11:1 And there 1 was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the
angel stood, saying, Rise, and 2 measure the temple of
God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
(1) The authority of the intended revelation being declared,
together with the necessity of that calling which was
particularly imposed on John after which follows the
history of the estate of Christ his Church, both
conflicting or warring, and overcoming in Christ. For the
true Church of Christ is said to fight against that which
is falsely so called, over which Antichrist rules, Christ
Jesus overthrowing Antichrist by the spirit of his mouth:
and Christ is said to overcome most gloriously until he
shall slay Antichrist by the appearance of his coming, as
the apostle teaches in (2Th 2:8). So this history has
two parts: One of the state of the Church conflicting with
temptations until Chapter 16. The other of the state of
the same church obtaining victory, thence to Chapter 20.
The first part has two sections most conveniently distributed
into their times, of which the first contains a history of
the Christian Church for 1260 years, what time the gospel of
Christ was as it were taken up from among men into heaven:
the second contains a history of the same Church to the
victory perfected. These two sections are briefly, though
distinctly propounded in this chapter, but both of them are
discoursed after in due order. For we understand the state
of the Church conflicting, out of Chapters 12 and 13, and
of the same growing out of afflictions, out of Chapters 14 to
16. Neither did John unknowingly join together the history
of these two times in this chapter, because here is spoken of
prophecy, which all confess to be but one just and immutable
in the Church, and which Christ commanded to be continual.
The history of the former time reaches to (Re 11:2-14),
the latter is set down in the rest of this chapter
(Re 11:15-19). In the former are shown these things: the
calling of the servants of God in (Re 11:4) the conflicts
which the faithful must undergo in their calling, for Christ
and his Church, thence to (Re 11:5-10) and their
resurrection, and receiving up into heaven to (Re 11:11-14).
In the calling of the servants of God, two things are
mentioned: the begetting and settling of the Church in two
verses, and the education of it in two verses. The begetting
of the Church is here commended to John by sign and by speech:
the sign is a measuring rod, and the speech a commandment to
measure the Temple of God, that is, to reduce the same to a
new form: because the Gentiles are already entered into the
Temple of Jerusalem, and shall shortly defile and overthrow
(2) Either that of Jerusalem's, which was a figure of the
Church of Christ, or that heavenly model in (Re 11:19)
but I like the first better, and the things following all
agree to it. The sense therefore is, you see all things in
God's house, almost from the passion of Christ, to be
disordered: and not only the city of Jerusalem, but also the
court of the Temple is trampled under foot by the nations,
and by profane men whether Jews or strangers: and that only
this Temple, that is, the body of the Temple, with the altar,
and a small company of good men who truly worship God, do now
remain, whom God sanctifies and confirms by his presence.
Measure therefore this, even this true Church, or rather the
true type of the true Church, omitting the rest, and so
describe all things from me, that the true Church of Christ
may be as it were a very little centre, and the Church of
Antichrist as the circle of the centre, every way in length
and breadth compassing about the same, that by way of prophecy
you may so declare openly, that the state of the Temple of God,
and the faithful who worship him, that is, of the Church, is
much more upright than the Church of Antichrist.
11:23 But the a court which is without the temple b leave
out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the 4
Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot 5
forty [and] two months.
(3) As if he should say, it is not your place to judge those
who are outside, (1Co 5:12) who are innumerable:
look to those of the household only, or to the house of the
(a) He speaks of the outer court, which was called the
peoples court, because all men might come into that.
(b) That is counted to be cast out, which in measuring is
refused as profane.
(4) To profane persons, wicked and unbelievers, adversaries to
(5) Or a thousand, two hundred and sixty days, as is said in
(Re 11:3): that is, a thousand two hundred and sixty
years, a day for a year, as often in Ezekiel and Daniel,
which I noted before (see Geneva "Re 2:10"). The
beginning of these thousand two hundred and sixty years,
we account from the passion of Christ, by which (the
partition wall being broken down) we were made from two into
one (Eph 2:14). I say, one flock under one shepherd in
(Joh 10:16) and the end of these years precisely falls
into the reign of pope Boniface the eighth, who a little
before the end of 1294, entered Rome in the feast of Saint
Lucie (as Bergomensis says) having put in prison his
predecessor Coelestinus, whom by fraud, under colour of
Oracle, he deceived: for which cause it was well said of
him, "Intravit ut vulpes, regnavit ut leo, mortuus est ut
canis." That is, "He entered like a fox, reigned like a
lion, and died like a dog." For if from 1294, you subtract
the number of years Christ lived on the earth, you will
find there remains just one thousand two hundred and sixty
years, which are mentioned in this place and many others.
