"Come, Lord Jesus", CFP, 101-123, by Watchman Nee
Sounding Seven Trumpets (8.6-11.19)
8.6-7 “THE FIRST TRUMPET”
8.6 The seven angels prepare themselves to sound the trumpets.
8.7 God’s judgment proceeds from the furtherest place until it strikes men. His judgment falls on other things first, He still expecting repentance from men.
At the sounding of the first trumpet fire is cast upon the earth, consuming the third part of the trees as fuel. In the Old Testament age, soon after the sacrifice was offered by fire the blood was poured out. Hence we have here fire and blood. This fire will burn through the bottomless pit.
And the third part of the trees along with all green grass are burned up. The beauty of nature is first destroyed.
8.8-9 “THE SECOND TRUMPET”
The plague of this trumpet causes the maritime world to lose one third of its business (cf. “the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas”, Ps. 46.2). This trumpet hurts the salty waters.
8.10-11 “THE THIRD TRUMPET”
As both the first and second trumpets use fire, so fire is used in the third trumpet. In remembrance of His covenant with Noah, God will not use water to destroy the earth again (Gen. 9.13-15).
“Wormwood” means “bitter” (see Jer. 9.13-15, 23.14-15; Lam. 3.15). This trumpet strikes the non-salty waters.
8.12 “THE FOURTH TRUMPET”
The lights of the sun, moon, and stars, together with the other celestial phenomena, are disturbed; and the world becomes darker. God has not smitten the sun, moon, and stars completely because He remembers His own word (Gen. 8.22).
The plagues of the seals are general, but the plagues of the trumpets are specific and designated. Hence the seals have been and are being fulfilled, while in our time none of the trumpets has as yet been blown.
8.13 Just as the seals are divided into four and three, so the trumpets are divided into four and three. The first four trumpets are merely tribulations, but the last three are the trumpets of woes (9.12, 11.14). The plagues of the first four trumpets are not directed against men; they only affect mankind indirectly. The death of the last three trumpets, however, do come directly to men.
The “eagle” mentioned here is indeed an eagle, for did not the ass of Balaam also speak?
“Them that dwell on the earth”—They are differentiated from those who are mere strangers and sojourners on earth.
9.1-12 “THE FIFTH [TRUMPET] . . . THE FIRST WOE”
The Great Tribulation probably begins at the fifth trumpet since this is a trumpet of woe.
9.1 “. . . a star”—This star cannot be interpreted as a literal star as is the case with the star mentioned in 8.10, because the star here is able to receive the key to the pit of the abyss and to open it. Who is this star? None but Satan himself.
“From heaven fallen unto the earth”—The word “fallen” in the original is the same as the phrase “cast down” in 12.9. “Star” in the Scriptures has reference to angel. In Job we find this verse: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (38.7). Here in Job we are definitely told that the stars stand for the angels in heaven.
Being cast down, this angel cannot be a good one, although as we learn from the apostle he often disguises himself as an angel of light to deceive men (2 Cor. 11.14).
The three and a half years mentioned at various places in the book of Revelation begin and end at the same time. Chapters 11.2-3, 12.6-14, and 13.5 are all simultaneous. The casting down of the star happens at the fifth trumpet, which in turn marks the beginning of the 42 months (the Great Tribulation).
9.2 The bottomless pit is “the pit of the abyss”—What is it? Where is it? It is the habitation of the devil. Luke 8.28,31 tells us that it is the place where demons are tormented. Wherever there is a demon there will be torment there. The demons are in this world, thus making it a demonic world.
The casting down of the star coincides with the record of Luke 10.18. In Luke is the verdict, but here is the execution. When Satan is restricted the pit is closed.
Having smoke simply proves that there is fire within. It is hard to imagine how the pit is opened. The words of Deuteronomy 29.23—“The whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and a burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which Jehovah overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath”—seem like a prophecy of 29.23. For more on smoke, see also Revelation 18.8-9, and 19.3.
