Revelation 11:8
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8-10) And their dead bodies . . .—Better, And their corpse (is) upon the street of the great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord also was crucified. And some from among the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations look upon their corpse three days and a half, and do not suffer their corpses to be put into a tomb. And they that dwell upon the earth rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt upon the earth. Their corpses remain unburied, while congratulations and rejoicings go on; harmony and concord prevail, as when Pilate and Herod were made friends; it is the millennium of evil, the paradise of fools who make a mock at sin; but the forms of the witnesses, though silenced, still in silence witness against evil. At no time are they hid away out of sight. Even in an age of religious and social anarchy the silent tokens of a better order remain, as when in mockery and profanation the harlot was enthroned within Notre Dame, the very sanctuary walls, which no longer echoed to the psalm of Christian life, yet bore silent testimony to the higher genius of the past. They are said to lie in “the street of the great city.” The city is described as the great city (comp. Revelation 16:19), and also as Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem. Do not passages like this show conclusively that to deny the mystical or allegorical sense of the Apocalypse is to keep the husk and cast away the seed? The city is great, for it is all-important in the eyes of the inhabitants, as public opinion is all-important to the weak or the worldly; it is Sodom, for it is the place where, through pleasure and luxuriousness (fulness of bread), the worst forms of immorality take root; it is Egypt, for it is the house of bondage, where the wages of sin become tyrannous; it is Jerusalem, for it is the apostate place where the presence of Christ is hated. The same spirit which slew their Lord is alive to persecute His servants. “It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household;” and the reason of this hatred is told—the words of the witnesses “tormented them.” “The reproof of their gospel and the reproof of their example . . . had been a torture to them; there was a voice in them which echoed its voice—the voice of a convicting conscience, and the voice of an anticipated judgment.”

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 their dead bodies shall lie in the street - Prof. Stuart, "Shall be in the street." The words "shall lie" are supplied by the translators, but not improperly. The literal rendering would be, "and their corpses upon the street of the great city"; and the meaning is, that there would be a state of things in regard to them which would be well represented by supposing them to lie unburied. To leave a body unburied is to treat it with contempt, and among the ancients nothing was regarded as more dishonorable than such treatment. See the Ajax of Sophocles. Among the Jews also it was regarded as a special indignity to leave the dead unburied, and hence they are always represented as deeply solicitous to secure the interment of their dead. See Genesis 23:4. Compare 2 Samuel 21:9-13; Ecclesiastes 6:3; Isaiah 14:18-20; Isaiah 22:16; Isaiah 53:9. The meaning here is, that, for the time specified, those who are here referred to would be treated with indignity and contempt. In the fulfillment of this, we are not, of course, to look for any literal accomplishment of what is here said, but for some treatment of the "witnesses" which would be well represented by this; that is, which would show that they were treated, after they were silenced, like unburied corpses putrefying in the sun.

Of the great city - Where these transactions would occur. As a great city would be the agent in putting them to death, so the result would be as if they were publicly exposed in its streets. The word "great" here supposes that the city referred to would be distinguished for its size - a circumstance of some importance in determining the place referred to.

Which spiritually is called - πνευματικῶς pneumatikōs. This word occurs only in one other place in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 2:14, "because they are spiritually discerned" - where it means, "in accordance with the Holy Spirit," or" through the aid of the Holy Spirit." Here it seems to be used in the sense of metaphorically, or allegorically, in contradistinction from the literal and real name. There may possibly be an intimation here that the city is so called by the Holy Spirit to designate its real character, but still the essential meaning is, that that was not its literal name. For some reason the real name is not given to it; but such descriptions are applied as are designed to leave no doubt as to what is intended.

Sodom - Sodom was distinguished for its wickedness, and especially for that vice to which its abominations have given name. For the character of Sodom, see Genesis 18:19. Compare 2 Peter 2:6. In inquiring what "city" is here referred to, it would be necessary to find in it such abominations as characterized Sodom, or so much wickedness that it would be proper to call it Sodom. If it shall be found that this was designed to refer to papal Rome, no one can doubt that the abominations which prevailed there would justify such an appellation. Compare the notes on Revelation 9:20-21.

