I. INTRODUCTION

A. Review

B. Text of Rev 13:11-18

11Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth: He had two horns like a Lamb, but was speaking like a dragon.
12And with all of the authority of the first beast, the beast of the earth worked on behalf of the beast of the sea. That beast of the earth made the earth and those who live in it in order that they would worship the first beast which had been healed of the plague of death. 13He was doing great signs, even so that he made fire come down from heaven to earth before the people. 14He deceived the people living on the earth by the signs which were given to him to do in the presence of the beast. He told the people living on the earth to make a statue of the beast who had a wound of the sword, but lived. 15The beast of the earth was given power to breathe life into the image of the beast of the sea. This was done so the statue of the beast would speak and make whoever refused to worship the statue of the beast to be killed.
16The beast of the earth made everyone—the young, the elderly, the rich, the poor, the free, and the slaves—be given a stamp on their right hand and on their forehead. 17This made it so that no one was able to buy or sell anything, except for the people who have the mark of the beast or his number. 18Wisdom is needed here. The one who has understanding must interpret the number of the beast, for it is the number of humankind and his number is 666. (Rev 13:11-18) 1

You can get a PDF version of this blog post, a handout for small group study, & access my translation notes by becoming a patron of my blog.

 

The Beast of the Earth (Rev 13:11-18)

Photo Credit: Bamberg Apocalypse

C. General Remarks about Rev 13:11-18

One of the first experiences that I remember of the number “666” was when I was in college at California State University, Stanislaus. There was a newspaper selling box near our mailbox and I remember walking buy and purchasing a copy. When opening it the feature on the front cover above the fold was the chronology of a bunch of different couples that wanted to get married on that day: June 6, 2006. In effect, it was 666 (06/06/2006). In my mind, the day was far from the number, 666, but it did highlight people’s infatuation with the number that started with this passage in Revelation 13: the mark of the beast of the earth which is the mark of mankind.

“Who is the satanic beast, symbolized by the number 666? Over the centuries a very great deal of ingenuity has been expended in attempting to answer this question.” Bruce Metzger, Breaking the Code, 76

“Chapter 13 is one of the great prophetic chapters of Scripture and is the only passage that presents in any detail the two principal evil characters of the end of the age who form with Satan an unholy trinity.” John Walvoord, Revelation, 215

“Using stunning miracles, signs, and wonders, the false prophet will convince the world that the Antichrist is the leader they’ve been looking for—the man with a plan—the man who can solve the world’s problems.” (Hitchcock, The End, 269)

QUESTION: WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN OR HEARD ABOUT THIS BEAST OF THE EARTH? WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN OR HEARD ABOUT THIS NUMBER, 666?

QUESTION: AS WE HAVE READ THROUGH THIS SECTION OF REVELATION 13, WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE BEAST OF THE SEA AND THE FALSE PROPHET? IN WHAT ARENAS DOES THEIR WORK OCCUR?

II. THE APPEARANCE OF THE BEAST OF THE EARTH (Rev 13:11)

Καὶ εἶδον ἄλλο θηρίον ἀναβαῖνον ἐκ τῆς γῆς, καὶ εἶχεν κέρατα δύο ὅμοια ἀρνίῳ καὶ ἐλάλει ὡς δράκων.

“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth: He had two horns like a Lamb, but was speaking like a dragon.” (Rev 13:11)

The Greek word, αλλος, is used here. It can mean, “other, another, different.” The idea conveyed here is that this is another beast that is distinct from the first beast, but it can also be similar in appearance or form. However, some scholars say not to make too much of the distinction between αλλος and ἑτερος because “it is very difficult to make a clear distinction” (Buchsel, “ἄλλος” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 1, 264).

