Revelation 11:7
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) And when . . .—Better, And when they shall have finished their testimony, the wild beast that goeth up out of the abyss shall make war with them, and conquer them, and kill them. Only when their work is done has the wild beast power over them. To every one there are the symbolical twelve hours in which his life’s work must be achieved; to every one there is the time secured when he may accomplish for God what God sent him to fulfil: then, but not till then, cometh the night, when none can work. The wild beast: We shall hear much of this wild beast later on. Here we are told distinctly that the wild beast will have his hour of triumph; he rises out of the abyss, as the locust horde did (Revelation 9:1-2). There is, then, a beast-spirit which is in utter hostility to the Christ-spirit. We shall be able to study the features of this power in a future chapter (Revelation 13:1); here he is seen to be a spirit of irreconcilable antagonism to Christ. The image here is not new; Daniel made use of it (Daniel 7), though in a much more limited sense. This beast-power vanquishes the witnesses. If the witnesses are those who have taught the principles of a spiritual and social religion, the death of the witnesses following their overthrow signifies the triumph of opposing principles, the silencing of those who have withstood the growing current of evil. Men can silence, can conquer, can slay the witness for a higher, purer, nobler life. They have done so. The history of the world is often the history of the postponement of moral and social advancement for centuries through the wild outbreak of some brutal, irrational, selfish spirit. The Reformers, the best friends of the Church and of the world, have been silenced and slain, and their death has often been little more than the triumph of the ignorance and selfishness of a practical heathenism.

Revelation 11:7-14. When they shall have finished their testimony, &c. — After the description of the power and office of the witnesses, follows a prediction of those things which shall befall them at the latter end of their ministry; and their passion, death, resurrection, and ascension, are copied from our Saviour’s, who is emphatically styled, (Revelation 3:14,) the faithful and true Witness; but with this difference, that his were real, theirs are figurative and mystical. And when they shall have finished — Οταν τελεσωσι, when they shall be about finishing their testimony, Revelation 11:7; the beast that ascendeth out of the abyss — The tyrannical power of Rome, of which we shall hear more hereafter; shall make war against them, and shall overcome and kill them — The beast indeed shall make war against them all the time that they are performing their ministry; but when they shall be near finishing it, he shall so make war against them as to overcome them, and kill them. They shall be subdued and suppressed, be degraded from all power and authority, be deprived of all offices and functions, and be politically dead, if not naturally so. In this low and abject state they shall lie some time, (Revelation 11:8,) in the street of the great city — In some conspicuous place within the jurisdiction of Rome; which spiritually is called Sodom — For corruption of manners; and Egypt — For tyranny and oppression of the people of God; where also our Lord was crucified spiritually — Being crucified afresh in the sufferings of his faithful martyrs. Nay, to show the greater indignity and cruelty to the martyrs, their dead bodies shall not only be publicly exposed, (Revelation 11:9,) but they shall be denied even the common privilege of burial, which is the case of many Protestants in Popish countries; and their enemies shall rejoice and insult over them, (Revelation 11:10,) and shall send mutual presents and congratulations one to another for their deliverance from these tormentors, whose life and doctrine were a continual reproach to them. But after three days and a half, (Revelation 11:11,) that is, in the prophetic style, after three years and a half, for no less time is requisite for all these transactions, they shall be raised again by the Spirit of God; and (Revelation 11:12) shall ascend up to heaven — They shall not only be restored to their pristine state, but shall be further promoted to dignity and honour; and that by a great voice from heaven — By the voice of public authority. At the same hour there shall be a great earthquake — There shall be commotions in the world; and the tenth part of the city shall fall — As an omen and earnest of a still greater fall; and seven thousand names of men, or seven thousand men of name, shall be slain; and the remainder, in their fright and fear, shall acknowledge the great power of God.

