Revelation 11:1-13 The Torment of Truth
Topic: Sunday Eve. Bible Study Passage: Revelation 11:1–11:13
Revelation 11:1-19 The Torment of Truth
1Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. 3“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
7When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. 8And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
11But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. 12And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
15Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” 16And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying,
“We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. 18“And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
19And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
Excerpts from an April 2nd USA Today opinion piece by Bob Garfield titled; Chipotle sets an example with Boy Scouts
The Great Salt Lake Council Scout-O-Rama next month is just a local event, for a few thousand boys, featuring knot-tying, leatherwork, kayaking, karaoke and the cherished pinewood derby model car races. The event marks 100 years of Scouting in Utah.
It also marks a dramatic — and utterly uplifting — change in how business is conducted worldwide.
The drama resides in the sponsorship of Scout-O-Rama — or, more precisely, the non-sponsorship. Chipotle Mexican Grill, the nearly $3 billion multinational burrito chain, had agreed locally to underwrite $4,200 worth of coupon prizes for Scout-O-Rama but was obliged last month to pull out when someone at headquarters realized the sponsorship would violate Chipotle's corporate non-discrimination policies. The Boy Scouts of America continues to exclude gays.
"It was never our intention for this to be some kind of an endorsement of broader Boy Scout policies," a Chipotle spokesperson said, according to the Associated Press. "Ultimately, we decided that the right thing to do was to remain consistent with our policy and terminate the sponsorship."
Mr. Garfield writes further; Commercial success will now be built on the same rules of conduct that have governed ordinary interpersonal relationships since time immemorial, and the minimum cost of doing business will be basic human decency.
This is not merely a trend, or even a megatrend. It is an immutable future deriving from digital connectivity, which will turn out to revolutionize corporate conduct on a global scale. As they say in the brochures for the May 4 Scout-O-Rama, "The greatest adventure lies ahead."
I think I have some bad news for you Bob. We've been studying your "greatest adventure lies ahead" here in Revelation for many weeks now, and it ain't as uplifting as you're thinking it is.
OK, so 10 commandments the basis of all morality for 60 centuries, derived from Creator Almighty God . . is out, and replaced by an indefinable “idea” called basic human decency.
Who defines what is indecent and what is decent. Anal copulation is decent. In fact if you happen to think it isn’t, you, my friend, are a bigot. Not only that, you're running the risk of being excluded from doing business with the world.
The world, Satan's world, hates the truth. Darkness hates light. Evil hates good.
The catchword of the day if you turn on most any news media is "tolerance"
But tolerance is selective. In Satan's dark world "tolerance" means tolerance of evil. Get on a soap box in Times Square and preach that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination before God the Almighty Creator who judges not only that sin, but every sin, and you will find out in minutes what this world means by "tolerance".
We have jettisoned anything that claims to be non-negotiable truth based in laws given by God. What our nation was founded on by the way.
That light, and morality, and the great nation that sprang up because of it, are displaced now with No God, No law given by God, No absolute truths. We are awash in relativism. There is no concrete. Any bizarrely evil idea is open for discussion.
So, if you refuse to hire a child molester to care for your children, you are intolerant.
This isn't new. This is Satan's world, and a nation that celebrated God's morality and God's laws as it's own was the abberation, not the norm.
There has been a long, continuous line of God's people in Satan's kingdom in this world who have been martyred because of God's truth.
An endless line of succession. It seems odd to us because we grew up in America, but you can study a little deeper and find that in thousands of years, there has probably never been a single day that someone, illuminating this darkness with God's truth, was not murdered by Satan's world.
Romans 8:36 Just as it is written,
“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
While this world continues to be ruled by Satan, this is normative. This dark world murders those who shine God's light in it.
But in this chapter, it pleases God to overturn that truth. Almost as if God is saying; "You've had your way murdering my saints for all the centuries since Abel was born, but now I'm putting you on notice, this one time, truth will prevail and torment the darkness, unabated, for 3 1/2 years."
Vs. 1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 “Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
What's going on here? This is very odd. What temple, and why measure it?
Yes, there will be a Jewish State owned temple during the tribulation period that is not yet in place. This will be temple number 4. Soloman's, Zerubbabel's, Herod's, this one, and a fifth which is seen in the Kingdom.
The Bible doesn't offer much about this tribulation period temple, but we know it's there because of all of the references of anti-christ entering the temple of God and setting himself up as God.
So, if the dome of the rock is in place on Mount Moriah where this temple belongs, we must be years out from these events, right?