The true “Lamb” described in Rev 5:6 refers to Jesus and that Lamb has seven horns. The counterfeit lamb here in Rev 13:11 only has two horns, which I believe refers to its limited power and authority (Thomas, Revelation 8-22, 173) Continue Reading…

Notes:

    I. INTRODUCTION

    A. Summary of Past Lessons

    B. Text of Rev 13:1-10

    1Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads. On its ten horns were ten crowns and on its heads was a blasphemous name. 2The beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like a bear, his mouth was like the mouth of a lion. Then the dragon gave the beast his power, seat, and great authority.                     3One of its heads was slaughtered unto death, but the wound of death was healed. The whole earth was amazed after this happened to the beast. 4They worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast saying: Who is like the beast and who has power to wage war against him?                   5The beast was given proud words and blasphemies. Authority was given to him to work for forty-two months. 6He opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blasphemy God’s name and tent, namely those who dwell in heaven. 7The beast was given authority to make war against the saints and to overcome them. He was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. 8Everyone who lives on the earth will worship the beast. These are the people whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, which is where the Lamb was slaughtered.
    9If anyone has an ear: listen!
    10If anyone is on his way to captivity, to captivity he will go.
    If anyone is to be killed by the sword, in the sword he will be killed.
    On this occasion there is patience and faith from the saints. (Rev 13:1-10) 1

    You can get a PDF version of this blog post, a handout for small group study, & access my translation notes by becoming a patron of my blog.

    The Beast of the Sea (Rev 13:1-10)

    Photo Credit: Bamberg Apocalypse

    C. General Remarks about Rev 13:1-10

    “Revelation 13:1-10 predicates a future world government that from God’s point of view will be a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire, expanded to cover not only the area of the ancient empire, but the entire world. This government will be empowered by Satan, and its primary objective will be forcing the whole world to worship Satan and his human representative, the world dictator.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 210-211)

    “The evil trinity. This trio is made up of Satan, the first beast (the Antichrist), and the second beast (a false prophet), and is a counterfeit of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Satan is the key figure here. He empowers the other two (who are apparently human beings) to deceive and coerce the world into a willing worship of Satan. This is a trinity dedicated to destruction, not redemption. They do not serve men, but instead demand that men serve them. They do not die for humanity, but rather take lives when people will not obey their unholy commands.” (Larry Richards and Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary, 1083)

    “Some estimate that, since the days of Adam, approximately one hundred billion human beings have been born. Over seven billion are alive today. However, the greatest human, apart from Jesus Himself, has yet to make his appearance upon our plant. The Bible predicts this satanic superman will splash onto the world scene and rule the world for the final 3 ½ years before the return of Christ. He plays a central role in the events of end times prophecy. More than one hundred passages of Scripture describe the origin, nationality, character, career, conquest, and doom of the final world ruler known as the Antichrist. Clearly God wants His people to know something about the coming price of darkness.” (Hitchcock, The End, 253)

    II. THE BEAST OUT OF THE SEA (13:1-2)

    A. The Head of the Beast of the Sea (v. 1)

    Καὶ εἶδον ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης θηρίον ἀναβαῖνον, ἔχον κέρατα δέκα καὶ κεφαλὰς ἑπτὰ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν κεράτων αὐτοῦ δέκα διαδήματα καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτοῦ ὀνόμα[τα] βλασφημίας.

    Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads. On its ten horns were ten crowns and on its heads was a blasphemous name. (Rev 13:1)

    1. Symbolic or Literal Sea?

    Continue Reading…

    Notes:

    1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 text

    When I moved to Texas I had to learn all about the “big three” schools. Places such as “Lubbock” and “College Station” and “Austin” were legendary cities because of the large schools located there. These were the cities of the “big three” colleges in Texas: Texas A&M (College Station), University of Texas (Austin), and Texas Tech (Lubbock). While Texas might have it’s “big three,” Paul writes about the “big three” in the lives of believers in Philippians 3:9-11.

    First is justification. This is the teaching that we have righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. He writes, “and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith” (Phil 3:9, NLT). The basis and grounds for Christians be counted as righteousness depends on faith.

    Second is sanctification. Once a person has placed his faith in Jesus Christ and committed to follow Him, the next step is sanctification. Sanctification is the daily act of becoming more like Jesus. “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,” (Phil 3:10, NLT). The Christian life is not always warm and happy. Here Paul reminds his readers that if they are to become more like Jesus, then they are going to suffer along the way. This suffering was predicted in the book of Acts, “And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16, NLT). That suffering was lived out as Paul has shared, “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him” (Phil 1:29, NLT) and “through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” (2 Cor 4:10, NLT). Sanctification includes joy as well, but suffering seems to be a big theme of sanctification for Paul. 

    Third is glorification. After a person has experienced justification and participated in sanctification, there will be a glorification for all believers at the end of their lives in heaven. “So that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” (Phil 3:11, NLT).

    While it is easy to get caught up into the worldly view of things (as I learned about the big three in Texas), we should be reminded of the “big three” that Paul describes for believers: (1) justification, (2) sanctification, and (3) glorification.

    I. INTRODUCTION

    A. Past Lessons

    B. Text of Rev 12:13-18

    “13But when the dragon realized he had been thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14So the woman was given two wings like a great eagle so that she could fly into the wilderness to the place for her. That’s where she was taken care of for a time, times, and half a time away from the presence of the serpent. 15The serpent threw water from his mouth after the woman like a river in order that she might be swept away by a river. 16But, the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth. It swallowed up the river which the dragon sent from his mouth. 17The dragon became angry at the woman and went to make war against the rest of her descendants who were keeping the commandments of God and witness of Jesus. 18Then he stood on the sand next to the sea.” (Rev 12:13-18) 1

    You can get a PDF version of this blog post, a handout for small group study,   and access my translation notes by becoming a patron of my blog.

    The Dragon and His Pursuit (Rev 12:13-18)

    Photo Credit: Bamberg Apocalypse

    C. General Remarks

    “Taken as a whole, chapter 12 is a fitting introduction to the important revelations given in chapter 13. Here are the principal actors of the great tribulation with the historic background that provides so much essential information. Israel, Satan, Christ, the archangel, and the godly remnant figure largely in the closing scenes of the age. Next, the two principal human actors are introduced: the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth, the human instruments that Satan will use to direct his program during the great tribulation.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 202).

    “Don’t be surprised that the dragon is out to get you, with more of his foul but powerful accusations, spat out like a flood.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 113)

    “Revelation 12 describes the attempts by Satan to destroy Christ at His first coming, and his persecution of Isarel (the woman) in the final days before the second coming (cf. Gen 3:15). The point seems to be that Satan’s plan A was to destroy Christ so he couldn’t rule as king. When he failed in that, he embarked on plan B which was to destroy the people over whom Christ is to reign – the Jewish people. However, God supernaturally protects Israel from Satan during the final 3 ½ years of the tribulation.” (Mark Hitchock, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” class notes at Dallas Theological Seminary)

    As we finish the study of Revelation 12 it becomes clear that this chapter is about the Dragon—Satan—and his fight against those who are loyal to God. The word “dragon” (in Greek) is used eight times in this chapter in only eighteen verses. Clearly, the focus of this chapter is Satan and his work to kill others.

    II. THE CHASE (12:13-14)

    A. The Dragon’s Pursuit (v. 13)

    Καὶ ὅτε εἶδεν ὁ δράκων ὅτι ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἐδίωξεν τὴν γυναῖκα ἥτις ἔτεκεν τὸν ἄρσενα.

    “But when the dragon realized he had been thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the male child.” (Rev 12:13)

    1. Pursued or Persecuted?

    Translations are split on the verb used to describe what the dragon does to the woman. Some translations use “pursued” (NLT, LEB, ESV, NIV, NRSV) and some use “persecuted” (NASB95, KJV1900, NKJV, AV 1873). Either seems like a good option because both reflect the dragon’s desire to kill the woman.

    QUESTION: WHO IS THE DRAGON? WHO IS THE WOMAN?

    2. Satan’s Anger Continue Reading…

    Notes:

    1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek New Testament

    I. INTRODUCTION

    QUESTION: HOW ARE WE DOING WITH OUR STUDY IN REVELATION? DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS? ANYTHING FROM LAST WEEK THAT DID NOT SIT WELL WITH YOU?

    A. Past Lessons

    B. Text of Rev 12:7-12

    7Then there was a war in heaven. Michael and his angels waged war against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war back. 8But, the dragon was not strong enough to find a place for himself and his angels in heaven. 9Next, the great dragon, the ancient serpent, the one called the Devil and Satan—he is the one who deceives the whole world—was thrown down to earth with his angels. 10Then I heard a loud noise in heaven saying, ‘Just now the salvation, power, kingdom of our God, and authority of his Christ has come. This is because the accuser of our brothers—the one who brings charges before God day and night—has been thrown down to earth. 11But, they overcame [conquered] him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. They did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. 12For this reason, o heavens and all who live there rejoice. Woe to the earth and to the sea because the Devil has come down for you with tremendous anger because he knows he has a short time left.’” (Rev 12:7-12)

