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Revelation 11:1-13
By Brother Mike

Verse 1: 

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 

A "reed" is a flimsy and unstable tool for measurement, but a "rod" is a stable and sure tool. So in that this reed is like unto a rod assures us that the measuring done by this tool of measurement will be absolutely accurate and sure. As we shall see, this is emphasizing the absolute certainty that the Word of God will save all of God's elect.

But what does this reed like unto a rod represent? A rod in the Bible symbolizes ruler ship, power or authority as can be seen in a verse like Revelation 12:5:

Re 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne .  

Notice it is a rod by which the man child [Jesus Christ] was to rule. And, again, it states in Psalm 2: 

Ps 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel

Clearly, a rod has to do with ruling. So it could be concluded at this point that a reed like unto a rod is an instrument of ruler ship. But if a rod is an instrument of ruler ship, so is the Word of God as revealed in Revelation 19: 

Re 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God

The sharp sword which comes out of his [Christ's] mouth is the Word of God (Rev. 1:16), and it is this by which he should smite the nations, which is the same as ruling them with a rod of iron. What this tells us is that the reed like unto a rod is the Word of God, and verse 1 of Revelation 11 might now be read, 

And there was given me [the Word of God]: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein

Before going any further, it is important to define the temple of God. What is it? The answer is found in Ephesians 2: 

Eph. 2:19-21 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 groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord

From these verses, it becomes evident that the temple of God is the body of believers themselves. This is made clear in the following verses as well: 

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye [plural] are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 

1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye [plural] are

2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye [plural] are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

So now that we know that a reed like unto a rod is the Word of God, and the temple of God is the body of believers, what does it mean that the apostle John was given the Word of God to measure the temple of God? First of all, it must be recognized that John as one of the twelve apostles is a picture of the New Testament believers. Next, it must be realized that to measure something is the same as revealing what that something is. So that John uses the Word of God to measure the temple of God means that all the New Testament believers (represented by John) reveal (measure) who the true believers are by the Word of God, which is the instrument of measurement. Can you see that this has to do with the sending forth of the gospel? Yes, to measure the temple of God is the same as sending forth the gospel which saves and reveals who God's elect (the temple of God) are by saving them. So what this verse is teaching are God's people sending forth the gospel to save all of God's elect during the church age. 

But why are God's people as represented by John told to "rise" and measure the temple of God? This is because until one of God's elect rise to salvation by the resurrection of their soul by spiritual rebirth (being born again), they have no commission to bring the gospel. But once God's elect are actually saved (risen) at the command of God, they are then commissioned to bring the gospel, which is to measure the temple of God. 


Verse 2: 

2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. 

In this verse it is discovered that not all locations near the temple are to be measured; the court which is without the temple is not to be measured because it is given to the gentiles (gentiles can be translated as nations). Since it was previously discovered that the temple is the body of believers in Jesus Christ, it is logical to conclude that the court outside of the temple refers to those other than the body of Christ, which the verse tells us is given unto the gentiles or nations. But these are not just any of the gentiles or nations, for although the court is outside of the temple; nevertheless, it is closely identified with the temple, so the nations or gentiles, who are of the court, spoken of here must be those people who are closely associated with the body of Christ (the temple), but who are not actually the body of Christ. These could only be all those who appear to have some sort of identification with Jesus Christ, but who are not actually saved. These would be all those who are unsaved, but who are in the churches and denominations in the world during the time period when the holy city is tread under foot for forty-two months. 

But why is it said of the court, leave out and measure it not? The reason, we are told, is because the court is given unto the Gentiles or Nations. This is telling us that God's salvation plan (the sending forth of the gospel) is not defined or measured by the amount of Gentiles or unsaved people there are who are associated with the temple or body of believers, but it is defined or measured by the amount of those who are a part of the temple of God, the actual body of Christ. This is why John is told to rise and measure the temple of God (the body of believers), but then is told to not measure the court of the gentiles or nations which are without. 

What does it mean that the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months? First of all, we must define the holy city. What is it? Anyone familiar with the Bible knows that the holy city refers to Jerusalem. But what does Jerusalem refer to? We read in Revelation 21, 

Re 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband

By this verse, the holy city, or New Jerusalem, can be defined as the body of Christ, which is the temple of God, for they are the ones who are being prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Therefore, this verse is teaching that there would come a time in the churches when God's people would be tread down; that is, they would be overcome or defeated. Based upon the biblical calendar, we now know that this period began on May 21, 1988 and ended on May 21, 2011 exactly 23 years later. This is the time period symbolized by the 42 months (3.5 years), and is known as the Great Tribulation when the true body of Christ were either cast out or departed out of the churches themselves because all churches were given over to the power of Satan as Judgment against them.


Verses 3 and 4
:

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 
4
These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 

Who are the two witnesses? Verse 4 says, " These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." But this then begs the question, who are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks? Revelation 1:20 states, 

Re 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

From this, we know that the candlestick is symbolic of the church. We also know that the number 2 is symbolic of the church (see Meaning of Bible Numbers). So it is apparent that the 2 candlesticks are symbolic of the church itself.

