According to Paul, the church is God’s temple. He wrote, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). A similar message was written in Ephesians 2:19-22.
The persecution and suffering of the church that is part of the end-time prophecy also includes the preservation of the church.
The measuring of the temple corresponds to a vision given to Ezekiel (chapters 40-42) and is a symbolic way of declaring God’s care for his church.
Let’s remember that talk of the church does not refer to a building or an organization, but the worshiping followers of Jesus.
John’s vision included the measuring of two aspects of the temple.
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there (Revelation 11.1).
The first measure of the temple indicated how God will give spiritual sanctuary to faithful believers against the demonic assault of the Antichrist.
The second aspect concerning the temple was a command to not measure the outside.
But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months (Revelation 11.2).
Similar to the sweet and sour message of chapter 10, the measuring reveals that the church is to be oppressed by the beast of the Abyss, but it will not be destroyed.
Jesus told Peter that the enemy would attempt to destroy the church, but be unable to succeed.
He said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
Jesus also told his followers, “They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the times of the nations are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
Note, the 42 months or 1,260 days is the same period of suffering under Syrian, Antiochus Epiphanes is 167-164 B.C. It became the standard symbol for that limited period of time during which evil would be allowed free reign.
The Two Witnesses
As the church is severely persecuted for 1,260 days, they will stand as a witness to the nations.
“And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days, wearing sackcloth” (Revelation 11.3).
Rudy Ross has studied the concept of two witnesses extensively over the years. He has a message about them that you will want to hear in today’s YouTube video.
The two witnesses are modeled after Moses and Elijah. In the commentary I am reading by Robert Mounce, he states his belief that the two are a symbol of the witnessing church in the last days before the end of the age.
The witnesses are of crucial importance to God’s plan for humanity in the end.
From the very beginning, God has called his people to be witnesses to his character and love for humans.
Before the Ascension, Jesus charged his church, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1.8).
There is nothing more important than having a personal relationship with Jesus. The way other people have an opportunity to know him is when they are introduced to Jesus by someone else.
Paul made this point when he wrote, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
“But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard?
“And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?” (Romans 10.13-14).
Let’s not wait for a time of tribulation to tell others the wonderful message of God’s love.
Bearers of God’s Light
In the model prayer (the Lord’s Prayer) Jesus gave us, the prayer begins with “hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6.9).
When we hallow God’s name, we reveal his nature and character to be what they are.
God has a name problem on the earth. When Gandhi said, “I would have been a Christian if it had not been for Christians,” he identified a serious problem.
God has a great character, but his followers and the world at large dishonor his name (his character).
God’s witnesses are called to reveal his character and nature to a world that desperately needs to know the truth about their Creator.
Zechariah’s vision in chapter 4 relates to the witness that is needed now and in the future.
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth (Revelation 11.4)
Zechariah and John saw two olive trees and two lampstands. The message in Zechariah’s day is appropriate for today and the future.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
How does God answer the prayer, “Hallowed be your name”? He does so through the power of the Holy Spirit living through his people who serve as lights to the world.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5.16)
It is strange that humans resist and oppose the message of God’s love. In the face of persecution, God’s servants are assured of God’s protection.
And if anyone wants to harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes; anyone who wants to harm them must be killed in this manner (Revelation 11.5).
In the face of persecution, the church will stand as a witness to the nations, revealing the character and nature of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
As believers, we are called to be bearers of God’s light and to let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven.
We should not wait for a time of tribulation to share the wonderful message of God’s love but rather seek to hallow his name and reveal his character to a world that desperately needs to know the truth about their Creator.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. It is on the Bob Spradling channel.