Revelation 13 The Beast from the Sea’s Activities

Revelation 13:5-10

Image above: The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883) Wikimedia Commons

I. Satan is permitted to do his evil, but he is restrained by God.

vs. 5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 

“Authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.” NASB — “Was given” is passive voice. This indicates an implied divine agency. Satan gives the beast his authority. However, it is God himself who permits this. Satan would do much more than he is able to do but for God’s sovereign control over all things. The problem of evil is insurmountable from human understanding. We can try to circumvent it by shaving off God’s sovereignty and making it look like he is not in control of all things. I would rather be without understanding and have God sovereign than to view Satan’s actions as uncontrollable. This is where humility and prayer come in.

Schnorr_von_Carolsfeld_Bibel_in_Bildern_1860_176
Image depicting Jesus Christ sending Satan away during his temptation by Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bibel in Bildern 1860 Wikipedia public domain

The Beast is allowed to speak his blasphemies for 42 months — the time of the Church’s testimony and the time between Christ’s Ascension and Second Coming. Note that John uses the accusative of time to indicate duration. False governments oppose God’s Church, but they do not wipe it out. And they cannot do it except God permit it.


II. Satan is our implacable foe who spews out slander and lies.

vs. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling (tabernacle), that is, those who dwell in heaven. 

Tabernacle (2009 model by Gabriel Fink CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia commons

The Beast’s blasphemiesblasphēmia = slander. The word for “dwelling place” is skēnē — “tabernacle.” It is a reference to heaven and not to the heavenly tabernacle which was the prototype of the earthly one. The verb form of the noun is used in the next phrase — skenō. Godless governments hate God, heaven, and all who dwell there. No wonder we are so persecuted. We are citizens of that realm they hate so much.

III. God Fulfills His purposes through the war Satan wages on the saints.

vs. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation…

The original painting is by Briton Rivière in the Manchester Art Gallery. Image published by Thomas Agnew and Sons, 1892 (Daniel in the Lions Den).

“War on the saints” — Here again, as in the 5th verse, we encounter the past tense passive voice of didomi — to give. It refers to God’s permission to do something. God permits civil governments to oppose his people. God has given authority to civil government to rule over all people. When such government is good, God’s people prosper. When it is evil, God’s people suffer. By and large, an evil civil government will oppose God’s people. Maybe the evil government is used by God to keep the Church pure. God’s people will ultimately prosper in spite of the activities of an evil civil government. Romans 8:28 functions in this sphere as well as in an individual’s life.


IV. Satan lures the earth-dwellers to worship the image of the beast from the sea (godless government).

vs. 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

Worshiping the Golden Calf wikimedia commons Bible card published 1901 by the Providence Lithograph Company

Those who worship the Beast and those who refuse — The “earth-dwellers” are those who are opposed to God and his people. They find no other ambition and desire except to live here on earth.

The concept for “dwelling” is the same as that expressed in verse 7 in regard to the saints, but the words are different — vs. 7 = skēnē ; vs. 8 = katoikeō = [kata “down” + oikeō “dwell in a house”] has the idea of “settling down” in it. These folk who settle down in this world system are unsaved. They are not of the elect. They one desire is a home on this earth.

Psalm 135 makes a telling observation about idolators —

15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
16 They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
17 they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.

“Before the foundation of the world” — This phrase should be attached to the words “the Lamb who was slain. . .” and not attached to the word “written… .” The emphasis is upon redemption before the world was even made. It demonstrates that the plan of salvation was not an afterthought with God. It was in his plan all along. ‘Written’ is in the perfect tense. They were written in the past and continue in the book in the present. See NIV Rev. 13:8


V. God sustains us in our warfare with godless humans and Satan as we live true to Him.

vs. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

This phrase can either refer to what precedes or to what follows. It is a solemn call to the hearer in the public worship service to whom the epistle is being read to listen if he has spiritual senses with which to perceive it. It is a characteristic phrase used in the synoptic gospels (see Mark 4:9 and Rev. 2:7). The call here in Revelation is in the singular, whereas our Lord’s call is in the plural. It is also in the present tense stressing the fact that the message is timeless. I feel the solemn call goes with what follows because it fits in with the formula since it starts with the same words ‘if anyone…

vs. 10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Image uploaded to Pinterest by Bonnie Caldwell

Captivity and Killing — This is a confirmation of the sure purpose of God which is at work during this entire period of the testimony and persecution of the Church. The Christian destined for captivity will go there and the Christian destined to be killed will be killed. Why does the Lord say the obvious? Is this, Whatever will be, will be’ kind of fatalism? No, but the Lord is assuring the suffering church that evil is also within the confines of his will.

Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge.


North Korean refugee John Choi* shares how he grew up believing Christians were evil and dangerous. “We watched the government’s propaganda alongside public executions. It told us that Christians wanted to kidnap children and that the cross was a symbol of the devil.

“Even in nursery school, we had to bow to the pictures of the first leaders of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung and his son, Kim Jong-Il. The first man I saw executed was a Christian. They said he had smuggled Christian things into the country and had enticed people into the church. The whole village was told to come and watch. The children were allowed to sit at the front to get a good view. It enforced this belief that Christians were dangerous.”

Despite these lies and toxic culture, God broke through to this new believer … this new member of our family. Praise God that he found faith in the one, true God. * Not his real name. (see Open Doors USA, below.)


The saints’ perseverance — Christians move forward and trust the God who works in such a plan as has been outlined above. It is not blind fatalism. It is trust in a God who works for our good in the midst of seeming chaos. Who covers us with His protection until His plan is accomplished for our lives. Then, he takes us home to heaven to live with Him forever.

Next time the Beast from the Land!

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Open Doors USA. (2020). Accessed 21 October 2020 from https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/urgent-north-korean-christian-arrested-and-in-grave-danger-pray-for-release/

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© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 13: The Second Member of the Trifecta of Evil — The Beast from the Sea

Revelation 13:2-4

Image above is a French tapestry of “The worship of the Image of the Beast” by Jean de Bandol; licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikikedia Commons.

vs 2: And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 

“Verses 1-2 are a creative reworking of Dan. 7:4-7.” (see Beale, p. 267, below)

Triumph_of_Aemilius_Paulus_(1789)

A “triumph” was granted to a victorious Roman General to display the fruit of his victory and the glory of Roman Empire. Picture in public Domain from Wikimedia Commons.

