Revelation 11
 10:11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
.1 ¶ 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.
  Prophesy again ... given me a reed Remember that the apostle was in prison on Patmos re0109 and that the spiritual leaders of literal Israel had made the Jerusalem temple a den of thieves mr1117. He whom it was established to represent, had left it desolate mt2337-9. So what might measuring the temple mean? Here are some references about the temple for clues: re0401, he0801,2,5. See note a below.
  Measure God has a standard. See note b. The sanctuary cleansing or restoration is discussed in note c. The reason for cleansing, note d.
.2 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.
  Court ... leave out This commentary takes the position that this area represents people who are not even pretending to worship the true God. See note 1 for this verse (on another page).
  City ... under foot ... [42] months The time of oppression. See note 2 for verse 1.
.3 ¶ And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 
 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
  Two witnesses This topic is discussed and debated more than many others in Revelation. See note 1 for verse 3.
  Prophesy in sack cloth [1260 days] See note 2. This time period is mentioned in v2 above and in five other places in Daniel and Revelation. (count 360 days per years).
  Two olive trees ... candlesticks See note for verse 4.
 5 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.   If any man hurt them The key to understanding is in considering Bible stories involving the scene here and in v6. The "witnesses" are not people. See the corresponding note.
  Mouth Do the two have one mouth? It does fit our interpretation of the witnesses because they speak with one voice their testimonies are in harmony. Also the Greek in this situation may be used collectively to mean "mouths" as, for example, for "heart" in mt1508, mr0652 and face mt1706, ac0745.
 6 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.
.7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
 7 And when they complete their witness, the beast coming up out of the abyss will make war with them and will overcome them and will kill them. (Green literal translation from interlinear.)
  Shut up heaven ... days For clarification see ja0517 and the note for v6.
  Beast ... war ... kill See that notes on v7. The literal translation as shown is important. The witness finishes at the time they are killed. The text is usually translated to show that the killing is after the end of the witnessing but the Greek does not require that one event end before the other begin. The translation is important to the interpretation of the 3½ days.
 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
  For these verses see the same page as linked above but beginning with v8. Remember that fulfillment is after the 1260 symbolic days while the witnesses were in sackcloth.
.10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.   10 - They that dwell upon the earth In chapter 13, we find the beast from the sea (of people) and the one from the earth. The earth dwellers are at home on the earth and are not taken to heaven. the principle applies here.
  10 - Rejoice ... send gifts Their gift exchange is from wicked hearts forgetting the Creator who is the source of all good things. ja0117. The French people who had thrown off the oppression of the church and the king saw no need for religion and were getting thier good things (gifts) from each other.
.11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.   Three days and an half The time in view in this chapter is after the witnesses were in sackcloth for 1260 "days." Literally 1260 years of oppression re1308.
  Spirit of life from God "Spirit" means either breath or life in both Hebrew and Greek. The verse points us back to creation which had been doubted in the atheist nation ge0207.
  Stood Around the time of US independence interest began to develop in the prophecies of Daniel who had been promised that he would die but would stand in his place as a prophet da1213. Now he was speaking again through his book at the end of the 1260 "days."
.12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.   Great voice from heaven This was the time of the "loud voice" of the first of three angels. See 1407 and context. He called for true worship giving glory to God, not to evolution and human self-help.
.13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.   Earthquake A time of spiritual shock.
  Seven thousand Those, like the faithful Elijah was told had not bent the knee to Baal, who had stood faithfully and had supported the Reformation v3 now have fallen.
.14 ¶ The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
.15 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.
  Second woe We identified this as the oppression of God's end-time people re0913. The punishment of the end-time wicked may be seen as the third and final woe. See note. The two are seen in the second half of Revelation 13 and Revelation 14 the threats of beast and image and God's wrath announced in the message of the third angel. The wrath is in the context here, too.
  Seventh angel sounded The final trumpet call. Probation has closed. You can see the notes for verse 15.
.16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
.17 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 hast reigned.
  Four and twenty elders Identified at re0404 and discussed in the note for v16.
  Reigned This is the second coming of Christ mistakenly thought by many to be a long time in the future.
.18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.   And the nations Beginning with the last part of v17, we have a clear prophecy with time relationships. See the note for this verse.
19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.   Temple opened ... ark This is a pivotal verse for the book and important to understand. See note.
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11:1, note a
Prophesy and measure
    What was John's assignment? From our verse, we may assume that the measuring of temple, altar, and people is in preparation for preaching (prophesying) again 1011c. Apparently God allowed the disappointment, at least in part, to help His committed children realize that they had big new things to learn. They would go to the temple for their instruction of course going there through the pages of Scripture.
   In the final chapters of Exodus, God had been very specific about the measurements and other particulars of the wilderness sanctuary which was replaced by a permanent temple. Also, Ezekiel, beginning in his chapter 40 had been told to measure the temple. In ez4310 we see that the temple he was to measure had a lesson for the people he prophesied to. Likewise the people who were represented in John's experience needed to understand something. Relating this to the great disappointment of 1844, the "book" that had become bitter didn't say all they thought it did. The temple to be cleansed was not the earth. They were sent to measure learn about the temple in heaven.

    We saw how John's measuring of the temple would help clarify why the book was bitter. "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." (Rev. 11:1)
    Notice, in the verse, who instructed John to measure the temple. It was the same standing angel who had told him to eat the book. It was Christ, the mighty angel 1008a. This confirms the connection between the two experiences. "Temple" here is the Greek naos which would indicate the two-room sanctuary. It is in the most holy place where the the high priest entered on that special day of cleansing, the day of atonement. That is where Jesus entered as high priest for the actual cleansing or restoration of the sanctuary in 1844, after 2300 years. It was this end-time cleansing that the yearly day of atonement represented 0611. I'll explain more in the next article.
  And we should notice something else before moving on: The measuring tool was a reed which resembled a rod. The rod (Greek rhabdos) was used by shepherds to control the sheep and to protect them from attack. The word is translated "scepter" when related to a king.
   God has a measuring stick for knowing truth and for guiding His sheep. This was to be John's tool for evaluating the temple and, after the bitter experience in 1844, it was to be the standard for correcting the misunderstanding about the sanctuary that was to be cleansed. ). (Ps. 23; Rev. 3:19).

Image © Corel

11:1, note b
The divine standard of measurement
    Here are verses that show the Scriptures as the standard. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:20) "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17, also 2 Tim. 3:16) Remember that John's eating of the book was symbolic of what would happen before the final trumpet (Rev. 10:7). His measuring of the temple is also showing what the people, after the bitter-book experience, were to do. Let's praise God for His magnificent standard for truth.

11:1, note c
Measuring and the day of atonement

   "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." (Rev. 11:1)

   Measurement is associated with testing or judging (Matt. 7:2) as well as with investigation. In fact, this may be seen in the duality of the instrument, the reed like a rod.
   Notice, in our verse, what gets measured: temple, altar, and worshippers. This sends us back to Leviticus 16. These items were atoned for on the day of atonement (Lev. 16:32, 33). The altar of incense was in front of the inner veil. Behind the veil was the ark with the divine shekinah glory. Through the year preceding the day of atonement, sacrifice for sin was made and some of the blood of forgiveness was sprinkled on this altar (Lev. 4:7). On the day of atonement, this altar was ceremonially atoned for and cleansed with more blood. Notice why:

The two rooms of the tent or tabernacle are seen with the altar of incense marked gold. The wilderness tent was later replaced by the temple. Outside the tent (representing heaven where Christ ministers for us) we find the altar of burnt offerings. It is in the courtyard to represent Our Lord's sacrifice on the earth. 

   "And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times [as a work of completion], and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel." le1618,9.

Sanctuary diagram okay to copy
   The people were forgiven as they confessed their sins, but their "uncleanness" remained symbolized in the bloody altar, as it did also in the holy place and the tabernacle of meeting (where God came down to meet with man). Cleansing of these elements was the cleansing of the sanctuary, and it resulted in the cleansing of the people (Lev. 16:30) who had already been forgiven and who, on this special day, humbled their souls before the Lord.
   This was then the cleansing or vindication of the sanctuary in Dan. 8:14. Remember, Jesus is faithful and just to both forgive and cleanse us 1jo0109. This is His two-part work of pardoning our sin and of helping us to live pure lives. It is what He does for us and in us. It is justification and sanctification.

Why were the people to seek God in humility on the day of atonement?
   To reveal their sincerity. Those who did not humble their souls on that day were "cut off" le2329. In this sense it was judgment. Those who refused to seek the Lord in humility revealed their hearts. They still clung to their sin wanting forgiveness for sin without the cleansing. They wanted to escape the punishment for sin without seeking God to change their characters. Christ's complete work in us leads us ever upward to the measure of the stature of fullness in Christ (Eph. 4:13) ever trusting Him, secure in the grace of His salvation.
   We have looked at much of this before. Here we can make sense of the overall system. The sanctuary services represent how God handles the sin problem from its beginning and on through to final redemption in heaven. On this planet, the process began with the problem: Adam's sin (and ours). The solution came by:
Christ's death on Calvary as the Passover lamb,
His resurrection and appearance in heaven,
the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost,
the trumpet warnings,
the final cleansing work through His ministry before the ark in heaven (day of atonement), and
the final feast of celebration which we still look forward to in heaven.

