*Below is Pastor Andrew’s preaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
Overview ch. 10 and the commissioning of John
Possible approaches to this text:
The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation The Major Interpretations _G.K. Beale
There are at least five broad interpretations of these two verses, and variants of each.
1. The dispensational futurist understanding of Revelation, along with some modified futurist views, projects these verses into the time of tribulation immediately preceding Christ’s final parousia. Some commentators interpret the whole chapter in a more thoroughgoing literal manner than others.239 Typically, the temple and the altar are taken as referring to a literal restored temple in the literal “holy city” of Jerusalem. “Those worshiping in it” are a remnant of believing ethnic Jews. The measuring of temple, altar, and worshipers indicates that they will be physically protected by God, though there are differing interpretations of this. For example, on analogy with the use of “rod” in 2:27; 12:5; and 19:15, Seiss proposes that the idea is chastisement of Jewish believers for the purpose of sanctification. But those other uses of “rod” refer to judgment of unbelievers and are citations of Ps. 2:9, whereas 11:1 alludes to Ezekiel 40ff. (see below). Accordingly, the “outer court” is usually identified with Gentiles who will persecute the remnant and overrun a literal Jerusalem during a literal forty-two month period.
2. The preterist understanding of Revelation takes a similar literal approach, also viewing the temple, altar, and outer court as an actual cultic complex in Jerusalem, but not of the future. What is portrayed is events occurring before and during the literal destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
3. Some modified futurist perspectives relegate the narrative to the future, like view 1 above, but understand the descriptions figuratively. The images of the sanctuary, the altar, and the worshipers refer to those within ethnic Israel whose salvation is secured at the end of history by the “measuring.” The outer court and the holy city represent Jewish unbelievers, whose salvation will not be secured. Both groups will undergo persecution and suffering for about forty-two months.
4. Another position is similar but does not relegate the scene to the future. It identifies the outer court with the professing but apostate church, which will be deceived and will align itself with unbelieving persecutors of the true, spiritual Israel. This view has broad contextual merit, since John has already acknowledged that some in the churches may not prove to be genuine worshipers of God (e.g., 2:6, 14–16, 20–23; 3:1–3, 16). Furthermore, NT uses of “cast outside” (ἐκβάλλω with ἔξω) can have the negative sense of exclusion from the true community of faith (Matt. 5:13; Luke 13:28; 14:35; John 6:37; 12:31; 15:6).
5. A final view also understands the text figuratively but interprets the outer court as the physical expression of the true, spiritual Israel which is susceptible to harm. This view is linguistically allowable because “cast outside” can also refer to what happens to God’s true people as they are rejected and persecuted by the unbelieving world (Matt. 21:39; Mark 12:8; Luke 4:29; 20:15; John 9:34–35; Acts 7:58; cf. 1 Macc. 7:16–17; Jos. War 4.316–17; Heb. 13:11–12). The significance of the measuring means that their salvation is secured, despite physical harm that they suffer. This is a further development of the “sealing” in 7:2–8 and is consistent with 1 En. 61:1–5, where the angelic “measuring” of the righteous elect ensures that their faith will be strengthened and not destroyed, despite the destruction of their bodies. In the OT “measuring” is used as a metaphor for a decree of protection (e.g., 2 Sam. 8:2; Isa. 28:16–17; Jer. 31:38–40; Ezek. 29:6 LXX; Zech. 1:16) or of judgment (e.g., 2 Sam. 8:2; 2 Kgs. 21:13; Lam. 2:8; Amos 7:7–9). Interestingly, Mic. 2:5 refers to Israelites who will not be protected from God’s coming judgment by saying that “you will have no one casting a measuring line for you by lot in the assembly of the LORD.”
I. God’s Messenger Sent (1-3)
Revelation 11:1–3 ESV
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Ezekiel Connection : Chapter 10 saw a retelling of John’s Commission through the lens of Ezekiel (1-3) Now we see the ending of Ezekiel play out in eschatological terms as He is sent to proclaim the judgments of God.
The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation Elaboration of the Figurative View against the Background of Ezekiel 40–48 -G.K. Beale
In Revelation 11 the measuring connotes God’s presence, which is guaranteed to be with the temple community living on earth before the consummation. The faith of his people will be upheld by his presence, since without faith there can be no divine presence. No aberrant theological or ethical influences will be able to spoil or contaminate their true faith or worship. In ch. 11 this means that the promise of God’s eschatological presence begins with the establishment of the Christian community. The command to measure is to be viewed from God’s perspective as representing a decree already enacted prior to the issuing of the command. Even before the church age began, God made a decree that secured the salvation of all people who would become genuine members of the church. Therefore, the measuring has the same meaning as the sealing in 7:3–8 (see on 7:3).
-Like the sealing we see that God’s People are secured, yet trampled on
II. God’s Witnesses Proclaim (4-6)
Revelation 11:4–6 ESV
These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.
-The two Witness are first reveled in Zech 4.
Zechariah 4 ESV
And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’ ” Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. “These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.” Then I said to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?” And a second time I answered and said to him, “What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil is poured out?” He said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
-The Word is proclaimed while in Exile (the Length of time the witness prophesy matches the assessment of 42 months a number that mirrors the Israelite time in the wilderness.
-Their Words will harden the Peoples hearts toward God.
-Their Words will confirm God’s Plan
-Their words will bring Judgment
III. God’s Witnesses Rejected (7-13)
Revelation 11:7–13 ESV
And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
– The Words of the church will remain until the end.
-An apparent victory by the world will lead to it’s very destruction
-The world will rejoice in the apparent death of the Saints, and yet the very thing they have longed for will be given to them in full.
IV. God’s Kingdom Reigns (14-19)
Revelation 11:14–19 ESV
The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come. Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
-The Lord brings His swift judgment upon the world’s wickedness.
-The heavens rejoice as God answers the prayers of the Saints from chapter 6.
-God’s Kingdom is inaugurated
-The Silence of heaven is now matched with the shouts and praise of heaven