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Revelation 11:1-6
The Two Witnesses prophesy during the Church Age
By Brother Mike (9-23-20; 40 minutes)



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 .
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
3 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 .
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 .
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 . . .


INTRODUCTION    

In this study of Revelation 11:1-6, we will find that the reed like unto a rod that was given to the apostle John to measure the temple of God, and the altar of God, and them that worship therein is the Word of God, or the gospel, that was given unto the elect in the churches throughout the Church Age to reveal through its proclamation just who the temple of God, namely the elect, were as each of the elect became saved and submitted their lives to it. And we shall find that John was not to measure the court, which was outside the temple, for the court represents all the unsaved Christians in the churches, which were given over to themselves, also called the Gentiles, during the Great Tribulation of judgment from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011 when they were all led astray by the counterfeit Christ, the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, namely Satan as he was used of God to bring spiritual judgment upon all the Christian churches due to their sins.  

Now, it was during the Church Age from Pentecost of 33 AD to Pentecost of 1988 that God gave His two witnesses, namely His Church, power to prophesy the gospel. This is the period spoken of as 1,260 days. During this time, the Church, also called the two olive trees and the two candlesticks, brought the gospel while mourning for the sins of the unsaved, and this is why they are said to have prophesied in sackcloth, for sackcloth symbolizes mourning. The Church did not actually wear sackcloth as they prophesied, but it is said that they were clothed in sackcloth to symbolize their mourning for the sins of the unsaved as they prophesied the gospel to them.   

Interestingly, we are then told that if any man will hurt [the two witnesses (the Church)], fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. This does not mean that if someone will hurt the Church that physical fire would come out from the Church and physically devour that person then and there, but it means that the fire of the Word of God, or gospel, would be prophesied out from the Church to devour their enemies who have rejected the gospel and so were condemned to eternal death to be cast into the Lake of Fire on the Last Day. This is also what is meant by if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. That is, just as he rejected and hurt the Church, he will be rejected and killed on the Last Day. 

Finally, we are told that the two witnesses (the Church) 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 . This does not mean that the Church could literally bring about these various physical judgments on the earth during the Church Age, but it does mean that the Church could as often as they will bring about real judgment upon the earth through the prophesying of the gospel, the Word of God, for all they who rejected the gospel, the Word of God, were judged unto eternal damnation. So, just as the lack of rain causes death, and turning the waters into blood causes death, and the smiting with all plagues on the earth causes death, so also did the prophesying of the gospel, the Word of God, bring about death to all those who rejected it. Hence, we see the power of the prophesying of the two witnesses to have brought about death to many during the Church Age from May 21 of 33 AD to May 21, 1988 when the Church Age ended. Everyone who rejected the gospel have already been judged to eternal death to be manifested on the Last Day. 


Revelation 11:1:
  

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 rulership, 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 rulership. But if a rod is an instrument of rulership, 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 can now be read,  

1 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 .   

But now, 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: first, we read in 1Corinthians 3:16,  

16 Know ye not that ye [plural] are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you

And, again, 2Corinthians 3:17 says,  

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 .  

And, finally, 2Corinthians 6:16 states, 

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 (represented by John) 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 had risen to salvation by the resurrection of their soul by spiritual rebirth (being born again), they had no commission to bring the gospel. But once each of God's elect had actually been saved (been risen) at the command of God, they were then commissioned to bring the gospel, which is to measure the temple of God, and this measuring of the temple (the revealing of God's elect through each of the elect's individual salvations) took place throughout the Church Age from Pentecost in 33 AD to Pentecost on May 21, 1988. Thus, Revelation 11 starts off with the saved elect whom the apostle John symbolizes rising to salvation to bring the gospel at the beginning of the Church Age to save the unsaved elect (rising to measure the temple of God) throughout the Church Age.  


Revelation 11:2:
  

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, and 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 so-called Christians who are in the churches and denominations around the world during the time period when the holy city is tread under foot by the Gentiles, or nations.   

But now, 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) was 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 was 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.    

Now 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 trod down; that is, they would be overcome or defeated. Based upon the Biblical Timeline of History , we now know that this period of spiritual Great Tribulation began at the end of the Church Age on May 21, 1988, and continued until 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 in obedience to their Lord because all churches were given over to the power of Satan as Judgment against them because of their sins (see Why leave all churches? ).  


Revelation 11:3 and 4:   

3 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, and the olive tree represents the church or kingdom of God that both the saved Jews and saved Gentiles were made a part of. We can see this in Romans 11 where we read,   

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 from Pentecost of 33 AD to May 21, 1988 according to the Biblical Timeline of History . In other words, they are all those who rose 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, the eternal Church, who are all those who were commissioned by salvation to bring the gospel to the world during the Church Age.  

