Revelation Chapters 10-11

A Mighty Angel and The Two Witnesses (Part 7)

Revelation 10:1-11

“1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down’. 5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. 8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, ‘Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey’. 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, ‘You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings’”.

Once again, as with the sixth seal, the sounding of the Trumpet Judgements stops after the sixth trumpet, and there is a break in the prophetic flow. John sees yet another angel who descends from heaven; there are more than sixty references to angels in the book of Revelation. These heavenly beings are servants of God (Heb. 1:14), who work to accomplish the will of God. The word angel is often used to describe a messenger of God, and even Jesus often appears as an angel in Scripture –this is referred to as a Metatron or Christophany (Genesis 22:11-12; 32:22–32; Exodus 3:2; Joshua 5:13–6:5) This angel clearly has some of the characteristics of the Lord Jesus, which are:

  • Being robed in a cloud, which indicates the presence of God. Only God the Father and Jesus are depicted in Scripture as travelling on clouds. Examples are: the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud over the tabernacle, the Son of Man riding clouds of heaven in Daniel’s vision, and Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory at His return.
  • Having a rainbow, a symbol of covenant promise above his head.
  • Having a “face like the sun” is a repeat of John’s description of Jesus in chapter one, where he describes the face of Jesus as being like the sun shining in full strength. The symbolism reveals the power of His righteousness, holiness and glory shining forth from his face. The light radiating from him with such power emphasizes that He is the King, He reigns, He is in control.
  • Having “legs like pillars of fire” is also revealed in John’s description of Jesus in Revelation 1, which depicts His feet being like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, a symbol of judgement.
  • John graphically depicts the angel as setting his feet down on earth, with one foot on land and the other in the ocean, claiming authority over the whole earth, a right that only Jesus has.
  • Finally, there is the voice of the angel that is like the roar of a lion and seven thunders. Psalm 29:3-4 describes God voice in a similar way: “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty”. John is told to not record what the thunderous voice has announced – the mysteries of God are hidden from the world – ultimately, God does what He pleases.

Taking all the evidence listed above, John is once more being confronted by an appearance of Jesus, with a clear purpose, to announce that there would be no more delays in the fulfilment of the Judgements. The raising of the hand to heaven by the apparition of Jesus, is a gesture which commonly preceded a solemn oath in Scripture, emphasising the urgency of the proclamation. With the seventh angel about to sound his trumpet, the “mystery of God” will be accomplished. A mystery in Scripture is a “sacred secret,” revealed only to the children of God (Matt. 13:10-12). One of the mysteries of God, is the existence of evil with a holy God, dealt with by the death of His Son. With the price for sin being paid, God is free to administer judgement. God’s graciousness to man is now over, now there will be a relentless fulfilment of prophecy. The Bowl Judgements which are about to commence are the last of the judgements from the throne room of God, which is then followed by the return of the King of Kings, who will administer the judgement that will take place at Armageddon.

After the proclamation John is instructed to take the open scroll from the angel and to eat it. This is not the first time this instruction has been given to a servant of God, Ezekiel, was also told to eat a scroll in preparation for him to prophecy to “the house of Israel,” (Ezekiel 3:1). Both Ezekiel and John upon eating the scripture find it to be as sweet as honey in their mouths. Both men are required to take on the message of God and then to pass it on to others, the message however turns to bitterness in their stomachs. For John the sweet taste is the forthcoming promise of the Millennium Kingdom, a time of blessing for all, however, before that can be attained there is the bitterness of the judgements yet to be fulfilled, just as the bitterness for Ezekiel was the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Upon eating the scroll, John is then instructed to prophecy about the rulers and nations of the world, which confirms the content of the scroll.

Parenthesis 3

Revelation 11

Measure the Temple of God (11:1-2)

“1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months”.

John wrote the book of Revelation in about AD 95, which means he is writing 25 years after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple (AD 70). The Roman dismantled the Temple stone by stone, so the Temple Mount was left as a bare platform. The setting for the third parenthesis is during the time of the future Third Temple, which will have been built whilst under the protection of the Antichrist, before the mid-point of the Tribulation. There is a time of false peace in the world as the clock ticks to the time when the Antichrist will declare himself to be god, erect a statue of himself on the Temple Mount and demand that he is worshipped.

A major part of Satan’s end time plan is for the Antichrist to be accepted by the Jews as their messiah. In achieving this goal Satan usurps the position from the true Messiah, Jesus, and diverts the glory that belongs to Jesus towards his false messiah. Satan will also succeed in directing the wrath of God against his long-time enemy, the Jews, because of their support of the Antichrist. To successfully achieve this goal, Satan must ensure that the Antichrist meets the criteria set by the Jews for their messiah, which is listed in the table below:

No.CRITERIA
1He must be Jewish from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:8–10).
2He must be from the line of David (Isa. 11:1-2; Jer. 23:5 and 30:9; and Hosea 3:5).
3Like David, the Messiah will be a great warrior but will ultimately usher in a time of peace. Meshiach means “the anointed one,” and links to the practice of anointing kings, therefore the Messiah must become a king like David.
4Also, in the image of David, the Messiah will be a great charismatic political leader.
5He will bring about a time of universal peace between mankind which includes an end to wickedness and sin (Zeph. 3:13).
6He will rebuild the Temple and implement Temple services (Jer. 33:18).
7He will be a scholar of great wisdom and will restore the religious courts of justice (Jer. 33:15).
8Due to the Messiah bringing political and spiritual redemption to Israel, Jews from all over the world will return to Israel.
9Israel will become the centre of the world government with the Messiah establishing his throne in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1).

When John is told to “rise and measure the Temple of God and the altar and those who worship there,” it is clear that the Third Temple has been rebuilt, and for that to have taken place peace must have been established between the Islamic world and Israel. The Temple Mount is the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most holy site in Islam, which has been the cause of much conflict between the two faiths, ever since the nation of Israel captured Jerusalem and the Old City in the 1967 Six-Day War. So, with John recording the Third Temple open for business and people gathering to worship there, the criteria of points 6-8 of the table must have already been met.

There is significant symbolism in John being given a measuring rod and being told to “measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there”. To measure something with a measuring rod implies God’s ownership, protection and preservation (2 Kings 21:13). The Temple measured extensively by Ezekiel (40-43), is the Millennial Temple, which will include some of the Third Temple structures. The significance of the Third Temple being measured by John, is that this Temple will be the site of the abomination of desolation that Daniel and Jesus warned of (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15). It is where the Antichrist, after breaking his covenant with the Jews, will erect an idol of himself and demand that he is worshipped as god.  God, by having the Third Temple measured is revealing His claim over the site, and therefore, as part of His protection and preservation of the Temple Mount, He will bring judgement upon the apostasy practised there by the Antichrist.

For those who reject the literal interpretation of the book of Revelation a number of problems arise in the interpretation of Revelation 11:1-2. If the Temple mentioned here is not literal but referring to the Church, how does John measure an invisible body of people? If the Temple is the Church, what are the worshippers and what is the alter? Also, the New Testament unites Jews and Gentiles into one body, so why is the Old Testament segregation of Gentiles being described here? The logical answer to these questions is that the Temple is an actual building in Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24; Neh. 11:1).

John is explicitly told not to measure the court outside the Temple, as this is most likely the area where the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are situated. As part of the peace deal that the Antichrist will broker between the Islamic world and Israel, there will be a sharing of the Temple Mount between the two faiths. The Second Temple was built in line with the East or Golden Gate, which is North of the Dome of the Rock, so the area where the Temple originally stood is vacant, except for the Dome of the Tablets. The picture below is of the Dome of the Tablets, which is in line with the East Gate, where the Third Temple will be situated. The small dome receives its name from the tablets of stone that were kept in the Ark of the Covenant. The Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque which is situated further South behind the Dome, could easily be separated from the Temple by the erection of a wall, and so the two holy sites could co-exist on the Temple Mount. This is what Revelation 11:2 seems to be indicating.