Some interpreters are of opinion that this prophecy, of the death and resurrection of the witnesses, received its completion in the case of John Huss and Jerome of Prague, who were two faithful witnesses and martyrs of the blessed Jesus, being condemned to death, and afterward burned for heresy, by the council of Constance. Others refer this prophecy to the Protestants of the league of Smalcald, who were entirely routed by the Emperor Charles V. in the battle of Mulburg, on the 24th of April, 1547, when the two great champions of the Protestants, John Frederic, elector of Saxony, was taken prisoner, and the landgrave of Hesse was forced to surrender himself, and to beg pardon of the emperor. Protestantism was then in a manner suppressed, and the mass restored. The witnesses were dead, but not buried; and the Papists rejoiced over them, and made merry, and sent gifts one to another. But this joy and triumph of theirs were of no very long continuance; for in the space of about three years and a half, the Protestants were raised again at Magdeburg, and defeated and took the duke of Mecklenburg prisoner, in December, 1550. From that time their affairs changed for the better almost every day; success attended their arms and councils; and the emperor was obliged, by the treaty of Passau, to allow them the free exercise of their religion, and to readmit them into the imperial chamber, from which they had, ever since the victory of Mulburg, been excluded. Here was indeed a great earthquake — A great commotion; in which many thousands were slain, and the tenth part of the city fell — A great part of the German empire renounced the authority, and abandoned the communion of the Church of Rome.

