Revelation Chapter 11
The Measuring Rod and the Temple of God
Rev 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
Rev 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
· Rev 11:1-2 synopsis
· Describes the spiritual condition of the temple and Jerusalem as it will exist in the tribulation.
· What do the measurements signify?
1. All belongs to God
2. He was to measure or judge the value, worth and character of the standards of the temple and its worship, and the people.
· Temple - "naos", refers to the Holy of Holies.
· Holy Place - The entire temple at Jerusalem.
Alter - Brazen alter where people could come and make their sacrifices.
· Why was John to measure the temple?
· This seems to indicate in effect that man and his worship are always judged by the standards of God. 1 Cor 3:11-15.
· Believers are responsible to judge by that standard in order to avoid apostasy, and are to be instruments to turn people to Christ and true worship. John 4:21-24
God is giving assurance that He will take note of those who faithfully worship Him in the Tribulation days.
· Why was John to leave out the outer court?
· It is to be left out because it is cast out, rejected by God.
· It has been given to the nations, who in their rebellion, will tread under foot the holy city (Jerusalem) for 42 months.
· Gentile nations will invade Jerusalem during the last half of the tribulation, beginning with the events of Dan 9:27, and as we shall see, the events of Rev 13:1-18,
· From this point on Jerusalem will come under siege by the Gentile powers (Zec 12:2-4; Zec 14:2, Zec 14:12).
· What about the Temple?
· This passage shows the presence of a temple in Jerusalem. Some have trouble taking this passage literally because there is no temple in Jerusalem at the present time.
· This temple is referred to in Dan 9:27, 2 Thess 2:4,
· The following are some of the informative websites and videos documenting the attempts to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
The Two Witnesses
Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5 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.
Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Rev 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
Rev 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
Rev 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
Rev 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
Rev 11:13 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, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
· Rev 11:3-13 synopsis
· Describes the ministries of the two witnesses, which occurs over a 1,260 day period.
· Their provision
· Miraculous power
· Authoritative and effective testimony
· Their Ministries Nature and Character
· They shall prophesy... - speaking forth divine truth, as a testimony to God.
· Some believe the gift of prophesy is not active now, but there is nothing in scripture that indicates that this died out with the apostles. Instead, we are taught the more about it. 1 Cor 14:29-33, 2 Pet 1:20-21, Rev 10:11, 1 Cor 13:2.
· in sackcloth... - course dark cloth, often made of hair and worn like a sack. Expresses mourning, repentance, and judgment.
Their message is essentially that of John the Baptist, announcing the coming judgments and calling men to repent.
· The Time and Length
· 1,260 days = 42 months = 3 1/2 years.
· During tribulation, but 1st or 2nd half, or part of each?
· The judgments and plauges they pour out seem to fit better with the second, more volitale half.
· The hidious acts of vs. 9 and 10 seem to fit better with the second half, although personally, I am starting to think this is certainly possible in the first half, or even in the begginings of sorrows.
· The earthquake, with the remant affrighted seems to fit the 2nd half.
Note the witnesses are timed in days, while the unbelieving world, indicates God's daily concern and care for His own.
· Their Identity
· There is some belief that Elijah will be one of the two witnesses. Mal 4:5, Mal 3:1. Also, Elijah was one of the two seen with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, Mat 17:3.
· Some believe it will be Elijah and Enoch, both were translated and never saw death. 2 Ki 2:11, Gen 5:24, Heb 11:5.
Others believe it will be Elijah and Moses, since they both performed similar miracles to the two witnesses.
· Are they real or virtual Old Testament saints?
· John the Baptist was a virtual Elijah - Luk 1:17.
· Matthew teaches that Elijah had come and that John the Baptist was that Elijah. Mat 17:10-13
· John agreed he was not the real Elijah, John 1:21-23, but operating as Elijah would Mal 3:1, Mal 4:6
· Matthew adds more light to the subject Mat 11:7-14. John could have fulfilled the Malichi passage if Israel as a nation had believed. Since they rejected both John and the Messiah, another will have to come to fulfill this prophecy.
It seems obvious that the one who will come in the future will be like John, in the power and spirit of Elijah. He does not have to be the real Elijah, or John would not have been able to fulfill that role.
The net is that the two witnesses are not literally Elijah or Moses (or Enoch), but two men with the spirit and power of them.
· Their Traits
· Rev 11:4 - These, the two olive trees and two lampstands standing before the Lord of the Earth - Zec 4:1-14 explains the olive tress and lampstands. In this old testament passage, they are Joshua Zec 3:1-5 and Zerubbabel Zec 4:6.
· There is a warning given to in this passage to Zerubbabel Zec 4:6, not by his might, but by God's spirit.
The olive tree is a source of olive oil, used to fuel lamps. The oil speaks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This passage Rev 11:4 speaks of the olive oil in the lamps enabling them to shine brightly (witness). So the two witnesses will be full of the Holy Spirit and operating in His power.
· Rev 11:5-6 - Their ministry is characterized by four miraculous powers. These specific power are for their protection, but are significant to Israel.
· Kill their enemies with fire - 2 Ki 1:10-15.
· Withhold rain for three and 1/2 years - 1 Ki 17:1.
· Turn water into blood - Exo 7:17-21
· Bring plagues upon the earth. Exo 8:1 to Exo 11:10
· Rev 11:7-10 - When their ministry is completed, souls are saved to glory is brought to God. They were invincible, and at the completion, God allows their termination. Rev 3:7-8 This is in God good timing. This truth is illustrated over and over again, by those who are obedient and in God's will.
It is the beast from the abyss that makes war with them and kills them. This is the first mention of "the beast", and he will be discussed in Rev 13.
· The Greek for "dead bodies" means fallen corpses, indicating they lay right where they died in Jerusalem with no burial. Old Testament law required that even criminals by buried, Deu 21:22-23.
· Sodom (the flesh) and Eqypt (the world) refers to the sad state of Jerusalem under the lawless system of the man of lawlessness. 2 Thess 2:3. The point of this is that Jerusalem is dominated by the world system, by the flesh, and by Satan through the beast. The city has become spiritually reprobate along with the rest of the world.
Amazingly, their bodies attract a great deal of worldwide attention.
· They that dwell on the earth, this is similar in meaning to Eph 3:17, Jas 4:5, except that this is speaking of unbelievers.
These people have a party upon the death of these two witnesses. This is the only mention of rejoicing on earth in the tribulation. This is an indication of the strength of the torment these two caused.
· Their Resurection
· Rev 11:11-12 - Not only are they resurected, but the voice of God from Heaven is heard, and they are taken up in a cloud. It's likely TV coverage will capture the people filing by the bodies, when suddenly, they stand up, and a voice will be heard by everyone from heaven, and they will disappear out of sight in the cloud of glory. This will be staggering to the world.
· This is a parallel to the ascension of Christ on the Mount of Olives. Mark 16:19-20, Luk 24:50-53, Act 1:9.
It is a special act of God, addressed to those who reject His grave and designed as a final warning of the supreme power of God over man whether in life or death.
· The Great Earthquake
· Rev 11:13 - Another judgment, perhaps some are saved through this, and some have hardened hearts beyond the turning point who bring glory to God, but continue in their state of rebellion.
The Seventh Trumpet and the Third Woe
Rev 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Rev 11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
Rev 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
Rev 11:18 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 the earth.
Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was 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.
Rev 11:14-19 synopsis
· The Third Woe Announced
· Rev 11:14 - The third woe is announced. The Second woe is completed, and the third comes without delay.
· Christ's Reign Announced
· Rev 11:15 - Christ's reign is announced, a great chorus is heard, indicating joy and great exuberance regarding the 7th trumpet. Kingdom refers to the rule God intended to be under man's authority, but was wrested from man by Satan - Heb 2:5-8. Satan became the god of this world - 2 Cor 4:4, Eph 2:2. Through this woe, Satan's kingdom will be destroyed, and the world will come under the authority of Christ.
Here we have the fulfillment of a number of OT prophecies, Psa 2:2-9, Dan 2:35, Dan 2:44, Dan 6:26, Dan 7:14, Dan 7:25-27, Zec 14:9, and Mat 6:10.
· Since the 7th trumpet starts now, and ends with the establishment of Christ rule, the 7 bowl judgments are part of the 7th trumpet.
· Christ Adored
· The 24 elders representing the church age saints who have already received their crowns and cast them before God. Rev 4:4, Luk 22:29-30
· The reward is coming soon for the OT and tribulation saints. Mat 24:42 to Mat 25:30.
· Thanks given for:
· God's person - Rev 11:17.
· His complete sovereignty - Rev 11:17.
· He now begins to reign through His great power - Rev 11:17.
· the display of God's wrath - Rev 11:18, a fulfillment of Psa 2:1-12
· The judgment and reward of OT saints, and tribulation saints - Rev 11:18, Dan 12:1-3, Rev 20:3-4.
· The Heavenly Temple and the Ark
· This chapter starts with the apostate earthly temple, and ends with the heavenly temple.
· Things seen in the temple are symbolic of:
· God's Shekinah glory which hovered over the mercy seat.
· God's faithfulness evidenced by the contents of the Ark, the law, Aaron's rod - a picture of resurection, the pot of manna - a picture of the person of Christ and daily provision.
· God's divine holiness which could not be approached without blood, speaking of Christ's sacrifice.
· Impending doom - lightning, peals of thunder, earthquake, and a great hailstorm.
References and Credits
· Revelation 11 Study - Stan Feldsine
· The basis for this study came from:
· Credit to: J. Hampton Keathley III
· Reference Authors: John F. Walvoord, Charles C. Ryrie, Robert L. Thomas