Reading through Revelation – Chapter 11, Part 2, The Two Witnesses preach


Bamberg Apocalypse Folio 027v Two Prophets And Beast From Abyss

Bamberg Apocalypse, Folio 027v – The Two Prophets And The Beast From Abyss


Revelation 11:3-6

NASB

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.


Related passages

Exodus 7:19

19 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

1 Kings 17:1

Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of  the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Revelation 1:20

20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.


thoughts

Careful students of the book of Revelation will probably agree with Alford that chapter 11 “is undoubtedly one of the most difficult in the whole Apocalypse.” A comparison of many commentaries will reveal the widest kind of disagreement as to the meaning of this chapter. 

Dr. John Walvoord

Brethren, I regret having started this project. I see now that it’s  inappropriate for a woman, and someone with limited training. Also, differences in views on eschatology cause pain and dissension. Discussion is good but most of us are so invested in our views that that is nearly impossible, except among those who hold the same ones. Incorrect and imprecise terms or ones that wound – such as “heretical” or “from the pit of hell” – add to the confusion and pain. Today, I offer an exposition by John Gill. His words show that Revelation throws light upon the long history of the Church, not merely its consummation. After this, I will finish my project using works of art and literature.  
 

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

Waldensian motto: “Light Shines In Darkness”

Verse 3

And I will give power unto my two witnesses,…. By whom are meant, not Enoch and Elias, as some of the ancient fathers thought, who, they supposed, would come before the appearance of Christ, and oppose antichrist, and be slain by him, which sense the Papists greedily catch at; nor are the Scriptures, the two Testaments, Old and New, designed, though their name and number agree, and also their office, which is to testify of Christ; but then to be clothed in sackcloth, to be killed, and rise again, and ascend to heaven, are things that cannot so well be accommodated to them: but these witnesses intend the ministers of the Gospel and churches of Christ, who have bore testimony for Christ, and against antichrist, ever since he appeared in the world; and particularly the churches and ministers in Piedmont [Waldensian] bid fair for this character; who were upon the spot when antichrist arose, always bore their protest against him, and were ever independent of the church of Rome, and subsisted in the midst of the darkness of the apostasy; and suffered much, and very great persecutions, from the Papists; and have stood their ground, and continue to this day; and have been like olive trees and candlesticks, imparting oil and light to others. Though they ought not to be considered exclusive of other ministers and churches, who also have bore, and still do bear a witness for Christ, and against the idolatries of the church of Rome: no two individual persons can be meant, since these witnesses were to prophesy 1260 days, that is, so many years, but a succession of ministers and churches; and these are called two, both on account of the fewness of them, and because the testimony of two is sufficient to confirm any matter; and it may be in allusion to the various instances of two eminent persons being raised up at certain periods of time, as Moses and Aaron, at the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt; Caleb and Joshua, at their entrance into Canaan; Elijah and Elisha in the idolatrous times of Ahab; and Joshua and Zerubbabel at the rebuilding and finishing of the second temple. Now the Angel, and who is Christ, here promises that he will give something to these witnesses: some supply the words, ‘I will give it’; that is, the holy city, or the church, to them, to be taken care of and defended; others, ‘I will give’ them a mouth and wisdom, which their adversaries shall not be able to resist, according to the promise in Luke 21:15. We supply the words, ‘I will give power’; that is, authority to preach the Gospel, and strength to profess it, and to continue to bear a testimony to it, signified by prophesying; see 1 Corinthians 14:1.”


Reading through Revelation – Chapter 11, Part 1, John is commanded to measure the Temple, altar, and those who worship there



Revelation 11:1-2

NASB

1 Then there was given me a [a]measuring rod like a staff;  [b]and  someone said, “Get up and measure the [c]temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. [d]Leave out the court which is outside the [e]temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.

Footnotes

[a] Lit. reed 

[b] Lit. saying

[c] Or sanctuary

[d] Lit. throw out

[e] Or sanctuary


A Little Greek

In Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, Robertson explains that the Greek in verse 2,

“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations”

means to leave without, literally, to cast without. “In this outer court,” he says, “was a house of prayer for the Gentiles (Mark 11:17), but now John is to cast it out and leave to its fate (given to the Gentiles in another sense) to be profaned by them. They shall tread under foot . . . trample with contempt as in Luke 21:24.”


thoughts
Obviously all these interpretations can’t be completely correct since they’re contradictory, but I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful. Once again, forgive me for not keeping up with reading your blogs. I hope to get back to  doing this shortly!

 


Related Passage

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

14 Do not be [j]bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with [k]Belial, or [l]what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 “And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.

Footnotes

[j] Lit. unequally yoked

[k] Gr. Beliar

[l] Lit. what part has a believer with an unbeliever


Historicists

§

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

“. . . by ‘the temple of God’ is here meant the church, of which the temple was a type; and so particular congregated churches are called temples, 1 Corinthians 3:16. Solomon, a man of peace, was the builder of the one, and Christ, the Prince of peace, the builder of the other. . .

§

Horae Apocalypticae by E. B. Elliott

Chapter VI. Progress and Ecclesiastical Establishment of the Reformation — § 2. The Ecclesiastical Constitution and Establishment of the Reformed Churches, and Separation from the Church of Rome.

Elliott is insightful but somewhat difficult to read. His explanations with supporting arguments accumulate over many chapters. In chapters 10 and 11, he sees John as representative of the Reformers. In chapter 10, the Bible is given back to them; in chapter 11, a measuring rod, or reed, is given to them do the work of reform with authority derived from those in secular power. Importantly, he condemns the Church of Rome as schismatic and therefore excluded from the true Church as “the outer court.”

§

The Final Prophecy of Jesus by Oral Edmond Collins

“To measure” in our text is to indicate the true dimensions in the abstract sense of determining the true people of God.


a Dispensationalist

Dr. John F. Walvoord

“The act of measuring seems to signify that the area belongs to God in some special way. It is an evaluation of His property. . . The Temple here is apparently that which will be in existence during the great tribulation. ”

An amillennialist

More than Conquerors by Dr. William Hendriksen

“Why this measuring? What does it mean?” Dr. Hendriksen believed that the sanctuary represents “the true children of God” who are by definition indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and who offer on His altar the incense of prayer. Measuring the sanctuary represents setting apart the holy from the profane for the purpose of protection from all harm while judgments are falling upon the wicked, persecuting world. We suffer but never perish. Hendriksen also states that: “The sanctuary is accepted while the court is rejected” for the court represents mere nominal Christians.