Chapter 11: The Two Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet
Four times in the Revelation does the Apostle John use the expression, "in the Spirit" (1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10). Each of these instances signifies a vision that John was given to "shew unto [Christ's] servants things which must shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1). The four visions divide the structure of the Revelation as follows:
(1) Vision One: Christ Among His Church (1:9-3:22),
(2) Vision Two: Christ Judging the World (4:1-16:21),
(3) Vision Three: Christ Climaxing His Judgment of the World (17:1-21:8), and
(4) Vision Four: Christ and the New Heaven and New Earth (21:9-22:5).
Not only did John, the "disciple
whom Jesus loved" (John 21:20), have the special privilege
of receiving the Revelation in its entirety; but, in this Second Vision (4:1-16:21),
he was given the privilege and honor of measuring the Temple, altar, and worshippers,
i.e., "And there was given me a reed like
unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the Temple of God, and
the altar, and them that worship therein" (11:1). And,
what is the significance of this measuring? God's measuring demonstrates His dominion
over His property. "12
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow
of His hand, and meted out Heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the
Earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? 22 It is He that sitteth upon the
circle of the Earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth
out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in" (Isaiah 40:12, 22). The Apostle John's measuring, coupled with the promise
to the Apostle John that he "must prophesy
again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" (Revelation 10:11), points to the dominion that John will manifest when
he returns to administer the Seven Thunders. [See our comments on Chapter
10 ---New Window-- especially verses 7 through 11-- of the Revelation
Commentary for background concerning the concept that John will return in conjunction
with the Seven Thunders.]
The "reed like unto a rod" (11:1) that John used to measure the Temple, the altar, and the worshippers, was probably similar in length and weight to the reeds that grow in the Jordan Valley. Similarly, Ezekiel was given a vision of the Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 40:1-47:12), where the LORD Jesus Christ-- most probably-- appeared as a "man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in His hand" (Ezekiel 40:3), to delineate the dimensions of the coming Millennial Temple. Zechariah was also given a vision of a "man with a measuring line in his hand" (Zechariah 2:1), who was to "measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof" (2:2). This, too, was in preparation for the building of the Millennial Temple, i.e., "Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of Hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem" (1:16). Finally, the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21) is measured by a "golden reed" (Revelation 21:15), to describe the enormity of the eternal dwelling of the Saints, which is "twelve thousand furlongs" in "length", "breadth", and "height" (21:16)-- 1,342 miles [2,159 kilometers] in each direction. "And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isaiah 32:18).
The Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church marks the beginning
of the process of lifting the "blindness" (Romans 11:25) of Israel, where that process culminates in the conversion
of Israel at the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, i.e., "Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall
the Earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a Nation be born at once? for
as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children"
(Isaiah 66:8). "For I would not, brethren,
that ye should be ignorant of this Mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits;
that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be
come in" (Romans 11:25). [See our article, "Must There Be a Pre-Tribulational Rapture?" ---New Window, to examine the Scripturality of our position that
there is a Pre-Tribulational Rapture.]
Modern Israel's recapture of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, during the Six Day War with Israel's Arab neighbours in June of 1967, began the period known as the "fulness of the Gentiles" (Romans 11:25). At that time, Israel sprouted "leaves" when she acquired the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Sinai, and the Gaza Strip, which marked the beginning of the Fig Tree Generation or the Terminal Generation. "32 Now learn a parable of the Fig Tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:32-34). Also, the "times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24) will end at the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ. "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (21:24).
"Forty and two months" (11:2) is the equivalent of three years and six months (or, 1,260 days) of the second half of the Tribulation Week. The second half of the Tribulation Week is the Great Tribulation, during which Jerusalem is "[trodden] under foot" (11:2) of the Gentiles, after the Abomination of Desolation. "15 When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand: 21 For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:15, 21). Also, because the ministry of the Two Witnesses in the very next verse (Revelation 11:3) concludes with the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet Judgment (11:7-15), which sounds only 8-9 days before the End of the Tribulation Week, these 42 months must coincide with the second half of the Tribulation Week.
