(This article covers Revelation 11:1-6)
“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.” ~ Revelation 11:1
Remember from chapter 10, that the Revelation Angel that is giving this revelation of the two witnesses, is none other than Jesus Christ himself. So it is Jesus Christ that is commissioning John to measure the temple, and the altar, and them that worship there.
And this directive from Jesus Christ has a similar parallel in Ezekiel 40 through 43, where instruction is also given to measure the temple with a rod.
The rod represents the Word of God, and the temple represents the true spiritual worshipers: the church. The altar is the place of sacrificial worship. In Ezekiel, and here next in Jeremiah and Isaiah, the reason God gives the rod of the Word, is to correct the hypocrisy that is taking place among those claiming to be God’s people.
- “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:8-12)
- “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:4)
True Christians are willing to be measured by the Word, by obedience to it. This is so that they might be found within the temple: the spiritual place of God’s own presence. But hypocrites will not allow you to measure them by the Word. Therefore they are spiritually on the outside, and are actually afraid to enter into God’s presence.
“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.” ~ Revelation 11:2
During this exhortation from the Lord, remember we are still within the sixth trumpet, and the second woe started in Revelation 9:12. At the beginning of the second woe the voice from the blood (on the horns of the golden altar) was pronouncing judgement upon the blood guiltiness of those who love hypocrisy. This judgement against hypocrisy was against those who claim to be spiritual Jews, but are not. Against the people that should be spiritually “the holy city”. So this is the reason he tells them to not measure the court (the place where people would gather outside the temple). It is affirming that people who will not prepare their hearts to enter into the holy place of the spiritual temple, will also not submit to the measure of the full Word of God.
Also remember from the previous article “Woe, Woe, Woe from the Three Trumpet Angel Messengers” that this “second woe” (which includes Revelation 11:1-13) is after the spiritual temple of God had been purged and cleaned by the judgments of the “first woe”. So the completion of the purging of the people of the city is happening via the judgments of this “second woe”.
So this second woe is exposing that the people of the outer court will tread down the holy city (or the “visible to the world” church, the spiritual city that was “set on a hill” to be a light to the whole world – read Matthew 5:14). Those who trampled down the city, are as spiritual dogs and swine who take the precious truth of the full salvation of Jesus Christ, and effectively trample it under their feet. These people are being exposed so that those with any honesty can get free from their spirit.
So Jesus is saying here in Revelation, the same thing that he said in Matthew chapter 7 and verse 6.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” ~ Matthew 7:6
Note: One of the ultimate purposes of Revelation is to move outside of the city, those who would trample down the spiritual holy city, the church. Outside the spiritual city is where they really belong. That is why in the last chapter of Revelation it states:
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” ~ Revelation 22:14-15
So in Revelation chapter 11, Jesus is showing that this is a time where these fake spiritual Jews, (he calls gentiles), are allowed to trample the truth down. But the time they are allowed to do this is limited to: 42 months, or 1260 days. And so during this time, God’s too anointed witnesses in the earth, are grieved by what is going on.
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” ~ Revelation 11:3
These two witnesses are clothed in sackcloth because they are grieved with what is going on, and because God’s people are suffering for it. Here is a little insight into who these two witnesses are:
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” ~ Ephesians 4:30
Yes, your behavior, or the bad behavior of others, can grieve the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit will witness this to your soul, if you have a heart to feel it. So these two that Jesus identifies as his two witnesses, are special witnesses appointed by God. The following scripture further helps to clarify who they are:
“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” ~ 1 John 5:6-9
But in this scripture there are three witnesses shown to work in the earth. Yes, the blood witnessed earlier in the sixth trumpet, when from the horns of the golden altar it witnessed against hypocrites, because they are blood guilty.
Now the other two witnesses in the earth are speaking: the Spirit, and the water, or the water that keeps the church clean: “the washing of the water by the Word.”
“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” ~ Ephesians 5:26-27
Truly the intention of all Revelation is so that he might cleanse the church, and bring her back to her original glory.
But when did they who claimed to be the church, in disrespect to the truth, trample the pure truth of the Word down under their feet? This started when a fallen ministry began to control the church, rather than the Word and the Holy Spirit.
An example of the beginnings of trampling the truth under foot, especially started to show up in the third century. The year 270 AD has been identified by many as a key year that a number of significant compromises and heresies started up. This time has also been identified earlier in Revelation as the beginning of the Smyrna church age. This compromise which lead to the rise of the Roman Catholic system came to a full during Pergamos church age. And it continued in its strength until the starting of the rise of Protestant religious systems around the year 1530 AD.
Consequently, the whole length of this period is approximately from the year 270 to 1530, or for a length of 1,260 years. If you use the example in scripture of a day for a year in prophecy, we also will see the 1,260 days spoken of here in Revelation 11. It covers the dark ages of Roman Catholic hierarchy rule.
Here are examples of a year for a day in the scriptures:
- “And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.” ~ Numbers 14:33-34
- “For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.” ~ Ezekiel 4:5-6
And so, who are these two witnesses that still have power to prophesy during this 1,260 year period?
“These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” ~ Revelation 11:4
The two anointed witnesses which are “standing before the God of the earth” are described as two olive trees: a direct reference to the prophecy of Zechariah. But there is an important difference: in Zechariah there were seven lamps or candlesticks. Here in Revelation 11:4 he only refers to two of the seven. This is because in the context of the 1,260 years, it only covers two of the church ages: Smyrna and Pergamos. These are two of the seven candlestick churches, mentioned in the letters written to the seven churches, in the beginning chapters of Revelation.
So here is the scripture from Zechariah chapter 4, and the first part explains who these two witnesses are:
And the angel that talked with me, came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” ~ Zechariah 4:1-6
Before this, Zechariah was already familiar with the golden candlestick. But what are these two olive trees? So an angel in the scripture above answers the question:
- This is the word of the Lord…
- Saying… by my spirit, saith the Lord…
Let me read the last part of that scripture to you again: “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”
This is the Word of God, along with the Spirit of God.
God’s Word and his Spirit together, are the two faithful witnesses to every soul in every age of time. The spiritual oil from God’s Word and his Spirit have always given the lamps of the candlestick (the church) what they need for their burning light.
And so later in Zechariah chapter 4, these witnesses are even more clearly identified.
“Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. ~ Zechariah 4:11-14
And you will recall we just read earlier that these two witnesses are also identified as two candlesticks (out of the seven candlestick churches identified in Revelation chapter 1.)
“These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” ~ Revelation 11:4
As stated earlier, the time period of these two candlesticks represents 1,260 years covering two of the seven church ages: the Smyrna church age and the Pergamos church age.
So during this 1,260 year period, you do not dare withstand the two anointed ones (the Word and the Spirit), without suffering a severe spiritual consequence.
“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. 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.” ~ Revelation 11:5-6
Note that this is spiritual language. The fire is the anointed Word preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The death is a spiritual one, when one refuses to obey the witness of the Word and the Spirit.
The plagues to shut heaven so there is no rainfall, is speaking of the ability of God’s anointed ministry to pronounce that: their will be no blessings from God because of their disrespect for his Word.
“Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.” ~ Deuteronomy 11:16-17
Also in the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah pronounced the same judgement of “no rain” upon Israel, when they had forsaken true worship. And he did this for three and one half years, or 1,260 days (read it in 1 Kings, chapter 17). Elijah literally did what the two witnesses spiritually did here in Revelation chapter 11.
The ability to turn waters to blood, is the ability to expose that they are guilty of the blood of the saints: the ones that they have persecuted and slain; and of the blood of Christ that they have disrespected. Waters represent that which should give life. But with them, they will have to drink the blood they are guilty of. (You can read about that in Revelation 16:4-7)
Let us consider this scripture next:
“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
Most don’t realize that the communion of the body and blood is only for those who have turned from their sins, and have been transformed into righteous and holy living. Consequently, many continue to disrespect the communion, and eat and drink damnation to themselves as a religious practice. There is no mercy if you continue in that way!
But, if these spiritual plagues are upon your life, there is hope if you will repent of your hypocrisy. But you must do this with a contrite spirit, and then sincerely and wholly turn to the Lord.
“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:13-16
But during the Roman Catholic ages, the word was disrespected by withholding it from the people; keeping them in enough darkness so that the Roman Catholic hierarchy could control them. If people continued to place their trust in the false ministry of the Catholic church, they were cursed for doing so. It was spiritually as if they lived in a parched wilderness with no rain of blessings from God. But those who sincerely sought to serve God, were blessed and still able to spiritually flourish, as there was a spiritual place prepared of God just for them. (You can read about this in Revelation 12:6, and I will talk about this in much more detail in the later article.)
Consider also what the prophet Jeremiah had to say about this:
“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:5-10)
In the next post we will see what happens when people have full access to the Word, and yet they completely and openly disrespect both the Word and the Spirit of God.
Note: this diagram below shows where this sixth trumpet related message is within the full Revelation message. To better understand a high level view of Revelation, you can also see the “Roadmap of Revelation.”