Revelation Chapter XI
The Battle Between the Bible and Atheism
Verse 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
We here have a continuation of the instruction which
the angel began giving to John in the preceding chapter; hence these
verses properly belong to that chapter, and should not be separated by
the present division. In the last verse of Revelation 10, the angel gave
a new commission to John as a representative of the church. In other
words, as already shown, we have in that verse a prophecy of the third
angel's message. The message is connected with the temple of God in
heaven, and is designed to fit a class of people as worshipers.
The Measuring Rod.--The temple here cannot
mean the church, for the church is brought to view in connection with
this temple as "them that worship therein." The temple is
therefore the literal temple in heaven, and the worshipers are not to be
measured in the sense of ascertaining the height and girth of each one
in feet and inches. They are to be measured as worshipers, and character
can be measured only be some standard of right, a law or principle or
action. We are thus brought to the conclusion that the ten commandments,
the standard which God has given by which to measure "the whole
duty of man," are a part of the measuring rod put by the angel into
the hands of John. In the fulfillment of this prophecy under the third
angel's message, this very law has been put in a special way into the
hands of the church. This is the standard
by which the worshipers of the true God are not to be
Seeing now what it is to measure those who worship in
the temple, we inquire, What is meant by measuring the temple? To
measure any object requires that special attention be given to that
object. The call to rise and measure the temple of God is a prophetic
command to the church to give the subject of the temple, or sanctuary, a
special examination. But how is this to be done with a measuring rod
given to the church? With the ten commandments alone we could not do it.
When we take the entire message, however, we find ourselves let by it to
an examination of the sanctuary on high, with the commandments of God
and the ministration of Christ. Hence we conclude that the measuring
rod, taken as a whole, is the special message now given to the church,
which embraces the great truths peculiar to this time, including the ten
By this message, our attention has been called to the
temple above, and through it the light and truth on this subject has
come out. Thus we measure the temple and the altar, or the ministration
connected with the temple, the work and the position of our great High
Priest; and we measure the worshipers with that part of the rod which
relates to character, the ten commandments.
"The court which is without the temple leave
out." This must be interpreted to mean that the attention of the
church is now directed to the inner temple and the service there.
Matters pertaining to the court are of less consequence now. It is given
to the Gentiles. That the court refers to this earth is proved thus: The
court is the place where the victims were slain whose blood was to be
ministered in the sanctuary. The antitypical victim must die in the
antitypical court, and He died on Calvary in Judea. The Gentiles being
thus introduced, the attention of the prophet is directed to the great
feature of Gentile apostasy, the treading down of the holy city forty
and two months during that time. Thus we are carried back into the past
by an easy and natural transition, and our attention is called to a new
series of events.
Verse 3 And I will give power unto My two
witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore
days, clothed in sackcloth.
The period of "a thousand two hundred and three
score days" is variously referred to in the Scriptures. It appears
in three forms:
As 1260 days in this verse and Revelation 12: 6.
As 42 months in Revelation 11: 2 and 13: 5.
As 3 1/2 times in Daniel 7: 25 and 12: 7, and
Revelation 12: 14.
These all refer to the same period and can be easily
be calculated. A time is a year, as is evident from Daniel 11: 13,
marginal reading. A year has twelve months, and a Biblical month
contains thirty days. Thus we have the following:
1 year of 12 months at 30 days - - - - 360 days
3 1/2 years, or times, of 360 days - - - - 1260
42 months of 30 days - - - - - - - - 1260 days
A year made up of 12 months will be readily conceded,
but that the month has 30 days needs perhaps to be demonstrated. This
can readily be seen by referring to the record of the flood in Genesis 7
and 8. There we learn the following:
1. That the flood came on the seventeenth day of
the second month. (Genesis 7: 11.)
2. That the waters subsided on the seventeenth day
of the seventh month. (Genesis 8: 4.)
3. That the flood continued for five months--from
the second to the seventh month.
Reference to Genesis 7: 24 reveals the fact that
"the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty
days." Our calculation showed five months. This text mentions 150
days; hence we have five months equaling 150 days, or 30 days to a
Thus we have a definite measure for calculating the
prophetic periods, bearing in mind that in prophecy a day is equal to a
year of ordinary time.
The Two Witnesses.--During this time of 1260
years the witnesses are in a state of sackcloth, or obscurity, and God
gives them power to endure and maintain their
testimony through that dark and dismal period. But who or what are these
Verse 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two
candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Evident allusion is here made to Zechariah 4: 11-14,
where it is implied that the two olive trees are taken to represent the
word of God. David testifies, "The entrance of Thy words giveth
light;" and, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light
unto my path." Psalm 119: 130, 105. Written testimony is stronger
than oral. Jesus declared of the Old Testament Scriptures, "They
are they which testify of Me." John 5: 39.
