This chapter closes out the trumpets. On a personal note, I believe that we are already in at least the beginning of the fourth trumpet, if not the beginning of the fifth. Or if we are not there, we have very similar circumstances going on. The flaming mountain of Babylon in the third trumpet – “Babylon” in the Hebrew language means “confusion”. And we are living in very
confusing times -- fake news -- not knowing what you can believe and what you can’t. It’s the spiritual death of a lot of people. It’s the birth of a very cynical people. Then we get into that cynicism, that bitterness, that wormwood (a bitter poison that makes you feel good) spreading through the streams (the streaming services that about 1/3 to 1/2 of the world have access to today) and again causing the spiritual death of many. As an example, my wife and I tried to watch a few comedy specials for some pretty famous comedians on Netflix, and we’ve stopped the broadcast about 10-15 minutes in on more than one occasion. I love comedy. I love a good laugh, to make people laugh, and good humour. I love it, and always have. But the vitriol that we’ve heard some of these comedians spew just turned us right off. It wasn't funny; it was just bitter.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Heck (and I’ll age myself here), my generation is known for embracing an alternative music culture that had unintelligible lyrics, and was the most profitable period in music
since the invention of commercially sold music. (There were things like The Beatles "I am the walrus" (koo-koo-kachoob) before, but the majority of songs had some sort of plot or concept; whereas kooky lyrics were they epitome of the 90s.) The heyday of alternative music in the 1990s, just before Napster was invented and the music industry had to fundamentally change to survive the threat of piracy, was bar-none the most profitable time in music, period. Unprecedented profits. Ridiculously lavish lifestyles. And what were some of the lyrics of some of the most famous songs then?
With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido
~Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit
In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey
Butane in my veins so I'm out to cut the junkie
With the plastic eyeballs, spray paint the vegetables
Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose
Kill the headlights and put it in neutral
Stock car flamin' with a loser and the cruise control
Baby's in Reno with the vitamin D
Got a couple of couches sleep on the love seat…
Soy un perdedor
I'm a loser baby so why don't you kill me?
(Get crazy with the Cheeze Whiz)
Soy un perdedor
I'm a loser baby so why don't you kill me?
(Drive-by body pierce)
You worry about the weather and
Whether or not you should hate
Are you worried about your faith?
Kneel down and obey
You're happy you're in love
You need someone to hate
An ordinary girl, an ordinary waist
But ordinary's just not good enough today
Alone, alone, alone, alone, alone, alone, alone, I'm thinking
Why-ee-I-ee-I-ee, yeah, Superman's dead
Ee-I-ee-I-ee, yeah, is it in my head?
Ee-I-ee-I-ee, yeah, we'll just laugh instead
~Our Lady Peace, Superman's Dead (hey, I'm Canadian here)
There are numerous other examples… but these are nonsensical lyrics. I get it – the artists may know exactly what they are talking about. But audiences generally don’t have a clue. I’ve met very few people who even know what most song lyrics are, or, if they do, have put very much thought into what they mean. They just like the beat, or the flow. I admit I’m part of that group too – and some of the songs I listened to as a teenager because I just didn’t care about what the message was, I can’t listen to today. The music is still great – but I cringe at the message (and that’s not the kind of reaction I’d want to have to music). But this is a serious tangent. To sum up – we live in a confusing time, and many of the streaming services flow with bitter messages. The world’s information dissemination structures are pretty well set up for the false doctrines and false prophecies that the locust army will bring. Like a scorpion, they will grip you in their claws, and inject their poison into you with their tales… I mean tails. They will be aided by the smokescreen of lies from the bottomless pit that darkens the light on the earth (the light of truth, to be able to see what we are doing).
…. Okay. I don’t really have a good segue from that. Onto Chapter 11.
There are a number of OT images that come forth in this chapter. Notably from Ezekiel and Zechariah, but also from others, and also imagery from Christ’s own crucifixion and resurrection.
“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house [the devil], how much more shall they call they of his household?”
The image of having a reed to measure the Temple of God comes from Ezekiel 40 through 42. Too long to quote, but there a “man” (an “ish” rather than “enosh”, noting an angel in the vision) measures the Temple to make a separation between the sanctified area and the profane. The beautiful part of the image in Ezekiel is that when we see a similar event in Zechariah 2, the measuring angel is stopped to be told that the measure of people that will be in [New] Jerusalem will be as an unwalled city because of the sheer number of people who will be there. (We saw this innumerable number of people around God's throne in Revelation 5.)
Now note in Revelation 11 (and this continues throughout Revelation) that times associated with “Gentiles” (non-believers) is given in “months”, that is moons or the darkness of nights. But times associated with the witnesses (believers) is given in days, that is light. This is not an accident.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore, let’s not sleep, as do others; but let’s watch and be sober.
~1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
Forty-two months (Revelation 11:2) and one thousand two hundred and sixty days (11:3) are both the same amount of time. They are 3.5 years (one half of the seven year tribulation). This period is also given in Daniel.
And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by He Who lives forever that it shall be for a time [1 year], times [plus 2 years], and an half [plus a half year]; and when He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished…
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolations is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days [one month past the time in Revelation]. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days [75 days past the 3.5 year mark].
~Daniel 11:7 & 11-12
We then see the two witnesses as olive trees (sources of holy knowledge, and producing the spiritual fruit of the Holy Spirit) and candlesticks (representing the churches of Revelation 1). These two are described in other areas (as rays of light coming from God’s hand in Habakkuk 3, which I’m reading right now), but most notably in Zechariah:
And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof…
Then answered I, and said to him, “What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?” And [after he did not answer,] I asked again, and said unto him, “What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?” And he answered me and said, “You do not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones, who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
~excerpts from Zechariah 4
This image is very much like what happened on the mount of transfiguration, when Jesus transfigured into His heavenly body, and Moses and Elijah joined Him. And, fittingly enough, the two witnesses in Revelation are as having the power to prevent rain (like Elijah was given – 1 Kings 17:1) and to turn blood to water along with other plagues (like Moses was given – Exodus 7).
The Revelation introduces the image of the two witnesses being killed and put on display in the streets in Jerusalem “where also our Lord was crucified.” Like Jesus, they will remain dead for three and a half days, and then they will come to life, there will be an earthquake, and 7,000 will instantly drop dead. Then the seventh trumpet will sound, transferring all worldly power back to the returning Christ.
This 7,000 dying at the seventh trump has an interesting connection to our OT study this week. When you read Habakkuk 3, it’s set up like a Psalm. (In fact, some scriptural scholars were able to correct the appearance of the Psalms in widely-accepted Bibles because of the structure of Habakkuk 3.) There’s actually a quote from Psalm 18 in it, along with some of the other imagery. Psalm 18 is a revision of the Psalm that David wrote in 2 Samuel 22. And the events leading up to the Psalm are very similar to what’s being described in Revelation 11. There was a 3 year famine. (The two witnesses have the power to cause drought and famine.) To end this famine, David delivered seven
of the sons of Saul to Saul’s victims to make amends for Saul’s unholy oppression. The David’s high-ranking officers slew the four sons of Goliath.
Psalm 18, and Habakkuk 3 also both have clear references to the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32), which we will also see those who overcome the tribulation sing later in Revelation. And I’d like to leave you with this – I can’t read Psalm 18 without thinking of summer camp, and one of our favourite songs that we would sing there: I Will Call Upon The Lord (link