1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22

Revelation 11 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Revelation 11 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

(11:2) "The holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."
42: It's not God's favorite number
Forty two months is three and a half years, or thousand two hundred and sixty days. It is obviously a symbolic number, meaning that at certain set times the gospel will be preached with great clarity. I.e. this will not happen once, but will be repeated throughout history and throughout different regions of the world.

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

(11:3-5) God's two witnesses
Anyone that messes with God's two olive trees and two candlesticks (God's witnesses) will be burned to death by fire that comes out of their mouths.
Self defence? A cruel concept according to the author of the SAB.

4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

(11:6) "To smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will."
God's witnesses have special powers. They can shut up heaven so that it cannot rain, turn rivers into blood, and smite the earth with plagues "as often as they will."
This is a book of symbols.

7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

(11:7) "The beast shall ... kill them."
After God's witnesses "have finished their testimony," they are  killed in a war with a beast from a bottomless pit.
This describes the spiritual battle: while the gospel reigns for some time, as it did during the reformation, the evil forces will overcome them for a time, and so we live in a time where every abomination is now a moral imperative. But these evil forces will not win, but are only allowed to demonstrate their evilness for a time.

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.

(11:8) "The great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified"
What city is referred to here? Is Jerusalem spiritually called Sodom and Egypt? Rome, maybe? Salt Lake City?
Clearly, only for one city can it be said that our Lord was crucified there, so Jerusalem is the literal meaning.

9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

(11:8-12) Their dead bodies lie unburied for three and a half days. People will "rejoice over them and make merry, and shall send gifts to one another." After another three and half days God brings his witnesses back to life and they ascend into heaven.
BOM: 3 Nephi 26:4
There have been many instances where people have rejoiced when the gospel was stopped. For example the pope was greatly delighted when 80,000 protestants were murdered and celebrated it publicly:

Philip II of Spain received the news with undisguised joy, for the massacres agreed with his own line of policy. Pope Gregory XIII was so overjoyed that he commanded a salute to be fired, all the church bells to be rung, and a grand Te Deum to be sung. For three nights Rome was illuminated.

11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

(11:13-14) The Second Woe
When the witnesses ascend into heaven, an earthquake kills 7000 men. This was the second woe. "The third woe cometh quickly."
Nations that persecute Christians are often greatly troubled.

14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

(11:16) "The four and twenty elders ... fell upon their faces." (FOF)

16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

(11:18) "Thy wrath is come ... that thou ... shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."
God just told us about his fire-breathing trees and candelsticks that will make the rain stop, turn rivers and oceans into blood, and smite the earth with plagues" (11:4-6), but now he says he will destroy those that destroy the earth. I guess God's going to commit suicide. Good idea.
It might not yet be clear by now, but this is a book of symbols. When the seventh trumpet sounds, the final judgement has come, the tormentors of the church will receive their reward, and the church will enter into glory.

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.

(11:19) "There were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."
Here starts the fourth scene, and we move from the history that can be seen, persecutors and believers, sinners and saved, to the players behind the scene. World history is a battle between God and Satan. Sinners are not free like they think, but they are in the active service of their master.