Revelation 11:10
And they that dwell on the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelled on the earth.
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11:3-13 In the time of treading down, God kept his faithful witnesses to attest the truth of his word and worship, and the excellence of his ways, The number of these witnesses is small, yet enough. They prophesy in sackcloth. It shows their afflicted, persecuted state, and deep sorrow for the abominations against which they protested. They are supported during their great and hard work, till it is done. When they had prophesied in sackcloth the greatest part of 1260 years, antichrist, the great instrument of the devil, would war against them, with force and violence for a time. Determined rebels against the light rejoice, as on some happy event, when they can silence, drive to a distance, or destroy the faithful servants of Christ, whose doctrine and conduct torment them. It does not appear that the term is yet expired, and the witnesses are not a present exposed to endure such terrible outward sufferings as in former times; but such things may again happen, and there is abundant cause to prophesy in sackcloth, on account of the state of religion. The depressed state of real Christianity may relate only to the western church. The Spirit of life from God, quickens dead souls, and shall quicken the dead bodies of his people, and his dying interest in the world. The revival of God's work and witnesses, will strike terror into the souls of his enemies. Where there is guilt, there is fear; and a persecuting spirit, though cruel, is a cowardly spirit. It will be no small part of the punishment of persecutors, both in this world, and at the great day, that they see the faithful servants of God honoured and advanced. The Lord's witnesses must not be weary of suffering and service, nor hastily grasp at the reward; but must stay till their Master calls them. The consequence of their being thus exalted was a mighty shock and convulsion in the antichristian empire. Events alone can show the meaning of this. But whenever God's work and witnesses revive, the devil's work and witnesses fall before him. And that the slaying of the witnesses is future, appears to be probable.And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them - Those dwelling in the land would rejoice over their fall and ruin. This cannot, of course, mean all who inhabit the globe; but, according to the usage in Scripture, those who dwell in the country where this would occur. Compare the notes on Luke 2:1. We now affix to the word "earth" an idea which was not necessarily implied in the Hebrew word ארץ ‛erets, (compare Exodus 3:8; Exodus 13:5; Deuteronomy 19:2, Deuteronomy 19:10; Deuteronomy 28:12; Nehemiah 9:22; Psalm 37:9, Psalm 37:11, Psalm 37:22, Psalm 37:29; Psalm 66:4; Proverbs 2:21; Proverbs 10:30; Joel 1:2); or the Greek word γῆ gē, compare Matthew 2:6, Matthew 2:20-21; Matthew 14:15; Acts 7:7, Acts 7:11, Acts 7:36, Acts 7:40; Acts 13:17. Our word "land," as now commonly understood, would better express the idea intended to be conveyed here; and thus understood, the meaning is, that the dwellers in the country where these things would happen would thus rejoice. The meaning is, that while alive they would, by their faithful testimony against existing errors, excite so much hatred against themselves, and would be so great an annoyance to the governing powers, that there would be general exultation when the voice of their testimony should be silenced. This, too, has been so common in the world that there would be no difficulty in applying the language used here, or in finding events which it would appropriately deseribe.

And make merry - Be glad. See the notes on Luke 12:19; Luke 15:23. The Greek word does not necessarily denote the lighthearted mirth expressed by our word merriment, but rather joy or happiness in general. The meaning is, that they would be filled with joy at such an event.

And shall send gifts one to another - As expressive of their joy. To send presents is a natural expression of our own happiness, and our desire for the happiness of others - as is indicated now by "Christmas" and "New Year's gifts." Compare also Nehemiah 8:10-12; "Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength," etc. See also Esther 9:19-22.Because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth - They "tormented" them, or were a source of annoyance to them, by bearing testimony to the truth; by opposing the prevailing errors; and by rebuking the vices of the age: perhaps by demanding reformation, and by denouncing the judgment of heaven on the guilty. There is no intimation that they tormented them in any other way than by the truths which they held forth. See the word explained in the notes on 2 Peter 2:8.

