The Weekend Word
The Two Witnesses = the Church in Vocation / Ministry
Matthew 16:24-26 could be the theme of Rev 11:1-14 as we will see the church move into action to fulfill Rev 10:9-11 (eating the scroll).
Romans 12 is the vocation of the church – to be living sacrifices.
1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there,
- So in 10:9-11 we saw the commission of John to preach. Now we will see his commission to measure
- What is the church to expect when it is operating in an unrepentant world? Remember 9:20-21 as a description of John’s time. What to expect as the world endures God’s trumpets of judgment. Will the church go under? Shall we despair?
- John will declare here that there will remain and will remain forever a holy church on earth – there will be a temple. Look at the language John uses – he does not say there will be a fortress, a castle, a bunker – no he says the temple and the altar.
- The idea is this is where God dwells, exists in the midst of his people. This is what Ezekiel 48 describes – the Lord is there. Ezekiel 40-48 is the vision of the new city and the new temple of God.
- Ezekiel was told to measure and now we see John doing the same. This is the measuring of the church – not a physical building or grounds – but the temple where God is – in his people (if we were studying Ezekiel I would make the same case for his measuring of the temple. God is consistent as he tells the same story.
- “and those who worship there.” What God measures he claims as his own and he takes under his protection. These are those who are sealed on the earth between the 2 advents. We today like those before us and those generations to come, are those people, measured, sealed and living under God’s protection.
2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.
- This is very important – if God measures what is his, what does it mean when he does not measure something? Look what he says – “leave it out”.
- God marks the boundaries of what is his – this far and no farther.
- Everyone within the boundary line will be untouchable and protected – the same as we saw in chapter 7. These boundary lines are like separating the sheep and the goats – the 144,000 are the sheep and the unbelievers are the goats. Those not sealed are described as being in the outer court.
- The “outer courts” are reserved for the pagan nations – they do not have access to the sanctuary. There is no middle ground – either one is inside the Temple worshipping the True God or one is outside. Either one believes or one does not believe. Period!
- The unbelievers worship other Gods and as we will see latter in the book, they worship not the Lamb, but the Beast. The unbeliever has the Beast’s mark and they along with the Beast are headed for destruction – now think of your nice gray haired unbelieving grandmother – Rev 14 & 19.
- The unbelievers are called the nations and they show their disdain and rebellion by trampling the holy city, the church for 42 months, also called 1,260 days and 3 ½ years (these all refer to the same time period expressed different ways.)
- The holy city is the church and the trampling is for a limited but definite time period – definite as described by time but limited as Jesus has said the time would be cut short – so the church during our age will be experiencing oppression, persecution at the hands of these people – the nations, the languages, the kings who deny the lordship of the Lamb who was slain. This is precisely the language of Daniel 7:25 & 12:7 – a limited time of power, the license to persecute the church or the people of God.
- This the the church age, the time between the two advents – this is the time of preaching, the time of prophesying. The time of repentance. This is still the time that the Lord continues to desire that all be saved.
3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
- Jesus gives his authority. What authority does Jesus have to give? All authority. This sounds much like Matt 28 – also John 20 “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
- Jesus’ authority given to the church is a baptizing & teaching authority.
- Sackcloth – this is a repentant church.
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
- This is the description of the anointed, witnessing, worshipping community of God on the earth – the church, whom God has made a kingdom and a priest – see Rev 1 & Rev 5 – whom the Lamb stands as Lord and guardian.
- We see similar language in Rev 2 with the 7 churches and the 7 lampstands with Christ in the midst – in the midst of his church.
- Note that as we say the same element of time expressed 3 ways – 42 months, 1260 days – 3 ½ years – so we see the church described as the 2 witnesses, the 2 olive trees and the 2 lampstands. The descriptions come from Zechariah 4:2-3