11:3 And 6 I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they
shall 7 prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore
days, clothed in sackcloth.
(6) I would rather translate it "illud" than "illam" the temple
than the city: for God says, I will give that temple, and
commit it to my two witnesses, that is, to the ministers of
the word, who are few indeed, weak and contemptible: but
yet two, that is, of such a number as one of them may help
another, and one confirm the testimony of another to all
men, that from the mouth of two or three witnesses every
word may be made good among men; (2Co 13:1).
(7) They will exercise their office enjoined by me by the space
of those 1260 years, in the midst of afflictions though
never so lamentable, which is figuratively shown by the
11:4 These 8 are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks
standing before the God of the earth.
(8) That is, the ordinary and perpetual instruments of
spiritual grace, peace and light in my Church, which God by
his only power preserved in this Temple. See (Zec 4:3).
11:59 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.
(9) The power and surety of the holy ministry, which is truly
evangelical, is declared both in earth and in heaven,
protecting the administers of it, and destroying its
enemies, in this verse, divine power, most mightily
showing itself forth in heaven, earth and the sea in
(Re 11:6) as it is described in (2Co 10:4)
according to the promise of Christ in (Mk 16:17).
This is the second place (as I said before) of the combats
which the servants of God must undergo in the executing of
their calling, and of the things that follow the same
combats or conflicts are these things to overcome, in these
two verses: to be overcome and killed in (Re 11:7)
After the slaughter follow these things, that the carcasses
of the godly, laid abroad in (Re 11:8) and being
unburied, are scorned, together with cursing and bitter
abhorrance (Re 11:9) and that therefore congratulations
are publicly and privately made in (Re 11:10).
11:710 And when they shall have c finished their testimony,
11 the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit
shall make war against them, and shall 12 overcome them,
and kill them.
(10) That is, when they have spent those 1260 years mentioned
in (Re 11:2-3) in publishing their testimony
according to their office.
(c) When they have done their message.
(11) Of which after Chapter 13, that beast is the Roman
Empire, made long ago of civil, ecclesiastical: the chief
head of which was then Boniface the eighth, as I said
before: who lifted up himself in so great arrogancy, (says
the author of "Falsciculus temporum") that he called
himself, Lord of the whole world, as well in temporal
causes, as in spiritual: There is a document of that
matter, written by the same Boniface most arrogantly,
shall I say, or most wickedly, "Ca. unam sanctam, extra de
majoritate & obedientia." In the sixth of the Decretals
(which is from the same author) many things are found of
the same argument.
(12) He shall persecute most cruelly the holy men, and put them
to death, and shall wound and pierce through with
cursings, both their names and writings. That this was
done to very many godly men, by Boniface and others, the
histories do declare, especially since the time that the
odious and condemned name amongst the multitude, first of
the brethren Waldonenses or Lugdunenses, then also of the
Fraticels, was pretended, that good men might with more
approbation be massacred.
11:8 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
"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 )
11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations
shall see their dead bodies 15 three days and an half,
and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
(15) That is, for three years and a half: for so many years
Boniface lived after his Jubile, as Bergomensis witnesses.
11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth 16 shall rejoice over
them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another;
because these two prophets 17 tormented them that dwelt
on the earth.
(16) So much the more shall they by this occasion exercise the
hilarity of their Jubile.
(17) The gospel of Christ is the affliction of the world, and
the ministry of it, the savour of death to death, to those
that perish, (2Co 2:16).