From 8.12 we learned that the light in the sky is dimmed by one third of its original brightness, but now the sun and the air are darkened completely here. First, the diminishing of the lights of the sun, moon and stars. Next, their remaining brightness is all covered by smoke.
9.3 “Locusts”—These are not ordinary locusts for the following reasons:
(1) According to 9.4 these locusts, unlike ordinary ones, do not hurt the grass, herbs and trees of the earth but men instead.
(2) The power of these locusts is like that of scorpions (9.3), and they strike men with the torment of a scorpion (9.5). Even their likeness is peculiar (9.7-10), it being totally different from common locusts.
(3) It is stated in Exodus that “neither after them shall [there] be such” (10.14).
(4) From Proverbs 30.27 we read that “the locusts have no king”; yet the locusts here do have a king (9.11).
(5) These locusts come out of the pit of the abyss which is not an ordinary dwelling place; it is the place of the devil.
What are these locusts? Probably they are a special specie possessed by the demons. In this connection please consider the following:
In 9.3,5,7, and 10, it is said of these locusts that they have power as of the scorpions of the earth and their shapes are like horses prepared for war, with tails like scorpions and stings. Combine this information with the fact that the horses in the sixth trumpet have tails like serpents (9.19), and then compare all of this with Luke 10.17-19 where we read that the Lord gives authority to His own to tread upon serpents and scorpions. The cross of our Lord has sentenced Satan to be cast out, and here in 9.1 is the execution of that sentence.
The earth is given to men for habitation, but the pit of the abyss is the place for the devil to dwell.
The word “deep” in Genesis 1.2, according to the Septuagint, is the same word as for the pit of the abyss. It is the dwelling place of the demonic forces. When God divided the waters (Gen. 1.7,8) some of these spiritual hosts of wickedness hovered in the air, thus making it another dwelling place (Eph. 6.12). The sea is probably the mouth to the pit of the abyss. For just as death and Hades give up the dead that are in them, so also the sea gives up the dead that are in it (Rev. 20.13).
The Lord Jesus once descended into the abyss (Rom. 10.7).
9.4,5 These locusts evidently possess supernatural intelligence since they not only can receive orders but also can organize whom God has sealed. (The sealing on the forehead mentioned in 7.1-8 must be a kind of secret sign.) God orders them not to hurt those men who have the seal of God on their foreheads; and He merely permits them to hurt, but not kill, those without the seal of God on their foreheads.
On the scorpion’s tail is a sting which is sharp and cutting, with poison in it. When it strikes, it injects its poison into man and torments him for five months. The severity of an infliction by a scorpion is proverbial (for example, see 2 Chron. 10.11).
9.6 The desire to die is a matter of the heart, whereas the seeking of death is a question of way. Presently it is death that seeks man, but in the future it will be man seeking death. Men would rather seek death than repent of their sins.
9.7-10 The likenesses of these locusts especially resemble war horses, having golden crowns and breastplates. The breastplates are for their own protection, thus indicating that people will no doubt put up some resistance.
9.11 The king over these locusts is Antichrist. The fallen star mentioned in 9.1 is Satan himself. The beast comes out of the abyss (11.7) or the sea (13.1), suggesting thereby that the abyss is at the bottom of the sea.
“Abaddon” is the name of a place (see Prov. 15.11, 27.20; Job 26.6). In some Scripture passages the word translated “destruction” in some versions is really the word “Abaddon” in the original Hebrew.
The Greek word “Apollyon” is the name of a person. It means Destroyer (see Jer. 4.7, 6.26; Is. 16.4; Dan. 8.24-25, 9.26, 11.44). This messenger of the abyss is therefore named according to his origin and conduct.
9.12 In this first woe, pay special attention to two things: (1) that Satan is cast out of heaven, and (2) that Antichrist comes out of the abyss. And by this time both have now appeared on earth, and their reign shall therefore begin.
