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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 11

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

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Verses 1-19

Chapter 11

So there was given unto me a reed like unto a rod ( Revelation 10:11 ; Revelation 11:1 ):

That is a measuring stick about the length of a rod.

and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those that worship therein ( Revelation 11:1 ).

Now, this tells us many things. First of all, that the temple is to be rebuilt, because this is a yet future event. In fact, this is a event that takes place during the midst of the tribulation period, for we have not yet come to the seventh trumpet nor have we yet come to the seven vials of God's wrath that are to be poured out. So, during the tribulation period the temple will be existing in Jerusalem. So, the temple is to be rebuilt and the worship is to be reestablished in the temple in Jerusalem.

At the present time there is a small, but very dedicated group of Jewish people who are fanatically involved, almost religiously so, in the desire to rebuild their temple. There are two or three organizations in Jerusalem that have dedicated themselves to the purpose of the rebuilding of the temple. Some of them are extremely radical to the point that they feel that they have to by force drive the Moslems off of the Temple Mount and claim it for the rebuilding of their temple. There are others who have taken a much more moderate view and feel that the Temple Mount should be divided. So, as not to create a holy war, they should partition the Temple Mount with a wall just to the north side of the Dome of the Rock allowing them to rebuild their temple on that northern half of the Temple Mount area.

There are scholarly men, such as Dr. Asher Kaufman who has made a study over many years of the Temple Mount. And in his studies of all of the ancient records that he can get hold of, of all of the pictures of that area, all of the accounts, he has become convinced that Solomon's Temple stood to the north of the Dome of the Rock Mosque. That three hundred and twenty-two feet north of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, where this little flat rock outcropping called "The Dome of the Spirits, or the Dome of the Tablets" exists, that is where the Holy of Holies was in Solomon's Temple. The fact that looking from it directly east, you look over the east gate to the Mount of Olives helps to confirm the position of Solomon's Temple. And thus, he and other Jews take a more moderate stance believing that they can rebuild the temple over the site of Solomon's Temple and not disturb the Dome of the Rock, and thus, not disturb the Moslems.

I believe that Dr. Asher Kaufman's group will prevail. For here as John is told to rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those that worship,

But the court which is without the temple [that is the outer court] leave out [that is don't measure it]; and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot for forty and two months ( Revelation 11:2 ).

So, this outer court, the area where the Dome of the Rock stands, is not to be measured because it is given to the Gentiles.

There is in Ezekiel another prophecy of the temple that is to be built. Ezekiel also is told to measure it, and Ezekiel records the measurements. But Ezekiel says that he measured a wall around it and the wall was to separate the Holy place from the profane.

So, I am convinced that the temple will be rebuilt, but I am convinced that the solution will lie in a wall north of the Dome of the Rock partitioning off the Temple Mount, giving the Jews ten to fifteen acres there on the north side of the Temple Mount for their new temple, and it definitely will be rebuilt. I expect that to take place probably not in the time that I am here. I believe that the whole arrangements will be made by the antichrist once the church has been taken out. For he shall make a covenant with the people, but in the midst of the seven years he will break that covenant. And he will come to the temple and stand in the Holy of Holies and declare that he is god and demand to be worshipped as god. So, I don't expect to see the temple built. I think that will take place after I have departed with the rest of the church, and when the antichrist then takes over.

So, it is interesting to see this powerful movement growing in Jerusalem. There is one of the Ushivas, a school for the training of rabbis in the old city, that are training these young men how to butcher the animals for the sacrifices according to the Levitical law. They are actually training them now for sacrifices, the offering of sacrifices. So, it is something that they are very committed to and they would like to do it now.

In fact, there was a group last year that was headed up there with explosives. They were going to blow up the Dome of the Rock Mosque. They were caught by the Israeli police and arrested and are still facing trial. But in God's time it shall be, but I don't believe it will happen until we're gone and they didn't know that I was still here when they made that preemptive attack last year. They can do anything they want after I am gone, because it is going to be theirs.

Now, the Lord said to John,

I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy for thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devour their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed ( Revelation 11:3-5 ).

God is going to send two witnesses to witness to the Jewish people. The time of the Gentiles at this point will have been complete. Now, God is going to deal with Israel for one more seven-year period. Seventy sevens were determined upon the nation of Israel. Sixty-nine were fulfilled from the time of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah the Prince. It took place four hundred and eighty-three years after Artaxerxes gave the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, Jesus came.

Now, there is one seven-year period left for Israel in which God will be dealing with Israel. And in the beginning of this seven-year period God is going to send two witnesses. One of them will be Elijah.