11:1118 And after 19 three days and an half 20 the Spirit
of life from God entered into them, and they 21 stood
upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw
(18) The third passage, as noted before, is of the rising again
of the prophets from the dead, and their carrying up into
heaven. For their resurrection is shown in this verse:
their calling and lifting up into heaven, in the verse
(19) That is, what time God shall destroy that wicked Boniface.
(20) That is, the prophets of God shall in a manner rise again,
not the same in person (as they say) but in spirit: that
is, in the power and efficacy of their ministry, which
John expressed before, in (Re 11:5,6) So the prophecy
that is spoken of Elijah, is interpreted by the angel to
be understood of John the Baptist (Lu 1:17). For the
same Boniface himself, who sought to kill and destroy them,
was by the fire of God's mouth (which the holy ministry
shows and exhibits) devoured and died miserably in prison,
by the endeavour of Satra Columensis and Nagaretus a French
knight, whom Philip the fair King of France sent into Italy
but with a very small power.
(21) That is, the most grievous heat of afflictions and
persecution shall stay for a while, for the great amazement
that shall arise on that sudden and unlooked for judgment
11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them,
22 Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a
cloud; 23 and their enemies beheld them.
(22) They were called by God into heaven, and taken out of this
wicked world, into the heavenly Church, which also lies
hidden here in the earth, to exercise their calling
secretly: of whom this wretched world was unworthy;
(Heb 11:38). For the church of the wicked is by
comparison called the earth, or the world: and the Church
of the godly, heaven. As it was in ancient times among the
godly Israelites: so among the Jews in the days of Manasseh
and other kings, when the earth refused the heirs of heaven,
we read that they lay hidden as heaven in the earth.
(23) Yet they could not hinder the secret ones of the Lord (as
the Psalmist called them) (Ps 83:3) but they prospered
in his work.
11:1324 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, 25 and e gave glory to the God of heaven.
(24) Bergomensis said, in 1301, "This year a blazing star
foretelling great calamity to come, appeared in heaven: in
which year during the feast of St. Andrew, a great
earthquake occurred as never before: it continued for many
days, and overthrew many stately houses." This he said of
the year following the Jubilee: which John many ages
before, expressed word for word.
(25) They were indeed broken with present astonishment of mind,
but did not earnestly repent as they ought to have done.
(e) Glorified God by confessing his name.
11:1426 The second woe is past; [and], behold, the third woe
(26) He passes to the second history, which is the second part
of this chapter. John calls these the second and third
woe, see (Re 9:12).
11:1527 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great
voices in heaven, saying, 28 The kingdoms of this world
are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ;
and he shall reign for ever and ever.
(27) Of whose sounding the trumpet Christ expressly foretold in
(Re 10:7) and this is the second part of this chapter,
containing a general history of the Christian Church, from
the time of Boniface to the consummation of the victory
declared by voice from heaven. In this history there are
three branches: a preparation by the sound of the angels
trumpet: a narration by the voice of heavenly angels and
elders and a confirmation by sign.
(28) The narration has two parts: an acclamation of the
heavenly creatures in this verse, and both an adoration by
all the elders in (Re 11:16) and also a thanksgiving
in (Re 11:17-18). The sense of the acclamation is,
"Now the Lord has entered his kingdom and has restored his
church in which most mightily recovered from the
profanation of the Gentiles, he may glorify himself."
Namely that, which the Lord ordained when he first
ordained his Church, that the faith of the saints does now
behold as accomplished.
11:1629 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God
on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
(29) As before in (Re 7:11). This giving of thanks is
altogether of the same content with the words going
11:1830 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
(30) A speech of the Hebrew language, as if to say, as Gentiles
being angry, your inflamed wrath came on them, and showed
itself from heaven, occasioned by their anger and fury.
11:19 And the temple of God was 31 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.
(31) This is the confirmation of the next prophecy before going
by signs exhibited in heaven, and that of two sorts, of
which some are visible, as the passing away of the heaven,
the opening of the temple, the ark of the covenant
appearing in the temple, and testifying the glorious
presence of God, and the lightning: others apprehended by
ear and feeling, which bear witness in heaven and earth to
the truth of the judgments of God.