Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Revelation 11: God Rules Through Fear and Violence

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The Two Witnesses (v. 1-14)

John was given a measuring rod like a staff and instructed to measure the temple of God and the alter and the people who worship there. However, he was told not to measure the court outside, as it will be taken over by the nations as they trample the holy city for 42 months.

So John is supposed to measure the temple and alter with a staff? And he's supposed to use it to measure the people who worship there as well? And as to the holy city being trampled, I keep coming back to the question of why, why would God's plan include his holy city being trampled?

Once again, I'm using Guzik as a source of Christian commentary. Apparently in Ezekiel 40-43 there is an extended passage where the temple is measured, this denotes ownership, protection and preservation. The measurement in Ezekiel included the outer courts, so I guess that is why the difference here is mentioned. The outer courts are being abandoned by God I guess.

"When this temple is measured, it shows that God knows its every dimension, and He is in charge."
I thought God was supposed to be omniscient.
God is in charge. This is one of the glorious, mighty themes of the Book of Revelation. Revelation 11:17 again uses the title Almighty for God. The Greek word for Almighty is pantokrater, and it describes “the one who has his hand on everything.” Nine out of the ten times this word is used in the New Testament, it is used in Revelation. This temple will be the scene of great horror and great glory, but God is in charge of it all!
We see this again and again, Guzik points out why I am disgusted by the book, but then seems to see it in some kind of positive light. It's very puzzling to me. The temple will be a scene of great horror and God is in charge of it. Right, that's why I think he's a monster!

God will give authority to 2 witnesses to phophesy for 1260 days. They will be dressed in sackcloth.

This isn't a big deal, but this is nearly 3.5 years. Why the random bit of precision? Just struck me as odd.

These are the 2 olive trees and 2 lampstands that stand before the lord of the earth.

Apparently this is referring to some other prophecy? Otherwise it makes no sense.

I was right, apparently this was mentioned in Zechariah.

If anyone harms them, fire pours out of their mouths and consumes their foes. They can keep it from raining while they are prophesying, they can turn water to blood, the can cause every kind of plague.

Interesting list of powers. What does it say about God that these are the powers he gives his spokesmen?

When they are finished, the beast will rise from the bottomless pit and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street for 3.5 days. Those who are still on earth will rejoice and exchange presents over them, as they were a torment to those left on earth, but then God will raise them from the dead and freak everyone out. They will then ascend to heaven and there will be an earthquake which causes a tenth of the city to fall and kill 7000 people. The remaining people give glory to God.

I feel like a broken record, but this is the God of the bible, he wanted the people to worship him, and had no qualms about killing 7000 of them and freaking the rest of them out to the point that they would "give him glory" to make him stop. This is simply not a god of love.

The Seventh Trumpet (v. 15-19)

The seventh angel blew his trumpet and loud voices from heaven said that now the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, he shall reign forever and ever.

Well this is interesting. Very early on in the blog (which I can't seem to find now), someone posted in the comments that the kingdom of God could just refer to the Christians who are in power. It's a kingdom on the earth which is controlled by God's followers. This seems to go against that interpretation as it says the kingdom of the Lord starts during the apocalypse.

The 24 elders praised God and chanted, then God's temple in heaven was opened and the ark of the covenant was seen in the temple and lightning thunder, and earthquake, and heavy hail were unleashed.

What are the lessons from today's reading?

Revelation 11:13 God rules through fear and violence

"And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven."


  1. Yeah, the Kingdom thing was literally meant to be a Kingdom as far as I can tell. Those who warp it to be otherwise are sadly mistaken, in my opinion. But there are several confusing verses to muddy the water, like the Kingdom of God being like leavening mixed into bread, or like a mustard seed, etc.

    1. Sorta makes you think that the writers of the bible used whatever interpretation is convenient at the time, regardless of how it is used elsewhere. Contradictions be damned!

      Actually, now that I think of it, this sorta reminds me of the simpsons.

  2. "God will give authority to 2 witnesses to phophesy for 1260 days. They will be dressed in sackcloth."

    How am I supposed to tell if its one of those crazy street preachers?

    "These are the 2 olive trees and 2 lampstands that stand before the lord of the earth."

    It always strikes me as interesting that everything significant is something that is local to the authors of the Bible.

    1. That's a good point, this does seem to be describing those street preachers. Also, in the gospels there was warning of not following false prophets that could do the tricks of Jesus. There really doesn't seem to be a good way to tell these guys apart. Seems that you just have to take a shot and hope for the best


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