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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 11 - Verse 18

Verse 18. And the nations were angry. Were enraged against thee. This they had shown by their opposition to his laws; by persecuting his people; by slaying his witnesses; by all the attempts which they had made to destroy his authority on the earth. The reference here seems to be to the whole series of events preceding the final establishment of his kingdom on the earth; to all the efforts which had been made to throw off his government and to crush his church. At this period of glorious triumph it was natural to look back to those dark times when the "nations raged," (compare Ps 2:1-3,) and when the very existence of the church was in jeopardy.

And thy wrath is come. That is, the time when thou wilt punish them for all that they have done in opposition to thee, and when the wicked shall be cut off. There will be, in the setting up of the kingdom of God, some manifestation of his wrath against the powers that opposed it; or something that will show his purpose to destroy his enemies, and to judge the wicked. The representations in this book lead us to suppose that the final establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth will be introduced or accompanied by commotions and wars which will end in the overthrow of the great powers that have opposed his reign, and by such awful calamities in those portions of the world as shall show that God has arisen in his strength to cut off his enemies, and to appear as the vindicator of his people. Compare See Barnes "Re 16:12, seq. See Barnes "Re 19:11, seq.

And the time of the dead, that they should be judged. According to the view which the course of the exposition thus far pursued leads us to entertain of this book, there is reference here, in few words, to the same thing which is more fully stated in chapter 20, and the meaning of the sacred writer will, therefore, come up for a more distinct and full examination when we consider that chapter. See Barnes "Re 20:4, seq. See Barnes "Re 20:12, seq. The purpose of the writer does not require that a detailed statement of the order of the events referred to should be made here, for it would be better made, when, after another line of illustration and of symbol, (Re 11:19 and chapters 12-19) he should have reached the same catastrophe, and when, in view of both, the mind would be prepared for the fuller description with which the book closes, Revelation 20-22. All that occurs here, therefore, is a very general statement of the final consummation of all things.

And that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants. The righteous. Compare Mt 25:34-40 and Re 21-22. That is, in the final winding up of human affairs, God will bestow the long-promised reward on those who have been his true friends. The wicked that annoyed and persecuted them, will annoy and persecute them no more; and the righteous will be publicly acknowledged as the friends of God. For the manner in which this will be done, see the details in Revelation 20-22.

The prophets. All who, in every age, have faithfully proclaimed the truth. On the meaning of the word, see Barnes "Re 10:11".

 

And to the saints. To all who are holy—under whatever dispensation, and in whatever land, and at whatever time, they may have lived. Then will be the time when, in a public manner, they will be recognised as belonging to the kingdom of God, and as being his true friends.

And them that fear thy name. Another way of designating his people, since religion consists in a profound veneration for God, Mal 3:16; Job 1:1; Ps 15:4; 22:23; 115:11; Pr 1:7; 3:13; 9:10

Isa 11:2; Ac 10:22,35.

 

Small and great. Young and old; low and high; poor and rich. The language is designed to comprehend all, of every class, who have a claim to be numbered among the friends of God, and it furnishes a plain intimation that men of all classes will be found at last among his true people. One of the glories of the true religion is, that, in bestowing its layouts, it disregards all the artificial distinctions of society, and addresses man as man, welcoming all who are human beings to the blessings of life and salvation. This will be illustriously shown in the last period of the world's history, when the distinctions of wealth, and rank, and blood shall lose the importance which has been attributed to them, and when the honour of being a child of God shall have its true place. Compare Ga 3:28.

And shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. That is, all who have, in their conquests, spread desolation over the earth; and who have persecuted the righteous, and all who have done injustice and wrong to any class of men. Compare See Barnes "Re 20:13, seq.

Here ends, as I suppose, the first series of visions referred to in the volume sealed with the seven seals, Re 5:1. At this point, where the division of the chapter should have been made, and which is properly marked in our common Bibles by the sign of the paragraph, (¶,) there commences a new series of visions, intended also, but in a different line, to extend down to the consummation of all things. The former series traces the history down mainly through the series of civil changes in the world, or the outward affairs which affect the destiny of the church; the latter—the portion still before us—embraces the same period with a more direct reference to the rise of Antichrist, and the influence of that power in affecting the destiny of the church. When that is completed, (Re 11:19 and Revelation 12-19) the way is prepared (Revelation 20-22) for the more full statement of the final triumph of the gospel, and the universal prevalence of religion, with which the book so appropriately closes. That portion of the book, therefore, refers to the same period as the one which has just been considered under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and the description of the final state of things would have immediately succeeded if it had not been necessary, by another series of visions, to trace more particularly the history of Antichrist on the destiny of the church, and the way in which that great and fearful power would be finally overcome. The way is then prepared for the description of the state of things which will exist when all the enemies of the church shall be subdued; when Christianity shall triumph; and when the predicted reign of God shall be set up on the earth, Revelation 20-22.

{d} "angry" Re 11:9 {e} "time" Heb 9:27 {f} "reward" Re 22:12 {g} "small" re 19:5 {1} "destroy" "corrupt"

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