Says George Croly: "The 'Two Witnesses' are the
Old and New Testaments. . . . The essential purpose of the Scriptures is
to give witness to the mercy and verity of God. Our Lord commands,
'Search the Scriptures, . . . they are they which testify [bear witness]
of Me.' This was addressed to the Jews, and described the character and
office of the Old Testament. The New Testament is similarly pronounced
the giver of testimony. 'This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in
all the world for a witness unto all nations.' (Matthew 24: 14.)"
These declarations and considerations are sufficient
to sustain the conclusion that the Old and New Testaments are Christ's
Verse 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.
To hurt the word of God is to oppose, corrupt, or
pervert its testimony, and turn people away from it. Against those who
do this work, fire proceedeth out of their mouth to devour them, that
is, judgment of fire is pronounced in that word against such. It
declares that they will have their punishment in the lake that burns
with fire and brimstone. (Malachi 4: 1; Revelation 20: 15; 22: 18, 19.)
Verse 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
In what sense have these witnesses power to shut
heaven, turn waters to blood, and bring plagues on the earth? Elijah
shut heaven so that it did not rain for three years and a half, but he
did by the word of the Lord. Moses by the word of the Lord turned the
waters of Egypt to blood. Just as these judgments, recorded in their
testimony, have been fulfilled, so will every threatening and judgment
pronounced by them against any people surely be accomplished.
"As often as they will" means that as often
as judgments are recorded on their pages to take place, so often they
will come to pass. An instance of this the world is yet to experience in
the infliction of the seven last plagues.
Verse 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.
"When they shall have finished their
testimony," that is, "in sackcloth." the sackcloth state
ended, or as elsewhere expressed the days of persecution were shortened
(Matthew 24: 22), before the period itself expired. "A 'beast' in
prophecy, denotes a kingdom, or power. (See Daniel 7: 17, 23.) The
question now arises, When did the sackcloth state of the witnesses
close? And did such a kingdom as described make war on them at the time
spoken of? If we are correct in fixing upon A.D. 583 as the time of the
commencement of the sackcloth state, forty-two months being the 1260
prophetic days, or years, would bring us down to A.D. 1798. About this
time, then, did such a kingdom as described appear, and make war on
them, etc.? Mark! this beast, or kingdom, is out of the bottomless pit--no
foundation--an atheistical power--'spiritually Egypt.' (See Exodus 5: 2:
'Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let
Israel go? I know not
the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.') Here is
atheism. Did any kingdom, about 1798 manifest the same spirit?--Yes,
France; she denied the being of God in her national capacity, and made
war on the 'Monarchy of heaven.' " 
"In the year 1793, . . . the gospel was, by a
solemn act of the Legislature and the people abolished in France. The
indignities offered to the actual copies of the Bible were unimportant
after this; their life in their doctrines, and the extinction of the
doctrines is the extinction of the Bible. By the decree of the French
Government, declaring that the nation acknowledged no God, the Old and
New Testaments were slain throughout the limits of Republican France.
But contumelies to the Sacred Books could not have been wanting, in the
general plunder of every place of worship. In Lyons they were dragged at
the tail of an ass in a procession through the streets. . . .
"On the 1st of November, 1793, Gobet, with the
Republican priests of Paris, had thrown off the gown, and abjured
Religion. On the 11th, a 'Grand Festival,' dedicated to 'Reason and
Truth,' was celebrated in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which had been
desecrated, and been named 'the Temple of Reason;' a pyramid was erected
in the center of the Church, surmounted by a temple, inscribed 'To
philosophy.' The torch of 'Truth' was on the altar of 'Reason' spreading
light, etc. The National Convention and all the authorities attended at
this burlesque and insulting ceremony." 
Spiritual Sodom.--" 'Spiritually' this
power 'is called Sodom.' What was the characteristic sin of Sodom?
Licentiousness. Did France have this character? She did; fornication was
established by law during the period spoken of. 'Spiritually' the place
was 'where our Lord was crucified.' Was this true in France? It was, in
more senses than one. First, in 1572 a plot was laid in France to
destroy all the pious Huguenots;
and in one night, fifty thousand of them were
murdered in cold blood, and the streets of Paris literally ran with
blood. Thus our Lord was 'spiritually crucified' in His members. Again,
the watch-word and motto of the French Infidels was, 'CRUSH THE WRETCH,'
meaning Christ. Thus it may be truly said, 'where our Lord was
crucified.' The very spirit of the bottomless pit' was poured out in
that wicked nation.
