Situated dead center in the middle of the twenty-two chapter Book of Revelation, chapter 11 contains all the internal, historical and contextual evidence a Christian needs to confidently maintain that the Apocalypse was written at least four years before the outbreak of the First Jewish Rebellion against the Emperor Nero, his Judæan procurator, Gessius Florus and the entire Roman Empire. How the chapter begins and how it ends and what comes in between combines every possible ingredient to disprove and refute the notion that the tribulation, time of the dead and judgment day (as anticipated elsewhere in the New Testament) belongs somewhere in distant futurity.
Only by turning everything said in chapter 11 in sophisticated symbols and metaphors can someone escape the conclusion the the historic A.D.66-70 Destruction of Jerusalem was a revolutionary milestone in salvation history (not just a foreshadowing of something to happen in an unknown generation yet to come).
Note with us who, what, when, where and how this passage assumes a definitive shape that communicates a united theme of concommitant events happening at a specific place at a specific time. And observe how, in chapter 12 and 13 to follow the situation for these "Gentiles" deteriorates to the point the downfall of the great city--a foregone destiny for those who attempted to contradict Christ and defy his heavenly intervention against their messianic and nationalist ambitions.
REVELATION CHAPTER 11 is an interesting passage; it gives us all the proof we need to establish at least 7 things Futurists vehemently reject:
(1) That the Book of Revelation was penned before the outbreak of the First Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans.
(2) That the Second Temple (Herod's Temple) was still standing.
(3) That the Book of Revelation was written as early as A.D.62 (probably in conjunction with the Book of James, see James 5:1-9 and compare with Revelation 1:1, 3 and 7).
(4) That the 'nations' are gathered in Jerusalem and give gifts to one another to celebrate the deaths of God's two witnesses. This seems to indicate it was one of Jerusalem's three festivals. Not a single Roman was in Jerusalem between November A.D.66 to April A.D.70! This can only mean the "Gentiles" have to be Jews and proselytes.*
(5) That the two witnesses were resurrected before the eyes of their enemies and there was a great earthquake in which a tenth of the city died.
(6) That the Seventh and final trumpet was blown announcing the coming of the kingdom of God.
(7) That it was the time of the dead, the judgment of the wicked and also the time of God's rewarding his saints and prophets.
Let us now familiarize ourselves with these passages and texts in order to effectively highlight and communicate our beliefs in our talks and dialogues with those who wish to better understand our convictions and core values. Highlighting and underlining the different aspects of this important chapter would be a great way to memorize it and incorporate it into your own personal Bible studies; it would also provide you with a ready reference to share with others. The mission of the Church is to promote Biblical understanding and to encourage Christians to take a second look at often neglected or misunderstood passages; to see them in the light of their necessary history; modify their beliefs accordingly so that their own understanding, studies and confidence in God can benefit from knowledge of the truth and harmony of how the parts fit with the whole, not only in Revelation 11, but also other aspects that strengthen the sense, meaning and direction of the narrative in the entirety of the Book of Revelation.
Revelation Chapter 11
1 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.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
5 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.
6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were 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.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
18 And the nations were angry, and thy 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, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
King James Version (KJV)
by Public Domain
* Two feasts after the start of the revolt in Elul of the year 66 are Trumpets and Booths or Sukkot. Trumpets was on the first of Tishrei and Booths (or Sukkot/Tabernacles) was on the fifteenth to the twenty-second of that same month. The events in Revelation 11 very easily could fit into the feast of trumpets, whilst the events of Revelation chapters 12 and 13 are close by (near or around the Sabbath of Booths in that same month of Tishrei A.D. 66). The signal that we are told caused the Jerusalem Church to flee to the wilderness was the war with Cestius Gallus which ended with a stunning Jewish victory at the Beth Horon pass on the eighth day Marheshvan the following month. See Wars 2.19.1:513-2:517; 2:19:4:528 and 2:19.8:546-9:555.
Recommended reading . . .
The Jewish Revolts Against Rome, A.D. 66-135: A Military Analysis
by James J. Bloom
During the first and second centuries A.D., the supremacy of the Roman Empire was aggressively challenged by three Jewish rebellions. The facts surrounding the initial uprising of A.D. 66-74 have been filtered through the biased accounts of Judeao Roman historian Flavius Josephus. Primary information regarding the subsequent Diaspora Revolt (A.D. 115-117) and the Bar Kochba Rebellion (A.D. 132-135) is limited to fragmentary anecdotes emphasizing the religious implications of the two insurrections. In contrast, this analytical history focuses objectively on the military aspects of all three Judean uprisings. The events leading up to each rebellion are detailed, while the nine appendices cover such topics as the nature and number of the Jewish rebels and the factual reliability of the controversial Josephus. One appendix hypothesizes an alternative history of the war between Jerusalem and Rome.
Other essays on realized eschatology: