See Psa 79 allusions: ref to the nation of Israel in the
Allusions to Elijah and Moses (2 witnesses): (a) Fire out of
their mouths: cp Elijah bringing fire from heaven; (2Ki 1:10,12); (b) power to
shut heaven that it rain not; cp the three and a half years' drought according
to the word of Elijah (1Ki 17:1; James 5:17); (c) power to turn waters into
blood, the first of the plagues in Egypt; (d) and to smite the earth with all
plagues -- the rest of the plagues in Egypt. These references to Moses and
Elijah are doubtless intended to recall the Law and the Prophets, the custody of
which forms Israel's supreme witness to the God of Heaven.
Comparison of witnesses with Christ: (1) despised and
rejected; (2) no visible effect upon hearers; (3) slain... 3 days; (4) raised,
with an earthquake; (5) ascend to heaven in a cloud; and (6) enemies stricken
A REED: Measurement (Ezek 40:31; Rev
A MEASURING ROD: Correction (1Co 4:21). Thus a measured
period of chastisement (Lam 2:8).
TEMPLE: This "temple" is a spiritual one, consisting of
people (Joh 4:24; Heb 3:6; 1Pe 2:4-10).
Cp Luk 24:21. "From Spring of 67 to August of 70, the time of
formal imperial engagement against Jerusalem is a period of 42 months." John
"measures" the inner temple, altar and worshippers -- for protection (Eze 22:26;
Zec 2:1-5). Thus, in AD 70, the external temple [and the nation of Israel]
perishes but the spiritual reality -- the true worshippers, the new Israel -- is
(CH) " 'Court of the Gentiles' implies a religious order,
claiming association with the Temple, but in fact separate from it. It points to
Roman Catholicism, which was given power by decree of Phocas 606-610. Accepting
there is a commencement date, the period reaches to 1866-1870 when events
occurred which brought the Temporal power of the Papacy to an end.
"In between those terminal periods, the Papacy exercised its
persecuting policy against the true Ecclesia (cp Dan 7:24-25)" (ApEp).
SACKCLOTH: Tribulation, sorrow (Amo 8:10; Isa 37:1,2;
50:3; Rev 6:12).
CH: "The warfare suggested in this prophecy commenced
on the establishment of the State Church in the year 312. It was the period of
the Great Division, when the Donatists refused to bow to decrees that issued
forth from the State Church, even though they were backed by force.
"It commenced a religious controversy which continued for
1,260 years to 1572, and the Massacre of St Bartholomew. In that year, Rome made
determined efforts to still the voice of religious opposition. This succeeded in
France at least, where a terrible massacre of those opposed to Rome broke
"It brought to an end the effective testimony of the witnesses
which was then 'finished' (v 7), and they were given over to political death.
The 'coup de grace' came in 1685, when, after over a century of terrible
persecution, The Edict of Nantes was revoked, and the witnessing ceased for a
CH: "The two witnesses are known in history by many
names: Donatists, Waldenses, Novatians, Huguenots, etc. All in their turn
continued to witness against the Roman autocratic Ecclesiastical power,
maintaining an unbroken record of opposition until politically put to death in
Europe. The opposition of the two witnesses by voice and by sword, gave
protection to the Ecclesia in its faithful presentation of the Truth to the
world. There was always some party prepared to stand for its defence if need be,
and gain for it a certain immunity from trouble. But as the 1260 year period
neared its end in 1572, the hitherto forthright witnessing of the saints became
lax; the rigidity and separateness of the Truth was not maintained.
"In consequence, the Divine protection was withdrawn, and the
Papacy was permitted to gain the ascendancy. This was signalised by a terrible
period of persecution that culminated in the Massacre of St Bartholomew, 24th
August 1572, when a concerted effort was made by Papal interests to crush all
political and religious opposition to its power.
"This was a declaration of political and religious war to the
death. It was continued with varying fortunes until 1685 when the Edict of
Nantes which had earlier granted many privileges and much relief to Protestants,
was finally revoked.
"The war-cry then became: 'Die or be Catholics.' Persecution,
torture and death now became the weapons by which Rome sought to force its will
on the Protestants of Europe. Amid a thousand hideous lamentations and horrid
blasphemies, men and women were subjected to unspeakable indignities to make
them sign that they were Catholics.
"The Inquisition did its work with frightful efficiency, and
the Dark Ages, a period of ignorance, spiritual darkness, and blind superstition
unilluminated by the light of Truth in Europe was ushered in" (ApEp).
SODOM: Jerusalem as Sodom: Isa 1:10; 3:1,9; Jer 23:14;
Lam 4:6; Eze 16:45-58; Deu 32:32.
EGYPT: Jerusalem as Egypt: Eze 23:3-19; 1Ki 3:1; 2Ch
36:4; Jer 42:14. Israel's judgments in Rev 8 are based on the plagues that came
WHERE ALSO THEIR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED: This strongly
confirms the identification of Jerusalem with Sodom and Egypt.
(CH) "By decree of Caracalla, Rome was made co-extensive with
its dominions. Christ was crucified by the edict of Rome" (ApEp).
THREE AND A HALF DAYS: "The period of three and a half
days probably stands for three and a half years. This suggestion is made, not on
the basis of 'a year for each day,' but simply from the appropriateness of the
imagery employed. To have said, 'they shall see their dead bodies three years
and a half' would have been to import into the prophecy too big an element of
unreality. What dead bodies would lie exposed anywhere for three and a half
years?" (WRev). Cp Lesson, 3 1/2 years, etc.
AND REFUSE THEM BURIAL: "This seems to imply the
overthrow of the state of Israel, but not the utter genocide of its inhabitants.
The words suggest pressure brought to bear (by the Western powers?) to save them
from utter destruction though not from savage maltreatment. Perhaps there is
implication of an attempt at re-settlement elsewhere. Other prophecies (Zec
14:2; Isa 19:18-20; Joel 3:1-8,19) paint a similar picture... In the symbolism,
to disallow the entombment of a dead body is the height of indignity and insult.
Thus there is suggested the contumely and wretchedness, which is to come upon
Israel in what, more than at any period in their history, will be 'the time of
Jacob's trouble.' Further, there will be great rejoicing among their enemies who
are twice described as 'them that dwell on the earth', ie 'in the Land.' Who are
these but the surrounding Arab nations? Ishmael was ever a mocker of Isaac,
especially in times of misfortune. It was so in the days of Gideon, and of
Hezekiah, and of Zedekiah, and in AD 70, and so it assuredly will be again (Jdg
6:1-3; Psa 83:3,4; Oba 1:12; Jer 48:42; Ezek 35:10; 36:2). How appropriate too,
are the words: 'These two prophets tormented them that dwell in the Land.' The
very presence of Jews in Palestine and, even more, of an Israeli state, has been
smoke in the nose and a thorn in the side of all Arabs everywhere"
CH: "A period of 105 years elapsed between the
political death of the witnesses in 1685, and their political resurrection in
the French Revolution of 1790, but in accordance with the aptness of the symbol
this is reduced back to 3 1/2 days.
"It would not be appropriate for a dead body to lie in an open
street for longer than that because of decomposition that would take place. JT
suggests therefore that 3 1/2 lunar days are referred to. A lunar day (the
phases of the moon) is equal to 30 normal days, so that the period of time thus
indicated is exactly what is required: 105 days. During this period of time the
tragedy was kept alive before the world" (ApEp).
ON THE EARTH: Or, "in the Land" -- the Arab nations: cp
Jdg 6:1-3; Psa 83:3,4; Oba 1:12; Jer 48:42; Eze 35:10; 36:2.
UP TO HEAVEN IN A CLOUD: "This is not a literal
ascension to heaven like that of Jesus, because: (a) in Rev heaven signifies the
state of fellowship with God and of access to His throne (eg Rev 15:1; 19:1);
and (b) 'their enemies beheld them' implies a change of status and forbids the
idea of literal ascension.