9.13-21 with 11.14a “THE SIXTH [TRUMPET] . . . THE SECOND WOE”
9.13 “A voice from the horns of the golden altar which is before God”—Some interpret this to be God answering the prayers of the saints. Such an interpretation is faulty, however, because (1) God’s answer to prayer should happen at the blowing of the first trumpet since the prayers of the saints are offered with incense on the golden altar as recorded in 8.3; and (2) the voice does not come from the golden altar but comes from the four horns of the golden altar. If this indeed were an answer to prayer, the voice should come from the golden altar itself since the incense is burned on the altar and not on the four horns. In the Old Testament period only the blood of the sin-offering is put on the horns of the golden altar round about (Lev. 16.18). Hence the voice which comes out of the four horns of the golden altar signifies instead that God is going to judge men according to the work of the Lord Jesus. God judges men because they will not accept the gospel and refuse to believe. This is the voice of God because He is the only one behind the golden altar.
9.14 “The great river Euphrates”—This river shall be the boundary in the future (see the prophecies of Ezekiel).
At the sounding of the fifth trumpet Antichrist appears, and at the sounding of the sixth trumpet war breaks out. Antichrist attempts to establish his kingdom.
Whereas the sixth trumpet in chapter 9 tells us of the victory of Antichrist, the sixth bowl in chapter 16 tells us of his defeat.
9.15 These four messengers of the great river Euphrates are slayers. As soon as they are released they commence to kill. God has not ordered them to kill, He only releases them. But they go out to kill, since they are killers by nature. Every prophetic event has its preparation before execution: “the hour and day and month and year”—not only the year and month and day but even the hour are pre-arranged.
The slaying of the fourth part of men in the first four seals refers to all who have been slain during these 20 centuries. The destruction of one third in the first four trumpets is restricted to the earth, the sea, the rivers, and the sky. But the plague in the sixth trumpet affects men directly, and within a short period one third of all mankind on earth will be killed.
9.16 The number of the armies of the horsemen is 200 million. Horses are trained for battle; they are not afraid of guns and cannon.
9.17 Both the horses and the horsemen have breastplates of three colors: fire, purple, and yellow. These breastplates are for self-protection, not for attack. Because the horsemen are human beings they evidently must be specially possessed by demons.
Fire burns, smoke suffocates, and brimstone (sulfur) stinks. All three belong to the lake of fire (cf. 19.3, 21.8).
9.18 The killing is not done by the horsemen but by the horses. Out of the mouths of the horses come forth fire and smoke and brimstone which will destroy one third of all men on earth. Hence it is the mouths of the horses which kill.
9.19 The tails of these horses are like serpents with which they hurt men.
What is given in Deuteronomy 28.49-57 seems to fill out what is not described here in the sixth trumpet.
9.20-21 God permits these plagues to come upon men that they may repent. But what about the men themselves? They do not repent of the works of their hands but instead commit six special sins. Of these six sins, worshiping demons and idols are sins against God, while murders, sorceries, fornication, and thefts are those against men.
The sixth seal shows men’s fear of God’s wrath; the sixth trumpet reveals the wickedness of men. After the sixth seal there is given an interpretation of events; and hence, after the sixth trumpet there is an appropriate insertion (see below).
Two sins especially abominable to God are: (1) worshiping idols, and (2) worshiping demons. And why? Because worshiping idols is worshiping that which men have made, while worshiping demons is worshiping what God has created but has fallen.
Three things an idol cannot do: it can neither see, nor hear, nor walk. But this verse does not mention that an idol cannot speak, since the idol mentioned in 13.15 is able to speak.
The source of all sins is not recognizing God. Romans 1.24-32 is the explanation of what is happening here.
The Vision Inserted between the Sixth Trumpet and the Seventh Trumpet
10.1-7 “ANOTHER STRONG ANGEL”
10.1 This strong angel points to the Lord for the following reasons.
(1) The Lord manifests himself here as an angel to show that the position He now takes is a return to the Old Covenant.