I. Satan energizes this present evil world system in its domination of  mankind.

The activity of the dragon (Satan) against the newly formed people of God [the seven churches of Asia Minor in the first Century] now picks up that activity as it will be carried out by the Empire through the second and third members of the “unholy [Trifecta]”: the emperor himself and the “chief priest” of the cult of the emperor. (See Fee, p. 177, below)

In Daniel 7:4-6 there are four beasts described. They are the world powers of Daniel’s vision. John’s Beast is a composite of three of the four of Daniel’s vision. The Roman empire was a conglomeration of all of the empires which had ruled the world previously. Its Empire ended, but the power of it was passed on the succeeding nations. (see Beale, below.)

The_Scripture_history_of_idolatry,_showing_the_connexion_between_the_traditions_of_pagan_mythology_and_the_Bible_(1838)_(14597409667)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Image worshiped by all except the three Hebrew youths. Along with Daniel, they were  the only ones who could adequately advise the king. They had wisdom from God. Wikimedia commons image.

Some view this Beast as both government and an individual. I think that it is best to view it as government. It is not just the final manifestation of the end times that John has in view. It is the evil, world system in general that is present in every age. The traditional view is represented by John Calvin, who identifies the four beasts as the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires respectively.

In our day, people look to government to meet needs that God alone can meet. As one has noted before — whatever a person considers of ultimate concern is to him God. I John 2:15-17 rightly commands us — 

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. [ESV]

World (kosmos in Greek), is defined by Thayer as “worldly affairs; the aggregate of things earthly; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, etc., which, although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ.” (see Thayer below).

“One of the realities of humans as religious beings is that they tend to become like the deities they worship.” (See Fee, p. 178, below.)

As governments in our day become more and more uncivil and brutal, those who look to them for their every need will become like them.

Richard M. Weaver wrote — “Most of the world lies under the control of haters of mankind.”


Leviathan

DORÉ, Gustave (1832-1883) The Destruction of Leviathan (Is. 27:1) image in the public domain.

1 In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea. [ESV]

II. All human government allied with the Dragon has been dealt a fatal blow by Christ on the cross.

vs. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. 

(1) Some believe that this is just a general way of saying that whenever an evil government is seeming done away with, another will rise to take its place.
(2) Others see in this a reference to the sacking of Rome in AD 410 and the fall of the empire in AD 475. Afterwards, a conglomeration of nations will arise out of the empire which will culminate in the government of the end times.
(3) I see in this a reference to the fatal blow Jesus dealt Satan’s kingdom on the cross. The present evil world system is “passing away” (I John 2:14-16) from that fatal blow. It still hangs on; but it will be destroyed! One cannot help but see parallels here between Christ’s death and the “death blow’ of the beast.

Satans Conterfeits of Christ

Note both are said to have been “slain” — the same Greek word is applied to the “slain Lamb” in Rev. 5:6 — sphazō. Here is deliberate deception. The beast obviously attempts to pass himself off as a religious entity worthy of the worship of the masses because of his ”miraculously healed wound.” The word “wound” is plēgē in Greek. Its English counterpart is “plague.” Plēgē is used in Revelation of divine Judgment. This lends credence to the view that the wound was divinely inflicted by the Lord on the Cross. “The whole earth marveled at the beast” — “Marveled” — the past passive of thaumazō — is nothing less than worship.

Blake sea beast 1805

William Blake: The Great Red Dragon and the Beast from the Sea, 1805 . Wikimedia commons image in the public domain.

Men worship evil, human governments because of Satan’s energizing of this world’s system. He causes men to stand in awe of governments that provide for the elderly, promote science, and “shelter its citizens from the cradle to the grave.” Evil governments often become cultic. Such is the danger of civil religion connected to a government. There is a danger that the church will get caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment and fail to fulfill its prophetic ministry to the government. “The church is to be the conscience of the nation.” We are not in society to confirm the course of the civil government even when that course is wrong. “My country right or wrong” is a terribly flawed maxim. We are here to provide moral leadership. Such a ministry is not popular. But, God has not called us to a popular ministry. He has called us to a faithful one.


III. Adulation of government and its services is idolatry of the worse kind.

vs. 4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

“Who is like the Beast?” — The function of civil government is always to keep the peace so its citizens can prosper! It is not here to receive our worship (see Romans 13) . The phrase, “Who is like the beast,” may be a parody of Michael’s name — ‘who is like God’. Also, Psalm 35:10 may be in view. The Beast — this evil world system — is accorded divine honors and prerogatives. Men tend to worship what gives them a sense of security. God sees to it that human government doesn’t completely insulate our lives. He brings calamity and heartache upon us as individuals and as a society to keep us ever looking away to the need for something transcendent.

Next time, the Beast from the land.

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Fee, G. (2010). Revelation (New Covenant Commentary). Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. Kindle edition.

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Thayer, J. H. (1889). Greek Lexicon. Accessed 18 October 2020 from https://biblehub.com/greek/2889.htm

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© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 13: The Satanic Trifecta Revealed!

Revelation 13:1-8

Image above: The Revelation of St John: 12. The Sea Monster and the Beast with the Lamb’s Horn. A woodcut by Albrecht Dürer. Wikipedia; public domain. 

Chapter 13 spells out in no uncertain terms that Christians are marked people as we worship and serve Jesus as Lord and not the Caesars of our day.

The Link Between Chapters 11-13 — The visions of all three chapters are linked by reference to the persecution of the church. In chapter 11, the church is faithfully witnessing during tribulation between the First and Second Advents while the godless masses carry out persecution against her members. In chapter 12, the dragon who persecutes the woman and her seed, is seen to be the cause behind all of the persecution of the church. At the end of chapter 12, the dragon takes his stand on the sea shore to watch as his cohorts begin to do his bidding, as seen in chapter 13.

“This chapter forms part of the theme of the persecution of God’s people that John began to develop in ch. 12. Turning from the inner dynamics of the struggle, ch. 13 shifts to the actual earthly instruments of this assault—the two dragon-energized beasts.” (see Johnson, A. F. p. 701, below.) 

Revelation 11-13 context

From the Chart above one can see Chapter 13 uses a marked hand to indicate forces attempting to influence work. I do not believe these are to be taken as literal marks (e.g. microchips under the skin or a bar code on the arm, etc. as popular prophecy books claim).

In the courts of England in the past they used to brand mark a person’s thumb on the underside with a letter to indicate his crime. This way no one would do business with a criminal after he was released. He would turn his palm up to shake hands and all would know instantly what he had done. I will speak more about the “666 image” later. Perhaps it is better to see the mark as invisible but detectable by one’s outward loyalties. Such is the mark of baptism upon a believer!