The story of redemption repeated each year
   Each year, the sanctuary services played out the whole process of the centuries from Eden to heaven. Special days and services through the sanctuary year represent the elements in the process of salvation, all powered by the sacrifice on the altar in the courtyard. In essence, salvation is deliverance from sin (Matt. 1:21). The cleansing after 2300 years (Dan. 8:14) is, of necessity, an end-time work and comes just before the final rejoicing in heaven as represented in the sanctuary calendar. As Christ's death on Calvary established His right to forgive sinners before the cross as well as after it, His end-time ministry demonstrates His work of cleansing and judgment for all repentant sinners through the centuries.
    See the chart of the time prophecies in Daniel 12.

   The closer we look at our magnificent Saviour, the more marvelous He is.

Cleansing the sanctuary purpose and process

   Here's our verse again. Before looking at what got measured, notice a little word right in the middle that I almost didn't see:

   "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." (Rev. 11:1)

   The apostle had experienced bitterness from the little book that tasted so sweet. Now the angel Christ comes and invites him to "rise." Have you ever been discouraged? Isn't it just like our Saviour to invite us to rise? In fact He stands up first.

The sanctuary in heaven has a problem
   Now let's ask our question. Why would the sanctuary in a holy heaven need cleaning? The Hebrew word sadaq also means "vindicated" or "made right." All these properly describe what happened on the day of atonement. The Septuagint (translation into Greek) and the Vulgate (into Latin) both use the equivalent to "cleansed."
   We saw how the language and the items being measured were drawn from the Leviticus description of the day of atonement, and how measuring the people would represent a special kind of judgment. But temple and altar were also to be cleansed. Why would they need measurement or atonement on that special day? We saw that they were still contaminated with the marks of sin (Lev. 16:18, 19) and would now be cleaned, but let's ask a deeper question:

Why those items, and why should the guilt for the sins go into the sanctuary in the first place?
   To answer, let's stand back and look at the sanctuary as a whole. What did it represent? We find the Lamb and bullock, the priest and high priest, the candlestick, the table of shewbread, the laver for washing, and we could go on.  Also sacrifices are made for atonement in the sanctuary services. The whole system is a picture of how God, in Christ, brings us salvation. Christ was in these symbols as the lamb, the priest, the light of the world, the bread and water of life, and so on! (John 1:29; 9:5; 6:51; 4:14)

So how does the uncleanness of the sanctuary figure into the picture?
   "[Christ] Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

   This is not dry, abstract theology, friend. Jesus, who had no sin of his own, took the weight of our sins, that we might enjoy the life that He deserved! The guilt went into the holy sanctuary representing the guilt that was transferred to the sinless Christ.
   Was the sacrifice sufficient? We know it was, but in the challenge from Lucifer and his followers, God would not leave anything open to doubt. How did the eternal sacrifice get recognized as sufficient? Would the Father accept this sacrifice, or would Christ remain eternally cut off for our sins? That question was answered when Christ ascended to the Father after the resurrection ps02407, ac0119. It is reflected in the symbols of Rev. 4 and 5 where the lamb was declared worthy 0509a. You see, our Saviour depended on the testimony of the heavenly beings who had witnessed His life and sacrifice (See jn0854). They said Yes! He was worthy to forgive our sins. For them, the worthiness and victory of Christ in the conflict with sin and its originator was settled.

Beyond forgiveness
   But the test isn't over, as I see it. Christ could forgive, but would His blood actually make sinners clean? Would it empower us to "live unto righteousness"? The answer is revealed by the work of the gospel in your life and mine, and will be demonstrated in a special way in the final ones to be redeemed those symbolized by the 144,000. The sanctuary of Christ's ministry isn't cleansed because His work was inadequate but in order for it to be demonstrated and recognized as adequate.
   So the sanctuary needed cleansing before the end of the yearly cycle, but why the temple and the altar? The altar of incense was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice, representing Christ's death for our sins. And the temple? Remember that the word in Greek is naos reflecting back to the two-room tent in the center of the courtyard. The "tabernacle of the congregation" or "tent of meeting" is referred to frequently. The people never went inside it, although they came before it at times. God told Moses, "Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them" Exodus 25:8. Then, in a special way, God came to dwell among us. For more than 30 years, the Savior of the world walked as a human on this planet! He lived for us as well as died for us. In the tabernacle on earth Christ met the people it was "the tent of meeting." Paul also recognizes the two elements in Christ's work of atonement for us:

   "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." ro0508.

   Christ died to forgive us and, by His sinless life, He removed any excuse for the evil one to claim that sin was necessary. He will also be shown worthy to give us the power to overcome. So as temple and altar were atoned for while the people humbled their hearts, Christ Himself was shown as fit to save us. This is what is happening in Dan. 7:13, 14 since he has been brought "near before" the ancient of days to receive the kingdom. This was the ministry close to the Father, in the Most Holy Place on the day of atonement.
   Let's look at a key verse which you have seen me quote often. I'll add my understanding:

   "If we confess our sins, he is faithful [by his pure life] and just [by his death as the just for the unjust] to forgive us our sins [by his death], and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [by his life and death]". (1 John 1:9)

Precious Saviour!

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