Some again may think this prophecy very applicable to the horrid massacre of the Protestants at Paris, and in other cities of France, begun on the memorable eve of St. Bartholomew’s day, 1572. According to the best authors there were slain thirty or forty thousand Huguenots in a few days; and among them, without doubt, many true witnesses and faithful martyrs of Jesus Christ. Their dead bodies lay in the streets of the great city; one of the greatest cities of Europe; for they were not suffered to be buried, being the bodies of heretics; but were dragged through the street, or thrown into the river, or hung upon gibbets, and exposed to public infamy. Great rejoicings too were made in the courts of France, Rome, and Spain; they went in procession to the churches, they returned public thanks to God, they sang Te Deums, they celebrated jubilees, they struck medals; and it was enacted that St. Bartholomew’s day should ever afterward be kept with double pomp and solemnity. But neither was this joy of long continuance; for in little more than three years and a half Henry III., who succeeded his brother Charles, entered into a treaty with the Huguenots, which was concluded and published on the 14th of May, 1576, whereby all the former sentences against them were reversed, and the free and open exercise of their religion was granted to them; they were to be admitted to all honours, dignities, and offices, as well as the Papists. But others again apply this prophecy to the poor Protestants in the valleys of Piedmont, who by a cruel edict of their sovereign the duke of Savoy, instigated by the French king, were imprisoned and murdered, or banished in the latter end of the year 1686. They were kindly received and succoured by the Protestant states; and after a while, secretly entering Savoy with their swords in their hands, they regained their ancient possessions with great slaughter of their enemies; and the duke himself, having then left the French interest, granted them a full pardon; and re-established them, by another edict, signed June 4, 1690, just three years and a half after their total dissipation. Bishop Lloyd not only understood the prophecy in this manner, but, what is very remarkable, made the application even before the event took place, as Mr. Whiston relates; and upon this ground encouraged a refugee minister, of the Vaudois, whose name was Jordan, to return home; and returning, he heard the joyful news of the deliverance and restitution of his country. These were indeed most barbarous persecutions of the Protestants, both in France and Savoy; and at the same time Popery here in England was advanced to the throne, and threatened an utter subversion of our religion and liberties; but in a little more than three years and a half, a happy deliverance was wrought by the glorious revolution. Connected with the witnesses in the valleys of Piedmont, and agreeing in their leading doctrines, in opposition to the Church of Rome, were those called Lollards in England; and many in other countries embraced the same doctrines in those times, and preached or professed them at the hazard of their lives; and great numbers were burned, or put to death in the most cruel manner, for so doing. “The visible assemblies,” says Gibbon, “of the Albigeois were extirpated by fire and sword; and the bleeding remnant escaped by flight, concealment, or catholic conformity. But the invincible spirit which they had kindled still lived and breathed in the western world. In the state, in the church, and even in the cloister, a latent succession was preserved of the disciples of St. Paul, who protested against the tyranny of Rome, embraced the Bible as the rule of faith, and purified their creed from all the visions of the Gnostic theology. The struggles of Wickliffe in England, and of Huss in Bohemia, were premature and ineffectual; but the names of Zuinglius, Luther, and Calvin, are pronounced with gratitude as the deliverers of nations.” A striking testimony this from an enemy of Christianity, to the fulfilment of the divine predictions. At length, “Luther arose, and the Reformation took place; since which time the same testimony to the truth of Christ, and against the errors of antichrist, hath been maintained. Nor does it appear that the term is yet expired; the witnesses are not indeed at present exposed to such terrible sufferings as in former times; but,” as Mr. Scott observes, and as Bishop Newton and many other eminent divines have believed, “those scenes may be reacted before long, for what any man can foreknow; and they have abundant cause to prophesy in sackcloth, on account of the declined state of religion even in the Protestant churches.”11:3-13 In the time of treading down, God kept his faithful witnesses to attest the truth of his word and worship, and the excellence of his ways, The number of these witnesses is small, yet enough. They prophesy in sackcloth. It shows their afflicted, persecuted state, and deep sorrow for the abominations against which they protested. They are supported during their great and hard work, till it is done. When they had prophesied in sackcloth the greatest part of 1260 years, antichrist, the great instrument of the devil, would war against them, with force and violence for a time. Determined rebels against the light rejoice, as on some happy event, when they can silence, drive to a distance, or destroy the faithful servants of Christ, whose doctrine and conduct torment them. It does not appear that the term is yet expired, and the witnesses are not a present exposed to endure such terrible outward sufferings as in former times; but such things may again happen, and there is abundant cause to prophesy in sackcloth, on account of the state of religion. The depressed state of real Christianity may relate only to the western church. The Spirit of life from God, quickens dead souls, and shall quicken the dead bodies of his people, and his dying interest in the world. The revival of God's work and witnesses, will strike terror into the souls of his enemies. Where there is guilt, there is fear; and a persecuting spirit, though cruel, is a cowardly spirit. It will be no small part of the punishment of persecutors, both in this world, and at the great day, that they see the faithful servants of God honoured and advanced. The Lord's witnesses must not be weary of suffering and service, nor hastily grasp at the reward; but must stay till their Master calls them. The consequence of their being thus exalted was a mighty shock and convulsion in the antichristian empire. Events alone can show the meaning of this. But whenever God's work and witnesses revive, the devil's work and witnesses fall before him. And that the slaying of the witnesses is future, appears to be probable.And when they shall have finished their testimony - Prof. Stuart renders this, "And whenever they shall have finished their testimony." The reference is undoubtedly to a period when they should have faithfully borne the testimony which they were appointed to bear. The word rendered here "shall have finished" - τελέσωσιν telesōsin, from τελέω teleō means properly to end, to finish, to complete, to accomplish. It is used, in this respect, in two senses - either in regard to time or in regard to the end or object in view, in the sense of "perfecting it," or "accomplishing it." In the former sense it is employed in such passages as the following: "Till the thousand years should be fulfilled," Revelation 20:3. "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel (Greek, ye shall not have finished the cities of Israel) until the Son of man be come," Matthew 10:23; that is, ye shall not have finished passing through them. "When Jesus had made an end (Greek, finished) of commanding his twelve disciples," Matthew 11:1. "I have "finished" my course," 2 Timothy 4:7.

In these passages it clearly refers to time. In the other sense it is used in such places as the following: "And shall not the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law," Romans 2:27; that is, if it accomplish or come up to the demands of the law. "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scriptures," James 2:8. The word, then, may here refer not to "time," meaning that, these events would occur at the end of the "thousand two hundred and threescore days," but to the fact that what is here stated would occur when they had completed their testimony in the sense of having testified all that they were "appointed" to testify; that is, when they had borne full witness for God, and fully uttered his truth. Thus understood, the meaning here may be that the event here referred to would take place, not at the end of the 1260 years, but at that period during the 1260 years when it could be said with propriety that they had accomplished their testimony in the world, or that they had borne full and ample witness on the points entrusted to them.