The Dome of the Tablets

Within the Jewish Quarter of the Old City is the Temple Institute, which has had the special task of recreating all the implements that will be required in the Temple and for the resumption of the Temple sacrifices. The Institute has also tailored priestly garments and trained men to resume the different roles of priests. I asked one of the curators of the Institute how long it would take after attaining permission to build the Third Temple, before they would start offering sacrifices. He replied that as soon as the Temple Mount had been ritually cleansed, they would throw up a mound and start sacrificing. This desire to restore the Temple sacrifices is a recognition of the special significance the Temple holds for the national identity of Israel.  But it also reveals the hardened hearts of the Jews, as they still reject the Lamb of God, Jesus, who is the only acceptable sacrifice. The process of their restoration into a relationship with God must be fulfilled, and that means that they must first suffer the consequences of following a counterfeit messiah.

Returning to the topic of Gentiles on the Temple Mount, Jesus warned that Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the “time of the Gentiles is fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). The “time of the Gentiles” started in 605 BC with the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and will continue until the return of Jesus to set up His Kingdom.

The prophet Hosea (2:23) spoke of a time when the Lord would bring in a people who were once not His. Then, the Apostle Paul reinforces this truth in the book of Romans (11:25), when he explains how God is currently working to bring in the “fullness of the Gentiles” after Israel’s rejection of their Messiah. The “fullness of the Gentiles” will be the number that God has intended for the Bride of Christ, when this number is reached the rapture will occur. The “fullness of the Gentiles” will start the Tribulation, while the “time of the Gentiles” will end it.

The Two Witnesses (11:3)

“3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth”.

Almost like a theatre production, the focus is taken from the measuring of the Third Temple, to two men who have entered stage left. The voice instructing John tells him about God’s two witnesses, who will prophecy for a period of 1 260 days, 42 months or 3½ years. It is very appropriate that these two men’s ministry follows the measuring of the Temple, as they will prophesy in Jerusalem, the Lord’s city, and the Temple will also most likely be the centre of their activities. These two witnesses are prophets in the Old Testament sense, and as they are dressed in sackcloth their message will be calling the nation of Israel to repentance. Now, being a witness for God is one of the duties of the Church, so the fact that two witnesses are now fulfilling this role is evidence that the Church has been raptured. Further evidence is the reversal back to a focus on the Jews and Old Testament ways of doing things. These two witnesses will minister from just after the start of the Tribulation, for a total of 1260 days, so they will die a few months after the start of the Great Tribulation.    

Two Olive Trees (11:4)

“4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth”.

The main importance of olive trees in Israel was for producing lamp oil (Exodus 27:20), anointing oil (1 Samuel 10:1; 2 Kings 9:3) and sacrificial oil. Olive oil symbolising the Holy Spirit implies these two men are both filled and guided by the Holy Spirit. By introducing them as two olive trees that stand before the Lord, Scripture is enhancing the fact that these two men are anointed by God to fulfill their prophetic ministry (Zechariah 4:2-3; 4:14).

Who are the Two Witnesses? (11:5-6)

“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”.

The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3)

There are two main camps when it comes to the debate on who the two witnesses are. There are those that believe they are Moses and Elijah, who appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3), and then there is the group that believe the two men are Enoch and Elijah, because neither of them had experienced death. Both groups include Elijah, as It is specifically prophesied that Elijah will return before the end of the age (Malachi 4:5-6). Because of this prophecy that the Messiah will be preceded by Elijah, the Jews have a tradition of opening the door of their home during the Passover Seder with the hopes that Elijah will come in, and some families will also have a chair at the dinner table for him.

The reason some people chose Enoch and Elijah is that Hebrews 9:27 says that “it is appointed for man to die once”, and as Enoch and Elijah were both taken up to heaven alive, they will be the two required to return to earth as the two witnesses, and die a martyr’s death. This is, however, a legalist interpretation of Hebrews 9:27, as the statement is a principle not an enforced law. There are a number of examples of people being resurrected from the dead in Scripture – Lazarus being the most famous case – and so all these people therefore physically died twice. These examples are the exception to the rule, therefore Hebrews 9 still stands, for it is God who determines the exceptions. Another exception is when Jesus returns for His Bride at the rapture of the Church, the dead in Christ are resurrected first, but then all living believers are taken up to be with Jesus, and are spared the sting of death. The two examples are therefore exceptions to the Hebrews 9 rule, so, it is not hard to accept that the Two Witnesses can also be exceptions.

