Revelation 11:19
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.
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(19) And the temple of God . . .—Translate, And the temple of God was opened in the heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and a great hail. At the beginning of the chapter we noticed the distinction between the two words (naos and hieron) applied to the Temple; the Temple building proper (the naos) was measured off. Now this (naos) Temple is opened, yes, to its very inmost recesses; for not the holy place alone is disclosed, but the holiest, of all, the shrine of shrines, into which the high priest alone—and he only once a year—entered, is opened, as though anew the veil of the Temple had been rent in twain, and there the ark of the covenant of God is seen. The meaning of this, when read by the light of the measuring of the Temple, seems to be that now the secret abode of the safe-guarded children of God was revealed. In the hour of apostasies and worldliness the faithful had found their strength and protection in the shadow of the Almighty; they were regarded by God as His true living Temple, and in them He dwelt, as they, too, found their defence in Him. But now that the end has come there is no need that these should be hidden any more. The children of God, who are the Temple of God, are made manifest; and at the same time the secret spot of their shelter in troublous days is made plain, and in it is seen the token of that everlasting covenant which was the sheet-anchor of their hopes in the day of their trouble (Hebrews 6:19). The ark of God’s covenant is seen; the ark which contained the tables of the law, the rod of Aaron, and the manna is unveiled; and now is known whence they derived that hidden manna, that bread of heaven which strengthened their hearts in the days of temptation; now is known how it was that the rod of Christ’s power flourished and blossomed in spite of oft-repeated rejection; now, too, are known those high and holy principles by which the lives of the saints of God were ruled, even that law which the divine Spirit had written in their hearts (Hebrews 10:16, and 2Corinthians 3:2). Then, too, with the ark of God’s covenant, is brought into view the mercy-seat, that throne of grace to which the weary and heavy-laden children of God had so often gone, and where they had never failed to receive grace to help in every time of need (Hebrews 4:16). The Temple of God was opened, and the secret springs of power which sustained the patience and faith of the saints are found to be in God. And out of the opened Temple, or round about it, as round the sacred peak of Sinai, the lightnings are seen and voices and thunders are heard: the tokens of that holy law which the power of the world had defied are made manifest; for God’s righteousness has not lost its strength, and that which is a power of help to those who seek their shelter in God becomes a power of destruction to those who turn from Him. The habitation of God is an open sanctuary to faith; it is a clouded and lightning-crowned Sinai to faithlessness. (Comp. Hebrews 12:18-24.) The spirit of evil, of selfishness, of luxuriousness, of profanity, which rejects its birthright, of better thoughts and holy things, leads to “the mount that burned with fire, and unto blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words;” the Spirit of God leads to “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the first-born which are written in heaven.”

Revelation 11:19. And the temple of God — Bishop Newton and Grotius think that this verse should introduce chap. 12., as it appears to begin a new subject. It is somewhat like the beginning of Isaiah’s vision, (Revelation 6:1,) I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, &c. And like the beginning of St. John’s prophetic vision, (Revelation 4:1-2,) I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven, &c. This is much in the same spirit; and the temple of God was opened in heaven, &c. — That is, more open discoveries were now made, and the mystery of God was revealed to the prophet. And there were lightnings and voices, &c. — These are the usual concomitants of the divine presence, and especially at giving new laws and new revelations: see Exodus 20:16, &c.; Revelation 4:5; Revelation 8:5. And with as much reason they are made, in this place, the signs and preludes of the revelations and judgments which are to follow. It is no just objection that a new subject is supposed to begin with the conjunction and, for this is frequent in the style of the Hebrews; some books, as Numbers, Joshua, the two books of Samuel, and others, begin with וvau, or and; and the same objection would hold against beginning the division with the first verse of the next chapter.

11:14-19 Before the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, there is the usual demand of attention. The saints and angels in heaven know the right of our God and Saviour to rule over all the world. But the nations met God's wrath with their own anger. It was a time in which he was beginning to reward his people's faithful services, and sufferings; and their enemies fretted against God, and so increased their guilt, and hastened their destruction. By the opening the temple of God in heaven, may be meant, that there was a more free communication between heaven and earth; prayer and praises more freely and frequently going up, graces and blessings plentifully coming down. But it rather seems to refer to the church of God on earth. In the reign of antichrist, God's law was laid aside, and made void by traditions and decrees; the Scriptures were locked up from the people, but now they are brought to the view of all. This, like the ark, is a token of the presence of God returned to his people, and his favour toward them in Jesus Christ, as the Propitiation for their sins. The great blessing of the Reformation was attended with very awful providences; as by terrible things in righteousness God answered the prayers presented in his holy temple now opened.Analysis of the Chapter 11:19-12

