Chapter 11 is a most interesting chapter. A careful reader will find it as difficult as it is interesting. The questions are often asked: Will the temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem again? Will the Jews go back to their former worship? The first two verses of this chapter would answer a positive “yes” to these questions.
After the Covenant goes into effect between the Anti-Christ and the Jews, they rapidly build the Temple and commence their temple worship. This moves along smoothly for the first 3½ years. Then the Antichrist breaks the Covenant, desecrates the Temple, and sets his own image therein. When this happens, Jerusalem will be in the hands of the Gentiles for 42 months or 3 ½ years. This time period is called: The Great Tribulation [The time of Jacob’s trouble]. Although Jerusalem is in the hands of the Jews at the moment, Revelation 11 tells us that it is only temporary and that the city and land of Palestine will revert back to the Gentiles for a short time (3½ years), until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
God’s Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:1-14)
In Rev. 11:1-2, John is seen measuring the temple for God. Like all man made systems, it falls far short of God’s standards. Israel’s previous temples were destroyed: Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon’s temple in 586 BC. Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple after the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity. Herod the Great enlarged and beautified it beginning about 20 B.C. This temple was destroyed in AD 70.
Questions for Reflection:
How does professing Christendom measure up to God’s standards? [Describe]
How do I measure up to God’s standards?
(Think about this in light of the following passages - Romans 3:23 “We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and Daniel 5:27, “You are weighed in the balances and found wanting.” Think of the rich young ruler – “One thing you lack” – and the Pharisee and the Publican.)
[Describe the two witnesses] These two will prophesy for 3½ years. Fire from their mouth will destroy those who attempt to hurt them. They have power over the elements (i.e. stop the rain – turn water into blood). They can also smite the earth with plagues. When their work is finished, Satan (the Antichrist) kills them. Their bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3½ days. The whole world rejoices at their death. After 3½ days, they are resurrected, and then they ascend into heaven in a cloud. It is a miracle that they are able to stay alive for 3½ years. It will be practically impossible for a Christian to remain alive during the second half of the tribulation.
Draw your attention to Rev. 11:11, “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.” When the ministry of the true witnesses has finished, God permits their lives to be taken. It is comforting for all God’s people to know that their God will protect them as long as He has a ministry that needs to be finished. When Paul’s ministry was finished, he could say, though he was about to lose his life, that he had no fear of death (see 2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Our time on earth is appointed. See John 7:1 - “Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth?” Job 14:5 reads, “His days are determined – the number of months are with you. You have appointed his bounds, which he cannot pass.” Job realized that he had an appointed time. Job 14:14 says, “If a man die, shall he live again?” We also have an appointed time. “Set your house in order for you shall die and not live.” Those who do not realize this are like the rich fool of Luke 12 [describe]. Man not only has an appointment with death, but he has an appointment with God. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Those who die without Christ will stand before Him at the “Great White Throne,” (See Rev. 20). The whole world shall see the dead witnesses lying in the streets of Jerusalem for 3½ days (Rev. 11:9). In Rev. 11:11-12, we have the resurrection and ascension of the witnesses. Christ’s enemies were not permitted to see His ascension. Neither will they see the rapture of the Church. But they will see the ascension of the witnesses – they will know that this is of God. But alas, alas they do not repent and believe. God’s judgment on the city comes in the form of an earthquake. A tenth of the city is destroyed and 7,000 men are killed. The olive tree is testimony, the vine is fruitfulness, the fig tree is national Israel, and the two lamps are light in the darkness. The witnesses stand before the Lord of the earth. Thus, the testimony is one of power and light.
The Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-19)
Jubilee in Heaven
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and then a great symphony of voices began to proclaim the ultimate and absolute triumph of Christ. This envisions God consummating His judgments on earth and bringing in everlasting righteousness. After the sounding of the seventh trumpet, heaven’s hosts announce what is coming. The seventh trumpet ushers in the period in which the seven bowls of God’s wrath will be poured out upon the earth (Rev. 16). These will bring an end to the Tribulation. At this point in the chapter, the Second coming of Christ to the earth with His heavenly armies is just ahead. The final battle of the campaign of Armageddon and the disposing of all earthly enemies, including Satan, will come to pass.
When the seventh seal was broken, there was silence in heaven for the space of half an hour (See Rev. 8:1). When the seventh trumpet is blown, there is great jubilation in heaven in anticipation of the termination of evil. The end is now in sight. God has allowed Satan to control the kingdoms of the world; now they are about to become the kingdom of our Lord. This causes the 24 elders to fall on their faces and worship God. They are representative of the Church (Rev. 11:16). They give thanks to the one who is – who was – and who is to come - the eternal God - the I AM.
The Wrath of God
Revelation 11:18 portrays the anger of the nations. Man is a rebel against God to the very end. Man’s wrath reaches a crescendo just prior to the Lord’s return (See Psalm 2). Man’s rebellion will be brought to an end when our Lord returns. Psalm 2:9 reads, “You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Thy wrath came (is come) – in the absolute and final defeat of the Gentile powers. [The Great White Throne - the giving of rewards to prophets and saints]
Rev. 11:18 emphasizes that the time has come for God to “destroy them which destroy the earth.” This includes both man and Satan. Satan’s two key instruments during the Tribulation are the beast and the false prophet. Their judgment comes when Christ returns to earth at the end of the Tribulation. They both were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with fire and brimstone.” See Rev. 19:20. Then Satan himself is bound for a thousand years and cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3).
After Christ’s millennial reign, Satan is released. He makes his final assault against God and is crushed and “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. It is here, where the beast and the false prophet are, that he shall be tormented day and night forever and ever. See Rev. 20:10. Finally, the last enemy that will be destroyed is death, 1 Cor. 15:25-26. After the great voices in heaven pronounce that the time of God’s wrath has come, John says, “And the temple of God was open in heaven and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.” (Rev. 11:19)