"But did France 'make war' on the Bible? She
did; and in 1793 a decree passed the French Assembly forbidding the
Bible, and under that decree the Bibles were gathered and burned, and
every possible mark of contempt heaped upon them, and all institutions
of the Bible abolished; the Sabbath was blotted out, and every tenth day
substituted for mirth and profanity. Baptism and the communion were
abolished. The being of God was denied; and death pronounced to be an
eternal sleep. The Goddess of Reason was set up, in the person of a vile
woman, and publicly worshiped. Surely here is a power that exactly
answers the prophecy."  This point will be further developed in
the comments on the next verse.
Verse 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.
"The language of this verse denotes the feelings
of other nations than the one committing the outrage on the witnesses.
They would see what war infidel France had made on the Bible, but would
not be led nationally to engage in the wicked work, nor suffer the
murdered witnesses to be buried, or put out of sight among themselves,
though they lay dead three days and a half, that is, three years and a
half, in France. No; this very attempt of France served to arouse
Christians everywhere to put forth a new exertion in behalf of the
Bible, as we shall presently see." 
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.
"This denotes the joy those felt who hated the
Bible, or were tormented by it. Great was the joy of infidels everywhere
for awhile. But 'the triumphing of the wicked is short;' so was it in
France, for their war on the Bible and Christianity had well-nigh
swallowed them all up. They set out to destroy Christ's 'two witnesses,'
but they filled France with blood and horror, so that they were horror-struck
at the result of their wicked deeds, and were glad to remove their
impious hands from the Bible." 
Verse 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..
Witnesses Restored.--"In 1793, the decree
passed the French Assembly suppressing the Bible. Just three years
after, a resolution was introduced into the Assembly going to supersede
the decree, and giving toleration to the Scriptures. That resolution lay
on the table six months, when it was taken up, and passed without a
dissenting vote. Thus, in just three years and a half, the witnesses
'stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them which saw them.'
Nothing but the appalling results of the rejection of the Bible could
have induced France to take her hands off these witnesses." 
"On the 17th of June, Camille Jourdan, in the
'Council of Five Hundred,' brought up the memorable report on the
'Revision of the laws relative to religious worship.' It consisted of a
number of propositions, abolishing alike the Republican restrictions on
Popish worship, and the Popish restrictions on Protestant.
"1. That all citizens might buy or hire
edifices for the free exercise of religious worship.
"2. That all congregations might assemble by
the sound of bells.
"3. That no test or promise of any sort
unrequired from other citizens should be required of the ministers of
"4. That any individual attempting to impede,
or in any way interrupt the public worship should be fined, up to 500
livres, and not less than 50; and that if the interruption proceeded
form the constituted authorities, such authorities should be fined
double the sum.
"5. That entrance to assemblies for the
purpose of religious worship should be free for all citizens.
"6. That all other laws concerning religious
worship should be repealed.
"Those regulations, in comprehending the whole
state of worship of France, were, in fact, a peculiar boon to
Protestantism. Popery was already in sight of full restoration. But
Protestantism, crushed under the burthen of the laws of Louis XIV, and
unsupported by the popular belief, required the direct support of the
state to 'stand on its feet.' The Report of the Church; the old
prohibitions to hold public worship, to possess places of worship, to
have ingress, etc.
"From that period the Church has been free in
France. . . .
"The Church and the Bible had been slain in
France from November, 1793 till June, 1797. The three years and a half
were expended, and the Bible, so long and so sternly repressed before,
was placed in honor, and was openly the book of free
Verse 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.
" 'Ascended up to heaven.'--To understand this
expressions, see Daniel 4: 22: 'Thy greatness is grown, and reacheth
heaven.' Here we see that the expression signifies
great exaltation. Have the Scriptures attained to such a state of
exaltation as here indicated, since France made war upon them?--They
have. Shortly after, the British Bible Society was organized ;
then followed the American Bible Society ; and these, with their
almost innumerable auxiliaries, are scattering the Bible
everywhere."  Before 1804 the Bible had been printed and
circulated in fifty languages.
"Up to the end of December, 1942, the Bible in
whole or in part has been translated into 1,058 languages and
No other book approaches the Bible in inexpensiveness
and the number of copies circulated. The American bible Society reported
having printed and circulated, in whole, or in part, 7,696,739 portions
in 1940; 8,096,069, in 1941; and 6,254,642, in 1942. The British and
Foreign Bible Society reported for the year ending in the middle of 1941
a circulation of 11,017,334 copies; and in 1942, 7,120,000 copies.
