Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary

  • BOOKS BY LARRY HUNT

    SWEET RIVER FOOL - Alcoholic, homeless, and alone, Snody despaired of life until a seemingly chance encounter with Saint Francis of Assisi led him to the joys of Christ and the redemption of his soul…

  • THE GLORY OF KINGS - A proposal for why God will always be the best explanation for the existence of the universe.

  • ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD - Enoch had a beautiful soul and walked with God in many ways. This book invites children to imagine what some of those ways might have been while presenting them with a wonderful model for their own lives.

  • Stats

    • 11,908 visits since Nov 2009
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 450 other followers

Revelation 11

Chapter 11

vs. 2-3: 3 ½ (years), 42 (months), and 1,260 (days) all refer to the same length of time.[1] I will use 3 ½ for purposes of uniformity.  3 ½ is such a weird number; its main significance must be that it is half of 7.  Daniel makes use of similar numerology to describe two divisions of a week in Daniel 9:27, and I think John is alluding to that section of Daniel here, but I do not believe that he intends to say that Daniel’s week and his week symbolize the same events because the middle of Daniel’s week seems to fall between the years 26 A.D. and 46 A.D. (see notes there) whereas the middle of John’s week falls sometime after 81 A.D.  (see Order of Events supplement).  John, I think, is only making use of Daniel’s numerology and symbols.  Nevertheless, I think the two periods of 3 ½ years in Daniel 12:7 and 11 do describe the same period of time that John is speaking of here (see notes there).

Since the time period is a week, there are two of these 3 ½ periods: one during which the two witnesses prophesy with power over the unbelievers, and one during which these two witnesses are dead, having been killed by Beast I.  Here in verse 2, John says that  the court outside the temple will be given over to “the nations,” i.e., the unbelievers, for 3 ½ years.  I believe this period of time is the second of the two 3 ½ periods and corresponds to the 3 ½ days that follow the murder of the two witnesses by Beast I (11:7-10).  One might be inclined to interpret the 3 ½ days of vs. 9-11 as denoting a separate period of time since it says “days” rather than “years,” but I believe the days there symbolize years and that they represent the same period John refers to in v. 2, the period when the holy city “is given over to the nations.”

Notice that God tells John “[T]hey [the nations] will trample over the holy city,” and “I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophecy….”  Since God uses the future tense, I assume that these two periods of time fall in the future, relative to John.  In other words, I assume that they happen after John receives the Revelation, which would be after the mid-nineties A.D.  Of course, 11:6 uses the present tense and says that the two witnesses “have authority,” so I could also believe that the 3 ½ years in which they prophesy is taking place even as John receives the Revelation.

v. 4: Who or what are the two olive trees?  Zechariah asks an angel a similar question in Zechariah 4:11:  “What are these two olive trees?”  I have no doubt that the two olive trees here and in Zechariah are linked somehow.  In Zechariah they seem to represent Joshua, the high priest (Zechariah 3:9) and Zerubbabel, the Jewish leader who rebuilt the temple after the Babylonian Captivity.  But in Zechariah, there is one lampstand between the two olive trees, and the lampstand is God.  Here, the trees themselves are also the lampstands.[2] I suspect the immediate people whom these two trees in Revelation represent are Elijah and Moses.  Here are my reasons:

1) Moses and Elijah are frequently treated as a pair.[3]

2) These two trees “pour fire from their mouth and consume their foes” (v.5), which might be a reference to Elijah in 1st Kings 18:36-40.

3) They “have authority to shut the sky, so that no rain may fall” (v.6), which seems like a reference to Elijah in 1st Kings 17:1.  Notice also that Christ says Elijah shut the heavens for 3 ½ years (Luke 4:25), which is the amount of time these two trees have power to do such things.

4)  They “have authority over the waters to turn them into blood” (v.6), which could very easily be a reference to Moses in Exodus 7:20-21.

5) They have authority “to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire” (v.6), which could easily be a reference to Moses and the plagues he unleashed upon Egypt.