The beast - This is the first time in the Book of Revelation in which what is here called "the beast" is mentioned, and which has so important an agency in the events which it is said would occur. It is repeatedly mentioned in the course of the book, and always with similar characteristics, and as referring to the same object. Here it is mentioned as "ascending out of the bottomless pit"; in Revelation 13:1, as "rising up out of the sea"; in Revelation 13:11, as "coming up out of the earth." It is also mentioned with characteristics appropriate to such an origin, in Revelation 13:2-4 (twice), Revelation 13:11, Revelation 13:12 (twice), Revelation 13:14 (twice), Revelation 13:15 (twice), 17, 18; Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2, Revelation 16:10, Revelation 16:13; Revelation 17:3, Revelation 17:7-8 (twice), 11, 12, 13, 16, 17; Revelation 19:19-20 (twice); Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:9. The word used here - θηρίον thērion - means properly "a beast, a wild beast," Mark 1:13; Acts 10:12; Acts 11:6; Acts 28:4-5; Hebrews 12:20; James 3:7; Revelation 6:8. It is once used tropically of brutal or savage men, Titus 1:12. Elsewhere, in the passages above referred to in the Apocalypse, it is used symbolically. As employed in the Book of Revelation, the characteristics of the "beast" are strongly marked:

(a) It has its origin from beneath - in the bottomless pit; the sea; the earth, Revelation 11:7; Revelation 13:1, Revelation 13:11.

(b) It has great power, Revelation 13:4, Revelation 13:12; Revelation 17:12-13.

(c) It claims and receives worship, Revelation 13:3, Revelation 13:12, Revelation 13:14-15; Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:11.

(d) It has a certain "seat" or throne from whence its power proceeds, Revelation 16:10.

(e) It is of scarlet color, Revelation 17:3.

(f) It receives power conferred upon it by the kings of the earth, Revelation 17:13,

(g) It has a mark by which it is known, Revelation 13:17; Revelation 19:20.

(h) It has a certain "number"; that is, there are certain mystical letters or figures which so express its name that it may be known, Revelation 13:17-18.

These things serve to characterize the "beast" as distinguished from all other things, and they are so numerous and definite, that it would seem to have been intended to make it easy to understand what was meant when the power referred to should appear. In regard to the origin of the imagery here, there can be no reasonable doubt that it is to be traced to Daniel, and that the writer here means to describe the same "beast" which Daniel refers to in Revelation 7:7. The evidence of this must be clear to anyone who will compare the description in Daniel Rev. 7 with the minute details in the book of Revelation. No one, I think, can doubt that John means to carry forward the description ill Daniel, and to apply it to new manifestations of the same great and terrific power - the power of the fourth monarchy - on the earth. For full evidence that the representation in Daniel refers to the Roman power prolonged and perpetuated in the papal dominion, I must refer the reader to the notes on Daniel 7:25. It may be assumed here that the opinion there defended is correct, and consequently it may be assumed that the "beast" of this book refers to the papal power.

That ascendeth out of the bottomless pit - See the notes on Revelation 9:1. This would properly mean that its origin is the nether world; or that it will have characteristics which will show that it was from beneath. The meaning clearly is, that what was symbolized by the beast would have such characteristics as to show that it was not of divine origin, but had its source in the world of darkness, sin, and death. This, of course, could not represent the true church, or any civil government that is founded on principles which God approves. But if it represent a community pretending to be a church, it is an apostate church; if a civil community, it is a community the characteristics of which are that it is controlled by the spirit that rules over the world beneath. For reasons which we shall see in abundance in applying the descriptions which occur of the "beast," I regard this as referring to that great apostate power which occupies so much of the prophetic descriptions - the papacy.