10. they that dwell upon … earth—those who belong to the earth, as its citizens, not to heaven (Re 3:10; 8:13; 12:12; 13:8).

shall—so Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic. But A, B, and C read the present tense; compare Note, see on [2710]Re 11:9, on "shall not suffer."

rejoice over them—The Antichristianity of the last days shall probably be under the name of philosophical enlightenment and civilization, but really man's deification of himself. Fanaticism shall lead Antichrist's followers to exult in having at last seemingly silenced in death their Christian rebukers. Like her Lord, the Church will have her dark passion week followed by the bright resurrection morn. It is a curious historical coincidence that, at the fifth Lateran Council, May 5, 1514, no witness (not even the Moravians who were summoned) testified for the truth, as Huss and Jerome did at Constance; an orator ascended the tribunal before the representatives of papal Christendom, and said, "There is no reclaimant, no opponent." Luther, on October 31, 1517, exactly three and a half years afterwards, posted up his famous theses on the church at Wittenberg. The objection is, the years are years of three hundred sixty-five, not three hundred sixty, days, and so two and a half days are deficient; but still the coincidence is curious; and if this prophecy be allowed other fulfilments, besides the final and literal one under the last Antichrist, this may reasonably be regarded as one.

send gifts one to another—as was usual at a joyous festival.

tormented them—namely, with the plagues which they had power to inflict (Re 11:5, 6); also, by their testimony against the earthly.

It is plain by the repeating of the same words in the close of the verse, that by those that

dwell upon the earth are meant earthly, carnal men, whether papists or atheists; men that are mad upon their lusts; for these are those in whose consciences faithful and powerful preaching breeds a torment and uneasiness, so as they always count godly ministers their enemies, (as Ahab told Elijah), and are not able to bear their words (as the Israelites could not bear the words of Amos).

Shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; these therefore shall keep holiday, when they see these their enemies conquered, and show all signs and expressions of joy. These preachers were they that hindered them from a quiet sleep in their beds of lust.

Because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth; and though they fought against them only with a fire going out of their mouths, as prophets declaring the will of God to be contrary to their lewd practices, and denouncing God’s wrath against those that did such things; yet their preaching made their heads ache, partly by alarming their consciences, so as they often flew in their faces; and by it they were exposed to the reproach of people, as living directly contrary to the Divine rule, and in defiance of his law: thus they torment wicked men, who therefore always did, and always will, triumph in their suppression, or in any evil that shall betide them. And as they see their suppression greater than ever before, (as it will be undoubtedly during these three years and a half), so the triumph of lewd and wicked men will be proportionably more, though it will be but like a widow’s joy, for a short time, for it will appear that their dead bodies were not put into the grave. And they that dwell upon the earth,.... Out of which the beast arose, and over which he reigns, even the inhabitants of the Roman empire, often in this book called the earth, the followers of antichrist, men that mind nothing but earth, and earthly things:

shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; as is usual with persons, and was with the Jews, to do in times of public rejoicing; see Esther 9:18.

Because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth; not because they were tormented by them, but because they were now freed from their tormenting ministry; they had tormented them by the preaching of the Gospel, which is foolishness, and the savour of death to natural men, and gives them pain, and fills them with vexation and wrath; by their testimony which they had bore for Christ, and against antichrist; by their sharp reproof of them for their false doctrine and will worship, and their impure lives and conversations; by their own holy lives, which would sometimes flash light into their consciences, and make them uneasy; and by their foretelling the calamities and ruin, temporal and eternal, that would come upon them; but now they are silenced, and they hear and see no more of these things at which they rejoice.

And they that dwell upon the earth {16} shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets {17} tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

(16) So much the more shall they by this occasion exercise the hilarity of their Jubile.

(17) The gospel of Christ is the affliction of the world, and the ministry of it, the savour of death to death, to those that perish, 2Co 2:16.

Revelation 11:10. So far from laying it to heart that the godly perish, men are hyperbolically represented as congratulating one another on getting rid of these obnoxious prophets with their vexatious words (3) and works (6), which hitherto had baffled opposition (Revelation 11:4-5). Another naive Oriental touch is that their victims exchange presents in order to celebrate the festive occasion.Verse 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; rejoice and make merry, that dwell (present, though future in meaning; the present tense rendering the description more graphic). Those dwelling on the earth are the ungodly, the worldly. "They send gifts," in accordance with Oriental custom on joyful occasions (cf. ver. 9). "The prophets, the witnesses, tormented;" probably rather by the delivery of their message, which would affect the conscience of men, than by the plagues referred to in ver. 6, though both may be meant. Alford, Bengel, and Dusterdieck favour the latter view of the two; Hengstenberg takes the former. Shall rejoice (χαροῦσιν)

Read χαίρουσιν, present tense, rejoice.

Shall make merry (εὐφρανθήσονται)

Read εὐφραίνονται, present tense, make merry; and for the word see note on fared sumptuously, Luke 16:19.

Shall send gifts

As on a day of festival. See Nehemiah 8:10, Nehemiah 8:12.

Tormented (ἐβασάνισαν)

See on vexed, 2 Peter 2:8, and see on Matthew 4:23, Matthew 4:24.

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