“The Unveiling of Jesus”
IV. Chp. 6-19 The tribulation on earth: (1:19c) “The things which will take place after this”
Chp. 10-14 The middle
“Two witnesses for His kingdom”
II. Vs. 1-14 The ministry, martyrdom and magnificence of two
III. Vs. 15-19 His kingdom come
This chapter is concerned with two witnesses and then the announcement of the upcoming third woe of chapter 8:13 this will have an effect in heaven in three great events. Before the 7th trumpet sounds two witnesses are brought into heaven which signals to all that the final aspect of this unveiling is about to transpire. The Lamb of God is upon His throne and He has loosed the seven seals of the title deed to the earth. This brought forth seven trumpet blasts of judgments, four of which were against the environment and two that were released by the antichrist. At the end of the fourth trumpet an angel announced three woes:
- The first one released two armies of chapter 9
- The second one will be seen in the ministry of these two witnesses in chapter 11.
- The final “woe” will be seen in chapter 12:12 where we are told that “the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
II. Vs. 1-14 The ministry, martyrdom and magnificence of two
Vs. 1-2 John is given a reed to measure the temple, the altar and those who worship there. The length of a reed was around 10 ½ feet. This is interesting in light of the fact that John is told to measure the worshipers as well. Saint’s, apart from Jesus we never measure up in our attempts to worship Him, yet we are told by Jesus that those who worship must do so in spirit and in truth! I believe there are two reasons why John instructed to measure the temple and those that worship there:
- When you measure something you are implying ownership.
- When you measure something you are showing your intentions to change it.
The fact that John is instructed to measure the temple during the tribulation period pre supposes that there will be a temple and as of yet the Jew’s do not have one. No doubt this will be accomplished during the first 3-½ year part of the tribulation as part of the antichrists peace plan. The problem has been just where it will be located seeing that the temple mount is the home of the 3rd most Islamic holy sight the mosque of Omar or the Dome of the Rock. There have been several attempts by zealous Jews and one German to level this mosque in order to make way for the rebuilding of the temple but each time these attempts have failed. There has been another solution brought forward by a professor of physics Dr. Asher Coffman who concludes based upon ancient measurements that the Holy of Holies actually was located 100 meters north of the Dome of the Rock which would place the Dome of the Rock in the court of the Gentiles, (an interesting possibility in light of John being told not to measure that part). Furthermore John is told that the gentiles shall have complete control of Jerusalem for 3 ½ years.
Vs. 3-6 During the time that the gentiles are treading over Jerusalem there will be two witnesses that will be prophesying to the Jews of their need for their Messiah and will authenticate their ministry by a super natural ability to both order God’s judgment and protect themselves from harm. The purpose of their ministry is to, “have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.” They will show God’s displeasure to a sinful world for the length of 3 ½ years. Though this is meant for Israel, the effect of their ministry will be felt around the world, as the world will celebrate their death. Zechariah the prophet sheds some light on these two as he prophesied saying that these two will go forth with shouts of “grace, grace” and that they are the two olive trees on either side that stand before the earth. Zechariah sees these two witnesses as being inconstant supply of the Holy Spirit as he says, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.” Their identification has been debated and it appears that one is Elijah as we are told in Mal. 4:5-6 “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” In Luke 1:17 Jesus spoke of John the Baptist fulfilling part of the ministry at His first coming as he prepared the way of the Lord but clearly there will be another part fulfilled before His second coming. It is the identification of the 2nd person where much of the debate resides:
- Some see him as Moses as he appeared with Elijah on the Mount of transfiguration. The problem with this interpretation is that according to Jude 1:9 Moses died even though there was a dispute over his body it is still appointed for man to once to die and then the judgment.
- The other possibility is that is Enoch the 6th from Adam who we are told in Gen. 5:24 walked with God and was not for God took him.