Shall make war against them - Will endeavor to exterminate them by force. This clearly is not intended to be a general statement that they would be persecuted, but to refer to the particular manner in which the opposition would be conducted. It would be in the form of "war"; that is, there would be an effort to destroy them by arms.

continued...

7. finished their testimony—The same verb is used of Paul's ending his ministry by a violent death.

the beast that ascended out of the bottomless pit—Greek, "the wild beast … the abyss." This beast was not mentioned before, yet he is introduced as "the beast," because he had already been described by Daniel (Da 7:3, 11), and he is fully so in the subsequent part of the Apocalypse, namely, Re 13:1; 17:8. Thus, John at once appropriates the Old Testament prophecies; and also, viewing his whole subject at a glance, mentions as familiar things (though not yet so to the reader) objects to be described hereafter by himself. It is a proof of the unity that pervades all Scripture.

make war against them—alluding to Da 7:21, where the same is said of the little horn that sprang up among the ten horns on the fourth beast.

And when they shall have finished their testimony; otan teleswsoi Mr. Mede notes, that this is ill translated by the preterperfect tense; the true English of it is, when they shall be about to finish their testimony: when they have prophesied in sackcloth the most of their twelve hundred and sixty years, they shall meet with ultimum conatum antichristi, the last struggle of the beast for life.

The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, that is, the beast mentioned Revelation 13:1,4, (by which the papacy is meant, whom they have plagued all the time of their prophecy, though continual sufferers from it),

shall make war against them; shall get life again, and make one push more, possibly the sharpest yet made;

and shall overcome them, and kill them; and be too hard for them, and kill them. It is a great question, whether this be to be understood of taking away their natural lives, or of a civil death relating to them as witnesses, making them as if they were naturally dead. The latter of these seemeth to me much the more probable, for these reasons:

1. Supposing the godly magistracy, or ministry, or the latter alone, to be the two witnesses, it doth not seem probable that ever the papacy shall so far prevail, as to kill all such over the face of the whole church.

2. Neither is the Holy Ghost here speaking of them as men, but as witnesses.

3. Nor would either friends or enemies suffer dead bodies to be unburied three days and a half, in the street of a great city, as Revelation 11:8,9.

4. Neither is their resurrection, mentioned Revelation 11:11, to be understood of a corporal resurrection. I take therefore the killing here mentioned, to be understood of a destroying them as witnesses, turning magistrates out of their places, and ministers out of their places; though it be not probable that such a malice and hatred as should cause this, should terminate without the blood of some of them; but that surely is not the thing principally here intended. And when they shall have finished their testimony,.... For Christ, his truths and ordinances; when they are about to finish it, and almost concluded it, even towards the close of the 1260 days or years, in which they must prophesy in sackcloth: or else their testimony and their prophesying may be considered as two distinct things, and the one be finished before the other; their open public testimony, as witnesses, so as to be heard, attended to, and received, will be finished before the last war of the beast against them, in which they will be killed; but their prophesying will continue to the end of the beast's reign, these two being contemporary, of equal date, beginning and ending together; for they will prophesy when they are dead; being dead they will yet speak, and their very death will be a prophesying or foretelling that the ruin of antichrist is at hand; and upon their resurrection and ascension, that will immediately come on. But when their testimony is finished, by a free and open publication of the Gospel,

the beast that ascended out of the bottomless pit; the same with that in Revelation 13:11, with which compare Revelation 17:8; and which is no other than the Romish antichrist; called a beast for his filthiness and cruelty; and said to ascend out of the bottomless pit, out of hell, because his coming is after the working of Satan: he is raised up, influenced, and supported by him; he is a creature of his, and has his power, seat, and authority from him, the great dragon, the old serpent, called the devil and Satan; his original and rise are the same with those of his doctrine and worship, the smoke of the bottomless pit; they all come out of it, and they will return thither again. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, read, "the fourth beast that ascendeth", &c. as if it was the same with Daniel's fourth beast, Daniel 7:7, as it doubtless is. Now this filthy and savage beast