The Identification of the Two Beasts of Charter 13 — The two wild beasts are the Dragon’s minions. They perform his bidding, receive his authority, and provide him with followers from humanity. They also persecute those who will not follow the dragon his program.

These three — 1. the Dragon; 2. the Beast from the Sea; 3. the Beast from the Land — form the satanic trifecta of evil. They cannot form a genuine Trinity because they do not share the same substance like the Godhead does. But, they are attempting to pass themselves off as an ersatz “Trinity.” Together, they are bent on the destruction of God’s plans and opposition to God.


vs. 1 [And the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea.] And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.

I. When governments do not recognize King Jesus as Lord of Lords, they become like wild beasts in their treatment of non-conforming people.

Daniel's_vision_of_the_four_beasts_from_the_sea_and_the_Ancient_of_Days_-_Silos_Apocalypse_(1109),_f.240_-_BL_Add_MS_11695

Daniel’s vision of the four beasts from the sea and the Ancient of Days – Silos Apocalypse (1109) Wikimedia Commons public domain image

“Beast,” in Greek, is thērion — meaning “wild beast.” This is a designationStatue of Gold in Daniel for evil, demonic forces behind human governments. It is taken from the book of Daniel (7:4-6) . In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he envisioned his  government as a golden statue.

In God’s estimation, human governments under the influence of demonic forces are wild beasts. Government is
supposed to support right and punish wrong, but often it does the opposite. Satan’s two earthly instruments are viewed by God as wild beasts ready to devour mankind.


Romans 13 states clearly —

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (ESV)

Roman Governor Arrives for Annual visit

Think of the annual visit of a Roman governor to his province (pictured above). He would be given a procession from the harbor in Ephesus to the Praetorium—the Roman governor’s residence—high above the theater that seated 25,000 persons. (The high vantage point said to Ephesians, “Beware! Rome’s eye is on you!”)

The imperial cult was not merely a matter of stone temples, lifeless statues, and voiceless inscriptions passively waiting to be noticed. Priests and celebrants regularly brought these sites and their ideology to life, following a calendar of imperial celebrations, including the monthly commemoration of the reigning emperor’s birthday. As the procession passed by, householders would sacrifice on small altars outside their homes [note the altar in the picture above]. The whole city thus had opportunity to join in the celebration. (see DeSilva, pg. 42, below).


II. When Christians refuse to render homage to State as god, we are treated badly by our neighbors for non-conformity.

The problem is not giving respect to our government officials. We owe them that according to Romans 13 and Jesus’ words to His disciples. We as believers are caught in a quandary sometimes. Jesus has an answer—Mark 12:15-17 —

Hadrian_Denarius12 Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

Our quandary comes when “our Caesar” usurps what belongs to God and requires us to obey it. We cannot render unto Caesar the things that belong to God!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Statue of Jesus Christ as King in Świebodzin, Poland CC BY-SA 3.0

III. Our obedience to and honoring of God has priority over our yielding to man’s wishes.

The Imagery of the Sea — In Rev. 11:7, the beast is said to arise “out of the abyss” (also in 17:8) . This indicates that the sea, here in 13:1, is a symbol for the abyss, in 11:7. “The ancient [Israelites] de-mythologized the sea-monster myths to depict the victory of the Lord of Israel over the demonic forces of evil that in various manifestations had sought to destroy the people of God.” (see Alan F. Johnson, 1987 ed. p. 524, below.)

The seven churches would have recognized the beast from the sea as the Roman Governor. We will speak later about the beast from the land (religion of Asia Minor).

Note Isaiah 57 about Israel and the wicked nations around her —

18 I have seen [Israel’s] ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19 creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” (ESV; emphasis mine) 

I leave you with two quotations —

“He who marries the spirit of the times will soon find himself a widower.” — G. K. Chesterton

“What, then, is it for a man to serve his own generation? I note, first, that it is not to be a slave to it. It is not to drop into the habits, customs, and ideas of the generation in which we live. What is it, [then]? It is to maintain true religion. — ( see Spurgeon, below)

We move on to more in the 13th Chapter next time.

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

DeSilva, David. (2009). Seeing Things John’s Way: The Rhetoric of the Book of Revelation. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (2006). Revelation, Rev. Ed. in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). “His Own Funeral Sermon.” A Sermon (No. 2243)
Delivered October 19th, 1890. Accessed 10 October 2020 from https://archive.spurgeon.org/sermons/2243.php

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© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 12: Facing a Fierce Foe but not Backing Down!

Revelation 12:13-17

Image above: Guido Reni – Massacre of the Innocents public domain Wikipedia.


We have seen in the past two posts that main point of this chapter is —

We as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ are in a cosmic Spiritual Battle in which Satan and his allies are seeking to destroy us. 

Let’s see in this post how fierce the conflict can become.

I. The church is the new Israel of God which is the target of Satanic attack.

vs. 13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.

Satan cannot get back at God directly. He does attempt to do so indirectly, however, through man. He takes his anger out upon the children of God. The specialized use of the Greek past tense stresses entering into an activity — “began to… .” The Greek word diōkō means “to put to flight,” “to pursue,” or “to persecute.” Since the devil cannot sling dirt in God’s presence any longer, he does so by pursuing His people and persecuting them.


II. God always provides for His people’s needs in times of persecution.

vs. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

Isaiah 40 gives us this promise —

28
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (ESV; emphasis mine.)

Beale points out that this verse takes us back to 12:6 and explains it further — 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

This section brings to mind the promises given by the Lord to Israel in Exodus 19:4 You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself; and Deut. 32:10-12.

This is direct Divine intervention for the purpose of deliverance. For the time designation see the note on vs. 6. Both of the verbs are passive in voice — indicating an implied Divine agent.

The church is once again portrayed as latter-day Israel taking over the role of the old Israel, and with the spiritual wilderness (erémos) representing God’s protective presence substituted for the physical wilderness of Sinai. (See Beale, p. 260, below.)  

Wolf in Sheep clothing

Wolf in sheep’s clothing, /u/Departedart, Digital, 2019


III. One of Satan’s chief means of defaming God is to corrupt His church by error.

vs. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.

The water brings to mind the Exodus. The water was a barrier to their escape. The word for “swept away by the stream” is potamophorétos. It was used in an A.D. 110 papyrus (a letter written on paper) meaning “to become river borne.” The thought may be that the godly are wrestling with a flood of deception.

Psalm 144 relates this possibility

7
Stretch out your hand from on high;
rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
from the hand of foreigners,
8
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

Psalm 32:6-7 sounds this same promise of protection.

