Revelation chapter eleven has not been an easy chapter for theologians to discern and thus it has often been the source of some controversy. This due in no small measure to so many expositors reading their own ideas 'into the text,' rather than simply reading what is there. Whether because of political, cultural, socioeconomic, or contemporary thinking and ideas, the emphasis by these theologians has seldom been placed 'solely' on a true Biblical exegesis which consists of comparing scripture with scripture, imagery with imagery, and the spiritual with the spiritual.
As I see it, the real problem lies in the fact that so many theologians get caught up in either judging these passages by what seems right in their own eyes, by private interpretations of world events, or by their own Church tradition. They end up neglecting the most basic rule of fundamental hermeneutics. Namely, the true understanding of God's exposition will be found 'in the Bible,' not out in the world, or in our own personal opinions about what the imagery means. The point is not to lean to our own understanding of the text, but upon God's understanding, which is gleaned by studying to rightly divide the Word.To accomplish this, we do not lead, we follow the scriptures. We do not struggle against the Word, we surrender to it's authority. For interpretations belong to God[1a], and the Word of God is the Bible. In order for us to come to true interpretation and hold sound doctrines, we must not theorize blindly as walking in darkness, but consider what is being conveyed in the 'light' of the scriptures. We must consider factors such as the cryptic representations or symbols, their context or setting, where else they are found, what they signified, and any other pertinent or contributing element of scripture which will affect our exegesis concerning these things."Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
The curious thing about many theologians' methodology is that though the language of Revelation is obviously symbolic in nature, almost incomprehensibly there are many who will insist that the book should be taken very literally. For example, some insist that the two witnesses described in this chapter must be seen as two very literal people. Their reasoning is that:'otherwise, the many details of the chapter that speak of the Witnesses actions and the reactions of others to them would be rendered meaningless.'But it seems to me that this is an indefensible and self-serving position. For we see very similar symbolism throughout the book of Revelation. For example, the twenty four elders with crowns, the four horsemen, the harlot woman who rides the beast, the ten kings, the four living creatures or beasts, the hundred and forty four thousand of Israel, etc., etc. These are not literal, nor does it make their actions meaningless that we don't see them as literal. On the contrary, a literal understanding would make for absurd, forced, and untenable interpretations. Likewise, understanding these two witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven as literally two olive trees, or two candlesticks is absurd. They are quite clearly portraying the very same symbolism which is used throughout the Bible, and it is only by examining that symbolism that we will come to understand it's true meaning. I do not believe that we can understand the two witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven as two literal supernaturally empowered people who can turn waters into literal blood, and who literally kill everyone who tries to harm them by breathing fire upon them. Moreover, I believe that it is prudent (rather than careless) for the sound minded Bible student to understand that God uses imagery and figures to illustrate spiritual truths. And as we shall see in this study, it is very significant that the loosing of the beast from the bottomless pit can only occur 'at the conclusion' of the time which God has given the two Witnesses to testify.
In this series of studies in the book of Revelation, we have been examining these chapters verse by verse, in the light of the scriptures. The purpose is to determine what God Himself intends by the symbolism which He has inspired illustrated there. In the end, this is what really matters in sound biblical hermeneutics. Everything else beside a Biblical interpretation, is a private (personal) interpretation. What man may think God means by these symbols (without having Biblical validation) is mere speculation, and thus is not profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, or instruction in righteousness (2nd Timothy 3:16). It is God's Word faithfully harmonized which is profitable for truth. Understanding of God's imagery must originate from scripture, and not from prominent authors, world events, the political arena, or tradition. Though some say that because people think differently, they can never come to know the true meaning of these scriptures, this is defeatism. Because understanding scripture is not about how we each see it, it's about having a more noble or honest approach to it, in the Spirit of truth which will guide us. The careful study and discernment of the Word is not an accident, and scripture was not given to confuse the masses. God is not the author of confusion, but we must 'receive' it in humility, as it was intended.
It is widely held that the broad range of differing interpretations by theologians today is due to the interpretive methodology they use. In fact Theologians often wax poetic about their systems through a mountain of writings elucidating on their merits. But the simple truth is, Christians come to different interpretations because, (#1) of the way they have been taught, (#2) they handle scripture carelessly, (#3) they are not led by the Spirit, (#4) they are partial or unobjective, or (#5) they do not always allow the Bible to interpret itself.
It is human nature to gravitate towards a political and worldly interpretations rather than the concept as defined in the doctrine of 'sola scriptura.' It is much easier to use the world as it's own dictionary rather than use the Bible as it's own dictionary. It's much simpler to compare imagery of Kings to worldly nations rather than to compare scripture with scripture. But sound interpretation of the Bible, is 'by the Bible' alone. Neglecting this rule has led to the popularity of false and disjointed end-time books and Apocalyptic writings which only serve to turn itching ears away from the truth.
In this exposition of Revelation chapter eleven we will seek to let God's Word illuminate, define, correct, instruct, reveal and interpret. For God is the teacher, author and finisher of our faith. He has an immutable plan of Salvation and judgment which man in his lusts of the flesh confuses. It is the Spirit of God working within us which will 'uncover' the mystery which hasn't changed since God inspired every sentence, word and letter.His Word is perfect, harmonious and immutable, and thus (God willing) can be understood consistently, logically, and Biblically throughout History. In this exegesis we pray that we may come to understand this truth, and recognize that wisdom and understanding is not something earned, it is a gift of God through the Work of Christ. As such, we should acknowledge that any truth we come to is because of the Grace of God, and not because of our own efforts. As King Solomon, we ask wisdom, and we pray it may be given abundantly, to His Glory."For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven."
-Psalms 119:89"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." -Proverbs 25:2
A verse by verse exposition of
Revelation Chapter 11
by Tony Warren
In this first verse we see in the visions of John that a Messenger or [aggelos] gave him a measuring reed, stood, and told him to 'rise,' and measure the Temple, Altar, and the worshippers therein. There are several points to be considered here.
- "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."
The word stood here is [histemi] which is often used meaning support in the sense, to 'stand by, or with' one. As for example in the sentence, 'he stood with His fellows' meaning He stood in agreement with them, or he stood in support giving his assent with them. Here the Messenger of God has stood, and then instructs John to rise [egeiro] and to measure the Temple of God. Note that it is the [aggelos] that first stood as support and then commands John (who in this signification is a representative of the apostolic body), to rise and to measure these things. This has the added spiritual significance of being a figure of the Messenger of God who 'first' stood, and then commanded His servant to rise for purpose of service to God. In other words, in these visions John is a signification of what the apostolic Church will do, because the messenger of God stood first, and then gave command to rise and to serve. John will make known the revelation God gives him to show the servants and prophets of God what things must come to pass (Revelation 1:1).
- What does the measuring rod represent?
- Where is this Holy Temple of God?
- Who is to measure?
- What is to be measured?
- Why did the messenger stand and tell John to rise?
This Messenger of God stood and gave to the Apostle John a reed. The Greek word translated reed is [kalamos], and was a stick used by builders for the measuring of distances. Very much like someone might use a yardstick today to measure in yards. And God is careful to tell us that this measuring reed is 'like unto a rod.' This illustrates that it's symbolism is for the rule of a King in correction (as we'll see later in this study). We do not take lightly that the rod was 'given' Him. It's not something which he had, but was that which was given him when the Messenger stood. This Greek word rod [rhabdos] is used in scripture both as a symbol of rule and of correction, and this is the meaning of the imagery here. For example, it's the same word that is used by Paul to the Corinthians:
1st Corinthians 4:21
This is illustrative of the [rhabdos] of correction. It is indicating a rod for striking someone in correcting them, as also is illustrated in old testament passages:
- "What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?"
This rod is for correction[3a]. The reed as a rod which was used to measure in revelation chapter eleven is to show God's scepter is for rule in 'correcting' any deviations in His house, sacrifice or people. This same illustration was seen in the language of Revelation chapter two.
- Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of Correction will drive it far from him."
The same Greek word for rod. And again it is used in the sense of rule and the strength of it in smiting or correction. The rod has always been a symbol of rule in the scriptures.
- "And He shall rule them with a rod of Iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken in shivers, even as I received of My Father."
- "The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies."
This reed or stick we see in Revelation is the rule of God used for measuring the temple, but it is also likened unto a rod to symbolize it is a rod of correction from this ruler God. Correction to those who are His children, whom He loves.
- "And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation."
This is where the old adage 'spare the rod and spoil the child' came from. Correction by the rod is made by those who love their children. Ultimately the reed is like a rod to signify that it is a figure of the 'Word of God' which is the rule of God, the correction of God, and that which 'defines' the exact measurements of the Sacrifice, the Holy Temple, and of the sons of God who worship therein. The Word of God shows the true dimensions and is that which illustrates when we are in need of moving to conform to a standard. The Word is the rule of God intended for everything from discipline, to comparison, to estimation, to evaluation and guidance. The Word is a spiritual rod which corrects us by showing us what is the true form, and thus we see the symbolism here of measurement. It was given John to measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. i.e., The Word is the rule of God, the very yardstick against which the Temple body and worshippers therein may be tested for trueness. And this is 'explicitly' shown to be true in an almost identical episode of this command to measure the Temple which is recorded in the book of Ezekiel.
- "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
Again, this language of measuring the Temple of God signifies showing the true dimensions of the Temple. In other words, describe what true form it is. It's synonymous with 'declaring the true God,' for He is the true Temple. When we witness or preach the gospel faithfully, we are declaring God's Temple, that people will know that the house we visualize is in accordance with God's Word. We are showing the people the house of God that they can compare it against the house that they are serving in. And if they are not that very same house, with the very same dimensions or conformity, then they should repent and turn to 'this God' and serve Him in 'this house.' Measuring the Temple is how we check or examine things to make sure we serve in the true house of God. This isn't my speculation or a private interpretation of the passages, it is confirmed thoroughly in the book of Ezekiel. The context of Ezekiel is that He is having the same type visions of God which the Apostle John is having, and when speaking about this measuring, we read:
- "And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit of a hand breadth: so He measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed."
God had brought him here to 'see' the dimensions of the house, and then to declare all that he had seen to the house of Israel. In other words, to prophecy again what God has shown him. Then God goes on in this chapter to say that the man of the vision whose appearance was like brass[3b], measured all the exact dimensions of the house, the tables, chambers, etc. He continues measuring in Ezekiel Chapters 40-42, and then in Chapter 43 we read,
- "And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: Declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel."
- "Thou Son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern."
The house of Israel was in rebellion against God, and were defiling His Holy name by their abominations, and God uses this language of 'measuring the Temple' and showing these measurements to them, to signify Ezekiel is to show the congregation this 'true' God. Let them see the true form of God as opposed to whom they have been serving. God says, 'shew this house to the house of Israel that they may be ashamed of their iniquities, and let them measure the pattern that they might see their iniquity in this other house they serve in, and be ashamed. We need to consider this wisely. The reed of measurement signified the rod of correction, the Word, that the people might see their error, repent and be corrected.
This house of God is a shadow looking forward to the true form or Temple, which is Christ. Except God's congregation conform to Christ (Romas 8:29), they have need to be ashamed and to repent of their iniquity. God has measured this House (a 'type' of Christ), and revealed the measurements to Ezekiel telling him to declare 'again' this house to the people that they may see and turn from their unrighteousness. So the measuring signified the revelation of God of the true nature of the Temple, and that he should declare it to the people that they might turn from their sin. God is not telling him to measure a literal Temple, because there was no literal temple in the visions he was receiving, he was given a spiritual vision of the 'true' temple to illustrate that the children of God did not conform to it.
- "and if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may KEEP the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them".
This is the same illustration given us in Revelation 11:1. John is told to rise and measure the Temple, the Altar, and those that worship therein. In other words, show the true dimensions of the true Christ, the Altar (signifying the atonement), and His people therein. It is synonymous with declaring or revealing God, His sacrifice, and His children. Let them measure up to the prescribed dimensions that God has set forth, or let them repent that they do not. Let the people examine themselves (2nd Corinthians 13:5) by the form of this house.
The true temple is revealed in verse nineteen of this chapter, after the final trumpet sounds. We read there that the Temple was opened in heaven, and there was seen the ark of the Covenant. This is the Temple John is to measure the pattern thereof that he may prophesy or show it again to the people. A righteous Temple which resides in heaven, not on earth, is what He has seen, and should show. Just as in the preceding chapter ten, God had told John (Revelation 10:10-11) that he must eat the 'little' Book, and then must prophesy it again. He is showing John things, which he must show again to God's servants. As it is written in chapter one, 'The Revelation of Christ, signified (given in signs or symbols) to John, to show things to God's servants that would come.'
The Lord is the Temple, we (believers) are those who worship therein, and Christ is He who was sacrificed upon the altar to make this true worship possible. The Old testament sacrifices upon the altar were a 'type' of Christ's atonement. Hence, the measurement has a relationship to the death and resurrection of Christ, and to God the true builder. Those who worship therein are part of that temple through Christ and are often spoken of as the building stones in that Temple. The illustration being that God is showing us it's 'true' dimensions which can only be realized in Christ.
The house of God measured is the form of Christ. Revelation eleven tells us who, what, and how these are to be measured. The Temple, the Altar, and those that worship therein are to be measured with the reed like a rod. It is by no means the measuring of a literal Temple (for the believers are 'also' to be measured), but this is signifying the measuring of righteousness for the exhortation and correction of the body of Christ.
- "..Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
And let us not neglect that the messenger stood, and says 'rise' [egeiro] (meaning to raise up) and measure these things. It is not that John was laying down, but I believe that this is language signifying that those who measure the Temple of God must be those who are 'risen in Christ' first. Christ is our support, as He is the first risen from the dead. And because He is risen and is our support, we also rise. It is by His power and through His faith that we have ability to conform to His image.
- The Holy Temple is measured: Imagery of the body or tabernacle of Christ. He is the true Holy Temple of heaven into which only the righteous enter. And being in 'this form' (Romans 8:29) is the only way anyone can measure up, that they can see the Kingdom of God.
- The Altar is measured: Imagery of the righteous work of Christ, the 'only' way (Hebrews 10:19-20) to enter and become Holy. Christ was laid on that Altar and his blood shed for His people, and that is what makes those who worship in this Holy Temple 'measured' as righteous, that they can conform to it's true dimensions.
- The People are measured: Imagery that those who worship in 'this' Holy Temple are righteous living stones (because they are in Christ, who was sacrificed for them) that they can be measured as inclusive in the Lord's House (Ephesians 2:13).
1st Corinthians 15:20
- "But now is Christ risen [egeiro] from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept."
This very same Greek word rise. And as signified in the symbology of John, when we are called of God to measure the Holy Temple, we also are commanded to be risen up together with Christ, and be conformed to His image. The image of the Holy Temple with exact dimensions. Indeed, that is the only way that we will even have true knowledge of the 'true' dimensions of the Temple of heaven.
- "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
This word risen [sunegeiro] is the two words [sun], meaning together or in union, and of course this very same word [egeiro], meaning to rise up. i.e., we are risen together with Christ, that we set our affections not on earthly temples in worldly cities below, but on the heavenly tabernacle in heaven in the Jerusalem from above. It is the Holy city that comes not with observation or that is observable as being in a specific location in the middle east, but which is Christ in us. Rise up and measure this Holy Temple, and all that is therein, and test ourselves to make sure we truly conform to this image and this house.
- "If ye then be risen [sunegeiro] with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
- Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
So the overview of verse one of Revelation chapter eleven, is that God is illustrating His messenger stood, and gave John a reed. This word stood shows an action of support, just as it did in the episode of measuring recorded in Ezekiel:
It is an action of support. And the messenger of Revelation eleven commanded God's servant John to 'rise' up and measure the true Temple of God. Measure or take an exact estimate of the true temple, of the altar, and of all the worshippers therein. See if they measure up to the form or image of Christ. See if they really are a habitation of God, or are conforming to the image of the beast.
- "And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me."
1st Corinthians 3:16
When we have the Spirit of Christ in us, we are measured as part of the Holy Temple. It is not a measurement of literal bricks and stones which were a shadow or 'type' of the true, but symbolizes the measuring of the true tabernacle in heaven, and the true believers who worship therein and who show the true image of Christ.
- "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
The body of Christ, the Holy Temple of God measured every part. This is why the 'exact' dimensions were spelled out so specifically in the building of the literal Temple in the old Testament. God didn't give us that information just so we might 'literally' build it again, but to 'illustrate' and paint a spiritual picture to us that the Lord has 'exact' dimensions for His Spiritual house, and anything that didn't conform (measure up) to the Lord's commandments or specifications, didn't belong there. The measuring implies an exact calculation of the temple, and those who worship therein.
- "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Not at all unlike the way we use measurement today. If you own property, and you want to know where your land begins and ends, a surveyor will measure it to establish it's true dimensions. Here God is establishing His Church. We see here the spiritual truth that the true Temple is a house whose building and maker is God, and whose dimensions are prescribed 'by Him,' and in which only those risen in Christ can measure up. The reed is 'like a rod' [rhabdos] (meaning God's Rule, guidance and Correction) to illustrate it is the Word of God which defines the measurements of the Holy Temple, and that it is for the correction and comfort of God's people. Like the rod of God's mouth (Isaiah 11:4) symbolizing His Word, the 'reed like unto a rod' that is given John to measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein, symbolize His Word. It is the rule or the yardstick against which all houses and doctrines may be tested for true-ness by God's people. It is a rod of measurement, correction and exhortation.
His Rod is our comfort and our correction, and is the reason we know the true dimensions from a false building. This first verse is an illustration of the measuring of a new testament temple building, with people inside being measured, because they are indeed sanctified a very part of it.
- "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
1st Peter 2:5
We in Christ are a part of this Holy Temple of God and are to be measured right along with it. For Christ has sanctified or made us Holy. How do we judge to see if we are a fit habitation for God? By this measuring reed. We only measure up if we have been sanctified by Christ. This is just as the shadow illustrated to Israel. The Temple, the altar, and those who worship therein were made Holy.
- "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
A promise God fulfilled in the New Covenant Church which Christ instituted by His death and resurrection. By His standing, we rise with Him and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. As Ezekiel, we show the form of the house that people may see and repent and turn to God. We come with the measuring rod by which evidence is seen what are the true dimensions. Only those who measure as the true Temple in Christ, 'are' the true Temple of Christ.
- "And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.
- And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God."
- "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."
The theologians that insist that this chapter speaks of the literal building of a Temple in Jerusalem, completely ignore the fact that it is commanded that no court be measured for building, yet speaks of the court as being there. So if this was talking about building the literal Temple, then why would no court be measured for building, and yet God say the court is given to the Gentiles? It makes no sense. But when we understand the truth of this being a spiritual Temple, then the reason the court is not included for measuring is obvious. Because the court is indeed outside (translated 'without' in the KJV) of the Holy Temple, and thus is not the Holy. This is not the measuring of a literal building, but of the body of Christ. And anyone outside of Christ, is not Holy, Righteous, or Priests unto God, and therefore cannot be measured part of the Temple. Thus the court 'outside' of the Temple's dimensions symbolize the place of those who externally or covenantally link themselves with Christ (i.e., profess themselves Christians) but who are not truly raised up in Christ. In other words, they have joined the external Covenant Churches, saying they are part of the Holy Temple, but they have not truly entered therein.
Those who want to be linked with the Temple, but do not like abiding within the 'strict dimensions' which God has established for His house, remain outside. Spiritually, they are those who have never been risen with Christ. In the real sense, they are lying to themselves (1st John 2:3-5) by linking themselves to the Temple without entering therein. For all they have is a name, and an external Covenant association, but they have no seal, or power, and none of the righteousness which comes with true Salvation. It is easy to see why the court is not measured in this imagery, because as this measuring is by the Lord's scepter of righteousness, and for the correction and illumination of His elect, only those who conform to Christ's image are measured as the Temple. The rest are not to be included in the dimensions of God's House. While they have a certain form of Godliness, they deny the power of the Spirit and thus don't 'measure up' in works of righteousness. They stand without or outside the Temple in the wide court, being deceived that they are a part of the true body of Christ. Covenantally they are the external or corporate Church, but they are not the 'true' Church of those who were born from above.
This court is given to the Gentiles and the Holy City they will tread under foot for forty two months. The Holy City in this context symbolizes the body of believers. It is the spiritual city or collective population made Holy by Christ abiding in the midst of them. The Gentiles are synonymous with the heathen, or those who are not true Jews and are opposed to God that they come against the body. Anyone who becomes a Christian is spoken of as having come into Holy Israel. For example, in Romans chapter eleven, Covenant Israel is 'symbolized' as an olive tree, and the Gentiles or heathen people as a wild olive tree (the unsaved nations). Those chosen of God are broken off from the Gentile tree, and are grafted into the Covenant tree, Israel (Romans 11:19). They have spiritually become Jews, and in God's sight a living part of the New Covenant with Israel. When we are risen in Christ, born from above of God, we are no longer considered Gentiles.
Gentiles in this context is 'spiritually' synonymous with unbelievers. Spiritually we all were Gentiles before we are Christian, aliens (non citizens) and strangers apart from God's Covenant with Israel. But after we are born of the Son of God (the true Israel), spiritually we are no longer Gentiles, but Jews, and as such, sons of God and heirs according to the Covenant promises to Israel. That is the picture painted in Romans eleven of Gentiles leaving their natural tree and being grafted into Covenant Israel (Olive Tree). To deny this is to deny scripture, for unambiguously the branches symbolizing Gentiles move from the wild tree to the Covenant Israel tree. And in fact, God has always made it clear that He will define who Israel is, who the Jews are, and who the Gentiles are. Man's definitions or interpretations cannot circumvent Biblical declarations and definitions.
- "wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made with hands;
- that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of ISRAEL, and strangers from the Covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world;
- But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
In God's definition, it's not in the letter, but in the spirit. In God's eyes, being a Jew is not outward in the flesh where one might receive praise of man (as so many would have us believe today), it is in knowing the father through the Son. It's not blood lines or genealogy, it is what is within the person.
- "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
- But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
1st John 3:9
It is not being born of Jewish lineage, but being born of God that makes mankind the true Israel, because His seed remains in us. In God's eyes, this is what defines who a true Jew is. To claim we are of God and not truly be of God, is to bring judgement upon ourselves. It is woe unto them who claim they are Jews and are not (Revelation 3:9). It's not about genealogy, because the true sons of God are of literal Jewish flesh, and they are of non-Jewish flesh. If they are in Christ, then they are 'unequivocally' inwardly a Jew, being born of that Seed. If they are not in Christ, then even though they be born Jewish in the flesh, in God's defining, they are not a Jew and not His people. When we consider God's definitions carefully and not politically or superficially, we can come to no other conclusion but that which God has written. God's Promises to Israel have not been abrogated, voided, or made of non effect because national Israel has (in part) been blinded. Because the promise was 'never' to a race of people, but was from eternity to a 'Grace' of people.
