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Revelation 11


Rev 11:1

A reed (καλαμος). Old word for a growing reed (Mt 11:7 ) which grew in immense brakes in the Jordan valley, a writer's reed (3Jo 1:7 ), a measuring-rod (here, 21:15f.; Eze 40:3-6; 42:16-19 ).

Like a rod (ομοιος ραβδω). See 2:27; Mr 6:8 for ραβδος.

And one said (λεγων). "Saying" (present active masculine participle of λεγω) is all that the Greek has. The participle implies εδωκεν (he gave), not εδοθη, a harsh construction seen in Ge 22:20; 38:24 , etc.

Rise and measure (εγειρε κα μετρησον). Present active imperative of εγειρω (intransitive, exclamatory use as in Mr 2:11 ) and first aorist active imperative of μετρεω. In Eze 42:2ff. the prophet measures the temple and that passage is probably in mind here. But modern scholars do not know how to interpret this interlude ( 11:1-13) before the seventh trumpet ( 11:15). Some (Wellhausen) take it to be a scrap from the Zealot party before the destruction of Jerusalem, which event Christ also foretold (Mr 13:2; Mt 24:2; Lu 21:6 ) and which was also attributed to Stephen (Ac 6:14 ). Charles denies any possible literal interpretation and takes the language in a wholly eschatological sense. There are three points in the interlude, however understood: the chastisement of Jerusalem or Israel (verses 1,2 ), the mission of the two witnesses ( 3-12), the rescue of the remnant ( 13). There is a heavenly sanctuary (7:15; 11:19; 14:15 , etc.), but here ναος is on earth and yet not the actual temple in Jerusalem (unless so interpreted). Perhaps here it is the spiritual (3:12; 2Th 2:4; 1Co 3:16f.; 2Co 6:16; Eph 2:19ff. ). For altar (θυσιαστηριον) see 8:3. Perhaps measuring as applied to "them that worship therein" (τους προσκυνουντας εν αυτω) implies a word like numbering, with an allusion to the 144,000 in chapter 7 (a zeugma).


Rev 11:2

The court (την αυλην). The uncovered yard outside the house. There were usually two, one between the door and the street, the outer court, the other the inner court surrounded by the buildings (Mr 14:66 ). This is here the outer court, "which is without the temple" (την εξωθεν του ναου), outside of the sanctuary, but within the ιερον where the Gentiles could go (carrying out the imagery of the Jerusalem temple).

Leave without (εκβαλε εξωθεν). Literally, "cast without" (second aorist active imperative of εκβαλλω.

Do not measure it (μη αυτην μετρησηις). Prohibition with μη and the first aorist active (ingressive) subjunctive of μετρεω. This outer court is left to its fate. In Herod's temple the outer court was marked off from the inner by "the middle wall of partition" (το μεσοιτοιχον του φραγμου, Eph 2:15 ), beyond which a Gentile could not go. In this outer court was a house of prayer for the Gentiles (Mr 11:17 ), but now John is to cast it out and leave to its fate (given to the Gentiles in another sense) to be profaned by them.

They shall tread under foot (πατησουσιν). Future active of πατεω, here to trample with contempt as in Lu 21:24 , even the holy city (Mt 4:5; Isa 48:2; Ne 11:1 ). Charles thinks that only the heavenly city can be so called here (21:2,10; 22:19 ) because of 11:8 (Sodom and Gomorrah). But the language may be merely symbolical. See Da 9:24 .

Forty and two months (μηνας τεσσερακοντα κα δυο). Accusative of extent of time. This period in Da 7:25; 12:7 . It occurs in three forms in the Apocalypse (forty-two months, here and 13:5; 1260 days, 11:3; 12:6 ; time, times and half a time or 3 1/2 years, 12:14 and so in Daniel). This period, however its length may be construed, covers the duration of the triumph of the Gentiles, of the prophesying of the two witnesses, of the sojourn of the woman in the wilderness.


Rev 11:3

I will give (δωσω). Future active of διδωμ. The speaker may be God (Beckwith) or Christ (Swete) as in 2:13; 21:6 or his angel representative (22:7,12ff. ). The idiom that follows is Hebraic instead of either the infinitive after διδωμ as in 2:7; 3:21; 6:4; 7:2; 13:7,15; 16:8 or ινα with the subjunctive (9:5; 19:8 ) we have κα προφητευσουσιν (and they shall prophesy).

Unto my two witnesses (τοις δυσιν μαρτυσιν μου). Dative case after δωσω. The article seems to point to two well-known characters, like Elijah, Elisha, but there is no possible way to determine who they are. All sorts of identifications have been attempted.

Clothed (περιβλημενους). Perfect passive participle of περιβαλλω as often before (7:9,13; 10:1 , etc.). But Aleph A P Q here read the accusative plural in -ους, while C has the nominative in -ο. Charles suggests a mere slip for the nominative, but Hort suggests a primitive error in early MSS. for the dative περιβεβλεμενοις agreeing with μαρτυσιν.

In sackcloth (σακκους). Accusative retained with this passive verb as in 7:9,13 . See 6:12 for σακκος and also Mt 3:4 . The dress suited the message (Mt 11:21 ).


Rev 11:4

The two olive trees (α δυο ελαια). The article seems to point to what is known. For this original use of ελαια see Ro 11:17,24 . In Zec 4:2,3,14 the lampstand or candlestick (λυχνια) is Israel, and the two olive trees apparently Joshua and Zerubbabel, but John makes his own use of this symbolism. Here the two olive trees and the candlesticks are identical.

Standing (εστωτες). Masculine perfect active participle agreeing with ουτο instead of εστωσα (read by P and cursives) agreeing with ελαια κα λυχνια, even though α (feminine plural article) be accepted before ενωπιον του κυριου (before the Lord).


Rev 11:5

If any man desireth to hurt them (ε τις αυτους θελε αδικησα). Condition of first class, assumed to be true, with ε and present active indicative (θελε) "if any one wants to hurt" (αδικησα first aorist active infinitive). It is impossible to hurt these two witnesses till they do their work. The fire proceeding out of the mouths of the witnesses is like Elijah's experience (2Ki 1:10 ).

Devoureth (κατεσθιε). "Eats up (down)," present active indicative of κατεσθιω.

If any man shall desire (ε τις θεληση). Condition of third class with ε and first aorist active subjunctive of θελω as in Lu 9:13; Php 3:12 , but MSS. also read either θελε (present active indicative) or θελησε (future active, condition of the first class like the preceding one. The condition is repeated in this changed form, as less likely to happen and with inevitable death (δε αυτον αποκτανθηνα, must be killed, first aorist passive infinitive of αποκτεινω with δε).


Rev 11:6

To shut the heaven (κλεισα τον ουρανον). First aorist active infinitive of κλειω. As Elijah did by prayer (1Ki 17:1; Lu 4:25; Jas 5:17 ).

That it rain not (ινα μη υετος βρεχη). Sub-final use of ινα μη with the present active subjunctive of βρεχω, old verb to rain (Mt 5:45 ), here with υετος as subject.

During the days (τας ημερας). Accusative of extent of time. In Lu 4:25; Jas 5:17 the period of the drouth in Elijah's time was three and a half years, just the period here.

Of their prophecy (της προφητειας αυτων). Not here the gift of prophecy (1Co 12:10 ) or a particular prophecy or collection of prophecies (Re 1:3; 22:7f. ), but "the execution of the prophetic office" (Swete).

Over the waters (επ των υδατων). "Upon the waters." As Moses had (Ex 7:20 ).

Into blood (εις αιμα). As already stated in 8:8 about the third trumpet and now again here.

To smite (παταξα). First aorist active infinitive of πατασσω, used here with εξουσιαν εχουσιν (they have power), as is στρεφειν (to turn).

With every plague (εν παση πληγη). In 1Ki 4:8 , but with reference to the plagues in Egypt.

As often as they shall desire (οσακις εαν θελησωσιν). Indefinite temporal clause with οσακις and modal εαν (= αν) and the first aorist active subjunctive of θελω, "as often as they will."


Rev 11:7

When they shall have finished (οταν τελεσωσιν). Merely the first aorist active subjunctive of τελεω with οταν in an indefinite temporal clause with no futurum exactum (future perfect), "whenever they finish."

The beast (το θηριον). "The wild beast comes out of the abyss" of 9:1f . He reappears in 13:1; 17:8 . In Da 7:3 θηρια occurs. Nothing less than antichrist will satisfy the picture here. Some see the abomination of Da 7:7; Mt 24:15 . Some see Nero redivivus.

He shall make war with them (ποιησε μετ' αυτων πολεμον). This same phrase occurs in 12:17 about the dragon's attack on the woman. It is more the picture of single combat ( 2:16).

He shall overcome them (νικησε αυτους). Future active of νικαω. The victory of the beast over the two witnesses is certain, as in Da 7:21 .

And kill them (κα αποκτενε). Future active of αποκτεινω. Without attempting to apply this prophecy to specific individuals or times, one can agree with these words of Swete: "But his words cover in effect all the martyrdoms and massacres of history in which brute force has seemed to triumph over truth and righteousness."


