Revelation 11

1John is commanded to measure the temple, all but the outer court. 3The two witnesses that shall prophesy: 5their power: 7the beast shall fight against them, and kill them: 8they shall lie unburied three and a half days, 11and then rise again, and ascend into heaven. 13A great earthquake. 14The second woe past. 15The seventh trumpet sounded: the heavenly choir celebrate the glories of God's kingdom.

1AND there was given mea1a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and 2measure the temple of God, and 3the altar, and them that worship therein.

a Ezek. 40:3, etc.; chapters 41; 42; 43.

1 In this vision is set forth, by the rebuilding of the temple, the restoration of the declined worship of God in the church of Christ, though between narrower limits, after which it was subjugated by the tyranny of the antichrist, and of which it was started to be foretold in the foregoing 9th chapter. This vision is taken out of Ezek. 40:3, etc., where, by the similar measurement and in greater breadth than the temple was previously, is signified the restoration of the church, which afore was fallen into ruin, and which would be restored again by Christ in a larger extent throughout the world.

2 That is, stake out the true church, wherein God is worshipped aright, and separate her from others, who are the greatest multitude, and from those, though they bear the title of it, who are not yet so in the act.

3 This altar was of two kinds in the temple, namely, the altar of incense, which stood in the holy place and upon which the incense was offered up with the prayers of the saints; and the altar of burnt offering, which stood before the temple in the priests’ court, where the offerings of atonement and of thankfulness were performed. This, with the worshippers, are also measured here to be set up again, because these two fundamental points of the Christian faith were most darkened and subjugated under the kingdom of the antichrist; to wit, first, the cause of reconciliation of our sins before God, which the Holy Scripture only places us in Christ and His sacrifice, whereas the same is sought under the kingdom of the antichrist in one’s own merits, indulgences, purgatory, going on pilgrimage to saints and such like superstitions; second, the true invocation of the one only God by the only Mediator Christ, whereas the same invocation in the antichrist’s kingdom is divided among many patrons and patronesses, as is well known. These only are here then the true worshippers before God, who only keep themselves close to God and Christ in this sanctuary. And these likewise are only the true priest of the New Testament, though they are fewer in number, and somewhat more removed from the sight of the world, and not those who exercise in open courts their superstitious services or worships in large numbers.

2But 4the court which is without the temple 5leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto 6the Gentiles: and 7the holy city shall they tread under foot 8fortyband two months.

4 Some copies have: which is within the temple; namely, in respect of the outermost wall of the temple.

5 Gr. cast out.

6 Such are called all those who use pagan practices by committing idolatry in their worships; though the Greek signifies also nations in general.

7 That is, the visible church, which was typified by Jerusalem, which is now taken and trodden under foot by idolaters, since they would boast with the title of God’s temple and of the holy church, and persecute the true church. So that by the outer court are meant those who have the most devotion and respect under the reign of the antichrist or their clergy, as they speak; and by the holy city is meant the whole multitude that belong thereunto and also boast of this title, no different than those of Jerusalem used to do in former times, even when they persecuted Christ and His true members.

8 Hereby is understood the complete time of the antichrist’s dominion. Yet the account of the beginning and end of this time is diversely taken, as shall be noted at the next verse. But the safest is that we expect the accomplishment thereof with patience.

b Rev. 13:5.

3And I will give power unto 9my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