- "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
Those who throw up their hands in rejection of these truths protesting that Israel means those of the flesh, and that's all there is to it, are flying in the face of God's Holy Word. God says explicitly that this is 'not' the test of what or who is Israel or of who are the Children of God. I don't see how it could be written any plainer. All the nation Israel is not going to be Saved because God says there, 'all Israel are not Israel' in His eyes. In His defining. God says the children of the flesh are not the Children of God in His eyes. God says that being Abraham's seed is not what makes people the Children of God. It's being the Children of the promise which makes them Children and heirs according to the promise to Israel. A true Jew is not one in the flesh, but in the Spirit.
- "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are Not ALL Israel which are of Israel:
- neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy name be called.
- That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the Children of the promise are counted for the seed."
Verse six of Romans chapter nine started off saying it is not as if the promises to Israel had been made of non effect or broken, it is that the promise was never made to the nation Israel, it was made to the Israel of God. It was made to the Election, which are a remnant. That's why God says they're not all Israel who are of Israel. That's why God says Jews are not Jews by appearance, but inwardly. Only the remnant are. And likewise, we are all spiritually Israel when we are in Christ Israel. And man is all spiritually Gentiles when they are not in Christ.
A Jew is spiritually a Gentile without Christ, and a Gentile is spiritually a Jew with Christ. The body of Christ is spiritually the Israel of God and that is why Revelation chapter eleven speaks of the court of the Temple being given to the Gentiles and is not to be measured. It is to illustrate the heathen or unsaved of the nations of the world coming into the external congregation of God via the unfaithful (the Court), to trample the Holy City under foot. Because those of the court are professing Christians who depart from the faith and are given into the hands of the Gentiles because of their unrighteousness. This is done 'by God' as judgment for their spiritual fornication against their espoused Husband, Christ. For it is written, judgment must begin at the House of God (1st Peter 4:17). God will first judge the unfaithful house for their unrighteousness and unwillingness to receive the love of the truth of His Word, and then the wicked. The prophesy of the Apostasy (separating) from God spoken about in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2 illustrates this judgement. God says that there is to be a great falling away or forsaking God by those who would not receive truth. These are those symbolized as being the court or those outside the true Temple, who the Gentiles will deceive that they fall away from the faith (1st Timothy 4:1). They are those who did not make their calling and election sure, and God tells us very clearly not only what He will do to them, but 'why' He will do it.
- "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision."
2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12
It was for this reason that God will send them strong delusion. When the man of sin takes a seat in the Holy Temple, God takes full responsibility for sending the people this delusion that they believe these false teachings and are damned and judged for their unrighteousness. These are those that attempt to build a house themselves, rather than let God be it's builder. It is people who only profess to be of God. It is not the people of the world who have no interest in God. They could care less about either the true Christ or a false Christ. In fact, they don't want any part of Him. But it's those of the Church who are going to be deceived by false teachers who come in Christ's name that many fall away from God. Their deceit and unfaithfulness is the reason that they cannot be measured. Jesus Himself warned us about the time of Great tribulation saying there would be such great deception going on that it would even deceive the very Elect if that were possible (Matthew 24:24), and that we should be not deceived. For those in Christ it is not possible to be deceived unto falling, because they are those truly inside the Holy Temple who keep the Word of God faithfully so that (of the Spirit) they know lies and deception when they hear it. Because they 'measure' it by the rule of faith, the rod of correction, and compare it against the true form, the true house of God. This is the evidence of our really knowing God, and of our true Salvation (1st John 2:3-5). Our true authority is 'Sola Scriptura,' the Word of God alone, and considered as a whole.
- "For this reason God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie;
- that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
The Holy city the wicked trample under foot is symbolic of the collective dwelling place of those of God. The Old testament Holy city of Jerusalem was a 'type' looking forward to the coming of the New Holy City, which is from above. Christ is that Holy City come from above. In Him we live and breathe and have our being. Comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual things (1st Corinthians 2:13) we see that after the cross, there is only one true Holy City, and that is in Christ. The Church is the earthly representation of that Holy City in heaven. All those in Christ are in the beloved City wherein dwelleth Righteousness. When we enter into Christ we enter into the City of Peace, the City of Righteousness, Jerusalem from above. The Peace that passeth understanding dwells there, and our warfare with God has been accomplished, and iniquity pardoned. The true believer is in Peace and Safety.
We (the Church) are the earthly representation of the Israel of God which dwells without bars in Peace and Safety. Spiritually speaking the Bible has many symbols, figures and imagery of the Church. From being the body of Christ, to the Holy City, to the Holy Temple, the camp of the saints, or the Holy nation. God uses all these symbolisms to give us a spiritual picture of the Christian family or community. What makes this spiritual City Holy, is Christ. He is the energy which makes this City the light of the world. The same type symbolism we see in Revelation Chapter one verse thirteen where God speaks of Christ being in the midst of the candlesticks, and then reveals in verse twenty that the candlesticks represent the Churches. In other words, it's Christ in the midst of the Churches which is the energy. It is He who is the light of those candlesticks. The same thing with the Holy City. Christ is what makes it Holy. When in the prophesy of Isaiah 40:2 it was declared, 'comfort ye Jerusalem, her warfare is ended and her iniquity is pardoned,' this is that City that God was talking about. Not a literal city in the middle east, but the people of God who have had their iniquity pardoned, and have made peace with God. This is the cessation of spiritual warfare with God which every believer has come to. With this Peace comes that light which shines upon men that they reflect a glorious Holy City which the whole world can see.
- "But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the CITY of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels."
Understanding these spiritual truths, we can better understand why God speaks of a falling away in 2nd Thessalonians chapter two. Where we see the figure of lawless man ruling in the Holy Temple 'as if' he were God Himself, we know it represents sinful man ruling in the external covenant or corporate Church, the representation of the true. This is how the Gentiles will tread down the Holy City. This city was meant to be the light of the World, but men led by the spirit of Satan, the spirit of antichrist, trampled it under foot. When the Gentiles trample the Holy City under foot, it is a figure of an assault on the spiritual city (Jews, the Church), by the unsaved (Gentiles, the world) who cast the truth of God's Word down. They are those who have no fear of God (Psalms 36:1; Romans 3:8) and dare to usurp His Word by sitting to rule in the Church by their own word, 'as if' they were God.
In our day we see this great forsaking of God's Word in the Churches. Many in the Church are of the world, are rebellious and have no root or strength in Christ wherein they would endure this onslaught. The treading down is a time of great tribulation for the 'true believers.' It is declared in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 as a time of great distress, and wrath upon this people (The Court), and it will last till the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled and Christ returns.
The forty-two months correlates to this time just before Christ's second advent and the end of the world. It is a period of trial when the love of God will have grown so cold that men forsake His Word in the Church, and judge by what is right in their own eyes. In other words, iniquity abounds.
When we ask ourselves, 'when shall ALL things that are written be fulfilled,' of course the answer is, at the end of the world. Again, who's vengeance is this? The answer is that it is God's vengeance and God's judgment. It is not vengeance against a literal city in the middle east, it is vengeance against the unfaithful congregation who commits spiritual whoredoms. The Lord's congregation is where this warfare takes place. A spiritual warfare, not a physical one. It's where the beast battles with the saints in the Churches and deceives the weak therein. Those who have forsaken the Lord and fallen away from the faith of God will come under this judgement because of their abominations. And talking about this Abomination of desolation when the saints are told to flee to the mountains, God declares:
- "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."
This is not talking about 70 A.D. (as some suppose), the context precludes such an understanding. This is the very same treading down by the Gentiles as spoken of in Revelation Chapter eleven. And that obviously is not 70 A.D. The sword of unsaved man is his tongue, and the leading away into captivity is the unfaithful marked and falling into bondage of Satan through his deception. This spiritual captivity will continue until the times of the Gentiles being fulfilled, is fulfilled. This will be the end of all things, or as matthew 24 says, when 'all shall be fulfilled.' After these things, both Luke and Matthew reiterate that the Lord returns in power and Glory. In other words, it is the time of the end of the world. Forty-two months (3 1/2 years) corresponds to the 'time' God has given power to the unsaved of the nations (Gentiles) ruled by Satan, that they may marshall their army of deceivers, and trample the Holy City under foot.
- "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations' and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Many have viewed this tribulation as a bloodletting, or the literal destruction of the middle eastern Jerusalem. Despite the context, some have even said this has already taken place in 70 A.D.. In both books (Matthew and Luke), it is illustrated as being at the time of the end of the world and the coming of Christ. Some simply do not understand how God uses symbolism or 'types' in His word of Prophecy. And this is as He always has. The Jerusalem that was to be comforted wasn't a literal city in the middle east. The Temple that was to be destroyed and rebuilt in three days was not a literal Temple of bricks in the middle east. The highway in the desert to be made straight didn't mean that John the Baptist was to be a literal construction worker who would straighten earthly roads. There were no literal Hills made low, or valleys made high at the Cross. These things people brush aside like so much window dressing, when in fact they are all proof texts of the truth of the symbolism God has always used in prophecy. Jesus said the people must eat His flesh and drink His blood, and many revolted and walked away never to follow Him again. The same mistake as people make today. They had their ideas of how things should be taken literally, so they didn't really listen and 'thus' didn't hear. Comparing Spiritual things with spiritual things we know that Jesus didn't mean that He would make the disciples to fish men from the literal sea, He had something far more Glorious in view. The people of Israel were looking for a Prince to come and rule a literal earthly kingdom, but they 'missed the point' altogether. Many Premillennialists today are looking for a literal rebuilding of a Temple in the middle east, and do not understand that the rebuilding of the Temple that was prophesied was in Christ. He is not the Chief Corner stone of a Bakery, He is the Chief Corner stone of the building again of the 'The Holy Temple' of God. That is the Holy Temple that was to be rebuilt (Acts 15:15-17). All these things are clearly seen in God's Word once we compare scripture with scripture and surrender to it's authority rather than our own will. The Holy City Jerusalem that is trodden down of the Gentiles, is not a city in the middle east, it is the Church. There is no other biblical sacrifice after the Cross. The sacrifice of Christ at the cross makes that sure. There is none other Holy Temple after the cross but (#1)Christ, (#2)those in Christ (our body is the Holy Temple where God dwells), and (#3)the collection of those who profess being in Christ. i.e., the new Covenant Church. There is none other high Priest after the cross, but Christ. Because Christ fulfilled all these ceremonial 'types' which merely looked forward to His coming and His priesthood. To say that there is another prophecy of these literal things like Temples and High Priests would be confusion. It would be like saying, sacrifice of animals must start again to look forward to Christ's coming to atone for sin. There is no way that this could possibly be true, for it was a type that was fulfilled in the true. And likewise the Temple in literal jerusalem, and the Holy City there were all fulfilled in Christ. The shadow is passed away with the coming of the real. There is none other Holy City after the cross, except Christ and the Church, and there is none other Holy Temple except Christ and the Church. The end-time prophecy of Satan loosed for a little season that the man of sin sit in the Holy Temple, is a prophecy of Satan assaulting God's Church.
The horn symbolizes Satan's power to rule, and it is a little horn to symbolize that his power is for a 'little' period of time. To stamp upon the host of heaven is to trample them under foot. The Gentiles trampling the Holy City is speaking of unbelievers desolating the Church on earth as the witness to the truth of God's Word is being destroyed within it's walls. They are not abiding by the true measurements of the Temple in Heaven. The Word of God is wrested, subverted, denied, and rejected as the true doctrine. This trampling under foot is the very same principle we see demonstrated in Matthew.
- "And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
- And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them."
The pearls here represent the witness of the gospel truth. The trampling them under foot signifies the people's rejection of it and their taking offense at it, to attack you. In other words, those who are opposed to Christ treat the witness of the gospel truth as worthless. It's something that they can just cast down to the ground and walk on as we would dirt under foot. The same picture is illustrated in Daniel 8:7 where it says that the 'he Goat' cast the Ram to the ground, and stamped upon Him, or Daniel 8:10 where he cast the stars to the ground and stamped upon them, or verse 10 where we read the truth was cast to the ground. These are all showing the very same principle. Wicked unbelievers casting down God's Word of truth (and His servants who bring it) as something to be treated as worthless. The faithful endure, while those who are unfaithful do not, because they have not the root of Christ whereby they could overcome in time of tribulation. God has brought this judgment upon the unfaithful Church because they had departed from the faith, and lost the flavor, which is a 'figure' of the good of the gospel, and they are thus worthless, cast out of God's kingdom and trampled under foot. While those who abide in Christ endure this trial of faith and do not fall away from God. The disdain which unsaved people have for the witness of the truth is self-evident, and will bring great tribulation to the faithful. But it will bring desolation to the 'unfaithful,' as they are those who abide in the comfortable courts.
- "..neither cast ye your pearls before before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn again and rend you".
The forty-two months also correlates to the short time or little time that scripture says the beast (representing those of Satan's devouring Kingdom) was given power to blasphemy and come against the Holy City. This is exactly the character and evil context of his attacking the Church that we are addressing.
It is the true witnesses in the Church who those of Satan are coming against. Note carefully the direct correlation to what we read was measured in Revelation chapter eleven, verse one. These are blaspheming God, His Tabernacle (the Temple), those that dwell in heaven, and they make war with the saints. We (the saints) are those who dwell in heaven (Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 12:22), the saints are the true believers. And when you make war with the saints, you make war with God. You cannot make war with one without making war with the other, for they are sent of God and intimately related. And as we shall also see later on in this study, God says the beast from the bottomless pit makes war with the two witnesses and overcomes them. Just as Revelation thirteen says these saints were overcome by the beast. They are one and the same, as it is all a glorious and magnificent spiritual picture of the assault upon the Church of God by the Kingdom of Satan (Beast), and how the Holy City is trampled under foot by those under his rule.
- "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemes; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
- And he opened his mouth in Blasphemy against God, to blasphemy His Name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven,
- and it was given him to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them, and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations".
We cannot help but notice that God continually uses the language that it was 'Given' unto them that they can do this. Revelation thirteen says power was 'Given' him to continue forty two months. Revelation eleven says the court was 'Given' to the Gentiles and they would tread the Holy City down forty-two months. Revelation 17:17 talking about this same episode (judgment on the unfaithful Church or harlot) says, GOD put it into their hearts to fulfill His will and to agree and 'Give' their kingdom to the beast until God's Word is fulfilled. You see, it is God who is bringing this judgment upon the unfaithful Church. He takes full responsibility for doing this. Just as we read in 2nd Thessalonians 2:10-11. He is the one who has sent this evil and given these the power to deceive the unrighteous. He is bringing this judgment just as He has warned the Church He would do if they did not repent and remember from where they had fallen. This should not be something which is unexpected.
This forty two months of Satan prospering is also spoken of as time, times, and the dividing of time (1+2+1/2 or 3 1/2).
This is the forty-two months. Spiritually three and one half years corresponding to the last half of the final week (weeks of years) prophesied in the seventy weeks of Daniel chapter nine. It is when the overspreading of abomination leaves the unfaithful desolate. The Covenant was strengthened by Messiah (Daniel 9:27; Hebrews 9:16-17) in His blood by the cross, and this final half of the week starts near the end of the world when Satan is loosed. The New Covenant week made strong by Christ's death is divided into two spiritual periods, both spoken of as 'time, times and a half.' The first half week starts at the Cross as Christ confirms (makes strong) the covenant for many in His Blood. God feeds and protects the Church (Revelation 12:14) in this first half of the New Covenant week (1260) to the time of Tribulation. Then is this second 'time, times and the dividing of time' (as illustrated in Daniel 7:25). In the midst of the week is when this court is given to the gentiles, and this evil comes to fruition as the beast is loosed.
- "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the Saints of the most high, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be Given into his hand until a time and times, and the dividing of time".
The first half of the New Covenant week is spoken of as 1260 days (3 1/2 years) as well as 'time, times and a half' (see the Revelation Chapter 12 study). While the last half is spoken of as 42 months (3 1/2 years) as well as 'time, times, and a half.' This I'm sure is to distinguish between the two distinct periods when studying and comparing the scriptures. Many people suppose that the 1260 days and the 42 months are synonymous because they are both approximately 3 1/2 years. But I do not believe this is possible. Why would God say the two witnesses preach 1260 days, and the court is given to the Gentiles 42 months if they were synonymous? It seems clear to me that the trampling of the court of the Holy Temple takes place after the two witnesses are killed. i.e., it is the second half of the week while the witnessing is the first half. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The weeks of Daniel 9 (see Daniel 9 Study) are symbolic of years. That's why the final week in which Messiah confirms the Covenant is symbolized as seven years (weeks of years, or in the literal, one seven). It represents a completion, one week representing the whole New Covenant Period from the time the man-child ascended to Heaven, to the time of His return. We will see more about the thousand two hundred and threescore days later in this study.
So the overview of verse two of Revelation chapter eleven is that it illustrates that there are those who link themselves with the Temple by abiding in it's court, but who in reality are always 'outside' of the Holy Temple of God, and thus cannot be measured along with those made Righteous by being truly in Christ. They are in the court or outside of the temple proper, and therefore are not strictly part of the Temple. The great words 'leave out' [ekballo exo] there literally translated is to 'cast out' or to expel them. In other words, these are not truly part of the Temple, they will be cast out, and are not to be measured as the Temple of God. They will be cast out in the great separation between the true believers, and those who are merely professing believers. That is what is illustrated by this measuring and casting out (leaving out) the court. It doesn't belong written with the Righteous.
The separation between those holy, and those common or without the righteousness of Christ. These outside are not estimated, do not receive the measure of correction from God's rod, nor bow to the sceptre of God's rule symbolized by the rod. They are of those who will be given to the Gentiles (unbelievers) as judgment for their unfaithfulness, and the Gentiles shall then deceive them as they trample the Church underfoot forty two months. The heathen or strangers who come into the external covenant Church will assimilate them where you cannot tell the world from the Church. They deceive those unfaithful to the Word.
- "He turned about to the west side, and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed.
- He measured it by the four sides: it had a wall round about, five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad, to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place."
- "And I will give power unto My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."
In verse one we have the commanding to measure, the symbolism of showing the people the true form or pattern of the Temple building that they may know who the true God is. That it is not a literal Temple building, but a spiritual building. And in verse two we are notified that in this measuring of the Temple, there is a court which is part of the Temple proper, but which is outside of it's dimensions. It thus symbolizes those which are not secure, and which shall be trodden down of unbelievers. And here in verse three the illustration is how the measuring in this declaration will take place. God 'gives' to His witnesses to prophecy this for a thousand two hundred and threescore (1260) days. This is how the Holy Temple will be measured that the house of God conform to it's true dimensions. And this is how those who worship therein shall be rightly divided or measured. By the Word of God, the rule of faith, instruction, and correction.
First of all, contrary to popular opinion, Witnesses of God are not alien subject matter that they should be pictured as supernatural beings, or the dead coming to life. They are a recurring theme throughout God's dispensation. The title 'witnesses' implies a testimony in God's judicial law, the scriptures. Anyone who is born from above has been endowed with power by the Spirit of God in them that they become His witness. And even though the word power is not actually used in this verse, it is implied by God 'giving' unto His two witnesses that they would prophecy. This means that God has bestowed upon them the power to prophecy, which they didn't have before. And that is why the word power is included in most translations. Without that Holy Spirit within us bearing witness with our spirit (Romans 8:16), we have no power and cannot be a true witness of God. Because these are the two things which make us a faithful witnesses of God. The Word and the His Spirit.
- "And ye have not His word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
- Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
The Word and the Holy spirit abiding in believers is what makes the faithful Church the witnesses of God. It is this Holy Spirit of truth which is the power which works in us and guides us to testify 'faithfully' to the gospel message. Every true believer is given this power to be a witness for God, and show the true form of the house.
- "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
- And ye also shall bear witness,because ye have been with me from the beginning."
God's Word declares that He 'has given' those who are obedient to His Word this power of the Holy Spirit that they are His witnesses. Again, the word power is implied there because God has given them the Holy Spirit. That is the power to witness. This is made clear throughout scripture. Whenever we go forth testifying that Jesus Christ is the Holy Temple which was destroyed, and in three days was risen from the dead that we might be made in His image, we are measuring the Temple by being a witness of God in the power of the Spirit which He has 'given' us.
- "And we are His Witnesses of these things: and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him".
To all the Prophets it was given of God to bear witness to His Holy Word, and this is the very same commission given to the Church. To witness or testify of Him who was ordained of God to be judge of the earth, and that whosoever believes on His name, shall be Saved. So we see that the witnesses of God given power to prophecy is not some new theme.
- "And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead.
- To Him give all the prophets Witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him should receive remission of sins".
- "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
- I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
- I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God."
These are witnesses who declare the form of the God of Israel. These are the witnesses that declare there is none other name whereby men may be Saved. These are the witnesses that declare that His law and His Word is the authority, and that judgment awaits those who disobey it. It is what God's witnesses within His congregation have always declared. These two witnesses of Revelation eleven are a 'symbol' of God's faithful servants, the true eternal indivisible Church. There are many scriptures which illustrate that the true Church is the designated witness of Christ, but notice how verse three of Revelation says, 'And I will give power unto My two Witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days clothed in sackcloth.' So the question is, does this power to prophesy agree with what the scriptures say that God has given the faithful Church? Did God give unto His Church to prophesy? Again, when we compare scripture with scripture and consider things in an unbiased fashion, the Commission that Christ gave us is in full agreement with these things.
- "Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."
This is the power which God gave unto His witnesses that they could prophecy to the world for this time period. It is the power of the Holy Spirit which was given God's witnesses at Pentecost. And because of this power given us, we come in His Spirit with the testimony of the law of God. This is just as Moses did, and just as prophets of God such as Elijah did. We are these Witnesses and Prophets.