6
Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. (ESV; emphasis mine)


IV. Our Lord God of Armies (Yahweh Sabaoth) has all resources at His disposal to aid His people.

vs. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.

A_Covenanters'_Conventicle,_from_a_children's_history_book

A conventicle in progress, from H. E. Marshall’s
Scotland’s Story (1906) public domain image from wikipedia.

The river runs under ground and does not destroy the woman. This speaks of the many ways the Lord will deliver his people during tribulation.

In the “killing times” in Scotland, an old Covenanter preacher had been delivering a sermon out in the rural countryside. All fled at the sound of horses and soldiers. The preacher ran into a cottage. The family hid him in a cupboard. Unknown to anyone a spider dropped down and began to weave a web over the cupboard door. Then the soldiers broke in and turned almost everything upside down. When they came to the cupboard, the captain said, “Don’t bother with that. The door hasn’t been opened in ages. There’s a spider web across the door.”


V. Obedience to Christ and Faithfulness to His Word brings the most suffering and the greatest success. 

vs. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

The church itself will not be destroyed. This is symbolized by the invulnerability of the woman. However, Satan will attack individual members of the church and seek to destroy them. This is symbolized by the “making war against the rest of her offspring.” The phrase “make war against” is identical to that used in two other places — 11:7 where the beast attacks the two witnesses and in 13:7 where the beast attacks the saints. “Could this possibly correlate the three groups and indicate their common identity under three different figures’?” (see Johnson, A. F., below.) Satan hates those who obey God’s word and who possess the testimony of Jesus.


In China, reporting Christian activities to police pays money

In parts of China, Christianity continues to be suppressed and stifled — especially with the next generation. We have recent reports that in China’s Gushi County—home to almost 2 million people—citizens have been encouraged to report “illegal” religious activities in exchange for monetary rewards. Reportedly, a reward of 500 yuan (around $73) was promised for photos, video or recordings of religious events. The information about the reward came to light when a summer camp hosted by a church in the county was interrupted and raided by government officials who accused the church of holding “illegal” activities. During the raid, plainclothes police confiscated personal and church property and took the pastor and his wife to the police station. A church member told China Aid that the officials suggested they acted on information from a third party, saying they had received “report from folks.” [Open Doors, USA website]

Still the house churches grow!


[vs. 12:18 or 13:1?] And he [or I] stood on the sand of the sea.

“And he stood on the sand of the sea.” This refers to the Dragon. The Textus Receptus or TR (the Greek manuscript from which the KJV was translated) reads “and I stood on the sand of the sea,” referring to John. The oldest manuscripts have the 3rd person singular and not the 1st person singular.

This verse is included in the KJV as a part of 13:1. It is obvious that it should be 12:18. It forms a link between the two chapters. The Dragon watches as his proteges, the Beast from the sea and the Beast from the earth rise to do
his bidding. These three figures are the “Satanic Trifecta.”


We do not know when persecution might come our way. Death is the last enemy we face in our earthly life. As we testify of God’s to wondrous grace in Christ, we never know who might be listening in the corner while we speak to someone who appears unresponsive.

Sangster-318Rev. William Edwin Sangster (1900-1959), very famous preacher, had been on a speaking engagement one evening and decided to give his wife a call. He usually did before leaving for home on a long journey. He connected to the long distance operator and gave her the number. (This was way before cell phones.) As he was waiting to be connected to his wife, he sang the words to a favorite hymn —

My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.
(Richard Baxter, “Lord, it Belongs not to My Care,” 1681)

The operator had been listening in to make sure the connection was made. When he finished singing that last verse, she asked him to repeat the words. She said, “You’ll never know how much those words meant to me tonight!”


Application for Chapter 12

Chart for Application of Reve 12

Next time Chapter 13!

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

WikiMedia Commons for Images

© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 12: Satan’s Defeat Enforced!

Revelation 12:7-12

7 Now war arose in heaven…


Image above: Michael casts out rebel angels. Illustration by Gustave Doré for John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Public Domain from Wikipedia.


The battle in heaven and the hurling down of the dragon are not to be understood literally. Satan is “hurled down from heaven” in this sense, namely that he has lost his place as an accuser of the brethren. Whereas Christ was born and rendered satisfaction for sin, Satan has lost every semblance of justice for his accusations against believers. (See, Hendriksen, p. 141, below.) 

This section of the Chapter is connected with the first section since vs. 3 states that —

3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. [ESV; empahsis mine]

Verses 1-6 describe the characters and the background to the warfare in which we as Christians are involved. We do not have the luxury of deciding whether or not we will fight since we are born on the battlefield as Christians!

Satan as Accuser

Image: From Wikimedia Commons; ancient illuminated manuscript of the scene in Job. 

Vss. 7-12 explain how Michael and his angels defeated the devil (waging war with the dragon) and his angels in heavenly combat, and record actions which are the heavenly counterpart of earthly events recorded in vss. 1-6. (see Beale, p. 252, below).

Satan’s anger is directed at God’s people since he does not have access to God’s presence to make his accusations in person any longer.

7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.

I. No matter what we as believers experience by way of persecution, we must always remember the Devil and his minions are behind the scenes pulling the strings.

Verses 7 & 8 This war is not one that will occur at the end of the age. It is one that has already occurred at the ascension. As a result of Christ’s finished work on the cross, Satan is no longer allowed access to heaven where God dwells as he did in the days of Job.

See Job 1:6-12 and Job 2:1-8

Michael is an archangel who is entrusted with Israel’s welfare. Just as he was concerned with Israel of old back then, he is also concerned with the new Israel, the Church of the Lord Jesus Jesus Christ, at present. Angels keep watch over the people of God (cf. Heb. 1:14). It is not stated in the Word of God that we each have a guardian angel. It simply states that we are protected by angels. Many of us need more than one, I’m sure!

II. We must ever bear in mind, in the skirmishes of everyday life, we face a defeated foe.

9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Verse 9 — The Dragon is further identified as: 

1. that ancient serpent (cf. Gen. 3:1) ;
2. the devil = adversary;
3. satan = slanderer;
4. deceiver = one who wanders off the course and thus leads others astray as well. 

The angels which fell with Satan share his lot. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan says, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” World is oikoumenē — the inhabited world.

III. God is sovereign over the battle and will bring the curtain down on the strife in His own good time! 

10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Verses 10 — “As elsewhere in the book, the narrative material can be interpreted only in the light of the hymns.” (See Johnson, A. F., below.) The war was fought and has already been won. It was fought at Calvary and the victory was enforced at the ascension.

