Advent with the Apocalypse (Ch 11; Dec 13)
December 13, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 11 (Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent)

I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become
    the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
    and he will reign for ever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
    the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
    and have begun to reign.
The nations were angry,
    and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
    and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
    both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.


The passage about the two witnesses (11.3-13), is acknowledged to be the most obscure in the entire Book of Revelation. The great detail given shows that it was not obscure to the original readers. Our problem is that so little has survived from this period of the church in Palestine that the identity of the two witnesses has to be a matter of guesswork…. No two characters fit the descriptions exactly. The seventh and last trumpet brings to a close the sequence which was probably based on the ancient Book of the LORD (Isa. 34.16). It began when the Lamb approached the throne and took the sealed scroll and it continued through the opening of the six seals. The seventh seal was the moment when the Servant/Lamb, who had become the enthroned LORD, prepared to emerge from his holy place to complete the great judgement and atonement. Christian prophets had marked events in the years which followed the crucifixion of Jesus and they had seen six seals open. The LORD did not return….Here at last, in 11.17, after the seventh trumpet has sounded, the LORD has returned and so the elders no longer sing of his future coming: ‘We give thanks to thee LORD God Almighty, who art and who wast, that thou hast taken thy great power and begun to reign'. The angel's revelation to John showed him that this had already happened, that it was no longer in the future and so the return of the LORD became, in the Fourth Gospel, the gift of the Spirit (John 20.22) and the heavenly food of his flesh and blood (John 6.52-58).
The praise of the elders marks the centre of the Book of Revelation and summarizes its contents….The second half of the elders' song points forward to the second half of the book: the raging of the nations and the destruction of those who are destroying the earth….The great battle and the last judgement follow and the destroyers of the earth are destroyed. The Book of Revelation ends by describing the reward of the servants, the prophets and the saints and those who fear the LORD.


Musical Selection 

The Father has given Christ all power, honor and kingship
All people will obey Him
We praise You, the Lord God Almighty
Who is and who was
You have assumed your great power
You have begun your reign.
The nations have raged in anger
But then came Your day of wrath
And the moment to judge the dead
The time to reward Your servants the prophets
And the holy ones who revere You
The great and the small alike.
Now have salvation and power come
The reign of our God and the authority of His Anointed One
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out
Who night and day accused them before God
They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
And by the word of their testimony
Love for life did not deter them from death.
So rejoice, you heavens
And you that dwell therein!
Glory to the Father
And to the Son
And to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning
Is now
And will be forever.  Amen.
You command us, God of power,
to prepare the way for Christ the Lord.
Let our weakness never discourage us,
as we long for the comfort of his healing presence.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.