Bible Study

Bible Study Revelation 10 and 11

The Bible Study about Revelation 10 and 11 is ready to go. It is available on the YouTube account of the Free Reformed Church of Kelmscott. An outline can be downloaded here.

With the changing situation and the Bible Study Clubs being able to get together again, starting next week, I will finish this Bible Study series. We came to Revelation 11. My plan is to start a series of sermons, beginning with Revelation 12, this coming Sunday, 7 June 2020. The recording of the worship services of the Free Reformed Church of Kelmscott can be watched at the same YouTube account of the church.

Revelation 10

Between sixth and seventh trumpet:

Chapter 10 and 11: two parts. Just like after the sixth seal (ch. 7).

Sixth trumpet: 6:21 : and they did not repent.

First response: ch. 10: John being told to prophesy.

Second response: ch. 11: The two witnesses.

Strong Angel:

Mighty angel: see 5:2. See also 18:1.

This one is the most powerful.

See 1:16.

Cloud: Ex. 13:21, Rev. 1:7, 14:14-16. Also Daniel 10:6 !

Angel who is very close to God.

Seven Thunders:

voice of God. Ps. 29: seven times: voice of God!

seal it up (see Daniel 12:4,9). Still some secrets, for the very end.

Angel on the sea and the land:

Swore by the eternal God: the Creator of everything Who never changes!

Daniel 12:7 : time, times and half a time. Here: there should be delay no longer. Seventh trumpet is coming.

God’s mystery: God’s revelation to His people, His Word: His plan: finished: From beginning to end.

John eats the scroll:

John becomes part of the vision. Eat it: make it his own, take it to him completely.

Sweet: God’s Word, God’s commandments, are sweet: see Psalm 19, 119.

Sweet: beautiful message. Bitter: also punishment, sorrow for the unbelieving world.

John must prophesy again:

About many peoples, nations, tongues and kings: again the number four.

Daniel 7:14, Jeremiah 25:15-29 : God and Christ have authority over all nations!

Ezekiel 3:6 : Ezekiel not sent to many nations but to Israel. Now: John goes to many nations.

John first addressed the church, ch. 2+3. Now, to all the nations.

About: also ‘to’. About: see later parts of this book. To: see chapter 11: two witnesses preaching to the world.

This strong angel: back to 5:2 : reminder of the heavenly throne room.

Refocus: the scroll which was sealed (5:2) is now opened in his hand (10:2).

The Book/Scroll :

‘little book’ and ‘book’ synonyms, used interchangeably. Book also translated as scroll (ch. 5).

Scroll is opened now. See vs. 7: the mystery of God would be finished.

For this entire chapter: cf. Ezekiel 1- 3: the calling vision of Ezekiel. Many similarities. Ezekiel 3: he had to eat the scroll, sweet as honey.

Revelation 11:

John measuring the temple:

Ezekiel 40-44

To measure: especially protected, reserved for God: the temple, the altar and the worshipers.

The outer court is given to the Gentiles.

In NT: the temple is the Church. Place where God dwells, where His people is protected by Him. Altar: the prayers of the saints. That is where the congregation comes to worship: the worshippers.

Outer court: the holy city, given to the gentiles: tread underfoot everything that was formerly considered holy. But the ‘holy city’ had rejected Jesus! Is not holy anymore and will be destroyed.

42 months:

42 months: see Daniel 12:7 : time, times, half a time.  = 3 years 6 months, see James 5:17 : drought in time of Elijah.

3.5: symbolic number.

Vs. 3: 1260 days

See also verse 9: 3.5 days.

Gentiles will tread the holy city underfoot: 3.5 years: also the time of prophesying of the two witnesses.

42 months seems to be long, but is limited. Not indefinitely. Only half of 7.

The outer court will be trampled underfoot, but the temple, the worship service: that is the Church, will be protected by God: It will continue throughout all those 42 months!

The Two Witnesses:

The two olive trees and the two lampstands: images from the temple!

Lampstand: see ch. 2-3 : the church!

Signs in vs. 5 and 6: the signs of Moses and Elijah. Law and the prophets. Preached by the Church.

God allows time for the world to trample the court and the holy city: time also for prophesying: preparing the world for judgment.

The witnesses killed:

Finish their testimony: Preached to all nations. Matt. 28. God’s judgment comes.

But before that: The world’s response: reject the Word, kill the preachers.

Beast from the bottomless pit: Rev. 20:3. Very last moment of the end time. This beast leads the war against the Church of Christ.

3.5 days: not months but days. Needed for the world to make the measure of their sins full, by not burying them, vs. 9, and by showing that they celebrate, vs. 10.

On the street of the great city, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt: example of God’s wrath in OT.

Where also our Lord was crucified: Jerusalem compared to Sodom and Egypt.

Crucifying Christ: now by killing the witnesses. Not the Jews in those days, but all unbelievers!

Name Jerusalem not mentioned. Reserved for the New Jerusalem.

The witnesses resurrected

Breath of life from God: God’s Spirit.

Resurrection of Christ: now also His Church will be killed and raised with Him. Christ is Life!

As Christ ascended up to heaven, so also the witnesses: in a cloud.

Vs. 13: Great earthquake: tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand were killed.

Ten percent: tithing: first fruits: this is the beginning. More to follow.

7000: large amount. But still limited.  

The rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.  Different from 9:21.

The whole earth bows down for God and for Christ, now they accept His Kingdom!

Now the seventh trumpet can sound!

Seventh Trumpet:

Vs. 15: all kingdoms of the earth acknowledge Christ as King.