A conservative estimate places the number of Bibles
printed annually by commercial houses at six million. Hence the annual
output of Bibles and portions has reached the enormous total of from
twenty-five to thirty million copies a year.
From its organization up to and including 1942, the
American Bible Society had issued 321,951,266 copies; and the British
and Foreign Bible Society up to March, 1942, had issued 539,664,024
copies, making a total of 861,600,000 copies put out by these two
societies alone. The American Bible Society said in May, 1940: "It
is that nine tenths of the 2,000,000,000 people in the world might now,
if they turned to the Bible, hear it read in a language they
understand." The Bible is exalted as above all price, as, next to
His Son, the most invaluable blessing of God to man, and as the glorious
testimony concerning that son. Yes; the Scriptures may truly be said to
be exalted "to heaven in a cloud," a cloud being an emblem of
Verse 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.
"What city? (See Revelation 17: 18: 'The woman
which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings
[kingdoms] of the earth.') That city is the papal Roman power. France is
one of the ' ten horns' that gave 'their power and strength unto the
[papal] beast;' or is one of the ten kingdoms that arose out of the
Western Empire of Rome, as indicated by the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's
image, Daniel's ten-horned beast [Daniel 7: 24], and John's ten-horned
dragon. [Revelation 12: 3.] France, then, was 'a tenth part of the
city,' and was one of the strongest ministers of papal vengeance; but in
this revolution it 'fell,' and with it fell the last civil messenger of
papal fury. 'And in the earthquake were slain of men [margin, names of
men] seven thousand.' France made war, in here revolution of 1798 
and onward, on all titles and nobility. . . . 'And the remnant were
affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.' Their God-dishonoring
and Heaven-defying work filled France with such scenes of blood,
carnage, and horror, as made even the infidels themselves to tremble,
and stand aghast; and the 'remnant' that escaped the horrors of that
hour 'gave glory to God--not willingly, but the God of heaven caused
this 'wrath of man to praise Him,' by giving all the world to see that
those who make war on heaven make graves for themselves; thus glory
redounded to God by the very means that wicked men employed to tarnish
that glory." 
Verse 14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the
third woe cometh quickly.
The Trumpets Resumed.--The series of seven
trumpets is here again resumed. The second woe ended with the sixth
trumpet, August 11, 1840, and the third woe occurs under the sounding of
the seventh trumpet, which began in 1844.
Then where are we? "Behold!" that is to
say, mark it well, "the third woe cometh quickly." The fearful
scenes of the second woe are past, and we are now under the sounding of
the trumpet that brings the third and last woe. Shall we now look for
peace and safety, a temporal millennium, a thousand years of
righteousness and prosperity on earth? Rather let us earnestly pray the
Lord to awaken a slumbering world.
Verse 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
From the fifteenth verse to the end of the chapter,
we seem to be carried over the ground in three distinct times from the
sounding of the seventh angel to the end. In the verses here quoted, the
prophet glances forward to the full establishment of the kingdom of God.
Although the seventh trumpet has begun to sound, it may not yet be a
fact that the great voices in heaven have proclaimed that the kingdoms
of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ,
unless it be in anticipation of the speedy accomplishment of this event.
But the seventh trumpet, like the preceding six, covers a period of
time, and the transfer of the kingdoms from earthly powers to Him whose
right it is to reign, is the principal event to occur in the early years
of its sounding. Hence this event, to the exclusion of all else, here
engages the mind of the prophet. (See remarks on verse 19.) In the next
verse John goes back and takes up intervening events.
Verse 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 shouldst give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the
saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldst
destroy them which destroy the earth.
"The Nations Were Angry."--Beginning
with the spontaneous outburst of revolutions in Europe in 1848, the
nations toward one another has been constantly
increasing. Jealousy and hatred among nations has been the rule rather
than the exception. Particularly has this been manifested in the two
world wars of the twentieth century, when it seemed that men would be
willing to annihilate whole nations in the heat of their anger.
Here are the exact words of a Harvard professor:
"The twentieth century, so far, has been the
bloodiest period and one of the most turbulent periods--and therefore
one of the cruelest and lest humanitarian --in the history of Western
civilization and perhaps in the chronicles of mankind in general."
"Thy Wrath Is Come."--The wrath of
god for the present generation is filled up in the seven last plagues
(Revelation 15: 1), which consequently must here be referred to, and
which are soon to be poured out upon the earth.