"Hence this detail should be interpreted of the repentance of
Israel (though not necessarily of the entire nation), which will probably
immediately precede the coming of Christ. There can be little doubt that this
ascension of the witnesses is the symbolic 'receiving again' of those who for
long years have been 'cast off.' The following passages bear on this interesting
question: Isa 40:3; Mal 4:6; Zep 2:3; Zec 12:10; Isa 59:20; Amos 5:15; Mat
23:39; 24:32; Rom 11:15; Ezek 36:25; 37:23; Acts 3:19 (RV); Isa 17:7, 8; Psa
81:13,14; Deu 30:1-3; 1Ki 8:47; Lev 26:40-42; Jer 4:12" (WRev).
SEVEN THOUSAND: 7,000 = 1/10 of 70,000 (70 sym Gentile
nations: Deu 32:8/Gen 10; 46; Exo 15:27; 24:4,9 with Luk 9:1; 10:1; cp 70 yrs
captivity and 70 "wks" prophecy).
This indicates that the "2nd woe" (vv 1-13) has to do with the
LD. This vision extends into Rev 12; 13. (Cp "woe": 12:12; "3rd part": Rev 12:4,
a characteristic of trumpets.)
Vv 15-19: "These vv provide an admirable summary of the main
action in the rest of the book: (a) Voices in heaven, saying... (Rev 19:6); (b)
The kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ (Rev 19:6); (c) 24 elders worshipped
God (Rev 19:4,6); (d) Lord God Almighty, which art and which wast (Rev 16:5,
RV); (e) The nations were angry (Rev 12:7); (f) Thy wrath is come (Rev 16); (g)
The time of the dead (Rev 20:12; 14:3); (h) Thy servants the prophets and thy
saints (Rev 16:6; 18:24); (i) to destroy them which destroy the earth (Rev
14:18-20; 19:15-21); (j) The temple of God opened in heaven... the ark of his
covenant (Rev 15:5); and (k) Lightnings, voices, etc (Rev 16:18).
"All this is called the Seventh Trumpet. There must be some
connection between this and Paul's remarkable words, '... we shall all be
changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of a eye, at the last trump: for the
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible' (1Co 15:52)...
'the time of the dead that they should be judged' " (WRev).
The walls of Jericho fell after the city had been compassed on
each of six days and then seven times on the seventh day, to the accompaniment
of priestly trumpet blasts. It is easy to see the resemblance to the Seven
Seals, the last of which introduced the Seven Trumpets, leading up to the
downfall of the kingdom of man. Without the Ark of the Covenant in the lead,
Jericho was impregnable. Hence in this antitype "there was seen the ark of his
covenant" (v 19). Furthermore, the walls of Jericho only fell when "the people
shouted with a great shout" (Josh 6:20). Accordingly Rev reads in this place:
"And there were great voices in heaven, saying... "
AND HE WILL REIGN FOR EVER AND EVER: The words are a
quotation either of Psa 10:16 or of Psa 146:10. The first of these celebrates
how God will "break the arm of the wicked... the nations are perished out of his
land." The second makes contrast between the futility of human power and the
wondrous ways of God. The psa continues: "The Lord looseth the prisoners (out of
the tomb; Zec 9:11,12). The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind; the Lord raiseth
them that are bowed down; the Lord loveth the righteous... but the way of the
wicked he turneth upside down."
THE ONE WHO IS AND WHO WAS: "Is to come" is no longer
appropriate (Rev 1:8). He has come! Cp Rev 16:5.
Cp Psa 79:6: "Pour out thy wrath on the heathen... "
... WAS SEEN THE ARK OF HIS COVENANT: This is very
similar to the prelude to the Seven Vials (Rev 15: 5,8), and suggests that these
two heptads are intended to have similar reference. Certainly several of the
main characters re-appear in Rev 16; 17.
The Ark of the Covenant being seen implies the imminent
forgiveness of sins for the people of God (Lev 16:14,30) and the bestowal of an
imperishable life symbolized by the incorruptible manna (Exo 16:32,33; Rev 2:17)
treasured inside the ark. But it also means judgement for the enemies of the
Lord who assume a right of access to the holy things of God (1Sa 6:19,
AN EARTHQUAKE: Earthquakes accompany awesome
manifestations of God: Exo 19:18; Jdg 5:4; Psa 77:18; 114:4; Isa 2:10-22; Jer
4:24; Eze 38:20; Joe 3:16; Amo 9:1,5; Zec 14:4; Rev 6:12; 11:19;