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Composite title graphic for the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11, showing the globe of planet Earth on the parched, broken ground of a field and stormy skies on the left side and wide rays of light orange light on the other.

Chapter Four of this CommentaryPart 6.

The Sixth Trumpet of Revelation
Also called "the second woe."

Chapters 9, 10, and 11
of the Book of Revelation

Scene 11 of the Sixth Trumpet           Revelation 11:8-10 

The Two Witnesses Lie Dead for Three and a Half Days

 Their cadavers are exposed in the street of the great city that, in a spiritual sense, is called Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem.

Atheists, humanists, hedonists, and unnaturals of all

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kinds congratulate each other, rejoicing and sending each other gifts in celebration of the death of the Two Witnesses who had tormented them unbearably. Elements of the above graphic are meant to convey some of their actions.

VI. The Two Witnesses lay dead for three and a half days. Revelation 11:8-10

“And their dead bodies lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 

And from among the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations do men look upon their dead bodies three days and a half, and suffer not their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.

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

A. "…their dead bodies…"

1. That is, the bodies of the martyred faithful ministers of the Two Prophets.

In the context of the prophecy, these ministers are the voice and the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit on the earth. Therefore, when the unbelievers contemplate their bodies, it is as if they were contemplating the dead forms, inert and overcome of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

However, Christ and the Holy Spirit remain alive and powerful in heaven. Very attentive to the malicious persecution of their representatives on planet Earth and fully informed as to who are their foolish, carnal enemies, of their diabolical agendas, and the violent intentions of their darkened hearts, they will not hold back long in avenging the blood of the martyred in consequence of the testimony they proclaimed and the prophecies they boldly enunciate during the “1,260 days,” as well as the blood of all such martyrs of all times. Revelation 6:9-11

2. Are real "dead bodies” to be understood, that is, physically dead bodies? I think this possibility is not to be discarded. As a matter of fact, it is notorious that among really soulless human beings there are those so evil that they are willing to expose the dead bodies of their victims to the gaze of any and all, even more so in the case of enemies who have, in one way or another, tormented them!

From ancient times, we have the example of Philistines who, finding the body of the Israelite King Saul, “they cut off his head, and stripped off his armor, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry the tidings unto the house of their idols, and to the people. And they put his armor in the house of the Ashtaroth; and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.” 1 Samuel 31:9-10

3. On the other hand, the words “dead bodies” might could be interpreted symbolically or metaphorically. For example, in the sense that the physical bodies of the martyrs would be buried, but the images, visualizations, or memories of their despised persons would remain present and alive in the minds of the unbelievers who had killed them.

However, I personally find this interpretation of the “dead bodies” to be rather forced, for it seems not to harmonize with the palpable realism of the rest of the events of this Scene 11 and preceding scenes. The peoples of the deceived nations are real human beings and their attack on the Two Witnesses, that is, their faithful human representatives on earth, is real. The Two Witnesses really do exist in the persons of live Christians on earth who really do occupy actual physical bodies. The martyrdom of some is also real, and so is their resurrection as well as their ascension to heaven.

In scenarios of such realism, what solid reason would there be for interpreting “dead bodies” in a symbolical or metaphorical way?

B. “And their dead bodies lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 

1. Interestingly, the Holy Spirit himself gives us a clue to decipher the meaning of “the great city,” to wit, the phrase "…which spiritually is called…”

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The opposite of "…which spiritually is called…” would be “is called in an earthly, material, literal sense. Consequently, it is deduced that we should not interpret “the great city” in a rigorously material-earthly sense but rather, very specifically, spiritually.”

Spiritually,” “the great city is called Sodom and Egypt.”

A somewhat abstract painting of a part of Egypt, with a pyramid in the center and swirling, menacing

atmospheric phenomena we may interpret as evidence of the idolatries and superstitions rampant in that country during the long centuries of the Pharaohs.

Now then, “Egypt” is the name of a country, and not of a city. Therefore, I would reason that “the great city represents, for the time when the Two Witnesses lie dead, every morally corrupt city on the face of the earth, as also all idolatrous countries, ancient Egypt being one of them to the nth degree during its three millenniums as a powerful secular-political-idolatrous entity.

The scene projected, then, would be that of cities and countries driven mostly by atheists, humanists, hedonists, and idolatrous populations that would corral the elect people of God, limiting, even making impossible the fulfillment of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to take the gospel to all the world.

a) "Sodom" is an infamous symbol of the most depraved human beings.

b) The “Egypt" of the Pharaohs symbolizes cultures immersed in idolatry, and is, additionally, a prototype of countries that repress, exploit, and enslave the people of God. Those knowledgeable in biblical history know that Egypt enslaved the people of Israel for more than four centuries, during the time between from about 2,000 to 1,500 years before Christ.

c) The city "where their Lord was crucified" is, of course, earthly Jerusalem.

Though earthly Jerusalem may well be the figure of the “new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2), of the “heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22), it is no less certain that it symbolizes, particularly for the time of the earthly ministry of Christ and his apostles…

Religious centers founded on human traditions. Matthew15:7-9

Religious organizations allied with secular-political ones (the Sadducees and the Herodians). Matthew 22:16

city-great-temple-abstract.jpg

Above, right, another abstract painting which appears to represent some huge temple hovering over a great city. From the very first cities of any size, idolatrous temples were at their center, the gods and goddesses enshrined in them dominating religious and social life, and even the politics and military of the peoples who sacrificed to them.

Religious hierarchies plagued by hypocrisy, material ostentation, and worldly pride, for example, the Scribes.

And religious sects, such as the Pharisees, burning with destructive fanatism (Matthew 23), including obstinate opposition to God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the inspired Word, and the church established by Christ, despite any contrary concepts they might have had of themselves.

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Even in the smaller cities, a strong inclination is detected to imitate the worst of the larger: The desire to be like them. The longing to offer the same carnal attractions.

d) Sadly, the great cities of the world are usually the focus of all kinds of moral corruption and are a very fertile ground for abundant seeds of spiritual rebellion, which germinate quickly, producing evils of the lightest shades to the deepest, darkest.

A futuristic city whose buildings, lighting, and general atmosphere project, as I interpret them, a mysterious, sinister, godless aura.

So then, for the time of the “1,260 days,” when the Two Prophets prophesy and are killed for their testimony, great cities are visualized, cities of all sizes, even more saturated with the Satanic than Sodom, Jerusalem, and the cities of Egypt.

e) With regard to the countries, or nations, of the “little while,” all are deceived by Satan, according to the prophetical projections of Revelation. Full of the “smoke” from the “pit of the abyss” (Revelation 9:1-3), they oppose God and his true people, taking, once they unify and consider themselves capable, the audacious step of aggressively surrounding “the camp of the saints” (Revelation 20:7-9), and go so far as to kill some of the earthly representatives of the Two Witnesses.

2. As of the year 2023 of the present Common Era, all around the earthly globe, approximately 58% of the human race is living in small, to medium, to great, even mega urban areas. Experts in population growth foresee the continual increase of that percentage. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.URB.TOTL.IN.ZS

3. Reflecting on these facts and “the great city” of Revelation 11:8, it appears reasonable to anticipate that faithful ministers of the Lord dedicated to prophesying and giving testimony during the “1,260 days,” will confront, precisely in the corrupt cities of the “little while,” the most ferocious opposition to their message, for it is in such cities that the people most lacking in faith and liberated from just about any and all moral restraints, tend to conglomerate. And, as if that were not enough to set the stage for epic human disasters, especially of a moral-spiritual nature, the most depraved, cruel, and criminal are added to their number.

The belligerent, violent unbelieving of these categories are the ones most likely to kill some of the spokespeople and defenders of God and his cause, adding the atrocity of exposing their dead bodies in the “street,” that is, in public places, perhaps of the worst kind, of the cities of the earth. Thus, I visualize what is prophetically projected, without any pretension of fully grasping the actual playing out of what is prophesied.

C. "And they that dwell on the earth rejoice over them, and make merry; and they shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth.” Revelation 11:9

1. The clause "the peoples and tribes and tongues and nationsI consider parallel, in terms of territorial reach, to the clause “the kings of the whole world,” in Revelation 16:14.

Logically, the work of the Two Witnesses is carried out around as much of the whole globe of earth as they can reach. Therefore, wherever the earthly representatives of the Two Witnesses give testimony in the critical time when the beast makes war against them, some of them may be killed! And in the cities and places where valiant representatives of the Two Witnesses are slain, some of the dead bodies will be exposed in places frequented by the public, especially that part of the public for which the violent, the macabre, the vilest aspects of human society are cause for the expression of the most depraved emotions and comments.

To be sure, the parameters and circumstances associated with the Two Witnesses indicate that Harmagedon will be global. They are not limited to the territory occupied by the Israelites during the time of the 1st century, nor only to those territories that made up the Roman Empire.

In reality, these parameters and circumstances do not have anything to do with the 1st century. Rather, with the “little while” that precedes the end of the material world and time. Once and again, we repeat for emphasis and clarity: the “little while,” which includes the “1,260 days,” transpires AFTER the time of the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, and the Millennium, coming right before the Second Coming of Christ “like a thief in the night.”