"The Time of the Dead, That They Should Be
Judged."--The great majority of the dead, that is, the wicked,
are still in their graves after the visitation of the plagues, and the
close of the gospel age. A work of judgment, of allotting to each one
the punishment due because of his sins, is carried on by the saints in
conjunction with Christ during the one thousand years following the
first resurrection. (1 Corinthians 6: 2; Revelation 20: 4.) Inasmuch as
this judgment of the dead follows the wrath of God, or the seven last
plagues, it would seem necessary to refer it to the one thousand years
of judgment upon the wicked, above mentioned; for the investigative
judgement takes place before the plagues are poured out.
"Thou Shouldst Give Reward Unto Thy Servants
the Prophets." --These will enter upon their reward at the
second coming of Christ, for He brings their reward with Him. (Matthew
16: 27; Revelation 22: 12.) The full reward of the saints, however, is
not reached until they enter upon the possession of the new earth.
(Matthew 25: 34.)
Punishment of the Wicked.--"Shouldst
destroy them which destroy the earth," refers to the time when all
the wicked, who have literally devastated vast regions and wantonly
destroyed human life, will be forever devoured by those purifying fires
from God out of heaven. (2 Peter 3: 7; Revelation 20: 9.) Thus the
seventh trumpet reaches to the end of the one thousand years. Momentous,
startling, yet joyous thought! The trumpet now sounding sees the final
destruction of the wicked, and the saints clothed in a glorious
immortality, safely located on the earth made new.
Verse 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.
The Temple Opened.--Once more the prophet
carries us back to the beginning of the trumpet. After the introduction
of the seventh trumpet in verse 15, the first great event that comes to
mind of the seer is the transfer of the kingdom from earthly to heavenly
rule. God takes to Him His great power, and forever crushes the
rebellion of this revolted earth, establishes Christ upon His own
throne, and remains Himself supreme over all. We are next referred back
to the state of the nations, the judgment to fall upon them, and the
final destiny of both saints and sinners. (Verse 18.) After this field
of vision has been scanned, our attention is called back once more in
the verse now under notice, to the close of the priesthood of Christ,
the last scene in the work of mercy for a guilty world.
The temple is opened, and the second apartment of the
sanctuary is entered. We know it is the holy of holies that is here
opened, for the ark is seen; and in that apartment alone the ark was
deposited. This took place at the end of the 2300 days, when the
sanctuary was to be cleansed. (Daniel 8: 14.) At that time the prophetic
periods ended and the seventh angel began to sound. Since 1844, the
people of God have seen by faith the open door in heaven, and the ark of
God's testament within. They are endeavoring to keep every precept of
holy law written upon the tables deposited there.
That the tables of the law are there, just as they were in the ark in
the sanctuary erected by Moses, is evident from the terms which John
uses in describing the ark. He calls it the "ark of His
The ark was called the ark of the covenant, or
testament, because it was made for the express purpose of containing the
tables of the testimony, or ten commandments. (Exodus 25: 16, 31: 18;
Deuteronomy 10: 2, 5.) It was put to no other use, and owed its name
solely to the fact that it contained the tables of the law. If it did
not contain the tables, it would not be the ark of God's testament, and
could not truthfully be so called. Yet John, beholding the ark in heaven
under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, still calls it the "ark
of His testament," affording unanswerable proof that the law is
still there, unaltered in one jot of tittle from the copy which for a
time was committed to the care of men in the typical ark of the
tabernacle during the time of Moses.
The followers of the prophetic word have also
received the reed, and are measuring the temple, the altar, and those
that worship therein. (Revelation 11: 1.) They are uttering their last
prophecy before nations, peoples, and tongues. (Revelation 10: 11.) The
drama will soon close with the lightnings, thunderings, voices, the
earthquake, and great hail, which will constitute nature's last
convulsion before all things are made new at the close of the thousand
years. (Revelation 21: 5.) (See comments on Revelation 16: 17-21.)
 George Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John, p. 164.
 George Storrs, Midnight Cry, May 4, 1843, Vol.
IV, Nos. 5, 6, p. 47.
 George Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John, pp. 175-177.
 George Storrs, Midnight Cry, May 4, 1843, Vol.
IV, Nos. 5, 6, p. 47.
 George Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John, pp. 181-183.
 George Storrs, Midnight Cry, May 4, 1843, Vol.
IV, Nos. 5, 6, p. 47.
 Ibid., p. 48.
 Pitirim A. Sorokin, Social and Cultural
Dynamics, Vol. III, p. 487.