Rev 11:8

Their dead bodies lie (το πτωμα αυτων). Old word from πιπτω (to fall), a fall, especially of bodies slain in battle, a corpse, a carcase (Mt 14:12 ), here the singular (some MSS. πτωματα, plural) as belonging to each of the αυτων (their) like στοματος αυτων (their mouth) in verse 5. So also in verse 9. No word in the Greek for "lie."

In (επ). "Upon," as in verse 6, with genitive (της πλατειας), the broad way (οδου understood), from πλατυς (broad) as in Mt 6:5 , old word (Re 21:21; 22:2 ).

Of the great city (της πολεως της μεγαλης). Clearly Jerusalem in view of the closing clause (οπου--εσταυρωθη), though not here called "the holy city" as in verse 2, and though elsewhere in the Apocalypse Babylon (Rome) is so described (14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2,10,16,18,19,21 ).

Which (ητις). Which very city, not "whichever."

Spiritually (πνευματικως). This late adverb from πνευματικος (spiritual) occurs in the N.T. only twice, in 1Co 2:14 for the help of the Holy Spirit in interpreting God's message and here in a hidden or mystical (allegorical sense). For this use of πνευματικος see 1Co 10:3f . Judah is called Sodom in Isa 1:9f.; Eze 16:46,55 . See also Mt 10:15; 11:23 . Egypt is not applied to Israel in the O.T., but is "an obvious symbol of oppression and slavery" (Swete).

Where also their Lord was crucified (οπου κα ο κυριος αυτων εσταυρωθη). First aorist passive indicative of σταυροω, to crucify, a reference to the fact of Christ's crucifixion in Jerusalem. This item is one of the sins of Jerusalem and the disciple is not greater than the Master (Joh 15:20 ).


Rev 11:9

Men from among (εκ τÂων etc.). No word for "men" (ανθρÂωπο or πολλο) before εκ τÂων, but it is implied (partitive use of εκ) as in 2:10 and often. See also 5:9; 7:9 for this enumeration of races and nations.

Do look upon (βλεπουσιν). Present (vivid dramatic) active indicative of βλεπω.

Three days and a half (ημερας τρεις κα ημισυ). Accusative of extent of time. Hημισυ is neuter singular though ημερας (days) is feminine as in Mr 6:23; Re 12:14 . The days of the gloating over the dead bodies are as many as the years of the prophesying by the witnesses ( 11:3), but there is no necessary correspondence (day for a year). This delight of the spectators "is represented as at once fiendish and childish" (Swete).

Suffer not (ουκ αφιουσιν). Present active indicative of αφιω, late form for αφιημ, as in Mr 1:34 (cf. αφεις in Re 2:20 ). This use of αφιημ with the infinitive is here alone in the Apocalypse, though common elsewhere (Joh 11:44,48; 12:7; 18:8 ).

Their dead bodies (τα πτωματα αυτων). "Their corpses," plural here, though singular just before and in verse 8.

To be laid in a tomb (τεθηνα εις μνημα). First aorist passive of τιθημ, to place. Μνημα (old word from μιμνησκω, to remind) is a memorial, a monument, a sepulchre, a tomb (Mr 5:3 ). "In a country where burial regularly took place on the day of death the time of exposure and indignity would be regarded long" (Beckwith). See Tobit 1:18ff.


Rev 11:10

They that dwell upon the earth (ο κατοικουντες επ της γης). Present active articular participle of κατοικεω, "an Apocalyptic formula" (Swete) for the non-Christian world (3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 13:8,12,14; 17:8 ).

Rejoice (χαιρουσιν). Present active indicative of χαιρω.

Over them (επ' αυτοις). Locative (or dative) case with επ as in 10:11.

Make merry (ευφραινοντα). Present middle indicative of ευφραινω, old verb (ευ, φρην, jolly mind), as in Lu 15:32; Re 12:12; 18:20 . Jubilant jollification over the cessation of the activity of the two prophets.

They shall send gifts to one another (δωρα πεμψουσιν αλληλοις). Future active of πεμπω with dative αλληλοις. Just as we see it done in Es 9:19,22; Ne 8:10,12 .

Tormented (εβασανισαν). First aorist active indicative of βασανιζω, for which see 9:5. This is the reason (οτ) of the fiendish glee of Jew and Gentile, who no longer will have to endure the prophecies (11:3f. ) and dread miracles (11:5f. ) of these two prophets. "Such a sense of relief is perhaps not seldom felt today by bad men when a preacher of righteousness or a signal example of goodness is removed" (Swete).


