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Chapter 11 is still part of the sixth trumpet, for the seventh does not sound until the close of this chapter 11.
Verse 1, of chapter 11 - (We go back now to the West.) John is given a reed like a rod to measure the temple of God. The rod is clearly a measurement of affliction, as verse 2 shows, "They shall tread the holy city under foot 42 months," which is 1260 day-years.
Verse 3 - Two witnesses are to prophesy in sackcloth, which represents affliction and mourning, for 1260 days: A downtrodden temple, sackcloth witnesses, and a period of 1260 years. Verse 7 - At the end of that period the beast kills the witnesses. Verses 8 and 9 - They lie dead but unburied in the street, or broad place, of the great city, rejoiced over (verse 10) by the followers of the beast. Verses 11 and 12 - After 3 ½ days they rise and ascend to heaven. Great fear falls on those who see them. Verse 13 - There was a great earthquake, and the tenth of the great city fell; seven thousand names of men are slain, the remnant gave glory to God.
Again, history fits perfectly. The Catholic Church came to imperial power under Constantine in 312 AD. Immediately, the false brethren, now in political power, began to persecute the faithful who kept separate from the apostasy, and tried to force them into line. This began a 1260-year sackcloth witnessing against the Man of Sin - the god of the earth.
1260 years from 312, when Constantine came to power, is 1572 - the Saint Bartholomew Day Massacre of the Huguenots - the opening gun of a concerted war to stamp out parsonism in the Papal dominion. The Pope commanded a great jubilee and had medals made to commemorate the bloody victory of Catholicism over the Huguenots. France was the central scene of this war.
France is the street, or broad place, of the great city. Rome being the great city (verse 8) and there was also the tenth of that city, that is the outstanding tenth, out of the ten divisions of the Roman Empire - the primary tenth. Ever since Charlemagne, king of the Franks in the ninth century, defended the Pope and reestablished his authority in Europe, France was considered the eldest son of the church - the chief or principle tenth of the great city. And in this period France fell; that is, fell as far as Catholic power is concerned.
History is not, of course, always clear-cut in sharp breaks from one period to another. But certain dates are typical, significant, and major turning points. In 1685, the Edict of Nance, which had given certain rights to the French Protestants, was revoked. This marked the death of the witnesses. In 1687, just two years later, a Huguenot, a Bible student, Peter Jurieu, writing on the Revelation, identified this as the death of the witnesses, and predicted that France, as the tenth of the great Papal city Rome, would break away from the Pope, and lead the period when the king of the earth would turn against the Papacy and greatly torment it. This is exactly what happened as we see in the vial. This is another very powerful confirmation of the basic soundness of the historical interpretation of the Revelation, because this man foresaw from the Revelation the general outline of what was to come.
There were two witnesses. This indicates a distinction - two classes. They were the true woman and the earth, which helped the woman. The Brethren of Christ, who held the Truth and kept separate from the world, on the one hand, and on the other all in the world, who for various reasons-social, political, or religious-opposed the Papacy and sought liberty. It is the latter class-the outer shell, which appears in history. The Huguenots were of the outer witness. They entered politics and war.
The witnesses were to lie dead three and one half days (verse 9). Peter Jurieu thought this would be 3 ½ years, which is a natural assumption. But history reveals it to be 3 ½ months of years. 3 ½ months is 105 days, and the period of their death turned out to be 105 years, until 1790-the French Revolution, the greatest turning point of European history. The ministry of the Papacy and Rome, the great enemy in the Revelation, before and after the French Revolution are two completely different worlds. Again within three years of the French Revolution, in 1793 an English Bible student named Bicheno had the clue, and identified the 105 years from 1685 to 1790 as the death period of the witnesses. This is another very strong evidence of the soundness of the basic framework.
Verses 11, 12, and 13 - The witnesses were given life, stood up, and a great voice called them up to heaven; fear fell on all that saw them, and there was a great earthquake, and seven thousand names of men (note the middle margin) were slain, and the tenth of the city fell.
Since 1685, the revocation of the Edit of Nance, the Catholic monarchy, clergy, and nobility had ruled France with an iron hand, but increasing disorder and bankruptcy cause Louis XVI in desperation to summon the national assembly. This was the ascension of the witnesses to heaven. The time was right, and events soon snowballed into the execution of the king, the abolition of the nobility, or names of men, confiscation of all church property, and end of all church power, and the terrible blood bath, known as the Reign of Terror. Out of this came Napoleon, with the vials of God's wrath against the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire that we shall see later in chapter 16.
Bro Growcott - Review of the Apocalypse
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 42 months.