Jesus_Christ_on_the_throne_by_Cima_da_Conegliano

Jesus Christ on the throne in heaven
Giovanni Battista WikiMedia Commons

The singers are not identified. However, the plural is used indicating that a group is speaking and not an individual The hymn uses the aorist tense (past tense) to describe Christ’s victory. It has already been accomplished. You ask, ”Why is there still fighting, then?” This is a good question. It shows that you and I are in the battle, and not on the sidelines as so many seem to be.

Omaha_Beach,_D+1,_June_7,_1944German_surrender_army.mil-2007-05-07-132957

Between two days; Top: D-Day+1 and Bottom: VE-Day

The period between D-Day and VE-Day — Christ is currently “mopping
up” the battlefield. His victory has already been won. It will only fully be manifest at his Second Coming.

The singers are proclaiming the triumph of Messiah. Each word describing the triumph has its own article. Jesus’ victory has ended Satan’s “accusation parties.” The genitive of time is used to indicate the kind of time referred to. Satan’s accusations came at any hour of the clock. The saints were not even exempt while they slept. Note the emphasis upon the authority (exousia) of Jesus. This is the key issue in the spiritual realm — authority. Satan can no longer flaunt the sins of God’s people. They have been dealt with in Christ.

Since God will no longer listen to Satan’s accusations against us, why should we! 

IV. We have resources to defeat all evil forces in the trenches of everyday warfare we face.

11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Resurrection

The Resurrection of Christ by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1875)
Wikimedia Commons image

Verse 11 — “They,” the stated subject of the sentence, is emphatic. Greek is an inflected language. The subject is contained in the verb itself. When it is stated in Greek, it is for the purpose of emphasis. It comes first in the word order. The aorist tense (past tense) indicates that victory is always won by the use of these weapons. This specialized use of the aorist tense (past tense) is called the Gnomic use of the Aorist. It is a universal truth. In English we state universals in the present tense. These three things are necessary for one to overcome Satan:

1. to be redeemed
2. to hear witness of redemption
3. not to love our lives as our ultimate end 

F. W. H. Myers, in a line of poetry about St. Paul writes —

Christ! I am Christ’s, and let the name suffice you,
Ay, for me too He greatly hath sufficed:
Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning,
Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ.

12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

Verse 12 — The great anger of Satan is due to his knowledge of the restriction of time placed upon him by God. He only has the brief period. He knows that God will triumph. Yet, he will not submit to him.

Next time, the third section of Chapter Twelve.

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 12: Main Characters and Story Line

Revelation 12:1-6

1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. 5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. [ESV]

Image above : The Woman Clothed with the Sun Fleeth from the Persecution of the Dragon, for William Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey, by Benjamin West, American, c. 1797, oil on paper on wood – Princeton University Art Museum; public domain.

The Context of the Chapter 

The basic plot of the story was a familiar one in the myths of the ancient world. A usurper doomed to be killed by a yet unborn prince plots to succeed the throne by killing the royal seed at birth. The prince is  miraculously snatched from his clutches and hidden away, until he is old enough to kill the usurper and claim his kingdom.” (see Johnson, A. F., below)

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is in a Spiritual Battle in which Satan and his allies are striking out at them since Satan cannot strike out directly at God. 

We are beginning new cycles of judgments with a pause for explanations at the beginning. This is in keeping with the interpretation of progressive parallelism. We are not seeing any kind of chronological development. We are seeing in-depth explanation of the same period of time covered by the letters to the seven churches, seals, and trumpets. But we are seeing a clearer focus on the very end.

There is a danger of seeing the two opponents — God and the dragon — as equals on the battlefield of history. The heresy of Manicheanism taught this. 

The most striking principle of Manichean theology is its dualism, a theme gleaned from the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. Mani postulated two natures that existed from the beginning: light and darkness. The realm of light lived in peace, while the realm of darkness was in constant conflict with itself. The universe is the temporary result of an attack of the realm of darkness on the realm of light, and was created by the Living Spirit, an emanation of the light realm, out of the mixture of light and darkness. (see Manicheanism, below.)

Destruction_of_Leviathan

Gustave Dore etching public domain

God is Almighty, Omnipotent and enforces His will on all who oppose Him. Now let’s see what verses 1-6 teach us about our spiritual battle.


Verse 1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

There are three signs (sēmeion) in this chapter — the woman, her child, and the dragon. They are signs in the sense of being portents — unusual persons that are significant in the drama.

Remember that symbols morph quickly in apocalyptic literature. The woman is obviously more than a symbol of the mother of our Lord. She is clearly symbolic of the godly remnant. She begins as a symbol of the believing remnant in Israel of old in vs. 1-6. In 7-17, she is obviously symbolic of the new Israel.

I. John is taking us behind the scenes of life in this world to show us why things are so difficult for us.

He is describing spiritual warfare in which we are engaged. Satan, our archenemy is set to thwart the plan of God at every point. The twelve stars, for some commentators, are symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel (see Gen. 37:9 for a comparison with Joseph’s dream). However, Josephus uses these items, i.e. the sun, moon, and stars, to describe the priestly vestments. This could be a way of stressing the priestly character of the church. In any case, the woman is more than just Mary the mother of Jesus because her persona fills the whole stage of this scene at the beginning. She is pictured as being beautiful beyond imagination. The woman’s crown is the stephanos, the victor’s crown.


Verse 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.

This is the birth of Messiah. However, it probably refers to more than just the birth in Bethlehem. It stresses the travail of the people of God prior to Christ’s birth.


Verse 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 

la_bete_de_la_mer

The “heaven” referred to here is the spiritual realm, and not the place where God manifest His presence (cf. Eph. 2:1-3; 6:10-12). It is the place where spiritual conflict takes place. The action occurs on earth, but John sees the characters in the spiritual realm before the action starts on the earth. The dragon is the serpent, Satan. He has a real dominion as illustrated by the crowns. The crowns are diadēmata — kingly crowns. He is powerful as illustrated by the 10 horns. (Medieval Tapestry of the Dragon pictured right above.)


Verse 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. 

rebellious-angels-7508415

The casting of the stars to the earth may be just a way of saying that Satan flexes his muscles in the spiritual realm and the repercussions are felt on the earth (see Morris, p. 158, below) . It also may be an allusion to the fall of the angels in the ministry of Jesus and His disciples. Stars are frequently used to represent angels (see post on Rev. 1) . The third part is a significant minority. The dragon standing in front of the woman in a hostile position speaks of Satan’s attempt to thwart God’s plans all through history before Messiah’s birth. It began with Adam’s fall and culminated with the slaughter of the innocents by Herod. Just as Jesus was an intended victim of Satan, we also as those who are God’s children will be as well.


