Revelation of John 11


The command to measure the temple, 1, 2.

The two witnesses which should prophesy twelve hundred and

sixty days, 3.

The description, power, and influence of these witnesses, 4-6.

They shall be slain by the beast which shall arise out of the

bottomless pit, and shall arise again after three days and a

half, and ascend to heaven, 7-12.

After which shall be a great earthquake, 13.

The introduction to the third wo, 14.

The sounding of the seventh angel, and the four and twenty

elders give glory to God, 15-19.


Verse 1. And there was given me a reed] See Eze 40:3, &c.

Measure the temple of God] This must refer to the temple of

Jerusalem; and this is another presumptive evidence that it was

yet standing.

Verse 2. But the court-is given unto the Gentiles] The measuring

of the temple probably refers to its approaching destruction, and

the termination of the whole Levitical service; and this we find

was to be done by the Gentiles, (Romans,) who were to tread it

down forty-two months; i.e., just three years and a half, or

twelve hundred and sixty days. This must be a symbolical period.

Verse 3. My two witnesses] This is extremely obscure; the

conjectures of interpreters are as unsatisfactory as they are

endless on this point. Conjecturas conjecturis superstruunt, parum

verosimiles, says Rosenmuller: quorum sententias enarrare, meum

non est. I say the same. Those who wish to be amused or

bewildered, may have recourse both to ancients and moderns on this


Verse 4. These are the two olive trees] Mentioned Zec 4:14,

which there represent Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest. The

whole account seems taken from Zec 4:1-14. Whether the prophet

and the apostle mean the same things by these emblems, we know


Verse 5. Fire proceedeth out of their mouth] That is, they are

commissioned to denounce the judgments of God against all who

would attempt to prevent them from proceeding in their ministry.

Verse 6. These have power to shut heaven] As Elijah did,

1Ki 17:1-18:46.

To turn them to blood] As Moses did, Ex 7:19-25. They shall

have power to afflict the land with plagues, similar to those

which were inflicted on the Egyptians.

Verse 7. The beast that ascended out of the bottomless pit] This

may be what is called antichrist; some power that is opposed to

genuine Christianity. But what or whence, except from the

bottomless pit, i.e., under the influence and appointment of the

devil, we cannot tell; nor do we know by what name this power or

being should be called. The conjectures concerning the two

witnesses and the beast have been sufficiently multiplied. If the

whole passage, as some think, refer to the persecution raised by

the Jews against the Christians, then some Jewish power or

person is the beast from the bottomless pit. If it refer to the

early ages of Christianity, then the beast may be one of the

persecuting heathen emperors. If it refer to a later age of

Christianity, then the beast may be the papal power, and the

Albigenses and Waldenses the two witnesses, which were nearly

extinguished by the horrible persecutions raised up against them

by the Church of Rome. Whatever may be here intended, the earth

has not yet covered their blood.

Verse 8. The great city] Some say Rome, which may be spiritually

called Sodom for its abominations, Egypt for its tyrannous

cruelty, and the place where our Lord was crucified, because of

its persecution of the members of Christ; but Jerusalem itself may

be intended. All these things I must leave to others.

Verse 9. Shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in

graves.] They shall be treated with the greatest barbarity.

Refusal of burial to the dead was allowed to be the sum of

brutality and cruelty. In popish lands they will not suffer a

Protestant to have Christian burial, or to have a grave in a

churchyard! Contemptible wretches!

Verse 10. Shall send gifts] This was a custom in days of public

rejoicing. They sent gifts to each other, and gave portions to the

poor. See Es 9:19, 22.

Verse 11. They stood upon their feet] Were restored to their

primitive state.

Verse 12. They ascended up to heaven] Enjoyed a state of great

peace and happiness.

Verse 13. A great earthquake] Violent commotions among the

persecutors, and revolutions of states.

Slain of men seven thousand] Many perished in these popular


The remnant were affrighted] Seeing the hand of God's judgments

so remarkably stretched out.

Gave glory] Received the pure doctrines of the Gospel, and

glorified God for his judgments and their conversion.

Verse 14. The seconds wo is past] That which took place under

the sixth trumpet, and has been already described.

The third wo cometh] Is about to be described under the seventh

trumpet, which the angel is now prepared to sound.

Of the three woes which were denounced, Re 8:13, the first is

described, Re 9:1-12; the second, Re 9:13-21. These woes are

supposed by many learned men to refer to the destruction of

Jerusalem. The first wo-the seditions among the Jews themselves.

The second wo-the besieging of the city by the Romans. The third

wo-the taking and sacking of the city, and burning the temple.

This was the greatest of all the woes, as in it the city and

temple were destroyed, and nearly a million of men lost their


Verse 15. There were great voices in heaven] All the heavenly

host-angels and redeemed human spirits, joined together to magnify

God; that he had utterly discomfited his enemies and rendered his

friends glorious. This will be truly the case when the kingdoms of

this world become the kingdoms of God and of his Christ, But when

shall this be? Some say, that is meant by these words has already

taken place in the destruction of the Jewish state, and sending

the Gospel throughout the Gentile world. Others say that it refers

to the millennium, and to the consummation of all things.

Verse 16. The four and twenty elders] The representatives of the

universal Church of Christ. See on Re 5:8-10.

Verse 17. O Lord God Almighty, which art] This gives a proper

view of God in his eternity; all times are here comprehended, the

present, the past, and the future. This is the infinitude of


Hast taken to thee] Thou hast exercised that power which thou

ever hast; and thou hast broken the power of thy enemies, and

exalted thy Church.

Verse 18. The nations were angry] Were enraged against thy

Gospel, and determined to destroy it.

Thy wrath is come] The time to avenge thy servants and to

destroy all thy enemies.

The time of the dead, that they should be judged] The word

κρινειν, to judge, is often used in the sense of to avenge. The

dead, here, may mean those who were slain for the testimony of

Jesus, and the judging is the avenging of their blood.

Give reward unto thy servants] Who have been faithful unto


The prophets] The faithful teachers in the Church, the

saints-the Christians.

And them that fear thy name] All thy sincere followers.

Destroy them which destroy the earth.] All the authors,

fomenters, and encouragers of bloody wars.

Verse 19. The temple of God was opened in heaven] The true

worship of God was established and performed in the Christian

Church; this is the true temple, that at Jerusalem being


And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an

earthquake, and great hail.] These great commotions were intended

to introduce the following vision; for the 12th chapter is

properly a continuation of the 11th, and should be read in strict

connection with it.

I NOW come to a part of this book that is deemed of the greatest

importance by the Protestant Church, but is peculiarly difficult

and obscure. I have often acknowledged my own incapacity to

illustrate these prophecies. I might have availed myself of the

labours of others, but I know not who is right; or whether any of

the writers on this book have hit the sense is more than I can

assert, and more than I think. The illustration of the xiith,

xiiith, and xviith chapters, which I have referred to in the

preface, drawn up and displayed with great industry and

learning, I shall insert in its place, as by far the most probable

I have yet seen; but I leave the learned author responsible for

his own particular views of the subject.

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