2. "…the three and a half days..." 

Comparing the “three and half days” to the “1,260 days,” it is to be concluded that a very short period of time is envisioned. “Three and a half days;” no more. Given this circumstance, I conclude that the duration of the defeat, suffered by the Two Witnesses and their earthly representatives at the hands of their fiercely angry enemies full up to their ears with resentment at the testimony against them, will be very, very short!

All of a sudden, the earthly representatives of the Two Witnesses stand “upon their feet, and hear “a great voice from heaven saying to them: Come up here,” and right away “they went up into heaven in a cloud,” while their terrified enemies watched them.

3. "… and suffer not their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb."

a) Having been tormented by the prophecies and testimony, the unbelievers, not satisfied with having overcome them and killed some, add to their enormous sins by committing sacrilege when they do not bury the dead bodies of the martyrs.

b) By means of this impudent and barbarous act, the unbelievers manifest just how great is their anger against the Creator God, his

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faithful ministers on earth and all his holy people in general.

In the words of King David, they rise up "against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sits in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision.” Salm 2:1-4

So fiery and cruel is their anger that, for them, there is no more hope of repentance! There is no longer any remedy. 2 Chronicles 36:15-16. What awaits them is physical death and, then, eternal condemnation, severe and just punishments that will suddenly come upon them when the “Faithful and True,” the “King of kings and Lord of lords,” mounted on his “white horse” and accompanied by his “armies which are in  heaven… clothed in fine linen, white and pure,” who follow him on “white horses.” Revelation 19:11-21

D. "And they that dwell on the earth rejoice over them, and make merry; and they shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth.” Revelation 11:10

1. "…they that dwell on the earth …," that is, the unbelieving and depraved who dominate the earth during the “1,260 days.”

2. "…rejoice over them, and make merry; and they shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth.” 

a) Those who triumph over some powerful and hated enemy usually rejoice, feel happy, congratulate each other, boast, hold banquets, get drunk, and dance, even for days and weeks on end, and give each other gifts, including ones of great value. As when a tribe, people, nation, or group of nations overcome their despised enemies.

For example, money, jewels, perfumes, costly liquors, drugs, vehicles, houses, lands, trips, rich garments, rich foods, extravagant parties, high positions, titles, plaques, etc.

b) Obviously, the unbelievers who predominate on the earth during the “1,260 days,” come to hate with all their proud and corrupt souls and hearts the faithful earthly representatives of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Day after day, they listen to the prophecies and testimony against the deceived nations. However, instead of repenting, they just get angrier and angrier even to the boiling point! Truly, they do feel really tormented in mind, heart, and spirit! Can’t stop thinking about what those obnoxious prophets are predicting for them if they do not repent, and they don’t want to repent. Love their lifestyles. Want to enjoy them without ever hearing any criticism of them.

Not being able to shut them up quickly, for, during the “little while” leading up to the very last days, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit providentially protect them, they accumulate in their hardened hearts more and more rancor, hate, and wrath until it is stifling them!

When, at last, they are able to corral them and kill some of them, silencing the rest, their relief and joy burst forth like an avalanche at having freed themselves from their hated tormentors who had relentlessly censured their vile acts, all their vain words, their atheism, their blasphemies, their empty philosophies, their dishonorable and unnatural lifestyles, prophesying the imminent end of all that is material, sensual, and worldly, and eternal punishment for all rebellious, unbelieving, guilty souls.

Dear reader, if these somber, highly disquieting projections for the future, perhaps nor far around the corner or more upon us than we care to admit, seem almost totally improbable to you, you might change your mind a little if you do a sober, objective analysis of the general states of minds, hearts, and spirits of today’s children and youth from the first grade through college years. Pure secularism, materialism, and atheism, social anger, alienation, harassment, identity distortions and fantasies, racism, gang mentalities, and no little chaos figure among the negative, dangerous elements increasing exponentially in more and more educational and social institutions. A rising tsunami of evils that may well propel cultures and nations to make outright war on any people or entities that dare contravene the desires, passions, philosophies, and will of those in power.

Your evaluation of this study will be greatly appreciated. hshappley@yahoo.com

Scene 12, of Trumpet 6 of Revelation. The representatives of the Two Witnesses, that is, their spokespeople and defenders on earth, dead for three and a half days, are physically resurrected, and, hearing a voice calling them, ascend to heaven, their astounded enemies literally beholding both events. Last events of the Second Woe.

Category. Revelation: Its 21st Century and Fulfillment. 21st Century Commentary.

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