And Egypt - That is, it would have such a character that the name Egypt might be properly given to it. Egypt is known in the Scriptures as the land of oppression - the land where the Israelites, the people of God, were held in cruel bondage. Compare Exodus 1-15. See also Ezekiel 23:8. The particular idea, then, which seems to be conveyed here is, that the "city" referred to would be characterized by acts of oppression and wrong toward the people of God. So far as the language is concerned, it might apply either to Jerusalem or to Rome - for both were eminently characterized by such acts of oppression toward the true children of God as to make it proper to I compare their cruelties with those which were inflicted on the Israelites by the Egyptians. Of whichever of these places the course of the exposition may require us to understand this, it will be seen at once that the language is such as is strictly applicable to either; though, as the reference is rather to Christians than to the ancient people of God, it must be admitted that it would be most natural to refer it to Rome. More acts authorizing persecution, and designed to crush the true people of God, have gone forth from Rome than from any other city on the face of the earth; and taking the history of the church together, there is no place that would be so properly designated by the term here employed.

Where also our Lord was crucified - If this refers to Jerusalem, it is to be taken literally; if to another city, it is to be understood as meaning that he was practically crucified there: that is, that the treatment of his friends - his church - was such that it might be said that he was "crucified afresh" there; for what is done to his church may be said to be done to him. Either of these interpretations would be justified by the use of the language. Thus in Hebrews 6:6, it is said of apostates from the true faith (compare the notes on the passage), that "they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh." If the passage before us is to be taken figuratively, the meaning is, that acts would be performed which might properly be represented as crucifying' the Son of God; that, as he lives in his church, the acts of perverting his doctrines, and persecuting his people, would be, in fact, an act of crucifying the Lord again. Thus understood, the language is strictly applicable to Rome; that is, if it is admitted that John meant to characterize that city, he has employed such language as a Jewish Christian would naturally use. While, therefore, it must be admitted that the language is such as could be literally applied only to Jerusalem, it is still true that it is such language as might be figuratively applied to any other city strongly resembling that, and that in this sense it would characterize Rome above all other cities of the world. The common reading of the text here is "our Lord" - ἡμῶν hēmōn; the text now regarded as correct, however (Griesbach, Tittmann, Hahn), is "their Lord" - αὐτῶν autōn. This makes no essential difference in the sense, except that it directs the attention more particularly to the fact that they were treated like their own Master.

8. dead bodies—So Vulgate, Syriac, and Andreas. But A, B, C, the oldest manuscripts, and Coptic read the singular, "dead body." The two fallen in one cause are considered as one.

the great city—eight times in the Revelation elsewhere used of BABYLON (Re 14:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21). In Re 21:10 (English Version as to the new Jerusalem), the oldest manuscripts omit "the great" before city, so that it forms no exception. It must, therefore, have an anticipatory reference to the mystical Babylon.

which—Greek, "the which," namely, "the city which."

spiritually—in a spiritual sense.

Sodom—The very term applied by Isa 1:10 to apostate Jerusalem (compare Eze 16:48).

Egypt—the nation which the Jews' besetting sin was to lean upon.

where … Lord was crucified—This identifies the city as Jerusalem, though the Lord was crucified outside of the city. Eusebius mentions that the scene of Christ's crucifixion was enclosed within the city by Constantine; so it will be probably at the time of the slaying of the witnesses. "The beast [for example, Napoleon and France's efforts] has been long struggling for a footing in Palestine; after his ascent from the bottomless pit he struggles much more" [Bengel]. Some one of the Napoleonic dynasty may obtain that footing, and even be regarded as Messiah by the Jews, in virtue of his restoring them to their own land; and so may prove to be the last Antichrist. The difficulty is, how can Jerusalem be called "the great city," that is, Babylon? By her becoming the world's capital of idolatrous apostasy, such as Babylon originally was, and then Rome has been; just as she is here called also "Sodom and Egypt."

also our—A, B, C, Origen, Andreas, and others read, "also their." Where their Lord, also, as well as they, was slain. Compare Re 18:24, where the blood of ALL slain on earth is said to be found IN Babylon, just as in Mt 23:35, Jesus saith that, "upon the Jews and Jerusalem" (Compare Mt 23:37, 38) shall "come ALL the righteous blood shed upon earth"; whence it follows Jerusalem shall be the last capital of the world apostasy, and so receive the last and worst visitation of all the judgments ever inflicted on the apostate world, the earnest of which was given in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. In the wider sense, in the Church-historical period, the Church being the sanctuary, all outside of it is the world, the great city, wherein all the martyrdoms of saints have taken place. Babylon marks its idolatry, Egypt its tyranny, Sodom its desperate corruption, Jerusalem its pretensions to sanctity on the ground of spiritual privileges, while all the while it is the murderer of Christ in the person of His members. All which is true of Rome. So Vitringa. But in the more definite sense, Jerusalem is regarded, even in Hebrews (Heb 13:12-14), as the world city which believers were then to go forth from, in order to "seek one to come."

Their bodies dead, in the sense before mentioned, shall continue so for three days and a half, of which we shall speak, Revelation 11:11. But what is here meant:

1. By the great city?

2. By the street of the great city?

Some, by the great city, would have Jerusalem understood; but that was now far from a great city, nor do the addition of those words in the latter end of the verse prove it; for Christ was not crucified in that city, but without the gates. Most judicious interpreters, by the great city here, understand Rome, which is seven or eight times (under the name of Babylon) so called in this hook, Revelation 14:8 Revelation 16:19 18:10,16,18,19,21; nor is any other city but that so called. This great city is here said, in a spiritual sense, to be Sodom and Egypt; Sodom, for whoredom and filthiness; Egypt, for oppression of the Lord’s Israel. As to the second question, what is here meant by the street of the great city? Mr. Mede hath irrefragably proved, that it cannot be meant of any parish, or such place in this city, as we call a street:

1. Because our Lord was crucified neither in any street, or parish, or any other place within the walls of Jerusalem.

2. Both Jerusalem and Rome had many more than one street.

3. Because the bodies being dead, doubtless lay in the place where they were slain; but men do not use to fight in the streets of cities.

4. Nor was that a place for all people, kindred, tongues, and nations, to see them in.

He therefore rightly judgeth, that the Greek word which we translate street, signifies the territories and jurisdiction of this city. See what he says to justify this in his Clavis Apocal. 40. p. 138. And this makes the last clause plain; for though our Lord was not crucified within any city, or in the street of any city, yet he was crucified in a place belonging to the jurisdiction of the Roman emperor; and it is very likely that it is in Europe that the witnesses shall be slain, which, in this sense, was all of it a street belonging to the city of Rome. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city,.... Not Jerusalem, which was destroyed when John had this vision, and which will; not be rebuilt at the time it refers to; nor is it ever called the great city, though the city of the great King; however, not in this book, though the new Jerusalem is so called, Revelation 21:10; but that can never be designed here; but the city of Rome, or the Roman jurisdiction, the whole empire of the Romish antichrist, which is often called the great city in this book; see Revelation 16:19. The city of Rome itself was very large, and the Roman empire still larger, so as to be called the whole world and the antichristian see of Rome has been of great extent. Now as the street of a city denotes a public open place in it, a place of concourse and resort, Proverbs 1:20, the dead bodies of those witnesses being said to lie here, may design the publicness of their silence, disgrace, and contempt; and that the silencing and degrading them, and depriving them of all privileges, will be known all over the antichristian empire; and that they will be exposed to public ignominy and shame, their persons, their characters, their testimony, their doctrines, their writings, their churches, and families, and all that belong to them: or else this "street" may design some part of the Romish jurisdiction, and it may be Great Britain may be particularly designed; for where should the dead bodies of the witnesses lie, but where they are slain? and where can they be slain, but where they are? and where are they, at least where are there so many as in these islands? It may be objected, that Great Britain is not a part of the see of Rome, does not belong to the jurisdiction of it; to this it may be replied, that in this last war of the beast, the outer court will be given to the Gentiles, the bulk of the reformed churches will fall off to Popery, and their countries again fall into the hands of the pope, and, among the rest, Great Britain. The fears of Dr. Goodwin seem to be too just, and well grounded, that the prophecy in Daniel 11:45 respects our island, which speaks of antichrist planting "the tabernacles of his palace between the seas, in the glorious holy mountain", or "the mountain of delight, of holiness". Now where has God such a mountain of delight, or a people that are the darling of his soul, as here? where in all the globe is there such a spot where God has so many saints, so many Holy Ones, as in this island? it may have been truly called a glorious holy mountain, or a mountain of delight; and what place between the seas is there to which these characters can agree, but Great Britain? Here then antichrist will plant the tabernacles of his palace; but it will be but a tabernacle, or tent; it will be but for a short time, as it follows, "yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him", Daniel 11:45. Now this great city, in the street of which the bodies of the witnesses will lie exposed, is that

which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt; that is, it is called so in a mystic and allegoric sense, in distinction from the literal sense; see 1 Corinthians 10:3; it is called Sodom because of the fulness of bread, plenty and abundance of all outward good things in it; as well as for the pride and idleness of the priests, monks, and friars which swarm in it; and also for the open profaneness and contempt of true and serious religion in it; and particularly for the sin of sodomy, so frequently committed here, with impunity, yea with allowance, and even with commendation. This sin was extolled with praises, as Brightman observes, by John a Casa, archbishop of Beneventum; and was defended in a book, published for that purpose, by one Mutius; and which was allowed by the bulls and letters patent of Pope Julius the Third; and it is called Egypt, because of its tyranny and oppression; as the Egyptians kept the Israelites in bondage, and made them to serve with rigour, and embittered their lives, so the pope, and his Gentiles, or Egyptians, have in a most oppressive and rigorous manner tyrannised over the souls, bodies, and estates of men; and also because of its great idolatry, Egypt being very remarkable for the number of its deities, and the meanness of them; by which the idols and idolatries of the church of Rome may be fitly expressed:

where also our Lord was crucified; that is, in the great city, which is fitly compared to Sodom and Egypt; for Christ was crucified actually in Judea, which was then become a Roman province, and under Pontius Pilate, a Roman governor, and by his order, and suffered a Roman kind of death, crucifixion, and for a crime he was charged with, though a false one, against Caesar the Roman emperor; and Christ has been crucified at Rome itself in his members, who have suffered persecution and death, and even the death of the cross there; and he has been crucified afresh, both by the sins and immoralities of those who have bore the Christian name there, and by the frequent sacrifices of him in the Mass. Moreover, by this periphrasis may be meant Jerusalem; and the sense be, that as the great city, or jurisdiction of Rome, may be spiritually or mystically called Sodom and Egypt, so likewise the place where our Lord was crucified, that is, Jerusalem; and that for this reason, because that as Jerusalem stoned and killed the prophets of the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of it were found all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, so in Rome, in mystical Babylon, will be found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon earth, Matthew 23:35. The Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, read, "where also their Lord was crucified"; and the Arabic version more expressly, "the Lord of these two", i.e. the two witnesses.

And their dead bodies shall lie in the {13} street of the great city, which {d} spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, {14} where also our Lord was crucified.

(13) That is, openly at Rome: where at that time was a most great crowd of people, the year of Jubile being then first ordained by Boniface to the same end, in the year 1300, an example of which is read in chapter 1 Extra, de poenitentys & remissionibus. So by one act he committed two wrongs against Christ, both abolishing his truth by restoring the type of the Jubile, and triumphing over his members by wicked superstition. O religious heart! Now that we should understand the things of Rome, John himself is the author, both after in the seventeenth chapter almost throughout, and also in the restriction now next following, when he says, it is that great city (as he calls it) Re 17:18 and is spiritually termed Sodom and Egypt: and that spiritually (for that must here again be repeated from before) Christ was there crucified. For the two first names signify spiritual wickednesses: the latter signifies the show and pretence of good, that is, of Christian and sound religion. Sodom signifies most licentious impiety and in the most confident glorying of that city, as it were in true religion, being yet full of falsehood and ungodliness. Now who is ignorant that these things do rather, and better fit Rome, than any other city? The commendations of the city of Rome for many years past, are publicly notorious, which are not for me to gather together. This only I will say, that he long since did very well see what Rome is, who upon leaving, used these verses: Roma vale, vidi, Satis est vidisse: revertar, Quumleno, meretrix, scurra, cinadus ero. Now farewell Rome, I have seen thee, it was enough to see: I will return when as I mean, bawd, harlot knave to be

(d) After a more secret type of meaning and understanding.

