Revelation Episode 11

Beth's Notes

Exodus 32:25-26 (NIV) states:
25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him. 

The Apostle Paul adds in Romans 10:13-15:
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 

When anyone believes in Christ Jesus, they “call” on Him. Believing, in turn, is based on hearing, and hearing is based on someone preaching... and how can they preach unless they are sent? Carrying God’s gracious offer involves human beings whom God has brought to Himself and then uses as His heralds. They share God’s message of salvation because our God will save everyone who calls on His name. And we are all called to this. Not just a few. Corrie ten Boom once wrote: “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” Amen? No one living is out of God’s realm or reach for salvation. The Gospel is meant to be shared and not hoarded. It is very good news. And we miss the blessing when we do not share and live out His Truth in our in our spheres of influence.  

Before we begin our study in Revelation, I wanted us to take a wee bit of time first to remember Whose we are and Whom we serve. As believers in sweet Jesus we are guiltless, condemnation free, dearly and unwaveringly loved children. Amazingly, we are able to stand before the Throne of God because we are now robed in the righteousness of Christ and not in our own filthy rags of sin and depravity. Meaning, when God looks down upon a believer He sees the perfect life of Jesus. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We have been set free from the law of sin and death by the blood of the Savior. How then shall we live for we are not our own, as we have been bought by the highest price? We must seek His Truth in His Word that we may be guided by it. And all that is worthwhile in this life depends on our finding His truth and walking in it through His power and for His glory. His Word is the substance and all other things are merely shadows. We can stand firm in it – resting secure. Christ is the door that opens heaven and the knowledge of Scripture is the key that opens Christ to the believer. And we discover Him by degrees as He is as limitless as a bottomless ocean – and we will never delve to the depths.  All else will come to nothing as we have discovered and will continue to discover in our study of Revelation. Failing to seek Him with all our heart, mind, and soul is to let our lives slip through our fingers like water. Just as Revelation is ultimately showing us.

Secondly, since we have had a little break – and Revelation can be quite daunting and confusing to say the least - I thought it would be best to give a quick refresher recap on the first ten chapters before delving into Chapter Eleven – and I mean quick!

In Chapter One we see the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos and he experiences an amazing encounter with the glorified Lord Jesus making him fall at his feet as though dead. Anytime in Scripture when flesh is in the presence of glorified beings – i.e. even angels – no one can stand. The sight is overwhelmingly terrifying. Jesus assures John not to be afraid and gives him his “marching orders” – what he is to write to the seven churches.
Chapters Two and Three consists of these letters to the seven churches.  The strengths and weaknesses of these churches were all representative then and in every subsequent generation as well. They are also predominately chronological in what was occurring in church history from its onset to the present day.
Chapter Four begins with the Apostle John being transferred to heaven.  Many believe (and that would include me) that this represents the time of the rapture of the church. First believers who have died in Jesus and next believers in Christ who are still alive, will be caught up together in the air to meet with the Lord. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Because believers are taken from the earth and are in heaven the church age has now ended. John also describes the throne room in heaven.
Chapter Five speaks of the scroll and the Lamb (Jesus) Who is the only one worthy to open the scroll of judgments getting ready to come upon the earth.  
Chapter Six describes the seal judgments and the dire condition that the earth will be in - ending with the verses: 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:16-17 (NIV). One quarter of the world is killed.
Chapter Seven speaks parenthetically of the 144,000 Jewish converts that will be the greatest evangelists the world has ever known. This time chronologically occurs at the first part of the tribulation but I believe that these on fire saints will live through the entire Tribulation period protected by the mighty hand of God to do His bidding. The point is, God will always have a remnant. He desires for all to come to repentance. It is never too late to turn to Him if you are still living and breathing. The great multitude in front of God’s Throne mentioned in this Chapter are those martyred during the tribulation that these Jewish converts led to the Lord.
Chapters Eight and Nine are the trumpet judgments. Again terrifying to those living through it and ending with a “Woe! Woe! Woe! to the inhabitants of the earth.” A third of the world is dead through this set of judgments.  Which means the tribulation is half over and half of the world’s population is now dead.  
Chapter Ten tells us of the encounter of John and the angel with a little scroll that tasted sweet in John’s mouth but turned sour in his stomach. He was also not permitted to write what that scroll said but it is clear that it will be made known at a later date. The second half if the tribulation is yet to come and gets progressively worse. Jesus Himself told us in Matthew 24:21-22: 
21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

All these events lead us up to Chapter Eleven which I will now read:
1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. 7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. 13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed.  Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. 15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. 18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm. Revelation 11:1-19 (NIV)

Prayer – Lord open our eyes that we might clearly see the wonderful Truths in your Law and help us apply it to our lives that we may be a changed people bringing much glory to you and good to us.

Chapter Eleven again deals parenthetically - as it did in Chapters Seven and Ten and will extend through Chapter 14 - without chronologically advancing the narrative of the events of the Great Tribulation. Believing that the prophecies in Revelation should be interpreted literally, unless otherwise clearly indicated (as I do and as do many commentators as well) provides an intelligent understanding of this portion of prophecy even though the possibility of differences of opinion is certainly acknowledged. If interpreted symbolically, we can get into all sorts of confusion and trouble. Interpreted literally we look at these as real places, events and numbers. Thus, the great city of Revelation 11:8 is identified as the literal city of Jerusalem. The time periods are literal time periods.  The two witnesses are two individual people. The three and a half days are taken literally. The earthquake is a literal earthquake. And literally 7,000 people die in this catastrophic earthquake. The death and resurrection and ascension of these witnesses is also literal. These assumptions provide an intelligent understanding of this portion of prophecy and we do well to remember that God is not seeking to veil His Truth from us rather to reveal it. In verses 11:1-14 there is a continuation of the same subject as in Chapter 10 after John eats the little scroll which tastes sweet but turns his stomach sour. 

John now is given a reed like a measuring rod and is told to go measure the temple of God and the altar, counting those who are worshiping there.  To measure a structure or piece of property in Scripture is as laying claim to it. You measure it because you own it. The act of measuring seems to signify that the area belongs to God in some special way. In this case, God is laying claim to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem that will be rebuilt.  

By the time of the Apostle John’s exile to Patmos and the writing of Revelation, the second temple in Jerusalem had already been destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Presently, there is no temple in Jerusalem. A Muslim mosque known as the Dome of the Rock sits upon the original temple site. Orthodox Jews pray daily for the return of the temple at the Western Wall – which is the one remaining structure from the ancient Jewish temple complex that sits beneath the Dome of the Rock. The Bible does indeed indicate that a future temple will be in existence during the great tribulation. Thus, Revelation 11 has to do with this new temple.  This temple will be constructed for the worship of the Jews and the renewal of their ancient sacrifices.  During the great tribulation it will become desecrated. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4:                        
1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.  

The Prophet Daniel writes in Daniel 9:27: 
27 “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” 

It is therefore significant that John is told to measure the worshipers along with the temple and the altar. It is saying in effect that God is indeed the Judge of our worship and of our character. We all must give an account to Him. Since the rod is much longer than human height (approximately 20 feet) it implies that humanity falls far short of God’s divine standard. Apart from Christ we are all found wanting, Amen?

Verse Two tells us that John was to exclude the courtyard outside the temple as it would be trampled by the Gentiles for forty-two months. The Gentiles now have control of the outer court and the city. Here again is the familiar three and a half year period predicted by Daniel the Prophet.  It would seem that during the first three and a half years of the tribulation the Jews are given considerable freedom in their worship. The second half of the tribulation is now in view in which the Gentiles will have dominion. The statement that the holy city will be under Gentile control is mentioned by Jesus in Luke 21:24 using the same Greek word for “trample” that is used in Revelation 11:2. Luke 21:23-24 states:
23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 

Jesus referred to the “times of the Gentiles”, which will end at Jesus’ second coming. Gentile dominion will be destroyed and Christ will establish His kingdom during His Millennial reign. This is predicted by the seventh trumpet later in this chapter. While God permits Gentile dominion and Israel’s persecution during the second half of the tribulation, He will be the judge of her persecutors. 

While it is not clear, the evidence surrounding this passage in Revelation seems to refer to the final three and one-half years. This also seems to be confirmed by the fact that in the first half of the last seven years the Jews will actually possess the city of Jerusalem and worship in their temple, whereas the second half the context indicates that this is the period when Gentiles will tread down the Holy City, implying ill treatment of the Jews and desecration of the temple.  
In Verse Three we are introduced to the two unusual witnesses. The 1,260 days during which these two witnesses will prophesy are the exact equivalent of three and a half years on the Jewish calendar or forty-two months of thirty days each. In the midst of the unbelief, apostasy, and satanic power of the Great Tribulation these two witnesses will be a threat to the entire wicked world for a literal period of 1,260 days. This time period is unquestionably related to the seven years of Daniel’s seventieth week. One reason we can be confident in the Bible’s truth is its specificity in passages like this. It not only prophesies events, but precise details about their occurrence. The messages of these two witnesses will be somber, for they will be “adorned” in sackcloth. Remember God will always have a witness. If only people will have ears to hear and eyes to see. He desires for none to perish but all to come to repentance. It is never too late to turn to Him if you are still living and breathing. Again, that is why God wants us to be faithful in our own spheres of influence. I am reminded of Jude’s words in Jude 1:22-23:
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear -- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

God has given believers the incredible privilege to be told what He desires for us to be about and  given the power through the Holy Spirit to do what we are told. This makes for an abundant life as well as a life well lived.  And furthermore, we are each held accountable to Him for this one life we have.  It is not what we simply strum up. Rather He desires to lead us through the indwelling Holy Spirit and for us to stand firm in His will mature and fully assured. He does not veil His will for our lives. When we are in seasons of “unknown”, it is best for us to simply continue to do the next right thing - always according to His Word and wait on Him. Waiting is often the most difficult part. Rest assured, He will not let us miss His best for our lives if we are seeking Him. This brings Him much glory and us much good. Waiting is never fun, yet God’s timing is always perfect therefore we wait expectantly. As King David said in Psalms 27:13-14:
13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. 

We can be assured that it is His desire for us to make Christ known in this world – both for our good and for His glory. When we walk with Him through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit He gives us all that we need to accomplish His divine objectives. When we are sent and we go, we are put where Christ puts us – and nothing should frighten us.  He has plans to prosper and not harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. Yet, these plans can often be quite difficult – ask Job or Paul when you get to heaven. As He told Paul, He tells us – “Quit kicking against the goads” meaning I have your best interest at heart even in the hardest of your circumstances. This is why the earliest believers earned the reputation of being incorrigibly happy, utterly unafraid and nearly always in trouble.  Following hard after Christ Jesus is the great adventure and we can spoil it by creating our own dreams and aspirations and trying to squeeze God into that mold. We will never put Him into the proverbial box of our own choosing, Amen? He is God and we are not. He is so totally other. And we do not want to miss His best for our lives. Ian Thomas writes:
“Ours are the only bodies on earth He has, but through them our fellow human beings can receive a physical, visible, and audible expression of the glory of the invisible God.”

Christ now lives within us – empowering and equipping us through the power of the Holy Spirit - we are His hands and His feet and His lips and His smile and His voice. Our prayers should be that our bodies are used for His glory. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:18-20:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”    

Many commentators have had a field day over the identity of the two witnesses written about in Revelation 11:3-12. Some have suggested they represent Israel and the church. Others, suggest Israel and the Word of God – as the two principal instruments of witness in the world.  Yet, these two witnesses’ actions mentioned are those of people, and their resultant death and resurrection, including their bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days, can hardly refer to Israel, the church, or the Word of God. Another popular view that has Biblical support identifies them with Moses and Elijah. This suggestion points out that Elijah called down fire from heaven on two companies of soldiers sent to arrest him and he also stopped the rain for three and a half years. Moses turned the waters of Egypt into blood and struck the land with other plagues.  In addition, the Bible predicts that Elijah will be sent “before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes”, and both Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus. Also, Elijah did not die rather was taken in a whirlwind up to heaven and Moses’s body was hidden by God – perhaps an indication of the Lord’s intention to use both their bodies again. Yet, Moses did die and Hebrews 9:27 states:
27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.  Hebrews 9:27 (NIV)

Another suggestion is Enoch who never died. Yet, where the Bible does not clearly state something we must not be dogmatic or spend much thought time on it. What is not in doubt, however, is the incredible power given to these two witnesses from God  for 1,260 days in spite of the antagonism against them of the world. Again, their unusual character as prophets of doom is symbolized by the fact that they are clothed in sackcloth. 

These two witnesses are described as two olive trees and two lampstands, perhaps a reference to Zechariah Chapter Four where a lampstand and two olive trees are mentioned in Zechariah 4:2-6:
2 He asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. 3 Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” 4 I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5 He answered, “Do you not know what these are?” “No, my lord,” I replied. 6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

It is evident that a similar meaning is intended here in Revelation Chapter Eleven. The olive oil from the olive trees in Zechariah’s image provided fuel for the lampstand that shed light in the darkness. Likewise, God will provide spiritual illumination through these two witnesses mentioned here in Revelation. In Zechariah’s time, the two witnesses of this period in Israel’s history were Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel. Just as these two men were raised up to be lampstands or witnesses for God and were empowered by the Holy Spirit represented by the olive oil so too the two witnesses in Revelation Chapter 11. They will also execute their prophetic office and shine forth their light in the world’s darkest hour.

In verses five and six of Chapter Eleven we are told of the miraculous powers bestowed upon these two witnesses. If anyone seeks to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. These two are extraordinary individuals. This should not come as a surprise as the tribulation period is certainly not an ordinary period of history. To underscore their divine anointing they destroy anyone who even tries to harm them.  It is evident that these witnesses have a combination of the greatest powers ever given to prophets on this earth. Again, the death penalty is pronounced even upon anyone who wants to hurt them. They were even given the authority to close up the sky so that it would not rain, the power to turn the waters into blood and the ability to strike the earth with every plague – all reminiscent of the actions of Moses and Elijah when they walked this dusty earth. It is only after these two witnesses have finished their testimony by bringing their work to the intended goal of God that their enemies appear to have the upper hand. This is only allowed by the sovereign appointment of God. All of our times are in His Hands. 

As in the case of other great prophets of God, God permits the enemies of these prophets to kill them when their ministry is thoroughly complete.  The beast, who comes up from the Abyss - who is Satan himself – attacks, overpowers and kills these two prophets.  He does this to seek to show he is superior in power to God’s two witnesses – or so he thinks!  This is the first of thirty-eight references in Revelation to a beast. The supposed “victory” over these two witnesses is considered so significant to their enemies that their dead bodies are allowed to lie in the streets of the city described symbolically as “Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.” This is unquestionably Jerusalem where these witnesses had their prophetic ministry and where they die.  It is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt because of the people’s apostasy and rejection of God.  It appears that Jerusalem will be the center of the world dictator’s rule during this time. 

For three and one-half days the whole world gloated over their dead bodies and refused to let them be placed in a tomb. This implies some worldwide display. There was a time when interpreters wondered how people from every part of the earth would be able to see the prophet’s bodies at the same time, but of course now, modern technology has made this completely possible. Anyone with a cell phone can snap a picture and post it on the internet for the world to see instantly.  
Their deaths were considered a great victory for the world ruler, and was celebrated by people sending each other gifts because these two prophets who tormented the earth are now dead. The celebrants are unbelievers – those people left on the earth after the church is raptured.  The phrase “Those who dwell on the earth” (verse 10) or “The inhabitants of the earth” is almost a technical term in Revelation for unbelievers left behind after the rapture and is a phrase repeated a dozen or more times in Revelation. The two witnesses’ deaths was cause for a giant party. It stood as a symbol of victory for the beast and for all those who continue to oppose God.  They are certain that their fear of God’s wrath and power is no longer justified.
A righteous prophet is always a torment to an evil generation, Amen?  These two witnesses serve as an obstacle to evil, unbelief, and Satanic power prevalent in that time. If their ministry is in the time of the great tribulation – which I believe it is – it is all the more a thorn in the side of the world rulers of that day.  
The worldwide merrymaking party by the enemies of God will come to an abrupt halt when the two witnesses suddenly come back to life and ascend into heaven. The intense fear of the onlookers is quite understandable given the sight alone to say nothing of the loud voice from heaven. The parallel to this occurrence is similar to the ascension of Christ in Acts 1 when the disciples beheld Him ascending into heaven, and like the two witnesses here, He was also received by a cloud. Acts 1:9 states:
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:9 (NIV)

The ascension of the two witnesses is a special act of God addressed to those who reject His grace and designed as a final warning of the supreme power of God over all mankind – whether in life or in death.

In Verses 13 and 14 of Chapter 11, the dramatic events occurring bring forth great fear as a severe earthquake takes place and a tenth of the city collapsed and seven thousand people were killed. The terrified survivors recognized the true God in contrast to their worship of the beast and gave glory to the God of heaven. Yet even though they recognize the power of the God of heaven, there is no indication that they have come to the point of true faith in Christ. With this event occurring the second woe is now passed and is evidently regarded as the final phase of the sixth trumpet. The third woe contained in the seventh trumpet is announced as coming quickly. The end of the age is approaching rapidly.    

