Sunday, September 6, 2009

Revelation 11:1-2

Chapter 11

Now we will meet two people called the witnesses. Speculation is rampant as to who these are. In Malachi 4:4 God says, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Some people thought John the Baptist was Elijah and asked him about it. "And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? (Greek for Elijah) And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." John 1:21.

John the Baptist did come in the spirit of Elijah, "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Luke 1:17. Jesus said that had people been willing to receive Him, that John would have been the promised Elijah, "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." Matt. 11:14. "And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? and Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them." Matt. 17:10-12. So here Christ said that John could have been Elijah, but also that Elijah will truly come first and restore all things. These passages leave us with two options, either the real Elijah will come, or someone like John who comes in the spirit and power of Elijah will come. I prefer not to state dogmatically which it is, as I do not think the scriptures will allow that. They do point in a certain direction, but that is not enough to be one hundred percent positive.

Elijah was taken into heaven without dying, 2 Kings 2:11. There must have been a reason for this, but it does not have to be that it is because he will return in the end times. Then again, it might be. No one can tell for certain. The second witness is even more of a game of speculation. The prophecy teachers at large (who use a literal translation) have two candidates. The first is Enoch, because he was also taken without dying, (Gen. 5:24), and prophesied about the Second Coming (Jude 14-15), which was odd considering that he was an antediluvian. As he lived in a world that was just like ours, was preaching before the wrath of God was poured out on the entire world the first time, prophesied about the Second Coming, and did not die, it was thought that he must be the other candidate as Elijah and Enoch were the only two people who never died.

The other candidate is Moses. He was chosen because he represents the Law. Elijah represents the prophets. These two candidates have been chosen by the prophecy teachers because they represent the Law and the Prophets. This reasoning comes first from when Moses and Elijah were seen with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. It is assumed by many that since they were there, they are the two olive trees that stand by the Lord (will be discussed in verse 4). Therefore they will also be here at the end witnessing and prophesying. The reasoning also comes from the fact that both Elijah and Moses called down plagues on the people, which is what the witnesses will do here. One of the obstacles that the proponents of Moses have to overcome is the fact that Moses died and was buried, (Deut. 34:5-6), and these two witnesses will be killed. Man is supposed to be appointed to death only once, Heb. 9:27. So this is a dilemma. While I can understand the reasoning for choosing the candidates, I prefer to stay neutral as to who these two are. I'll make up my mind after they are here and introduce themselves.

Only for the sake of being informed, will I present the following info: some people who do not take the Bible literally see these two witnesses as being the church. Since the two are killed and lie in the street in Jerusalem for three days being seen by the people around the world, I find it strange that anyone could interpret it that way, but people will twist the scriptures in some unbelievable ways to accommodate their belief system.

Verse 1-2 "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,. 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."

First, for anyone who does not believe there is going to be a literal rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, here is the proof that there will be one. The angel (presumably it is still Christ) tells John to measure the temple and the altar. And to count or take note of those that are worshiping there. One cannot worship at a temple that does not exist or measure it either for that matter. Therefore, a temple exists. The courtyard outside of the temple, however, does not exist as it did in Biblical times. It is being trodden on by the Gentiles. This includes anyone who is not Jewish, i.e. Muslims as well as others. The Temple Mount, as everyone knows, is a highly contested area as to whom it belongs. Everyone knows that the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque are there. This verse tells us that there will only be a small temple building that will be rebuilt. There will not be the various courtyards that usually attend the temple. Because of this, we can assume that it may very well go up in that one section on the north side that has no building on it at present, next to the Dome of the Rock. The Dome does not have to come down as some think in order for the temple to go up. It merely requires the Muslims letting it happen.

The next thing to cover has been covered before when studying the Second Coming. Back them we learned about the forty-two months in which Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the blindness was lifted from Israel's eyes by the Second Coming of Christ. If there is a recap needed on this, here it is again.

Luke 21:20-24, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Romans 11:25-26a, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved."

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."

When the armies encompass Jerusalem, and the abomination of desolation is at hand, the Jews in Judea are told to run for the mountains. In Matthew they are told to not even go back into the house for anything. It is that crucial that they make haste to escape. This tells us that this happens at the midpoint when the abomination of desolation occurs. From that point on, Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. This verse in Revelation says that the court of the temple will be given to the Gentiles, as well as the holy city, to be trodden down by the Gentiles for forty-two months. Paul says in Romans that Israel will be blind until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. So Israel will be blind until sometime after the forty-two months have passed. Israel's blindness is lifted when they see "Him whom they have pierced" coming in His glory. Zech. 12:10, Rev. 1:7. This is the Second Coming.

Antichrist's reign ends at the time all of this happens. He will be destroyed at the Second Coming. 2 Thess. 2:8 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." So the Second Coming comes closely on the heels of the end of the forty-two months after the abomination of desolation. The Second Coming does not have to come exactly to the day (1260) for antichrist's reign to end. We saw Christ plant his feet on the earth and claim it. That was the end of antichrist's reign. He will hang around without reigning until the Lord comes to destroy him (which will not be long in coming). As Antichrist's reign is for forty-two months, or time, times, and dividing of a time (Dan. 7:25), all of this tells us that what we are about to study in chapter 11 takes place in the time frame of the forty-two months between the abomination of desolation and the Second Coming of Christ, and during antichrist's reign. We are given all of this information so that we can know the setting for the scene which we are about to see.

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