(14) Namely in his parts, as also he said to Saul in Ac 9:5

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 11:8-10. As the slaying of the two witnesses could not occur[2868] until they had fulfilled their mission, so the Almighty Lord[2869] here allows dishonor to be shown their dead bodies, only in order afterwards to glorify them the more, Revelation 11:11.

τὸ πτῶμα αὐτῶν. The sing.[2870] is regarded collectively;[2871] “that which has fallen of them,” i.e., their corpses.

ἐπὶ τῆς πλατείας τῆς πόλεως τῆς μεγάλης. On the street, in the place where in the public exercise of their μαρτυρία they are slain, they remain lying unburied,[2872] the most ignominious outrage even according to the feeling of the Gentiles,[2873] who here are represented as instruments of the beast of the abyss from the fact that they inflict such an outrage upon Christ’s witnesses, Revelation 11:9, and rejoice at this, Revelation 11:10.

That “the great city” is identical with the holy city where the ναὸς τοῦ θεοῦ stands, Revelation 11:1 sqq., and, therefore, is none other than Jerusalem, is evident already from the connection; just as unambiguously is this declared in Revelation 11:8, first in the spiritual designation of the same as Sodom and Egypt, then especially in the words ὅπου καὶ ὁ κύριος αὐτων ἐσταυρώθη. The spiritual designation (καλ. πνευματικῶς) expresses, in distinction from the proper historical name, the spiritual nature of the city; but the juxtaposition of the two names, Sodom and Egypt, shows that reference is not made here to individual relations,[2874] but to that wherein Sodom and Egypt are essentially alike, viz., entire enmity to the true God, his servants, and his people. As already the ancient prophets called Jerusalem, in express terms, Sodom,[2875] or a sister of Sodom,[2876] they wished not so much to characterize individual sins, as rather to designate them radically from the perverted position of the people to their God. So here the city wherein the witnesses of Christ are slain, and lie unburied on the street, and wherein also the Lord was crucified, is spiritually designated by both anti-theocratic names, because its antichristian hostility to the Lord is to be represented as against his witnesses.[2877] But the pneumatic designation of the city gives also the answer in harmony with the context to the question in hand as to why the city is called here, not, as Revelation 11:2, the holy, but “the great.” Aret., Calov., and many of the older Protestants, have concluded from a comparison with Revelation 16:19, Revelation 18:15, etc., that also in this passage the great city is nothing but Babel, i.e., Papal Rome. Ebrard and other allegorists wish from this designation to prove at least that not the actual Jerusalem, but that which is allegorically meant, i.e., the secularized church, is to be understood. The reply of De Wette, that John could no longer call the city holy after its “profanation,” and yet “wanted to designate it as a chief city containing a large population, Revelation 11:13, and at the same time many Gentiles, warriors, and others,” especially in its second part, is not properly satisfactory. The reason is more probable that it is impossible in one breath to call the city holy, and Sodom and Egypt, while the τ. μεγἀλῆς points in like manner as with respect to the city, which in ch. 16 sqq. bears the spiritual name of Babel, to the city’s greatness and power as the vain foundation of its godless security and arrogant enmity against the Lord and his witnesses calling to repentance.

That the concluding words of Revelation 11:8, ὅπου, κ.τ.λ., dare not be conceived of as a mere notice of locality, Ebrard properly mentions; but from this the impossibility does not result that the significance of the πνευματικῶς with καλεῖται extends also to the clause ὄπου

ἐσταυρώθη, as Hengstenb. and Ebrard still assert, as, like the old Protestant allegorists, they refer it to the spiritual crucifixion of the Lord in the secularized church,[2878] a conception against which already the aor. ἐσταυρώθη, pointing to the definite fact of the crucifixion, is arrayed,—but only the necessity follows for seeking the correct reference of that clause in the pragmatism of the context. Again, the text itself shows this, partly by the καὶ before ὁ κύρ. αὐτ., partly by the expression ὁ κύρ. αὐτων. Both belong inwardly together; as the two witnesses, so also their Lord was there slain, crucified; the servants have suffered the same thing as their[2879] Lord.[2880] This is accordingly made prominent, because from this it becomes clear that the antichristian enmity of the great city remains always the same; with the same hatred as that wherewith they formerly once brought the Lord there to the cross, they now slay the two witnesses just because they are his witnesses. But still in another respect is the allusion to the crucifixion of the Lord significant, viz., with respect to the judgment announced. For even in their days,[2881] the city shows the same impenitent hostility, on account of which the Lord himself already had proclaimed its judgment.[2882]