(2) Here it is a being “arrayed with a cloud”, not a “coming on the clouds” (Matt. 24.30). Since the Lord is enveloped in cloud, this indicates that it is still the time of mystery, for He has yet to manifest His glory.
(3) In chapter 4 it reads that “there was a rainbow round about the throne” (v.3). Here in 10.1 it indicates that “the rainbow was upon his head”, so it too is enveloped in the cloud. Although the rainbow signifies the remembrance of grace and mercy by the Lord, such remembrance remains a mystery which yet awaits manifestation.
(4) “And his face was as the sun”—This represents His glory, though at this moment it is still hidden in the cloud.
(5) “And his feet as pillars of fire”—Pillar speaks of stability (see Gal. 2.9; Jer. 1.18), and fire suggests the holiness and righteousness of God (see Ex. 19.16; Heb. 12.29).
10.2 “And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left upon the earth”—Placing His feet as pillars of fire upon the sea and the earth indicates He is to judge them with the holiness and righteousness of God. “Set” denotes “occupy”: wherever His feet are to tread, the same is occupied by Him (Deut. 11.24; Ps. 8.6).
“A little book”—Some say this little book is the Old Testament, others think it refers to Revelation chapters 11-22. However, none of these seems to be satisfactory. There are many evidences pointing towards it being the book mentioned in chapter 5.
(1) In 5.3 and 7 the book is said to be in the hand of the Lamb, but it is still sealed. In 10.2 it is said to be in the hand of the Angel and it is open.
(2) Since in 5.1-3 the book is sealed, nothing is mentioned of its size. Now in 10.2 we find it is opened, it thus being possible to tell of its littleness.
(3) John’s eating this little book, as mentioned in 10.9-10, simply indicates that God has revealed these things to him.
(4) “In the days of the voice of the seventh angel” (10.7). As the seventh trumpet sounds, the mystery of God is finished since it has now been manifested. At the opening of the seventh seal the book is still unopened because the seventh seal includes the seven trumpets. The book is opened only after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, for only then is the mystery fulfilled.
(5) In the vision John sees the opened book (10.2,7,8). This does not imply that the book is opened at the sixth trumpet.
(6) 10.11 says “prophesy again”, thus showing that the prophecy is divided into two parts. The first part is from the first seal to the blowing of the seventh trumpet; and the second part is from the seventh trumpet to the new heaven and the new earth. After the sounding of the seventh trumpet there come forth the plagues of the seven bowls. How do we know that the second part of the little book not only speaks of the kingdom and the new heaven and new earth but also includes the seven bowls? It is because in 10.10 it is stated that after John has eaten the little book his belly is made bitter though it is sweet as honey in his mouth. And hence there is both bitterness and sweetness, thus proving both blessing and woe are included here.
Since the book is opened at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, it additionally can be said that the first part of the little book is sealed while its second part is open. Consequently, with regard to the prophecy contained in this book, the first part is a mystery; that is to say, it remains a mystery from the first seal to the seventh trumpet—from 6.1 to 11.19. But it can be said that the second part of the prophecy is open since not only in 10.7 is it clearly stated that at the sounding of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God is finished, but also in 11.15 it is distinctly declared that at that time the kingdom is come. The second part commences with the seventh trumpet (yet not its sounding) and continues on to the new heaven and the new earth, that is, from the time of 12.1 to 22.22.
The judgments of the seven seals and of the seven trumpets constitute the procedure for opening the book with a view to bringing in the kingdom and also eternity.
10.3 “The seven thunders”—The use of the definite article “the” presupposes a familiarity with these thunders. Their voices are frequently heard in this book of Revelation, they being the outbursts of the wrath of God.
“As a lion roareth”—This demonstrates that God being King over all the world, His voice of judgment makes all who hear it tremble with fear.
10.4 The voices of the seven thunders are not to be recorded. Evidently as John is watching the visions he is also writing them down. What God does not wish people to know He forbids to be written. But here, what God allows John to write are what He desires us to know and to understand.