Wrong. The Dome of the Rock can vanish almost overnight, and it doesn't even require the jews to accomplish it. These idiot muslims are blowing each others temples up daily. They all hate each other. Totally in God's control and timing.
We may or may not see it happen. It would be fun to see it though! Kind of exciting if that moslim putrification were blown up or perhaps shaken down in an earthquake during our life times. We would know exactly what was happening. And the jews can assemble a temple in days. We've heard for years that just such a temple is stored and waiting for the day.
So the fact that there's a temple in place in the tribulation period and we don't see it in place is not really a problem. Especially for our God!
How interesting also, think of John's time frame here. 96AD. The temple, the basis of Jewish religion had been shattered to pieces 26 years ago. John was one of the men who marveled over it when Jesus was prompted to say 'not one stone will remain upon another'. He remembered the old temple very well. And now someone, we don't know who, tells him to measure this tribulation era temple.
Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.
Commentators find this very confusing. Does John have copycat-itus? Is he just trying to sound like Ezekiel here? What does this have to do with anything?
Well, you're in luck, because I think I know.
The word for the rod, or the staff, describes a reed that grows in the jordan valley. It's very similar to bamboo. Hollow and straight. The jews would trim them to a standard length, and use them like we use yard sticks. We don't know how long their standard was. They grow to between 10 and 15 feet, so perhaps these staff's were 12 ish feet. Just a guess. But why the drill? Why measure the temple?
Verse 2 gives us the time frame. 2nd half of the 7 year tribulation. The jews have built this temple and returned to offerings and sacrifices by a treaty with a world ruler during the first 3 1/2 years. What happens that marks the 2nd 3 1/2 years?
Anti-Christ moves in, defiles the temple, sets himself up as God. 2 “Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months
Here's what I think the measuring is about. I'll illustrate it simply and you'll see it immediately, I hope.
Suppose you're renting a house, and you really don't want to leave, but the owner puts you on notice that he's trying to sell it, and you may be required to move. There's a knock on the door, and it's the landlord, and some people you don't know, and they go through the house with a tape measure measuring every window, all the carpeted floors, and even wall and ceiling areas that you've painted some weird colors that your kids liked. bummer. You better look for some packing cartons.
I think that's what's going on here. God's measuring to see if the furniture will fit. You'll be moving out in 42 months Satan.
3“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
This is the point in the tribulation where it is "run for your life". Godly influence is largely stamped out. The martyr's are all martyred. Satan has been so effective at reducing any Godly influence that light in this world is almost snuffed out.
But God isn't going to allow that to happen - totally. God is going to send these 2 prophets to be His mouthpiece in this black world, and they are extraordinary.
They have to be extraordinary because this world has gotten to the place where it's just normative to kill anyone Godly. And that's the norm and it's what would happen to these two, except . . they can't.
vs. 3. Their authority comes from God. He owns them. 'My two witnesses'
So who are they?? Christians have been guessing who they are for generations! It's what we do. I'll throw my guess in with all the rest, and you're welcome to dis-agree if you like.
One is easy, right? Elijah! "I will send Elijah before the great day". Elijah was taken to heaven bodily by a chariot of fire. He's a perfect fit. Solid!
So who's the second one? A couple of choices worth mentioning. Many christians will point out Hebrews 9:27 it's appointed unto man once to die, and after this, the judgement. And that makes Enoch from way back in Genesis 5:24 a good candidate.
Gen. 5:24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: "He could not be found, because God had taken him away." For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
And Enoch saw this day from that distance. Jude talks about him;
Jude 1:14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones.
I wouldn't rule him out. But most of the basis for that choice is the Hebrews 9:27 thing. appointed to die once.
Fair enough. That's certainly how it works for men, unless God intervenes. Lazaruth died twice. All of the saints that were raised during the time of the resurrection of Jesus died twice. The young man that Paul raised from the dead died twice. All of the others that Jesus raised from the dead, Jairus daughter, the widow's son, and others that aren't even listed according to John's final words in his gospel, all of these died twice. The land of Israel is notable on earth . . for people dieing twice.
Hebrews 9:27 is normative until God is pleased to intervene. It's hard to make the case dogmatically that this must be Enoch for that reason.
I think perhaps it's Moses. Here are my arguments. Take them and $3.65 and get yourself a trenta mocha at Starbucks.
It was Moses and Elijah that appeared at the transfiguration and talked about things to come.
Moses and Elijah are seminal servants that God used previously to bring droughts, and pestilence and miracles on hardened people. They've both got experience for this job.
Moses body dis-appeared and Michael the arch angel disputed over it. No funeral for Moses. No Moses worship over his body.
The jews expected Moses to return. Deuteronomy 18:15 was their source; “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.
You'll recall that when the Pharisee's questioned John the baptizer they asked in John 1:21 “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he * said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
"The Prophet" there is a direct reference to Moses statement. A prophet like unto me. They were expecting Elijah and Moses.
Finally, vs. 4 in R11 alludes to that perhaps.
4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
What does that mean?? John is alluding directly to images in Zechariah's prophecy, ch 3 and ch 4. To make it really short and sweet, olive trees represent Spiritual power, and lampstands represent the Law and the Ceremony. Spiritual Power - Law and Ceremony. Who better in the Old Testament represented those ideas than Moses and Elijah!
So I guess I'll throw in with the Moses people. I think these 2 witnesses are Elijah and Moses. Dressed in sack cloth. Wreaking havoc!
So the world would exterminate them instantly . . . if they could!
Vs. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.
Anyone who tries to terminate God's 2 witnesses dies by fire. You have to wonder how many sniper's, etc. go up in smoke before the world figures out, Don't do that! Don't go down that road.
And the world is pretty good at just ignoring folks who have a Godly message. Can't kill them, just ignore them. That's OK, except vs. 6 kind of forces the issue.
6 These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
So here's 2 guys in Jerusalem, preaching every day, every day, non-stop, and you can't kill them or you go up in smoke, and all the terrible stuff that's going on around the globe, all the plagues and disasters described in this book, seem to the world to be caused by these 2 witnesses.
Send them some hate mail on Facebook and next thing you know, an asteroid wipes out your town. And they just preach and preach about sin and morality and all the stuff the world loves to hate, and no one can touch them!
These are like God's anti-dote to all of His martyrs. And there will be millions by this time who have lost their lives for the truth. Paybacks! These guys will torment the world, and the more the world hears, the harder their hearts become.
7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.
Notice the timing here. The beast is helpless until the minute and second arrives that their testimony is finished. I believe this will be somewhere immediately close to the final days of the 7 year period
8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
Sodom and Egypt. the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt
Sodom is the moral character of the city. Vile and lewd. Too shocking to speak of! And Egypt represents Slavery and Oppression. Jerusalem was supposed to be the city of God but she has gone whoring and enslaved herself to her oppressors, and she loves it so! Read Ezekiel 23, the whole chapter, for a picture of Jerusalem.
The 2 witnesses are overcome, the same as their Lord, Jesus. They are murdered, and their dead bodies lie in the street.
9 Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.
Think about this verse. For centuries there was no way to understand this. How were people thousands of miles away in other lands and other languages going to see this spectacle? Even 50 years ago this was only barely possible!
Now is the time. Do you realize people in the poorest countries on the planet who are just a notch above starvation, have cell-phones. The whole world will be tweeting and twittering watching these 2 dead men. Why?? Because the world thinks all the plagues originated from them. The beast won! Now we can get back to normal, maybe.
10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
Christmas has been cancelled for the last 7 years, and honestly, there wasn't much to be joyous about. When these 2 witnesses who tormented the world with the truth and brought plagues and disasters . . are dead . . the world is going to shout P * A * R * T * Y!!
Happy Dead Witnesses Day!! If Hallmark is still in business, there'll be Happy Dead Witnesses cards!
11But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them.
D'ya think?? Party time never got over so quickly! I thought of BelShazzar. Drunken and partying in the midst of debauchery, and suddenly a hand appears that isn't attached to a body, and it writes 'MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.'
Suddenly the party is over! Suddenly your knees are slapping one against the other with terror. You're drinking beers with your friends watching the 2 dead guys thinking how it's going to be without the plagues . . and they get up! God breathed the breath of life into them, and they get up!
12And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.
This is a mini rapture. Local. A 2 person rapture. And the two witnesses go up to heaven in a cloud, as the world stares on with their Ipad 4's.
13And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Chronologically, I think we're right at the return of Jesus. I think this and the verses that come next which we won't get to this week are glimpses into the very last judgements before Jesus arrives.
The last part of vs. 13 where they give glory to the God of heaven, I think perhaps coincides with Zechariah 12 where they look on Him who they pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son. That seems to make sense to me.
We're only half way through the book, but it's written so there are lots of windows and glimpses from different angles at the same things. Chronologically, we'll pick up the time line again around chapter 15.