Revelation 11:9. The subj. to βλέπουσιν lies directly in the partitively formed expression ἐκ τῶν λαῶν, in connection with which a τινὲς is not to be supplied.[2883] In like manner, the subject is partitively formed, John 16:17, the object, Matthew 23:34; in the simple gen., without ἐκ, the partitive obj. is found; e.g., Revelation 3:9.

From peoples, kindreds, etc. (Revelation 5:9), Jews and Gentiles (cf. Revelation 11:2), many then have assembled in Jerusalem;[2884] these see the indignity (Revelation 11:8) ἡμέρας τρεῖς καὶ ἡμίσυ, “three days and a half.”[2885] The schematic significance of this date can only be mistaken, and a definite chronological prophecy be found here, if the specifications of time of Revelation 11:2-3, also be taken literally,[2886] which then of course is ill adapted to the further view of the allegorical character, and the reference of the whole to the antichristian period at the end of the world. All those have felt the schematic nature of the three and a half days, who have thought in connection therewith of only a short time;[2887] but that just three and a half days are named cannot be explained by an allusion to the three days during which the Lord lay in the grave;[2888] also not with Ewald: “Longer than it is proper for a dead person to be left unburied, especially if we consider that from the nature of the land the dead should be buried sooner, so as not to become offensive;” but only from the analogy of the three and a half years, Revelation 11:2 sq.[2889]

ἀφίουσι. The form, like the ἥφιεν, Mark 1:34; Mark 11:16, from the stem ἄφίω.[2890]

τεθῆναι εἰς μνῆμα. Cf. Luke 23:53; Luke 23:55; Matthew 27:60.

From the fact that in Revelation 11:10 it is said, “they that dwell upon the earth” rejoice over them,[2891] it has been inferred[2892] that not the actual Jerusalem is to be regarded as the scene, but the allegorically so-called great city, Papal Rome, or rather the Romish Papacy, which actually extends over the whole earth. Improperly; for the strange attempt in this way to present the entire mass of all individuals dwelling on earth as spectators would thereby miscarry. In the expression ΟἹ ΚΑΤΟΙΚ. ἘΠῚ Τ. Γ., the question is not with respect to the numerical mass, but the generic idea;[2893] the self-evident limitation to the ΚΑΤΟΙΚΟῦΝΤΕς ἘΠῖ Τῆς Γῆς[2894] found in the city, as representatives of the entire class, the text itself gives by accounting for their joy, to which they testify by mutual presents as on festivals,[2895] as follows: ὅτι οὺτοι οἱ δύο προφῆται ἐβασάνισαν τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. The βασανισμός[2896] on the part of the two prophetic witnesses, which in no way can be referred to the inner pain[2897] excited by their preaching of repentance,[2898] was perceptible only to the enemies in the city, who just as such represent the entire class of dwellers upon earth.

[2868] Cf., on this idea, the ἐδόθη αὐτῷ (Revelation 13:7).

[2869] Cf. Revelation 11:4.

[2870] Cf. Revelation 11:9, the plural.

[2871] De Wette.

[2872] Cf. Revelation 11:9.

[2873] Cf. Winer, Rwb., i. 172 sq.

[2874] Against Hengstenb.: “Ἁιγυπτος refers to religious corruption, Σόδομα to immoral practices.” Otherwise in Vitr., etc.

[2875] Isaiah 1:9 sqq.

[2876] Ezekiel 16:48.

[2877] Cf. Ewald, Bleek, De Wette.

[2878] In the Papacy. Calov., etc.

[2879] The reference of the αὐτῶν to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Ew. ii.) is ingenious, but violates the pragmatism of the statement, which also testifies to the passive form ἐσταυρώθη.

