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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 11 - Verse 13

Verse 13. And the same hour. In immediate connexion with their triumph.

Was there a great earthquake. An earthquake is a symbol of commotion, agitation, change; of great political revolutions, etc. See Barnes "Re 6:12".

The meaning here is, that the triumph of the witnesses, represented by their ascending to heaven, would be followed by such revolutions as would be properly symbolized by an earthquake.

And the tenth part of the city fell. That is, the tenth part of that which is represented by the "city"—the persecuting power. A city would be the seat and centre of the power, and the acts of persecution would seem to proceed from it; but the destruction, we may suppose, would extend to all that was represented by the persecuting power. The word "tenth" is probably used in a general sense to denote that a considerable portion of the persecuting power would be thus involved in ruin; that is, that in respect to that power there would be such a revolution, such a convulsion or commotion, such a loss, that it would be proper to represent it by an earthquake.

And in the earthquake. In the convulsions consequent on what would occur to the witnesses.

Were slain of men seven thousand. Marg., as in the Greek, "names of men"—the name being used to denote the men themselves. The number here mentioned—seven thousand—seems to have been suggested because it would bear some proportion to the tenth part of the city which fell. It is not necessary to suppose, in seeking for the fulfilment of this, that just seven thousand would be killed; but the idea clearly is, that there would be such a diminution of numbers as would be well represented by a calamity that would overwhelm a tenth part of the city, such as the apostle had in his eye, and a proportional number of the inhabitants. The number that would be slain, therefore, in the convulsions and changes consequent on the treatment of the witnesses, might be numerically much larger than seven thousand, and might be as great as if a tenth part of all that were represented by the "city" should be swept away.

And the remnant were affrighted. Fear and alarm came on them in consequence of these calamities. The "remnant" here refers to those who still remained in the "city;" that is, to those who belonged to the community or people designed to be represented here by the city.

And gave glory to the God of heaven. Compare Lu 5:26: "And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day." All that seems to be meant by this is, that they stood in awe at what God was doing, and acknowledged his power in the changes that occurred. It does not mean, necessarily, that they would repent and become truly his friends, but that there would be a prevailing impression that these changes were produced by his power, and that his hand was in these things. This would be fulfilled if there should be a general willingness among mankind to acknowledge God, or to recognise his hand in the events referred to; if there should be a disposition extensively prevailing to regard the "witnesses" as on the side of God, and to favour their cause as one of truth and righteousness; and if these convulsions should so far change public sentiment as to produce an impression that theirs was the cause of God.

{c} "city" Re 16:19 {1} "slain of men" "names of men" {d} "gave glory" Re 14:7; Isa 26:15,16

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