9 Some are of the opinion that by these two witnesses are understood Enoch and Elijah, who, for the space of 42 months, or of 1260 days, that is, about 3½ years, before the end of the world, would prophesy against the antichrist, and after that be killed by him, and to whom, according to the letter, would happen all that is related here in the text. This opinion is urged by some in these days to obscure antichrist and his realm, which now has been known for a long time in the world. But, besides that this is absurd, that the Holy Spirit in this revelation would pass by those things for many centuries that consequently had come to pass hereafter, in which the church of Christ has suffered so many changes, and straightway come to the four last years of the world; it is also impossible that the realm of the antichrist would also be set up within the compass of 3½ years, and perform all things throughout the entire world what is foretold of him and his realm in the Word of God. It is also repugnant to the Word of God that the saints would descend from heaven with their heavenly bodies to be killed here, or that they would come and preach again in this world, as Abraham testifies in Luke 16:29; or also that they would in the space of 3½ years prophesy among all nations, or that their bodies within the space of three days, properly so called, and an half, would thus be seen by the nations, generations and languages, and that they who dwell upon the earth would rejoice about it, and send presents to one another, as here is said in this text. Therefore both, the thing itself and the time of which must necessarily here be prophetically and figuratively understood, namely of such days as signifying complete years, as Ezek. 4:5 and Dan. 9:24; which years by some are begun from the year 606, when the bishop of Rome did assume the title of bishop of the universal Christian church (which only belongs to Christ) and when idolatry did begin to break through most among Christians. Others, though, begin these years somewhat earlier, namely, from the destruction of old Rome, and from his dominion under the Goths, about the year 412. But this opinion being left in its entirety, as was said on the second verse, the raising up of these two witnesses is suitably understood of some eminent teachers, whom God, within that space of time, did raise up here and there out of the realm of the antichrist, at different times in His church to discover and oppose this dominion and idolatry; who are therefore, as it were, said to be clothed in sackcloth, because they opposed in simple garments and in a sad and mournful countenance the pride and arrogance of the realm of the antichrist. And therefore they are called two, because there would be but few, but yet enough to testify the truth unto men, since all truth consists in two or three witnesses, Deut. 19:15, and because God was commonly wont to use two such excellent witnesses for the restoration of the declined doctrine, as here in the following words have respect in the first instance, in the fourth verse, to Joshua and Zerubbabel, who erected the worship of God after the captivity of Babel, and to Moses and Aaron, who did the same in the wilderness, and to Elijah and Elisha, who did the same under Ahab and other worshippers of Baal, to which is referred in the 5th and 6th verse, who also may therefore be called two, because they only brought forward the doctrine of the Old and New Testament for the confutation of anti-Christianity, as witnesses of this truth, and thereby effectually convinced others. Such were Waldus and Peter Bruys in France, Wycliffe and Pourneüs in England, John Hus and Jerome of Prague in Bohemia and Germany, who also were put to death for it in the Council of Constance, and with joy of all that company, gathered out of different nations and languages, are burned; till it pleased God to raise up afterwards Luther and Melanchthon in Germany, Zwingli and Oecolampadius in Switzerland, Farel and Calvin in France, with more others in their stead, who have performed with more efficacy the testimony, and have caused a great part of that great Babylon to fall, of whose total ruin and destruction shall be prophesied hereafter.

4Thesec are 10the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

c Zech. 4:3, 14.

10 This example is taken from Zechariah’s vision in Zech. 4:2, 3, 14, where Joshua, the High Priest and, Zerubbabel, the prince, are thus typified, because they were instruments whereby the oil of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the light of His Word were effectual for the restoration of the ruined temple and worship of God in Israel after the captivity of Babel.

5And if any man will hurt them, 11fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

11 This has reference to the example of Moses in the rebellion of Korah with his accomplices, Num. 16:35, and to the example of Elijah against the soldiers who came to apprehend him, 2 Kings 1:10, whereby all manner of plagues are understood, which God sent upon the enemies of His prophets. It may also be understood of the fire of God’s threatenings against obstinate sinners, as appears in Jer. 5:14.

6Thesed have power to shut 12heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters 13toe turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

d 1 Kings 17:1.

12 This has likewise reference to Elijah in 1 Kings 17, whereby either the outward plagues of droughts and famines may be understood; or, also the restraint of the works of God’s Spirit, for the ingratitude of men; as Paul testifies in 2 Thes. 2:11 that God shall send them a power of error that they believe a lie, because they received not the love of the truth to be saved.

13 This has also respect to the example of Moses and Aaron, who punished the Egyptians who opposed their exhortations with this and other plagues; as God also sent several mishaps and plagues for such causes upon the obstinate Christendom.

e Exodus 7; 8; 9; 10; 12.

7Andf14when they shall have finished their testimony, 15the beast that ascendeth outg of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

f Dan. 7:21; Rev. 13:7.

14 Namely, each his own, in his appointed time, during this dominion of the antichrist.

15 That is, the antichrist, with his spiritual dominion, which in Rev. 9:11 is called Abaddon, or destroyer; of which shall follow a further description in Revelation 13.

g Rev. 13:11.

8And their dead bodies shall lie 16in the street 17ofh the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

16 Or, in the wild open place. This is also a characteristic of this Romish hierarchy, or spiritual dominion, that they reviled such as heretics; they hang them upon gallows and break them upon wheels, and deny them burial throughout their entire dominion, especially in their consecrated places, and cause all manner of infamy and reproach upon their names after their decease.