Vs. 16: 24 elders worshiped, joined the voices in heaven, praising God.

Vs. 17-18. Praise is also announcement of God’s judgment.

Vs. 19: then the temple was opened: God’s throne. The ark of the covenant.

Questions for discussion:

  1. Very often we see themes from the Old Testament coming back in Revelation: from Exodus, Ezekiel, Daniel, but also several other books. The mentioning of the temple and the altar in chapter 11 also shows continuity between Old Testament and New Testament. Often we speak about the Old Testament shadows which are fulfilled in Christ. But the New Testament also indicates that there is continuation. In which ways do we see continuation between OT and NT?
  2. The Two Witnesses have power to punish the enemies of God’s Word: all those who try to harm the Church (the two witnesses). Should we be more bold in praying to God to punish those who resist the progress of the preaching of God’s Word?

9 thoughts on “Bible Study Revelation 10 and 11

  1. Question:
    Can we judge, by clearly following the “footsteps of the Lord” that Christ could not come tomorrow yet as certain things prophesized have not yet happened? What are your thoughts on this, please.

    Thank you for the question. It is a difficult question to answer. God has not given us a clear plan with steps He is going to take before the end comes. I believe that much of what is being described already happened in the days of John and in the centuries thereafter. I also believe that these things will continue to happen throughout time until the return, and will increase in intensity. There may be a few things that have not happened, but that are mainly events that will happen just before Christ returns and it may very well be that they are already happening before we realise that it is happening. IT always takes some time for us to understand the things that are happening, and in that time the end may be there. Yes, certain things still have to happen, but it can happen quickly. If we don’t pay attention it can come unexpectedly. We don’t need to be surprised if we pay close attention and it can show to us that His coming is close. But the other way around, saying that His coming is still far off because certain things still have to happen, I don’t think that is right. Then it may surprise us like a thief in the night.

  2. When we consider persecution in the context of Revelation, and the killing of the two witnesses in 11:7, how does this differ from being tested in our faith, or tempted by Satan? What would a Biblical definition of persecution be?

    1. The killing of the two witnesses is such a severe persecution that it looks like the preaching of the Word by the church has come to an end and Satan has succeded in silencing the world. In other parts of Revelation it is being described in different ways, but it is about the same situation. See Revelation 20:9 : Satan will deceive the nations and unite them against the church, ‘and they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city’.
      Rev. 11:7 is symbolic and so is Rev. 20:9, but both descriptions make it clear that it seems as if the world has won and Satan has succeeded in removing faith from this earth. And when it is at that point, then Christ will return and destroy them.

      Persecution is taking place now, but it will increase up to the point that the whole church everywhere will be under attack. It looks like it is coming close: there has never been a time in the history that so many Christians and so widespread have been persecuted. It may get worse, also in our country, but I don’t know exactly how it will go. But towards the end it will increase, because it is all part of the battle between Satan and his follwoers and Christ and His church as the seed of the woman.

      A biblical definition of persecution would be something like ‘suffering shame for the name of Christ’. In whatever form that may be, or ‘taking up your cross and follow Christ.’

  3. Question:
    About 11:13 : the whole world accepts his kingdom. What is meant by that, has it happened, or is it still to happen?

    As I understand it, it says that towards the end, either the unbelievers will be killed or they will come to acknowledge Christ as Lord. It is remarkable that the response after the earthquake and what happens to the witnesses is quite different from that after the sixth trumpet in 9:21. Here it doesn’t say that they don’t repent. This is about the moment just before the great judgment: then all those living on earth will acknowledge Christ as Lord, and then it can be said that His authority is accepted by all creation.

    1. reaction:
      This happens after the witnesses are called up to God. Does that relate to Mat 24:40 &41? Isn’t it too late for true repentance, as the witnesses do not call to repentance anymore; there is only the acknowledgement of God with ‘gnashing of teeth ‘?

      Yes, that is very well possible. I am struggling to understand Revelation 11:13, also because commentaries give good arguments for both sides. It does say here that they are terrified and give glory to God, Is that forced? Maybe. However, the fact that in 9:21 it says that they did not repent nor give up worshiping demons …, and here it says that they were terrified and gave glory to God, is quite a contrast. One thing is sure: they give glory to God. Whether they will be saved by it or not, is not clear. I would like to believe that they are, but your explanation is just as valid.

  4. In Rev 11: 4, it mentions two olive trees and TWO lampstands which are the two witnesses. A cross reference to Zechariah 4:2-3,11-14 mentions two olive trees and ONE lampstand. Is there any particular reason for this difference? Why two of both in Revelation?

    1. In Zechariah 4 we see one lampstand, which reflects the tabernacle in Exodus 40 and is about standing before the LORD in His tabernacle.
      In Rev. 11:4 two lampstands are mentioned, because it is about witnessing, and the Bible speaks about the need of having two witnesses. I think this is the reason for the difference.

  5. Is there any significance that at the end of chapter 11 it mentions FIVE things: lightning, noises, thunder, earthquake, hail? You mentioned the addition of hail, but is there significance that now this is five, as opposed to the previous four?

    1. In 4:5 three things are mentioned: flashes of lightning, rumblings(noises), and peals of thunder.
      In 8:5 four things are mentioned: peals of thunder, rumblings(noises), flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
      In 11:19 five things are mentioned: flashes of lightning, rumblings(noises), peals of thunder, an earthquake, and hail.
      The string of things is increasing in number and with that also in urgency.
      This fits within the entire book: towards the end, the urgency increases, the intensity increases (compare the seals to the trumpets), time is speeding up, etc.

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