Welcome to A Revelation of Jesus. In the previous video we looked at Revelation chapter 10. John saw the mighty angel who had appeared to the prophet Daniel centuries earlier, but the little book in his hand, which he had been told to seal until the time of the end, was now open. Now we will look into who are the two witnesses and what is symbolized by the measuring of the city, its gates, and walls.
In videos 26 -32 we saw that we have reached the time of the end, and soon we will enter “the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world”, (Revelation 3:10) which Jesus called “the great tribulation”. During the great tribulation, there will be a terrible world war which is described in the first 6 trumpets.
But God and His followers will not be passive observers during that fearsome time.
Let’s start where we left off in the previous video.
The angel told John to eat the little book. The book was sweet in his mouth but made his stomach bitter. Then the angel said, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:11).
In this video we will look at Chapter 11, which helps us to understand who specifically will give this final prophecy, and what they will say.
“John was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there” (Revelation 11:1).
What temple is he talking about? The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed 20 years before Revelation was written and has never been rebuilt. As usual, we need to look at the scriptural links to know what it means to measure the temple.
In Revelation chapter 21 an angel used a reed to measure the Holy City; “He who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall… but I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:15,22).
In these verses, we see that God is the reality that the earthly temples symbolized. The psalmist wrote, “Walk about Zion [that is, the temple mount] and go all around her, count her towers, mark well her bulwarks, that you may tell it to the generation following, for this is God!” (Psalm 48:12). In the earthly temple, all of the furnishings and ceremonies symbolized some aspect of God and His ministry to save people from sin.
So when John was told to measure the temple this is a symbolic way of saying that God’s end-time followers must first and foremost reveal what God is really like. “O righteous Father! The world has not known You” (John 17:25) Jesus cried out, exposing the basic problem of humanity: we have serious misconceptions about the character of God.
Ironically, God’s church has fostered some of the worst of these misconceptions.
Millions believe that God tortures people forever for not believing in Him. Many theological seminaries and church creeds teach that God arbitrarily chooses some people for salvation and others for destruction, that He gave a law that cannot be kept and then condemns people for not keeping it, and that He denies people eternal life because they never had exposure to the gospel.
Measuring the temple will reveal the love, mercy, righteousness, and justice of God, clearing the way for people to love, trust, and follow Him because they are captivated by His beautiful character.
John was also told to measure “the altar”.
The altar was the part of the sanctuary that symbolized the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Again it is ironic that even though the Cross is the central symbol of the Christian faith, billions of people, even Christians, do not understand why Jesus suffered and died.
Many see the death of Jesus as physical torture which He endured because He fell into the hands of wicked people as if we and our people would have done otherwise if He had come to us. It is often taught that the Cross was a punishment that Jesus endured on our behalf for “the original sin of Adam” which God arbitrarily imputed to us.
Many believe that Jesus was sacrificed to appease the wrath of “the angry and offended Father”. But the reality is in plain sight in one of our favorite Bible: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16, 17).
Measuring the altar reveals the infinite depth of the love of the Father and the Son, who sacrificed themselves for us. This will enable us to see God in a new light, transforming our hearts to love him who first loved us
Finally, John was told to “measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship there” (Revelation 11:1).
What does a worshiper and follower of Jesus look like?
For many Christians today it means that they prayed the sinners’ prayer and then go to church once a week. In video 12 we saw that Jesus characterizes the modern church as Laodicea, which says, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—not knowing that [she is] wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
It is in the Book of Revelation itself that we see a picture of those who “worship… [at the] temple of God and the altar”. Look at the description of God’s end-time followers just before the Second Coming of Christ.
“[They have] washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple” (Revelation 7:14,15). “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth is found no deceit, for they are without fault” (Revelation 14:4,5).
Measuring “those who worship” shows what people can be like when they are transformed by the love of God.
God’s end-time followers have a message for the world, which they learn by measuring the temple, that is, the character of God, by measuring the altar, that is, God’s infinite sacrifice for our sins, and by measuring those who worship Him, that is, humanity transformed by God’s love.
But we are not to measure the formality, hypocrisy, and religiosity that has characterized Christendom. “Leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:2).
According to Ezekiel 42-46 which is also about measuring the temple, the outer court was the interface between the holy priests and the common people, and the priests were to take special care that they bless the common people without being defiled themselves.
In God’s covenant arrangement all of God’s people were to be priests, ministering to the Gentiles around them in order to bring them into God’s family. God said, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation… you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine” (Exodus 19:5,6).
Tragically, instead of the church invading the world to share the gospel, unconverted “gentiles” invaded and took over the church, resulting in the tragic history that we saw in the messages to the seven churches in videos 6-12.
The church became corrupt and was no longer representative of God. The fact is that the historical church has often been the greatest enemy of God’s true followers. “[The gentiles] will trample the holy city for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:2).
If you have been following this series you recognize that 42 months, 1,260 days, and time, times and half a time all refer to the centuries of oppression by the union of church and state during the dark ages. The coercion, oppression, and power politics of established Christendom were a blight and an obstacle to those who might otherwise have responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
During that time of darkness, God said, “I will give power to my two witnesses and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3).
Who exactly are the two witnesses? The Greek word for witness is marturos, from which we derive the English word martyr. It is defined as one who declares facts directly known to himself from firsthand knowledge, or from firsthand experience, and who tells what he believes, even though it may result in his being killed for it.
The Old Testament prophets were His witnesses. “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me” (Isaiah 43:10-12).
Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and other faithful Old Testament believers risked their lives to try to bring God’s chosen people back to Him. The disciples who had been with Jesus were also His witnesses. Peter declared, “We are His witnesses” (Acts 5:32, 10:39), and many of them ended up in prison or were killed because of their testimony.
Jesus’ final commandment to His disciples was that they were to be witnesses to the whole world—“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me… to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Peter, John, and the rest of the Apostles were direct witnesses—John said, “that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled… we declare to you” (1John 1:1-3).
During their lifetimes they told thousands of people about Jesus. Fortunately for us who live two thousand years later, they wrote down what they had experienced. At the most basic level, the two witnesses are their testimony, found in the Old and New Testament of the Bible. Through the centuries the witness of the scriptures has stood as an anchor when the Church has gone astray, bringing God’s followers back to a true knowledge of Him.
The two witnesses are more than a book. Billions of people have died having never heard an effective witness about Jesus, even though the Bible has been in constant existence.
Effective witness only takes place when the word of God has become a living reality in the lives of men women, and children who love God with all their hearts and who heed the command of Jesus to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
The two witnesses are the people who bring the light of God’s Word and their own personal experiences with Jesus to those who are in darkness.
“[The two witnesses] shall prophesy 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3). God’s fearless servants faithfully proclaimed the word of God during the 1,260 years of Christian idolatry. But let’s look at some evidence in Revelation 10 and 11 that shows that the primary fulfillment of the two witnesses will take place amidst the darkness of the final events.
First and foremost, we see from Revelation 11:14-19 that the ministry of the two witnesses takes place during the “second woe”, in other words, the sixth trumpet, just before “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord”.
After John was given the little book to eat he was told, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings” (Revelation 10:11). This shows that after prophesying for 1260 years while “clothed in sackcloth”, the two witnesses will “prophesy again”.
Notice that they prophesy “concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings”. The phrase “peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” is used seven times in the book of Revelation and it refers to the universal events of the last days, not limited or historical events.
Finally, Revelation 11:7 says that “The beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against [the two witnesses]”. The beast from the bottomless pit appears during the Great Tribulation, as we will see in the next video.
Why are there two witnesses to symbolize those who give the final message?
The Bible teaches that “One witness is not enough… A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:15). The ministry of the two witnesses began even when Jesus was still here on earth. “The Lord appointed seventy… and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go” (Luke 10:1).
Now at the end of this age Jesus is “about to go… into every city and place”—when He comes, “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7). Thus the two witnesses do not symbolize two particular individuals, but rather they symbolize all the witnesses who will go everywhere and, like John the Baptist, will “prepare the way of the Lord” (Matthew 3:3).