It can also be shown that the 2 olive trees represent the church as well. Once again, the number two represents the church (see Meaning of Bible Numbers), and the olive tree represents the church or kingdom of God that both the saved Jews and saved Gentiles are made a part of: 

Ro 11:17-18 And if some of the branches be broken off [the unsaved Jews] , and thou, being a wild olive tree [the saved Gentiles] , wert graffed in among them [among the saved Jews] , and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree [the church] ; boast not against the branches . . . 

Notice that both the Jews and Gentiles who are saved become a part of the same olive tree, i.e. the same church. So since the two witnesses are the 2 olive trees and the 2 candlesticks, and, as we have just seen, that the 2 olive trees and the 2 candlesticks are the church, the conclusion is that the 2 witnesses refers to the church, which are given power or authority to proclaim or witness the gospel throughout the church age. In other words, they are all those who rise to measure the temple of God as mentioned in verse 1. The 2 witnesses does not refer to just 2 people, but it refers to the entire body of Christ who are all those who have been commissioned by salvation to bring the gospel to the world. 

Now it is said that they shall prophesy (bring the gospel) for 1,260 days in sackcloth. This 1,260 days is symbolic of the entire period known as the church age from May 21 of 33 AD to May 21, 1988 (see the biblical calendar), and they are said to prophesy in sackcloth because sackcloth is a symbol of mourning, which God's people did for the sins of the unsaved as they brought the gospel to them. 


Verse 5
: 

5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 

As the 2 witnesses (God's people) prophesied the gospel during the church age, many people did not like it and would have or did hurt them. But they weren't able to do this without consequence. The Word of God which is prophesied by God's people is like a fire that devours all of their enemies. This is not teaching that literal fire comes out of the mouth of God's people, but it is teaching that the Word of God which comes out of their mouths is like a fire because it brings judgment against all those who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ; it condemns them to death unless, of course, they have come to salvation through the faith of Jesus Christ. 


Verse 6
: 

6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 

Does this verse mean that God's people who brought the gospel during the church age were able to literally shut heaven so that it would not rain, or have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth will plagues? Not at all! What this is simply teaching is that whenever, according to their own will, God's people prophesied the Word of God, it brought judgment as is typified in the shutting up of heaven that it not rain as in the days of Elijah (1Kings 17:1), or the turning of waters into blood by Moses (Exodus 7:20), or the smiting of the earth with all plagues as by Moses (Exodus, chapters 7-10). The Word of God is like a two-edged sword: one edge cuts to salvation while the other edge cuts to damnation. So every time the Word of God was brought by the 2 witnesses (God's people) during the church age, it would bring judgment. It is this power of the Word of God to bring judgment that is being taught by this verse, and the mentioning of literal plagues and fire are simply allusions to the powerful judgment that the Word of God brings

Notice that the fire from their mouths, the stopping of the rain, and the turning of waters into blood are all allusions to Elijah or Moses. The fire which devours brings to memory the fire that Elijah called down from heaven before the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1Kings 18) while the turning of waters into blood brings to memory when Moses actually turned the Egyptian waters into blood (Exodus 7:19). Why would God emphasize Elijah and Moses? I believe that this is to emphasize the power of judgment that the entire Word of God possesses. Elijah represents the prophets and Moses represents the law. So God is here emphasizing the power of the law and the prophets, which is the entire Word of God, to bring judgment. 


Verse 7
: 

7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them

The two witnesses (the church) prophesied and gave testimony to the gospel of Jesus Christ for 1955 years from May 21 of 33 AD until May 21, 1988 when the time came for God to bring judgment against all of the churches - " for the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God . . ." (2Peter 4:17) - by loosing the beast (Satan) from the bottomless pit in order that he make war against the church, and overcome them, and kill them. The way God did this was to remove Himself from all the churches (2Thes. 2:7), and permit the beast (Satan) to rule over them all as judgment against them. Through his false gospels and teachings, Satan deceived all the churches into believing that they were worshipping Christ when in actuality they were worshipping Satan, the false Christ who is also known as the Antichrist. Through his false teachings, Satan overcame and killed God's people. He didn't literally kill them, but he spiritually killed them in the sense that in the churches the truth was trampled to the ground. It was during this time that God's true people were commanded to come out of all the churches even as God Himself had removed Himself from all the churches, which resulted in the churches and denominations becoming completely dead. Satan was permitted to kill them all. 

It is important to realize that when God's people finished their testimony as described in this verse could not be referring to May 21, 2011. This is because it was not on May 21, 2011 when the beast ascends out of the bottomless pit, but it was on May 21, 1988 when this took place. In fact, on May 21, 2011 Satan was not coming up from the pit, but he was actually put down. We see a type of this in the 70 year tribulation of Judah. On the very last day of this tribulation, the king of Babylon was slain (Dan. 5:30). Likewise, on the very last day of the final tribulation on May 21, 2011, Satan was put down. So May 21, 2011 could not have been a time when Satan overcame and killed the people of God, but it had to have been on May 21, 1988 because this is when Satan ascended from the bottomless pit. 