Note how John continues to emphasize the number two here by referring to two actions associated with Elijah and two actions associated with Moses.  Now, whether or not Moses and Elijah themselves are meant to symbolize another pair of people (as Elijah was a type for John the Baptist[4]) I am not sure, but I suspect so.

v. 8: The city “where also their Lord was crucified” is Jerusalem.  So it is Jerusalem that is metaphorically (i.e., “prophetically”) referred to as Sodom and Egypt.  Sodom and Egypt are themselves metaphors for wickedness and tyranny (enslavement), respectively.  But Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2).  So what does it mean to say that the most part of it (all save the immediate temple grounds) will be known for wickedness and tyranny?  There are three divisions of place used here as symbols:  1) The immediate area of the temple, 2) the outer court of the temple and Jerusalem itself, and 3) the rest of the earth, i.e., “the nations.”  The immediate area of the temple (as well as those that worship there) is the true kingdom of God.  The nations are the faithless.  But the outer court of the temple and Jerusalem itself seem to be a hybrid of these other two.  Some part of it must be associated with the kingdom of God because it is Jerusalem, and some part of it must refer to those who are faithless, because it is called Sodom and Egypt and because it is “given over to the nations,” who will trample it for 3 ½ years.  Perhaps the 3 ½ years during which Jerusalem itself (minus the immediate area of the temple) can be called Sodom and Egypt represent a period of time when the majority of those who call themselves Christians will be indistinguishable from those who are the overt enemies of Christ.  Such false Christians would be Christian in name only, as Jerusalem is the holy city in name only in this analogy.  In actuality, it is the very city “where also their Lord was crucified,” making it a fit emblem of the most wicked city in history.

v. 15: This is the last trumpet.  It is fascinating to me that Paul, speaking of Christ’s return, says, “We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1st Corinthians 15:51-52).  I am not saying that Paul’s last trumpet is the seventh trumpet here, but it is tempting.[5]


[1] See notes on these numbers in the numerology appendix.

[2] At least it seems so.  There are definitely only two witnesses.  I think the two witnesses are symbolized by two pairs of symbols: two olive trees and two lampstands.  Thus, if Moses and Elijah are the witnesses, then Moses and Elijah are in some ways like two olive trees and in some ways like two lampstands.

[3] See, for instance, John 1:25, and Matthew 17:3.

[4] See Matthew 17:10-13.

[5] There are problems with this.  See notes on the 1,000 year reign in Revelation 20.

Advertisements

7 Responses to “Revelation 11”

  1. […] other horrible and blasphemous events during the reign of the Antichrist (see notes on Daniel 9:27, Revelation 11, and Matthew […]

  2. […] 2-3: 3 ½ (years), 42 (months), and 1,260 (days) all refer to the same length of time.[1] I will use 3 ½ for purposes of uniformity.  3 ½ is such a weird number; its main significance […]

  3. […] 2-3: 3 ½ (years), 42 (months), and 1,260 (days) all refer to the same length of time.[1] I will use 3 ½ for purposes of uniformity.  3 ½ is such a weird number; its main significance […]

  4. […] the two olive trees, and the lampstand is God.  Here, the trees themselves are also the lampstands.[2] I suspect the immediate people whom these two trees in Revelation represent are Elijah and Moses.  […]

  5. […] the two olive trees, and the lampstand is God.  Here, the trees themselves are also the lampstands.[2] I suspect the immediate people whom these two trees in Revelation represent are Elijah and Moses.  […]

  6. […] v. 15: This is the last trumpet.  It is fascinating to me that Paul, speaking of Christ’s return, says, “We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1st Corinthians 15:51-52).  I am not saying that Paul’s last trumpet is the seventh trumpet here, but it is tempting.[5] […]

  7. […] v. 15: This is the last trumpet.  It is fascinating to me that Paul, speaking of Christ’s return, says, “We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1st Corinthians 15:51-52).  I am not saying that Paul’s last trumpet is the seventh trumpet here, but it is tempting.[5] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: