Revelation 11:1-3

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Rev 11:1  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.
Rev 11:2  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.
Rev 11:3  And I will give [ power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [ and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Introduction

We cannot begin our study of this 11th chapter without reminding ourselves of how chapter ten ends.

Rev 10:10  And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
Rev 10:11  And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

So John takes the little book, which we have established to be Christ and His words in us, and He eats the little book which, while sweet in his mouth becomes bitter in his belly. Then He is told that he will yet prophecy before many people, nations and tongues and kings.
It is immediately after this statement that John is told to measure the temple, but leave out the court of the temple because it will be trodden under foot by the Gentiles for 42 months. It is at this juncture that the two witnesses are introduced into our narrative, and we are told they will witness for 1260 days, which just happens to be another way of saying 42 months.
If all we see in all of this is the symbols, then we will never understand the message contained in the symbols. But we know that the angel who hands John the little book is Christ. We know that the little book is Christ’s words. We know that eating those words is the symbol of believing and living those words. We know that John is the symbol for all of God’s elect who do prophesy before this world. We know that his mouth is our mouth if we are His elect. We know that the mouth speaks what comes from the heart. We know that the belly is our old fleshly desires until our desires become Christ’s desires:

Rom 16:18  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Joh 7:38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Mat 12:34  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Mat 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Rev 10 ends with John eating the words of the little book. The little book is sweet in his mouth and bitter in his belly. John and the angels of this prophesy symbolize us.

Rev 19:10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [ thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

… and he is told that he will now prophesy for Christ, the words of this little book full of lamentations, mourning and woe. “The testimony of Jesus Christ, is the spirit of prophecy… You must prophecy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” demonstrates that it is the words of this little book which will come out from our our mouths and which are “bitter in our bellies” as we experience the “hatred of all men” as they hear these words of “lamentations, mourning and woe” which we ourselves have lived. Yet they are at the same time “rivers of living waters” coming straight from the river of Life, which is Christ, who gave this little book to us. If we are in Him, we are both the books out of which we are judged (Rev 20:12) and rivers of living waters (Joh 7:38).
This eleventh chapter of Revelation gives us a heads up on what we can expect when we “prophecy before many people.”
The symbols of the first verse are 1) a reed like a rod, 2) the temple of God, 3) the altar of God, 4) them that worship in that temple.

Rev 11:1  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.

The symbols of the second verse are 5) the court without the temple, 6) the Gentiles, 7) the holy city and 8) forty and two months.

Rev 11:2  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.

The symbols of the third verse are 9) My two witnesses, 10) a thousand two hundred and three score days, and 11) clothed in sackcloth.

Rev 11:3  And I will give [ power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [ and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

1) A reed like a rod

“A reed” is found here in this prophecy twice, and both entries are in reference to a measuring device.

Rev 11:1  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.
Rev 21:15  And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

“A rod” is used in scripture as connoting discipline, an authority. Here is a typical verse using this same Greek word.

1Co 4:21  What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Paul is not contrasting a rod with love. As any parent with their children, he simply does not enjoy having to discipline his children when he first gets home from work. Here is how a rod is part of love, just as discipline is a very necessary part of love.

2Sa 7:14  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
2Sa 7:15  But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took [ it] from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

This is the word used to describe the rulership of God’s elect during the millennium.

Rev 2:26  And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 2:27  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

So a rod signifies discipline and chastening. But in the verse under consideration, it is mentioned in conjunction with a measuring reed, “a reed like unto a rod”. In other words, Christ and His Words are our measuring reed, and if we do not measure up to those words, we are being measured or disciplined. That is why is is called “a reed like unto a rod”. This “reed like a rod” signifies “chastening with the rod” as contrasted with the reed with which the holy city is measured.

Rev 21:15  And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

Here is the setting for this verse:

Rev 21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [ is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [ and be] their God.
Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The rod and the discipline are now past, and the reed is not “like unto a rod.” Rather it is now “a golden reed to measure the city”.
In the verse here in chapter 11 it is “a reed like unto a rod” because the struggles against our old man and the doctrines of Babylon in this life are in full bloom.

2) The temple of God

John, the symbol of all those to whom it is given to keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book, is given “a reed like unto a rod” and is instructed to “measure the temple of God and the altar and them that worship therein.”
We have been over this symbol many times already and will quote these two verses to remind us what is “the power of the spirit” when using these words ‘the temple of God.”

1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

3) The altar of God

Again, the altar is at the temple and in the temple. We have demonstrated many times that the altar is where we lay down our lives in sacrifice to God. The Israelites were to “lay their hands on the head” of the sacrifice to indicate that they identified with the offering of that sacrifice.