The second option of the Two Witnesses being Moses and Elijah has more credibility for the following reasons:

  1. Appearance at the transfiguration. 1.1. Moses is a type of the “dead in Christ” at the rapture (Jude 9; Deut. 34:5-6); while Elijah is a type of “those who are alive” (2 Kings 2:1-14). 1.2. Moses represents the law and Elijah represents the prophets.
  2. The miracles performed by the two witnesses point to Moses and Elijah: 2.1. Elijah calls down fire to consume the officer and fifty men (x2 in 2 Kings 1:10-12). 2.2. Elijah calls for a great drought (1 Kings 17:1). 2.3. Moses turns water into blood in the first plague (Exodus 7:14-25). 2.4. Moses strikes the earth with every kind of plague (Exodus 7 -11).

Further evidence for Moses and Elijah, is that both men were great leaders and prophets of Israel, having to deal with the nation during times when they had fallen into rebellion. For these two men to be the two prophets that appear in Jerusalem during the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” to speak to the Jews about repentance, and prophecy warnings of impending judgment is their right, it is their ministry.

The miracles performed by the two prophets not only testify to the fact that these men are servants of God, but also confirm that they are under His special protection.

The Beast and the Two Witnesses (11:7-8)

“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”.

The term Paul uses to describe the Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 plays an important part in understanding verse 7: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (KJV)”. The “man of sin” Paul refers to is the Antichrist, and the second term, “son of perdition,” used by Paul adds to the understanding of the nature of the man. The only other person in Scripture that is referred to as “son of perdition” is Judas (John 17:12 [KJV]), and that was after Satan entered into him, just prior to his betrayal of Jesus. Paul by using the term “son of perdition” for the Antichrist, is revealing the fact that this false messiah will be possessed by Satan. So, in interpreting verse 7, Satan is the demonic power that rises from the bottomless pit, he is the king over the demons held in captivity there, as we saw in Fifth Trumpet Judgement. Then, the Antichrist is referred to as the Beast by John in Revelation 13:1, so it is Satan who has demonically possessed the Antichrist that has the Two Witnesses put to death.

The city where the murder of the Two Witnesses takes place is named “Sodom,” by John to underlining the moral decay of the city. By then also referring to the city as “Egypt”, John is emphasizing that man’s philosophies and worldliness dominate in this city. The last five words of verse 8 gives absolute clarity to the name of the city, it was “where their Lord was crucified,” meaning the city John is describing, is Jerusalem. In the three and a half years of the Antichrist’s rule, Satan has taken the Holy City that once held the presence of God, and turned it into a puss seeping boil on the face of the earth.

The death of the Two Witness occurs shortly after the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel and Jesus, is raised on the Temple Mount. The martyrdom of these two men will only happen when their work is complete – God’s servants are immortal until their work is done. The Antichrist is given the authority to rule by God (Rev. 13:5), and to have power over His saints (Rev. 13:7). To have full control over the Temple, the Antichrist needs to have the Two Witnesses dealt with, and with the power of Satan backing him, the Antichrist murders the Two Witnesses.

A World-Wide Celebration (11:9-10)

“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”.

The Antichrist leaves the bodies of the Two Witnesses in the streets for all to see what happens to those that stand against him and oppose his godhood, also, to degrade and shame the memory of the men as servants of God. For three and a half days, through the technology of the mass media, the world will be able to view the corpses that stood against their god, the Antichrist. It is always very special when technology catches up with prophecy, since for many years people scoffed at the concept of the whole world being able to witness the bodies of the two prophets lying in the street in Jerusalem. In 1994 the world watched the progress of the O. J. Simpson murder case in a 24-hour news cycle, which saw the beginning of the cable news era. Much like the news coverage of the O. J. Simpson trial, the people of the world will be able to tune in and watch up to date reports of the murder of the Two Witnesses. John describes how the broadcasted images of the two dead men, who caused so much trouble and torment for the rebellious world, will cause people to rejoice and exchange gifts. The sting of their words will no longer convict the sinful, the truth will no longer expose the lie. No doubt the top musical activists will be composing songs that celebrate the death of the troublesome two, and elevate the Antichrist as a hero of the people. It will be patently clear that mankind does not recognise the threat of God’s impending judgements.