- "But ye shall Receive Power, after the Holy ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be Witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
With the advent of the New Testament period, we have by the Spirit of God become prophets. Because of the similarity and the obvious language evoking the 'law and the prophets,' there are some theologians who believe that these two witnesses are literally Moses and Elijah. But that is because 'the law and the prophets' is a phrase which is a synonym for the Word of God. And the Word of God is that law which these prophets of the Church comes with. i.e., the Church comes in the Spirit and Power of Moses and Elijah because they come as witnesses to the law (as Moses) and as prophets of judgment and deliverance (as Elijah). Not that this literally represents Moses and Elijah, but that God's Church is 'sent' with the law and the prophecy, just as they were. In the same sense that God said that John the baptist came in the 'Spirit and power of Elijah,' but that he was not Elijah. Because of being endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word from God's mouth, the true believers give the world the same glorious evidences of Godís presence and power as Moses and Elijah did.
- "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
- And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
- And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:"
We can readily understand most of the symbolisms for the Church (power to prophecy, power as witnesses, power of the Holy Spirit), but the question is often asked, 'why are there two witnesses?' Many make the assumption that because it says there are two, this implies that it is literally two people. But that is like saying that because there were twelve Apostles, it implies the Church must consist of twelve people. This doesn't follow at all, the number twelve was used of God to represent the whole Church. Just as the twelve tribes of Israel represented the whole Old Testament congregation. Or as another example, in Zechariah we see the illustration of one candlestick (lampstand). In revelation chapter one we see the illustration of seven candlesticks, and in this Revelation chapter eleven we see two candlesticks. That's because with these numbers God is illustrating the different aspects of the Church in each symbolism. Three signifies the will and purpose of God, Seven signifies totality or completeness, twelve signifies the body of the Church, and the number two signifies the truthfulness of the Church. And particularly the phrase 'two witnesses' is used to signify that these witnesses in the Church are those which testify in truth. In other words, the two witnesses are not symbolizing the whole corporate or external covenant Church, they are a symbol to illustrate only the faithful (truthful) indivisible Church within the external body. These are those who are measured in Christ. It is the true Church 'within' the covenant corporate Church. The true believers are the elect who don't fall headlong into the teachings of false gospels, but who come with the rod of measurement that they discern the true pattern of God's house, and consequently, the form which is not of God. The two witnesses represent those who are truly in Christ, and thus rest upon the true foundation, which is their pillar.
1st Timothy 3:15
Being in Christ is being in the Church which is the pillar and ground (foundation) of the truth, not the external Church, it's leaders, or Church traditions. The house which is Christ is the ground of truth. That is to say, true believers dwell in the body of Christ, and are built upon 'Him.' He is that foundation, Pillar and ground of the truth. Not the assembly itself. They are witnesses to truth only as they abide in Christ, thee truth. And this is what the number two illustrates. God uses it to signify these are true (two) witnesses to His law. These are not false teachers or false prophets, these are His true prophets.
- "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
Scripture confirms that the number two identifies with a corroborated witness, signifying truth. We can see this principle explicitly illustrated in many passages. God has said that at the mouth of a minimum of two witnesses, the truth is established. By this God is demonstrating that two witnesses signifies that what is being spoken is true.
Two witnesses is the minimum number to establish truth. Indeed, this is a concept that goes back to the beginning. God declared that no man should be put to death by the witness of one man. It took a minimum of two witnesses to establish truth that one could be put to death (This also holds spiritual truth about the judgment of the Church by the two witnesses, but is not the scope of this study). Nevertheless, we can see in this that the number two established an honest or truthful witness. Again, Jesus said:
- "But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or Three Witnesses every word may be established."
These things aren't coincidence, every Word of God is inspired and relevant. It is written in God's law that two witnesses is the establishment that what is being said is the truth. This is why there is the symbolism of the two witnesses in Revelation. It signifies these are not just professing Christians, they are the eternal indivisible Church of God which comes with the Word of God truthfully. The number two illustrates this.
- "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is True..."
Another illustration of the Church being 'given' power, and being sent out two witnesses at a time. And their power is over the spirit Satan, signifying the power given the Church to bring God's Salvation to the World. They brought the truthful witness of God, signified by them going out by two. Which is also as Christ also sent the Seventy out to witness with power by two.
- "And He called unto Him the twelve, and began to send them forth two and two; and gave them Power over unclean spirits."
- "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come."
An illustration of the Church sent out with power that the spirits of devils were subject to them through His Holy name. This is the marvelous way God uses these events to teach us the symbolism of the number two as used with those sent out to be His witness of the truth.
- "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
And from the time that the Church is given this power of the Holy Spirit to prophesy, to the time that their testimony (witness) is finished (verse seven of Revelation eleven), God speaks of it as a thousand two hundred and threescore (1260) days, which is approximately three and a half years. If you have read the Revelation Chapter twelve study, you will have noticed that this is exactly the length of time that God says the woman Israel (the Church) is 'fed' in the wilderness from the time after the man child Christ ascends up to heaven. In other words, that was the start of the New Testament Church period when she is fed of God by the Word. God is not the author of confusion, and this is why there is total harmony between these chapters of the thousand two hundred and threescore days. All the time periods are totally consistent with each and every other passage showing this is the time of testimony of the Church. Inconsistency is the hallmark of error. The woman is fed of God a thousand two hundred and threescore days in the wilderness away from the face of the serpent Satan, whom Christ defeated at the cross. The woman is fed with the Word of God, which is the bread of life. Revelation chapter twelve then says, after the thousand two hundred and threescore days (also signified as time, times, and a half), something happens. The Serpent (Satan) again goes to make war with the remnant of her seed. That thousand two hundred and threescore days that Revelation chapter twelve says 'the woman' was fed in the wilderness, is the exact same thousand two hundred and threescore days which Revelation chapter eleven says the Church (two Witnesses) were given power to prophecy before the beast from the pit overcomes them. Which is total agreement on the period of the new covenant Church's preaching before the beast is loosed. God is using symbolic language in both these Chapters to show us the same revelation about the journey of the Church from Christ's first advent. While the Church was testifying and going forth with the gospel, it is fed nourished and allowed to go forth prophesying, but after their testimony is finished (see verse 7 of Chapter 11), the witnesses are assaulted by the beast, and killed of Satan. In other words, the beast makes it so their testimony is no longer heard, the bread by which she was fed becomes scarce (famine), as the true Word of God is trampled upon in the Churches. This is the time of the falling away or apostasy of the Church that will come, that the man of sin may rule in the external Church. Perhaps a look at an illustration chart will help us better understand the big picture. The last days, or final New Testament week, is symbolized as weeks of years (as per Daniel chapter nine). It is representing the new covenant week which was strengthened (translated confirmed) by Messiah the Prince. The week represents the whole New
Covenant/Testamentperiod from Christ's death when He strengthened it (Hebrews 9:17), up until Christ returns. The thousand two hundred and threescore days (1260) represents spiritually the first half of this New Covenant week, which is the time of testimony of the Church before it is overcome by the beast.
The Final Week of Daniel Chapter 9 THE THE CROSS CONSUMMATION | ----------- Covenant confirmed 1 week ----------- | | by Messiah the Prince | | (The Wilderness Journey!) | |--freed From Bondage The Promised land--| | Keeping The Feast of Tabernacles | | ------3 1/2 Days ------|------ 3 1/2 days ------ | | (1260 days= 3 1/2 years)|(42 months= 3 1/2 years) | | | | | Time, Times and a half | Time, Times and a half | | Rev 12:14 Fed until --|-Daniel 7:25 | | |-Daniel 12:7 Satan Rule | | | | | | 1260 1290 1335 The Testimony Abomination The Cross Finished! of Desola. judgment Sits Midst of week!It is no coincidence that Jesus preached three and a half (3 1/2) years before He was killed, and the Church is spoken of as prophesying 3 1/2 years (1260 days, spiritually speaking) before it is killed (Revelation 11:7). And God makes sure that we understand it's relationship to this end time event as He informs us that where the body of Christ (two Witnesses) is killed, is where our Lord was Crucified (Revelation 11:8). This is because the Church is intimately identified with the body of Christ as He is the Temple of God in which we live and breathe and have our being. We indeed are the Body of Christ. When they kill the two witnesses, they have in effect crucified Christ afresh. For inasmuch as they do it to Christ's Church, they do it unto Christ.
The symbolism in Revelation of sackcloth is to signify that the elect prophecy in mourning. And if anyone doesn't think that the true Church's testimony is with sackcloth, then they either don't know the true state of most of mankind, or they don't really know what the sackcloth represents.
We mourn both for our own sins, and the sins of others. And those who do not mourn, do not know their sins, or the sins of the world, nor what is the end of such sin. As lot's soul was vexed by sin, so all true believers souls are troubled by sin. We grieve for the world, and sackcloth is that material which in scripture illustrates that grieving or mourning. This can be seen when people of the old testament would have reason to mourn they would cover themselves in sackcloth and/or ashes to signify their vexation.
- "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
2nd Samuel 3:31
- "And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days."
- "And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier."
The sackcloth in scripture signifies a cloak of mourning. And that's what the two witnesses prophecy in. They are mourning for the fact that so few will receive the Word of God that they testify of, that they might be Saved. They know the end of such actions, and they are saddened by the state of man, and their knowledge that the Word of judgment is upon them for such rejections. In other words, the Word of God is as sweet as honey to us, but it is also bitter in that we know what it means to those who reject it. True Believers love their neighbor as themselves, and therefore desire the same for them which they themselves have received of God. And it is a great sadness when man rejects the truth they bring, for they know it is then judgement unto them. Therefore do they witness in mourning, their souls vexed or saddened knowing the judgement of God.
- "When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry.
- ..there was a great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and Ashes."
2nd Corinthians 5:10-11
We know the terror of the Lord, and we know these are under judgement and thus do we prophecy in sadness mourning because of what we know.
- "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
- Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."
The overview of verse three is that when the command was given to measure the Temple, and the altar, and all that dwell therein, that God gave to his two witnesses that they would prophecy a thousand two hundred and threescore days clothed in sackcloth. It is essential to the chapter to understand that these two witnesses do 'not' represent the corporate or external covenant church as some have surmised. These two witnesses represent a spiritual community of true believers only, who come with God's judicial law to a wicked and perverse world. They don't represent the external Church, and they don't represent two men, they represent God's Holy people, the eternal indivisible Church who is faithful and elect. It is through 'this' Church that God will show forth His judgment and prophecy. Mysteries will be made known by God's elect Church.
This is an illustration of the indivisible Church's worldwide mission. True believers coming with the Word of correction and of judgment (law and the prophets). The true indivisible Church within the external Covenant Church. Their testimony is a thousand two hundred and threescore days in sackcloth, signifying they are those who mourn for the wickedness of the world. They are the blessed who mourn, and who shall be comforted.
- "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
- To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,"
- "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth".
Christians have been taught so many different interpretations about the candlesticks and olive trees that many find these verses confusing or difficult to sort out. There are some theologians who claim that these two represent the Old and New Testament Churches. But that obviously cannot be a correct interpretation because these prophecy on the New Testament side of the cross, and thus there cannot be an Old covenant Church at this time. There is only one Church at the time of their prophecy, not two Testament witnesses to whom it is 'given' to prophecy at this time. Nor can it be Biblically validated that these are literally Enoch, Moses or Elijah as has been alleged.
The number one rule when trying to understand the 'symbolism' of Revelation is to remember that, 'the Bible is it's own interpreter.' In other words, the interpretation of these passages will be found in God's Word, not in our personal conceptions or in the imaginations of our heart. We compare scripture with scripture to see what God has to say in other passages about each item of symbolism. We study to show ourselves approved unto God by examining scripture against scripture, the spiritual with the Spiritual[19a]. By this we allow God to define His own terms. When we do this, our faithful work in Christ is rewarded and we begin to see how God consistently repeats the same symbolism throughout scripture. We learn from the text, the context, and in what sense it is used throughout. In this way we come to understand what God is illustrating by the word.
The fact is, to really understand the background of the symbolism of the candlesticks (lampstands), we have to go back to the Old Testament where the candlestick was commanded to be put in the Temple of God, and to be kept burning continually [tamiyd] by the service of the children of Israel. By this God was prefiguring that He is the light of the Temple of God, and that it is by the service of His servants that it will be kept burning continually. God is the true light of the Temple. And He is the tree which supplies the pure Olive oil (Spirit) for it's burning.
2nd Samuel 22:29
The significance in God commanding the children of Israel to keep the lamp of the Temple burning (Leviticus 24:1-3), is to show that the children of God have the work assigned them to keep light burning bright always. And this is the very same job that the Lord has given the New Testament Church today also. God's children today are commanded to keep the light burning continually, as they were commanded to do in the Old Testament congregation. We can clearly see this 'signification' as Jesus told the Church, 'Ye are the light of the world.' This is only because we are in Christ, and He is the true light of the world. And that was the same 'signification' that God was illustrating in the Old Testament ceremonial law of the lampstand (candlestick). Christ was the true focal point of it. He was the light, and they were His servants commissioned to keep it burning always. i.e., work that the light of the Lord would shine always. Unfortunately today, many have forsaken this calling, and forgotten it's history.
- "For Thou art my Lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness."
That Hebrew word translated always is the exact same word [tamiyd] translated continual. The children of God were to keep that light Shining brightly always in the Holy Temple. It illustrated the precious light of the Lord that shines in darkness. It was their work or service to assure it remained burning by the pure oil of the olive. All these things of the Old Testament (shewbread, spoons, lamps, bowls, etc) of the Tabernacle, were fulfilled in Christ. He was that true light of the Temple that burns continually. That veil in the Temple signifies His Flesh, and the sacrifice blood on the altar a figure of His blood. All these were fulfilled in Christ. To try and bring any of these things of the literal Temple back would be an abomination, and would imply that Christ didn't fulfill them, or that He wasn't what these types looked forward to. The literal ceremonial laws cannot be applicable today. The Candlestick is fulfilled in the light of Christ. And just as the Church takes on the name CHRISTian, Holy Temple, Holy City, or Olive Tree, it takes on the name of the Candlestick or the Lampstand of Christ. It is an illustration that they are in the service of keeping the light of the Holy Temple. That is because the Church is the Body of Christ. We are the reflection of Christ in the world, we are the Children of God whose job it is to go forth keeping the light of the Candlestick burning continually just as it was the job of the Old Testament Israelites to do. To this end are we called. And that is why in Revelation we see God use Candlesticks as symbolism for His Church. They illustrate the Children of God in service to the light of Christ. This is not an assumption or idle speculation, God tells us 'point blank' what the symbolism of the Candlesticks are. And He does so both in the book of Revelation, and in other books. From the very first chapter of this apocalypse of Revelation, God had revealed the mystery or secret of the symbolism of the candlestick. We need only receive His explanation of what it is an image of, rather than accept man's speculation. i.e., by that same comparing scripture with scripture and letting God be His own interpreter of His Word.
- "And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring the pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the Lamp to burn always.
- In the Tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the Lord; it shall be a statute FOR EVER unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel."
God says the mystery [musterion], or the secret of the symbolism is revealed. The Candlestick is a symbol of God's Church. The star is a symbol of the messenger of God's Church. So here we have God from the very beginning of the book of Revelation revealing what the imagery of the Candlesticks symbolized. And yet we have theologians who, because of presuppositions or tradition, are looking for any excuse why we are not to understand this symbolism this way just a few chapters later. God interprets the symbolism for us, and He said the seven Candlesticks signified seven Churches. Perfect harmony with the rest of scripture, because the Church is the representation of the Kingdom of Christ on earth, and it is signified as the light of the World.
- "the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden Candlesticks. The seven stars are the messengers of the seven churches: and the seven Candlesticks are the seven Churches."
And really, why should anyone be surprised at this symbolism? Despite the objections of some, Jesus used this same symbolism for the Church all during His teachings. The sound method in Biblical exegesis is achieved by checking for likeness and differences where these same terms are used throughout scripture. In that way we find out what God means by the spiritual imagery. We don't simply parrot what someone else has taught before, we bear witness to what God teaches.
- "No man when he lighteth a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a Candlestick, that they which enter in may see the Light."
Here again, we have Jesus Christ Himself using the same Candlestick [luchnia] to symbolize the Church, and the witnesses work in the New Testament Church as those keeping the light shinning continually, not hiding it, but bringing this light to the World. It doesn't get much plainer than this. And note that Jesus also equates the Church with a 'city' which is set upon a hill. This is the Holy city Jerusalem, the spiritual city of peace and light. And so we have conclusive indisputable evidences throughout scripture that the candlestick symbolizes the Church, the earthly representation of the light of the Lord. There is really no reason for speculation about it symbolizing anything else, unless one is predisposed to believing such ideas. For God Himself reveals the mystery on several diverse fronts.
- "Ye are the light of the world, A City that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
- neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a Candlestick; and it giveth Light unto all that are in the house."
Will this definition of the two witnesses hold true in the other images God uses for them, such as the two witnesses or the two Olive Trees? Do those also symbolize the Church which is the earthly representation of Christ? Again, we go back to the number one rule of sound hermeneutics, 'the Bible is it's own interpreter.' If we start off with no preconceived ideas about what it signifies, and search out the pertinent scriptures, it's not long before we see that the Olive tree is indeed used by God to symbolize the Church. For example in Hosea 14, speaking of Christ we read:
The Israel of God is ultimately Christ, and the children of God who dwell under the shadow of this tree will have no scorching sun on them. When we are in Christ, we are like a green olive tree in the house of the Lord (Psalms 52:8). This is the Salvation and the hope of the Israel of God. And as we are the light of the world because Christ is the light of the world, so we are the Olive tree because Christ is this Olive tree. He is the Israel of the New Covenant in whom if we abide, we are sons of God. We can see this most clearly in a passage like Romans chapter nine or chapter eleven where the Gentile nations are grafted into New Covenant Israel, which is symbolized by the Olive tree.
- "I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
- His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the Olive Tree, and his smell as Lebanon."
- They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon."
Clearly God is using a wild olive tree to symbolize the Gentile nations, and the natural Olive Tree to symbolize the representation of Covenant Israel into which believers are grafted. i.e., we join with Paul and the Apostles into Christ, the true Israel of God (Ephesians 2:11-19) which this Covenant tree merely represents. This is the New Covenant Church, and it is symbolized by the olive tree having Gentiles grafted into it that they become heirs (right along with the Jews) according to the promises to Israel. And so once again we see the Word of God showing just who the olive tree represents. All those Gentiles coming into this Jewish olive tree are the believers coming into the New Covenant Congregation. Those branches of the tree broken off are those of Israel who come under judgment and are blinded. The Jewish brethren who are Saved are the branches in this same tree right along with us. So we see Jewish people and Gentiles, all in the exact same olive tree of Salvation.
- "And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;"
Likewise in Zechariah chapter four, the symbolism of two olive trees and the candlestick (lampstand) are signifying the Church.
The Lampstands and olive tress stand before God, not by their own power or by their own might, but by the Holy Spirit of the Lord. This again illustrating what we've been seeing of the two Witnesses. It is not by any power we have inherently, but because of the power of the Holy Spirit of God given us that we witness or have the testimony of Christ. Not by our own oil, but by the pure oil of the Olive tree. Not by our own light, but by the light of the candle. The two olive trees symbolize the anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth (Zechariah 4:14), not by their own power, but by power of God. This symbolizes the Church, anointed by the Spirit of God. Just as we read that the two Witnesses of Revelation also stand by the Lord of the earth.
- "And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:
- And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
- So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?
- Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
- Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
The same thing revelation chapter eleven says of the two candlestick/olive trees there. They stand before the God of the earth. They are the anointed ones, meaning they are those who are anointed by the Holy Spirit, by being in Christ. The oil for the light is not theirs, it is that given them.
- "Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth."
1st John 2:27
So we have seen from God's Word that the Witnesses represent the Church, the Candlesticks represent the Church, and the Olive Tree represents the Church, and that they are the anointed ones who stand before the God of the earth. All roads are leading to the same inescapable conclusion. This imagery represents the Church.
- "But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
The final identifying factor is that these two witnesses are also called the two Prophets (verse 10). Who are the Prophets of God today? Not in the Old Testament, but who are the New Testament Prophets? ..Again, clearly, those of the Church are the only Holy prophets of God today.
1st Corinthians 12:28
Ever since the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, the Lord's servants of the New Covenant Church go forth prophesying (Acts 2:17). Whenever the Church declares the Word that the future holds everlasting life for the servants of God, an inheritance from above, and it holds judgment for those who do not believe, they are prophesying. Whenever they prophecy Jesus will someday return on the clouds of Glory to rapture the Church and wipe away all tears, they are prophesying God's Word. To prophesy in the broad sense means to be a messenger of God to declare His Word, or be a 'mouth piece.' In certain senses it means to declare God's Word by foretelling what God has in store in the future. And that is exactly what the Church does in it's testimony. It prophesies of God's Word of deliverance, judgment, inheritance, and Christ's coming.
- "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
It is true that there is the particular 'office' of a prophet in the Church, but in the general sense, all believers are prophets in that they are messengers to deliver God's Word. All through the scripture God calls those of the Church His prophets. This is implied also in God's warning us to 'beware of false prophets,' as opposed to true prophets (those with His testimony). You see, in one sense all true Christians today are prophets of God, declaring what shall be.
- "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:"
We are made prophets able to declare God's Word by the anointing of the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost. This was the fulfillment of that which was prophesied in Joel. That which was a mystery before, was made known. That the Gentiles in the New Testament Church dispensation would be prophets unto God and have truth revealed unto them.
- "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
- And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
- And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:"
All of us who are messengers declaring God's Word, are prophets. When God declares to his servants the prophets, he's declaring to the Church. Whether through the Bible by the Spirit, or before the Bible was complete by angels or from a burning Bush. When we bear witness to God's Word, we are prophesying just as the prophets of old did. They took what God told them, and they bore witness to it to His people. If we do it faithfully 'from' the innerrant Word of God, we are faithful (to God) prophets. If we do it unfaithfully or deceitfully, then we are false prophets. To put it simply, a faithful Prophet declares God's Word from God's mouth faithfully.
- "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His Holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."
The consistency of all these things paints a glorious picture of God's prophecy. These two candlesticks are the Church, the light of the world, the true witnesses to the testimony of Christ who stand before the God of all the Earth. Just as when Jesus sent the 70 out by two, He said rejoice not in this power, but rejoice that your names were written in Heaven. In Luke 10:21 God said that the Father was Lord of Heaven and Earth, and this is the God of all the earth that all true believers stand before. Indeed, who except the true witnesses could stand before the God of all the earth and not be consumed? For they are those clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
When we study all the pertinent facts carefully, I believe that we can come to no other conclusion but that the two Candlesticks, Witnesses, Prophets, and Olive trees are the Church. They all fit interchangeably as a sign illustrating God's people. Like a gigantic Biblical picture puzzle, every piece fits perfectly. This is how we know we have come to real truth, as inconsistency is the hallmark of error.