A "thousand two hundred and threescore days" (11:3) is the total length of the Two Witnesses' ministry. Again, this is the same as a period of three years and six months (1,260 divided by 360 equals 3 1/2). But, when does the 1,260 days begin? It is the belief of this writer that the ministry of the Two Witnesses begins 11 1/2 days prior to the Middle of the Tribulation Week. A number of assumptions are necessary to support this conclusion:
The Two Witnesses-- Moses and Elijah-- are identified as the "two olive trees, and the two candlesticks" (11:4). A vision given to the prophet Zechariah indicates that the Two Witnesses will be supernaturally indwelt, supplied, and sustained by the LORD Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for their 1,260 day Tribulation Week ministry. "1 And the angel that talked with me [Zechariah] came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, 2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold [like the seven branched candlestick of Exodus 25:31,32,37], with a bowl upon the top of it [however, Moses' candlestick did not have this bowl or reservoir to supply the oil on top of it], and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes [neither did Moses' candlestick have these feed pipes connecting to an oil supply] to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3 And Two Olive Trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the Word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of Hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. 8 Moreover the Word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house [the Second Temple]; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of Hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole Earth. 11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these Two Olive Trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? [the LORD Jesus Christ, who is the Messiah or the Anointed One, and His Holy Spirit are indicated] 12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these Two Olive Branches which through the Two Golden Pipes empty the Golden Oil out of themselves? [the 'Golden Oil' of the grace, power, and help of God flows from Christ and His Spirit by faith to the reservoir of the Church, i.e., as also depicted by the LORD Jesus' presence 'in the midst of the seven candlesticks' (Revelation 1:13) of the Church] 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the Two Anointed Ones [Zechariah's vision depicts Christ and His Spirit, while the Apostle John's vision in Revelation 11 depicts the Two Witnesses that are indwelt by Christ and His Spirit], that stand by the LORD of the Whole Earth" (Zechariah 4:1-14).
The Revelation is a book that reveals the LORD Jesus Christ as:
Through His Two Witnesses, the LORD Jesus Christ reveals Himself as a Fierce Opponent that devours, hurts, and kills His enemies. "And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed" (11:5). The prophet Elijah is remembered for calling down fire upon the enemies of Jehovah. "9 Then the king [Ahaziah, the wicked son of Ahab] sent unto [Elijah] a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. 10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from Heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from Heaven, and consumed him and his fifty" (2Kings 1:9-10). God's prophets have been known to have used extreme measures towards those that have lifted their hand against them. "23 And [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children [but, old enough to conduct themselves outside the city and mock God's prophet] out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. 24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them [God approved of Elisha's cursing]" (2Kings 2:23-24). Even the Ordinary Saints of this Church Age have been elevated to dispense or withhold blessing to the world at large. "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 18:18).
Again, Moses and Elijah are most probably the Two Witnesses indicated in this verse because of the similarity of their previous earthly ministries to the deeds of these Two Witnesses. Elijah "shut heaven, that it rain[ed] not" (11:6), i.e., "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word" (1Kings 17:1). Moses had "power over [the] waters to turn them to blood" (11:6), i.e., " [Moses] turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish" (Psalm 105:29). Moses is remembered for the multitude of plagues that he called down upon Egypt, i.e., "And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet" (Exodus 7:1), while Elijah is remembered for calling down fire on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. "37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the LORD God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again. 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench" (1Kings 18:37-38).
Both Moses and Elijah met with the LORD Jesus at His Transfiguration, which depicts their importance to our LORD's program for the future salvation of Israel. "30 And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:30-31). Though the Revelation tells us that the ministry of the Two Witnesses will be cut short by their death, i.e., the "Beast that ascendeth out of the Bottomless Pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them" (11:7), in the case of Moses, it will not be the first time that someone died, was resurrected, and (presumably) died again, i.e., Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. "43 And when [Jesus] thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go" (John 11:43-44). If Jesus truly is the "Resurrection, and the Life" (11:25), then it would not be too difficult for Him to treat His Witnesses in this fashion. "Ah LORD GOD! behold, Thou hast made the Heaven and the Earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee" (Jeremiah 32:17).
Jerusalem, "where also our LORD was crucified" (11:8), is the "great city" that "spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt". "33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!" (Luke 13:33-34).
The "people and kindreds
and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies" (11:9),
intimates that the Apostle John was given to understand the fact of the worldwide
viewing of the Two Witnesses' bodies-- possible now by satellite broadcast-- without
an explanation of how this could be possible. "God
is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent:
hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it
good?" (Numbers 23:19). Whenever our LORD tells us that
He will do something, He will-- even if we do not understand how He will accomplish
it. "9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the Faithful
God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His Commandments
to a thousand generations; 10
And repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack
to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face"
Christ's enemies attempted to make Him a public spectacle of suffering and humiliation-- much like they will leave the Two Witnesses' dead bodies in the street for 3 1/2 days-- and, with as much success. "And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:15). The Almighty will allow the spectacle in order to make His triumph over His enemies that much greater when the Two Witnesses are resurrected (11:11). "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them" (Psalm 68:18).
The wickedness of those "that dwell upon the Earth" (11:10) is seen by their rejoicing over the death of the Two Witnesses. "For they have shed the blood of Saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy" (16:6). Mourning over the death of these two good men would have been more appropriate, but not for these evil Earth dwellers. "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20). The All Wise God (Jude 25) is merely filling up the iniquity of the Wicked. "Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers" (Matthew 23:32). And, the "iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full" (Genesis 15:16). Why does God give even the Unelect the opportunity to reject Him yet again? To justify His love, wisdom, grace, and mercy in offering them space for repentance, and seeking their salvation, even though He knows these will never repent, is God's purpose of offering His Salvation to the world (John 3:16). "3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the Truth... 6 Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1Timothy 2:3-4, 6). [See our article, "Is Faith the Only Condition for Eternal Salvation?" ---New Window, for a Scriptural analysis of the Way of Salvation.]
The Moral Insanity of the Wicked, i.e., the "heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live" (Ecclesiastes 9:3), is evidenced by their opposition to the LORD Jesus and His Two Witnesses. But, the miraculous resurrection of the Two Witnesses "after three days and an half" (11:11) of laying dead in the streets of Jerusalem, causes "great fear" (11:11) to fall upon them. Remember, the world, that has been watching the spectacle of their dead bodies crumpled in the streets of Jerusalem, now will see the Omnipotent, Resurrection Power of the Almighty at work in the resurrection of the Two Witnesses. "And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him" (Mark 16:6).
Just as the Pre-Tribulational Rapture will be announced by the First "Come Up Hither" (Revelation 4:1), the Pre-Wrath Rapture will be announced by this Second "Come Up Hither" (11:12). Why call this Rapture a Pre-Wrath Rapture? You will notice that the Seventh Trumpet Judgment sounds in the adjacent verse, i.e., the "seventh angel sounded" (11:15). The "vials of the wrath of God" (16:1) are poured out upon the Earth following the sounding of the Seventh and Last Trump (1Corinthians 15:52). Also, this eleventh chapter of Revelation declares that the LORD God Almighty's "wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the Saints" (11:18). At this point, those Tribulation Week Saints who are "alive and remain shall be caught up" (1Thessalonians 4:17) immediately following the Resurrection of all the Righteous Dead, i.e., the "dead in Christ shall rise first" (4:16). Thus, again, the LORD will fulfill His promises of delivering His Saints from the "wrath to come" (1:10). "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our LORD Jesus Christ" (5:9). "17 Notwithstanding the LORD stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the LORD shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His Heavenly Kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (2Timothy 4:17-18). "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us" (2Corinthians 1:10). "The LORD knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (2Peter 2:9). "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29).
One sign of the end, Jesus said, would be earthquakes. "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall
be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows"
(Mark 13:8). Scientists agree that the plate tectonics that produce earthquakes are
evidence that the planet is not dead. The heat in the core of the Earth is released
slowly in the form of molten rock from volcanoes. The Earth's tectonic plates are
forced to move by the heat; thus, it moves rock like a conveyor belt, as well as
recycles the Earth's crust each day. This overall dynamism of the Earth has helped
to produce the oceans, atmosphere, continents, and fertile soil. So, even secular
scientists would have to concur with the LORD Jesus that there certainly "shall be earthquakes" (13:8).
But, unlike the pagan's concept of Mother Earth, the Christian understands that the
Almighty is separate from His creation. "He
looketh on the Earth, and it trembleth: He toucheth the hills, and they smoke" (Psalm 104:32).
By modern standards, an earthquake that destroys a tenth of a major city and kills 7,000 people (11:13) is significant. Combine that with the entire world watching (probably by satellite) the spectacle of the Resurrection of the Two Witnesses (11:11-12), and, in prophetic retrospect, the "remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of Heaven" (11:13). The Creator must sometimes resort to extreme measures to get the attention of mankind, e.g., confounding the languages of the builders' of the Tower of Babel. "7 Go to, let Us [the Godhead] go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the Earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the Earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the Earth" (Genesis 11:7-9). Further, momentary fright and glorification of the God of Heaven (Revelation 11:13) is not Gospel Salvation, for even the "devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).
The woes expressed in Scripture testify to the seriousness of God's pronouncements, e.g., "Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him" (Isaiah 3:11), because "upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup" (Psalm 11:6). The "second woe" (Revelation 11:14) refers to the Demonic Horsemen of the Sixth Trumpet Judgment (9:13-21), while the Demonic Locusts of the Fifth Trumpet Judgment (9:1-12) are the first woe of the final three Trumpet Judgments. "And I beheld [following the Fourth Trumpet Judgment], and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the Earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!" (Revelation 8:13). The "third woe" (11:14) is the Seventh Trumpet Judgment that "cometh quickly" (11:14) in the following verse.
Just as the Seventh Day of the Creation Week symbolized the completion of God's creative work (Genesis 2:2-3), the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet is both the completion of this series of Seven Trumpet Judgments, as well as the Last Trump to sound before the Resurrection of all the Saints of all time. "51 Behold, I shew you a Mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the Last Trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1Corinthians 15:51-52). Completion of some significant event seems to be the LORD's intent in the timing of the Seventh Judgments:
(1) The Seventh Seal Judgment (Revelation 8:1) signifies the completion of the first half of the Tribulation Week, coinciding with the "midst of the week" (Daniel 9:27) and the Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15) on Earth, while Heaven is so awed by the gravity of the Almighty's judgments yet to unfold that there is silence in Heaven for "half an hour" (Revelation 8:1).
(2) The Seventh Trumpet Judgment (11:15) represents the completion of the Church Age, 8-9 days before the End of the Tribulation Week, when the "dead in Christ" (1Thessalonians 4:16) rise and the Saints who are "alive and remain" (4:17) are Pre-Wrath Raptured. And,
(3) the Seventh Vial Judgment (16:17) at the End of the Tribulation Week portrays the completion of the judgments of God, i.e., "It is done" (16:17).
The statements of the "great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our LORD, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever" (11:15) indicate that the Seventh Trumpet Judgment is the time that the LORD officially reinstates the kingdoms of the world as now belonging again to Him-- about to forcibly take back absolute control. When Adam was created, he was given the dominion or rule of the Earth, but he lost that dominion to Satan when he sinned. "And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the Earth" (Genesis 1:26). Satan is now the "god of this world" (2Corinthians 4:4), the "prince of this world" (John 12:31), the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), because he caused Adam to yield his dominion to him by obeying his enticement to make Adam to sin. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Romans 6:16). The Seventh Trumpet Judgment marks the point at which the LORD refuses to allow Satan the opportunity to treat the Earth as Satan's dominion. Shortly thereafter, it will no longer be necessary to say: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).
The 24 Elders respond to the official proclamation (11:15) reinstating the kingdoms of the world as the principalities of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords, by hearty agreement, praise, and worship of God (11:16). This worship was predicted by the LORD Jesus during His Earthly ministry. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:24). True worship is simply acknowledging the attributes of God, i.e., who He is, and bending voice and life to be in agreement. "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation" (1Peter 1:15).
Continuing with their worship of the Almighty, the 24 Elders thank the Eternal God for the exercise of His omnipotence in taking back the rulership of the "kingdoms of this world" (11:15). The very fact that the LORD of All the Earth (Joshua 3:11) would tolerate Satan to usurp rulership of the Earth through rebellious man, indicates that the Almighty will not use His sovereignty to overpower the moral choice of angel, Satan, or man. "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Genesis 1:27). But, the end of this phase of God's manifestation of Himself to His moral creation has been divinely concluded. "O Earth, Earth, Earth, hear the Word of the LORD" (Jeremiah 22:29). "The LORD hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the Earth shall see the salvation of our God" (Isaiah 52:10). Finally, He will show Himself to be, in His good time, the "Blessed and Only Potentate, the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords" (1Timothy 6:15).
That this is the time of the Pre-Wrath Rapture, can be seen by:
(1) The "vials of the wrath of God" (16:1) are now to be poured out, i.e., "Thy wrath is come" (11:18).
(2) The Bema Seat Judgment (2Corinthians 5:10) of all the Saints occurs at this time, i.e., "that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the Saints" (11:18). And,
(3) The destruction of the Wicked "which destroy the Earth" (11:18) is accomplished by wave after wave of the "vials of the wrath of God" (16:1), by the slaughter at Armageddon (16:16), and by the Judgment of the Nations-- "the time of the dead, that they should be judged" (11:18)-- where the Judge of All the Earth separates the "sheep from the goats" (Matthew 25:32), resulting in the "everlasting punishment" (25:46) of the Wicked.
The "Temple of God" (11:19), here, refers to the Heavenly Temple, and not the Tribulational or Millennial Temples. Both the priesthood and the Temple were patterned "unto the example and shadow of Heavenly things" (Hebrews 8:5), after our Great High Priest-- "Jesus the Son of God" (Hebrews 4:14)-- and His Heavenly Temple. The Lost Ark-- the "Ark of His Testament" (11:19) or the "Ark of the Covenant" (Hebrews 9:4)-- had not been seen since Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and destroyed Solomon's Temple (about 587 BC). The prophet Ezekiel prophesied about Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of Jerusalem and the departed glory. "18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house [Solomon's Temple], and stood over the cherubims. 19 And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the Earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above" (Ezekiel 10:18-19). [See our article, "1998: Year of the Apocalypse (Part 2), Or, Ezekiel Predicted the 1967 Recapture of Jerusalem" ---New Window, for a perspective on Ezekiel's prophecy.] The "lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail" (11:19) are a momentous indication that God's presence-- symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant-- will, shortly, be seen on Earth and in His Temple. "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen" (Revelation 1:7).
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