[2880] Cf. Matthew 10:24 sqq.: John 15:20.

[2881] Cf. Revelation 11:2 sqq.Revelation 11:8. God’s servants rejected and cast aside, as so much refuse! See Sam. Agonistes, 667–704. The “great city” is Jerusalem, an identification favoured by (a) incidental O.T. comparisons of the Jews to Sodom (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 23:14; so Asc. Isaiah 3:10), (b) the Christian editor’s note ὅπου καὶ ὁ κύριος αὐτῶν ἐσταυρώθη, (c) a passage like Luke 13:33, (d) the reference in Revelation 16:19, and (e) passages in Appian (Syr. 50 μεγίστη πόλις Ἱ.), Pliny (H. N. xiv. 70), Josephus (Apion, i. 22), and Sib. Or. (ver 154, 226, 413, written before 80 A.D.), all of which confirm this title (cf. the variant addition μεγάλην in Revelation 21:10): it is indeed put beyond doubt by the peculiar antichristtradition upon which the Jewish original was based (A. C. 19 f., 134 f., E. Bi. i. 179, 180). The obscurity and isolated character of this eschatology, “an exotic growth upon the soil of Judaism” and much more in early Christianity, may be accounted for perhaps by the historical changes in the later situation, which concentrated the antichrist in anti-Roman rather than in anti-Jewish hostility. As yet, however, the seduction of the Jews by a false messiah (cf. John 5:43 and its patristic interpretation) was quite a reasonable expectation: see the evidence gathered in A. C. 166 f. Victorinus, following the Apocalypse literally (Revelation 11:7 = Revelation 17:11), makes Nero redivivus beguile the Jews. The alternative to this theory has won considerable support (especially from Spitta and Wellhausen) upon various grounds; it regards the great city as Rome, where the two prophets are supposed to preach repentance to the heathen world and eventually to be killed. But although this suits some portions of the language well (e.g., Revelation 11:13, conversion to God of heaven), it is not exegetically necessary; it introduces Rome abruptly (8 c being of course taken as a gloss) and irregularly: nor does it explain the general contour of the oracle as happily as that advocated above. Bruston’s ingenious attempt to take τ. μεγάλης with πλατείας (= Jewish justice) is quite untenable, and the great city is not likely to be a translator’s error (Weyland), גרולה for קדושׁה.—πνευματικῶς (cf. Galatians 4:24 f.) as opposed to σαρκικῶς (“literally,” Just. Mart. Dial. xiv. 231 d) is “allegorically, or mystically.”—καὶ Αἴγυπτος, not as the home of magic (cf. Blzu’s Altjüd. Zauber-wesen, 39 f.) but as a classical foe of God’s people (and Moses of old?). The connexion with the water-dragon of Revelation 12:15 (cf. Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2) is obvious. Philo allegorises E[914] usually as a type of the corporeal and material.—ὅπου κ.τ.λ., no wonder if Christians suffer, after what their Lord had to suffer (cf. Matthew 10:22-25; Matthew 10:28 f.) at the hands of impious men. There is none of the modern’s surprise or indignation at the thought of “Christian blood shed where Christ bled for men”.

[914]. Codex Sangermanensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., now at St. Petersburg, formerly belonging to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Its text is largely dependent upon that of D. The Latin version, e (a corrected copy of d), has been printed, but with incomplete accuracy, by Belsheim (18 5).8. the street] For the sing. cf. Revelation 21:21, Revelation 22:2. The word in fact means a broad street, such as the principal street of a city would be. The modern Italian piazza is the same word; but Revelation 22:2 seems to shew that it is a street rather than a square—perhaps most accurately a “boulevard” in the modern sense, only running through the city, not round it.

the great city] Many commentators suppose this to be the Babylon of Revelation 14:8 and chaps. 17 sqq.—i.e. Rome, whether literally or in an extended sense. But this seems hardly natural. If it were, why is it not called Babylon here, just as in the last verse the beast was called the beast? Besides, here the great majority of the inhabitants repent at God’s judgement: contrast Revelation 16:9. The only other possible view is, that this great city is Jerusalem: and with this everything that is said about it seems to agree.