Olive tree = Church (Romans 11)
Candlestick = Church (Revelation 1)
Witnesses = Church (Acts 1)
Prophets = Church (Rev 1)
I'd say this is pretty conclusive evidence. We've seen clear scripture which supports the candlestick, Olive Tree, Witnesses, and Prophets, are all used in scripture as representations of the Church. We've seen Biblical evidence that God uses the number two, and specifically, two witnesses, to illustrate a confirmation of that which is true. It is the true Church of God that is sent forth with power to witness in truth (as the 12 Apostles were sent out two by two). By contrast, there are no scriptures which say that the olive tree is Moses, or that it is Elijah, or that candlesticks symbolize enoch or the two covenants. That fact alone means that such personal interpretations are purely speculation by some theologians. In other words, it is not something which is actually declared, or which stands upon solid scripture.
The overview of verse four is that God gave power to these two witnesses to prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days in mourning. This is a symbolic picture of the indivisible Church as it has been given the power to testify for this length of time. Moreover, so that there is no confusion about these being literally two men, God also enlightens us that these are the two olive trees and two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And that word standing is again the Greek word [histemi] illustrating they are able to stand with God by the support of Christ. They 'stand' before God and give assent to His will, His Word, and His purpose, because they are made righteous in Christ. We have our consistent and Biblical understanding of this imagery. These witnesses are a representation of God's Church, and specifically in this context, God's 'true Church' not the external covenant Church. They are those who are 'standing before the God of the earth,' importing that they were strengthened in Christ, faithful messengers who adhere to His cause and testimonies.
Scripture tells us that the Word of God from the mouth of God's prophets is as a fire which devours His enemies. This is because it is a Word of judgment. Symbolically speaking, as fire is to wood, so is the Word of God to the wicked because it is the declaration of their firey destruction which cannot return void. The Word of God is either a witness of truth unto man for His Salvation, or it is a witness against man unto his judgment.
- "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".
Again, this is the marvelous symbolic imagery which God uses here to show us that He is not speaking literally. Would those theologians who claim that these are physically two people, also claim that they are literally fire breathing people who roast the wicked with flames from their mouths? Of course not. For even they understand that this is symbolism. And yet they will inconsistently attempt to draw the conclusion that the two witnesses from who's mouth proceeds symbolic fire, are literally two people. But inconsistency is the hallmark of error. If they were two literal people, then their mouths are literal, and the fire from it literal. And the mouth is another clue that this fire is 'symbolizing' the Word of God. The very fact that we are told it comes from their mouths, brings clarity to the symbolism. The mouth is where words of fire come from, not literal flames. What words does the faithful Church speak that is like a fire to burn the enemies of God? Clearly, our Lord tells us that it is the Word of God. The Church comes in mourning because they recognize the seriousness of sin, and they know that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Their Word of testimony to repent and be Saved is as cool waters to those who by Grace of God 'receive' it, but their testimony of sure judgment and God's vengeance upon the unrepentant is as fire to those who do not want to hear it. Man in his destitute heart reviles and scoffs and shows their hatred for the witness to the truth, and when that happens the Word is a witness of judgment upon their heads. These unrepentant are those devoured by the fire from the witness of the Church. For on the one hand God's Word is as cool waters to a thirsty soul to those who will receive it..
..and on the other hand it's like a flaming fire to those who will not receive it. As the Lord spoke in Jeremiah that His Word is symbolically likened unto this fire:
- "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."
Unambiguously, God is using fire to 'symbolize' His Word to the people. He is declaring that it will judge the false prophets of His congregation for making their own words to be the Word of God. This is spiritual idolatry. In other words, man is making a false god in the Temple by claiming his own words, are God's Words. God's Word is as a fire and will destroy these who do such things. And in verse twenty three of that chapter, God illustrates He will be a God afar off from them. Here is very clear precedence of the Lord speaking of those who come bringing 'His Word,' and He 'signifies' them as His servants who come with fire from their mouths. It's not idle speculation, it is Biblical fact that the judgment of His congregation by His servants coming with the Word, is as them coming with fire from their mouths. Consider wisely:
- "..Is not My Word like a fire saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
- Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
- Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith."
The exact same symbolic language which we see in Revelations chapter eleven of the witnesses of God with fire coming out of their mouths whereby the enemies are killed. This fire is symbolizing the Word of God, which by the Spirit is the power of judgment given the Church. These false prophets who think that they are the safe and secure and no evil shall come upon them because they are God's Congregation, will have a rude awakening come the day of judgment. Because the Word which they disdain is the flaming sword of the Spirit which is the judgment which shall light upon them and devour them. Just as God prophesied to the Old Testament congregation that He would bring the nations upon the house of Israel as judgment, so God will also loose the beast who will bring the nations against His New testament congregation who has forsaken Him and done the same wicked and abominable things. For there is nothing New under the Sun.
- "For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD.
- They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:
- And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
- Wherefore, thus saith the Lord God of Hosts, because ye speak this word, behold, I will make My Words in thy mouth, fire and this people wood and it shall devour them."
If any man will hurt [adikeo], or treat unjustly that they offend God's Witnesses, His Holy Word will come down upon those wicked like the fire that came down from heaven in Elijah's day, and devoured his enemies. For the Word of God is as the flaming sword to protect them. It's basically the very same warning that Jesus gave the wicked in Matthew chapter eighteen, of the judgment which would come upon those who come against 'His Children.'
This is talking not about any literal children[20a], but the Spiritual Children of God. Our spirit is always before the face of God because we are those whom Revelation 11:4 said stand before the God of the Earth. We are those raised up with Christ to sit in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) as Sons of God, humble before His holy Word, faithful children that we are beloved of Him. There is a biblical principle at work here, and it is that the Word of God protects His children that judgement is upon those who would hurt or unjustly offend them.
- "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always BEHOLD the face of My father which is in heaven."
Not any little child, but one such little child in humility before God. We are these Children, New Testament prophets of God, and if anyone should hurt us, they come under the wrath of God's judgment. For by God's Spirit we stand before the father as righteous offspring, and our testimony to His Word is with power. It is not words spoken in vain or that return void. Inasmuch as the wicked do evil to God's Children, they are doing evil to God. Inasmuch as any will hurt them, Revelation eleven is illustrating that he must in this manner be killed. In other words, in like manner as they try to hurt the witnesses of God, they shall have retribution in kind. Their testimony against their lawlessness shall bring them death, the wages for their sin.
- "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
- But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
In like manner as the wicked do to God's servants, God will require it, and bring them into captivity of the beast, and kill them with the sword. The saints are patient, leaning upon God's Holy Word, and putting their trust in the Lord in time of great tribulation.
- "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."
Their faith is in God's Word and their hope is in Christ, and despite the tribulation brought about by the unrighteous who hate them (both inside and outside the Church), they continue instant in prayer and supplication to God, knowing that their inheritance in Salvation is assured. Here is the patience of the saints. They have the faith 'of' Christ.
- "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;"
The overview of verse five is that it is illustrating these witnesses of God are as the goodness of the green olive tree (Jeremiah 11:16), and as the light from a candlestick that they are delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13). They are those who are clothed in righteousness that they may stand without fault before the God of all the earth. They are under God's care and protection (Revelation 12:14) so that if any man will hurt them, the Word of God as a flaming fire from their mouth will devour them as enemies of God. For those who are foes of the true Church (the indivisible body of Christ), are foes of Christ. If anyone shall hurt God's Witnesses, he must in this manner be killed. By the Word of God they shall be judged. As indeed Jesus plainly said:
The witnesses of God, the testimony of Christ comes as a Word of Salvation, but also as a Word of judgment. By their witness Salvation comes to man, and likewise by their testimony the enemies of God will be judged. By this Word of God spoken as a witness against them, which they will have to give account of it at the last day. The enemies of God aren't literally killed by fire, but this is symbolism signifying that by the true believers coming with His Word from their mouths, it is as a fire which brings them death. This power of judgment refers to the power which is granted to the Church at the time of it's witness.
- "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."
The power the believers have to shut heaven and turn waters to blood is an illustration of the power they have to bind and loose. They come with the authority of judgement as God makes His inspired testimony at their mouth, to come to pass (thus are they prophets). This word translated power here is the Greek word [exousia], and means legal warrant or right to do these things. It's the exact same word translated 'authority' in verses such as:
- "These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophesy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will".
- "For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it."
This authority of God given to His prophets to shut Heaven is the authoritative power of the Word of God which they were 'commissioned' to bring. Just as a solder is commissioned to have authority or legal power, so the believers in the Church are commissioned and given authority. The Spirit in the witness of the Word is the authority of the Church, that the Word at their mouth is a Word of 'sure' judgment.
- "And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?"
The imagery of rain or water in the Bible often 'signifies' either God's Word, or the means of Salvation. For example as the Prophet Moses used rain to illustrate the Word.
Rain (water), Bread, and Sun light are the things which sustain life in this world, and it is no coincidence that God uses all these things as a 'figure' of His Word which sustains life. This is why Christ is spoken of as the Word, the Bread, the Light, and His blood is symbolized as the water of Life. These are all spiritual truths illustrating our Salvation in Him.
- "Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
- My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:"
- "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
- So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
- "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:"
- "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
- Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."
Rain or water is the symbol of the purveyor of life, the Word of God. It is the water by which we live, and the living Word that by which we wash away our sins. As when Christ hung on the cross, there was water which came forth by the shedding of His blood with a spear. These are all spiritual significations. Rain or water is a figure of the Word and of Salvation. And Heaven often signifies the Kingdom of God (Revelation 12:1,4) from which this rain comes. Thus, the authority to shut heaven that it rain not, symbolizes God's judgment upon His unfaithful Kingdom (that is, the earthly representation of the kingdom of heaven) that there be no rain from it. A famine in the land not of a lack of literal water as some suppose, but of hearing the Word of God, which is the spiritual waters. To stop rain from heaven illustrates a judgement from God because of sin, that the Church will cease to have the Word. A ceasing of the blessings which God has promised to His congregation 'only' if they remained faithful to Him, or repented and turned from their sin. Just as the old testament types in Israel also prefigured.
- "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,"
1 Kings 8:35-36
So long as Israel remained a faithful congregation, God promised it rain in due season, and bread abundantly. But He also promised His congregation judgement if it turned away from Him to apostasy. He would shut up heaven that they receive no rain, and it would leave the land desolate. And this is the judgment that is spoken of in revelation chapter eleven. Judgement upon the congregation of His inheritance because of unfaithfulness.
- "When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:
- Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance."
The authority to change waters to blood and to bring plagues upon men are also significations of God's judgments on the fountains (or places where water normally flows) that they are polluted. Just as God brought these judgments in a very literal sense in the plagues upon Egypt by Moses, and literally shut heaven by His prophet Elijah. The Church, coming in that same spirit and power, are given the authority of the Word. Just as John the baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah was. He warned of the coming judgement just as Elijah did.
1st Kings 17:1
We read according to His Word (illustrating that this comes from Elijah), but we understand that it is truly a Word directly from the mouth of God Himself. This language merely illustrates God gave it to 'him' to speak. i.e., he was given authority by God to say these things on behalf of God. Elijah, being God's Prophet, brought this Word of judgment, and so it is spoken of as, 'according to his word.' In other words, he is the messenger, vessel, or tool which God used to get the job done. And like Elijah, the true Church is the Prophet of God who stands before the God of the earth (Revelation 11:4) having power to shut up Heaven that it rain not. Because (like Elijah) they come with the authority of the Word of God. They come in the spirit and power that elijah did. The Spirit of God that they had is the Word of judgement.
- "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor RAIN these years, but according to my word".
The chart we saw previously showing the final three and a half days after the witnesses had finished their testimony was illustrating this three and a half years. Estimated by the weeks of years of Daniel chapter nine. It is a time of wrath upon this people. Elias (Elijah) did not shut heaven of himself, it was God who shut Heaven that it didn't rain for three and a half years, but God worked the Word of prophecy through him declaring it. In the same way, God works through His prophets today (the Church) to both seek and Save the lost sheep, and to bring judgment upon the unrighteous. And near the second advent, it will be a servere Word of judgment, for there shall be great apostasy.
- "But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land:"
It is also striking to note that the three and a half years corresponds exactly to the 42 months that we read the Holy City is tread down of the Gentiles. The famine of hearing the word of God (no rain) lasts as long as these trample the Holy City and God's Word underfoot. And as we know, it is truly God who is bringing this judgment. And the reason is the same as it has always been. Because the love of God has grown cold, the Church has disobeyed His commandments, and they serve a false god by their unfaithfulness. Therefore has God given them up that there be no rain, and therefore has God turned waters to blood. Shutting heaven is a symbol or figure signifying God's people have fallen away from Him and He has cut them off from His Holy Word. His congregation has come under His judgement.
God will sustain His people in this time of famine (as He did Elijah 1st Kings 17:9), but to the wicked, this is a time of His judgement upon them. By the shutting of heaven by the two witnesses, God is illustrating that the prayer and gospel message of the two witnesses works judgment. If we look in the book of James where it speaks of the Church converting a sinner from his ways, and Saving him from death, it also speaks of the shutting heaven. Truly, the consistency is God's doing, illustrating gloriously that He accomplishes His work through His faithful Church.
- "And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
- That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
- And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
- Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
- And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you."
- "...the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
- Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on earth by the space of three years and six months".
This is the judgement of no rain. This is the famine which is by the authority of God's Word. Not a time of a lack of literal rain or literal water as many suppose. But a time when God has given that His Word not be unto Salvation, but unto judgment. A time of wrath upon this people, by authority of God. The Church shall be judged for her spiritual harlotry and fornication in unfaithfulness. They shall wander from sea to sea searching for the Word of God and they shall not find it because of their abominations. The Waters turning to Blood symbolizes the pollution of the fountain of living waters. The changing of the Churches from a place that by the Spirit brought forth living waters, to a place which no longer has the living waters, but whose water is polluted that it brings death. Turning water to blood was the first of the ten plagues pronounced upon Egypt by Moses as judgment of God. Note the correlation of the Rod of God (word of God) smiting the waters that they become blood.
- "Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Word of God".
The congregation which has spiritually become as Egypt are as the fish in the rivers that shall die in the plague brought about by the Word of God. These two witnesses have power to smite the earth with these plagues that will come upon it as judgement. As is also seen in Revelation chapter fifteen and sixteen in the plagues in the vials which are poured out upon the earth. Those in victory sing the song of Moses, which is a song of just judgments of God.
- "Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
- And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river."
..even so O' Lord, come. And note that chapter sixteen says when the vial was poured out, the waters became blood. And the response to this by God's messenger is, 'Thou art righteous O Lord, for they have shed the blood of the saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink, for they are worthy.' These wicked from spiritual Egypt have killed the saints and prophets by their lawlessness, and so their judgment is a removal of the law. As substitution for the waters of life that was once abundant there, they now will have only blood to drink. And certainly not the blood of Christ, but the blood which is on their hands and which is required of them. As they have silenced the gospel, so they must in this manner be killed. By the lack of water of life, or Salvation that they might have been Saved. Again, symbolism signifying the fall of the Church. Just as God used an olive tree having branches cut off to symbolize the fall of the congregation Israel, so He uses waters being turned to blood to symbolize the fall of the New Testament congregation which has become Egypt. And indeed we shall read later in this chapter how when these Witnesses of God finish their Testimony, that they were indeed killed. The judgment that these saints prophesied of will come upon the unfaithful and their waters will be turned to blood signifying there is no more waters of Salvation. The plagues of famine, blood, locusts, etc., is a pattern of this judgment. They are worthy because the Word that these two witnesses brought testifies against them that they are enemies of Christ's Kingdom.
- "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
- And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
- Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest."
The doctrine of the Church of God bringing judgment is not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination. It's just that some do not carefully examine scriptures which speak of their authority to Judge, that they might understand this aspect of the power of the Word. For example an oft quoted verse by some groups illustrates this plainly.
Unfortunately, there are some groups who read this and surmise that this means that the Church (or certain members of the church) have been given authority to literally Save or allow some into the Kingdom, while literally condemning or binding others that they cannot enter the Kingdom. But that is like attempting to make man God, giving him decisions which only God has. True believers understand that Salvation is of sovereign God, and is not in any man's hand. There is no possible way that God has given man the power to literally decide for himself who will, or who will not enter the Kingdom, or receive the Spirit of regeneration. That is Biblically absurd no matter who parrots it. Man cannot consciously lock anyone out of the Kingdom of God, or assure anyone can come inside. This unbiblical idea is born of tradition and/or sloppy exegesis. And in point of fact, any person even remotely familiar with the Greek will tell you that this verse in the original literally reads:
- "And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven".
This is the God inspired tense as a past action. 'Having been' bound, not shall be bound (a future tense). In other words, it's already been decided of God in Heaven and the Church is merely the tool or vessel God uses here on earth to work His decision out. When judgment (binding) comes by our bringing the Word, it is because God has already declared it so in heaven, and this Word at our mouth was meant as a witness against them. Likewise, when Salvation (loosing) comes by our bringing the Word, it is because God has already declared that loosing in heaven, and the Word at our mouth was ordained of God as a witness to draw them to Salvation. No man has been given any power to Save or Condemn 'except' as they are given the 'authority' of the Word, which does. The power in the Word of God is Christ, and His Spirit in us is the keys to the kingdom which we have been given. The true Church indeed comes with power (authority) both to bind and to loose, but it does so because it comes with the testimony of Christ, which does. A Word which Saves, and condemns.
- "...whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall have been bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall have been loosed on earth."
2nd Corinthians 2:15-16
God's Word does not return void. It is either a Word of Salvation, or a word of death. Thus those with the testimony of Christ come with the power (to them that perish) to bind, and to shut the kingdom of heaven, and to smite with plagues, and to kill them with fire from their mouths. All by the power of the Word of God which they have been given. Those professing Christians who have forsaken God are judged by the very same Word of God which is to the Elect unto Salvation.
- "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are Saved, and in them that perish:
- To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"
1st Corinthians 11:29
Clearly, the Word of God taken unworthily by those merely professing Salvation, is unto them the judgment of damnation.
- "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."
The overview of Revelation chapter eleven is that it illustrates the Church is given power or authority to be a prophet of God, in the spirit and power of Elijah. We are commissioned to go forth with the authoritative power of the Word, in judgment. Judgment which shuts heaven that man not receive the spiritual rain because of their wickedness. They come with the Spirit and power that Moses had over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will. Because their will is to do the will of God. And their testimony is the Word of God. It is a Word which is not powerless, but authoritative. As messengers of God, their authority is to do all God has sent them to do. To bring the Word of God as waters to a thirsty soul, and to bring the Word of God as a two-edged Sword of complete destruction which cuts both coming and going. To bring the Word both as bread to those who hunger after righteousness, and to bring the Word as a devouring fire for those who reject righteousness. They come with a Word that binds, and with a Word that looses, because they come with a authority which is not their own. This is the same figure we saw when God said these two witnesses came with fire from their mouths which would kill their enemies. The very same image picturing the authority of judgment they possess when they come witnessing with God's Word. Water and blood, in one sense is our Salvation in Christ, and in another sense it can be as a flood, and a symbol of death in God's judgments.
The Greek verb finished [teleo] means to come to completion, or to have reached the end. It is used in the sense of the work or task that they had been doing, has been accomplished or concluded.
- "And when they 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."
The Church has a commission to take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. God uses the Church to bind and loose, to seek and to Save that which is lost. But near the end of the world, all whom God had elected to Save, will have been Saved, and thus the testimony of the Church 'unto Salvation' will have been completed or finished. And then shall the beast be loosed and the spiritual warfare and tribulation (which the Church has always been involved in) will increase to the point of cutting truth off. The prophecy of wars and rumors of wars when the iniquity of the world increases is an illustration of this tribulation for the witnesses. This warfare with the beast is between the kingdoms of Satan and of the Lord. Between the unfaithful of the congregation ruled by Satan, and the faithful witnesses of the Church ruled by Christ. It is not about literal horses, armies, lands, nations, or governments, it is about 'authority' of scripture, faithfulness, and obedience to God's Word. This is the time of falling away or departing from the faith. It is a spiritual war not fought in Afghanistan or in the literal nation of Israel. It is one fought within the minds of those of the Congregations. Warfare between the faithful witnesses therein, and those unfaithful who are deceived by the beast, and that refuse to repent of their unrighteousness by turning again to receive the love of truth. This warfare is for men's minds.
This is the army which the saints war against, not an army of Egypt, Russia, or Iraq, it's the army of Satan which comes not with guns and bombs (which everyone would obviously see), but which comes deceivingly as a wolf in sheep's clothing. And all who do not have on the whole armour of God to withstand this assault by this destroyer king's army, will fall by the edge of the sword to his seduction and deceiving deceitfulness. It is not physical warfare the believers go through, but spiritual warfare against the rulers of darkness in the high places. Rulers in the Church serving a false god is the language of 'evil in high places' or 'the heavenlies' where they should not be. But this assault can only take place 'after' the testimony of these witnesses is complete. Then they will be overcome and killed by Satan's ministers. The problem in the Church today is that it is so deceived and so unfaithful to God's Word, that they generally cannot recognize what is false gospel from what is true. Their lack of the fear of God and their deceitful handling of scriptures has brought them to this point. And Satan obliges them by clever mimicking of what is righteous.
- "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
- Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
- Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
- Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
- And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
- Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
- And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
- Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
2nd Corinthians 11:13-15
The greatest myth about Satan is that he is afraid of the Church and he cannot deceive those who are therein. On the contrary. Overcoming the Church is his greatest prize because he already has rule of the world. And because this is a time of man's abomination in the Church, and because the Witnesses' testimony is finished, God will loose Satan (whom He had bound by the cross), to bring judgment upon the unfaithful congregation. For it has become spiritually as a harlot. A woman who has forsaken her espoused, and has gone whoring after other gods[25a].
- "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
- And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
- Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
1st Peter 4:17
It is a principle of scripture that judgment begins at God's house, and afterward there is the judgment of the world. Only those who are 'truly' spiritually marked or sealed of God in their foreheads by the Holy Spirit, will escape God's wrath upon the external Church because of it's abominations. When abomination stands in the Holy Place, that is when it's judgement is nigh. That is why when Revelation chapter seven declared that 'all' Israel had to be sealed first. It prophesied that the judgment of the four messengers could not begin until all that Israel were Sealed (Saved). God is longsuffering (patient) not willing that any of His elect should perish, and so this judgment is withheld until all who are the Israel of God were sealed. Until the testimony of the true witness of God was finished. This is the picture in Revelation eleven of the two witnesses who are not killed until after their testimony is finished. in other words, until all who are to be sealed or saved by the witness of the word which they brought, were sealed. Then and only then could Satan be loosed from the bottomless pit to assult the Church and bring the witnesses down. Again, it is the principle of judgment beginning at the House of God.