If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to check out video 25, which shows that the two witnesses are the same as the 144,000, and their mission is to rescue the great multitude who are captives in spiritual Babylon.
This becomes clear when we look at the Old Testament links to the two witnesses. “[The two witnesses] are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth” (Revelation 11:4). This imagery is from Zechariah chapter 4 where the prophet saw “a lampstand with seven lamps… two olive trees are by it… from which the golden oil drains” (Zechariah 4:2,3,12).
An angel explained that the lampstands with the olive trees feeding them with oil symbolize the Spirit-filled ministry of Zerubbabel, the leader who led the children of Israel out of Babylon and back to Jerusalem. The story is in the first five chapters of Ezra.
God said through Zechariah, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord… The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it” (Zechariah 4:6-10). The two witnesses, like Zerubbabel, will lead a multitude of captives out of Babylon so that they can rebuild the temple, that is, the body of Christ.
“[The two witnesses] have the power to shut heaven, that rain will not fall in the days of their prophecy” (Revelation 11:6). This passage compares the ministry of the two witnesses to that of Elijah, who said to the idol-worshiping king of Israel, ‘There shall not be dew nor rain these years except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). The story beings in 1Kings 17.
It is significant that the drought in the days of Elijah lasted 1,260 days, the same time as the ministry of the two witnesses. After the drought, Elijah confronted and defeated the priests of Baal when God answered his prayers and brought fire down from heaven.
When the people, who had been in deep spiritual confusion, saw what happened, “they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (1 Kings 18:38,39). The testimony of the two witnesses, like that of Elijah, will be accompanied by signs and wonders from God, and this will help a multitude of confused people transfer their loyalty from idolatry to Jesus.
“[The two witnesses] have power over the waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they want” (Revelation 11:6). This verse compares the two witnesses to Moses and the plagues of Egypt, recorded in the book of Exodus starting in chapter 1.
The children of Israel had ended up as slaves in Egypt and were facing genocide. God through Moses demanded that Pharaoh let His people go, but Pharaoh arrogantly refused, saying, “who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2).
God through Moses turned all the water of Egypt into blood, the first of a series of ten plagues that demonstrated the power of God and humbled the pride of Pharaoh. The two witnesses, like Moses, will be able to announce in advance the awesome events of the Seven Trumpets and lead a multitude out of slavery to freedom.
Revelation chapters 10 and 11 have lots of Old Testament references but they all have the same theme.
- Eating the little book links to the message Ezekiel was to give to the people of God who were captives in Babylon.
- Two olive trees and two lampstands link to the spirit-filled ministry of Zerubbabel, who brought God’s people back to Israel from Babylon.
- The power of the two witnesses to shut heaven links to Elijah and his ministry to bring the people who were in idolatry to repentance and back to the true God.
- Turning water to blood and striking with plagues links to the ministry of Moses, who announced the plagues that God used to bring His people out of captivity in Egypt.
All of these links have a consistent theme: the faithful witness brings a message from God to His people who are in captivity, leading them out of physical and spiritual slavery so that they too can follow Jesus.
What is the significance of this for us, who live just before the time of trouble?
We, the Christian Church, are called to bring the gospel to the world, but the world is so caught up in media, politics, and entertainment that the majority are not that interested. And unfortunately, the influence of this world has affected the Christian Church as well; Revelation characterizes us as Laodicea, the church of wealth and spiritual apathy, short on faith, defiled by the world, and blind to the unseen spiritual reality all around us.
Lukewarm Laodicea is not doing an effective job of taking “the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) and for this reason, God is now putting together a team, known in the book of Revelation as the remnant, the 144,000, and the two witnesses.
According to Revelation 7, the 144,000 will be sealed before the time of trouble begins. Now God is calling his lukewarm Laodicean people to wake up and learn how to be His special witnesses.
We face the overwhelming task and difficult times, but we do not have to rely on our own talents and abilities. Now is the time to receive the long-awaited latter rain and to experience the joy of ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is an experience that no one should miss. Now is the time for us to seek God with all our hearts, to learn to hear His voice, and through the power of the Holy Spirit to follow and obey Him.
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