shall make war against them; the witnesses; a war he has been making against the saints ever since he was in power, by his decrees, his counsels, his anathemas, and by sword, fire, and faggot, Revelation 13:7; but this will be his last war, and it will be a dreadful one; it will be the last struggle of the beast; and though it will be attended with the conquest and slaughter of the witnesses, yet it will lead on to, and issue in his own ruin; this is "the hour of temptation", in Revelation 3:10;

and shall overcome them; not by arguments taken out of the word of God, by which their mouths will be stopped, so as to be confounded, and have nothing to say, or so as to yield to him, and give up the truths and ordinances of the Gospel; but by outward force and tyranny, so as that they shall be obliged to give way, and he will take possession of the kingdoms and nations in which they have prophesied: he will first attack the outward court, the bulk of formal professors, and will prevail over them; and then, the outworks being taken, he will more easily come at the inner court worshippers within the temple.

And kill them; not corporeally, but civilly; for as their dead bodies lying three days and a half, that is, three years and a half, unburied, and their resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven, cannot be understood literally, so neither the killing of them; not but that in this war there may be a great slaughter, and much blood shed, in a literal sense: but the killing spoken of seems to regard them, not as men, but as witnesses; they will not be suffered to bear an open testimony any longer; they will be silenced; they will be banished, or removed into corners; and they will not only be under the censures, excommunications, and anathemas of the Romish antichrist, but they will lose all credit and esteem among those, who once pretended to be their friends; who will be ashamed of them, and will join in reproaching and rejecting them; so that their ministrations will be quite shut up, and at an end.

{10} And when they shall have {c} finished their testimony, {11} the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall {12} overcome them, and kill them.

(10) That is, when they have spent those 1260 years mentioned in Re 11:2,3 in publishing their testimony according to their office.

(c) When they have done their message.

(11) Of which after Chapter 13, that beast is the Roman Empire, made long ago of civil, ecclesiastical: the chief head of which was then Boniface the eighth, as I said before: who lifted up himself in so great arrogancy, (says the author of Falsciculus temporum) that he called himself, Lord of the whole world, as well in temporal causes, as in spiritual: There is a document of that matter, written by the same Boniface most arrogantly, shall I say, or most wickedly, Ca. unam sanctam, extra de majoritate & obedientia. In the sixth of the Decretals

(which is from the same author) many things are found of the same argument.

(12) He shall persecute most cruelly the holy men, and put them to death, and shall wound and pierce through with cursings, both their names and writings. That this was done to very many godly men, by Boniface and others, the histories do declare, especially since the time that the odious and condemned name amongst the multitude, first of the brethren Waldonenses or Lugdunenses, then also of the Fraticels, was pretended, that good men might with more approbation be massacred.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 11:7. ὅταν τελέσωσι. “When they shall have finished.”[2864]

ΤῸ ΘΗΡΊΟΝ ΤῸ ἈΝΑΒΑῖΝΟΝ ΈΚ Τῆς ἈΒΎΣΣΟΥ. Only the infernal nature of the beast is to be learned from his rising out of the abyss,[2865] and his definitely antichristian character; further, from his contending against the witnesses of Christ,[2866] and overcoming and slaying them. The more detailed explanation of the beast, John himself does not give until chs. 13 and 17. The mention of the beast in this passage is undoubtedly proleptical,[2867] inasmuch as the concrete idea of the antichristian power under the definite form of the beast from the abyss, which is presupposed as known by the definite art. ΤῸ ΘΗΡ., proceeds first from chs. 13, 17; meanwhile, not only is the idea of his Antichristian nature already to a certain extent intelligible from the entire context, but also the form of the description of the beast from the example of Daniel 7, to which the interpolation in Cod. A expressly refers.

[2864] Cf. Winer, p. 289.

[2865] Cf. Revelation 9:1; Revelation 9:11.

[2866] Cf. Revelation 13:7.