Rev 11:11

After the (μετα τας etc.). The article τας (the) points back to 11:9.

The breath of life from God (πνευμα ζωης εκ του θεου). This phrase (πνευμα ζωης) occurs in Ge 6:17; 7:15,22 of the lower animals, but here there is clearly an allusion to Eze 37:5,10 (also 2Ki 13:21 ), where the dead bones lived again.

Entered into them (εισηλθεν εν αυτοις). Second aorist active indicative of εισερχομα with εν rather than εις after it (cf. Lu 9:46 ). The prophecy has here become fact (change from future πεμψουσιν to aorist εισηλθεν).

They stood upon their feet (εστησαν επ τους ποδας αυτων). Ingressive second aorist active indicative of ιστημ (intransitive). Reference to Eze 37:10 , but with the accusative in place of genitive there after επ as in 2Ki 13:21 .

Fell upon (επεπεσεν επ). Second aorist active indicative of επιπιπτω with repetition of επ. The same prophetic use of the aorist as in εισηλθεν and εστησαν.

Beheld (θεωρουντας). Present active articular participle of θεωρεω. "The spectators were panic-stricken" (Swete).


Rev 11:12

Saying (λεγουσης). Present active predicate participle of λεγω, feminine genitive agreeing with φωνης, though some MSS. have the accusative φωνην λεγουσαν, either construction being proper after ηκουσαν (they heard). There is a little evidence for ηκουσα like 12:10 (24 times in the book). Cf. Joh 5:28 .

Come up hither (αναβατε ωδε). Second aorist active imperative of αναβαινω. The ascension of these two witnesses is in full view of their enemies, not just in the presence of a few friends as with Christ (Ac 1:9 ).

They went up (ανεβησαν). Second aorist active indicative of αναβαινω.

In the cloud (εν τη νεφελη). As Jesus did (Ac 1:9 ) and like Elijah (2Ki 2:11 ). Their triumph is openly celebrated before their enemies and is like the rapture described by Paul in 1Th 4:17 .


Rev 11:13

There was (εγενετο). "There came to pass" (second aorist middle indicative of γινομα). Earthquakes are often given as a symbol of great upheavals in social and spiritual order (Swete) as in Eze 37:7; 38:19; Hag 2:6; Mr 13:8; Heb 12:26f.; Re 6:12; 16:18 .

Fell (επεσεν). Second aorist active indicative of πιπτω, to fall. Only the tenth (το δεκατον) of the city fell. Cf. το τριτον (the third) in 8:7-12, perhaps a conventional number.

Were killed (απεκτανθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of αποκτεινω as in 9:18.

Seven thousand persons (ονοματα ανθρωπων χιλιαδες επτα). This use of ονοματα (names of men here) is like that in 3:4; Ac 1:15 and occurs in the papyri (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 196f.).

Were affrighted (εμφοβο εγενοντο). "Became terrified," old adjective (εν, φοβος, fear) as in Lu 24:5; Ac 10:4; 24:5 . "A general movement toward Christianity, induced by fear or despair--a prediction fulfilled more than once in ecclesiastical history" (Swete).

Gave glory (εδωκαν δοξαν). First aorist active indicative of διδωμ, when they saw the effect of the earthquake, recognition of God's power (Joh 9:24; Ac 12:23; Ro 4:20 ).


Rev 11:14

Is past (απηλθεν). Second aorist active indicative of απερχομα. See 9:12 for this use and 21:1,4 . The second woe (η ουα η δευτερα) is the sixth trumpet ( 9:12) with the two episodes attached ( 10:1-11:13).

The third woe (η ουα η τριτη, feminine as in 9:12) is the seventh trumpet, which now "cometh quickly" (ερχετα ταχυ), for which phrase see 2:16; 3:11; 22:7,12,20 . Usually pointing to the Parousia.


Rev 11:15

There followed (εγενοντο). "There came to pass." There was silence in heaven upon the opening of the seventh seal ( 8:1), but here "great voices." Perhaps the great voices are the ζωα of 4:6ff.; 5:8 .

Saying (λεγοντες). Construction according to sense; λεγοντες, masculine participle (not λεγουσα), though φωνα, feminine. John understood what was said.

Is become (εγενετο). "Did become," prophetic use of the aorist participle, already a fact. See εγενετο in Lu 19:9 .

The kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ (του κυριου ημων κα του Χριστου αυτου). Repeat η βασιλεια from the preceding. God the Father is meant here by κυριου (Lord), as αυτου (his) shows. This is the certain and glorious outcome of the age-long struggle against Satan, who wields the kingdom of the world which he offered to Christ on the mountain for one act of worship. But Jesus scorned partnership with Satan in the rule of the world, and chose war, war up to the hilt and to the end. Now the climax has come with Christ as Conqueror of the kingdom of this world for his Father. This is the crowning lesson of the Apocalypse.

He shall reign (βασιλευσε). Future active of βασιλευω. God shall reign, but the rule of God and of Christ is one as the kingdom is one (1Co 15:27 ). Jesus is the Lord's Anointed (Lu 2:26; 9:20 ).


Rev 11:16

The four and twenty elders (ο εικοσ τεσσαρες πρεσβυτερο). They follow the living creatures (verse 15, if correctly interpreted) in their adoration, as in 4:9f. . Though seated on thrones of their own ( 4:4), yet they fall upon their faces in every act of worship to God and Christ (4:10; 5:8,14; 19:4 ). Here επ τα προσωπα αυτων (upon their faces) is added as in 7:11 about the angels. The elders here again represent the redeemed, as the four living creatures the forces of nature, in the great thanksgiving here (ευχαριστουμεν, present active indicative of ευχαριστεω).


Rev 11:17

O Lord God (Κυριε ο θεος). Vocative form κυριε and nominative form ο θεος (vocative in use). See 1:8; 4:8 for this combination with ο παντοκρατωρ (the Almighty). For ο ων κα ο ην (which art and which wast) see 1:4,8; 4:8; 16:5 .

Thou hast taken (ειληφες). Perfect active indicative of λαμβανω, emphasizing the permanence of God's rule, "Thou hast assumed thy power."

Didst reign (εβασιλευσας). Ingressive first aorist active indicative of βασιλευω, "Didst begin to reign." See this combination of tenses (perfect and aorist) without confusion in 3:3; 5:7; 8:5 .


Rev 11:18

Were wroth (ωργισθησαν). Ingressive first aorist active indicative of οργιζομα, "became angry." The culmination of wrath against God (16:13ff.; 20:8f. ). Cf. Ps 2:1,5,12; 99:1; Ac 4:25f. . John sees the hostility of the world against Christ.

Thy wrath came (ηλθεν η οργη σου). Second aorist active indicative of ερχομα, the prophetic aorist again. The Dies Irae is conceived as already come.

The time of the dead to be judged (ο καιρος των νεκρων κριθηνα). For this use of καιρος see Mr 11:13; Lu 21:24 . By "the dead" John apparently means both good and bad (Joh 5:25; Ac 24:21 ), coincident with the resurrection and judgment (Mr 4:29; Re 14:15ff.; 20:1-15 ). The infinitive κριθηνα is the first aorist passive of κρινω, epexegetic use with the preceding clause, as is true also of δουνα (second aorist active infinitive of διδωμ), to give.

Their reward (τον μισθον). This will come in the end of the day (Mt 20:8 ), from God (Mt 6:1 ), at the Lord's return (Re 22:12 ), according to each one's work (1Co 3:8 ).

The small and the great (τους μικρους κα τους μεγαλους). The accusative here is an anacoluthon and fails to agree in case with the preceding datives after δουνα τον μισθον, though some MSS. have the dative τοις μικροις, etc. John is fond of this phrase "the small and the great" (13:16; 19:5,18; 20:12 ).

To destroy (διαφθειρα). First aorist active infinitive of διαφθειρω, carrying on the construction with καιρος. Note τους διαφθειροντας, "those destroying" the earth (corrupting the earth). There is a double sense in διαφθειρω that justifies this play on the word. See 19:2. In 1Ti 6:5 we have those "corrupted in mind" (διαφθαρμενο τον νουν). God will destroy the destroyers (1Co 3:16f. ).


Rev 11:19

Was opened (ηνοιγη). Second aorist passive indicative of ανοιγω, with augment on the preposition as in 15:5. For the sanctuary (ναος) of God in heaven see 3:12; 7:15; 15:5ff.; 21:22 .

Was seen (ωφθη). First aorist passive indicative of οραω.

The ark of his covenant (η κιβωτος της διαθηκης αυτου). The sacred ark within the second veil of the tabernacle (Heb 9:4 ) and in the inner chamber of Solomon's temple (1Ki 8:6 ) which probably perished when Nebuchadrezzar burnt the temple (2Ki 25:9; Jer 3:16 ). For the symbols of majesty and power in nature here see also 6:12; 8:5; 11:13; 16:18,21 .

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