Two witnesses – Part 1

Diving DeepWe are about to delve deep into what many think is the theme of Revelation; Apocalyptic times; the detail of previous chapters in Revelation. In a sense, this is correct. In another sense, this is where well-meaning commentators and messages on End Time go array. Where there is little or no supporting scripture, insights will be shared, but where other scripture offers supporting specifics, the facts will be shared. You decide. Better yet… let the reader double-down and do his or her own research of history repeated and scripture eschatology.

Quick Review:

In the first thirteen verses of Revelation 11 we have the remainder of the parenthesis which began in chapter 10. When reading this portion the careful student of the Word of God will be reminded of the passages relating the measuring of Jerusalem in Zechariah 2 and the measuring of the millennial temple in Ezekiel 40. We also read of the measuring of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, in Revelation 21.

The vision in the opening verses of chapter 11 clearly involves Jerusalem and the future temple in the last days. Throughout the Bible when God speaks of measuring anything the thought is implied that He is marking it off as that which belongs to Him. When one purchases a piece of ground or is about to take possession of a property, it is a very common thing to measure it and mark off its border lines. Many may live in the same neighborhood but occupation is defined by surveyor stakes.

In Zechariah 2 we are told that the prophet beheld a man with a measuring line in his hand, to whom he put the question, “Whither goest thou?” The answer was, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof” (Zechariah 2:2). And in the fourth verse the angel who is interpreting the visions for Zechariah said to another angel, “Run, speak to this young man (Zachariah), saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her” (4-5).

The Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:1-13)

The vision in the opening verses of chapter 11 clearly involves Jerusalem and the future temple in the last days. I think we may say that throughout the Bible when God speaks of measuring anything the thought is implied that He is marking it off as that which belongs to Him. When one purchases a piece of ground or is about to take possession of a property, it is a very common thing to measure it and mark off its border lines. Many may live in the same neighborhood but occupation is defined by surveyor stakes.

In Zechariah 2 we are told that the prophet beheld a man with a measuring line in his hand, to whom he put the question, “Whither goest thou?” The answer was, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof” (Zechariah 2:2). And in the fourth verse the angel who is interpreting the visions for Zechariah said to another angel, “Run, speak to this young man (Zachariah), saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her” (4-5).

Chapter 11 begins with John being put into action. Up to now, he recorded what he saw or was told. Now he is told to “measure the temple of God, the courtyard, alter and very interestingly, measure them that worship there. He is restricted to the Temple area and those within it. He is also told NOT TO MEASURE the outer courtyard “as this is given to the Gentiles” (nations outside Israel). However, once again we are not given detail as to what it means to “leave this outer courtyard” unmeasured. The theme is obvious…”measure(d).” Thayer (G3356) offers three possibilities as to the meaning of measure:

  1. Measure a space or distance
  2. Metaphorically to judge according to some standard or rule.
  3. Mete out; dole out some form of punishment.

JIV NOTE: In Zachariah the man is measuring Jerusalem and in Revelation he is measuring for the Temple of God.

The one common denominator is measuring of something as it is to be during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ; i.e. Jerusalem (with many towns) or the Temple of God and worship. This being so, then why is John told to measure “them that worship there?” Commentaries offer many ideas with some worth consideration in a serious bible study. You be the judge as to which is a plausible reality and to which is spiritualizing.

Robinson’s Word Pictures:

To quote him: “Perhaps measuring as applied to “them that worship therein” (tous proskunountas en autōi) implies a word like numbering, with an allusion to the 144,000 in chapter 7 (a zeugma).

The Summarized Bible avoids discussing this curiosity.

Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible:

He considers the Temple as a figure of speech meaning the Church. He writes…to take a correct estimate of their character; of what they professed; of the reality of their piety; of their lives, and of the general state of the church considered as professedly worshipping God. This obviously is a post Tribulation view of scripture, OR PERHAPS,

(*JIV) a measure of those who come to worship at the Feast of Tabernacles during the Millennial Reign. What is in their heart; a feeling of obligation or one of desire to worship Christ? Barnes is not specific enough to conclude which fits his intended conclusion. *Jim’s Introspective View

Adam Clark’s Commentary on the Bible:

He suggests without much insight or commentary that this must be a time when John the Revelator was still alive and the Temple had not yet been destroyed. There arise many problems with this position as history reports the Romans utterly destroying the Temple in 70-72 A.D. Simply put, this means John’s vision in spirit to heaven must of occurred before 70 A.D.Patmos island

(JIV) John wrote the Book of Revelation while on the Island of Patmos; (banned there by religious authorities). He would have been a contemporary of the Apostle Paul and Paul would still not have met his fate under the rule of Nero around 65 A.D. This doesn’t fit with the fact that after this vision of End Time, John ends scripture with warnings to not take from or add to these revelations. The timing of this would be in the early 90’s A.D.

John Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible:

He suggests a similar theory as does Albert Barnes (above). However he adds: “it lays down the plan of a Gospel church, which should be gathered out of the world, and separated from it; it shows who are the proper materials of it, what officers are to be constituted in it, and what ordinances are to be administered,…” John Gill is spiritualizing this portion of Revelation 11 as if this is futuristic. It is set as an example after which the Gospel Church is to pattern itself.

(JIV) He does not allow for the Rapture of the Church. He determines the church is to separate itself from the world and somehow the Tribulation and future Millennial Reign must simply fall into a sequential place IF at all!

There are so many other ways to look at these End Time events. One can look up the views of John Wesley, John Calvin, Billie Graham, Dr. John F. Walvoord, John Macarthur… just to mention a few.

WARNING: Be well aware that these men will express opinions that agree with their doctrinal and denominational positions. Read and study this for yourself using these references as points of interest and knowledge gained. Ask yourself, do their thoughts fit with other scripture and your own personal studies?

Revelation 1:3… [ERV]

“Great blessings belong to the person who reads the words of this message from God and to those who hear this message and do what is written in it. There is not much time left.”

 

Rev Dr. James W. StarkDr. jStark
February, 2016

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