- "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
Who are those few who mourn and cry because of all the abominations in spiritual Jerusalem today? It is that relatively small remnant (elect) who are faithful to God's Word who see the abominations in the Churches. Blessed are these who mourn, for they shall be comforted. But the vast majority of those in the Church today do not mourn for the unfaithfulness therein. On the contrary, they have disdain when faithful men stand up and say there is Hell to pay for what is going on in the Churches, and they become 'angry' and revile when honest men speak of the fall of the Church. Their response to men shedding light upon the abominations is wrath and throwing theological stones to deny it is an abomination at all. Just as Israel did before them. The shepherds and pastors in the Church do not believe that these horrible sins against God are really that bad. This is because they sre so skillfully deceived by the master deceiver. Parishoners are happy that Pastors are now declaring that they may divorce and remarry, and they are overjoyed when teachers stroke them saying in your case, God doesn't really hate this. They call the faithful witnesses judgmental or legalists for speaking against disobedience. They rationalize away or ignore whatever scriptures they don't like, while giving mere lip service to God's Word being infallible. The Church today is full of those in tacit (if not outright) support of women having rule over men in the Church. They are full of those who believe Sovereign Grace is an option, not a doctrine worth fighting over. Almost every faithful doctrine of the Church today has become a grey area or a non-essential to most Church members. But they are truly abominations to God. For they place man as ruler in God's house, which is spiritual idolatry.
- "And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
- And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
- Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house."
By contrast, the elect or true witnesses are those who sacrifice of themselves that their brethren might hear the truth. These are those who speak against wickedness and who mourn for the sins of the Church. These are those who truly do love the brethren enough to speak out against these things which destroy them, and they are hated in the Church because of it.
1st John 3:15-16
The true witnesses of God take up their cross and follow Christ, despite the reviling and trials. Their witness is not through an easy way, or the smooth way, or the comfortable way which is among the unfaithful, but through the narrow and uncomfortable way. As opposed to those in the Church who condone, rationalize away, and deny there is any sin in their disobedience. They abide on the wide road, the heavily traveled road which is easy. Judgement begins at the Lord's own house, but not one who is marked of God shall 'truly' be harmed. Revelation chapter seven illustrates this very same principle.
- "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
- Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
The people of God must be marked or have the seal of God put in their foreheads before this judgment of God on His people. Here is the patience of God, the longsuffering so that all who are predestinated to hear the testimony of the saints and become sealed of God, are sealed. Then is the judgment, and it must begin at the House of God. And that is what this verse of Revelation eleven declares. No judgment of Satan will be loosed until the testimony of the indivisible Church is finished, and all of Israel to be sealed of the Holy Spirit have been sealed (Revelation 7:3). Then Satan is loosed from the bottomless pit. He was bound there so that the true Church could be built (Mark 3:27), and now that act having been accomplished, it is given that he go forth to assault the external covenant Church which has forsaken God's Word and departed from the faith. The Temple court is 'given' unto the Kingdom beast by God to bring it down (2nd thessalonians 2:11) because these unfaithful of the Holy Temple refused to receive the love of the truth that they might be 'truly' Saved. They instead had pleasure in unrighteousness, went their own way, and made their own laws. Because these witnesses speak out against this spiritual harlotry, they are hated and killed. Indeed, much as John the baptist (who came in the Spirit and power of Elias) was beheaded because he spoke out against the fornication of the king. Likewise, the authority of the witnesses of God is removed as they are spiritually killed for speaking out against the spiritual fornication of the Church. Their authority (Christ, the head) is removed from the Church by the beast.
- "Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."
A beast in scripture is often a 'symbolic' term for a devouring kingdom. Here it signifies the nature of this Kingdom of Satan as it goes forth. He is unrestrained or let loose that there is a great deception of the gentiles. As a beast such as a wolf or a lion would go forth to devour the prey, so the beast which is the Kingdom of Satan goes forth as a wolf or a lion devouring the sheep (those of the external Church). The image of the beast is beyond the scope of this study (see the Study of the beast), but briefly, this loosing is signifying that the kingdom of Satan whose authority (head) was dealt a blow by the cross of Christ so that those held captive or in bondage in his Kingdom could be set free or spoiled (taken by conquest), is now loosed to have authority again. In the real sense, Satan was destroyed, or in the literal 'cast down idle' so that his house could be spoiled. Because of this binding by Christ for two thousand years Satan could not be loosed and the testimony of the Church prospered. Hebrews tells us clearly what happened to Satan because of the death of Christ.
Christians (before they were saved) were held in bondage to sin by Satan, wherein they had reason to fear death. For the wrath of God abided upon them. But by the death of Christ, we were set free from that bondage and no longer fear death. Not that Satan was destroyed in the usual sense this word is understood, but Satan was destroyed in that he was made idle for the sake of the elect. That Greek word translated destroy is the word [katargeo] which literally means to descend into idleness. From the root words [kata] meaning down or descending, and [ageo] meaning to be idle or inactive. This is how this beast got into the bottomless pit. His kingdom was conquered and his kingdom spoiled by Christ, but first he had to be bound so that the Church could prosper upon earth. The spirit Satan was then subject to the Church because of this victory. For Satan didn't defeat himself, he was defeated of Christ and restrained in the pit that the Kingdom of God could come and fill the earth. As indeed Christ explained (to he who hath an ear to hear) in saying His coming against Satan meant that the Kingdom had come, and the people set free.
- "...that through death He might destroy him that had the power of Death, that is, the Devil,
- and Deliver them who fear of Death were all their Lifetime subject to bondage.
Satan is the strong man, his house is his kingdom wherein he held us in bondage. Christ wanted to set us free, but we read that He 'clearly' had to first bind the strong man. Then he could spoil (take by conquest) Satan's goods. And that is what God did, and it is the antithesis of what is spoken of here in the loosing of this beast from the bottomless pit. Iniquity was restrained by Christ's death (2nd thessalonians 2:6-7), but near the end of the world Satan will be loosed and the iniquity he brings shall again abound so that the Love of God will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). This is the symbolism of the kingdom of Satan (beast) loosed from the pit and his going forth to gather the nations, to assult the Church and kill the true Witnesses. But only after their testimony is finished.
- "And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
- And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
- But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
- Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house."
This doesn't mean that a literal beast rose from a literal abyss and kills two literal prophets, it is symbolism meaning that those under rule of this destroyer king overcomes the true witnesses of the Church by the subjugation of those within. This is done by a process of attrition and assimilation, where the wicked take over the leadership positions and thus turn the Church away from lawfulness. They kill those who come with the truth of God by their ability to silence their voices within the external Church. They are deceived into thinking that they are in service to God in being against the faithful. That is the nature of the clever deception of Satan.
These unfaithful leaders are deceived of the beast to thinking that the killing of those witnesses who were faithful to God's Word, is a service to God. The true witnesses are forced into silence because they will not be permitted to speak the truth in the Church. Satan is effectively removing the light from the Churches, which means the Church becomes dark, and for all practical purposes the true witness in it is lifeless. i.e., no Spirit of the testimony of Christ, no witness of the Word of God is getting spoken, and thus no real life is left. Symbolically speaking, they are killed.
- "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
- And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me."
Sheep, for the slaughter by wolves who come not looking as wolves, but who come masquerading in Sheep's clothing. When the witnesses are all killed, the external or corporate congregation will come under judgment. True Salvation (the living waters) is not going forth from these congregations anymore. The Spirit of God will be taken from the midst of the candlesticks and that will ultimately leave the the unfaithful Church desolate. The Congregation will no longer be of God, but be ruled by man who supplants the laws of God with his own. Thus God calls this, lawless (sinful) man ruling in the Holy Temple of God as if he were God (2nd Thessalonians 2). Only those marked or sealed of God mourn because of it (Ezekiel 9:4-6). These who serve themselves and not God are at enmity with Him (no peace) and with His laws. This is illustrated as the man of sin or lawlessness in the Holy Temple. The Holy Temple is trampled upon of these Gentiles who are not abiding by God's commandments.
- "As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
This is what that second verse of Revelation eleven spoke of in the gentiles treading the Holy City underfoot. The same as Matthew 24 describes in the Great tribulation. It is abomination standing in the Holy place. Lawless man sitting to rule in God's Church as if he were God. Spiritual fornication where the Church has become the harlot woman to leave God for the rule of another god. Lawless man is the man ruled over by Satan. At this point the true believers will come out of this Church that they not be partaker with her in her sins.
- "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?"
The overview of verse seven of Revelation chapter eleven is that it is showing that the testimony of the Church will go on undaunted until the time of the end of the world/age. And when it is finished, Satan will be loosed, meaning the coming of Christ is not far off.
God is illustrating that when the indivisible true Church shall have finished their testimony or witness to the nations of the world, the end will come. The spirit Satan will be loosed and ascend out of the bottomless pit from which he was bound, and make war with these saints, overcome them by killing their witness in the external covenant Church. Effectively the beast shall silence their witness. That is what the symbolism of the two witnesses being killed signifies. Anyone who has had to leave a Church that was departing from the faith knows exactly what this killing of the witnesses of truth in the Church entails. A Church goes from having the living waters which Saves, to being a Church with nothing in it which would bring life. Ultimately, those unfaithful people in the 'external' Churches will have their candlestick (Church) moved out of it's place that God is far off, and they are no longer the light (as God warned Revelation 2:5). They will be judged or cut off wherein the water they once had, will be turned to blood. This is the symbol of their death. Just as the symbol of the heaven being shut that they have no more rain, a symbol of their spiritual famine.
- "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
This is portraying the event of the true Church of God after it is killed in the external Church. Where our Lord was crucified was just outside the great city Jerusalem. This great city Jerusalem is the representation of the Church, which is this city of the great king. It is not the indivisible city itself, but the external Covenant Church is the earthly representation of the city of peace. And it was in this church where the true Church (two witnesses) of God dwelled, and prophesied.
- "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".
- "Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King."
- "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."
All believers are residents of 'that great city' Jerusalem, and the external covenant church is the earthly representation of that Holy City. When Jesus spoke saying, 'ye are the light of the world, a City that is set on an hill cannot be hid,' He was talking of the Church equating it to a city. The Church reigning on earth is the representation of this great city of light which Christ spoke about.
- "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,"
The Church is the earthly representation of this city, and that is why Jerusalem is used as a sign, figure or token of this spiritual Jerusalem. The believers being dead or lifeless in the streets [plateia] or wide space of this great city signifies their state in the midst of the Church. The witness of God is no longer tolerated there and the power that these had to preach the Word of God there has been taken from them. They have been overcome and silenced by the beast released from the pit by God. This does not affect their Salvation of course, and that is why Revelation chapter seven says they all had to be sealed first. But the beast affects their witness or testimony in the Churches. They cannot effectively preach in the external covenant Church anymore because the spirit of Satan is ruling there, and the leaders have departed from the faith unto doctrines of devils. This is why God says of this great city that, it is 'spiritualy' called Sodom and Egypt. Because though the external Church still retains the name of Christ, spiritually speaking it has become as these two cities which were infamous for their abominations and bondage to Satan. When God's people turn from God and forsake His laws, God speaks of them in the spiritual sense as being in bondage of Egypt and in the abominations of Sodom.
- "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
- To the general assembly and Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"
- "To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,"
In Revelation the unfaithful congregation is signified spiritually as being Sodom and Egypt because the character of the Church is as it was in these wicked places. Sodom with all her abominations within her did all manner of evil, and in like manner the Church has also become an abomination to God just as Sodom was. The beast has come upon her and she is in apostasy, blatantly having no regard for God's precepts or the witness of truth. Egypt symbolizes a house of bondage. The freeing of Israel from Egypt was used as a figure of believers being redeemed from out of Satan's House of bondage.
- "I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah."
As Egypt was a city with a ruler who held the Children of God in bondage before the Lord delivered them, so God pictures Satan's kingdom as a house of bondage from which the Children of God have been redeemed and set free. Illustrations seen in such passages as Matthew 12:29 and Mark 3:27. The Revelation statement that Jerusalem has spiritually become as Egypt signifies that the Church which was supposed to be a City which sets men free, has become a city of bondage and servitude to Satan. As Egypt did, it enslaves, persecutes, and kills the Children of God. The two witnesses being killed 'where our Lord was crucified' clearly equates this great city to Jerusalem. And Jerusalem was the Holy city of God which became unrighteous and killed our Lord Jesus. Again, the true Church being so intimately identified with Christ. These are pictorial images which show that the heathen have come into the external Church and have taken Word of life (Symbolically speaking) away that they may not teach there. This is the imagery we see, which is very much like what we read in the psalms:
- "And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee."
This is the picture that God is painting of His congregation at this time. The Heathen (Gentiles) or unsaved people of the world have come into the Lord's Holy Temple and as a brute beast has destroyed the Holy habitation, and laid Jerusalem on heaps. They trample God's Word under foot because they don't want to obey it. They are lawless men who hate and revile those who come with the witness to truth and who exhort obedience. These are those who have scorn for those witnesses in the Church who teach that we should abide by God's law, and that we should repent of this evil. And this is what is happening today. Anyone who seriously teaches that the Church should repent and return to abiding by God's law is reviled, vilified, called old fashioned, legalistic, judgmental, or a host of other spurious names which show their scorn for them. In symbolic terms, these people have laid God's vine waste, as beasts in the spirit of antichrist devouring the sheep. They are symbolically killing the true witnesses in the Church. It is a spiritual warfare which causing great tribulation for true believers.
- "O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy Holy Temple have they DEFILED; they have laid JERUSALEM on heaps.
- The dead bodies of Thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of Thy saints unto the Beasts of the earth.
- Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.
- We are become a REPROACH to our neighbors, a SCORN and DERISION to them that are round about us".
The overview of verse eight is that God is illustrating that when the true witness of the Church is destroyed, the true believers who abide by God's law cannot by the Spirit of God teach the truth in the Church anymore. The spirit of Christ and that of satan cannot dwell together. The language of their dead bodies lying in the street where our Lord was Crucified, which is spiritually as Sodom and Egypt, is signifying Jerusalem. Sodom and Egypt illustrates that the city or Church has become abominable and lawless, and a house of bondage and persecution. It is full of abomination which shall leave this house desolate. It is no coincidence that God spoke of Old testament Jerusalem (after they Killed Christ) as a house of bondage and as a city left desolate. And He gives the very same scenario of them having come against the Lord's servants, and Christ.
- "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
- Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
As the fall of the Old Testament external congregation (symbolized by Jerusalem) was, so is the fall of this New Testament external congregation. It is a city which is in spiritual bondage like Egypt, and which has abomination stand in it as Sodom. It is a city which has the blood of the body of Christ, the servants of God, on their hands. This is just as Old Testament Jerusalem did. This verse is picturing the external covenant city of God where the body of Christ lies silenced and unloved. These are parallels inspired by God.
- "For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children."
This is language which signifies just what we previously read in Psalms 79:3. It is illustrating that the true witnesses (the true Church within the external covenant Church) had become a people of derision, or a people to be mocked, reviled, and scorned. Just as the faithful witnesses today are thought of as legalists who literally believe that God 'actually' means exactly what He says. People who actually faithfully adhere to His Word, and seek to keep the commandments of God, not compromising doctrine for the sake of the flesh. The unsaved shall look upon [blepo] these faithful who they have effectively killed in the city. In other words, the disdain of these believers is not something they cannot recogize. Though they surely will deny that these witnesses they silenced taught the truth, they see what their actions have done to them, and recognize that their voice has been eliminated. But they do not repent nor mourn the loss of their witness in the Churches. These people who are from all over the world, from all kindreds (families), tongues (languages) and nations, who see the death of the witnesses in the wide ways do not care about them. We read that they do not bother to bury them. This is symbolizing that the people of the world who have come up into the Church have no regret, and they do not mourn for the fact that the witnesses of truth have been silenced in the City. There is no repentance shown for what they have done.
- "And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves".
When you love someone, you mourn their death and you take their body up and bury it. But here we see the image which shows that 'none' cared for these witnesses of God who testified to the truth, in that they didn't mourn their loss. That is what the language of, 'there was none to bury them,' signifies. None of the people of the world cared that the truth was not being brought anymore. No one cared that the Lord's servants were killed and their testimony in the Church silenced. The same illustration we saw in Psalms 79:1-4. No one cared that these servants of God were silenced or that God's house was an abomination. In fact, it is a relief to the unfaithful that the Word of God isn't preached there anymore. Because (deceived people that they are) they see it as better for them, for this allows their false teachings to be preached without the witnesses condemning it as the lawlessness it is. Unencumbered now, they can teach doctrines which are contrary to the law of God. Doctrines like those which trivialize the abomination of divorce and remarriage which God says He hates. Doctrines like those which teach that women can be the head of the Churches and rule over men. Doctrines which compromise the Grace of God, or which promotes earthly reigns, lusts and possession. The death of the witnesses to truth in the Church is not a cause for their mourning, it is the cause of their rejoicing. Because just as national Israel before them, they are deceived into thinking that they have done the Church a favor by silencing this witness of God's judgments and truth.
The three and a half days I believe point symbolically to this taking place symbolically in the midst (middle) of the New Covenant week (three and a half days is the middle of a week). This is when sacrifice and offering ceases. This is the time of the end of those being sealed by the sacrifice of Christ (the offering) through the Witnesses of God. That is why we read that their testimony was finished. When their work of carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth (unto salvation) is completed, then and only then can they be destroyed in the Church. Because then the have accomplished their task.
When that task of God's servants has been completed or finished, then they are killed. There is now no effective witness of truth there. There is no rain from heaven there, and no bread (word of God) for the children in the city. There is famine and the beast has made sure that all there have been marked symbolizing their having been deceived. Anyone who isn't marked, is killed because they refused to worship him (see Revelation 13:15). This means all true believers, witnessess, are silenced in the Church.
- "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
A day for a year, this three and one half days I believe correspond to the three and one half years that there was no rain in Elijah's day as a judgment of God (James 5:17). This is the time the candlestick has been removed out of it's place where there is no true witness anymore. We saw this illustration of the midst of the New Covenant week previously in the chart. The New testament period is signified by the week celebrating the feast of tabernacles, when we tabernacle with God on earth 'till He come.' The type was set when Israel was commanded to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles for one week.
Something else to take note of here is that that the thousand two hundred and threescore days (or 3 1/2 years - time, times, and one half) is the time from pentecost that the witnesses have power to prophesy before their testimony is finished and they are killed. And the forty two months (3 1/2 years - time, times, and a half in Daniel), is the time of the New Covenant period which is left after their testimony is finished and the Holy city is trampled under foot. The forty two months and the thousand two hundred and threescore days are not synonymous periods as some believe. The thousand two hundred and threescore days has one significance, and forty two months has another. They both add up to three and a half years because they are the first and the second halves of this spiritual New Covenant week. That is why they are also connected by both being illustrated as 'time, times and a half.' So the three and a half days speak of the time after the true testimony in the Church is shattered by this beast.
These things were sealed up or were kept a mystery by God until the end-times. We, the true Church, are the Holy people and it is at this time that the power of our witness is scattered or dashed to pieces by the beast. The time, times, and a half here parallel the forty two months or three days and a half. They do not parallel the thousand two hundred and threescore days. The second half of the week which is a bookend for this thousand two hundred and threescore days. Again, verification that it is the time of the end of the world, knowledge is increased or revealed, and the power that the Church had is being scattered. It is a time or trial by fire. The wise see and understand, while the wicked do not understand, but are unrepentant and in denial about the Church.
- "And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
- And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
- And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."
All these things I believe are giving us illustrations of this week, and alerting us that it is not a literal week, but spiritually a week of years (7 years) taken from Daniel 9, the 70 weeks of years. The second half of the week is forty two months, or as time, times, and a half (Daniel 12:7). It is to symbolize it's not literal years, and not a literal week, but a spiritual week illustrated by the non-descript term, 'time, times, and one half.' Whosoever does not keep this week, or who does not worship God in the true form and dimensions of His tabernacle, upon Him shall be no rain. ..as it is written. As it was prophesied.
By Christ's death we have been going up to worship the King, and keeping the Feast of tabernacles, but at this time many will not go up, and suffer the consequences. This is the 'no rain' that the two witnesses were given power or authority to bring upon them, by the Word they brought. They measure the tabernacle by the rod of the Word of God, and whosoever does not measure up, they have authority by the Word, that they can shut up heaven that there shall be no rain upon them.
- "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
- And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain."
Note the middle of the final week spoken of in Daniel chapter nine, where the continual, or in the Hebrew, [tamiyd] is taken away (translated sometimes daily or daily sacrifice) is this candlestick. As we saw earlier in this study, in the Old Testament, it was commanded the Children of Israel that the candlestick was to be kept burning 'continually' (exact same Hebrew Word as translated daily sacrifice).
That is what the children of God were commanded to do. Keep the light of the candlestick (lampstand) burning continually or always. These are the same Hebrew word, [tamiyd]. That is the symbol of the Church, and it's job to keep the light going forth always. This is also intimately connected to Zechariah 4 and Daniel 12 where the 'Daily' is taken away. Again, this is the exact same word [tamiyd] used to symbolize the continual burning of the candlestick, as it stands a figure of the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ, to bring light.
- "And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring the pure oil olive beaten for the LIGHT, to cause the LAMP to burn ALWAYS [tamiyd]."
This is the candlestick/Lampstand killed in Revelation chapter eleven. God said ye are the light of the world. But now the candlesticks are dead. The continual light is gone out. The bridegroom is about to come and only the faithful have the oil to trim their lamps that they may see the way. The rest are in confusion. Here the candlesticks are out in the city and there is no light of the Word of God preached there. No rain, no bread, and no gospel truth. But Blessed is he that remains faithful and waiteth upon the Lord and cometh to the day of the Lord. This is spoken of as to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days (1335) days or the consummation.
- "and from the time that the Daily [tamiyd] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
- Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days."
So we have the picture in scripture of a very logical progression. The New Testament period where the Church is fed and has testimony is signified as a thousand two hundred and threescore days, and after that they are killed and the time of the abomination that makes desolate as a thousand two hundred and ninety days. And the time when those who wait upon the lord and the consummation is a thousand three hundred and thirty five days. These things are a very logical progression and for our spiritual education. This week had to take place, and these things must occur fulfilling it. The three and a half days are a trial of faith, when he who waiteth upon the Lord, shall have oil and shall be separated from those who are deceived and will not overcome.
The overview of verse nine of Revelation chapter eleven illustrates that when the witnesses to the truth are killed in the Church, the people of all kindreds and languages and nations shall see the death of the truth not as something they were sorry to see go, or something which they cared enough about to mourn. They shall have no regret that there is no truth left alive in the Church. The preaching of the gospel it seems will be relegated to individual saints (as Elijah) or small groups of saints in the world, but not unto Salvation, but Judgment. The symbolism of not burying their dead body is signifying that they do not care at all about the life of the true witness in the Church, they do not mourn the loss of their teachings, nor care about their demise in the City. This is also confirmed in the next verse.
Far from mourning the demise of the true witnesses in the Church, the unsaved rejoice that the Word of life they brought has been silenced, because these faithful witnesses of God tormented them. And the means of their torment was their testimony of fire from their mouths which would burn them. Their testimony that their sin was not going to be winked at by God, but judged. Their testimony that God was immutable, a God of mercy, but also a God of wrath (Revelation 20:1; Galatians 5:21, 1st John 2:4, etc.) God's word has always been a torment to the wicked. It's the reason Herod's wife had John the baptist beheaded. His words tormented her and hatred bred 'anger' against Him. And this is why these witnesses were killed. Their words were that God would send plagues upon the land for their forsaking Him, and that their waters of life would be turned to blood because of their lawlessness. The world Church made up of all the families, races, and people of the earth will not believe these truths, and this Word was anguish and a torment to them. For it was a pure testimony which did not hide from God's promise of condemnation of unrighteousness. Their calls to the Church were for a return to faithfulness, and it brought only anger and anguish to those who wanted to go their own way and disregard scripture. It is no secret, the unfaithful soon grow weary of the warnings of the truthful witnesses, because they want to hear pleasant, non-irritating things which make them comfortable and which are not a torment. That is why they like the deceitful and dishonest prophets in the Church. Prophets who twist God's Word to accomodate their wants and lusts, and prophets who say, 'thus saith the Lord, when the Lord has not said.' Prophets who allow them to hold doctrines contrary to God's written Word. Prophets who comfort them saying 'Peace, Peace, when there is no peace.' For though they may have peace with the world, there is no Peace with God for the wicked. Therefore will God judge the people of His House. They commit spiritual idolatry in that they deceitfully desire not the truth but false prophets, and have killed the true that they may live in comfort in the city. Just as Israel before them.
- "And they that dwell on 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".
This congregation of God wanted to go their own way and do their own will rather than walk in God's way, and do God's will. And indeed 'there is nothing new under the sun' as today true believers are likewise testifying that transgressions of the Church are multiplied before God, and that the lawlessness and unsound doctrines therein, which are tolerated, are an abomination to God. For the people are rejecting these truths for blindness, fair speeches and smooth or enticing words. Rather than mark the unfaithful who serve only themselves and seek to divide the Church (A Church divided cannot stand), they compromise with evil making trite remarks like, 'there is no perfect Church,' or 'these sins are non-essentials, and not worth the strife to correct.'
- "That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
- Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
- Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
- Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this Word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:
- Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant."
There is how the Church should be, and then there is how the Church is. Members of the Church are more annoyed and tormented by the Words of the faithful, than they are by the words of nullification, disobedience, and self serving doctrines which depart from the faith. But the falling away from the authority of scripture is nothing less than spiritual harlotry. It's not something God will wink at. These two witnesses who were killed annoyed the Church by their strict adherence to scripture. Scripture faithfully followed makes the unfaithful Church liars, adversarial to the truth these bring, and thus they hated these witnesses who brought it. Hate the message, kill the Messenger. That's why Revelation 11:10 says they all rejoiced and made merry when these witnesses (and consequently the truth they brought in the City) were dead. Finally, they would sit as their own gods to reign as their own authority in the Church, and could now do it without the torment of hearing the truth. They could now sit without having light shine to reveal their darkness. Of course, they don't actually say they hate the truth verbally or literally, because they are deluded and deceived by the beast. But their mind set is adversarial to it, and their actions are to usurp it. Being deceived by the spirit of antichrist they look to supplant God's Word with their own words. This obviously is esteeming themselves the authority and not God.
- "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
- For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
- For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil."
Sending gifts is a natural expression of honor or of the joy in celebration. The scriptures testify that men gave gifts to honor someone or to show reverence for them. Just as the [magos] or wise men from the east brought the baby Jesus gifts (Matthew 2:11). It was to signify the honor they held Him in. Here in Revelation chapter eleven this exchanging gifts signifies that they are paying homage to each other 'as if' they are somebody. They are honoring themselves in place of God. Man supplanting the Word of God (and thus God) and sitting in the Temple to rule 'as if' he is God. And he is receiving gifts (honor) of men for doing so. This is symbolizing their showing reverent regard for each other. This should be for God, but now that they are free from the torment of God's Word, they honor themselves. In doing so they are serving a false god in the temple, rather that the true God of the Bible. They reject God's law and are serving themselves (lawless man, or the man of sin) and seek after gifts, the glory of men, rather than of God.
They preach for reward of having glory of men, rather than of God. They are giving each other honor and glory, signified in the passing gifts one to another. They have taken God's house of prayer, and made it a den of thieves and robbers, buyers and sellers. And because of this gross abomination, the Lord will judge.
- "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
- "Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts."
- "Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them."
These are some illustrations of the sense of the giving of gifts one to another. These have praise of men and joy in that they have liberty or freedom from the testimony of the Word of God which the two prophets brought. In their pride and vain egotism, they feel liberated when the faithful witness is gone from the Church. Many trample God's Word under foot under the guise of 'Christian Liberty' when it is just their self delusion. It is truly said, the witness of the Word in the Church is the affliction of the world. And a church full of those of the world are afflicted or tormented by the Word. That is why they feel liberated when it is silenced by their serving another god, and heap gifts upon themselves.
- "As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols."
In this time of great trial and tribulation for true believers, these who are deceived by the false Christ and those who come in the spirit of antichrist, cannot tolerate the truth. And God who restrained it before allows it now because all Israel is sealed. The wicked tolerate those who hide their light under a bushel or who keep their talents (precious gospel truth) in a hidden place that it not offend the unrighteous, but those who placed their lamps high upon the stand that all in the house of God could receive 'light,' these they hate and will rejoice when their Word is no longer heard in the Church.
2nd Peter 2:19
Christian liberty or Satanic bondage? Good is as Good does, and unfortunately the Churches today often just want to get along with everyone by saying all is well. They don't really care about truth in the real sense, and that will be their downfall. Christians will compromise and accept false doctrines or foreign religions in the name of ecumenicalism, or of an unattainable worldly Peace and Love. But Peace and Love is truly understood in terms which God defines, not man. Not as the world can give Peace and Love, but how God gives it. This is what so many professing Christians do not understand today, and the reason why the Church is in such terrible straits. They refuse to 'keep' God's Word faithfully (true love), yet they have pleasure in the lusts of what they think is right in their own eyes. The refuse to stop warfare with God's Word at every turn (true Peace), and yet they want to bear the name of Christ. They are shamelessly regarding the words of men in the Church rather than the Word of God. This is the lifting up of man to rule in the Temple in place of God. This is the lawless man (man of sin) ruled by Satan usurping authority of Christ as head of the Church. This is the high regard of man for himself which is the abomination which will leave this city desolate. As it did to the Old Testament Jerusalem when their hearts being hardened so that their high regard for themselves reared it's head in God's house. They wanted to serve God and man, but this was not possible.
- "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."
This is the abomination standing in the Holy place. This is man lifting up himself to have authority which only God's Word does. This is man being highly esteemed, or having a high regard for himself instead of God. And this is the 'imagery' we see of these sending gifts one to another. It's the type of unrighteousness the scriptures illustrate in the apostasy or falling away. And though the language in Revelation eleven is of these wicked not burying the witnesses (not caring) when they are killed, ultimately these witnesses are the only ones truly beloved of God. Their Peace is not in the world and not with these unrighteous, but it is peace with God. These by the Spirit know that friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4), and so do not come with a deceiving lukewarm gospel message. And that is why they were hated by the beast, and killed in the great City.
- "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
- And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
- And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."
The overview of verse ten is that it is illustrating when abomination stands in the city of God so that the true witnesses of the Church are killed and their testimony is no longer heard in the Holy place (Matthew 24:15), far from mourning the loss of God's faithful testimony and the lifeless bodies of those who brought it that lie in the street, the people that dwell upon the earth rejoice and celebrate this loss, because these witnesses were a torment to them. They now have their (so-called) Christian liberty to do whatever they want without condemnation from the Word of God. Far from being sad, they make merry (joyful noises) signifying that their honor is among men, and that they cherish the things of men, and not of God.
Nothing has changed, the unrighteousness of men still honor themselves and dishonor God. In our day, men who faithfully adhere to God's Word are like a pariah in the Church. Labled radicals and unloving, they are reviled for having no heart, and for being fundamentalists in adhering to what is written. They are hated because the truth they bring sheds light on all the errors of the Church. Anyone who has ever witnessed to an unsaved person has probably experienced how God's Word is as a torment to them. That is why many of the unsaved become quite 'angry,' and strike out, or they rebuke the witnesses arrogantly because the simple truth is, they don't like what God has to say. God has to say the wages of sin is death, they don't like that. God has to say, change your lifestyle or you will end up in Hell, they don't like that. God has to say your Salvation is by God's Grace alone, not by anything you can do, and they don't like that. God says fornication is evil and no fornicator will inherit the Kingdom of heaven, and they don't like that. God says abortion is murder, the shedding of innocent blood, and they don't like that. This enmity with the Word is because their will is contrary to God's will. And contrary to popular myth, that includes both the unsaved in the world, and the unsaved world in the Church. And make no mistake, they are there and are growing exponentially. God's faithful Word is a torment to them. It is a fundamental and unchanging principle.
- "I receive not honour from men.
- But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
- I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
- How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
- "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."
Jesus said this because that is what will happen to the true believers who come with the truth. They aren't those beloved of men, they are those called judgmental and legalistic because they are faithful to authority of scripture. Like John the baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah speaking out declaring it was not 'lawful' for the King to have that wife, and was beheaded because of it. Unlike many of the Church today, God knows that the truth is not popular in the world. And at this time of tribulation, it will not be popular in the Churches either. Because the Gentiles or unsaved will come up into the Church and tread the holy city under foot. It is given them that they can do this as judgement, for a short time.
- "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
The believers can no longer bring the gospel of life in this great city, which, spiritually speaking, is Sodom and Egypt. Their witness has been so effectively silenced in the Church by the false teachers, that their voice is not heard. It's as if they are dead. There is no rule of God's law in the city, there is only delusion and iniquity abounding so that the Word of life has been extinguished.
- "And after three days and a 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".
1st John 1:1
- "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."
When we come with the Word of life, we come with Christ. When believers are silenced, then the Word of life is no longer going forth in the city. In this sense, the indivisible Church has become lifeless. The witnesses are dead in the streets. Yet God has not forsaken them. After three and a half days of this death sleep in the city, the Spirit of life enters into these witnesses of God and they stood up. This word stood [histemi] is the same word we read in verse one where the Messenger of God stood that John would measure the Temple. Remember, these witnesses were not literally dead, and so this is not a literal rising up from the dead. Nor were they spiritually dead (an impossibility for true Believers). And so the killing of the Witnesses both in this passage, and in Revelation chapter thirteen, signify only the silencing of the Word of life which they were bringing. i.e., death in that their witness of life 'in the Church' has ended. In that sense only were they killed, and so in that sense only do they 'stand up' from that sense of death in these streets.
- "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;"
There is no question but that this prophecy is a spiritual parallel to the resurrection of the body of Christ, because the Church is the body of Christ. Just as at the time of Christ's resurrection there was a great earthquake, and the stones moved, and the keepers did quake in fear. So at this time there will be this quaking and stones moved out of their place. In fact, the parallels between the time of Christ's first coming, and the time of His second, are almost identical at every turn. From the apostasy in the Church, to the testimony of the saints, to the buyers and sellers. The fall of the external congregation and Satan's rule therein is inevitable. The first and second advents of Christ being divinely inspired parallels illustrate this. And sandwiched between them is the binding of Satan.
This verse in revelation is not of literal people standing on their feet after being dead, anymore than the prophecy of the dry bones of Ezekiel chapter thirty seven was. It illustrates a Spiritual awakening of the faithful witnesses in the Churches by the Spirit of life. The image of them standing on their feet illustrate they are made mobile. The symbology of feet in scripture points to the means of mobilization. God often uses it to signify those who are 'sent.' Christians who are empowered to prophecy are spoken of as those who are sent, and the feet are often the context because it illustrates their means of mobility. Their walk in this life.
The beautiful 'feet' illustrate those mobilized or being 'sent' with the gospel to declare God's Word. The beauty signifies the Holiness[42a] in which they are sent.
- "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
- And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
Having on the whole armour of God includes being sent with the Gospel of Peace. Feet being shod or wrapped in the gospel illustrates we are commissioned or sent out with the gospel. It is our walk in Christ.
- "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;"
This was also illustrated as Jesus washed the disciples feet and declared that not all were clean. That signified a Spiritual cleansing, and that Judas was the one disciple who was not truly Saved. But these others were empowered by the washing of feet, to be sent out with the Gospel. And in turn, they were to go out and do the same thing that the gospel be sent to the ends of the earth. And notice what Jesus said afterward.
The feet are an illustration of mobilization, or those 'sent' of God to declare His Word. Likewise in Revelation, when these dead stand upon their feet, it is an illustration that they who were once silenced, are mobilized and empowered by the Spirit to again declare God's Word. But it is not a word of Salvation, but of blowing of the trumpet. In other words, a word of warning that desolation is nigh.
- "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
- For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
- Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than He that sent him."
Remember, these who were killed were true Christians and were already resurrected spiritually that they could never die, so this cannot be understood to mean they were spiritually resurrected. Likewise they were not all killed literally or physically, so this cannot mean that all believers were literally killed and their bodies were resurrected on the last day. These are popular but untenable theories about this verse. The truth is, they were resurrected in the contextual, logical, and very same sense that they were killed. i.e., the true witnesses in the Church were silenced (symbolic death, not spiritual death), and here they are awakened from that silence, and stand on their feet mobilized to declare God's Word. They stand up from their death in the streets, much like in the parable of the ten virgins in which Christ taught they rose up from their sleep (a synonym for death) when there was a cry made 'at midnight' to depart out, or go out from where they were [exerchomai] to meet Him.
It is no coincidence that this is when the bridegroom tarried, or delayed His coming, that the virgins slept. There is a very pertinent spiritual signification to these things. Also note in this parable that some of the virgins had sufficient oil (signifying the anointing of the Spirit) and others didn't. And 'after' the cry was made to come out, and while these unprepared virgins searched to aquire this oil, the door was shut unto them and they were left out from the wedding. Again, a 'clear' illustration that there is some time left on earth between the time the cry is made to the virgins, and the end of the world when the door is shut and it is too late. In other words, to not have the oil at this time is a fatal mistake. Consider the parable wisely.
- "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him."
Knowledge is power, and the knowledge in view is the understanding of scripture given by the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. By this anointing, we are not those who are unprepared to come out when the cry is made. Clearly in this parable God is illustrating that there is a 'separation' of those who have oil, and those who have no oil. Those who have the continual light, and those who do not. Oil signifies the Spirit, and the foolish virgins ask for oil for their lamps, but believers cannot give of their spirit to those lacking. Rest assured that it is no coincidence that we read in this parable that they must go to those who 'sell and buy.' For these are unsaved people professing to be Christian, but have not the oil. And the place of buying and selling is ruled over by the beast, and only those with his mark can buy. In other words, the Church is now ruled over by false Christians, a den of thieves and robbers. The time of sealing by the Spirit is over, and the door to Salvation is shut unto these foolish virgins.
- "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
- Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
- And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
- But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
- And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
- Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
- But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
- Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
The separation is between those who know the difference between Word of God, and the words of men. Those who know the difference between humility to surrender to the authority of scripture, and following after Church tradition or popular opinion. Those who lust after being entertained rather than instructed. Those who lust after friends, and to be spoken well of, rather than true fellowship with God and His Church. The wise (spiritually) don't have to 'go learn what that means,' as the unwise virgins do. Because we have been learning all along. We are not merely waiting, but 'Watch' that we are not caught with our lamps out of oil. No one will be able to get oil that will get them into the Kingdom at that late hour of darkness (midnight) when the cry is made. Because Salvation will have ended, the testimony finished, and the buyers and sellers marked of the beast. Clearly, when the cry is made to come out, it is not the end of the world yet, it is a short period of separation, the precursor to Christ's second advent.
In this same way, the witnesses who were silenced in the Church (symbolized by death) stand upon their feet being called of God, and by the oil they posess declare His Word that Jerusalem is become an abomination, and they must come out. It is a time when many people shall desire to be dead in Christ, but death shall flee from them. This is the time when those who truly died in Christ are the Blessed. This I believe is the time of the fall of the foolish Church. It is a Church without oil, without light, and which has spiritually became a Sodom, or congregation of Satan. The parable of the virgins gives a different symbolic illustration as it shows the aspects of the foolish and wise in the Church. This verse in Revelation is from the perspective of a battle, a seeming defeat, and the ultimate end victory. Different spiritual pictures, but the same outcome.
This is why those in the court outside the Temple were not to be measured. Because they are those professing Salvation, but who were not truly 'the two anointed ones.' They were not the oil and the wine which couldn't be hurt, they were those lacking oil, and lacking the wine which is the blood of Christ, while abundant in the wine of fornication. These are those who love the external Church, themselves, and their liberal philosophies and lifestyles, more than Christ. They have placed all above the Word of God in rationalizing away their disobedience.
It is a time of awakening and distress for true Christians because they now see and realize the abomination standing in the corporate Church, and are made aware of God that they must come out of her. Just as Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mountain and spake of Christ's decease (Luke 9:28-31) which would happen at Jerusalem. In like manner the faithful witnesses are in the Spirit and power of these prophets, and flee to the Spiritual mountains. They stand to warn of the decease of the Church (body of Christ). Again, the spiritual parallels are astounding between Christ's first coming, and His second.
The Preaching of Christ
Christ Body of Christ The Holy Spirit descending from heaven
and abode upon Christ
The Holy Spirit poured out from heaven
upon the Church
Christ preached 3 1/2 years Church preached 3 1/2 years The signification of Buyers and Sellers The signification of Buyers and Sellers Apostasy in Congregation Apostasy in Congregation After 3 1/2 years, Christ Killed After 3 1/2 years Church killed Christ raised up after death
but not yet ascended.
Church raised up after death
but not yet ascended.
Old external congregation left Desolate. New external congregation left Desolate. Christ's kingdom comes
Christ's Kingdom comes
The only two places where the phrase 'Son of perdition' is found is when Jesus speaks of Judas, the man of sin in the external congregation which which betrayed Christ (John 17:12), and the man of sin taking a seat in the Holy Temple (2nd Thessalonians 2:3) to betray Christ. It signifies the unsaved who are part of the external congregation, but who are not truly Saved and thus forsake God's laws to do their own will.
The condition of God's congregation will be the same as it was at Christ's first advent. A den of thieves and robbers, and of buyers and sellers in the Holy Temple, all marked of the beast. As Peter was asleep when Moses and Elijah appeared and not understanding that there is only one 'true' tabernacle and that it is the Son of God (not the Church, not Moses, and not Elijah), so these do not comprehend the lawlessness in the Church and why man rule the tabernacle, and they must come out. Moses and Elijah was the Glory of Christ, not the other way around. Even as God said to Peter concerning it, 'this is my beloved Son, hear ye him.' One tabernacle or temple, and one measurement thereof.
The Spirit of life makes the witnesses stand on their feet and warn that the bridegroom cometh, and for them to come out of the midst of this abominable city and flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15-16). That which had been prophesied, is now come to pass. And this coming out is 'seen' by those wicked who killed their witness in the Church. They are hypocrites just as the Pharisees were, in that they don't want to believe these witnesses, but they are also angry and fear their standing, and removal from the City. Much as Pharaoh was angry and feared the removal of the Children of Israel from Egypt. They wanted them for slaves and for workers, and these are now by the Spirit come to life and are not merely lying dead in their streets anymore, but speaking out against their abominations. And that is what makes Jerusalem angry with fear, and reviles them as if they were evil.
The overview of verse eleven is that these saints of God whose witness had been killed in the Church, have come to life by the Spirit of God, and spiritually stood on their feet in the streets of this city. In other words, they suddenly are not lifeless in the Church anymore, they hear God's cry the bridegroom cometh, they stand up, they speak out as blowing a trumpet of warning, and they remove from there. There was silence for a time, but now they are alive with the Spirit. And the people who remain are angry so that they hate and fear them. Just as alleged atheists deceive themselves, but inherently know and fear God, so these of the Church inherently know that there is something of God working in this, but they have not oil or Spirit to understand, nor to repent of their abominations.
This Great voice from heaven is the Word of God. There is only one voice from Heaven who can call man to leave the streets of the great city Jerusalem (the corporate Church), and that is the call of the Great King Himself.
- 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.
These Witnesses are called from death and stand in these streets of Jerusalem, and ascend to Heaven. Heaven in Revelation is often a representation of the Kingdom of Heaven, or the place of God, and the Spirit of life is the Holy Spirit. It is by the Spirit that they are called to ascend out of this death in these wicked streets and go up to the spiritual Kingdom of the great Zion. Again the representation of the Kingdom of heaven. These witnesses are those who are blessed and who have the Spirit to not just verbally hear the Word, but to spiritually hear. Others in the city do not have the ears to hear the Word spiritually. The witnesses are those not only called, but chosen, and they will flee out of the midst of the city which has become a desert.
The Lord's throne is in Heaven, Jerusalem lies in abomination, it's foundations destroyed, and the righteous must flee to where God is. Symbolically heaven, spiritually far off from this once great city. God tries or tests the Children of men, for this is a time of trial, and He that shall remain faithful and abhor the sin in the City that He ascends out to the Kingdom, are those who have root in Christ.
- "In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?
- For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.
- If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
- The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men."
We should note this ascending to the Kingdom is not preceded by the sound of a trumpet. There are many who surmise that this verse refers to the rapture, but from careful study and diligent consideration of all the text, I cannot conclude that this is the case. This is also verified as we read in verse thirteen that at that same hour the city fell, and there were slain of men 7000. But when the rapture occurs, it is the end of the world, and is the 'final' judgment. It is not a time when believers are still upon earth giving God glory. They will have been raised up together with Him. I think it would be inconsistent to read these passages as the rapture narrative. This does not appear to be in agreement with the whole of scripture concerning the rapture. On top of this, we see 'clearly' in verse fifteen that the seventh angel sounds the seventh trumpet, and we 'know' that this is the last trump of God, and the Biblically justified time of the rapture. This being 'caught up' (Raptured) occurs at this last trumpet, not prior to that when the witnesses are called to symbolically ascend from the streets of this symbolic city (the Church) to heaven (the Kingdom). The city is not literal, these are not two literal witnesses, the fire from their mouths is not literal, the street where they lay is not literal, their death is not literal, why then would we conclude their resurrection from their symbolic death, is literal? It makes no sense. In order to have a literal resurrection, we need a literal death. Likewise, in order to have a spiritual resurrection, we need a spiritual death. Interpretations must be consistent, not disjointed.
The language of the spirit of life entering into the dead witnesses is part of this symbolism. Remember, the witnesses are not physically dead people. This is illustrating that after their witness is destroyed in the Church leaving them lifeless witnesses in the Church, they receive the Spirit of life that they again stand on their feet and 'come out of Her' (this city made abominable) and flee to the mountain (Kingdom) of God. God gives increased knowledge and puts this Spirit in them that they understand that they must leave the unfaithful Church. Heaven here (as in revelation chapter twelve) is symbolic of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is no longer found represented in these Churches, as they have been moved out of their place (Revelation 2:5). In the Spirit we ascend to heaven as we have God's spirit in truth revealed to us. Look at the similar language when John (by the Spirit) was shown this revelation:
You see, almost identical language of God talking with him from Heaven with a great voice (as if a trumpet) saying come up hither. This is God revealing prophecy to John, not John literally going into heaven. In the Spirit only he went to Heaven as God reveals things to him. John is flesh and blood, and flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Neither can man leave his body and literally go to heaven and then come back to earth into his earthly body (John 3:13). No man can. But 'in the Spirit' God revealed things, while he was still a man on earth. He was never raptured nor literally in heaven, this language simply means he was spiritually in the kingdom of heaven for revelation.
- "after this I looked and a door was opened IN HEAVEN; and the first VOICE which I heard were as it were of a trumpet TALKING with me which said COME UP HITHER.."
We often think when we see the word heaven in Revelation that it is always talking about literal heaven, but that is not the case. This is a 'symbolic' book, and thus we should expect symbolism. For example, clearly Revelation chapter twelve speaking of the stars of heaven being knocked down, or in other chapters a star falling from heaven and making the water wormwood, or a pregnant woman sitting in heaven along with these stars on her head. This is not talking about literal stars, nor literal heaven. It's a symbolic picture of the kingdom of heaven and those who are of that kingdom. Just as we can read in Revelation chapter one God reveals the mystery or secret of the symbolism saying the stars that God had in his hand were really the messengers of the Churches, and the candlestick represented the Churches. These stars weren't literally stars of Heaven, they were messengers of the Church, which were represented by stars of heaven.
Heaven is not always literal in the book of Revelation, it is symbolic in many cases. And that is how I believe heaven is represented here. At this time the witnesses to truth will rise up from their 'spiritual death' by the great voice from heaven, and flee from the abomination in these now dead churches. That is what the Word of God by the Spirit tells us (2nd Corinthians 6:16-17) to do in such cases. We are told to come out of a Temple that is not of God because the two kings of these diverse kingdoms have no agreement together. We are not to stay there. Matthew chapter twenty-four says the same thing with different symbolism.
That verse is telling the true witnesses of Christ that when they see the abomination stand in the Churches (the only Holy Place on earth besides believers, after the cross), then they are not to stay, but flee to the Mountains. Not the literal mountains of Israel, as if they could be any security or safety. Not an alleged Holy place in a literal Temple in Jerusalem (because it's no longer Holy to qualify for this prophecy), but flee from the Holy Place which after the cross is the external Church. It is the only Holy place which even could become abominable. Flee to the mountains (Kingdom) of God. Not literal Heaven, not literal mountains.
- "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the Holy Place, whoso readeth let him understand,
- then let them which be in Judaea flee to the mountains."
- "as the dew of hermon, and as the dew that descendeth upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even Life for evermore".
- "But in the last days, it shall come to pass that the Mountain of the House of the lord shall be established in the top of the Mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow into it".
This is the mountains that we are to flee to when we see abomination stand in the Holy Place. Not mounds of dirt in the middle east. Judaea after the cross is the Church, not a province in Israel. When that city becomes abominable, we are to flee from it to the protection of the real Kingdom of God, because the city will no longer be the representation of God's habitation. The Church is fallen. And this is what the language of the voice from Heaven calling the witnesses who were dead in the street, symbolizes. They are called to come out of Jerusalem and ascend to the Kingdom of heaven.
- "and it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with water, and a fountain shall come forth of the House of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim".
Revelation chapter eighteen also illustrates the calling of God's servants out of an abominable City which shall fall as babylon.
And they stood afar off where God is, because His congregation had turned to lawlessness, so that spiritually it was as babylon the great. This is the condition of the Church. This is the reason the witnesses come out. Because God is going to bring Judgement upon the Church, and He doesn't want His witnesses there that they may be partaker with them in sin, or receive of this city's plagues. For that City is under wrath of God.
- "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
- For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."
Again, this is why the witnesses are called out. They were not literally killed and so they were not literally raised up from that non-literal death, nor do they go into 'literal' heaven as yet. For now, they are called to life to remove themselves from these streets where they laid, and go to the only place where they will be secure. To the mountains of God, to the spiritual heavens.
- "I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah."
The true believers 'stand upon their feet' and by the Word of God come up to this mountain retreat that their feet will stand on firm foundation. And the enemies of God beheld them as they went in a cloud. And there is no more ministering in this House after they leave, it is now destined to fall.
- "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
The cloud in scripture symbolizes God's Glory. e.g.:
- "And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the Glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle".
1st Kings 8:11
- "And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared."
And many other such verses. The cloud signifies the Glory of God. This is a time of judgement upon this house when the priests will not be able to minister by reason of the Glory of God. When we read that the believers are told to come to heaven by God, and they stand up from death in the streets and go into a cloud, it's signifying that they are in the Glory of God. God is now going to make that unfaithful city desolate, and He doesn't want them there to be caught up in it. Which is again evidence that this was not talking about the rapture, because if it was, then time would be no more and the end of the world/age would happen right then and there. Because God swore that at the sound of the seventh Trumpet, there would be time no more.
- "So that the Priests could not stand to minister because of the Cloud, because the Glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord."
And so there is not any question that when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, it is the end of time when the mystery of God is finished, and not when a tenth part of the city falls. The rapture is when the whole world is destroyed and the judgement sits at 'last' trump (1st Corinthians 15:52). It is not this time of symbolic Church death when they cannot work. The last trumpet means exactly that. The last. i.e., there is no other trumpets sounding after the last. And it is obvious that the last trumpet hasn't sounded when these are called to remove themselves from the city streets because the city (not the world) is coming under judgment.
- "And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and the things that therein are, and the earth and the things that therein are, and the sea and the things which are therein, that there should be time no more,
- but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to his servants the prophets"
We read that their enemies beheld them. The wicked see these saints who they thought were dead, begin to prophecy again . They stand up from these streets and leave Jerusalem, and the wicked of the city are angry[36a] and fear this mobilization. The enemies of God fear because the very foundation of their Church is shaken because of this exit, and though they do not repent of the iniquities which made this city abominable, they are troubled by this exodus just as the Judaizers troubled Paul and the Apostles. This is their fear of what is going on, and the fear of wicked men usually manifests itself in reviling, speaking evil against the saints, and in unrighteous anger.
Those of the sea are symbolic of the unsaved world. The Church were fishers of men from the sea (world). The sea and waves roaring illustrates the world is full of iniquity and beating against the ships (Churches). There is distress and anguish as the unsaved are in a state of quandary, confused over evil of the world. And the Church has no answers because they have forsaken the God of the Bible, and are themselves running to and fro seeking the Word, but unable to find it. The city echoing the noise of iniquity in the sea. This is the fear in the enemies of the true Church. There is judgment upon this people, because this is the vengeance of the lord ushering in the coming of that which is perfect or complete.
- "And there shall be signs in the Sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon earth distress of nations, with Perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
- and men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."
It's the days of vengeance and the completion of all that was written. It is a time of God's judgment upon them for killing the saints, for spiritually shedding blood by their hatred. When the believers leave the Church their works leave with them, and there is nothing of the waters of life left there. They shall drink wormwood. There is no candle or lamp burning, as they are left in darkness. This city shall be left desolate.
- "for these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."
The overview of verse twelve is in the imagery of believers leaving the spiritually dead Church. God is illustrating that when the true believers are silenced in the great city which has become as Sodom, God calls to His witnesses to come up hither, or come here to the place of the Kingdom with Me. And these who were lying in this city, unloved, unaccounted of, and unable to teach the Word of life, ascend up to heaven in the glory of God, and their enemies beheld them, and fear. There is now no more ministering of God in the Holy Temple. Just as Jerusalem of the Old Testament fell, so Jerusalem of the New is under the same judgement for her spiritual fornication and abominations.
At the 'same time' that the believers (who were symbolically killed) are called of God to stand up from their death in the streets and ascend out of this city, the tenth part of Jerusalem fell. And indeed this is very logical, for if the believers are given strength to stand, and called to leave the city for the Kingdom of Heaven, then there are no more true believers left in the Church. They have all stood up from being dead in these city streets, and have left. Obviously, this is now become a fallen Church. Because without the 'assembly of saints,' and the Spirit they possess, you have no Church. For you cannot have a true Church of God which has no true believers in it. That is a biblical impossibility. In Biblical terms, the abomination of this city Jerusalem have now left it desolate, a house in ruination. Just as when the Old Testament saints came out of that Covenant congregation to form the New Covenant congregation. The old congregation of the Lord was left desolate. And it is left desolate to this very day. Of course, they still go to the congregations, and they still pray and think that they do God service, but in God's eyes Israel is blinded, deceived, antiChrist, and desolate. It is a house fallen.
- "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 afrightened, and gave Glory to the God of heaven".
When God says that the tenth part of this city fell, I believe it is an illustration that there is no longer an 'offering' for sin available there. The tenth part is what was used as an offering to the Lord in the Old Testament. For example in the offering of the tithe. This is seen throughout scripture. The tenth part of the city falling I believe indicates that sacrifice and offering has ceased here, as Christ has departed, and is no longer in the midst of the Church.
In this enigmatic verse we read that a tenth part of holy city of Jerusalem falls. Comparing scripture with scripture we see that the tenth in the bible is often used to represents that holy thing that belongs to the Lord Jehovah, for example as illustrated in the Old Testament law of tithing.
- "Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance."
In the Old Testament the tithe was a type of tribute from the Israelites who were as tenants in the house of God, given to owner of the house as a thank offering for His blessed bounties (Genesis 28:22) and the service of this priestly office.
- "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD."
So the tenth is associated with the Lord's portion, which is the care of the priestly office that the Levites held in service (Numbers 18:21) of God. This symbolized the full measure of the offering for the iniquity of God's people. Here in Revelation where we read that the tenth part of the city falls, it is enigmatic language signifying that this once holy city no longer serves as the Lord's priests and portion before men. This tenth part falling illustrates that the priestly office of the holy city Jerusalem, here representing the church, has come to an end. when the true witnesses leave the church and it falls, the bounty represented by the offering of Christ is gone from it. This house is now a false Christ that stands without true sacrifice and offering for sin. The priests through whom the Spirit of God had commissioned to bring it have been called out of this city, and it has become as an abomination, a wasteland without life. Nothing remains there but those whoserve themselves rather than the Lord. The part that was the offering for sin is fallen, as God has departed from His House in judgment.
- "And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation."
The abominations in the house of the Lord has caused God to remove it out of it's place (Revelation 2:5) with Him, that it is no longer the Holy Place. The city is fallen, just as Babylon did, as God has shaken it and moved afar off from it. And likewise God has called the saints to remove afar off also.
- "He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my Sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations."
This is the fall of the fornicating Jerusalem, who has 'spiritually' become as the kingdom of Satan (symbolized by Babylon). She is no longer a Church of God, no more will all the pleasant things of Salvation be found in her. No more will she bring the meal which fed those hungry for the bread of the Word of God. And the people who are truly Saved 'must' come out of this fallen Church that they not be worshipping the beast who now dwells therein. In that same hour of her fall, they must come out. It is only the elect, those drawn of God who will see the signs and come out of the Church. Only those who have not been deceived of the beast that cannot discern their right hand from their left, sin from righteousness, or compromise from faithfulness. The unfaithful, marked of the beast, symbolizes that He does his will, at 'their hand.' The hand symbolizes the will, the forehead, the mind. Those who receive his (spiritual) mark in their hand, and in their minds, are those not sealed or secured of Christ. And those who are sealed, as we saw, will have been killed of the beast because they will not worship him. Those who are faithful unto death are those blessed of God, and will not be deceived unto death.
- "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
- And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,"
- The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:"
The same thing we read in Revelation 13 of the forty two months (Revelation 13:10) of this same period. 'Here is the patience of the saints.' In other words, here are the faithful of the Church who keep the Word of God faithfully and do not worship the beast and his image, nor receive his mark in their forehead or in their hand. These are those in Jerusalem who died in the lord, were killed of the beast that they have rest from their labouring [kopos] in pain of the tribulation in that city. And when they die this death in the Lord, all their works follow them. This means that there is no more preaching of the Word in that city 'unto salvation.' Their works [ergon] were in the energy of the Spirit in their preaching the gospel. When they are killed, there is no more work of Christ, and when that city falls there is no more sacrifice and offering for sin. And after this imagery in Revelation chapter thirteen, chapter fourteen gives the imagery of Christ coming again with a sickle to judge.
- "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
- And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
The remnant (chosen few) who see and fear (Godly fear) are those not among them who are slain in this fall. They have reverential fear for what is going on in the Church. But note also that they know it is God's doing, and we read that even so, they give glory to God in this. i.e., their mind set is, 'even so O' Lord, Thy will be done!' That is the cry of the blessed who had died in the Lord.
The earthquake signifies a great shaking and judgment by God. The very foundation of this city is shaken to the core as it has no solid mooring upon which to rest, and judgment has come upon it because of it's sin. Her abominations has left her desolate and now she is in ruins and her final judgment is imminent, her sins having removed her far from God.
It is lawlessness or sin which does separate man from the love of God. And this is a Church which does not mourn for her sins, nor repent, nor turn from unfaithfulness, nor seek justice. It is a Church arrogant in it's trust in itself (rather than Christ) and it's own words (rather than God's Word) and thus she didn't imagine that her cries of 'Peace, Peace,' were just words or meaningless plaitudes. But the remnant know the prophecy, have seen the signs, understand that this is the judgment of God, and they fear God, and give Him Glory in it.
- "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
- But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
- For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
- None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity."
The number of 'seven thousand' who are slain signifies the totality or completeness of all those left in that city. Seven, and it's multiples (7, 70, 700, 7000) are used in scripture to symbolize totality. In other words, all left in the Churches are slain of God there. It is written, judgment must begin at the house of the Lord. The remnant speaks of all those who escaped this vengeance of God. Their oil and wine are secure by the sealing of the Spirit. They are not part of the seven thousand killed. These are those who had come out of her and are (in Godly fear) witnesses to that fall. Seven thousand, signifying the totality of that great city fell. We can see the example of this number signification illustrated in 1st Kings:
1st Kings 19:18
Here God uses the number seven thousand to illustrate 'ALL' the people who were left who were 'His People.' In other words, the totality of them who were Saved were represented in this number seven thousand. Another verse where God uses the number to signify 'ALL' the people of Israel is in 1st Kings chapter 20:
- "Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel ALL the knees that have not bowed unto baal, and EVERY mouth which hath not him".
1st kings 20:15
- "Then he numbered the young men of the Princes of the provinces and they were two hundred and thirty two, and after them he numbered ALL the people, even ALL the Children of Israel, being seven thousand".
This is a number to signify the 'totality' of whatever is in view. Again, we read in 2nd Kings 24:16 how it speaks of ALL the men of might, even seven thousand. And so we see that God uses the number seven thousand to signify 'all' or the completeness of them. The tenth part of the city fell signifying sacrifice and offering ceased, and the completeness of those who were left therein were slain by God. There remains no more sacrifice as they have blasphemied God in having man rule in His stead.
The overview of Revelation chapter eleven, verse thirteen, is that at the same hour or the same time that the Spirit of life comes upon the dead witnesses in the streets of Jerusalem and calls them that they stand up and come to God, there is a great shaking of the foundations of this city. A great judgment of God upon this people for their departing from the faith and forsaking God in disdaining the image of the father which we are to worship. There is judgment for their making their own images to worship. By their spiritual fornication, they are serving images (gods of their own making) which are no gods, and have brought apostasy to God's Sanctuary.
If anyone wants to know why God would do such a thing to 'His Church' all they need do is 'honestly' look at what the Church has done to Him. Spiritually they have made gods after their own image (man) and serve him in God's house, and put words into God's mouth which He commanded not, and have symbolically killed all those who would dare speak up against this spiritual idolatry in high places. ..and shall God not require it?
- "And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.
- Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;
- They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:"
Sacrifice and offering is taken away, and in that earthquake (judgment of God) there was slain 'ALL' of those who were left in that city (spiritually 7000). The totality of this house is left desolate. Their candlestick (Continual or daily light) has been moved out of it's place. And the remnant, those measured, were frightened because of this great thing that God has done to His Church and gave glory to the God of heaven. The remnant who were not cut off see the desolation of this city standing afar off in the kingdom of heaven where they were called to be. The wicked killed the lords prophets, spiritually shed their blood, and they are worthy to drink of the wrath of God poured out upon them. They will no longer be the representation of the Bride, and they no longer have glorious things they once had as the covenant Church, they will no longer have the husband who is Christ. They are left completely desolate.
The second woe is past and the third comes quickly. Woe [ouai]is an exclamation of suffering or grief. And this third woe is the declaration of the seventh and 'last trumpet' judgement. It is the final resurrection and the end of the World. The first woe was the false teachings and the false prophets going forth to deceive. Remember the angel flying in the midst of heaven proclaimed woe three times (Rev 8:13), and this final grief (as we'll see in verse 15) is the end of days, and the judgement of wickedness.
- "the second woe is past; and behold, the third woe cometh quickly".
It comes 'quickly' illustrates that it is Christ's second advent judgment. Coming quickly does not necessarily delineate a short period of time, but the suddeness of the judgment. For example:
It's been nearly two thousand years since this was penned, and Christ has not returned yet. But the word quickly there signifies not His soon coming in time, but His 'sure' coming, and the suddenness of his coming. Therefore are we to watch. Judgement comes quickly or suddenly upon the wicked. As a thief in the night, because they are unprepared and unaware of what is coming. It is woe unto the wicked when the Lord returns on the clouds of Glory. For He comes quickly, and when they least expect it.
- "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
The overview of verse fourteen is that the first and second woe that has been revealed to John in these visions, is past. And he is about to see the third vision of woe, which comes quickly. This is illustrating that it is at Christ's second coming. Coming quickly is the language of the 'sure' and unannounced pressence of Christ. It is a harbinger of the justice of God when the books are opened and all will be judged from what is written therein.
This is what Revelation chapter ten spoke about when it said that the mystery of God would be finished and there would be time no more. This is the time of that trumpet sound of the seventh angel or messenger of God.
- "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."
It is the end of the world, end of the age, and thus the end of time (as we as human beings know it). The seventh trumpet sounding is 'the last trumpet.' Just as illustrated when God shows us a bit of this mystery in 1st Corinthians. We read explicitly of this last trumpet there.
- "And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
- But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."
1st Corinthians 15:51-52
At this last trump or trumpet is when the raising up or rapture takes place. We (the church) who are alive at this time won't sleep (die), but will be changed instantly, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, into our spiritual bodies. This is when we which are alive shall put off this robe of flesh (Which God says cannot inherit the kingdom) and 'literally' enter heaven.
- "Behold, I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed,
- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at The Last Trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
Imagine the moment illustrated. The world is going about it's business as usual, eating and drinking and thinking all is well and they are at peace. Then the Lord appears in the clouds of glory, and with the last trump of God we are changed. Two people are standing on the same street, one is changed in the twinkling of an eye and is lifted up and taken (the true believer), and the other is not changed and is left (the unsaved). And those that are left shall see this rapture, and then must stand before the judgment throne to be judged. God declares there shall be great weeping because they know that they are under God's wrath and shall suffer His 'just' judgments as the books are opened.
1st Thessalonians 4:17
This is what we call the rapture, and it happens at the last trumpet. Those words 'caught up' have the same meaning as raptured. We should understand that the word rapture is derived from a Latin term meaning 'caught away' and is merely used by many Christians to avoid repetitive and awkward quoting of an entire verse of scripture each time we reference this event which it describes. So let us be clear that when we use the word Rapture, we are simply speaking about nothing more and nothing less than what the scripture itself defines in this verse of 1st Thessalonians 4:17. This is our being caught up or raptured together to be with Christ in the air at His second coming. In order to avoid typing or repeating that whole verse every time we refer to this great event, we simplify it by calling this 'the Rapture.' Nothing more should be read into it.
- "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the CLOUDS, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord".
So here we see that the seventh angel sounds and there is time no more. The believers will now live in eternity where time is insignificant, for we live forever and the mystery of God is finished.
1st Corinthians 13:12
We shall meet God face to face at this last trumpet. Note the agreement with the timing of the rapture and this last day of judgment. Both at the same day. This end of the world/age is when we shall meet God face to face, and know even as we are known, for the Mystery of God is finished (rev. 10:7) as the kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of our lord and His Christ. In other words, Satan is no longer the prince of this world, the time of his judgment has come and God has taken control over all things, and rules in Glory. All kingdoms are become His, as everything is under His foot as was prophesied. All must answer to Him.
- "for now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known".
The overview of verse fifteen is that we are seeing imagery of the seventh angel sounding. Seven being the number of totality or completion. And we see the picture that this is the end of the world. It is the consummation, the completion when all things which have been written have been fulfilled. There are great voices in heaven proclaiming that the kingdoms of this world (which Satan was prince over) are now become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. Satan has no more authority or rule over the nations. The time is come when he shall be judged right along with all those of the earth who served under him. And our Lord shall rule and reign for all eternity, even for ever and ever.
The twenty four elders I believe symbolize all the congregation of God. They are representing both the Old Testament believers illustrated in the twelve tribes of Israel, and the New Testament believers illustrated by the twelve Apostles. The number twelve is the number of the congregation. This number twenty four signifies the fulness of the Sons of God who make up the complete congregation.
- and the four and twenty Elders which sat before God on their seats, fell on their faces and worshipped God."
Elders in scripture are used of God to 'signify' leaders, or those who because of advanced age are deemed to be endowed with wisdom and experience that they may rule wisely. The aged have always been the image of wisdom to rule (as opposed to the foolishness of youth). e.g.:
1st Timothy 5:17
- "And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:"
This is the 'signification' of the true believers in the congregation who labor in the Word of God and preach the gospel. The true believers are those God calls wise, and those who understand, and those who reign with Him in heaven. The elders represent all those who have been washed clean in Christ's blood that they (by the Spirit) have been made wise teachers and rulers. This can be seen in Revelation chapter four where we read that the twenty four elders are those clothed in white (a synonym for those clothed in the righteousness of Christ), and had crowns (signifying they reign with Christ). Furthermore, the twenty four elders sing a song saying that 'they' were the redeemed ones. In other words, they were the believers redeemed by the blood of Christ.
- "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."
They had the prayers of the Saints, and Christ had redeemed them from the people of the earth. He redeemed them from out of every kindred [phule] or family of the earth. Redeemed from every language, from every type people, and from every nation of people. That is undeniable proof that these elders represents the believers who had been redeemed from the earth and who sit in heavenly places in Christ. They are heavenly princes who live and reign with Christ, having had part in the first resurrection. Christ has made them perfect that they may sit before God on their seats [thronos] or thrones. They are those who live and reign with Him in His Kingdom (Revelation 20:4) because of His redemptive Work.
- "and sung a new song saying thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for thou was slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue and nation.."
The overview of verse sixteen is that of the grand consummation of all things being fulfilled. This is illustrated in the twenty four elders representing the souls of men made perfect, giving obeisance, and worshipping God in thanksgiving for their redemption from out of every people, and the ultimate establishment of Christ's kingdom in Heaven. The Church which lives and reigns (sat on their seats) with God in heaven, fell on their faces (signifying humility and reverence), and honored God. These are those with wisdom and understanding who sit and reign with Christ. They glorify God in His fulfillment of prophesy, to reign and rule over all.
They acknowledge God's goodness in delivering the two Witnesses from all their trials and tribulations. Their sincere interest in the Church is because they themselves are identified with it. They are the Church, one body with many parts and they give thanks to the Lord (obviously, because they are those redeemed by Him). It is only because of Him that they live and reign and have their being, and they Glory in that He has delivered up the persecuted saints. Now is come the fulfillment of all things, and they give thanks and glory to God, which is, and was, and is to come, the one and only 'eternal.' The prophesied time has come that God has taken all Kingdoms, and has taken power from Satan and subdued all things. He brought about the beginning of days, and He brings about the end of days, for He is omnipotent, the immutable one, the same from the beginning to the end.
- "saying, We give 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."
The same as this verse, Almighty God which is and was, and is to come, almighty. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and so God is denoting here that He is all in all. He is the eternal one that was from the start, and will be the last. There was none before him, and there will be none after Him. He alone is eternal God. The elders worship Him because He has brought to fruition that which He has prophesied. The seventh trumpet has sounded and all things are put under His feet that He has finally taken to Him all power, and has reigned, and now has put down all His enemies, Saved all those predestinated to be Saved, and comes in Glory to consummate the marriage to the bride, and to judge the wicked.
- "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
- I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
1st Corinthians 15:24
1st Corinthians 15:25
- Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power."
All His enemies are now defeated, all who were to be Saved have been Saved, the remnant have been delivered from the abominable city, the end of the world is come, and He has delivered up the Kingdom of witnesses who reigned on earth, to the father. They give Glory to God in this, and the mystery of Him is come to a conclusion.
- "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet."
The overview of verse seventeen is that the twenty four elders representing those who live and reign with Christ, give thanks to the Lord God almighty. He has now fulfilled his promise to take the kingdom, to put all under his feet, and reign over all. And the elders of heaven fall down and praise God and thank Him for His faithfulness. They rejoice in the final triumph and victory of their fellow saints, that their blood has been revenged. In all things, they give glory to the God of heaven, for his great plan has come to fruition, and His work has been completed. It may have seemed for a while that Satan had won, but as the old adage, 'the darkest hour is always just before the dawn.' Now is the dawn, the day of the Lord, and the finish of all things.
It is God's time of judgment because the nations or Gentiles [ethnos] were angry or enraged against God, demonstrated in their warring with God's people. This worldwide anger or wrath towards God is a 'sign' of Christ's coming. When man becomes totally bankrupt and adversarial to God's laws and opposed to His Word, and takes offense at everything the faithful preach, then God's wrath in judgement is not far off. Just as in the days of Noah when the world became continually wicked. This is the signification of the nations being angry. It is a time of great anger or strong feelings of displeasure against God by the world, because they hate God's laws and precepts and are fallen to lawlessness. It is the time prophesied that Christ would come again and Judge them. All the efforts that the Gentiles or unbelievers had made in rebellion against Christ's government, and in destroying His sanctuary, will all be for naught. They are now all going to be judged.
- "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 to them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth".
2nd Kings 19:27-28
- "But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
- Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest."
It is the time of harvest when Christ comes with a sharp sickle and harvests the earth because of their rage or anger against Him. The love of God had grown cold, and there is hatred evidenced by that lawlessness. These are those who rage or are angry against God. Those who are unsaved, who killed the prophets, who trampled God's Word underfoot, and who hated His commandments. The wrath or anger they showed against God is now turned to fear as the time of God's final judgment has come. The time which He has foretold of old. The time when the dead shall be raised and that each and every one of the wicked wherever they shall be found, shall be judged for the sins that they have committed. And God will cast them into Hell who destroyed the earth with their unlawfulness and rebellion against Him. The Wages of sin is death saith the Lord. Likewise, the saints, the Prophets, those that fear God and keep His commandments (the true Church) shall be rewarded with everlasting Life.
- "And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."
- "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
- I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
- Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
Only those who keep His commandments (1st John 2:3-5) shall be rewarded with eternal life. Those who were angry with God, and with His servants because of their witness, shall receive the reward of their deeds as well.
- "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
So we see that this being the time of great iniquity raging, and great anger against God by the Gentiles, is the time of Christ's return. A time when men are departing from the faith (1st Timothy 4:1) which the Spirit spoke expressly would come in the latter days.
It's a rhetorical question implying that faith will be scarce and not found in 'any' but the remnant chosen of God. It is a time of apostasy, of falling away, of forsaking, and of degradation. And it is the time when all that was written shall be fulfilled (Matthew 24:34) and that generation or family of evil shall pass away. It is when the wrath of God will come, the end of the world, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged.
- "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
These in this parable refer not only to the Old Testament Jewish congregation who reject Christ, but also to the New Testament congregation who reject Christ as king. Those who want to be their own rulers, who sit in the Temple in lawlessness, these all shall come under God's judgment.
- "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."
The overview of verse eighteen is that it is illustrating when Christ comes again, there will not be faithfulness on the earth, but Apostasy where the nations of the world are angry and are opposed to Christ. They are offended by Christ, and have wrath against God. It is at this time when Christ will come, and when the dead will be judged, and when the Lord shall reward the faithful prophets that feared His name and that trembled before His Glorious judgments on the Church. It is now that God will destroy them which were angry and which destroy the earth. God shall reward or give the wages to His servants the prophets and saints which He has promised those who fear Him and had reverential respect and obedience. And He will likewise destroy them in Hell who were wicked and destroyed the earth.
Here is the true Holy Temple of God which the holy Temple on earth was merely a pattern of. Here is the true habitation of Christ which the literal worldly Holy Temple built upon earth with hands, was merely a sign of. Those reading prophecy and looking for a literal earthly Temple of God in Jerusalem (the middle eastern nation) have missed the point completely. God is not interested in a New Testament Temple made with hands. Literal bricks and stones do not fulfill. After the Cross, the only Holy Temple of God is (#1) the Lord, (#2)the Church which represents Him, and (#3)those in whom He makes His habitation. Other than those, there is no other New Testament Holy Temple of God. In this verse we see the Lord giving us a vivid image of the only true habitation wherein believers are secure.
- "And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his Temple the ark of His covenant, and there were lightnings, and Voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and Great hail."
The ark of the Lord's Covenant with Israel is here in this Temple. It's not a lost ark, it's not somewhere out there or hidden away, or a literal gold plated box. That also was merely a 'type' or figure to signify something infinitely more glorious than a literal box laden with Gold. It signified God's Covenant with his people. The literal box on earth symbolized the fulfillment of the Covenant 'within Christ.' The word ark in scripture is translated from three different words which all signify the same thing.
The first word ark is [tebah], meaning a container or enclosure (such as a box) or boat. Two times this Ark is seen illustrated in scripture. It is a simple box or boat which God used to Save His people. It symbolizes the place of safety or security, and typified the Lord Jesus Christ, the only safe and secure place of the Child of God. We first see the Ark mentioned in regards to Noah, who found Grace in the sight of God, in Genesis chapter six.
This ark secured the chosen of God who in it were protected from the wrath of God upon a world which had grown continually wicked. The ark symbolized Christ, the messenger of the Covenant (malachi 3:1), and the only refuge in which the elect of God are safe from the raging sea or the judgment of God.
- "But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."
The second place we see this word used is when Moses' mother placed him in an ark in Exodus chapter two.
Here we see that ark made of bulrushes (a papyrus or leaf-like material) protected God's chosen Moses, from being killed by the wicked proclamation of Pharaoh. Again, this Ark symbolized Jesus Christ. The only ship or container of security which protects the Child of God.
- "And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
- And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink."
The ark of the covenant or testimony is a different word ark [arown] but means the exact same thing, a container or enclosure (such as a box). Moreover, it is made 'explicitly' clear from God's use of the same Greek word for ark of the Covenant as for the ark Noah built, that the Old Testament words for ark are interchangeable. For example:
1st Peter 3:20
- "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,"
This Greek word for Noah's Ark is [kibotos] meaning a box. And God, speaking about the Ark of the Covenant, inspired used the exact same word.
- "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
- "Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;"
Here this ark of the Covenant or Testament is the exact same word Ark [kibotos], which is Noah's boat, illustrating that these Arks are synonymous. They all are a representation of Jesus Christ. The only refuge and security for the Child of God is the covenant in Christ. As the Ark of the Covenant held the two tables of God's law, His Word, so from within Christ is the Law, the Word of God. The only true Holy Place is not a literal box, but through the flesh of Christ.
- "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."
As Christ is our Covenant tabernacle, and his flesh the veil through which we enter the Holy place, so He is the ark of the testimony, and our ship which keeps us safe upon the raging sea. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Ark which can save us, secure us, protect us in time of trial, and He is the true Covenant ark.
- "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
- By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;"
By faith noah entered into the Ark to the saving of his house. For that Ark illustrated Christ, the only Ark of Salvation. There was one Ark, one way of salvation for Noah and His house, and one way of Salvation today. The world that was then, was drowned under God's wrath, except for that remnant of God's chosen people secured in the Covenant ark.
- "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."
There was one Ark to save God's people, and there is one Saviour. He is the testimony of the Covenant in whom all who will be saved, must be Saved.
- "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
So when Revelation chapter eleven says there was seen in the temple the Ark of His Covenant, it is imagery illustrating this is the security and safety of God's people. Not a box laden with gold, but the body of Christ, in which is the Mercy seat, the Rod, and the Word. This is what this imagery is signifying.
- "I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
- I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God."
The sign of lightning signifies God's judgment[41a] Lightning, and indeed all forms of fire (coals, brimstone, etc.) signify God's judgments. The voices heard are the voices of the triune God. The father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The thundering symbolizes God's Word. God's Word thunders as it is a word of judgment (Psalms 77:18, Isaiah 29:6) upon man.
The earthquakes again are God's judgments illustrating a great shaking or trembling in the foundations (Isaiah 24:18, 29:6, Ezekiel 38:19, Joel 3:16). We saw in verse thirteen of this chapter when the city fell, God says there was a great earthquake. This symbolized this was God's judgment upon the wicked city Jerusalem which had become spiritually as Sodom, Egypt and Babylon, all significations of the wickedness of Satan's kingdom. Again, we read that the instant Christ died on the cross, there was a great earthquake, symbolizing there was judgment upon the city (Matthew 27:54) of God. A great shaking of the foundations as Israel fell with a great thud, and was no longer the 'representation' of Covenant Israel.
- "hast thou an arm like God and canst thou Thunder with a voice like him?
The illustration of great hail also is to illustrate judgment of God (Psalms 18:13, 78:47, Isaiah 28:2, 28:17). There are vivid demonstrations of this in the judgments of great hail God brought upon Egypt (Exodus 9:18) because they persecuted the Children of God. And so we see God is illustrating by the language of his Temple being opened, and the Covenant seen, and His judgment, that it is a two-fold message. By the Covenant seen, the believers under this oath or promise of the Covenant have no need to fear God's wrath at this time. They are secure as the Ark of the testimony. But we also see that the opening of the Temple brings judgments lightnings, voices, thunderings, shaking, and great hail for those who are not under the Covenant promise. We see in these verses symbology of reward for the righteous, and yet severe judgment for the wicked.
The Overview of verse nineteen is that when the last trumpet of God sounds, it is the end of the world, the end of the age, and the true temple of God is revealed in heaven. All see the true house of the Lord and they know the truth that only those secured in the Ark of His Testament or Covenant is safe. Here is the patience of the saints, here is what those under the promise have waited for, signified by the ark of His testament. But just as there is reward for the patient, with His coming there is also lightnings, voices, thunderings, earthquake, and great hail all signifying it is the time of judgment for those who are not under the protection signified in the ark of the Covenant in the temple.
ConclusionThe eleventh chapter of Revelation is a summary of the events which occur between Christ's first coming, and his second. In that sense it is much like Revelation chapters twelve, or Revelation chapter twenty. But this chapter gives us an overview of the work he has given His Witnesses by the power of the Spirit, through the Word of God, to build again His Holy Temple. Though we read of the beast in the book of Daniel, this chapter is the first time the Beast is introduced in the book of Revelation. It signifies the Kingdom of Satan going forth as a roaring lion, a beast of the earth which devours the sheep.
Comparing scripture with scripture, these are the things which I believe that Revelation chapter eleven are illustrating to God's people. Granted, this is a chapter which is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. And I believe that the interpretation of it 'must be' prescribed by the Word of God, and not by man's fanciful ideas of politics, geographical nations, or world governments. God is painting pictures of His Holy nation, the Church, not an unholy nation in the middle east. We see here illustrated New Covenant Israel, which is a representation of the true seed of Israel which are all those in Christ. This chapter paints a picture depicting the election opposed by all unsaved people (which are spoken of as the Gentiles), who were not elected and born of God as the spiritual Jews.
The candlesticks, witnesses, thunders, holy place, temple, fire breathing prophets, etc., are all prescribed by God, and thus must be defined by God. Never by the private interpretations of men. We all need to study these things thoughtfully, and go over them carefully, comparing God's Word with God's Word to come to truth. That way we know our interpretations are Biblically validated. When we get interpretations from men who do not provide scriptural validation, then we have a private or personal interpretation.
God's Word will not return void, it will always be fulfilled just as God intended, not as man or political agenda wants it to be. The promises and warnings of the scripture remain immutable until they are fulfilled.
- "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
- But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
Not one jot nor title shall fail from the Word of God. It is settled in heaven, and will be fulfilled. Thus we pray that the Lord who is Gracious above all, will make us all elders, and give us all wisdom in understanding. May He give us patience, and the nobility or virtue to 'receive' what He has prescribed for our learning in His Word. May God grant His humble servants the ability to accept what is written without distortion, or the rationalizing of it away because of the will of man. To God alone be the Glory.
- "Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
- For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
- Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
- They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants."
1. Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 21:2. 
1a. Genesis 40:8; 41:16 - Interpretations are not in us, they belong to God. [1a]
2. Acts 17:11 - The example being those saints in Berea who were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with an open mind and searched the scriptures daily to see if all those things told them were true. 
3. 2nd Timothy 2:19, See also Revelations 11:4; the witnesses standing before the God of the earth, or Revelation 11:11 where after three days and an half God says the Spirit of life from God entered into the two witnesses and they 'stood' upon their feet. In all cases the same word [histemi] and illustrates not a literal standing, but a spiritual standing. 
3a. Job 21:9, Psalms 89:32 [3a]
3b. Revelation 1:15 - The man whose appearance is like brass symbolizes aspects of Christ. [3b]
4. (ephesians 2:19-22) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. 
5. Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 
6. 2nd Chronicles 23:6 None but the priests, and they that minister of the Levites were Holy, the rest had to stay outside in the court. New Testament saints are the kings and priests unto God. -1st Peter 2:4-5. 
7. Parallels passages such as Psalms 79:1; 99:1; Isaiah 63:18, the heathen are those who are not God's Children who come into God's congregation to defile it. 
8. Romans 8:16-17; 15:8, Galatians 3:16 - Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 
9. Exodus 4:22, Numbers 24:8, Isaiah 44:3, Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:15, Hebrews 11:1 - Christ is Israel. 
10. Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130; Isaiah 8:20; 2nd Peter 1:19. 
11. Psalms 57:4; 64:3, Proverbs 12:18. 
12. Revelation 17:17 (until all this judgment which God has predetermined, should be fulfilled). 
13. Matthew 13:21. 
14. Matthew 5:15; Luke 14:34. 
15. John 1:45; Acts 13:15 - God spoke of the old testament scriptures as 'the law and the prophets.' 
16. Matthew 11:14; 17:12, Luke 1:17, John 1:21. 
17. The study on the significance of numbers in scripture gives detailed evidence of number symbolism (http://members.aol.com/twarren13/numbers.html) 
18. Ezekiel 3:1, Revelation 10:9-11. The Word of God is a prophecy which is both sweet, and mournful for the believer. 
19. A divided Church made up of two groups, old and new, or of Jews and Gentiles is unacceptable Biblically. God declares the gentiles are grafted 'into' the Covenant tree of Israel and are become one body - Ephesians 2:6; 2:11-16. 
19a. 2nd Timothy 2:15; 1st Cor. 3:13 - The scriptures it's own dictionary is based upon it defining itself by comparison with itself. [19a]
20. The Hebrew word [kachash] means to lie or to deceive. In this context it means that 'they have lied about the Lord, and said, it is not Him, and no evil shall come upon them for this. i.e., the deceive themselves thinking the God of the Bible is not Him (the true God), and that there shall no evil come upon them for their false prophecy. 
20a. 2nd Kings 2:23-24; Isaiah 13:18. [20a]
21. 1st Thessalonians 5:14; 2nd Thessalonians 3:5; 2nd Timothy 2:24; James 5:7-8; 
22. Matthew 11:23; 16:19; 19:28, 1st Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4. 
23. Hosea 6:3, John 4:14-15, Revelation 21:6 - Whether used in the outward cleansing sense, or the inward sense of the necessity to preserve life. 
24. John 19:34, 1st John 5:6; 5:8 
25. Revelation 9:7-11; The king over this army of scorpions (signifying those of Satan) is in the Hebrew language Abaddon, and Apollyon in the greek, which means a destroyer. 
25a. Exodus 34:15-16; Leviticus 17:7, 20:6; Deuteronomy 31:16; Judges 2:17, 8:33; 1st Chronicles 5:35; 2nd Chronicles 21:13; Psalms 73:27; Ezekiel 6:9, 23:30; Hosea 9:1 [25a]
26. 2nd Thessalonians 2:10-12. 
27. Mark 6:14-18. In scripture, the head often 'symbolizes' authority (heads of israel, 7 heads of the beast, head of the body, etc.). Thus beheading signifies a removing of authority. 
28. In four chapters of Revelation the phrase 'great city' is used to illustrate Babylon (Revelation 14:8 16:19 17:18 18:10,16,18,19,21). It is used for Jerusalem in two chapters (Revelation 11:8; 21:10 ). 
29. Isaiah 30:1 - Israel trusting in egypt as being unfaithful to God. 
30. Though the Lord was crucified just outside (Hebrews 13:12) of the city (a spiritual illustration that He was not crucified in the true City), it is still considered part of the city or area of Jerusalem. Much like the illustration of the Holy Temple, and the court just outside. It is also considered part of the Holy Temple, even though it is not the true Temple. 
31. The Feast of tabernacles 1993 Tony warren http://members.aol.com/twarren11/taber.html 
32. Psalms 107:43, Proverbs 1:5-6, Jeremiah 9:12, Revelation 13:18 - The wise and understanding are all who have the anointing of the Holy Spirit of Christ. 
33. 2nd Kings 9:10; Jeremiah 14:16, illustrating none to bury them is no family, or no one who cares enough to mourn and bury them. 
34. 2nd samuel 8:2, 2nd Chronicles 26:8; 32:23. 
35. Daniel 12:2 - the prophecy that at the end knowledge shall increase and the wise would understand. 
36. 1st Corinthians 15:52, Matthew 24:31 - The last trump is the same as the trumpet of the rapture. 
36a. The inability to gainsay or resist scripture leads to annoyance and exasperation, which breeds anger or wrath. Matthew 5:22; John 7:23 Colossians 3:8; Revelation 12:17. [36a]
37. Exodus 16:36, 29:40; Leviticus 5:11, 6:20; Numbers 18:26, 28:5; Ezekiel 45:11, 45:14. 
38. Amos 7:7-9 of desolation. 
39. Revelation 21:12, 14; The number twelve spiritually points to the Congregation of God, as the 12 sons of Israel. See the study on the significance of numbers:
40. Matthew 25:34-40; Colossians 3:24; 2nd Peter 2:13; Revelation 21-22; 22:12. 
41. John 2:19; Ephesians 2:21-22; 2nd Thessalonians 2:4; 1st Corinthians 6:19. 
41a. 2nd Samuel 22:15, Psalms 18:14, 144:6, Zechariah 9:14, revelation 8:5). [41a]
42. Revelations chapters 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20.  42a. 2nd Chronicles 20:21; Psalms 29:2, 50:2, 96:9; Isaiah 33:17. [42a] 43. Matthew 25:1-13; At midnight there was a cry made that the bridegroom was coming and to go ye out to meet him. But some virgins were unprepared with oil, and tarried, and thus missed Him as the door was shut. 
Copyright ©1994 Tony Warren
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