     

    Michael vs. Dragon (Rev 12:7-12)C. General Remarks

    “The basic message of the Apocalypse is that Satan has already been defeated at the cross, and the victory of the saints is assured.” (Osborne, Revelation, 476)

    “John sees here the mother of all wars. It is a vision of Satan’s rebellion against God. The vision gives us no idea of how Satan’s rebellion relates chronologically to the creation.” (Mulholland, “Revelation” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, vol. 18, 514)

    II. SATAN LOSES (Rev 12:7-9)

    A. Michael and His Army Versus Satan and His Army (v. 7)

    Καὶ ἐγένετο πόλεμος ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ Μιχαὴλ καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ τοῦ πολεμῆσαι μετὰ τοῦ δράκοντος. καὶ ὁ δράκων ἐπολέμησεν καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ,

    “Then there was a war in heaven. Michael and his angels waged war against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war back.” (Rev 12:7)

    QUESTION: WHO IS THIS “MICHAEL?” IS HE MENTIONED ELSEWARE IN THE BIBLE? OLD TESTAMENT? NEW TESTAMENT?

    1. Michael the Archangel

    Michael the archangel held a special role in protecting Israel in the Old Testament. The angel sent to the prophet Daniel was held up by the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, so Michael went and did battle against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia so that the original angel could go to Daniel (Dan 10:13). That same angel later says that the only person who helps him battle the spirit princes is the archangel Michael (Dan 10:20). When describing the end times Daniel says that Michael stands guard over the nation of Israel (Dan 12:1). In the New Testament, the only reference to Michael is when Jude says that Michael argued with the Devil about Moses’s body (Jude 9).
    I do not often point to extra biblical writings when studying the Bible, but there are numerous other references to the archangel Michael in extra biblical writings. See 1 Enoch 20:5; 24:6; Testament of Levi 5:6; Testament of Dan 6:2; b. Hagigah 12b; 3 Barauch 11:4; and The Assumption of Moses. Continue Reading…

    I. INTRODUCTION

    A. Past Lessons 

    B. Text of Revelation 12:1-6

    “1Then a great sign was seen in heaven: A woman clothed in the sun, the moon was under her feet, and on hear head was a crown with twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and cried out in her birth pains and she was tormented to give birth. 3Then another sign came from heaven. Behold! A large fiery-red dragon had seven heads and ten horns. On his seven heads were seven crowns. 4The dragon’s tail swept one-third of the stars from the sky and threw them down to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth so that when she gave birth to her child he might devour the child. 5Then she gave birth to a male son. He was about to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. But, the child was taken to God and to his heaven. 6The woman fled into the wilderness—a place which had been prepared by God—in order that she could be nourished for 1,260 days.” (Rev 12:1-6)[/ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 text[/ref]

    John's Vision of the Woman and the Dragon (Rev 12:1-6)

    Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst Collection

    C. General Remarks

    “Chapter 12 can be characterized as a flashback, telling of the birth of the Messiah and the attempt of King Herod to kill Jesus soon after he was born. However, instead of telling this as a historical narrative in a straightforward manner as Matthew does (Matt 2), John presents a heavenly tableau of characters that are portrayed with sensational Near Eastern imagery. In describing the tableau John borrows old apocalyptic motifs, some of which have their roots in a dim and distant past. Striking parallels have been found in Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian, and Greek mythology, and in astrological lore.” (Metzger, Breaking the Code, 72)

    QUESTION: WHAT IS A JEW OR GENTILE? AS WE HAVE READ THE BOOK OF REVELATION DO YOU FEEL THAT THE BOOK HAS MORE OF A “JEWISH” OR “GENTILE” BACKGROUND AND MESSAGE?

    II. THE FIRST SIGN: A WOMAN (Rev 12:1-2)

    A. Outer Description (v. 1)

    Καὶ σημεῖον μέγα ὤφθη ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, γυνὴ περιβεβλημένη τὸν ἥλιον, καὶ ἡ σελήνη ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν αὐτῆς καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτῆς στέφανος ἀστέρων δώδεκα,

    “Then a great sign was seen in heaven: A woman clothed in the sun, the moon was under her feet, and on her head was a crown with twelve stars.” (Rev 12:1)

    1. Sign, Not Event

    What John sees is a “sign” not an “event.” In my translation above I have listed it as a “great sign was seen in heaven” while the New Living Translation (which I often use) says that it was “an event of great significance.” Mulholland correctly notes, “A ‘sign’ may be an event, but not necessarily. In this case, the sign is not an event, but a person—a ‘woman’” (Mulholland, “Revelation” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, 504).