It is because of this permitted ascendancy of the dynasties of the world for 1260 years, that the popular insurrections in the territories of the Beasts and their image, have been invariably superseded by reactions, which have re-established the reign of tyranny, hypocrisy, and superstition. Even the torment with fire and brimstone in war, inflicted by Napoleon on the guilty dynasties which had murdered the saints in past ages, at length receded before the resuscitation of the old order of things, which this MAN OF THE EARTH had so signally demolished.
But what Napoleon failed permanently to accomplish will as assuredly come to pass, as there is a God in heaven Who punishes the guilty. We rejoice in this assurance; and though we see reaction again showing its fiendish and hypocritical face, and hear it complacently hymning its approaching triumph over the eneimes of the image and the beasts, which support his blasphemy against God and His saints, we know that its final struggle is approaching by which it will be for ever deprived of place, and power "to destroy the earth."
Elpis Israel 3.1.
The "Holy City" of the Apocalypse and Jerusalem of the prophets are not precisely the same thing, though they are allied. The literal things of the prophets are in several cases made to play a symbolical part in the Apocalypse.
Thus, the literal Babylon of the former is made to represent in the latter the papal system of rebellion against God, which has developed itself on Roman territory, having Rome for its centre. The literal Euphrates of Assyria is used to represent the power occupying Euphratean territory in the latter days.
The waters and life-giving trees of Ezekiel are, in the Apocalypse, made to stand for the beneficent rule of the saints. The literal prophets themselves are made to stand for witnessing classes. So, literal Jerusalem is chosen to represent the community which has a future geographical relation to her.
The "Bride, the Lamb's wife," after her glorious nuptials with the King of Israel, is symbolised as "New Jerusalem," descending from heaven, shining like to a stone most precious. This is when the saints are manifested in the power and glory of their perfected totality; but when the down-trodden and death-bound condition of the Bride is represented, the Holy City is exhibited as a waste and a ruin, trampled and desecrated by the Gentiles.
When the symbolical character of the Apocalypse is recognised, the difficulty of Jerusalem, apparently meaning two separate things, will disappear.
The Ambassasor of the Coming Age , April 1867. p 104
It is by this class that "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" is preserved from being entirely lost. In the twelfth of Revelation they are termed "the remnant of the Woman's seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." They are a people who believe the gospel of the kingdom of God and the things of Christ's name as set forth in "the law and the testimony;" for "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of the: prophecy."
They are also an immersed people; for they keep the commandments of God as well as believe his word. It is their mission to "contend earnestly for the faith." Hence, they come into collision with all parties; being antagonistic to "every high thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God," whether entertained by the enemy or by the witnesses, who torment him with their insurrections, or with their prophesyings in behalf of civil and religious liberty.
Such, then, is the antagonism ordained of God to keep the Beast, or European governments, in check, and to preserve the light of truth and liberty from extinction among the nations. It is
to this agency the world is indebted for the little liberty it rejoices in. This has been conquered from the Beast at a great cost of human life.
The United States of America is a specimen of its handy work; and, but for the incurable condition of society in the old world by human efforts, as happy a state of things would ere this have been established on the European continent, as in some degree hath been in this island. The Roundheads, Puritans, and Lollards, or bible-men, laid the foundation of American institutions on the soil of Britain.
They successfully resisted the encroachments of an Act of Parliament-religion on the rights of men; and by contending for the Bible (without very well understanding it themselves) in opposition to human authority in religion, gave an impulse to the minds of men, which all the powers emanating from the "bottomless pit," can no longer prevail against, or control. But, while the liberty provided by the constitution of the United States, and practically enjoyed in England, is much to be appreciated by the people of these respective countries, there are but few of them who have tasted the sweets of that liberty which dwells in "the Holy City."
"If the truth shall make you free," says Christ, "ye shall be free indeed." So long as a people practically venerate a professional ministry, whether in the pay of the State, or of the people to preach what pleases them more than "the law and the testimony;" so long as they are ignorant and faithless of "the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ," and glorify themselves in religious systems, which nowhere on the sacred page meet the eye of the unbiassed student of God's word; so long as their pulpits are closed against men who would reason with the people out of the scriptures "concerning righteousness, and temperance, and judgment to come," irrespective of party shibboleths and decrees: -- so Iong are they strangers to the liberty, equality, and fraternity, which belong to the truth of God alone.
The eye of faith sees the fairest spots of earth veiled in thick darkness. Its hope is not in "the earth;" for man can neither regenerate himself, nor society. Any organization of the world fabricated by human wisdom, must perish; for men have neither knowledge, wisdom, nor virtue, enough, to build a social fabric conducive to the honour and glory of God; or, to the general happiness of mankind in their several relations of life.
Our hope is in the Ancient of Days. "The earth" may "help the Woman," and consume the dominions of the horns; but the Son of Man can alone deliver the holy city, crush the Dragon's head, and reconstitute society to the glory of God, and the happiness of all the families of mankind.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a 1 260 days, clothed in sackcloth.
1. civil and ecclesiastical - 'the earth' and 'the woman'..
2. Holy City - The Lamb's Bride
The prophecy of the two witnesses is concerning two great parties in the ten horned beast's dominion, which antagonize it in its civil and ecclesiastical policy. One party is purely secular, and styled "the earth," or democracy; the other party is "religious," and termed "the woman.''
The mission of these is to make war upon tyranny, and to take vengeance upon it, and finally to be the means, or occasion, of breaking it up in its ten-horned and papal constitution. "The earth," or secular witness, is the helper of "the woman," or religious witness. They have co-operated since the reign of Constantine more or less intimately until the present time; their co-operation consisting in a determined hostility to state-churchism, and to its monarchial allies. They are both more or less republican in their principles. "The earth" especially is animated by a hatred of oppressors. Its spirit in all ages has shown itself in a terrible form. It is ferocious as the tiger, but it is a ferocity which is required by the nature of the work assigned it. The civil and ecclesiastical tyranny it has to combat, which is itself horribly terrific and blasphemous against God and his truth, must be encountered by a spirit as fierce.
In history, we see it exhibited in the Circumcellions of the first century of its operations, in the men of Munster of the sixteenth, the Camisards of the seventeenth, the Terrorists of the eighteenth, and the Red Republicans, socialists, &c., of the nineteenth. Like God's "sanctified ones, the Medes," the heart of "the earth" is steel, and its eye unpitying. It is ready to dash out the brains of sucklings, to spoil the property of the rich, and to reduce the social fabric of the Beast to its elemental chaos. Its political representative in Europe is ''THE MOUNTAIN" in the French legislature; a body of men who are the abomination and terror of the Jesuit priest-party throughout the world.
"The woman" is constituted of heterogeneous sects. "Dissent" and "non-conformity" are terms which define the religious witness in this country. In France she is styled "Calvinist." Her tendencies are republican, as illustrated in the Cromwellian commonwealth, and in the constitution of the United States of America, which was the conjoint work of "the earth" and "the woman." This great religious witness is made up of an infinite variety of factions, whose contempt of popes, emperors, kings, priests, and aristocrats, is profound; yet, with all their hatred, they conscientionsly repudiate the excesses of "the earth," or secular witness. These two witnessing parties, however, are of one theory, which is death to tyranny, if not to tyrants; and in some sense, or other, rally around the standard of "liberty, equality, and fraternity;" three principles which are utterly destructive of the dominion of the Little Horn, and its less audacious fellows of the Roman Beast.
But there is a third party which, although it has the deep rooted enmity of truth against every form of Satanism in church and state, papal and protestant; and wishes success to the Two Witnesses in their war with civil and ecclesiastical tyranny, yet it is distinct from them both. It is that party described by the apostle in the passage above quoted. It is composed of the saints of God in the highest sense of the word. It is the One Body of Christ, having the one faith, the one hope, one Lord, one spirit, one baptism, and one God and Father (Eph. 4:4-6).
It is styled "the holy city"
Elpis Israel 3.1.
Of the witnesses and holy city, without discriminating them, REINERIUS, the inquisitor-general, who shed their blood, writes thus concerning them as a whole. "Among all the sects which are, or have been, there is not any more pernicious to the church (i.e. of Rome) than that of the Leonists. And this for three reasons. The first is, because it is older; for some say that it hath endured from the time of Pope Sylvester (fourth century) others from the time of the apostles. The second, because it is more general, for there is scarce any country wherein the sect is not. The third, because when all other sects beget horror in the hearers by the outrageousness of their blasphemies against God, this of the Leonists have a great shew of piety; because they live justly before men, and believe all things rightly concerning God, and all the articles which are contained in the creed; only they blaspheme the church of Rome and the clergy, whom the multitude of the laity is easy to believe."
"The causes of their estrangement, says Acland from the Roman church are thus stated. 'It is because the men and women, the young and old, the laborer and the learned man, do not cease to instruct themselves; because they have translated the Old and New Testaments into the vulgar tongue, and learn these books by heart, and teach them; because if scandal be committed by any one, it inspires them with horror, so that when they see anyone leading an irregular life, they say to him, the apostles did not live so, nor should we who would imitate the apostles: in short they look upon all that a teacher advances, unsupported by the New Testament, as fabulous."'
Elpis Israel 3.1.
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.
The saints are marshalled on the side of the woman; and their persecutors on the side of the serpent. The war has been long, fierce, and bloody; but the saints' victory is certain, and the destruction of the beasts and their image inevitable and sure.
In the previous chapter I have briefly sketched the cruelties practised by the Ten Horns, the-Little Horn, and the ecclesiastical image, upon the witnesses and the holy city (called the saints in the aggregate) in all the countries in which they have appeared. France, and the "bloody house of Austria," have been pre-eminent in the strife. They are dyed in infamy of every kind, which they have enacted on the most virtuous of the human race. In all their deeds of fiendishness, they have been applauded by the archdemon of the papacy, who styles them his beloved sons, and the mercenary instruments of his cruelty, his "dear children."
