Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Chapter ten and the first part of chapter eleven are an insertion between the sixth and seventh trumpets. In chapter ten we have a clear vision of Christ coming back to take possession of the earth. In chapter eleven we have a vision crucial to the prophecy of this book. As we consider this vision, three main items must be kept in mind: the time, the place, and the people. The length of time covered in this vision is forty-two months (v. 2). These forty-two months are twelve hundred and sixty days (v. 3). Undoubtedly, this is a reference to the verses in the book of Daniel where there is mention of the three and a half years, the second half of the last of the seventy weeks (Dan. 12:7; 7:26; 9:27). In Revelation we have the fulfillment of what is mentioned in Daniel. The place in this vision is the city of Jerusalem, which, according to the book of Daniel, will be given over to the Gentiles, mainly to Antichrist. When Antichrist breaks the agreement made with Israel for seven years (Dan. 9:27), he will persecute the Jews and force them to discontinue the worship of God (Rev. 13:7; Dan. 7:21; 8:11-12). From the side of Antichrist, he will seize control of Jerusalem, but from God’s side, God will give Jerusalem over to him. This means God will allow Antichrist to do whatever he desires to the city of Jerusalem.
During these forty-two months in the city of Jerusalem, there will be the two witnesses, who are the two olive trees and two lampstands and who, clothed in sackcloth (vv. 3-4), will prophesy. As we shall see, these two witnesses will not be new people, but two who were present in Old Testament times—Moses and Elijah. In Revelation 11 these two witnesses “stand before the Lord of the earth” (v. 4). As we come to this portion of the Word, we must keep these three things in mind—the time, the place, and the witnesses.
Verse 2 says that the nations “will trample under foot the holy city forty-two months.” At the end of this age, Antichrist will make a firm covenant with the Jews for a week (seven years), which will be the last week of the seventy weeks God appointed for the Jewish nation in Daniel 9:24-27. In the middle of the last week (that is, after the first half of the seven years), Antichrist will break the covenant and will destroy the worship of God (Dan. 9:27). Then he will blaspheme God and persecute His people for three and a half years (13:5-7; Dan. 7:25; 12:7), which will be the forty-two months, the twelve hundred sixty days, mentioned here and the last half of the last week in Daniel 9:27, when Antichrist will also destroy the holy city Jerusalem. According to Matthew 24:15 and 21, these last three and a half years must be the time of the great tribulation.
In verses 1 and 2 we read of the treading of Jerusalem: “And there was given to me a reed like a rod, and he said, Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship in it. And the court which is outside of the temple cast out and do not measure it, because it has been given to the nations, and they will trample under foot the holy city forty-two months.” A reed is for measuring (21:15; Ezek. 40:3; 42:16-19), whereas a rod implies punishment (Prov. 10:13; Isa. 10:5; 11:4). Hence, “a reed like a rod” here indicates measuring with punishment. To measure is to sanctify, to preserve, and to possess (Num. 35:2, 5; Ezek. 45:1-3; 42:15, 20; 48:8, 12, 15). The altar in verse 1 refers to the golden altar of incense, because it is with the temple, not the brass altar of sacrifice in “the court which is outside of the temple” (v. 2). The court in verse 2 is on the earth. The holy city here refers to the earthly Jerusalem (Isa. 52:1; Matt. 27:53).
The apostle John was told to measure the temple of God and the altar. Undoubtedly, this is the temple and altar in the heavens. This measuring indicates that the heavens will be preserved from being damaged. During these three and a half years, heaven will be preserved because Satan will be cast out of heaven and down to earth. Because the man-child will have been raptured to heaven, there will no longer be any place for Satan there. Wherever the overcomers are, there is no room for Satan. The overcomers will fight upward into heaven, and, once there, war will rage between them and Satan. Satan will be defeated and cast down to earth. Then Christ and the overcomers will fight downward to the earth until they reach Armageddon and destroy the army of Antichrist. In the last three and a half years there will be no trace of Satan in heaven, and heaven will be wholly preserved. At that time, Satan, Antichrist, and the false prophet, a devilish company, will be on earth doing everything possible to corrupt it.
While the temple of God in heaven will be measured, “the court which is outside of the temple” will be “cast out” and not measured (v. 2) “because it has been given to the nations, and they will trample under foot the holy city forty-two months.” Here we see that the earthly temple, Jerusalem on earth, will be given over to destruction by Antichrist and the nations.
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