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. 


Revelation 11:5:  

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 were not 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, for God says of His Word in Jeremiah 23,

29   Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ?

And we read in Psalm 104,  

4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers [God' s people] a flaming fire . . .  

Thus, our verse, Revelation 11:5, is not teaching that physical fire comes out of the mouth of God's people to devour their enemies, but it is teaching that the Word of God which comes out of their mouths when they declare God's Word 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. Listen to a couple of the other verses which speak of God's word as a fire that devours. We read, 

Isa 30:27 Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire . . .  

And listen to what Yahweh says to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 5:14,  

14 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

And, again, we read,  

Jer 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay .  

And there are other verses as well, so let's leave it to say that all those who desired to or did harm or hurt God's people, the elect, during their prophesying throughout the Church Age were judged by the very words of God that came out of the elects' mouths, and they will all be cast into the Lake of Fire on the Last Day. Indeed, all those who have ever wanted to or did harm the elect will be destroyed on the Last Day unless, of course, they had been eternally saved in Jesus Christ by May 21, 2011 when the door to heaven was shut forever.  


Revelation 11:6:  

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 physical 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 to those who rejected the Word. 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 brought to all those who rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ during the Church Age.   

Notice also 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). But 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 to bring judgment, which is the same as emphasizing the power of the entire Word of God to bring judgment. Indeed, whenever the Word of God was read or heard during the Church Age, it brought salvation to those who were chosen to believe, but damnation to everyone else, for they would not believe by their nature. 


CONCLUSION  

In this study of Revelation 11:1-6, we have learned that the reed like unto a rod that was given to the apostle John to measure the temple of God, and the altar of God, and them that worship therein is the Word of God, or the gospel, that was given unto the elect (typified by John) in the churches throughout the Church Age to measure or reveal through its proclamation just who the temple of God, namely the elect, were as each of the elect became saved and submitted their lives to it. And we found that the elect (typified by John) were not to measure or reveal the court, which was outside the temple, for the court represented all the unsaved Christians in the churches, which were given over to themselves, also called the Gentiles, during the Great Tribulation of judgment from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011 when they were all led astray by the counterfeit Christ, the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, namely Satan as he was used of God to use the nations or Gentiles of false Christians in all the churches to bring spiritual judgment upon all the Christian churches due to their sins, and so tread underfoot the holy city, Jerusalem by false prophets, gospels and teachings for a period of 42 months, which is symbolic of the Great Tribulation from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 20211. 

Now, we learned that it was during the Church Age from Pentecost of 33 AD to Pentecost of 1988 that God gave His two witnesses, namely His Church, power to prophesy the gospel. This is the period symbolized by the 1,260 days. During this time, the Church, also called the two olive trees and the two candlesticks, brought the gospel while mourning for the sins of the unsaved, and this is why they are said to have prophesied in sackcloth, for sackcloth symbolizes mourning. The Church did not actually wear sackcloth as they prophesied, but it is said that they were clothed in sackcloth to symbolize their mourning for the sins of the unsaved as they prophesied the gospel to them. 

Interestingly, we were then told that if any man will hurt [the two witnesses (the Church)], fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. This did not mean that if someone hurt or had desired to hurt the Church that physical fire came out from the Church and physically devour that person then and there, but it meant that the fire of the Word of God, or gospel, would be prophesied out from the Church to devour their enemies who have rejected the gospel and so were condemned to eternal death to be cast into the Lake of Fire on the Last Day. This is also what was meant by if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. That is, just as a man rejected or hurt the Church, that man will be rejected and killed on the Last Day.   

And, finally, we are told that the two witnesses (the Church) had power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and had power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will . This does not mean that the Church could literally bring about these various physical judgments on the earth during the Church Age, but it does mean that the Church could as often as they will bring about real judgment upon the earth through the prophesying of the gospel, the Word of God, for all they who rejected the gospel, the Word of God, were judged unto eternal damnation. So, just as the lack of rain causes death, and turning the waters into blood causes death, and the smiting with all plagues on the earth causes death, so also did the prophesying of the gospel, the Word of God, bring about death to all those who rejected it. Hence, we see the power of the prophesying of the two witnesses to have brought about death to many during the Church Age from May 21 of 33 AD to May 21, 1988. Everyone who rejected the gospel during the Church Age were then judged to eternal death to be manifested on the Last Day.  


Now may the LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

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