This portion of the book commences, according to the view presented in the closing remarks on the last chapter, a new series of visions, designed more particularly to represent the internal condition of the church; the rise of antichrist, and the effect of the rise of that formidable power on the internal history of the church to the time of the overthrow of that power, and the triumphant establishment of the kingdom of God. See the Analysis of the Book, part 5. The portion before us embraces the following particulars:

(1) A new vision of the temple of God as opened in heaven, disclosing the ark of the testimony, and attended with lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail, Revelation 11:19. The view of the "temple," and the "ark," would naturally suggest a reference to the church, and would be an appropriate representation on the supposition that this vision related to the church. The attending circumstances of the lightnings, etc., were well suited to impress the mind with awe, and to leave the conviction that great and momentous events were about to be disclosed. I regard this verse, therefore, which should have been separated from the eleventh chapter and attached to the twelfth, as the introduction to a new series of visions, similar to what we have in the introduction of the previous series, Revelation 4:1. The vision was of the temple the symbol of the church - and it was "opened" so that John could see into its inmost part - even within the veil where the ark was - and could have a view of what most intimately pertained to it.

(2) a representation of the church, under the image of a woman about to give birth to a child, Revelation 12:1-2. A woman is seen, clothed, as it were, with the sun - emblem of majesty, truth, intelligence, and glory; she has the moon under her feet, as if she walked the heavens; she has on her head a glittering diadem of stars; she is about to become a mother. This seems to have been designed to represent the church as about to be increased, and as in that condition watched by a dragon - a mighty foe - ready to destroy its offspring, and thus compelled to flee into the wilderness for safety. Thus understood, the point of time referred to would be when the church was in a prosperous condition, and when it would be encountered by antichrist, represented here by the dragon, and compelled to flee into the wilderness; that is, the church for a time would be driven into obscurity, and be almost unknown. It is no uncommon thing, in the Scriptures, to compare the church with a beautiful woman. See the notes on Isaiah 1:8. The following remarks of Prof. Stuart (vol. 2:252), though he applies the subject in a manner very different from what I shall, seem to me accurately to express the general design of the symbol: "The daughter of Zion is a common personification of the church in the Old Testament; and in the writings of Paul, the same image is exhibited by the phrase, Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all; that is, of all Christians, Galatians 4:26. The main point before us is the illustration of that church, ancient or later, under the image of a woman. If the Canticles are to have a spiritual sense given to them, it is plain enough, of course, how familiar such an idea was to the Jews. Whether the woman thus exhibited as a symbol be represented as bride or mother depends, of course, on the nature of the case, and the relations and exigencies of any particular passage."

(3) the dragon that stood ready to devour the child, Revelation 12:3-4. This represents some formidable enemy of the church, that was ready to persecute and destroy it. The real enemy here referred to is, undoubtedly, Satan, the great enemy of God and the church, but here it is Satan in the form of some fearful opponent of the church that would arise at a period when the church was prosperous, and when it was about to be enlarged. We are to look, therefore, for some fearful manifestation of this formidable power, having the characteristics here referred to, or some opposition to the church such as we may suppose Satan would originate, and by which the existence of the church might seem to be endangered.

(4) the fact that the child which the woman brought forth was caught up to heaven - symbolical of its real safety, and of its having the favor of God - a pledge that the ultimate prosperity of the church was certain, and that it was safe from real danger, Revelation 12:5.

(5) the fleeing of the woman into the wilderness, for the space of a thousand two hundred and threescore days, or 1260 years, Revelation 12:6. This act denotes the persecuted and obscure condition of the church during that time, and the period which would elapse before it would be delivered from this persecution, and restored to the place in the earth which it was designed to have.

(6) the war in heaven; a struggle between the mighty powers of heaven and the dragon, Revelation 12:7-9. Michael and his angels contend against the dragon, in behalf of the church, and finally prevail. The dragon is overcome, and is cast out, and all his angels with him; in other words, the great enemy of God and his church is overcome and subdued. This is evidently designed to be symbolical, and the meaning is, that a state of things would exist in regard to the church, which would be well represented by supposing that such a scene should occur in heaven; that is, as if a war should exist there between the great enemy of God and the angels of light, and as if, being there vanquished, Satan should be cast down to the earth, and should there exert his malignant power in a warfare against the church. The general idea is, that his warfare would be primarily against heaven, as if he fought with the angels in the very presence of God, but that the form in which he would seem to prevail would be against the church, as if, being unsuccessful in his direct warfare against the angels of God, he was permitted, for a time, to enjoy the appearance of triumph in contending with the church.

