The Little Book of the Revelation - Tenth in a series
Which Scripture verses comprise the Little Book?
The angel of Chapter 10 swore that the mystery of God will have been fulfilled when the seventh trumpet sounds, which occurs at Rev. 11:15. (Rev 10:7). The tenth chapter ends with John taking the Little Book out of the angel’s hand, eating it and noting its effect on his person.
- And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and when I had eaten it, my belly was made bitter. And they say unto me, Thou must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings. (Rev 10:10-11)
The contents of the Little Book are therefore only verses 1-14 of Chapter 11.
- And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and one said, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
- And the court which is without the temple leave without, and measure it not; for it hath been given unto the nations: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
- And I will give unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
- These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks, standing before the Lord of the earth.
- And if any man desireth to hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies; and if any man shall desire to hurt them, in this manner must he be killed.
- These have the power to shut the heaven, that it rain not during the days of their prophecy: and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they shall desire.
- And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that cometh up out of the abyss shall make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them.
- 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.
- And after the three days and a half the breath of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them that beheld them.
- And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they went up into heaven in the cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
- And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell; and there were killed in the earthquake seven thousand persons: and the rest were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
- The second Woe is past: behold, the third Woe cometh quickly.
We see something new with the Little Book narrative. The destruction it describes ends with at least some people giving glory to the Lord.
In other similar catastrophic scenes we read that those who did not die also did not repent (Rev 9:20-21, Rev 16:9, 11), but this group is shown to have a change of heart: they feared and they glorified God. (Rev 11:13)
Is the Little Book included with the events of the sixth trumpet? Or is it a separate account whose span on the timeline is not made clear?
In that its events precede and force the announcement of the second woe (Rev 11:14), it would seem to be within the time frame of the sixth trumpet. This is so because the fifth trumpet events marked the first woe (Rev 9:12). However, some of its contents may relate to an overall time period whose start point is unclear.
A time period of forty-two months, that is, three and a half years, or 1260 days in the Little Book relates to 1. the time that the two witnesses testify (Rev 11:3) and 2. the time that the gentiles trample the holy city (Rev 11:2).
We previously noted that this time period is the same as that of the reign of antichrist (Rev 13:5) and for the protection of the Jews (Rev 12: 6). Specifically, the reign of the antichrist and the trampling of the outer courts takes place for ‘forty-two months,’ and the testimony of the two witnesses and protection of the Jews lasts for ‘1260 days.’ Why this difference? The witnesses and the marked Jews are coupled and the antichrist and destruction are. That’s logical.
The Lord maintains a witness for his kingdom and gospel throughout the time that the Antichrist reigns, an amazing accomplishment! Nothing is too hard for the Lord.
This time period may start before the breaking of the seventh seal (Rev 8:1), maybe even with the opening of the first one (Rev 6:1), overarching in its reach.
We could see the Little Book as a story within a story with its own special message, one which is lifted from the core document to focus our attention on a particular prophecy and mystery which must be traced a verse at a time, which we will begin to do in the next post.
The second woe may be worse than the third
Does the earthquake that kills seven thousand men and topples a tenth of the city define the second woe? (Rev 11:13) That would seem strange in that one-third of mankind were killed during the sixth trumpet events (Rev 9:18), a much larger number. So, perhaps the suffering this woe describes could relate to a larger reason than the earthquake destruction. Let’s drill down!