Revelation 11: The Temple and Two Witnesses
On this page, jump to: Other Links:
I’ve excerpted Revelation 11 below without verses as it was originally. If you would like to read it with verse numbers and inline Hebrew definitions, read it at Blue Letter Bible.
In the sequence of chapters in Revelation, this falls in the middle and in the content this falls in between the depiction of the sixth trumpet, which is the second woe, and the seventh trumpet, which is the third woe. Revelation 8:13
The first thing we realize is that there will be a physical, measurable, temporal temple which will not have an outer court. We know this because John is told to measure the temple, the altar, and those who worship within and only physical spacial things can be measured. The outer court should not be measured because it's given to the Gentiles. In the second temple, this was the larger courtyard surrounding the inner court and the temple where Gentiles could go but no further into the inner court on pain of death, only Jews were allowed into the inner court.
One view is that this statement is meant to explain that this particular temple has no outer court like the previous did and the Gentiles control the property where it would have stood. This has led to speculation of some kind of deal over the Temple Mount to build the third temple while leaving the Dome of the Rock in place as-is. This is how I had read it previous, but my thoughts on this have changed.
Another view of this being left out from the measuring is because it has nothing to do with the Jews worshipping at the temple. We don't know what the measurement was to be used for, but the fact that it's explitily stated that the outer court should not be part of the measurement of the temple of God, the altar, and the worshippers would seem to be clarifying the focus of this vision on the Jews and not on the Gentiles. That John is told not to measure the outer court “which is without the temple” would seem to imply it is there, yet should not be measured.
Jerusalem Tread Under Foot
We are then told that the holy city will be tread under foot for 42 months. This treading under foot of Jerusalem is also described in Luke 21:20-24, which speaks of the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Luke's account, unlike Matthew and Mark's accounts, diverges in the Olivet Discourse to provide the same warning to flee Jerusalem that is given to those who see the abomination of desolation in the midst of the 70th week of Daniel.
Given the man of sin after the abomination of desolation is going to be given power for 42 months (Revelation 13:5), the saints will be given over to the beast for 3½ years (Daniel 7:25), and the power of the holy people will be scattered for 3½ years (Daniel 12:5-11), I think it's safe to say that the time the holy city is considered to be tread under foot by the Gentiles will be for the 42 month reign of the antichrist from the temple and Jerusalem.
In Romans 11, Israel and Gentiles are both symbolically branches of olive trees, it's just that the Israel are natural branches from the root that is Yeshua, the chosen people through which salvation would be born. The Gentiles are the wild branches from roots all around. It is possible for natural branches to be broken off the root in unbelief, and for wild branches to be grafted onto the root in faith. Since the root is the source of the nourishment of the tree, it follows that being broken off means they are no longer part of the tree and eventually death. Since Gentiles is a definition created from not being a Jew, or part of Israel, it would follow then that those broken off in unbelief are then considered to be Gentile. Using another analogy, it's as if a person standing in a room with a source of light were to suddenly have that light turned off, they would be standing in darkness. That state of darkness is due to a lack of light, darkness is defined by light just as Gentile is defined by lack of Israeli heritage.
The exception to this comes from the understanding that the just are defined by their faith and are of Abraham's seed, whether physically or not, if they have faith in God. Galatians 3:26-29 And so we see that being grafted onto the root, which is Christ, is a matter of faith and membership of His people, spiritual Israel, is a matter of being grafted onto that root in faith. And therefore removal from that root is removal from spiritual Israel and becoming a Gentile. Those who reject Christ and worship the beast during his 42 month reign will trample the holy city for that same time with the beast.
The Two Witnesses
God's two witnesses are said to prophesy for 1,260 days. In a 360-day year this is the same time frame as 42 months and 3½ years, however I don't believe these two times are connected. The main reasoning behind this is what comes later in the chapter when they are killed, which will be covered below.
These two are symbolized below, but they are physical people who will exist within space and time. We know they are given power to prophesy for 1,260 days, defining a temporal connection to their presense, but as we will see later, they are also spacially present in that people attempt to hurt them and are subsequently destroyed for trying. Therefore attempting to symbolize them in any other light other than that presented in scripture as physical men in time is fruitless in my opinion. There are symbols that better define them, but they are still 2 physically present men.
Two Olive Trees
7 lamps and 7 pipes
When speaking of Zerubbabel with his plumb who build the foundations and finishes his work, they will rejoice when they see him with those seven. The only mention previously of the seven is related to the golden candlestick with a bowl on it, seven lamps connected by seven pipes. These seven are described as “the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.”
2 Chronicles 16:9
So what are these candlesticks and these seven pipes connected to seven bowls with lamps on them? The same word candlestick from Revelation 11:4 is used when defining the Old Covenant foreshadowing the New Covenant.
These candlesticks in the tabernacle were the menorah.
In Revelation 1:20, the mystery of the seven candlesticks are revealed to be the seven churches. However, in Revelation there are two of these menorah being feed the oil from the olive trees to the pipes for the lamps. We are the light of the earth with Christ in us. So I believe these two witnesses being identified with the olive tree (clearly not wild, so of Israel) and the candlesticks (instruments of God’s light) connect them with God and Israel in these end times. They will be sent to Jerusalem to speak the Truth and judge and be hated for it.
Just as in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 where the oil is the fuel for the lamps and those without oil are shut out of the marriage, I believe this whole association of the olive trees providing the oil for which the lamps burn is all in agreement. Christ is the root of the fruitful olive tree and those who live by faith are the branches. The Holy Spirit is the oil produced from the tree that flows through and feeds all who are part of the tree. That oil is the source of the oil for the lamps that produce the light of God.
So too should those filled with the Holy Spirit not hide their light under a bushel, but rather live by the Spirit in Truth peacably with one another and shine as an example of the peace that passes all understanding that we have in resting in God, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Selflessly love God and selflessly love your neighbor as yourself.
And so these two olive trees and candlesticks are God's annointed that will be sent to speak the Truth during the time of great deception, given power by the Holy Spirit to be a light representing God in the darkening world.
“Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work herein is archived under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research and educational purposes only. Ref.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work herein is archived under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research and educational purposes only. Ref.