(7) the shout of victory in view of the conquest, over the dragon, Revelation 12:10-12. A loud voice is heard in heaven, saying, that now the kingdom of God is come, and that the reign of God would be set up, for the dragon is cast down and overcome. The grand instrumentality in overcoming this foe was "the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony"; that is, the great doctrines of truth pertaining to the work of the Redeemer would be employed for this purpose, and it is proclaimed that the heavens and all that dwell therein had occasion to rejoice at the certainty that a victory would be ultimately obtained over this great enemy of God. Still, however, his influence was not wholly at an end, for he would yet rage for a brief period on the earth.

(8) the persecution of the woman, Revelation 12:13-15. She is constrained to fly, as on wings given her for that purpose, into the wilderness, where she is nourished for the time that the dragon is to exert his power - a "time, times, and half a time" - or for 1260 years. The dragon in rage pours out a flood of water, that he may cause her to be swept away by the flood: referring to the persecutions that would exist while the church was in the wilderness, and the efforts that would be made to destroy it entirely.

(9) the earth helps the woman, Revelation 12:16. That is, a state of things would exist as if, in such a case, the earth should open and swallow up the flood. The meaning is, that the church would not be swept away, but that there would be an interposition in its behalf, as if the earth should, in the case supposed, open its bosom, and swallow up the swelling waters.

(10) the dragon, still enraged, makes war with all that pertains to the woman, Revelation 12:17. Here we are told literally who are referred to by the "seed" of the woman. They are those who "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" Revelation 12:17; that is, the true church.

The chapter, therefore, may be regarded as a general vision of the persecutions that would rage against the church. It seemed to be about to increase and to spread over the world. Satan, always opposed to it, strives to prevent its extension. The conflict is represented as if in heaven, where war is waged between the celestial beings and Satan, and where, being overcome, Satan is cast down to the earth, and permitted to wage the war there. The church is persecuted; becomes obscure and almost unknown, but still is mysteriously sustained; and when most in danger of being wholly swallowed up, is kept as if a miracle were performed in its defense. The detail - the particular form in which the war would be waged - is drawn out in the following chapters.

And the temple of God was opened in heaven - The temple of God at Jerusalem was a pattern of the heavenly one, or of heaven, Hebrews 8:1-5. In that temple God was supposed to reside by the visible symbol of his presence - the Shekinah - in the holy of holies. See the notes on Hebrews 9:7. Thus God dwells in heaven, as in a holy temple, of which that on earth was the emblem. When it is said that that was "opened in heaven," the meaning is, that John was permitted, as it were, to look into heaven, the abode of God, and to see him in his glory.


19. A similar solemn conclusion to that of the seventh seal, Re 8:5, and to that of the seventh vial, Re 16:18. Thus, it appears, the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven vials, are not consecutive, but parallel, and ending in the same consummation. They present the unfolding of God's plans for bringing about the grand end under three different aspects, mutually complementing each other.

the temple—the sanctuary or Holy place (Greek, "naos"), not the whole temple (Greek, "hieron").

opened in heaven—A and C read the article, "the temple of God "which is" in heaven, was opened."

the ark of his testament—or "… His covenant." As in the first verse the earthly sanctuary was measured, so here its heavenly antitype is laid open, and the antitype above to the ark of the covenant in the Holiest Place below is seen, the pledge of God's faithfulness to His covenant in saving His people and punishing their and His enemies. Thus this forms a fit close to the series of trumpet judgments and an introduction to the episode (the twelfth and thirteen chapters) as to His faithfulness to His Church. Here first His secret place, the heavenly sanctuary, is opened for the assurance of His people; and thence proceed His judgments in their behalf (Re 14:15, 17; 15:5; 16:17), which the great company in heaven laud as "true and righteous." This then is parallel to the scene at the heavenly altar, at the close of the seals and opening of the trumpets (Re 8:3), and at the close of the episode (the twelfth through fifteenth chapters) and opening of the vials (Re 15:7, 8). See on [2713]Re 12:1, note at the opening of the chapter.

And the temple of God: some here, by the temple of God, understand the representation of the temple in Jerusalem; others understand the church triumphant; others, the church of Christ militant here upon earth.