10.5,6 “Things” here include both the dead and the living. “Sware” shows again a return to the Old Covenant position, since in the era of the New Covenant swearing is forbidden.
10.7 As the seventh trumpet is sounded, the mystery of God is finished.
10.8-11 GOD COMMANDS JOHN TO EAT THE LITTLE BOOK
This is an intimation of how anxious God is to tell us of the facts which are to follow. This is in perfect agreement with Revelation 1.1,2.
“Bitter” is bitter (Ruth 1.20) and “sweet” is pleasant (Ps. 119.103).
11.1 What is meant by “measure”? (cf. Num. 35.2,5; Ez. 45.1-3; 42.15,20; 48.8,12,15) Measure means protection or a setting apart for God.
“A reed like unto a rod”—What is its significance? Revelation 21.15-17 mentions only a measuring with a reed, without specifying any using of the reed as a rod. This is due to the simple fact that at the time of the new heaven and new earth, sin, Satan, Antichrist, and the false prophet have all been cast into the lake of fire; all is therefore peaceful. The measuring in Revelation 11.1, however, implies a sense of judgment (cf. Prov. 10.13; Ps. 89.32). Whatever is measured is holy and thus protected by God; but what is left unmeasured is dangerous and worldly.
“The temple of God”—Is this temple in heaven or on earth? It is the temple in heaven, for two reasons: (1) it is the only temple emphasized in this book (11.19, 16.17); and (2) the future temple on earth will be desecrated by idols: how, then, can God protect it as though it were holy?
“Altar”—This is not the brazen altar, since the latter stands in the court and is left unmeasured. But the altar mentioned here is measured, and hence must be in the temple itself. Only the altar of incense is in the temple. This is further confirmed by the phrase “them that worship therein” at the end of the verse.
To measure those who worship in the temple is to say that God protects those who are raptured.
11.2 “The court which is without the temple” has reference to the temple on earth. The temple in heaven is the true temple; the temple on earth is considered here to be the court which is without the temple. Although during the time of the Old Testament kings the altars had been erected on high places to worship God, the task of those few kings who were raised up for the purpose of reformation had always been to try to get rid of these altars at the high places. What men had erected was rejected by God. Only during the transitory period of the calling of the nations to Christ did the Jews who became Christians go also to the temple to worship God (Acts. 2.46, 3.1, 5.20).
In the Old Testament period there was a central temple, but in New Testament times there is no physical building called a “church”; for under the New Covenant we are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4.23,24). Further, we are called to worship God in the heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 10.19-22).
How does God abolish the earthly temple so as to draw men to worship Him in the heavenly one? The Lord Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice. At His death all the sacrifices were terminated. And seventy years after the birth of Christ the Romans destroyed the temple at Jerusalem. With the result that there is no longer any temple on earth.
Yet here in the passage before us we find the temple on earth again. This, therefore, is a return to the Old Covenant. “The abomination of desolation” mentioned in Matthew 24.15 has reference to an idol, whereas the phrase “the holy place” is a reference to the temple. During the Great Tribulation an idol will be placed in the sanctuary (2 Thess. 2.2-4; Rev. 13.14).
“The holy city” is Jerusalem (Matt. 4.5). Those who worship in the temple above are the people described in 7.9-17.
“Tread under foot” is the same as is spoken of in Luke 21.24. The nations will have domination for 42 months over the holy city.
Who are these two witnesses? Some interpret them as Christian nations, some as certain sects, and some as the gospel preached by Christians. All these interpretations are unsatisfactory because (1) since these two witnesses wear sackcloth, they can have no reference to a group or groups; (2) the miracles they perform as recorded in 11.5-6 are self-defensive and result in killing, and are therefore unlike the miracles performed during the gospel age which are saving in nature; and (3) the dead bodies mentioned in 11.9 cannot point to any group and they certainly cannot typify the gospel.