All the way through the book of Revelation the hardness of mankind’s hearts is evident, they have clearly been handed over to a reprobate mind by God; no matter what excruciating judgement they face, or what mind-blowing sight they witness, they remain unmoved, transfixed in their rebellious attitude.

“Come up here!” 11:11-12

“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”.

The Two Witnesses are not only raised from the dead they are also caught up to heaven!  An event witnessed worldwide, which vindicates them as prophets of God. The joy and celebration over the deaths of the two men turns to “great fear”. The time given by John, of three and a half days is explicit and literal, the internal organs of a body start to decay 24 hours after death, by three days there is evidence of external decay, with the bodies being left in the street, the decay would be visible to all. Just as Jesus waited four days before travelling to Bethany to raise Lazarus, God waits over three days, because He wants everyone to be convinced that these two men are dead, before He raises them to life and catches them up to heaven.

It is of interest to note that there are Mormons who claim that Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism) and his brother Hyrum Smith, are the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11. Just as Jesus warned of False Christs in the last days, there are also men who claim to be one of the Two Witnesses, and this is why knowledge of Scripture is so important. For a person to be one of the Two Witnesses they would have to be living under the rule of the Antichrist in the Tribulation!

A Great Earthquake 11:13-14

“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”.

The judgement is immediate – God does not let sin go unpunished – and, an earthquake is a consistent form of punishment used by the Lord in these last days (Rev. 6:12; 16:18-20). Sometimes God delays His justice, but in this instance, He vindicates the ill treatment of his witnesses immediately. Earthquakes are terrifying to experience, there is nothing more unsettling than when Terra Firma is shaking so violently, that not only are you knocked off your feet, but the buildings around you start to collapse. In numbering the people killed by the disaster, it must be remembered that Scripture only numbers men. For example, in Matthew 14:13-21 when Jesus feeds the five thousand, the number would have been closer to fifteen thousand with woman and children. Therefore, the seven thousand killed by the earthquake would be the number of men, which means that the death toll would be closer to twenty thousand. With a death toll that high, and one tenth of Jerusalem destroyed, (maybe just Palestinian East Jerusalem), there is little doubt that the earthquake would be registered above 8 on the Richter Scale.

The timing of the death and resurrection of the Two Witnesses will be just after the Antichrist has proclaimed himself to be god, and around the time that the requirement of having the mark of the beast for buying and selling, is about to be enforced. So, when John refers to a group of people as “the rest,” he means the remnant of believers that are still in Jerusalem at that time – they will recognize God’s hand at work and give Him the glory. Jerusalem will continue to experience conflict and troubles until the return of the Lord.

With the parenthesis of the Two Witnesses ending on a catastrophic judgment for Jerusalem, there is a reminder that there are greater judgements for the world still to come. The Sixth Trumpet saw the release of the 200 million demonic army, now the warning is shouted that that this second woe had passed, and the third woe, the Bowl Judgements, are still to come!

The Seventh Trumpet (11:15-19)

“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”.

Revelation 11:15-19 is a favourite Scripture for post-Tribulation supporters, as they will point to the seventh and final trumpet blast recorded in these verses as being “the last trumpet” call of the rapture (1 Cor. 15:52). They are guilty of poor exegesis (interpretation of a text), as they are isolating Scripture to manipulate it for their own benefit. The Scripture in Revelation 11, according to post-Tribulationists, holds conclusive evidence of the rapture at the end of the Tribulation. The chapter records the last of the seven trumpet blasts (vs. 15), the temple in heaven being opened (vs.19), the kingdoms of the world becoming the Kingdom of Jesus (vs.15) and the dead being judged (vs.18). These are all convincing evidence for the post-Tribulation belief when used out of context of the flow of the book of Revelation.