Was opened in heaven: accordingly, by heaven they understand either the natural heavens, or the Christian church: it seemeth to be a plain allusion to the Jewish church, whose temple was ordinarily shut up in the time of wicked and idolatrous princes, who regarded not the true worship of God; so as all the time of Saul’s reign the ark abode in the private house of Obed-edom; and when Josiah came to reign, he found the temple neglected all the days of his father Amon and grandfather Manasseh, and the book of the law in the rubbish. But when good princes came to the throne, such as Hezekiah and Josiah, they opened the temple, restoring the true worship of God. So under the New Testament, during the whole reign of antichrist, where he prevails, idolatry and superstition obtain, and the true worship of God is suppressed; but his time being now expiring, God showeth John that there shall be a restoring of the true worship of God, and a liberty both to ministers and people to worship God according to his will. For though antichrist was not yet wholly destroyed, nor his party extinguished, yet he had lost his power and dominion, and God was now beginning to reckon with him for the blood of his saints; which was all to be done before all the kingdoms of the world should become the kingdoms of the Lord Christ.

And there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: in the temple of old, the ark of the covenant was the great symbol of God’s presence; hence God is said to have dwelt between the cherubims. In the ark were the two tables of the law; so as this phrase may either note the pure, free, and ordinary expounding of the law of God, which should be upon the downfal of antichrist; or the presence of God with his church in that more pure and reformed state. But such a work of providence being not like to be effected without the ruin of antichrist,

God showeth it shall be ushered in with

lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail; by terrible things in righteousness, as the psalmist speaketh. The consequents of which were the seven vials, of which we shall read, Revelation 16:1-21, pouring out plagues upon the antichristian party, until they should be wholly rooted out and Christ alone should be exalted in his church, and rule as King upon his holy hill of Zion.

From this mysterious portion of holy writ thus opened, it appeareth that God, in these foregoing chapters, hath (though more summarily) instructed his prophet in what should come to pass to the final ruin of the Roman empire, (considered as pagan, that is, till Constantine’s time), and also of the reign of antichrist. From whence it must needs follow, that whatsoever followeth this chapter, and cannot be applied to the time of Christ’s kingdom, must contemporize with something which went before, and belong to some period comprehended under the vision of the seals, or of the trumpets. The next three chapters are judged to relate wholly to things past, God therein representing to his prophet the state of his church (as some think) from the nativity of Christ; however, from his time, during the whole time that Rome continued pagan, or should continue antichristian; the following chapters showing the gradual destruction of antichrist by the seven last plagues.

And the temple of God was opened in heaven,.... The temple at Jerusalem, to which the allusion is, was the place of public worship; this, in times of idolatry, was shut up, and fell to decay; and when there was a reformation its doors were opened, and that repaired; and to this the reference seems to be; and the sense is, that at this time the pure worship of God will be restored, and there will be a free and uninterrupted exercise of it; the temple will be open to all; here everyone may come, and sit, and worship without fear; churches will now be formed according to the original plan, and primitive order and institution of them; and the laws of Christ concerning the admission, regulation, and exclusion of members, will be carefully and punctually observed; the ordinances of Christ will be kept, as they were first delivered, and be purged from all the corruptions introduced by Papists or retained by Protestants; the ordinance of the Lord's supper will be freed from the senseless notions of transubstantiation and consubstantiation, and from all vain and impertinent rites and ceremonies that attend it; and the ordinance of baptism will be administered, both as to mode and subject, according to the word of God, as well as be cleared from the superstitious rites of the sign of the cross, chrism, spittle, &c. in short, all external worship will be pure, plain, and evangelical: hence it appears, that by this temple is not meant the church triumphant, and the happiness of the saints in heaven, as becoming visible, not even the new Jerusalem church state, or the personal reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years; for in that state there will be no temple at all, nor will the saints then need the sun, or moon of Gospel ordinances, Revelation 21:22;

and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: the ark was a chest, in which the covenant or tables of the law were put; upon it was the mercy seat, and over that the cherubim of glory, shadowing it; between which were the seat of the divine Majesty; this ark stood in the holy of holies, and was seen only by the high priest once a year, and was covered with a covering vail, Numbers 4:5; it was wanting in the second temple (w); to this the allusion is here; See Gill on Hebrews 9:4. Now in this spiritual Gospel church state, through the pure ministry of the word, and the faithful administration of ordinances, the mysteries of the Gospel, into which angels desire to look, signified by the cherubim over the mercy seat, will be clearly revealed to all Christians, Jews and Gentiles; particularly to the former, from whom they have been hid; the vail that is over their hearts will then be done away, when they shall be turned to the Lord; and indeed the vail which is overall people will then be removed; and those truths which have been so much obscured by antichrist will be clearly seen; and especially the Lord Jesus Christ, the antitype of the ark, in whom are hid the treasures of wisdom; by whom the law, and the two tables of it, are fulfilled; and in whom they are pure and perfect; and by whom the covenant of grace is ratified and confirmed; and in whom it is sure; and through whom God is propitious to his people, and grants them communion with him; he will be visibly held forth in the ministry of the word; and be seen in the glory of his person, and offices, and grace; who has been so long and greatly hid, and kept out of sight by Popish and Mahometan darkness;