Though the full results from the sounding of the seventh trumpet are only introduced here and not brought to finality - as they will be in Chapter 16 -  the introduction of the seventh trumpet itself is very dramatic. When the trumpet sounds, John hears loud voices in heaven. A great symphony of voices chanting the triumph of Jesus Christ. The seventh trumpet announces the imminent arrival of Jesus’ reign as these loud voices in heaven declare. The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever. This sequence depicts events strikingly close to the end of the tribulation and the coming of God’s kingdom. There is great rejoicing and thanksgiving on what is to come. The fact that the earthly rule will one day officially pass into the hands of God – albeit it is already there in His permissive will but not acknowledged by unbelievers – is frequently mentioned in Old Testament prophecy. Zechariah 14:9 states:
9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. Zechariah 14:9 (NIV)

Jeremiah 30:3 tells us:
3 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,’ says the LORD.” 

The Old Testament has a unique connection to the tribulation because it prophesies this seven year period of the tribulation. Again, our God is a God of order and He does not seek to hide His Truth from us. There is a larger story here and we have a crucial role to play in it.  Indeed, He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11-14A:
11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” 

Old Testament saints will receive their resurrection bodies following the great Tribulation.  The fact that this will be fulfilled at Christ’s Second Coming makes it clear that the period of the seventh trumpet chronologically reaches to Christ’s return to set up His Millennial Kingdom. Therefore the seventh trumpet introduces and includes the seven bowl judgments of the wrath of God revealed in Chapter 16.  

Christ is declared here to reign “forever and ever”.  This is more than simply announcing His coming millennial reign on the earth, which will extend for only 1,000 years.  Never again will the earth by under the control of humans.  Even the brief rebellion recorded in Chapter 20 of Revelation at the close of the millennium will be unsuccessful.    

In Revelation 11:16-17 the twenty-four elders who have previously appeared seven times in Revelation in a similar context, give thanks to God for manifesting His great power and assuming His rightful authority over the earth. This is fulfillment of Psalms 2:8-9 where Jesus, the Anointed of God, reigns supreme over the earth. The Psalms states:

8 “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’”  
In verse 18 we discover a comprehensive statement giving the main features of the transition from the kingdom of earth to the kingdom of God. It begins with the fact that the nations are angry at the time when the wrath of God comes. The contrast is quite clear - the wrath of humanity is impotent whereas the wrath of God is omnipotent. The song of praise from the twenty-four elders indicates that the time had come for God to judge the nations, to judge the dead, and to reward God’s servants.  The context seems to indicate that the resurrection of the righteous dead – those who died prior to Christ - is in view rather than the evil dead, who are not raised until after the millennium. This verse teaches that in general the tribulation is a time of divine wrath, of the resurrection of the righteous dead and their reward, and of dealing with those who oppose God. All of these aspects of the second coming of Christ are borne out in later prophecies in Revelation. In general their hymn of praise anticipates the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His rule on earth.
The chapter closes with Verse 19 stating yet another dramatic incident.  John wrote, “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened and the ark of His covenant  was seen within His temple”. Though the earthly temple may have been desecrated by the beast, its counterpart in heaven reflects the righteousness and majesty of God. While this refers to the heavenly temple rather than to a temple on earth, the corresponding results in the earth, however, included lightning, thunder, an earthquake, and a great hailstorm.
The dramatic introduction of the events relating to the seventh trumpet concluded here and will be resumed in Chapter 16. Chronologically, the time was close to Christ’s second coming.
Before the details of the judgment to follow are unfolded in the seven bowls in Chapter 16, Revelation turns to other important aspects of this period that chronologically precede the consummation. Apart from the outpourings of the bowls, which occur in rapid succession, there is little narrative movement from this point until Chapter 19 and the second coming of Christ. Events and situations are now introduced that are concurrent with the seals and the trumpets. These serve to emphasize the dramatic climax of this period in the second coming of our Lord Jesus. 
The stage is fully set for Christ’s return. But prior to highlighting that glorious moment, John rewinds the narrative to discuss the dominant characters in greater depth focusing on the second half of the tribulation.

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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