In the last book of the Old Testament, the book of Malachi, in the last chapter and in the last few verses, as God is ready now to close the door on Israel and going to open the door to the Gentiles and He is going to send the Holy Spirit out among the Gentiles to draw out a body for Christ. So, God's final word to Israel, of course, came through Jesus Christ. But here in the Old Testament, "Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

So, the promise of the coming of Elijah again. So, he will be no doubt one of the two witnesses. The fact that they call down fire from heaven against their enemies-you remember when Elijah was here and the king sent out a captain with fifty men to arrest him and he was sitting up on the hillside and the captain came up and said, "Thou man of God come down. I have come here to arrest you." And he said, "If I am a man of God, then let fire come from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And fire came and consumed the captain and the fifty men. So, the king sent another captain with fifty men to arrest him and he said, "Thou man of God come down. I am here to arrest you." And he said, "If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty." And fire came down and consumed them. The king sent out another captain with fifty, and he said, "Sir, I am a married man. I have a wife and children and they love me. Have mercy on me. I am only following orders. I wish you would come with me, please. The king would like to see you." And Elijah went with him.

The ability of these two witnesses to call down fire from heaven to consume their enemies, Elijah is up to his old tricks. They are the two olive trees. The book of Zechariah, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth, Zechariah saw this vision. You see Zechariah was a priest. And one of the jobs of the priests were to fill the little cups of oil in this lamp stand that stood in the Holy place of the temple. There was this menorah, this seven-armed lamp stand that Moses had constructed. And they would fill the little cups with oil each day, a special type of oil that was prepared for this lamp stand, the formula that God had given to them. And this would burn and was the light in the Holy place of the temple. And it would burn continually. The fire was never to go out.

So, it was the duty of the priest to keep these things constantly filled with oil. And any job that done over and over and over gets monotonous, washing clothes, dishes or whatever. And Zechariah being a priest and no doubt many times going in and going through, and of course, it was a ritual that you had to go through, you can't just do things simply. You can't just pour more oil in. You've got to do things in a ritual way. You have to bathe before you go in and do the whole routine, and Zechariah was probably getting tired of the whole routine so he had this vision.

And the vision was that he saw these two olive trees. And there were pipes coming out of the olive trees, and the pipes were going to the cups. So, the olive oil was coming directly out of the trees through these pipes into the cups and it saved from having to go in every day and do the routine. And the word of the Lord came to Zerubbabel and said, or said to Zechariah, "This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord." The oil being a symbol of the Spirit. And therein is where the strength will lie, the power will lie in the Spirit, and that continual supply of the Spirit that is ours.

So, these are the two olive trees. These candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

They have power to shut up heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy ( Revelation 11:6 ):

So, for three and a half years it won't rain upon the earth anywhere. Imagine the drought that that is going to create.

Now, remember Elijah when he was here before prayed and it rained not for the space of three and a half years. There was a great drought in Israel, during the time of Elijah, the reign of Ahab. Now, again shutting up the earth.

they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all of the plagues, as often as they will ( Revelation 11:6 ).

We know for certain the identity of one of the witnesses to be Elijah. The identity of the other witness is not so certain. There are different Bible teachers who take different views. There are some who are certain it is going to be Moses representing the law and Elijah representing the prophets. The fact that Moses appeared with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, it seems that they are buddies and they working together. The fact that they turned the water to blood, one of the plagues that were brought upon Egypt by Moses, and it then refers to the fact that they have the power to strike the earth with the plagues as often as they wish, points to Moses.

Others believe it will be Enoch who did not die but was translated directly into heaven. "For it is appointed unto man once to die" and in the Old Testament two men missed their appointments, Enoch and Elijah. And so they come in order that they might make their appointment with death, because we are told here that after they have prophesied for three and a half years then the beast, the antichrist, has power to put them to death. So they finally make their appointment a little later, but yet they make that appointment with death.

So, there are good arguments for either Enoch or Moses. I really don't know and it doesn't really matter.

Now when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the [abusso] bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them ( Revelation 11:7 ).

He cannot until they have finished their testimony. They have an allotted time, one thousand two hundred and sixty days, their allotted time to witness. Once they have finished that then he has power, but he hasn't power until they have finished their testimony.

In a sense, I believe that God has control of our lives when we commit them to Him. And He has a special task for us to fulfill and that He will preserve us until that task is finished. There are a lot of times when a person has a very narrow brush with death, when you are in an accident and you really should have been wiped out. You look at the whole thing and there is no way you could have come through that, but you have. But God is not through with you yet. And I believe that that is true. I believe that there is a divine protection upon us as we serve the Lord that is going to sustain us until God is through with us. But I think that as soon as we have finished our testimony, then the Lord is going to take us to be with Him. Why would He leave us here any longer? So when they had finished their testimony. God has a task for each of us.