and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail; which may be understood of the vials of God's wrath, that will be poured out upon the pope and Turk; which though mentioned last, will be first, and make way for this spiritual state; particularly the things here spoken of may be compared with what will be at the pouring out of the seventh vial, Revelation 16:18; or this may design the powerful "voices", and clear ministrations of the Gospel, and the efficacy of them at this time; which, like "thunders", will awaken the consciences of men, and, like "earthquakes", will make them shake and tremble, and cry out, what shall we do to be saved? and as "lightnings" illuminate their understandings, and give them a clear discerning of divine things; and as "hail" beat down all self-righteousness and self-confidence, and all errors, heresies, superstition, and will worship. Though I suspect, that these several things are expressive of the change and revolution that will be made after a time, in this happy and comfortable state; and that the cold, which generally attends an hail storm, represents that coldness and lukewarmness, into which the churches of Christ will again sink, expressed in the Laodicean church state, in which condition Christ will find them when he personally appears; so that the seven seals, with the seven trumpets, bring us exactly to the same period of time as the seven churches do.

(w) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 21. 2. See following in Apocrypha:

"And they took all the holy vessels of the Lord, both great and small, with the vessels of the ark of God, and the king's treasures, and carried them away into Babylon.'' (1 Esdras 1:54)

"4 And open your hearts in his law and commandments, and send you peace, 5 And hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in time of trouble.'' (2 Maccabees 1).

And the temple of God was {31} 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.

(31) This is the confirmation of the next prophecy before going by signs exhibited in heaven, and that of two sorts, of which some are visible, as the passing away of the heaven, the opening of the temple, the ark of the covenant appearing in the temple, and testifying the glorious presence of God, and the lightning: others apprehended by ear and feeling, which bear witness in heaven and earth to the truth of the judgments of God.

Revelation 11:19. Corresponding, on God’s part, to the songs of adoration with which the inhabitants of heaven, immediately after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, celebrate the fulfilment of the mystery of God (proleptically), is the opening of the heavenly temple,[2999] whereby the ark of the covenant in the holiest of all, up to this time hidden, becomes visible no less to John and to the entire host of heaven.[3000] What this, together with the accompanying lightning, etc., signifies, must be misunderstood if we either[3001] find the entire contents of what belongs in the seventh trumpet actually exhausted with Revelation 11:19, and consequently regard Revelation 11:19 itself as the description of the final judgment,—so that then with ch. 12 we begin anew “by recapitulating,”—or entirely separate Revelation 11:19 from Revelation 11:15-18, and with Revelation 11:18 stand already at the actual end,[3002] so that with Revelation 11:19 the recapitulation begins. According to the former view, in Revelation 11:19 blessedness is prepared for the godly, as well as condemnation announced against the godless. But if in Revelation 11:19 the actual fulfilment of the mystery of God is to be rendered conspicuous, this conclusion would be highly unsatisfactory; yet it is never said what is the effect of the lightning, etc. In the correct feeling of “mysterious brevity,”[3003] which the entire section (Revelation 11:15-19) has, if the same is to bring the conclusion actually announced in Revelation 10:7, Vitr., Hengstenb., etc., refer to ch. 16 sqq., as the further development of what is here briefly said. In this there lies an uncertain acknowledgment of that which De Wette, etc., have said with distinctness concerning the proleptical nature of the entire section, Revelation 11:15-19; for in the same way as the ascriptions of adoration, upon the basis of the fact that the seventh trumpet has sounded, anticipate the fulfilment still to be actually expected, the signs also described in both parts of Revelation 11:19 are not the real execution of the final judgment, but the immediate preparations and adumbrations thereof. The temple of God in heaven is the place where God’s final judgments of wrath upon the world issue;[3004] the ark of the covenant, present therein, is the heavenly symbol and pledge of the immutable grace of God, because of which the blessed mystery[3005] promised through the prophets to believers whom he has received into his covenant, shall undoubtedly be fulfilled. If, therefore, after the blast of the seventh trumpet, the temple of God is opened so that the ark of the covenant becomes visible, the door is opened, as it were, for the final judgment proceeding from[3006] the most secret sanctuary of God concerning the godless world, and the sight of the ark indicates that the fulfilment of the hope of sharers in the covenant, pledged by it, is now to be realized. For on this account, also, there are threatening foretokens[3007] of that which at the execution of the judgment actually comes upon the antichristian world.[3008] So also Klief.