    One of my favorite commentators on the book of Revelation—Robert Thomas—who sees most of the book as literal and future events even concedes that this is a “sign.” This little word “shows that the woman who constitutes the sign is not an actual woman, but symbolically represents some other entity or group” (Thomas, Revelation 8-22, 119). Regarding these signs Osborne comments, “Here the woman and her adversary, the dragon, are ‘signs’ that alert the reader to the key conflict of the book” (Osborne, Revelation, 456). Continue Reading…

    I. INTRODUCTION

    A. Past Blog Posts

    B. Text of Rev 11:15-19

    15Then, when the seventh angel blew his trumpet, there was a loud voice in heaven saying,

    ‘The kingdom of the world, of our Lord and of his Christ has arrived, and he will reign forever and ever.’ 16The twenty-four elders who are sitting before God on their thrones fell down on their faces and they worshiped God 17they sang, ‘We give thanks to you—Lord God Almighty—the one who is and was because you received your great power and begin your reign. 18The nations have become angry, for your wrath has come and your servants and prophets and saints and the ones (both small and great) who fear your name are to be repaid. The time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.’

    19Then the temple of God, which is in heaven, was opened and I saw the ark of his covenant in his temple. Then there was lightening, noise, thunder, an earthquake, and a great hailstorm.” (Rev 11:15-19)

    The Seventh Trumpet (Rev 11:15-19)

    Photo Credit: Matthais Gerung (1500-1570)

    C. General Remarks

    “This section of the book of Revelation closes with the sounding of the last of the seven trumpets (11:15). What startles us is that what follows is so utterly unlike anything that the other trumpets announced. It is quite unique that here, instead of such things as volcanic eruptions, demonic locusts, and firie-breathing monsters, we listen to an outburst of rejoicing in heaven.” (Metzger, Breaking the Code, 71)

    “This section begins with the victorious proclamation that the world has now become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” (Mulholland, “Revelation” [2011], 503)

    II. LOUD VOICES IN HEAVEN AFTER THE SEVENTH TRUMPET (Rev 11:15)

    Καὶ ὁ ἕβδομος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἐγένοντο φωναὶ μεγάλαι ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ λέγοντες·
    ἐγένετο ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ κόσμου τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν
    καὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ,
    καὶ βασιλεύσει εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.

    “Then, when the seventh angel blew his trumpet, there was a loud voice in heaven saying,
    ‘The kingdom of the world, of our Lord and of his Christ has arrived, and he will reign forever and ever.’” (Rev 11:15)

    A. The End Is Coming Continue Reading…

    I. INTRODUCTION

    A. Past Blog Posts

    B. Text of Rev 11:1-14

    1He gave me something like a measuring rod saying: “Get up and measure the temple of God, altar, and the ones worshipping there. 2But, regarding the courtyard outside of the temple he said to leave it out and don’t measure it because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample the holy city for forty-two months. 3I will give my two witnesses power and they will prophesy for 1,260 days while dressed in sackcloth.” 4(These two witnesses are the two olive trees and two lampstands which have been standing before the Lord of the earth.) 5If anyone wants to injure my two witnesses fire will come from their mouths and devour their enemies. If anyone wants to injure them, then it is necessary for that person to die. 6They will have power to shut the heavens so that it will not rain during the time of their prophesy. They will have power over water to turn it into blood and to strike the earth with every plague as often as they want. 7When they finish their testimony the beast which comes up out of the abyss will make war against them, conquer them, and kill them. 8So their dead bodies will lie on the street of the great city which is spiritually called “Sodom” and “Egypt.” It is where our Lord was crucified. 9And people from every people, nation, language, and group will see the dead bodies for three and a half days. Their bodies will lay there because no one will be allowed to put the two witnesses in a tomb. 10As a result, everyone who lives on earth will rejoice over the two witnesses, celebrate, and send gifts to each other because these two witnesses harassed the ones who live on the earth. 11Yet, after three and a half days the breath of life from God went into them. They stood up on their feet and great fear fell on the people who saw the two witnesses. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them: “Come up here.” So they ascended through the clouds into heaven while their enemies watched. 13It was at this time that there was a great earthquake which brought down one-tenth of the city. In the earthquake seven thousand people died. Then the rest of the people were afraid and gave praise to the God of heaven. 14The second woe has passed. Look! The third woe is coming soon. (Rev 11:1-14) 1