Sodom] Jerusalem is so called in Isaiah 1:10, and is likened to Sodom in Ezekiel 16:46. For the licentiousness of the generation before the fall of Jerusalem, see comm. on Hosea 4:14 : Jos. B. J. IV. ix. 10 suggests a closer likeness.

Egypt] Jerusalem, it must be admitted, is never so called in the O. T. But New Testament facts made the name appropriate: comparing Acts 2:47; Acts 5:12, &c. with the Epistle to the Galatians, we see how Jerusalem was at first the refuge of the people of God, from which nevertheless they had at last to escape as from a house of bondage.

our Lord] Read, their Lord—i.e. of the two Witnesses. This clause seems almost certainly to identify “the great city” as Jerusalem: perhaps St John uses the title, as implying that its old one, “the Holy City,” is forfeited. At the same time, if we do suppose the City meant to be Rome, these words can be explained, either by the responsibility of Pilate for the Lord’s death, or on the principle of the beautiful legend, Domine, quo vadis?—that the Lord suffered in His Servants.Revelation 11:8-9. Τὸ πτῶμα) נבלה in the singular number is used collectively, Psalm 79:2; Isaiah 26:19; Jeremiah 34:20 : and so in this place, τὸ πτῶμα respecting two. Also the head of Oreb and Zeeb is spoken of for the heads, Jdg 7:25. Presently afterwards, in the third place, τὰ πτώματα[111] is used: although in that place also there is a trace of the singular number in the Codex Leicestrensis, τὸ σῶμα. Although we see no reason for the difference, yet it would be rash to say that there is none. [In the text they are not said to lie. What, if you should suppose that they will be suspended, as their Lord also was suspended from the cross?—V. g.]—τῆς πλατείαςἐσταυρώθη, in the street—was crucified) The place of crucifixion was outside the city under Tiberius; I almost think that it was so under Adrian also. Eusebius teaches, that the scene of the Lord’s martyrdom, or the place of the cross, passed over into the city built by Constantine; lib. iii. on the Life of Const. ch. xxxii. and ch. xxxviii., where he mentions the neighbouring street. The shape of the city has been changed in various ways, and will be changed hereafter. Whether the city has the place of the cross within the walls at the present day, or has not (for travellers are at variance with one another, and those who deny it, do so with far greater appearance of truth), at the time of the witnesses, at least, it will undoubtedly have the place of the cross in the street, either within the walls or without; for thus also רהב is called the street, 2 Samuel 21:12; Proverbs 26:13; Nehemiah 8:1, with Adnot. Halens, p. 178; Luke 10:10 (comp. Matthew 10:14); Esther 4:6. Comp. Lightfoot, Hor. in Matt. p. 54. The beast has been this long time struggling eagerly concerning Palestine; after his ascent from the bottomless pit he struggles much more.

[111] τὰ πτώματα in ver. 8, and in the first and second places ver. 9, is the reading of Rec. Text, with h Vulg. Syr. But ABC Memph., in the former two instances, read τὸ πτῶμα.—E.Verse 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; their dead body (in the singular), according to A, B, C, Arethas, and others. The plural is read in N, P, Andreas, Primasius, and others. Omit "lie upon the highway... their Lord." "The great city" is referred to in Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:18; Revelation 18:10-19. Its signification is always the same, viz. the type of what is ungodly and of the world, and it is always consigned to punishment. Jerusalem, the type of what is holy, is never thus designated. Here we are plainly told the spiritual, that is, the symbolical nature of the designation. Sodom and Egypt are chosen as the type of what is evil (cf. Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 1:10; Ezekiel 16:46; Ezekiel 20:7, etc.). It was in this city, that is, by the influence of this world power, that the Lord was crucified. In describing the fate of the Church, St. John seems to have in mind the life of Christ. His witness, the opposition he encountered, his death for a brief time at the completion of his work, his resurrection and ascension, and triumph over the devil, are all here reproduced. "The bodies lie in the street" symbolizes, according to Jewish custom, the most intense scorn and hatred. Dead bodies (πτώματα)

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

In the street (ἐπὶ τῆς πλατείας)

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

The great city

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

Spiritually (πνευματικῶς)

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

Our Lord

Read αὐτῶν their for ἡμῶν our.

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