Lev 4:15  And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD.

So too, we are instructed in the New Testament:

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, t hat ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

So the spiritual significance of this symbol is the cross, where we lay our lives down as “a living sacrifice.”

4) Them that worship therein

Rev 11:1  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.

Our “worship” is our obedience:

1Sa 15:22  And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
1Sa 15:23  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

It is a reverence for God’s Word which constitutes true worship. Our goal is to seek to know and do all that He wants us to do. In order to “worship therein”, in order to worship God in His temple, we must know “the doctrine of Christ… in spirit” and beyond just its basic principles and beyond just the milk of that doctrine.

Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24  God [ is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [ am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Heb 6:1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Heb 6:2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Heb 6:3  And this will we do, if God permit.

We are all “carnal babes in Christ… unskilful in the word of righteousness” at first. But it is the “reed like unto a rod” that brings us into the temple and causes us “go on unto perfection” as “them that worship therein” “in spirit and in Truth.”
The “reed like unto a rod and the golden reed to measure the holy city; the book in the hand of the man on the throne and the little book in the hand of the mighty angel” are one and all, Christ and His work in us.

The symbols of the second verse are…

5) The court without the temple

Rev 11:2  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.

We will not spend a great deal of time on this symbol because again we have demonstrated already that the court without the temple is where the masses of God’s people were permitted to come to make their physical sacrifices. Yet neither the people nor even the Levites themselves were permitted to go beyond the court nor to enter into the temple, nor to handle the holy things unless they were the sons of the high priest, Aaron.

Num 18:1  And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.
Num 18:2  And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.
Num 18:3  And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.
Num 18:4  And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.
Num 18:5  And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.
Num 18:6  And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Num 18:7  Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

Not even the sons of Aaron could do the service of the Temple if they were blemished in any way.

Lev 21:16  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Lev 21:17  Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
Lev 21:18  For whatsoever man [ he be] that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
Lev 21:19  Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
Lev 21:20  Or crookback, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
Lev 21:21  No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
Lev 21:22  He shall eat the bread of his God, [ both] of the most holy, and of the holy.
Lev 21:23  Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them.

So we should always expect to be hated of our brothers, accused of thinking we know God better than they do, and accused of separating ourselves from their company when the reverse is the Truth.

Gen 37:4  And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
Rom 9:11  (For [ the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Rom 9:14  What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
Rom 9:15  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

“I… I… I… I”. It is God who decides upon whom He will be merciful and compassionate, and it is God who also decides “who He will harden”.

Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

So it is God who decides who “worships in the temple” and who is “the Gentiles in the court.” So who are

6) The Gentiles?

In scriptural terms there are only two groups of people, and those two groups are Jews and Gentiles. So once we establish who is the one group, we will know automatically who the other group is. From Rev 11:2 and the rest of scripture, we know that no Gentile is ever allowed to enter into the temple of God. So it is essential that we come to know who scripturally is a Jew and who scripturally is a Gentile.
Before we look at the verses which give us our answer to this question, let’s remember what Christ told the Samaritan ‘woman at the well.’

Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

If we can believe Christ, then we can believe Paul when Paul agrees with Christ when he tells us this.

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise [ is] not of men, but of God.

It is given to very few to believe that an outward physical Jew “is not a Jew” in the eyes of God. But that is nevertheless, the doctrine of scripture. Here is how Paul presents this same truth in Eph 2.

Eph 2:11  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

“Both are now one” and the fact that “there is neither Jew nor Gentile” does not mean that there are no longer Jews in Christ. What it does mean is that those who were once excluded by virtue of physical birth can now be “called uncircumcision” and are now ‘the true circumcision’ if they are in Christ.

Gal 6:15  Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do– submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life!
Gal 6:16  All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God— his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them! (MSG)

So those who walk by Christ’s rules are the true Jews, and those who say ‘Lord, Lord’, but do not do the things He says are the true Gentiles.

1Co 10:20  But I [ say], that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

All false doctrines are “the sacrifice of the Gentiles… to devils.” It is all explained in this same second chapter of Romans quoted earlier, where we are told that “an outward Jew is not a Jew”.

Rom 2:9  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Rom 2:10  But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
Rom 2:11  For there is no respect of persons with God.

Rev 11:2  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.

Our next question is…

7) What is the holy city?