    The Two Witnesses of Rev 11.1 to 11.14

    Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst

    C. General Remarks about Rev 11:1-14

    “During the Great Tribulation Satan will use two men—the Antichrist and the false prophet—to carry out his evil agenda. At the same time, God will raise up two brigh tlights to shine for Him in the darkness. These two men, called the two witnesses, and Revelation 11:3-14 describes their ministry. God will anoint these two special witnesses who will minister on His behalf amid the darkness and devastation. Just as John the Baptist was the forerunner for the Messiah, these two witness will pave the way for His return.” (Hitchcock, The End, 345)

    “chapter 11 has been generally acknowledged to be one of the most perplexing sections of the entire book” (Bruce Metzger, Breaking the Code, 68).

    “chapter 11 is one of the most difficult to interpret in the entire book” (Walvoord, Revelation, 177).

    “People find many books puzzling, but he Bible is often the most puzzling of all. People find many parts of the Bible puzzling, but Revelation is often seen as the most puzzling book of all. And people find Revelation puzzling, but the first half of chapter 11 – the passage now before us – is, for many, the most puzzling part of all.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 97)

    “The many interpretations of the two witnesses make this one of the most debated passages in the book and indicate its importance” (Osborne, Revelation, 417).

    Before we start to study Rev 11:1-14 I want to start by telling you that I see this as real people, actual places, true events, and literal numbers.

    II. SUMMARY OF THE TWO WITNESS’ MINISTRY (11:1-3)

    A. Measure the Temple; Count the Worshipers (v. 1)

    Καὶ ἐδόθη μοι κάλαμος ὅμοιος ῥάβδῳ, λέγων· ἔγειρε καὶ μέτρησον τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας ἐν αὐτῷ.

    He gave me something like a measuring rod saying: “Get up and measuring the temple of God, altar, and the ones worshiping there.” (Rev 11:1)

    1. The Measuring Rod

    The literal phrase here is, “And something like a measure rod was given to me, saying.”

    This measuring rod is a bamboo like item that grew on the banks of the Jordan river. It could be anywhere between ten feet (Osborne, Revelation, 409) and twenty feet in length (Walter Kaiser and Duane Garrett, eds., “Revelation,” The Archaeological Study Bible [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005], 2059 quoted in Walvoord, Revelation, 178).

    2. Temple Continue Reading…

    Notes:

    1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. I used the NA28 Greek text

    I. INTRODUCTION

    A. Past Blog Posts

    B. Text of Revelation 10

    “1Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven clothed in a cloud. A rainbow was around his head and his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire. 2He was holding in his hand a scroll which had been opened. He stood with his right foot on the sea, but the lef foot was on the earth. 3He cried out in a loud voice as a lion roars. When he cried out the seven thunders answered him. 4When the seven thunders answered I was about to write but I heard a voice from heaven sayin, ‘Seal up what the seven thunders said and do not write them down.’ 5The angel—which I saw standing on the sea and on the land—lifted his right hand toward heaven 6and he took an oath by the one who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, ‘Time will no longer be,’ 7but in the time of the sound of the seventh angel’s trumpet, when it is about to be blown, the mysery of God will be complete just as his servants and prophets preached. 8Then I again heard a noise from heaven saying, ‘Go and take the open scroll in the hand of the angel standing on the sea and on the land.’ 9So I went to the angel and I asked him to give to me the little scroll. He said to me, ‘Take and eat it, It will be bitter in your stomach, but in your mouth it will be sweet like honey. 10So I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It was sweet at honey in my mouth but when I swallowed it, it became bitter in my stomach. 11Then they said to me: ‘It is necessary for you to prophesy again to the peoples, ethnicities, languages, and many kings.” (Rev 10:1-11) 1

    The Mighty Angel and the Little Scroll (Rev 10)

    Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst

    C. General Remarks

    “Chapter 7 dealt parenthetically with the 144,000 and the many martyrs, without advancing chronologically the events of the Great Tribulation. Similarly 10:1–11:14 give additional information as a background to the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments.” (Walvoord, “Revelation” in Bible Knowledge Commentary, vol. 2, 954)

    “For the first and last time in this drama, he [John] leaves the observer’s corner and occupies the very center of the stage.” (Thomas, Revelation 8-22, 59)

    “This vision [Rev 10:1-11:14], however, differs from the message of consolation and assurance introduced between the breaking of the sixth and seventh seals. That emphasized the safety and the glory of the persecuted people of God; this message describes the mingling of the sweet and the bitter. It speaks of persecution and tribulation, but also of loyalty and devotion.” (Metzger, Breaking the Code, 67)

    “Like chapter 7, this section does not advance the narrative but presents other facts that contribute to the toal prophetic scene.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 169)

    II. DESCRIPTION OF THE MIGHTY ANGEL (Rev 10:1-4)

    A. Another Mighty Angel from Heaven (v. 1)

    Καὶ εἶδον ἄλλον ἄγγελον ἰσχυρὸν καταβαίνοντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ περιβεβλημένον νεφέλην, καὶ ἡ ἶρις ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὡς στῦλοι πυρός,

    “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven clothed in a cloud. A rainbow was around his head and his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire.” (Rev 10:1)

    1. An Angel; Not Jesus

    There is sometimes speculation that this is Jesus (Mulholland, “Revelation” [2011], 494). In Matt 17:2 Jesus’ face shown the the sun and his clothes were as white as light. In Rev 1:15-16 Jesus’ face shines like th sun. Yet, most scholars agree that this is not Jesus for several reasons.

    First, the Greek word for angel here is αγγελος which can mean “messenger” or “angel.” The highly respected Greek lexicon BDAG says that this Greek word can be used in the following ways: Continue Reading…

    Notes:

    1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. I base my translations on the NA28 text

    I. INTRODUCTION

    A. Past Lessons

    B. Text of Rev 9:13-21

    “13Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet and I heard a voice from the corners of the golden altar before God. 14The voice said to the sixth angel (the one who holds the sixth trumpet), ‘Release the four angels which have been bound at the great Euphrates River.’ 15The four angels which were ready for this hour, day, month, and year were released in order to kill one-third of mankind. 16The number of their calvary army was 200,000,000 troops. I heard their number. 17Then I saw horses in a vision and the ones riding the horses had breastplates that were fiery colored, violet, and yellow. The heads of the hourses were like the heads of lions. Fire, smoke, and sulfur came from their mouths. 18From these three plagues one-third of mankind was killed. This was due to the fire, smoke, and sulfur which came from the mouths of the horses. 19For the power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails. For their tails were like snakes which had heads that hurt people. 20The rest of mankind which was not killed by the plagues would not repent from the work of their hands because they did not want to stop worshipping the evil spirits nor the gold, bronze, stone, or wooden idols. These idols do not have power to see nor hear nor walk. 21And they would not repent from their murders or magic or sexual immortality or from their stealing.” (Rev 9:13-21) 1

    The Sixth Trumpet Releases the Second Terror in Rev 9.13 to 9.21

    Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst “Four Angels Let Loose”

    C. General Remarks

    “It is as though John is systematically saying, ‘Think of your worst nightmares; now double them; and then imagine them coming true all at once together. That’s what it’s going to be like. This is God’s way of letting evil do its worst, so that it may eventually fall under its own weight.’” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 92)

    “It is poor hermeneutics to try to see them [the plagues] as prophetic modern weapons of war like tanks, planes, or nuclear missiles. John was thinking of ancient warfare, and the terrible fire and smoke caused by the siege engines of the Roman army. By giving each a separate place John is trying to capture the terrible devastation of the demonic cavalry as it goes to war again the peoples of the earth” (Osborne, Revelation, 384).

    II. THE SIXTH TRUMPET RELEASES WRATH (9:13-16)

    A. A Voice from the Altar (v. 13)

    “Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet and I heard a voice from the corners of the golden altar before God.” (Rev 9:13)

    B. Instructions for Release (v. 14) Continue Reading…

    Notes:

    1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text.