These two witnesses are two personal witnesses, since (1) witnessing is done by man (Acts 1.8), (2) they are clothed in sackcloth, (3) they are slain, (4) they have their dead bodies, and (5) they are prophets.
Who are they? Some interpreters say they are none other than Elijah and Moses. They maintain that what is mentioned in 11.6 about the power to shut the heaven from raining is an allusion to something that had actually been done by Elijah; and that the power to turn waters into blood is an allusion to what had been done by Moses. But such an interpretation is based only on what the two men do. According to Hebrews 9, “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment” (v.27). Moses was dead once, how then could he die again? Moses should therefore not be included.
11.3 “My two witnesses”—The way it is presented here seems to imply that everyone who reads this passage should know who these two men are. The words in 11.4 are quoted from Zechariah 4.2,3. “Standing” signifies living. When a person is tired, he sits down; when sick, he lies down; and when dead, he falls down. But these two men are standing. In the entire Bible only two men are recorded as not having died; they are Enoch and Elijah. These two men alone stand before the Lord. (And incidentally, it is said in the apocryphal writings of John that Enoch and Elijah will come.)
“Two witnesses”—This is the number prescribed in the Scriptures for witnessing (cf. Deut. 17.6, 19.15; Matt. 18.16).
“Sackcloth” conveys the thought of bitterness. The New Testament does not command us to wear sackcloth, but in the Old Testament there was such a command (Is. 22.12; Joel 1.13).
What they preached is judgment, not glad tidings. Enoch preached judgment once before (Jude 14-15), and Elijah was a prophet who killed (see 1 Kings 18.40 and 2 Kings 1.10,12). They will yet preach the woeful news, not the glad tidings.
They shall prophesy during the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation.
11.4 “Olive trees” give oil. “Candlesticks” uplift light. Here then are oil and light. These two witnesses stood at the time of the prophet Zechariah (Zech. 4.11-14), they were standing at the time of John’s writing the book of Revelation, and they are still standing in our own day.
These two witnesses are “the sons of oil” (Zech. 4.14 Darby), for they are filled with the Holy Spirit.
“The Lord of the earth”—The Jews had their kingdom. God is the Lord of the heaven and the earth (Gen. 14.22). After the destruction of the Jewish nation God was always addressed as the God of heaven (Dan. 2.18,37,44). Now He is again called the Lord of the earth, for God has returned to the position of the Old Covenant period and has once more recognized the Jews as a nation.
What kind of persons are these two men? Perhaps they are the ones who sell oil to the five foolish virgins (Matt. 25.1-2, 8-10a), or possibly they are those who render a little help to those who will be persecuted during the Great Tribulation (Dan. 11.34).
11.5 These two men oppose the whole wide world, including Antichrist. “And if any man shall desire to hurt them . . . must he be killed”, thus showing that these two men know even the evil thoughts of the heart. They testify with force, thereby proving they are not preaching the gospel. They perform miracles in order to protect themselves and help the Jews and the remaining Christians during the period of the Great Tribulation. They do not aim at saving souls.
11.6 “Rain” expresses the grace of God. For God “sendeth rain on the just and the unjust” (Matt. 5.45). A not raining suggests that God has withdrawn His grace.
11.7 “The beast that cometh up out of the abyss”—This points to Antichrist. The wild beast is mentioned 36 times in this book of Revelation. Thirty-six is six times six, the number of man. The very name of “wild beast” reveals his nature and work. (The Lamb is mentioned 28 times in this book. Twenty-eight is seven times four. This name expresses the Lord’s nature and work as well as denotes His perfect relationships with God and men.)
This beast comes out of the abyss. In 13.1 it is noted that the beast comes up out of the sea, thus confirming that the abyss is beneath the sea.
The abyss is where the devils live. To come out of the abyss presupposes a resuscitation. According to 17.8 we know that this beast has died and is to be resuscitated.
The two witnesses have powers to kill as they wish, but they cannot kill the beast since the latter is a resuscitated beast.
11.8 “The great city”—Human eyes see it as Jerusalem; but according to its significance “spiritually” it “is called Sodom” (a city noted for its crimes) “and Egypt” (that which opposes God). Yet historically it remains as the place where the Lord was crucified.
The manner of death of these two witnesses is perhaps similar to the Lord’s crucifixion, because in the original it says: “where also their Lord was crucified”—the word “also” seems to emphasize the thought that they die in the same way as their Lord once died. This coincides with the words in Matthew 23.34-35 that some prophets will be killed and crucified.
11.9 “And from among the peoples”—Representatives come from all peoples and nations to view the scene, for they all deem these two men to be public enemies. When they hear that these two men are killed, they come to see it for themselves. In accordance with Joel 3.1-2 and Zechariah 12.3 and 14.2 peoples from all over the earth will gather at Jerusalem.
“Three days and a half’—This number stands between three days and four days. They are neither incorruptible (just as was the Lord, in His three days of burial—John 2.19; Acts 2.30-31) nor decayed (as was Lazarus, being four days in the grave—John 11.39). And it is John alone who records the three days, the four days, and now these three days and a half.
11.10 As the news spreads over the world, there are celebrations everywhere. “Send(ing) gifts” represents their highest delight. Why are the peoples so happy? Probably because (1) they have suffered physically and (2) their consciences have pricked them greatly.
11.11 “The breath of life”—Resurrection is the work of the Holy Spirit. The phrase “they stood upon their feet” shows that they are alive (whereas in 11.8 dead bodies are said to lie on the ground).
“Great fear fell upon them that beheld them”—These are afraid (1) because of the immediate reason that these two men are suddenly come back to life, and (2) because of the remote reason of what these two men will do after their resurrection since they had such powers before.
11.12 “They went up into heaven in the cloud”—The word “cloud” here is just as definite as the cloud mentioned in 10.1, since both have the definite article before them. When our Lord ascended He was only seen by His disciples. When these two witnesses ascend they will be seen by their enemies so that the latter may know that God alone is the Lord.
11.13,14 “A GREAT EARTHQUAKE”
The city is the city of Jerusalem. The 7,000 persons are persons of renown.
The whole book of Revelation records four earthquakes: at the time of the sixth seal (6.13), in 8.5, in 11.13, and in 11.19 (what is said in 16.18 is the same as in 11.19, for both have the same order of lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and earthquake).
The word “affrighted” and joined together with the subsequent phrase “and give glory to the God of heaven” is not to be construed as meaning they repented. It simply shows that they finally acknowledge that this is God’s doing. In 16.11 it clearly states that they refuse to repent (cf. Ex. 8.18,19; 1 Sam. 6.5,6; Joshua 7.19).
[Here ends the vision inserted between the sixth and seventh trumpets.]
11.15-18 THE SEVENTH TRUMPET
This section itemizes the effects of the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The plagues of the seven bowls are the plagues of the seventh trumpet, and these constitute “the third Woe” announced in 11.14.
After 11.16 the thrones on which the 24 elders sit are no longer mentioned, for the kingdom has come. And after 19.4 these elders themselves are seen no more because they have resigned their position of governing the universe.
11.18 “Thy wrath”—The wrath of God is expressed in the plagues of the seven bowls.
Only three classes of people will receive reward: (1) “Thy servants the prophets” (there are also prophets in the New Testament, even those who are spiritually gifted); (2) “the saints”, and (3) “them that fear thy name” (there were God-fearing men in the Old Testament; but this designation is not applicable to the New Testament age; so probably these will be the nations that will inherit the kingdom—see Matthew 25.31-46).
The phrase “them that destroy the earth” perhaps includes: (1) those who form Babylon, (2) those who worship and follow the wild beast (13.14), and (3) those mentioned in 20.7-9.
11.19 SITUATION IN HEAVEN AFTER SEVENTH TRUMPET
This verse runs parallel in time with 16.17-21, for both passages show us the situation at the end of the third woe.