[2999] Cf. Revelation 3:12, Revelation 7:15, Revelation 14:15, etc.

[3000] In order to explain the conception of this entire view, we need not recall the Jewish statement: “Quodcunque in terra est, id etiam in coelo est” (Sohar, Genes., p. 91 in Schöttgen; De Hieros. Coelesti, sec. 2; Hor. Hebr., p. 1206). John speaks of a heavenly temple, altar, ark of the covenant, with the same right as of a heavenly throne, seats of the elders, etc. But the introduction of the Jewish fable, that in the last Messianic times, the real lost ark of the covenant, which, meanwhile, has been concealed in heaven, will again be brought to sight (against Ewald),—of this there is no trace in the text.

[3001] Hengstenb. Cf. already Beda, Aret., Calov., etc.

[3002] Ebrard.

[3003] Hengstenb.

[3004] Cf. Revelation 14:15; Revelation 14:17, Revelation 15:5 sqq., Revelation 16:1; Revelation 16:17.

[3005] Revelation 10:7.

[3006] Cf. Revelation 19:2.

[3007] Cf. Revelation 8:5.

[3008] Cf. Revelation 16:18 sqq., where hail also is again mentioned.

The older allegorists, from whose mode of exposition Hengstenb. and Ebrard deviate in Revelation 11:15 sqq., advance here also the most wonderful propositions. N. de Lyra refers the whole to the victory of the Goths, and other Arians under Narses. The seventh trumpet-angel is the Emperor Justin II.

In Calov. and other older Protestants, who, however, recognize the proleptical character of Revelation 11:15-19 less distinctly, the reference to the Papacy coheres with their view of the succeeding chapters. The ark of the covenant (Revelation 11:19) is applied by many to Christ, while C. a Lap. and the Cath. want to refer it especially to the Virgin Mary, yet without denying the reference to the humanity of Christ.

Eichh., Heinr., etc., find here the literal destruction of Jerusalem, and, accordingly, the complete victory of Christianity over Judaism—in connection with which τ. ἐθνη ὠργίσθ., Revelation 11:18, is explained: “Judaism offered difficulties to Christian discipline,”[3009] and the βασιλεύσει, κ.τ.λ., Revelation 11:15, is interpreted: “It shall come to pass that the Christian religion shall be oppressed by no other;” the βρονταὶ, κ.τ.λ., Revelation 11:19, indicate the ruin of the city. Grot. maintained his reference to the times of Barcocheba[3010] by such interpretations as that of βασιλεύσει, κ.τ.λ., Revelation 11:15 : “The Christian religion will always be in Judaea;” or on Revelation 11:18 : “By this, Christians who were in Judaea were commanded always to elevate their minds to the highest heaven where God dwells, where the ark of the covenant, i.e., the good things of the new covenant, are kept in store.”

[3009] According to Calov.’s interpretation of τὰ ἐθνη as referring to Catholics.

[3010] Cf. Revelation 11:13.

Revelation 11:19 introduces Revelation 12:1-17; all that the prophet can speak of, from his own experience (cf. Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:11, εἶδον), are the two θηρία on earth, but their activity in these latter days is not intelligible except as the result of mysterious movements in heaven. The latter he now outlines (cf. ὤφθη Revelation 11:19, Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3. By whom?) in order to comfort Christians by the assurance that the divine conqueror of these θηρία was in readiness to intervene. The celestial (contrast Revelation 11:1) ναός, presupposed in the scenery of 4–6, is now mentioned for the first time; its opening reveals the long lost κιβωτὸς τῆς διαθήκης, and is accompanied by the usual storm-theophany, marking a decisive moment. Jewish tradition had for long cherished the belief (cf. on Revelation 2:17) that the restoration of the people (gathered by God, cf. Revelation 14:1 f.) in the last days would be accompanied by the disclosure of the sacred box or ark (in a cloud; cf. here the lightning and thunder) which, together with the tabernacle and the altar of incense, had been safely concealed in Mount Nebo. So, e.g., Abarbanel (on 1 Samuel 4:4 : haec est area quam abscondit ante uastationem templi nostri et haec area futuro termpore adueniente messia nostro manifestabitur). Epiphanius repeats the same rabbinical tradition (καὶ ἐν ἀναστὰσει πρῶτου ἡ κιβωτὸς ἀναστήσεται). The underlying idea was that the disappearance of the ark from the holy of holies (Jeremiah 3:16; Jeremiah 4 Ezra 10:22; Jos. Bell.ver 5. 5) was a temporary drawback which had to be righted before the final bliss could be consummated. This legend explains the symbolism of the Jewish Christian prophet. The messianic crisis is really at handl The dawn may be cold and stormy, but it is the dawn of the last day! The spirit and content of the passage are transcendental; it is prosaic to delete ἐν τ. . (Spitta, and Cheyne in E. Bi. i. 309) and refer the vision to the earthly temple in Jerusalem. Like the author of Hebrews, this writer views heaven under the old ritual categories; besides, the originals of the sacred things were supposed to exist in the heaven of God (Hebrews 8:5).

