A Commentary on Revelation Chapter 11
INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION CHAPTER 11
In the previous chapter we learned of the Bible being translated from dead languages. Now we are told to rise and measure the Temple of God. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians he referred to them as the Temple of God. Priests like John Wycliffe of Oxford, Tyndale (another Oxford monk), and Coverdale (who made the first complete English Bible) gave the world a book that contained the correct measurements. The Roman Clergy had taken the Bible from the people. They were opposed to its circulation. They had put it in a dead language and no one but the monks were allowed to read it. Until Martin Luther found a Latin Bible in an Augustinian monastery he did not know there were scriptures other than the ones in the Catholic breviary. After reading the Word of God he became a reformer. He used the measuring rod of God’s word to determine that their doctrine did not measure up the Bible standard. He couldn’t find purgatory, celibacy, nuns, holly water, worship of saints (idolatry), image worship. After a careful examination of the doctrines of Catholicism one can truthfully say that none of them measure up to the measuring rod. God says the two witnesses (Old Testament and New Testament) would prophesy in sackcloth and ashes (dead languages) during the period of the dark ages and come back to life again. Today we have the LIVING WORD OF GOD.
EXPOSITION ON REVELATION CHAPTER 11
1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there…”
A rod is a measurement used by surveyors. It is sixteen and one half feet long. In our text it must mean that the word of God is that inflexible and strong reed used to measure the temple of God. The church must measure up to the word, so must the worship and the worshippers. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians he referred to them as the “Temple of God”
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? I Cor. 3:16
Again Paul tell us in the Ephesian letter that we grow into an holy temple of the Lord:
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. Eph. 2:21
Christians were promised by Jesus to be made pillars in the temple of God:
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. Rev. 3:12
The term altar must refer to the worship that is being offered by God’s people.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it.” Jer. 6:16
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. Jude 3
Early in the nineteenth century the measuring rod of God’s Word began to be used. The Restoration movement was a serious effort to return to the Old Paths. There was dissatisfaction with Protestant denominationalism and its multiplicity of divergent creeds, names, doctrines, and practices. It was therefore the purpose of the Restorers to go beyond the synods, councils, creeds, disciplines, sects, and parties and take a fresh look at the New Testament. James O’Kelly, applied the measuring rod in 1792 when he protested against the new and autocratic Episcopal policy inaugurated by Francis Asbury, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The protest resulted in O’Kelly and four other prominent men withdrawing from the regular Methodists and calling themselves at first Republican Methodists. In 1794 they adopted the scriptural name of Christian in a general meeting.
Price Haggard, a fellow worker with O’Kelly, stood up in this meeting with a copy of the New Testament in his hand and said: “Brethren, this is a sufficient rule of faith and practice, and by it we are told that the disciples were called Christians, and I move that henceforth and forever the followers of Christ be known as Christians simply.” This meeting resulted in an adoption to take the Bible as the only creed and sufficient rule of faith and practice, to regard Jesus Christ as the only Head of the church, and to reject all party and sectarian names. The measuring rod was beginning to be applied. Prophecy was being fulfilled.
Soon thereafter two New England Baptists, Elias Smith and Abner Jones, rebelled against Calvinist theology and began to organize congregations whose members were simply called Christians. They too, were advocating the following principles: No head over the church but Christ; no confession of faith, articles of religion, canons, creeds, etc. but the New Testament, and no religious name but Christian.
In Maryland, another influential preacher by the name of Barton W. Stone was expressing disfavor with the tenets of the Presbyterian church. In 1803 he and four of his associates withdrew from the Presbyterian synod and dropped their denominational name and became known simply as Christians.
Another leader in using the Rod of God’s Word to measure with was Thomas Campbell. He was an Old Light Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian minister who had come from Ireland to Pennsylvania. In 1809 he drew up his famous Declaration and Address, which set forth the basic principles of the restoration movement. Its sole purpose was to promote a return to primitive Christianity. Thomas Campbell’s son Alexander came to America in 1809. He was a graduate of Glasgow University; the young man had been influenced by the teaching of certain men who were seeking the restoration of the ancient order in Britain. When he arrived in America, he learned that his father had made a momentous decision to restore the primitive church. In studying the scriptures, Alexander realized that neither he nor the other members of his family had been scripturally baptized when they were sprinkled in infancy. They were immersed according to the New Testament pattern.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
The church of the first century was once again being preached. A restoration of the ancient order was under way. Dear reader you must use the Rod of God’s word to measure the church and its worship and its worshippers.
2 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. The long obscure period known as the “dark ages” was drawing to a close. The dark ages began in 533 A.D. and ended in 1793 A.D. The word of God calls these 1260 days a 1260-year period (using the day for a year of Ezek. 4:6). It calculates three ways. 1) Forty-two months. When we multiply 42X30 we have l260. 2) Times, Time and a half time. Time is 360, times would be 720 and a half time would be 180. The sum of these three figures is 1260 prophetic days. 3) And in verse three he calls it a thousand two hundred and threescore days (1260 years). The Word of God then tells us to look at this period of history for the measurement to begin. I believe that the Restoration Movement will fulfill the meaning of these verses. The mighty Restoration Movement was underway by the end of the long term of un-enlightenment.
3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
This has reference to the Old Testament and the New Testaments. They were clothed in sackcloth (dead languages) for 1260 prophetic days (1260 years). The word of God is called a witness.