Vs. 7-10 The antichrist will be in constant battle with these two witnesses especially over the temple. The event of these verses happens when their testimony is finished (verse 7) no doubt to further the worlds delusions, (perhaps this is what Paul refers to in 2 Thess. 2:11 where he says that, “God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie”). Jesus also predicted this in Matt. 24:24 saying that “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” In Rev. 13:4 the deceived world will marvel at the antichrist’s seeming invincibility saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” In Psalm 79:1-3 we are told that “O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps. The dead bodies of Your servants They have given as food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, And there was no one to bury them.” This event then would be the fulfillment of these verses. The overall spiritual condition of Jerusalem at this time is likened to Sodom and Egypt. The whole world will watch in praise of the death of these two witnesses through mass communication, T.V., computers, smart phones etc. (something thought impossible 75 years ago) celebrating their death in an anti-Christmas manor exchanging gifts.
Vs. 11-14 As the world celebrates while the two witnesses bodies lay in the street of Jerusalem for 3 ½ days. They are not allowed to be buried (perhaps for fear that someone would take their bodies and claim a resurrection). But in full view of the world God will breathe His breath back into them accompanied by an earthquake, no wonder great fear will fall upon all. At their ascension it is their enemies who watch them while 1/10 of the rebuilt city is destroyed and 7000 people die as the rest attempt to glorify God.
III. Vs. 15-19 His kingdom come
Vs. 15 As this 7th trumpet is about to sound the judgments of God will happen in rapid-fire succession preparing for the 2nd coming of Christ. Judgment may be happening on earth but the sound of the 7th trumpet insights praise in heaven as the reality that earth will no longer be under any other control than that of who created it. Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in Matt. 4:8-9 if He would just worship him. In answer to this Jesus just quietly offered up His life for the Kingdoms of the world. It is our resurrected ascended savior, Jesus, that the psalmist wrote of in Psalm 2:8 saying, “I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.” Right now Jesus reigns over a kingdom according to John 18:36 “not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but NOW My kingdom is not from here.” Notice that Jesus said that “now” his kingdom is not from here, He did not say that it never would be as we read in this verse that it shall be. Paul spoke of this in 1 Cor. 15:24 where he said, “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.” There are two reasons for this praise in heaven:
- The fact that the world will lie under Jesus sovereign control.
- The fact that His control will never end.
Chapters 7:16-17 and 21:4-5 describe Jesus’ reign as a time when:
- There will be no more hunger or thirst
- A time when He will lead us to the fountains of living water and wipe away every tear.
- A time when there will be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain, a time when He will make all things new!
For us believers as He reigns and rules over the world His laws will already be written upon our hearts!
Vs. 16-17 The 24 elders are mentioned in this book 6 times and only in 4:4 do we see them not doing what they are here, worshiping. The worship is centered around the work of the Lord on our behalf. God is always active even though we often in believe he isn’t, He never sleeps nor slumbers. Three aspects of His nature are praised here:
- Vs. 17a He is called the almighty: According to His nature there is nothing He cannot do, neither is there anything outside His authority to perform. Even though we do not always understand His loving sovereignty as He allows certain things to come upon our lives we must not think him impudent.
- Vs. 17b Next His eternal nature is praised: There is nothing outside of His understanding as He has always been and always will be. Our Father always knows best for me.
- Vs. 17c He has taken His great power and reigned: The power spoken of here deals with ability not authority. It is a horrible thing for a person to have great power but not know how to use it. In Jesus we see great power and ability to use it for the benefit of others.
Vs. 18-19 What do the nations have to be so angry, He sends the rain upon the just and the unjust and gives equally to all the chance to receive His love. In Psalm 2:1-3 we are given the reason for their anger as we are told “Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” They are angry because they want their own way, to worship things that only destroy them, who go after pleasures that eat away their very lives. Finally we are given the final features to this book:
- Vs. 18a “Your wrath has come”: A time of God’s wrath
- Vs. 18b “And the time of the dead, that they should be judged”: A time when the dead will be judged
- Vs. 18c “And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great”: A time of great reward for those who worship the Lord.
- “And should destroy those who destroy the earth”: A time when those who destroy His creation are themselves destroyed.
- Vs. 19 “Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail”: The opening of the heavenly temple.
This chapter opened with the opening of the earthly temple and closes with the opening of the heavenly temple. The first is just a copy but we wait for the original not made with the hands of man but rather the hand of God.