This overture leads up to two sagas (12 and 13) which explain that the present trouble of Christians was simply a final phase of the long antagonism which had begun in heaven and was soon to be ended on earth. It is the writer’s task “not only to announce the future but also (Revelation 1:19) to convey a right understanding of that present on which the future depends” (Weiss). Hence the digression or retrospect in Revelation 12:1 f. is only apparent. Hitherto only hints of persecution have been given; now the course, methods, and issues of the campaign are unfolded. The messianic position of Jesus is really the clue to the position of affairs, and it is of the utmost (μέγα, Revelation 11:1 = weighty and decisive) moment to have all events focussed in the light of the new situation which that position has created. So much is plain. But that the source (or tradition) with its goddess-mother, persecuting dragon, celestial conflict, and menaced child, did not emanate from the prophet himself is evident alike from its style and contents; these show that while it could be domiciled on Jewish Christian soil it was not autochthonous (cf. Vischer, 19 f.; Gunkel, S. C. 173 f.). The imagery is not native to messianism. It bears traces of adaptation from mythology. Thus, where it would have been apposite to bring in the messiah (Revelation 11:7), Michael’s rôle is retained, even by the Christian editor, while the general oriental features of the mother’s divine connexion and her flight, the dragon’s hostility and temporary rout, and the water-flood, are visible through the Jewish transformation of the myth into a sort of allegory of messiah, persecuted by the evil power which he was destined to conquer. “In reality it is the old story of the conflict between light and darkness, order and disorder, transferred to the latter days, and adapted by spiritualisation … to the wants of faithful Jews” (Cheyne, Bible Problems, 80). While the vision represents the messianic adaptation of a sun-myth, it is uncertain what the particular myth was, and whether the vision represents a Jewish source worked over by the prophet. In the latter case, the Christian redactor’s hand is visible perhaps in 4 a and 5 (πρὸς τ. θ. αὐτοῦ, cf. Revelation 5:6), certainly in 11 (which, even apart from the Lamb, interrupts the sequence) and 17 c, if not also in the whole of 10–12. If, in addition to this, the source was originally written in Hebrew, traces of the translator are to be found (so Gunkel, Kohler, and Wellhausen, after Ewald, Bruston, Briggs, and Schmidt) in 2 (βας. τεκεῖν, cf. 1 Samuel 4:19 חרה ללדת), 5 (υἱὸν ἄ. = בן זכר), 6 (ὅπουἐκεῖ = אשׁר שׁם), 8 (κ. οὐκ ἴ. = וְלא̇ יכל cf. 14 and on Revelation 3:8), 9 (the old serpent = הקרמוני or הכחשׁ הראשׁון), possibly 10 (κατήγωρ = קטיגור), and 12 (κατέβη, cf. ἐβλήθη of 10 = ירד). But whether the source was written or not, whether (if written) it was in Greek or not, and whether it was Jewish or Jewish-Christian, the clue to the vision lies in the sphere of comparative religion rather than of literary criticism. Its atmosphere has been tinged by the international myth of a new god challenging and deposing an older, or rather of a divine hero or child menaced at birth—a myth which at once reflected the dangers run by the seed sown in the dark earth and also the victory of light (or the god of light) over darkness, or of light in the springtide over the dead winter. The Babylonian myth of Marduk, which lacks any analogous tale of Marduk’s birth, does not correspond so aptly to this vision (cf. Introd. § 4 b), as does the well-known crude Egyptian myth (Bousset); Isis is a closer parallel than Ishtar, and still closer perhaps at one point is the κουροτρόφος of Hellenic mythology, who was often represented as uirgo coelestis. But, if any local phase of the myth is to be assumed as having coloured the messianic tradition used by John, that of Leto would be particularly intelligible to Asiatic readers (cf., e.g., Pfleiderer, Early Christ. Conception of Christ, 56 f., after Dieterich’s Abraxas, 117 f.; Maas, Orpheus, 251 f.). The dragon Python vainly persecuted her before the birth of Apollo; but she was caught away to a place of refuge, and her divine child, three days later, returned to slay the monster at Parnassus. This myth of the pregnant and threatened goddess-mother was familiar not only in Delos but throughout the districts, e.g., of Miletus and Magnesia, where the fugitive goddess was honoured on the local coinage. Coins of Hadrian’s reign associate the myth with Ephesus (ΦΕϹΙΩΝ ΛΗΤΩ). At Hierapolis, “the story of the life of these divine personages formed the ritual of the Phrygian religion” (C. B. P. i. 91 f.); the birth of a god is associated with Laodicea, one coin representing an infant god in the arms of a woman (Persephone); while in the legend of Rhea, as Ramsay points out (C. B. P. i. 34), Crete and Phrygia are closely allied (cf. also Sib. Orac. ver. 130 f.). All this points decisively to the Hellenic form of the myth as the immediate source of the symbolic tradition (so, e.g., J. Weiss, Abbott, 99), though here as elsewhere in the Apocalypse the obscurity which surrounds the relations between Jewish or early Christian eschatology and the ethnic environment renders it difficult to determine the process of the latter’s undoubted influence on the former. Fortunately, this is a matter of subordinate importance. The essential thing is to ascertain not the soil on which such messianic conceptions grew, but the practical religious object to which the Christian prophet, as editor, has freely and naively applied them. His design is to show that the power of Satan on earth is doomed. Experience indeed witnesses (Revelation 11:12-17) to his malice and mischief, but the present outburst of persecution is only the last campaign of a foe whose efforts have been already baffled and are soon to be crushed in the inexorable providence of God. The prophet dramatically uses his source or tradition to introduce Satan as a baffled opponent of the messiah (cf. on Revelation 11:7), who is simply making the most of his time (Revelation 11:12). Moriturus mordet. Once this cardinal aim of the piece is grasped—and the proofs of it are overflowing—the accessory details fall into their proper place, just as in the interpretation of the parables. In all such products of the poetical and religious imagination, picturesque items, which were necessary to the completeness and impressiveness of the sketch, are not to be invested with primary significance. Besides, in the case of an old story or tradition which had passed through successive phases, it was inevitable that certain traits should lose much if not all of their meaning. “These ancient traits, fragments of an earlier whole, which lack their proper connexion in the present account, and indeed are scarcely intelligible, as they have been wrested from the thought-sequence of the original writer, reveal to the expert the presence of an earlier form of the story” (S. C. p. 6.)