Does the reader suppose that the just and merciful Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of those who keep His commandments and have His testimony, has looked on the fiendism of the sin-power with indifference; and that He will permit their wrongs to die unavenged? if he does, he has greatly mistaken God's character, and knows nothing at all of the awful judgments He has decreed against those who "bruise the heel" of His beloved.
Did He judge Egypt for oppressing Israel though at the time idolators; did He sink Sodom into the volcanic abyss for its crimes; and did He punish Judah with pestilence, famine, sword, and scattering for eighteen centuries, because of unbelief of "the truth as it is in Jesus," and for killing his servants -- and will He not avenge His elect whom He hath chosen upon the demoniac powers which have continued to crush them?
The scripture saith, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints and "precious shall their blood be in His sight." If the blood of the murdered Abel, crying from the ground, was heard of God and avenged, what shall be said of that exceeding great and piercing cry, which upon the same principle, ascends to his throne from that ocean of blood which has been poured out like water from the hearts of his slaughtered saints? Doth it not cry aloud to heaven against popes, emperors, kings, hypocritical and blaspheming priests, and their hordes of mercenaries; and against all ecclesiastical abettors of arbitrary power in church and state?
Yes, that voice, though unheard and unheeded by those who worship the beasts and their image, continually ascendeth, and hath "entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth," saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev.6:10).
The hour has come, and the death-knell of the destroyer has sent forth its clangor throughout the dominion of the Roman beast. As in the case of Sodom, though unseen by the eye of the flesh, God has "come down to see if they have done altogether according to the cry." He has found it even so. "Their sins have reached unto heaven," therefore, He will reward them double for all the evil with which they have afflicted His saints.
Such, then, is the case before us. The great national crime has been committed, and perpetuated, of converting the truth of God into a lie, of blaspheming His name, and of bruising the heel of his saints. All nations are guilty of this, and as national offences can only, and must necessarily, be punished, by national judgments, retribution is pouring out upon them according to the word of the Lord.
Elpis Israel 3.2.
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.
When the remnant ceased to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," "the earth" began to fail in its efforts to establish civil and religious liberty in the countries where "the remnant of the woman's seed" [Rev. 12:17] had witnessed for the truth so long. The reactionists on the side of arbitrary power began to prevail against both classes of witnesses, and the holy city; and to succeed in re-establishing what they call "order;" that is, such a state of society as existed in France from A.D. 1685 to 1789, or in England under Charles II.; or of which we have more recent illustrations in the case of France under Louis XVIII; and Charles X.; and of Italy under Austria and the pope, &c., in 1815!
It is the "order" established by Satan, when he triumphs over the rights of men, and the truth and righteousness of the untraditionized gospel of the kingdom of God. Satan's adherents sigh for that "order" in church and state, which will enable them to increase their power, augment their earthly treasures for the gratification of their lusts, and perpetuate their grinding and debasing tyranny over the nations.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
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.
A writer on prophecy has well remarked, that "there is no nation existing which, first and last, has produced such a number of faithful witnesses against papal corruptions, and tyrannies, as France.
No people have so long a list of martyrs and confessors to show as the Hougonots of that country; and there is no royal family in Europe which has shed in the support of popery, half the blood which the Capets have shed. Who deluged the earth with the blood of the Waldenses and Albigenses that inhabited the southern parts of France, and bore testimony against the corruptions and usurpations of Rome? The cruel kings of France slew above a million of them.
Who set on foot, and headed, the executioners of the massacre of Bartholomew in 1572, which lasted seven days, and in which some say near 50,000 Hougonots were murdered in Paris, and 25,000 more in the provinces? The royal monsters of France. A massacre this, in which neither age nor sex, nor even women with child, were spared; for the butchers had received orders to slaughter all, even babes at the breast, if they belonged to the Hougonots.
The king himself stood at the windows of his palace, endeavouring to shoot those who fled, and crying to their pursuers, 'kill them, kill them!' For this massacre public rejoicings were made at Rome, and in other papal countries. A medal was struck at Rome commemorative of this tragical event.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
Revival of the Truth in the Latter Days
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.
The time is come in which there must be no faint heartedness, and when a courageous testimony must be borne for the word of the kingdom. Ministerial favour and popularity must be utterly disregarded; and the question be, not "what saith the minister?" or "what will people think?"
It matters not what they say, or think, in the case; the simple question is, "How is it written?" "What saith the word?" Let this course be pursued in candour, and I doubt not, but in a short time a people will spring up in this island prepared for the Lord, whom he will acknowledge at his return.
Elpis Israel 3.3.