Paul said, "I have not yet apprehended that for which I was apprehended of Jesus Christ," ( Philippians 3:12 ) recognizing that when the Lord apprehended Him, the Lord had a special ministry in mind. In fact, the Lord even showed Paul the things that he was to accomplish and suffer for His glory. And several times they tried to kill Paul.

Once they stoned him and really thought he was dead. They drug him out of town and for all anybody knows he was dead. Paul himself didn't even know. "There was a man in Christ fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body, I don't know)". Whether or not he had an out of the body experience, hey I really don't know. "But I do know that I was caught up to heaven. I spent a little time up there in the third heaven, heard things that were so glorious I couldn't really try to describe them. It would be a crime to do so. And because of the abundance of the revelations given to me there is also going to be given to me this thorn in the flesh, this minister of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure because of the abundance of revelations"( 2 Corinthians 12:2-7 ).

So, they thought that they had done him in. His friends thought that he was dead. They were standing around all mourning and Paul suddenly shook himself, stood up and said "Let's go back into town and preach some more."

"You have to be kidding, man. They just stoned you."

But God wasn't finished with him yet. So, God preserved him. God preserves us until we have finished our testimony.

When they had finished their testimony, the beast that comes out of the bottomless pit-we'll get to that when we get to the seventeenth chapter-makes war against them and overcomes them and kills them.

And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city [Jerusalem], which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified ( Revelation 11:8 ).

So, he identifies it as Jerusalem.

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies for three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves ( Revelation 11:9 ).

How can the whole world see them? You say, "Simple. Satellite TV." Right. How could the whole world have seen them twenty-five years ago? They couldn't. You see this particular prophecy could not be fulfilled until the present day, until just a few years ago, when they put up the satellite by which now they can transmit directly from Jerusalem live broadcast to the United States. And you can sit in your living room and watch events live that are happening in Jerusalem. So, CBS, NBC, and ABC will send their reporters. I am sure they will still be around for the most part, and will go over to cover this remarkable event, these two men who have brought such consternation. These men who had such miraculous powers. These men who had created such a problem to the earth in stopping the rain and calling down fire and things of this nature. And they will go over with their crews to do a special story.

Interestingly enough, CBS is going over to Israel with us this year to do a special story. Who knows what they will make of it? You know, you really feel like you're-You say one thing, but when you hear it again, after it has been edited, you say, "What?" It is amazing what they can do to you. I am always leery.

But the camera crews will be over there and they will be filming these guys and the whole world will be seeing their bodies lying there in the streets. You see the people will have been so incensed against them, because of the plagues and all that they brought, that they won't even allow them a decent burial. They are just going to let their bodies lie there in the street. And they will come by and spit on them and kick them and just do disgraceful things.

And they that dwell upon the earth will rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts to one another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the eaRuth ( Revelation 11:10 ).

So, there will be a great worldwide celebration, partying and all, because these two guys that created all the problems are dead and the antichrist becomes a tremendous hero in the eyes of the people of the earth.

But after three and a half days the Spirit of life from God enters into them, and they stand on their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come on up. And they ascended up into heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them ( Revelation 11:11-12 ).

Can you imagine the camera crews and their amazement when suddenly these guys stand up and ascend on up into heaven?

And the same hour there was a great earthquake ( Revelation 11:13 ),

You remember when Jesus was crucified there was a great earthquake.

and the tenth part of the city [of Jerusalem] will fall, there will be slain seven thousand men, [we don't know how many women and children in this earthquake]: and the remnant of the people are frightened, and gave glory to the God of heaven, the second woe is past; and, behold the third woe comes quickly. And then the seventh angel sounded ( Revelation 11:13-15 );

Now, we come back to the story again. We have been dealing with the seven trumpets and the judgments that ensued at the sounding of these trumpets, and now we come back again to the trumpets.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever ( Revelation 11:15 ).

The judgments are coming in order to prepare the earth for the return of Jesus Christ and the establishing of His kingdom. So, as the seventh trumpet has sounded the proclamation of His reign and of His kingdom and with this proclamation,

the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and reigned ( Revelation 11:16-17 ).

Finally, the waiting is over. We are there giving glory to the Lord, because the time for His reign has come.

And the nations [We are rejoicing. We're giving thanks, but the nations] were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou should give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to thy saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven ( Revelation 11:18-19 ),

The earthly temple or tabernacle was just the model of that which is in heaven.

and there was seen in his temple the ark of his covenant ( Revelation 11:19 ):

The ark of which Moses built the model here on earth.

and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail ( Revelation 11:19 ).

Now, as we go into chapter twelve, we are digressing from the progression of the story again, which will be taken up when we come to the seven vials of judgment that will be poured out. So, now we are taking a broader view of some other scenes. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Revelation 11". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/revelation-11.html. 2014.
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