If the scriptures are true and “he is not a Jew which is one outwardly”, then it is also true that Jerusalem is not Jerusalem which is outward, but the holy city also “is inward, in spirit, and not in the flesh.”
We have already demonstrated that whatever is under one’s feet has been subdued by that person. So our question is:  what is the holy city which is trodden under the foot of the Gentiles for forty and two months?
While the whole world waits for physical Jerusalem to be conquered by the Gentiles, the truth of God’s Word is that “the time was at hand [2,000 years ago for] the holy city” to be “trodden under the foot of the Gentiles”,  and it has always been being trodden under the feet of the Gentiles inwardly, just as surely as “he is a Jew which is one inwardly.”

Rev 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

So what is “the holy city” which is at this very moment being trodden under the feet of the Gentiles? It is all those who are true to Christ. The holy city is those who are faithful to Christ and His doctrines. The holy city is the bride of Christ. Here are those who are today being trodden under the foot of the Gentiles.

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Rev 21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Christ’s “bride” is the same as God’s “dwelling place”, and that dwelling place is within us.

1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The “New Jerusalem” is “the tabernacle of God.” So if you and I are God’s elect, then the tabernacle of God, the New Jerusalem, is within God’s elect, as indeed the whole of “the kingdom of God is within you”.

Luk 17:20  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

It is those who are true to the name and doctrines of Christ, those who are “hated of all men” (Mat 10:22), who are “trodden under the feet of the Gentiles forty and two months.” But exactly…

8) What is forty and two months?

Forty and two months is the same as one thousand two hundred and sixty days. That just happens to be the same length of time God’s “two witnesses” are alloted to do their witnessing. It is not called ‘forty and two months’, but it is the same span of time expressed in days instead of months.

Rev 11:3  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

It is also the same thing as “a time, times, and half a time” or three and one half years. We will discuss those words and that way of wording this span of time when we come to them.
It is most instructive now to notice that the time alloted to the beast to blaspheme the name of God is the exact same span of time alloted to the Gentiles to trod the court of the temple under foot, and it is expressed in the same words.

Rev 13:5  And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

As Joseph told the Pharaoh, “the dream is one” (Gen 41:25).

Gen 41:25  And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
Gen 41:26  The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.

The time God’s elect are trodden under the feet of the Gentiles and the time the beast blasphemes the name of God are also the same length of time, and just as Joseph and all Egypt lived through both the years of plenty and the years of famine, we also live through the years of blaspheming the name of God and the period of being trodden under the feet of those who blaspheme the name of God.

1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22  Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

So we are first “the children of disobedience” who “tread under foot the court of the temple” and kill God’s elect. Afterward, if God is merciful, we are transformed into those who, as our Lord was, are the temple of God and who are tread upon and spat upon by ‘the Gentiles’.

Mar 14:65  And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.
Heb 13:13  Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

The symbols of the third verse are…

9) My two witnesses

Rev 11:3  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Christ tells us that we are never to condemn or judge a brother at the word of a single witness. Instead our judgments are to be based on the witness of “two or three.”

Mat 18:16  But if he will not hear [ thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
2Co 13:1  This [ is] the third [ time] I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

Peter tells us that this principle is also to be used when reading the Word of God.

2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private [ Greek – idios, its own] interpretation.

Since the revelation of Jesus Christ is to be read, heard and kept because the time to do so has been “at hand” for the past two thousand years, God’s two witnesses are, and always have been, any and all who remain faithful to the Word of God. This will become especially clear in our consideration of the “two olive trees” in next week’s study.

10) A thousand two hundred and three score days

As mentioned above, it is not a coincidence that the period of time alloted to these two witnesses, is the same period of time alloted to those who trod under foot the court without the temple. The wording is different but the time and the message is the same. Instead of ‘forty and two months’ as the trodding of the temple court and the time of the blaspheming of the beast, the time alloted to God’s two witnesses is expressed as a thousand two hundred and three score days. These are the same words used to express the three and one half years the “woman [ who] brings forth a manchild” is nourished in a place “prepared of God… in the wilderness.

Rev 12:6  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [ and] threescore days.

What is the spiritual significance of this period of time? If seven is the Biblical number signifying that which is complete, then 1260 days or forty and two months, or a time, times and half a time, are all symbols of that which is only half completed. But if, as the scriptures declare, Christ’s testimony was cut short “in the midst of the week” of years, then His testimony, as well as His afflictions, are filled up in us as “His body which is the church.”

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Col 1:25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Dan 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

“The word of God” and “the afflictions of the Christ” are both “fulfilled [ and] filled up in our bodies which are the church.”
Our last symbol in this week’s study of these first three verses of Rev 10 is…

11) Clothed in sackcloth

Why are we told that God’s two witnesses are “clothed in sackcloth”?