19. the temple of God] See on Revelation 4:6, Revelation 6:9.

the ark of his testament] Better covenant, as constantly in the O. T.

there were lightnings &c.] So Revelation 8:5; Revelation 16:18 : in all three places, they mark the end of the series of seven signs.

Revelation 11:19. Ὁ ναὸς) ὁ ναὸς, ch. Revelation 3:12, Revelation 7:15, is היכל, the whole of the temple, but in this passage, and henceforth, it is דביר, the inner part of the temple,[122] דבר.

[122] τῆς διαθήκης, of the testament) the covenant which He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.—V. g.

Verse 19. - And the temple of God was opened in heaven; and there was opened the temple of God that is in heaven (Revised Version). "The temple" (ναός), the dwelling place of God (cf. ver. 1; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 7:15). Again, but a glimpse is afforded; and yet more is revealed than at the conclusion of the former series of visions; while the chief description is reserved to a later part of the Revelation. And there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; or, ark of his covenant. This seems to be introduced in order to render more emphatic the steadfastness and unchangeableness of God. As in the case of the witnesses, the figure is taken from the Old Testament, and the symbol would be pregnant with meaning to Jewish Christians and ethers who had learnt to think of the ark as the sacrament of God's abiding presence and continual help. He who now promises aid to his people, and threatens judgment upon the wicked, is the same God who formerly had displayed his power on behalf of his people Israel. And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail; there followed (Revised Version). The usual token of any special manifestation of God's presence, or direct dealing with men (see on Revelation 6:1). This, then, forms the conclusion to the series of trumpet visions. These visions, evoked by the cry for vengeance in Revelation 6:10, have demonstrated the need for patience and endurance on the part of Christians, by indicating the punishments meted out to the wicked on this earth and at the final judgment, together with the final triumph of the faithful. The seer next proceeds to elaborate a fact alluded to in the measuring of the temple in Revelation 10:2, and to point the moral that it is possible for Christians within the Church to lose their final reward by their apostasy.

Revelation 11:19The 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."

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