To interpret this passage of Scripture correctly we must study it in context. The seventh trumpet sounding in Rev. 11:15 announces the start of the seven bowls of wrath. So, the seventh trumpet is not one specific judgement, but it announces the final judgements that will bring in the Kingdom and the return of Jesus. The result of the seven bowls of wrath brought on by the signal of the seventh trumpet is described in Rev. 11:15b, “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ”. Also, the verb tense in Greek grammar for “has become the kingdoms of the Lord,” indicates that this is a certainty, Jesus, as the Son of David, will return to establish His Kingdom. It does not mean, as post-Tribulation theorists would have you believe, that the Kingdom is about to be established. On analysis of the description of the seven Bowl Judgements in Revelation 15 we see that, at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the Temple in heaven is opened to allow the seven angels carrying their seven bowl plagues to come forth from the Temple. These are the most severe of all the judgements and come from the very seat of judgement within the Temple in heaven, that is why they are referred to as the third “woe”. Revelation 15:1 describes them as “the seven last plagues – last because with them God’s wrath is complete” (emphasis added). The seventh trumpet, therefore, cannot be a post-Tribulation rapture along with the return of Jesus to earth, simply because the trumpet announces the start of the last plagues, not the return of Jesus to set up His Kingdom.

So, to summarise the seventh trumpet call, it introduces four dramatic events:

  1. The Bowl Judgements are to be poured out onto the earth, and there is a distinct reversal of fortunes. The Saints of God have experienced, and are continuing to experience, suffering and persecution under the rule of the Antichrist, now, with the Bowl judgements the rebellious will experience suffering and persecution from the hand of God.
  2. The seventh trumpet call is an announcement of victory (Vs. 15). With the Bowl Judgements being the last of God’s judgements, the return of the King of Kings is at hand. Jesus was the only one who was able to take the Seven Sealed Scroll from the hand of God. The legal requirements written on the scroll for dominion of the earth will be completed after the seventh bowl. Jesus, through the work of the cross, won back authority of the earth from Satan – He is our Kinsman Redeemer. Jesus has ruled over a spiritual Kingdom as “King of righteousness” (Heb. 7:1-2), but after the call of the seventh trumpet the time will have arrived for Him to claim His earthly throne.
  3. The twenty-four Elders once more fall down and worship God. They are filled with wonder that the magnificent plan of salvation for mankind is about to be completed, and that the Seed of the Woman (Jesus), is about to conquer the forces of the seed of the serpent (the Antichrist), and claim His right as King.
  4. The chapter started with John measuring the earthly Temple in Jerusalem, and now it ends with the opening of the doors of God’s heavenly Temple, to reveal the heavenly ark of the covenant. The “flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail,” show that the power and presence of the Lord is there. God is faithful, He has not forgotten His covenant with the Jews, their Messiah is on His way, the Kingdom is coming, the covenant promise will be fulfilled!

The Ark that is visible in the Temple in heaven is not the ark built by Moses. Hebrews 8:5 informs us that God gave Moses explicit instructions to build the Tabernacle according to the exact dimensions of the Temple of God in heaven. So, just as the earthly Tabernacle was a copy of the Temple in heaven, so the earthly ark was a copy of the ark seen in Revelation 11:19. There are many theories about where the ark is today:

  • The Ethiopians claim that the ark is kept in St. Mary of Zion Cathedral in Aksum, having been taken there by the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Menilek. The sexual liaison between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba is according to Ethiopian tradition, there is no record of Menilek in Scripture.
  • Some archaeologists believe that the ark was hidden by priests among the rabbit warren of tunnels that exist under the Temple Mount, during the Babylonian siege. The death of the priests at the hands of the Babylonians ensured the secrecy of the hiding place.
  • Others believe that priests carried the ark away to safety during the Babylonian siege, and hid the ark in a secret location. The speculations as to where the priest hid the ark are numerous, some believe they took the ark to a cave by the Dead Sea, while others point to a secret cave on Mount Nebo, where Moses died (mentioned in the non-biblical text 2 Maccabees 2:4-10).

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