17 Hereby is meant the city of Rome with her dominion, as the angel himself declares sufficiently, Rev. 17:9, 18, which spiritually is called Sodom, because of the lewdness that reigns there; and Egypt by reason of the oppression of God’s people, and where also our Lord is said to have been spiritually crucified, because as Christ Himself was crucified by the Roman deputy, so is He also crucified yet daily in His members by the Romish tyranny.

h Rev. 17:2, 5; 18:10.

9And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

10And 18they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send 19gifts one to another; because these two prophets 20tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

18 That is, earthly people who apply themselves to earthly worships.

19 Namely, unto a sign of joy, as Esther 9:19, 22.

20 That is, had touched and vexed their consciences with their preaching, writings and exhortations that they could not go on so quietly in their superstitions and sins, from which they seemed to be relieved by the death of them.

11And 21after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

21 That is, after a short time, that these witnesses were killed by the violence and public judgment of the antichrist and of his compliers and seemed to have lost their respect among men, God again raised up others in their stead, who were moved by the same Spirit, as John the Baptist is said to have come in the spirit and power of Elijah; Luke 1:17.

12And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And 22they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

22 Some understand this of the salvation of the prophets or witnesses of Christ, who as Christ, their Head, ascended into heaven in a cloud, and as Lazarus’ soul was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, so they likewise from much infamy and affliction by death went up to heaven, to be comforted there and glorified, till at the last day, in the view of their persecutors, they shall be taken up both in body and soul in the clouds to heaven, to meet Christ, 1 Thes. 4:17. Others understand it of the greater power and glorification of those witnesses, by those who would succeed in their places, as such kind of phrase is used in Isa. 14:13, 19, and also elsewhere. This has also been done and performed, and is still performed by others who followed them, and who have likewise been strengthened by the civil power in Germany, France, England, Scotland, Switzerland, The Netherlands and other parts of the world, notwithstanding all the force of the antichrist.

13And the same hour was there a 23great earthquake, and 24the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain 25of men seven thousand: and 26the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

23 That is, a great trouble and commotion of people in the world, by the antichrist as well as by those who opposed these witnesses, as the others who received and advocated their testimonies; as experience has witnessed in previous centuries, and still witnesses in this century.

24 That is, a great part of the Romish and antichristian hierarchy seceded from the antichrist.

25 Some understand this to mean men of name and respect, such as are kings, princes, prelates, teachers and the like, who perished in sundry wars which they waged for the antichrist.

26 That is, a great part of the nations that were under his dominion, have departed from him, and were daily converted more and more to the purity of the Gospel, by their example, till the final ruin of this great city with seven mountains and her false prophet shall follow; whereof shall be prophesied in the following chapters.

14The second woe is past; and, behold, thei third woe cometh quickly.

i Rev. 8:13; 9:12; 15:1.

15And 27the seventh angel sounded; and there were 28great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world 29are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

27 That which followed upon this trumpet, is most fittingly understood of the erection of the Kingdom of God and of His Christ in heaven after the end of the world, which agrees well with the last words of the 15th verse, and with the 18th and 19th verse, and with the order that is kept in these visions, that every particular vision meets with the end of the world in its prediction, as was also testified in Rev. 10:7.

28 Namely of joy, which was among the holy spirits in heaven, as follows.

29 That is, are now only under His government, after that they were all subdued and brought under foot who opposed them. See 1 Cor. 15:24.

16And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

17Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, whichj art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

j Rev. 1:4, 8; 4:8; 16:5.

18And 30the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants 31the prophets, and to 32the saints, and 33them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them 34which destroy the earth.

30 Namely, heretofore against Christ and His Kingdom; but now the time is come that Thou shalt execute Thy punishment against such in Thy righteous wrath.

31 Among whom are also included the apostles and evangelists of the New Testament.

32 Among whom also all faithful teachers and martyrs are included.

33 Hereby are meant all other believers.

34 Namely, by force of persecution, by false doctrines and evil examples. See Rev. 19:2.

19And 35the temple of God was openedk in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

35 By the temple of God was opened in heaven is most appropriately understood the glorification of the church itself in heaven, and by the ark of his testament the glorious beholding of Christ, our Mediator, in it, whereof the ark was a type; by the thunder and lightnings, etc. the signs of His wrath against unbelievers.

k Rev. 15:5.