In scripture, sackcloth is the attire of those in deep mourning. Here is the first time in scripture this phrase is used, and it makes clear the meaning of “clothed in sackcloth”. It is the story of Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery and leading Jacob to believe that Joseph had been killed by a beast. Here is Jacob’s reaction to that terrible lie.

Gen 37:34  And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

When Joab maliciously murdered King Saul’s captain, King David forced Joab to mourn for Abner.

2Sa 3:31  And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David [ himself] followed the bier.

But the question remains, why are God’s two witnesses “clothed in sackcloth”? If we can remember, this is all still part of the sixth trumpet, and the reason these symbolic “two witnesses” are “clothed in sackcloth” as the symbol of those who witness to what they have “read, heard, and kept [ in] the things which are written therein” and in that “little book in the hand of the great angel”, is because of what is in that little book.

Eze 2:9  And when I looked, behold, an hand was] sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
Eze 2:10  And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.

This is what Christ calls “gold tried in the fire”, but it is not a marketable commodity for the natural man.

Rev 3:18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [ that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

This 18th verse of Rev 3 is addressed to the church of Laodicea and to “he that hath an ear to hear.” In other words, it is for you and me, if indeed we have been so blessed. The message is that we all think, like the church at Laodicea, that we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, when in reality we are poor and miserable and naked and blind, before we repent and buy of God gold tried in the fire and eyesalve that we may see.

Summary

We have covered 11 symbols in this study.

The symbols of the first verse are 1) a reed like a rod, which we saw was an implement for measuring, and we saw that Christ is the reed by which those who are in His temple will be measured
2) The temple of God was our second symbol and we reviewed the verses in 1Co 3 which state plainly that we are that temple and that the spirit of God dwells in that temple.
3) The altar of God, our third symbol, we saw again is the cross and is the symbol of our lives being offered to God as a living sacrifice.
4) Them that worship in that temple is our fourth symbol, and is the symbol not just of us, but of all the kingdoms, powers and principalities within us which must all be subdued and placed under the foot of the great angel with His foot on the sea and the earth. “Them that worship therein” are the doctrines within us which must be subject to the doctrine of Christ.

Rev 11:1  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.

The symbols of the second verse were:

5) The court without the temple, which we saw was that part of our own lives when we are “without the temple” and are not yet the sons of Aaron and are not yet worthy to handle the holy implements of the temple. “The court that is without the temple” symbolizes that part of our life when we are “yet carnal… babes in Christ”, unable to receive anything more than the milk of the word.
6) The Gentiles, were our sixth symbol, and they symbolize the same thing as those who are in the court which is without the temple. Gentiles symbolize all who are incapable of receiving the things of the spirit.
7) The holy city is our seventh symbol, and we saw that it symbolizes the bride of Christ, who is subjected to whoredoms before she becomes Christ’s bride.
8) Forty and two months.

Rev 11:2  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.

We saw that this length of time is the same as three and one half years, and we saw that three and one half  years is half of the complete witness of seven years.
The symbols of the third verse are:
9) My two witnesses, which we saw are simply the Biblical symbol for those who, down through the years, have been the faithful witnesses to the truths of the doctrines of Christ. We saw the scriptures which demonstrated that God requires a second witness to establish the truth of any question which arises, including questions concerning His own Word.

Our tenth symbol was:

10) A thousand two hundred and three score days, and we demonstrated that these words describe the same period of time as forty and two months, but are used in describing the time alloted to the two witnesses and the period in which the woman who brings forth the manchild is nourished of God. We pointed out that the one thousand two hundred and sixty days of God’s witnesses, corresponds to the forty and two months of the time alloted to tread down the court of the temple, and we were reminded that Joseph told the Pharaoh, that the different details of Pharaoh’s dream were really saying the same thing. That being the case we, like Joseph, will live through both the time of the treading down of the court without the temple, as well as the time alloted to the two witnesses, just as Joseph lived through both the good years and the years of famine. “All things are yours” (1Co 3:21-22).

Our last symbol was:

11) Clothed in sackcloth. We demonstrated that this symbol is completely compatible with the “lamentations, mourning and woe” revealed in the writings of the little book with which this sixth trumpet is concerned.

Rev 11:3  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Eze 2:9  And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
Eze 2:10  And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.

As even King David mourned the loss of King Saul, we too, will morn the loss of and the destruction of our old man, who is also God’s anointed, the first Adam.
Next week, Lord willing, we will discover the power of the testimony of the two witnesses.

Rev 11:4  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5  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.
Rev 11:6  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.

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