Verse 8
:
 

8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Beginning on May 21, 1988 the beast (Satan) was set free to ascend out of the bottomless pit to bring judgment upon all the churches (see the biblical calendar). True believers in these churches were spiritually killed in the sense that they were silenced, ignored, looked down upon and in some cases thrown out of churches because their teachings were more and more in opposition to the teachings being propounded by the churches as a whole. So, for a period of time, God's true believers, though spiritually killed, were still in the churches while the beast (Satan) was bringing in his false gospels. This is what it means that their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city. The great city is Jerusalem, and Jerusalem in this verse refers to all the churches. It was in the churches where God's true people were spiritually killed. Their bodies are referred to as dead because they are no longer able to bring forth truth in the churches, so it is as if they are dead. 

Why is the great city, which refers to all the churches, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt? This is because that ever since May 21, 1988 when God left the churches and Satan began to rule them all, they became evil as Sodom and Egypt. Sodom was full of immorality and homosexuality, so to spiritually become as Sodom was to become wicked to the core. Egypt was a place of bondage for God's people, so to become as Egypt was to come under bondage. The churches, therefore, became a place of evil and a place under bondage. 


Verse 9
: 

9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves

First of all, there are four groupings: people, kindreds, tongues and nations. This places emphasis on the number 4, which carries the meaning of universality (see Meaning of Bible Numbers). So God is saying that this is all taking place universally; that is, worldwide. Yes, Satan's takeover of the churches on May 21, 1988 was a worldwide happening, and God's people were spiritually killed in every church around the world; that is, they were shunned, ignored, looked down upon, silenced, or even asked or forced to leave the church. But God's people were not physically killed, and this is why it could be said that their dead bodies were not put in graves; they are not physically dead. 

Now God's dead-bodied but still alive people are seen for 3.5 days. This is a symbolic period of time known as the Great Tribulation from May 21, 1988 when God's people began to be killed unto Judgment Day on May 21, 2011. It is then sometime after this Great Tribulation that the rapture takes place as can be realized in verses 11-12: " And after [it does not say, immediately after] three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them . . . And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them ." 


Verse 10
: 

10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 

Now because God's people were spiritually killed beginning on May 21, 1988; that is, they were no longer able to bring the true gospel through the churches, the people of the earth in a sense then rejoiced over them, and made merry. This is because with God's people having been silenced in the churches, the people that dwell upon the earth no longer had to listen to the things which they hated like that they were sinners who deserved death, and that the only way to be saved is through the atoning work of Jesus Christ by election, and all the other things which are a part of the true gospel. In other words, they no longer had to be tormented by God's people; they could now believe all their false gospels and teachings without being hindered by the truth. So they could now send gifts to one another, which means they could now share their false gospels without any hindrance while assuring one another that they were saved or at least on the right path to salvation even though they were not. 


Verse 11-12
: 

11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 

These verses are a description of the rapture which will take place on the last day. As declared, it will be after 3.5 days from when God's people were killed beginning on May 21, 1988 to the time of the rapture. Obviously, this cannot be a literal 3.5 days. It is a symbolic 3.5 days which refers to the time from when God's people were killed on May 21, 1988 to the very last day when the rapture takes place. On the last day the Spirit of life will raise up (resurrect) all of God's people into their new resurrected bodies (they will stand upon their feet), and as the people of the world see all this, great fear will come upon them. God's people at this time will hear a great voice from heaven saying, come up here. This is the same voice called the voice of the archangel mentioned in 1Thes. 4, 

1Th 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first : 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. 

And their enemies beheld them. This is saying that all the unsaved people in the churches and in the world will see God's people being raptured, which will be a tremendous judgment against them all, especially against all those in the churches who thought they were saved, but who are not. 


Verse 13
: 

13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. 

At the same time as the rapture on the last day of this world, there will be a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city will fall. The tenth part is 1 divided by 10, so the number 10 is being emphasized here. The number 10 refers to the completeness of whatever is in view (see Meaning of Bible Numbers). Since it is the city (Jerusalem) in view, which refers to all the churches and denominations in the world (the corporate church), this is teaching of the complete fall of the corporate church at the time of the rapture on the last day. As all the unsaved believers who are in the churches realize that they were not raptured but left behind, their complete fall will be made manifest. 

Next we are told that 7,000 are slain in the earthquake. This is a further explanation of the tenth part of the city falling. The number 7,000 is the same as 7 x 1000. The number 7 symbolizes perfection of whatever is in view, while the number 1000, being a factor of 10, symbolizes completeness of whatever is in view (see Meaning of Bible Numbers). Therefore, in that 7,000 people were slain is not teaching that just 7,000 literal people were slain, but it is teaching that the perfect completeness of people were slain, which in reality will be much more than just 7,000 because it refers to the sum total of all those who are associated with a church and claim a relationship with Christ, but who are not actually saved. According to the world almanac this would actually be closer to about 2 billion literal people. 

Finally, the verse says, " and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven." The remnant can be translated as the rest, so it states, " and the rest were affrighted . . . The rest refers to all those who are outside of the churches and who do not claim a relationship with Jesus Christ. So on the last day at the time of the rapture when all those who do not claim Jesus Christ see all this happen, they will fear and give glory to God even though they are not going to be saved; it is too late.

 

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