stand upon their feet cutting short the celebration of their deaths.

After three days and an half their celebration abruptly ends. This is the length of time their dead bodies will lie in the street of Jerusalem.

The Spirit of life from God entered into them.

The Spirit of life is literally a spirit of life, a living spirit, or a spirit which is life. Although Spirit has been capitalized in the English text, it is not necessarily a reference to the Holy Spirit.

From God describes the source of this spirit. In other words, God raises them from the dead.

And they stood upon their feet indicates that the two witnesses stood up. All of a sudden they were standing on their feet. There are some things believers in this age would like to see, and one of them is the looks on the faces of those gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the deaths of the two witnesses when the two witnesses are raised from the dead and the celebration of their deaths is brought to a screeching halt. It will be classic! However, we will be in heaven when this occurs, and we will likely be otherwise occupied.

The reaction of those who were looking at the time the two witnesses were made alive and stood up is indicated by and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

Great fear is much fear.

Fell upon them which saw them means fell upon the ones who were beholding them or came upon the ones who were looking at (or observing) them.

Them which saw them is some from the group of those described as that dwell on the earth in verse 10. They saw the two witnesses suddenly spring to life.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:12 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.

According to verse 12, the two witnesses hear a great voice from heaven saying, Come up hither. As a result, they ascend up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watch.

They heard refers at least to the two witnesses who have now been raised from the dead. There is no way of knowing for certain whether others heard this great voice because the text does not make this clear. However, inasmuch as it was a great voice, one would assume that they did hear, especially since the recently-raised-from-the-dead witnesses were being observed. I prefer to believe that others who were observing these two witnesses also heard this voice from heaven.

What they heard was a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither.

It is not revealed whose voice this was which they heard, but it is described as a great voice. The fact that this voice was great suggests that it was loud or booming. The two witnesses had no trouble hearing it or understanding it.

This voice came from heaven or out of heaven. It is the heaven where God dwells.

Saying unto them is speaking to them and means speaking to the two witnesses.

What this voice said is, Come up hither, i.e. come up here. It means come up to heaven. The tense of come up indicates that its action is to be carried out immediately and without delay. The word translated come up is the same word and tense used in Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:1 where John was ordered to do the same thing.

In reaction to their being ordered to heaven they [i.e. the two witnesses] ascended up [i.e. went up] to heaven in a cloud.

In a cloud is literally in the cloud. The is used in the Greek text to particularize cloud in some way. Similarly, when Jesus ascended into heaven, a cloud received Him. Does the before cloud in this verse indicate that the cloud in Revelation is the same cloud which received Jesus into heaven? Some have speculated that the cloud is a cloud of angels, and I prefer to believe this. However, we can only speculate because we are not told what kind of cloud it is. However, the fact that the appears before cloud in this verse suggests that it was no ordinary cloud.

Just as some saw Jesus rise up into the air as a cloud received Him out of their sight, these people observing the two witnesses see their ascent into heaven as is indicated by and their enemies beheld them.

Their enemies refers those who had killed them or those who had at least rejoiced over their deaths, even to the point of exchanging gifts in celebration of their deaths.

Beheld them suggests saw the two witnesses ascending up to heaven. What a sight this must have been!

Following the ascension of the two witnesses to heaven, we see -

V. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE THIRD WOE - 11:13-14

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:13-14 - (13) 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. (14) The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

A great earthquake occurs in which a tenth part of Jerusalem falls and seven thousand men are killed. Great fear falls upon those who remain, and they give glory to God. It does not appear to indicate that they believed the gospel and got saved, however.

Shortly after the two witnesses ascend to heaven, the events of verse 13 take place as if God is putting an exclamation point on raising these witnesses from the dead and thwarting the antichrist and his followers. According to verse 13, at the same hour in which the two witnesses ascend up to heaven a great earthquake levels one tenth of the city of Jerusalem and kills 7,000 people. The rest of the people are frightened and give glory to the God of heaven.

The same hour is in that hour.

There was a great earthquake means that a great earthquake occurred. We are not told how great this great earthquake was, but it was great enough that the tenth part of the city fell. One tenth of the city fell suggests that many buildings and/or walls collapsed.

Of course, when buildings collapse, people are injured and die. In the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand, i.e. seven thousand people were killed in this earthquake.

Some did not die in the earthquake, however. The remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The remnant is the rest or the others and suggests the remaining ones, i.e. the ones who were not killed.

Were affrighted suggests were afraid or were terrified.

Something additional was done by those who survived the earthquake: they gave glory to the God of heaven. Whether any of these persons were really saved is not clear, but they knew what had happened and they gave credit where credit was due. Only God could have raised these two witnesses from the dead and raised them up to heaven, and they knew it. Only God could have brought about this terrible earthquake in which seven thousand people were killed. Those who survived had to know that they might just as easily have been among the dead except that God had spared their lives.

The God of heaven is the God of the Bible. One can remember that even unsaved people were singing songs such as God Bless America for months after the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were destroyed on September 11, 2001. They realized their vulnerability; yet, it seems that few remembered for long or turned in repentance to God for salvation from their sins.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

In verse 14 it is announced that the second woe, i.e. the sixth trumpet judgment, is over and that the third woe, i.e. the seventh trumpet judgment, is coming soon. Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:13 , following the fourth trumpet judgment reads,

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:13 - And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:12 , following the fifth trumpet judgment, reads,

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:12 - One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

Now, following the sixth trumpet judgment and in anticipation of the seventh trumpet judgment, verse 14 reads,

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:14 - The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

The second woe refers to the sixth trumpet judgment which is detailed in 9:13-21. There has been an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments in 10:1 - 11:13.

Combining these verses (i.e. Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:13 , 9:12, and 11:14) leads us to conclude that the three woes mentioned in 8:13 are the fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpet judgments.

Verse 14 announces that the interlude is over and that the third woe can be expected at any time. Is past suggests has gone away, has departed, or has passed away; and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

Behold is used to gain the reader's attention. It has been seen a number of times thus far in Revelation. It is sometimes translated lo.

The third woe has reference to the seventh and final trumpet judgment. It will carry the narrative of the Book of Revelation all the way to the second coming of Christ.

Cometh is comes or is coming and suggests that it is already on its way.

Quickly is at once or without delay. The implication is that it will soon be here.

Following the announcement of the third woe, we see that -

VI. THE SEVENTH TRUMPET SOUNDS - 11:15

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:15 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 for ever and ever.

In verse 15 the seventh angel sounds his trumpet; and great voices are heard in heaven.

And the seventh angel sounded, except for the number, is identical in the Greek text to what has already been seen with the other six angels sounding their trumpets.

The seventh angel is the seventh of the seven angels mentioned in 8:2.

Sounded is sounded the trumpet.

There were great voices in heaven is great voices were in heaven or great voices came to pass in heaven.

The reader is not told how many voices there were, but great voices suggests that they were loud or booming.

In heaven tells where these voices were speaking or heard. This is the heaven where God dwells.

Saying is used in the sense of declaring.

These voices were saying, 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 before kingdoms implies that the sum total of all the kingdoms in the world are in view.

Kingdoms are domains over which someone rules.

Of this world implies that every kingdom worldwide is in view. None are excepted.

Are become is have become. It is translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action and is said before it actually takes place in anticipation of its happening.

The kingdoms of our Lord is simply our Lord's. Because of the next phrase, it is clear that Lord is referring to God the Father.

And of his Christ is and of His Anointed or and of His Messiah. Thus, the kingdoms of the world have now become God the Father's and Christ's.

And he shall reign for ever and ever is apparently a reference to God the Father's reigning forever and ever. In I Corinthians 15:24-28 it is revealed that Christ will eventually turn over the kingdom to His Father,

I Corinthians 15:24-28 - (24) Then cometh the end, when he [i.e. Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he [i.e. Christ] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (25) For he [i.e. Christ] must reign, till he [i.e. God the Father] hath put all enemies under his [i.e. under Christ's] feet. (26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (27) For he [i.e. God the Father] hath put all things under his [i.e. under Christ's] feet. But when he [i.e. God the Father] saith, all things are put under him [i.e. under Christ], it is manifest [i.e. evident] that he [i.e. God the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under him [i.e. under Christ]. (28) And when all things shall be subdued unto him [i.e. unto Christ], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [i.e. unto God the Father] that put all things under him [i.e. under Christ], that God [i.e. God the Father] may be all in all.

Back to Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:15

Shall reign is predictive of a future event which is definitely going to happen and means shall rule as king.

For ever and ever means that it will never end.

Next, we see -

VII. THE WORSHIP OF THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS - 11:16-17

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:16-17 - (16) And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats [i.e. on their thrones], fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, (17) 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.

In verse 16 the twenty-four elders fall upon their faces and worship God. What they say is stated in verse 17.

The four and twenty elders is the same group first introduced in Revelation of Jesus Christ 4 . They are representatives of believers from the church age.

Which sat before God on their seats is the ones who are sitting before God [i.e. in the presence of God or in the sight of God] on their thrones.

The twenty-four elders fell upon their faces, and worshipped God suggests that they fell to the ground with their faces down rather than having their faces up and looking at God.

Something else that these twenty-four elders did is that they worshipped God which means that they did obeisance to God. Here, God is God the Father. One cannot help but notice that their worship differs greatly from what passes for worship in many places in this twenty-first century.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:17 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.

In verse 17 as they worship God, the twenty-four elders are thanking God.

We give thee thanks, where thee is God the Father, is, We thank You.

O Lord God Almighty is Lord, God, the Almighty One; Lord God, the All-powerful One; or Lord God, the Omnipotent One.

Which art, and wast, and art to come is the One Who is, and the One Who was, and the One Who is coming. The identical phrase has been used of God the Father in Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:4 , 1:8, and 4:8.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:4 - John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:8 - I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:8 - And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Back to Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:17

Because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned provides the reason the twenty-four elders are giving thanks to God the Father.

Thou hast taken to thee thy great power is simply You have taken Your great power. Thou and thy refer to God the Father.

And hast reigned, which emphasizes the result of its action, introduces something else God the Father has done. He has reigned as king over the entire creation.

We move on to -

VIII. THE EVENTS MARKING THE REIGN OF GOD THE FATHER - 11:18

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:18 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.

The dead are judged at this time, and the righteous are rewarded.

The time has also come when God destroys those who destroy the earth, referring to those living on the earth at that time who rebel against God. It is not referring to those who are guilty of polluting the earth or its atmosphere.

In verse 18 the nations are angry, and God's wrath has come. Now it is time for God to judge the dead and to give reward to His servants, the prophets, to the saints, and to all that fear His name. It is also time to destroy those who destroy the earth.

The nations were angry speaks of the unsaved peoples of the world being angry toward God. In Psalms 2 , referring to this same period of time, David asked,

Psalms 2 - 1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD [i.e. against God the Father], and against his anointed [i.e. against His Christ or against His Messiah], saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder [i.e. their fetters, their bonds, or their chains in pieces], and cast away their cords [i.e. their ropes] from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision [i.e. the Lord scoffs at them]. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure [i.e. and terrify them in his fury]. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD [i.e. God the Father] hath said unto me [i.e. unto Jesus], Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Back to Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:18

And thy wrath is come is and Your wrath has come.

Thy wrath is God the Father's wrath which He will pour out on the world of the ungodly at the second coming of Christ. The term used for wrath speaks of God's consistent and persistent anger which is constantly against all that is evil or ungodly. It speaks of a settled condition rather than a fit of emotion.

Is come is translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. It is used in the sense of has come.

The time of the dead, that they should be judged has also come. It is literally the time of the dead ones to be judged. The dead are the unsaved dead because of the contrast with giving reward unto thy servants. The result of the judgment of the unsaved dead will be that they will be cast into the lake of fire in Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:15 .

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:15 - And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Another time that has come is the time that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great.

That thou shouldest give is simply to give.

What God the Father is going to give is reward [the term used for pay or wages]. It is used figuratively here in the sense of reward.

Unto thy servants the prophets is to Your slaves the prophets. The prophets are a particular group of God's servants.

And to the saints is to saved people, i.e. to sanctified ones, those who have been set apart for God and His use. It is a term used of believers.

And them that fear thy name, small and great is the same group of people as is indicated by the saints. Saints are people who fear God. Because of their fear of God, they have submitted to Him by believing on the name of Christ. As a result, they continue to fear God in the sense that they stand in awe of Him.

Thy name is God the Father's name. One's name represents all that he is; therefore, saying that one fears God's name is the same as saying that he fears God.

Small and great most likely refers to their ages so that small would be younger ones and great would be older ones.

Still another time has come. It is the time that (Thou) [i.e. God the Father] shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth [i.e. should destroy the ones who are destroying the earth]. The idea is that they are ruining the earth and that God will ruin them.

They destroy the earth by committing acts of wickedness in their rebellion against God and thereby corrupt the earth. It is not speaking about polluting the earth.

Finally, we see -

IX. THE OPENING OF THE TEMPLE OF GOD IN HEAVEN - 11:19

Revelation of Jesus Christ 11:19 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.

With the opening of the temple of God in heaven, there are accompanying lightnings, voices, thunderings, apparently in the earthly scene, as well as an earthquake and great hail. The plain implication is that God is about to deal in judgment with the earth.

In verse 19 the temple of God was opened in heaven.

The tense of was opened indicates continuing action in past time. It suggests that it was being opened as John was looking.

There was seen in his temple the ark of his testament is the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple.

It is the ark of his testament, i.e. the ark of God the Father's covenant. It is reminiscent of the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament tabernacle.

Furthermore, there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

Voices may refer to voices which speak, or voices may refer to noises made by the thunderings.

Great hail suggests that the hailstones were large, but we are not told how large they were. It is a dramatic way of introducing what follows in the next chapter.