Verse 5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne …

1024px-Jacopo_Tintoretto_-_The_Massacre_of_the_Innocents_-_WGA22591

Jacopo Tintoretto, Massacre of the Innocents

Only two events are given in this narrative concerning Jesus’ earthly life — his birth and ascension. These two events are the beginning and the ending of his personal conflict with Satan. The emphasis is upon a male (arsen) child. “Will rule” is mellō (‘about to” — used here to indicate the future time) plus poimain (“to shepherd”. “Snatched up to God” is pros ton theon indicating that the risen Christ is in the very presence of God the Father. A. T. Robertson, the great Greek scholar of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that pros is the “face-to-face preposition.” Jesus is in a face-to-face relationship with the Father in heaven.


Verse 6 … and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

The desert is a figure taken from the OT to describe the Lord’s ability to shelter his people during her tribulation just like he did when his ancient people were in the wilderness.

There is also a warning in this promise.

The word “place” (where she had a place prepared by God; cf. also v. 14), Greek topos, is synonymous elsewhere in the NT with “temple” (e.g., Matt. 24:15) and was often used in the LXX (about forty times) for the “sanctuary.” The place prepared by God is an invisible geographical area of cultic security like the temple of 11:1-2. The church at Ephesus is warned that an unrepentant spirit in the future will result in Christ removing their lampstand “out of its place (topos)” in His heavenly temple (2:5). This means that they will not have the benefit of spiritual protection provided by that temple. (see Beale, p. 250, below.)

Those who are not faithful to the Lord in trial may have His protection removed. This does not mean that all who suffer in persecution were unfaithful to the Lord. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” says Tertullian (c. AD 155 – c. 240).

Graphs for Revelation 11

The Time period chart from Chapter 11

Here we encounter the term 1,260 days again. It is the length of time the witnesses are to testify according to chapter 11. It seems best to consider it as the same time frame as the 42 months, the 3½ yrs., and the time, times, and half a time. It is roughly the time of Jesus’ earthly witness as Messiah. It stands in the Revelation for the time between Christ’s Resurrection-Ascension and His Return for His people — the Last Days.

Next time we will move on to the next section of Chapter 12.

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Manicheanism. Accessed 14 September 2020 from https://www.theopedia.com/manicheanism

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 11: The Third Woe; Just Deserts Given!

Revelation 11

15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God,
17 saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Image above: Abrecht Durer: Angels with Seven Trumpets Public Domain Engraving; edited.


As I have stated in previous posts—

Chapter 11 gives us a view into what God’s people will be experiencing as they witness to the Gospel of Christ between His Resurrection-Ascension and Second Coming.

In the section of Revelation 11 for this post we are at the end of the age as far as the church is concerned—

V. God has removed His people out of this world and has vindicated them before the watching world; and now, He pours His wrath out on those who have rejected the Gospel invitation. 

It seems that all is over, and in a sense, it is. However, there are more details that have to be filled in. We are viewing Revelation from the interpretive perspective of progressive recapitulation (see Hendriksen, below). With the end of Chapter 11, we are half way through the book of Revelation.


vs. 15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 

With the 7th Trumpet the end of the age has arrived. This Langenzenn_Stadtkirche_-_Fenster_Wilhelm_II_3will be followed by the pouring out of the cups of wrath (in chapter 16). The church has already gone to be with the Lord. All that will be saved have been saved. There is nothing but wrath for those remaining on the earth.

The voices in verses 17-18 are presumed to be from all of heaven’s inhabitants. They rejoice that the world is now under the total control of the Lord. The past tense is again used because the event is so certain that it can be spoken of as past. (Image right above is “An angel blows the ‘last trumpet'”, as in 1 Corinthians 15:52, stained glass window from Langenzenn, Germany, 19th century; Wikipedia.)


vs. 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God… .

Saint_John_on_PatmosThe beings that sit on these thrones are obviously an angelic order involved in the worship of God in heaven and are involved in the fulfilling of his purposes on the earth. The number twenty-four is suggestive of the twenty-four courses of priests in I Chronicles 24. Many commentators think that the elders represent the elect of all ages. Just as the courses of Priests represented the totality of the Priesthood, the twenty-four elders represent the totality of the elect of all ages. Some of the elect have already died and are already there in heaven. Some are still unborn, but these angels represent them all. (Image above right is St. John on Patmos by Limbourg brothers public domain.)


vs. 17 saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.

Note the part of the phrase “and is to come” is dropped from the description of the Triune God. This is because He has already come at this point in the Revelation!

The ESV translates the phrase, “You have begun to reign.” The 24 elders assume their usual position prostrate before God. Note that the tense of the word “reign” is past tense (aorist). This is taken as an ingressive aorist—begin to reign. God is said to have “taken his great power” (dunameis from which we derive our English word “dynamite”). He has assumed what was his by right. He was King all along. The only difference is that now he enforces his reign over every living being. Before he permitted some to rebel. Now he no longer allows  rebellion. He is absolute King. The reign is said to begin with the sounding of the 7th trumpet.


vs. 18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

The_Four_and_Twenty_Elders_(William_Blake)

The Four and Twenty Elders circa 1803-5 William Blake

The time (kairos) for the Last Judgment has arrived. Kairos is “opportune time” versus “chronological time.” As a great friend of mine used to say, “The Lord is always on time. He is not early, but He is never late!” This is the meaning of kairos. The prayers of the martyrs have long been on the incense altar of heaven awaiting answer, but now they are given God’s full attention!

The Lord will reward his servants, and punish those who have rebelled against him. It is interesting that the rebellious are said to be those who are destroying the earth. Those who are wicked and break God’s holy laws are the ones who bring the calamities on the earth! 

“When the judgment day arrives, then the full meaning of Psalm 2:7ff., and of Daniel 7:14 (cf. Luke 1:33) is going to be revealed.” (see Hendriksen, pp. 132-133, below.)


vs. 19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Temple_Naos

The Temple in Heaven is the sanctuary (naos) in heaven. (pictured above from image adapted Wikipedia Commons.) It is the place where God and his angelic hosts and his people dwell.

The Ark in the vision John sees is a symbol of God’s covenant faithfulness. All of the wrath and Judgment that comes out of heaven is righteous. It comes as a result of the activity of God himself. It seems now to us as if he has forgotten his promises. Men go free for their  crimes. Not so! God will avenge his people at the end.


Chart Applying the Truths of Chapter 11 to Our lives

Application Chart for Revelation 11

Next time, we will move into the last half of the book. We will begin with Chapter Twelve.

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 11: The Vindication of Christ and His Church

Revelation 11

11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on 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, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

Image above — Jesus’ ascension to Heaven depicted by John Singleton Copley in Ascension (1775) Wikimedia Commons


We still need to remember that we are dealing with apocalyptic literature. We are not reading a newspaper account of the end of this age. Rest assured we are dealing with the Second Coming of Christ for his saints who have been slain on the earth for their testimony for Him. There will be some Christians who are alive at this point. The outward expression of Christianity—the Church—has been destroyed by the ungodly. Some pockets of believers still remain.

This is no secret rapture! Those who killed them will see them rise. Christians may be killed in ignominy, but they will rise in glory to meet their Lord! As in a battle, the dead are often not given a proper burial.

Shallow Grave of War Dead

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania graves pictured above. Unfinished Confederate shallow graves near the center of the battlefield. image from https://www.pinterest.com/manuelfocus/civil-war/

Note the little mentioned verses from Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 27—

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. [ESV; emphasis mine.]

It is my opinion that this passage in Revelation 11 is echoing our Lord’s ministry, death, resurrection and ascension. (1) Our Lord witnessed as Messiah ≈ 3½ Years; (2) He was crucified in ignominy; (3) those who did it thought they finally had done with Him for good; (4) He lay in the tomb ≈ 3½ days; (5) Many Old Testament saints were raised and came out of their tombs and appeared to many in the city when He was raised; and (6) He ascended in a cloud to His Father in heaven. (see Beale, p. 229, below.)


As I have stated in previous posts—

Chapter 11 gives us a view into what God’s people will be experiencing as they witness to the Gospel of Christ between His Resurrection-Ascension and Second Coming.

In the section of Revelation 11 for this post we are at the end of the age as far as the church is concerned. (More will follow for the wicked.) 

IV. Christ will return and resurrect his faithful and vindicate those who have been faithful witnesses to His Gospel.

vs. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.

The tense of the verb is significant. It shifts with this verse to the past (aorist) tense to indicate that the events are so certain that he can speak of them as if they are already in the past.

Quinten_Massys_Vision_des_Propheten_Ezechiels

Quentin Metsys the Younger ” The Valley of Dry Bones Lives” (ca. 1543 – 1589) Public Domain image from Wikimedia Commons

It seems John may have in mind Ezekiel’s “Valley of Dry Bones” (see Ezekiel 37:1-14). Like the saints who were raised when Jesus was and went into the city, the ungodly recognize Christians that are raised at the Second Coming of Christ. Just when the world thinks the church is dead and they are rid of its testimony, the church is resurrected. This will be the case at the end of the age.

Gustave_Doré_-_2_Kings_2_-_11

vs. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. Left Gustave Dore’s engraving of Elijah going to heaven in the clouds (II Kings 2:1-12). 

The martyrs go the same way their Lord did—they ascend in a cloud. (cf. Acts 1:9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.) John uses the definite article in referring to the cloud. It seems to confirm the premise that the church’s history is to match its Lord’s—(1) A period of testimony (2) Followed by a period of seeming defeat; (3) Followed by resurrection and ascension. This would have given great assurance to the early church as they suffered for the Lord. They were a minority wondering if what they were doing counts for eternity. In this vision they see it does!

Destruction_of_Pompeii_and_Herculaneum

The volcanic earthquake that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum was well know in the Mediterranean world.

vs. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Calamity interrupts the celebration, making sure it is short lived. The Greek reads, “At that [very] hour… .” The resurrection of the church is followed by cataclysmic occurrences. The irrefutable testimony and the judgments force men to acknowledge that God has done it. It does not bring about the repentance of the remaining ones, however.

This is the first tremor of the cosmic shaking that will remove move the first heavens and earth (cf. 20:11; 21:1), the great quake that we have seen in the vision of the sixth seal (6:12-17) and will see again when the seventh bowl is poured out, shattering the “great city” Babylon into three pieces, causing the cities of the Gentiles to fall, and removing moving islands and mountains (16:17-21). (see Johnson, D, E. below).

The number of people affected—7,000—is approximately 1/10th of the population of ancient Jerusalem. Since Jerusalem is a symbol of worldwide opposition to God, this verse refers to a portion of the world and its population being destroyed by the cataclysmic judgments inflicted at the resurrection of the church. “This is not the end, but it is the beginning of the end.” (paraphrase of Winston Churchill’s famous quotation.)

vs. 14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

The Woes — In 8:13 we were told that the last three trumpets were so terrible that they are called woes. Two have occurred in chapter 9. Now we are told that the third is about to occur. With the Third Woe, we are brought to the end of the age in another of the cycles of Revelations judgments. We have called this method of interpretation progressive parallelism, after William Hendriksen (1939).

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

WikiMedia Commons for Images

© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 11: Seeming Defeat of Christ’s Church and Celebration over it.

Revelation 11

7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, 8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

Image above John Martin, Belshazzar’s Feast, c. 1821; Wikimedia Commons.

In Chapter 11, we are given a vision of the truth that the church will experience various trials and triumphs during its time of witness on earth.

III. The Church will experience seeming defeat at the end of this age. vss. 7-10. 

vs. 7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them…

This marks a final stage in redemptive history. According to Revelation 6:9-11 the martyrs are told to rest until their number is complete.

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

“At this time, the church will have completed its role of bearing witness to Christ before the world, and will appear defeated (so Matt. 24:9-22).” (see Beale, p. 226, below).

The Beast & the Church — There is a limit to the physical protection of the Church. When the period of testimony is over, the day of grace is past. The Lord will permit the seeming destruction of the Church. The Beast from the abyss will accomplish the deed of destruction. He will be identified later in chapter 13.

la_bete_de_la_mer

Left Image from Wikimedia Commons: A medieval tapestry, this detail of which shows John, and the Beast. We should be mindful that the figures in Revelation do not take physical form, but are intended to illustrate spiritual realities behind the sufferings of the church.

vs. 8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.

The Identification of the City — The city is identified as the earthly Jerusalem which rejected and crucified Jesus. Later on, it is also expanded to ultimately refer to the whole world. Jerusalem was a microcosm. Its attitudes and actions symbolize those of the entire world in opposition to God and His Redemptive Plan for it. The Cities of Sodom, Babylon, Jerusalem, and Rome are combined as a symbol of the world in its opposition to God and His Covenant people.

