Revelation 11
Vincent's Word Studies
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.
A rod

See on Revelation 2:27.

And the angel stood

Omit. The insertion of these words furnishes a subject for the agreement of the participle λέγων, which is irregular an construction. Literally the correct text reads, "there was given me a reed, saying." Accordingly Wordsworth refers the speech to the reed as an inspired medium of speech. Rev., better, and one said.

The temple (τὸν ναὸν)

See on Matthew 4:5.

The altar

Of incense, as that alone stood in the sacred place.

Them that worship

Note the peculiar expressed, measuring the worshippers with a reed.

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.
The court which is without the temple

Not merely the outer court, or Court of the Gentiles, but including all that is not within the ναός, the Holy and Most Holy places.

Leave out (ἔκβαλε ἔξω)

Lit., throw out, i.e., of the measurement.

Unto the Gentiles (τοῖς ἔθνεσιν)

See on Luke 2:32. Rev., nations.

Forty and two months

A period which appears in three forms in Revelation: forty-two months (Revelation 13:5); twelve hundred and sixty days (Revelation 11:3, Revelation 12:6); a time, times and half a time, or three years and a half (Revelation 12:14, compare Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7)

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.


Two witnesses

The reader may profitably consult on this point the lectures of Professor Milligan on the Revelation of St. John. He maintains that the conception of the Apocalypse is powerfully molded by John's recollections of the life of Jesus; that there is a close parallelism between the Apocalypse and the delineation of the life of Christ contained in the fourth Gospel; and that the Apocalypse is, in the deeper conceptions which pervade it, a repetition of the Gospel. See pp. 59-69.

They shall prophesy (προφητεύσουσιν)

See on prophet, Luke 7:26. Commonly explained of preaching repentance, though some take it in the later sense of foretelling future events.

Clothed in sackcloth

The garb of preachers of repentance. Compare Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 4:8; Jonah 3:5; Matthew 3:4. For sackcloth see on Luke 10:13.

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Two olive trees

See Zechariah 4:1-14.


See Zechariah 4:1-14, and note on Matthew 10:15.

The God

Read κυρίου the Lord. Compare Zechariah 4:14.

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.
Fire proceedeth

Compare 2 Kings 1:10; Jeremiah 5:14.

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.
To shut up the heaven

As Elijah, 1 Kings 17:1; Luke 4:25; James 5:17.

That it rain not (ἵνα μὴ βρέχῃ ὑετὸς)

Lit., that the rain may not wet.

To turn them into blood

Compare Exodus 7:19.

To smite (πατάξαι)

Used by John only in Revelation, here and Revelation 19:15. Compare Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27; Luke 22:49, Luke 22:50; Acts 12:7, Acts 12:23.

With all plagues (πάσῃ πληγῇ)

Singular number. Rev., correctly, with every plague. See on Mark 3:10. Not merely with the plagues with which Moses smote Egypt.

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 beast (θηρίον)

Wild beast. See on Revelation 4:6. A different word from that wrongly translated beast, Revelation 4:6, Revelation 4:7; Revelation 5:6, etc. Compare Revelation 13:1; Revelation 17:8, and see Daniel 7.

Bottomless pit (ἀβύσσου)

See on Revelation 9:1.

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.
Dead bodies (πτώματα)

Read πτῶμα carcass. See on Matthew 24:28; see on Mark 15:45.

In the street (ἐπὶ τῆς πλατείας)

Lit., "Upon the street." See on Luke 14:21.

The great city

Jerusalem is never called by this name. Different expositors refer it to Rome or Babylon. Milligan to Jerusalem.

Spiritually (πνευματικῶς)

Typically or allegorically. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:3, 1 Corinthians 10:4.

Our Lord

Read αὐτῶν their for ἡμῶν our.

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.
Shall see (βλέψουσιν)

Read, βλέπουσιν do men look (Rev.), and see on John 1:29.

Shall not suffer (οὐκ ἀφήσουσιν)

Read ἀφίουσιν do not suffer.

To be put in graves (τεθῆναι εἰς μνήματα)

Read μνῆμα a tomb, as Rev. Compare Genesis 23:4; Isaiah 14:19, Isaiah 14:20.

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.
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.

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.
Spirit of life (πνεῦμα ζῶης)

Rev., breath. See on John 3:8.

Entered into them

Compare Ezekiel 37:1-10.

Saw (θεωροῦντας)

See on John 1:18.

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.
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.

See on Revelation 6:12.

Of men (ὀνόματα ἀνθρώπων)

Lit., names of men. See on Revelation 3:4.

Gave glory to the God of heaven

The phrase signifies not conversion, nor repentance, nor thanksgiving, but recognition, which is its usual sense in scripture. Compare Joshua 7:19 (Sept.). John 9:24; Acts 12:23; Romans 4:20.

The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
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.
The kingdoms - are become (ἐγένοντο αἱ βασιλεῖαι)

Read ἐγένετο ἡ βασιλεία, the kingdom - is become.

Of our Lord, etc.

Compare Psalm 2:2-9.

And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
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.
O Lord God, etc.

See on Revelation 4:8.

And art to come


Hast taken to Thee

Omit to thee.

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.
Were angry (ὀργίσθησαν)

See on wrath, John 3:36. Compare Psalm 2:1.

The time (ὁ καιρὸς)

See on Matthew 12:1.

Reward (μισθὸν)

See on 2 Peter 2:13.

Destroy (διαφθεῖραι)

Also to corrupt.

Which destroy (τοὺς διαφθείροντας)

Or, the destroyers.

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.
The temple (ὁ ναὸς)

The sanctuary. Compare Revelation 11:1 and see on Matthew 4:5.

In heaven

Join with temple of God, as Rev., instead of with opened, as A.V.

The ark of His covenant (ἡ κιβωτὸς τῆς διαθήκης αὐτοῦ)

Κιβωτὸς ark, meaning generally any wooden box or chest used of the ark in the tabernacle only here and Hebrews 9:4. Elsewhere of Noah's ark. See Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:27; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20. For covenant, see note on testament, Matthew 26:28. This is the last mention in scripture of the ark of the covenant. It was lost when the temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans (2 Kings 25:10), and was wanting in the second temple. Tacitus says that Pompey "by right of conquest entered the temple. Thenceforward it became generally known that the habitation was empty and the sanctuary unoccupied do representation of the deity being found within it" ("History," v., 9). According to Jewish tradition Jeremiah had taken the ark and all that the Most Holy Place contained, and concealed them, before the destruction of the temple, in a cave at Mount Sinai, whence they are to be restored to the temple in the days of Messiah.

Lightnings and voices, etc.

"The solemn salvos, so to speak, of the artillery of heaven, with which each series of visions is concluded."

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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