You diligently study [Or Study diligently (the imperative)] the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me. John 5:39
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may [Some manuscripts may continue to] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30,31
There is another who testifies (that beareth witness K.J.) in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. John 5:32
I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns (witnesseth K.J.) me that prison and hardships are facing me. Acts 20:23
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
Now the Lord makes a positive identification of who these two witnesses are. The two lampstands were figures borrowed from the tabernacle where they typified the word of God.
Then the angel who talked with me returned and wakened me, as a man is wakened from his sleep. He asked me, “What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”
I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”
He answered, “Do you not know what these are?”
“No, my lord,” I replied.
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zech 4:1-6
Now you have it in black and white. God has already identified the two lampstands as the WORD OF GOD.
5 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.
God’s Word is likened to fire.
“Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jer. 23:28,29.
God’s word will destroy all who trifle with its holy contents. It can justify or condemn. No single book has been the object of so much destructive criticism as has the Bible. Every generation has its infidels who march forth with drawn swords, and sometimes they come in armies, ready to cut down and destroy the old book. They loudly scoff, crying “myths,” “legends,” “superstitions,” and “stories from the ignorant.” They exalt human philosophy and poke fun at the supernatural. But when their day is done they slip silently into the tomb and the Bible lives on. Over 40 million copies sold annually. That is 40 thousand times as many as any other book. It is translated into over 1829 languages. There are over 200,000,000 bibles in existence. If placed in a straight line they would reach 17,000 miles.
This Old Book contains the mind of God,
The state of man, the way of salvation,
The doom of sinners and the happiness of believers:
Its histories are true, its doctrines are holy,
Its precepts are binding, and its decisions immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe,
Practice it to be Holy. It contains light to direct you,
Food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the travelers map, the pilgrims staff,
The sailors compass, the soldiers sword, and
The Christians charter. Here paradise is restored,
Heaven is opened, and the gates of hell is disclosed.
Christ is its subject, our good its design, and
the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory,
Rule the heart, and guide the feet.
Read it frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth,
A paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.
It is given you in life, will be opened at judgment,
And will be remembered forever. It involves the
Highest responsibilities, rewards the greatest labor,
And condemns all who will trifle with its holy contents.
6 These men have power to shut up the sky 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.
The Word of God is now likened to two men, namely Elijah who shut up the sky and it rained not for three years and six months and Moses who returned to Egypt with the ten plagues. The dark ages were a time when the world was gloomy, it groped in darkness and mystery, and things were obscure and unenlightened. While the word was chained in the monasteries and clothed in dead languages the nations received no blessings.
7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.
At the end of the l260 year period 533A.D to 1793 A.D., When the dark ages ended, France condemned the Bible and declared itself atheistic. Voltaire and Rousseau led in France, which decreed that it would worship no Gods but reason and liberty. Atheism became the law of the state. This was the only instance in all history of a deliberate legislative enactment abolishing all religion. It repealed these laws 3 1/2 years later. Frederick the great led in Germany. Tom Paine, Hume, Gibbon and Bolingbrook led in England, Thomas Jefferson and Paine led in America.
8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
What a scene. God’s word, which has been likened to two men, is now seen as though it has been killed and left unburied. It is called SODOM from its awful wickedness and EGYPT because of spiritual bondage.
9 For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.
France was the staunchest supporter of the Catholic Church. Now the French Revolution has separated it from the Papacy. A malignant sore and foul corruption broke out in France at the end of the 1260-year period. A “reign of terror” that is known as the French revolution. France had long been styled “the eldest son of the church.” She had perpetuated the massacre of Bartholomew, the banishment of the Huguenots, Popes war against the Albigenses (Bohemian Brethren), Martyrdom of John Calas, the inquisitions (150,000 were Killed in 30 years), the rise of the Jesuits in 1540 in which 900,000 people perished. In 1793 this ulcer of the French Revolution had festered and broke. The enslaved masses who were maddened into fury sent Catholic king, royal families, nobles, and priests to the guillotine by tens of thousands, impelling the nation into madness and fury to declare itself atheistic. At one time over 200,000 were imprisoned and as many as 80 were sent to the scaffold in one day in Paris alone. The Papal power received a shock from which it has never recovered.
10 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.
The word of God told men plainly of their sins–condemned them for their crimes. They rejoice because it can no longer testify to their shame.
11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.
Like the Word of God has proclaimed, three and one half days pass (3 1/2 Prophetic days equal 3 1/2 years). The two witnesses who are called the two olive trees and the two lampstands, and the two Prophets came back to life. Yes France became Atheistic in 1793 and 3 1/2 years later in 1797 they repealed these laws and the Word of God was living again.
12 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.
Heaven is a symbol for a high, exalted and holy place. Therefore the verse is saying that the church is to take its rightful place.
Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. Dan. 7:27
13 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.
God’s Word shakes the nations when it is taught and understood.
The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. Rev. 17:18
We will later present proof that the city of Rev. 17 is Rome at this time she was still ruling over the ten kingdoms of Europe. When Luther gave Germany the Bible she immediately fell away from Rome. The remnant acknowledged that God’s word was right. [CH4]
14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
15 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 Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
The mystery is finished. The end has come. The brightness of Zion’s glad morning has arrived and heavenly beings join in songs of praise and thanksgiving.
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshipped God.
cf. notes on chapter 4. The Twentieth Century New Testament gives the name councilors instead of the name elders. These 24 are the ruling aristocracy of heaven. They are similar to Senators in our State Government.
17 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.
There is little doubt that this is the same as Daniel 7:25-27.
18 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 saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great–and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Mt. 25:31-33
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:12-15
19 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 great hailstorm.
This will be enough to scare a man out of his wits! Moses saw a similar event at Mt.Sinai and he was scared.
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned. The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” Heb. 12:18-21