[2867] De Wette, etc.Revelation 11:7. The influence of Hebraic idiom helps to explain (cf. Revelation 20:7-9) the translator’s “transition from futures through presents to preterites” here (Simcox). τελέσωσι (Burton, 203) indicates no uncertainty. When their work is done, they are massacred—not till then; like their Lord (Luke 13:31 f.), they are insured by loyalty to their task. The best comment upon this and the following verses, a description coloured by the famous passage in Sap. 2:12–3, 9, is Bunyan’s description of the jury in Vanity Fair and their verdict. This beast “from the abyss” is introduced as a familiar figure—an editorial and proleptic reference to the beast “from the abyss” in Revelation 17:8 or from “the sea” (Revelation 13:1; the abyss and the sea in Romans 10:7 = Deuteronomy 30:13) which was (cf. Encycl. Rel. and Ethics, i. 53 f.) the haunt and home of daemons (Luke 8:31, etc.), unless he is identified with the supernatural fiend and foe of Revelation 9:2; Revelation 9:11. (Bruston heroically gets over the difficulty of the beast’s sudden introduction by transferring Revelation 11:1-13 to a place after Revelation 19:1-3). The beast wars with the witnesses (here, as in Revelation 9:9 and Revelation 12:17, Field, on Luke 14:31, prefers to take πόλεμον = μάχην, a single combat or battle, as occasionally in LXX [e.g., 3 Kings 22:34] and Lucian), and vanquishes them, yet it is the city (Revelation 11:13) and not he who is punished. The fragmentary character of the source is evident from the fact that we are not told why or how this conflict took place. John presupposed in his readers an acquaintance with the cycle of antichrist traditions according to which the witnesses of God were murdered by the false messiah who, as the abomination of desolation or man of sin, was at feud with all who opposed his worship or disputed his authority.7. the beast] Here first mentioned: probably that which appears in Revelation 13:1, not in Revelation 13:11 : though neither of them makes his appearance immediately “out of the bottomless pit:” see, however, Revelation 17:8. But perhaps it is worth noticing that “the deep” in Romans 10:7 (the word is the same as “the bottomless pit” here) corresponds to “the sea” of Deuteronomy 30:13.

shall make war against them] Daniel 7:21.Verse 7. - And when they shall have finished their testimony. This is a difficult passage. How can the Church's testimony be said to be finished while the earth still exists? The explanation seems to lie in the words of our Lord, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Christians are forewarned that, as the ages roll on, faith will wane. Though the Church be apparently destroyed, she is not really dead, but will rise again. As our Lord, after finishing his testimony, completed his work by his death and subsequent ascension, so the time will come when the Church shall have Completed all that is necessary, by offering to the world her testimony, and shall then be so completely rejected as to appear dead. Her enemies will rejoice, but their time of rejoicing is cut short (see below). After three and a half days comes her vindication, and her enemies are struck with consternation; for it is the end, and they have no further opportunities for repentance. Thus Heugstenberg says, "They shall only be overcome when they have finished their testimony, when God has no further need for their service, when their death can produce more fruit than their life." The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them; the beast that cometh up out of the abyss. The article points to the beast which is described elsewhere in the Apocalypse (Revelation 13:1; Revelation 17:8), and which is mentioned here by proleipsis. "The fourth beast," which is read in A, may have been suggested by Daniel 7:7. א has "the beast which then cometh up." The beast is Satan, perhaps manifested in the form of the persecuting world power (see on Revelation 13:1). His nature is indicated by the use of the noun θηρίον, "a wild beast," the opposite, as Wordsworth says, of Ἀρνίον, the Lamb. The beast ascends out of the abyss for a brief reign upon the earth, and is "drunken with the blood of the saints," as described in Revelation 17, but he ascends only to go into perdition (Revelation 17:8). It is well to remember that the whole vision is symbolical. The intention is to convey the idea that the Church, in her witness for God, will experience opposition from the power of Satan, which will wax more and more formidable as time goes on, and result in the apparent triumph of the forces of evil. But the triumph will be brief; it will but usher in the end and the final subjugation of the devil. 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.

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