Nero Torching Christians

“The painting depicts a group of early Christian martyrs who are about to be burned alive as the alleged perpetrators of the Great Fire of Rome, during the reign of emperor Nero in AD 64. People from many different social spheres, including the emperor himself, are present to watch the burning, which takes place in front of the Domus Aurea (Nero’s Golden House). The motif is based on the descriptions by Suetonius and Tacitus.” Text and Image above from: WikiPedia; Painting in Public Domain by Siemiradski Fackeln, 1876

vs. 9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb…

The Time Period of the Beast’s Triumph — Note that 3½ days is a short time in comparison to the 3½ years of testimony. Jesus testified 3½ years, and laid in the tomb for approximately 3½ days. This is a possible reference to the church’s experience being like her Lord’s. There will be a period of testimony followed by a period of seeming defeat.

vs. 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

The Celebration over the Church’s Demise — The inhabitants of the earth (literally, “earth–dwellers” in Greek) are those who are settled down in this earth. They are dominated by this world system. They oppose God and his plans in this world.

This passage always makes me think of Belshazzar’s Feast in Daniel five. One would have thought he would have learned the lesson his father Nebuchadnezzar had learned from his insane period (Daniel 4). Belshazzar sent for the vessels of Solomon’s temple to make his feast an idolatrous meal. Daniel 5:4 They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone (ESV). (see the image at the head of this post.) 

Gifts Sent — The Greek reads, “They shall send gifts to one another.” They will throw a party to celebrate the destruction of the church. The word doran means “a gift” such as someone would send to a birthday party.

Why the celebration? — The inhabitants of the earth regard the ones who preach salvation through Christ alone as those who are tormentors. The Greek word basanizō means “to torture or torment.” The noun form basanistēs is used of a jailer who tortures his prisoners (see Matt. 18:34; ESV).

Baal_thunderbolt_LouvreFor instance, Ahab regarded Elijah as the one who tormented Israel. I Kings 18:17-18 records the interchange.

17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals.

Right above is a stele of Baal holding a thunderbolt. He is God of fertility, weather, rain, wind, lightning, seasons, war, sailors. Yet, he was not able to call down fire on a sacrifice at Mt. Carmel. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Those who oppose God mistreat God’s people because they remind them of God’s commandments and statutes.

The last word hasn’t been said yet! Next time… .

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

WikiMedia Commons for most images

© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Revelation 11: Christians Stand Before God as They Witness for Him!

Revelation 11

4 [The two witnesses] are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.

Image above by Douglas W. Krieger – “The Visions and Prophecy of Zechariah” issued under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 from Wikimedia Commons

As we saw in the last post, Chapter 11 gives us a view into what God’s people will be experiencing as they witness to the Gospel of Christ between His Resurrection-Ascension and Second Coming.

II. God’s people have at their disposal divine weapons to exercise in prayer against God’s and their enemies. vss. 4-6

vs. 4 [The two witnesses] are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.

The Background to the Symbols — The Church is identified with symbols from Zechariah 4. In this passage the lampstand is prominent as a symbol of the Church. Earlier in Rev., there were 7 lampstands. In Zech. the oil from the olive tree is a definite symbol of the Spirit’s enabling of the Church in its witnessing.

“Though the prophetic witnesses live in a world of danger, they are never far from their Lord’s sovereign presence, and nothing can separate them from their secure relationship with Him.” (See Beale, p. 222, below.)

You and I ought never forget that it is in the presence of the Lord God that we stand as His servants! We go forth in His name to witness and work. Our protection is of the Lord God we serve! Elijah was conscious of this as he faced wicked Ahab. 

I Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” (ESV; emphasis mine.)

Olive Trees — “Zechariah speaks of the two witnesses, the king and the priest, who reestablish a literal temple, whereas John sees two witnesses helping to build the heavenly temple. In contrast with Zechariah, the two witnesses are not individuals but represent the church universal.” (see Beale, p. 222, below.)

vs. 5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed.

The Church’s Weapons — George Whitefield said, “We are immortal until our work on earth is done.” (see Whitefield, below.) This verse certainly refers to protective resources. However, the destruction referred to in this verse and in the following ones is not physical primarily. It is spiritual destruction. It is torment of the spirit and not a desire for public vindication. It certainly includes some actual physical destruction. The words of the witnessing church is destructive. They can heal and harm. The condition of the hearer determines which result is inflicted.


Elisabeth Elliot was often asked about Jim Elliot’s faith in Psalm 91 and his singing of the hymn based on it the night before he went to meet martyrdom along with others.

1
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender;
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender.
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
2
Yea, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.
3
We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing;
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
4
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender:
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise
When reigning in the Kingdom of Thy splendor;
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
(see Net Hymnal below.)


Jim_ElliotWhy didn’t Jim and his party have the protection of the “shadow of the Almighty” while they were bearing witness for Christ? many asked her.

Elisabeth always added, “Jim had another saying, too!

‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose!'”

John Piper says, “This is where Jim Elliot was slain — in the shadow of the Almighty.” (see Piper below.)

Jim Elliot was! But, he was kept safe there, too. Like all of us, kept safe in the shadow of the almighty until our work is finished; and then, still under that shadow, we are carried home safely to be with our Lord at death! We are never out from under that shadow! 


Jim Elliot Quotation from his Journal

This is the entry of the now famous quotation of Jim Elliot in his own handwriting in his Journal. © Wheaton College 2017


II Corinthians 10

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… .
(ESV; Emphasis mine.)

vs. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.

Old Testament Symbols — This verse brings to mind two O.T. men — Elijah and Moses. John is saying that the NT Church witnesses in the strength and power of these two OT prophets. We have already seen that the Church’s prayers bring the plagues upon the earth. Those who refuse to repent will experience those plagues.

How can we be protected and yet be martyred at the same time? Our souls are secure and our bodies will be raised at the last trumpet! We can’t lose.

“[The Church] may undergo bodily, economic, political, or social harm, but their eternal covenantal status with God will not be affected. Though they may suffer and even die, they will invincibly and successfully carry out the spiritual mission for which they have been ‘measured’ and commissioned.” (see Beale, p. 223, below).

We move on to the next section of chapter 11, in the next post.

Notes
(Commentaries on which I rely without direct quotation) 

Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.

ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com

Hendriksen, William. (1939). More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).

Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Net Hymnal. (1872-1897). “We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender”. Accessed 13 August 2020 from https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/881

Piper, J. (2016). “Slain in the Shadow of the Almighty.” Accessed 13 August 2020 from https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/slain-in-the-shadow-of-the-almighty

Whitefield, G. (n.d.). Accessed 13 August 2020 from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/george_whitefield_201221

WikiMedia Commons for Images

© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved