Revelation 11:1-14 Part 2


1)    Then a reed like a measuring rod was given to me saying, ‘go and measure God’s temple and the altar and the worshippers in it.

2)    And cast out the exterior courtyard of the holy place; you shall not measure it, for it and the holy city have been given to the nations and they shall be trampled forty-two months.

3)    And I will give to my two witnesses and they will prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days having been clothed in sackcloth;

4)    these are the two olives and the two lamps standing before the Lord of the earth.

5)    And if anyone wills to harm them, fire goes forth out of their mouth and consumes their adversaries; this is how anyone who wills to harm them is doomed to be destroyed.

6)    The authority to shut the heaven belongs to them in order that it might not rain during the days of their prophecies.  And they have the authority over the waters to turn them into blood and to smite the land in every plague as much as they wish.

7)    And when they have completed their testimony, the beast which is coming up out of the abyss will wage war against them and will overcome them and will kill them,

8)    their bodies on the street of the great city (which is called, spiritually, Sodom and Egypt where also their Lord was crucified),

9)    their bodies being observed for three and a half days from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations suffering not their bodies to be entombed.

10) And those dwelling on the land rejoice and are gladdened; and they will send gifts to one another, for these two prophets did torment those dwelling on the land.’

11) Then after the three and a half days Breath of Life from God did enter in to them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them.

12) Then they heard a great sound from the heaven saying to them: ‘Come up here!’  And they did go into the heaven in the cloud, and their adversaries beheld them.

13) And in that hour great shaking did arise, and the tenth of the city fell.  And killed in the shaking were names of men… seven thousands.  And the rest became terrified and gave credit to the God of heaven.

14) The woe, the second, did go forth; lo, the woe, the third, comes quickly.



“Show them the measurement that they be ashamed of all their iniquities and measure the measurement.”

“Because of the perfections of My Holy Place (God told Ezekiel), I’m sending you to prophesy the measurement.  I have destroyed the one that has been desecrated with Israel’s whoredoms and idolatries….I brought Babylon up out of the foaming, turbulent sea of fallen and depraved humanity in order to do that; but this one, this Holy Place with the perfect dimensions is the one in which I will live amongst My people forever.  Prophesy the measurement!”


You see, this is the prophetic Word regarding the new temple of God; and the “Man” measuring it is described by Ezekiel in the same words as in other pre-incarnation appearances of God the Son.  It is God the Son measuring His New Holy Temple.  And Ezekiel is to prophesy the measurement.  “Write it all down for them in their presence,” Ezekiel was told.  And the unrepentant Israel, then in captivity in Babylon for its desecration of the tabernacle in the desert and the temple on the dome of the rock, was to “measure the measurement”.

The original tabernacle, and the temple in Jerusalem (both with the sacrificial altar before the entrance) were not only built in the likeness of The Heaven; but they were prophetic foreshadowings of the Holy Place of God – Immanuel, God with us, Jesus, Savior of the world.  He has been given all authority in the heaven and upon the earth; and He IS the new Holy Place amongst us.  God With Us.

And once again we’re confronted with the “mystery of God”, aren’t we?  “Savior of the world”.

In chapter ten, in our Lord’s appearance to John, He told the apostle that “in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpeter, the mystery of God would be fully accomplished”.

In the first three chapters of his Gospel, this very apostle reveals the covenantal decree for the salvation of the “world” in Christ Jesus.

Of the One without Whom nothing was made that was made, John said, “for God SO loved the world (the creation, the cosmos) that He gave His only begotten Son, that every believer, every faither, (whether Jew, or Gentile from the nations, tribes and tongues), (every believer) may not perish but have “ages-enduring” life.  That’s a literal translation.

And the perfect Holy Place by which He would dwell amongst His people, the one with all the perfect measurements, was foreshadowed – prophetically foreshadowed - in the tabernacle and the temple; for the sacrificial altar of God’s beloved only-begotten Son was there.

And the perfect “God-with-us” Holy Place was measured by the Son of God Himself in the presence of Ezekiel, then to be prophesied to apostate Israel in captivity; for this people had desecrated the Holy Place which foreshadowed God-with-us Immanuel.

And what do we see in our text here in chapter eleven?  John sees the Incarnate Jesus the Christ (not the pre-incarnate God the Son, but the incarnate Jesus), with the pillars of His legs and feet standing upon the waters and upon the land of Israel, having given John the scroll to eat.

And now He gives him the measuring rod with which He Himself had measured the perfections of the New Temple in Ezekiel chapters forty through forty-three!

And having told John (at the end of chapter ten): “it is again necessary that you prophesy about many nations and peoples and tongues and kings”; and He gives John the same measuring rod with which to do it; and it is the New Temple of God – God-with-us - that he is to measure!  It is not the one built with hands, which was but a “shadow” of the reality to come; but it was the immaculate, spotless, indefectible Holy Temple raised up at our Lord’s resurrection and baptized in Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  It has all the perfections of the “pattern” – the one in the heaven; it is “from” the heaven; and it is “with” men, for He promised (Immanuel) to dwell with us!

But now, having been cleansed by the blood of the Christ, and having been baptized in Holy Spirit, it is the inside of the Holy Place and the altar before the throne and the worshippers in it that John is to measure and prophesy, which now will include (according to our Lord at the end of chapter ten), the Gentile nations!

John is also told by our Lord (verse two) to “cast out” the courtyard; don’t measure it, for it and the city are given to be “trampled” by the Gentiles for a period of time….  The term “cast out” is a term written by all four Gospel writers with reference to the temple and the city; and in every case it has to do with “without” – meaning “outside”; outside the Holy Place, or outside the new holy city.  It means “not included”, or “excommunication” (that’s a good modern word for it).

There is an excellent example of the prophetic Word of God through the prophet Jeremiah, from chapter fourteen.  I’ll read it for you.  Listen for God’s words “cast out without” with regard to Israel:


11) Yahveh said to me: "Do not pray for the welfare of this people.

12) Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.

13) Then I said: "Ah, Yahveh God, behold, the prophets say to them, 'You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.'"

14) And Yahveh said to me: "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.

15) Therefore thus says Yahveh concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, 'Sword and famine shall not come upon this land': By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.

16) And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out without Jerusalem due to famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters; for I will pour out their evil upon them.


And then remember the Luke chapter thirteen passage that we read last Lord’s Day.  In it we hear the “casting out without” of unrepentant Israel and the inclusion of all the nations from the east and the west and the north and the south.  Here it is again as we hear our Lord use the very words spoken to Jeremiah:


22) And he went on his way through cities and villages, teaching, and journeying on unto Jerusalem.

23) And a certain man said unto him, Lord, are they few that are saved? And he said unto them,

24) Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

25) When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I have not known you whence you are;

26) then will you begin to say, We did eat and drink in your presence, and you did teach in our streets;

27) but he shall say, I tell you, I have not known you whence you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.

28) There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves cast out without.

29) And (then) they shall come from the east and west, and from the north and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.


Measure My Holy Temple that I raised up at My resurrection, John – the one filled and baptized by My Spirit at Pentecost.  See the Divine consummation of My covenantal decree; and see all the ones worshipping in it.  They are the ones “protected” from the coming judgment

But cast out the courtyard; it and the city will be trampled forty-two months (three and a half years; twelve hundred and sixty days).  There will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth and knocking at the door wanting to get in.  But all those in the courtyard and the city are cast out (excommunicated).  I will not open the door.  And the Gentiles will trample it underfoot for forty-two months.

I raised them up (this powerful empire); I raised them up from the turbulent waters of the pagan nations… just as I raised up the Babylonian Empire before.  And all those “cast out without” have been given to them for forty two months.  And all “without” (outside the new Holy Place) will be trampled by them.

Here is the prophetic Word of God concerning the “trampling” of Israel.  This is Isaiah chapter fourteen:


18) All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb;

19) but you are cast out, away from your grave, like a loathed branch, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit like a dead body trampled underfoot.


And from Isaiah chapter sixty-three we have the very location in the prophetic Word from which Luke prophesied “The Days of Vengeance”.  Listen to it:


1)    Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength?  "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save."

2)    Why is your garment red, your garments like his who treads in the winepress?

3)    "I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel.

4)    For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my time of redemption had come.

5)    I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me.

6)    I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath,and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."


For all those who would take the “birthright” from the Christ, He had “vengeance in His heart”.  And He would trample them underfoot as One covered in the blood of the winepress – exactly the terminology used by Luke in his “days of vengeance” as Rome would trample down all of Israel, our Lord shutting all of the doors of the New Holy Temple, His “dwelling-place among men”, leaving “without” all those remaining.

And the Holy Place would remain shut to all those in the courtyard, and all those in Jerusalem.  For forty-two months apostate Israel would be trampled.  That’s three and a half years, or twelve hundred and sixty days.

These numbers are interchangeable; and they are used six times as John looks on and records it all.  Six times in the passage written for us and found in this chapter and chapters twelve and thirteen.  We’ll have more to say about them; but it is interesting that there are six occasions for their usage, and not “seven”… indicating the authority over the time period that’s exercised by the One in complete authority over the “trampling under” of the holy city that is to come.  The Gentile nations doing the “trampling” don’t have absolute power, but only the power given to them.  They are a “six”, and not a “seven”.

We’ll see that even more clearly when we come to the prophecy of Daniel in chapter seven.

But first I just want to mention another interesting series of numbers.  Matthew is the apostle who goes seemingly out of his way to spend considerable time documenting our Lord’s ancestry, deliberately drawing our attention to number “forty two”.

That ancestry is very important.  But, having finished it, here’s what he writes in chapter one of his Gospel of Jesus Christ:

“Therefore all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ are fourteen generations.”

Three “fourteens” is forty two generations between the promise of a seed to Abraham by Whom all the nations of the world would be blessed, and the “fullness” of that promise in Christ Jesus.

But at that point in which the Lord declares that in the days when the seventh trumpeter sounds there will be no more delay, the Church no longer needs to wait for forty two generations; but only forty two months.  The end of this period, three and a half years, marks the full establishment of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the protection of His Church from the judgment upon Israel, the preaching of the Gospel of God in all the nations, and the inclusion of the Gentiles in the new “dwelling-place” of God among men – His Holy Temple, the body of Christ.

In other words, the “mystery of God” would be fully accomplished.

And Who is the One Who has all authority to do all of this?  It is the risen, ascended and enthroned Christ of God, the King of Kings.  His work is to bring the mystery of God to its full accomplishment.  That’s what “Parousia” means.  It doesn’t mean “coming”; it means “active presence”.  And the active presence of the One Who has all authority exercises the covenantal sanctions against Israel, and extends the covenant to all the nations, tongues and tribes of the earth.  In other words, He implements and achieves the prophesied mystery of God; and He does so for His glory.

And that accomplishment has great implications for us in every generation; for He continues His work as “Savior of the entire creation”.

The seventy-year period between His incarnate birth and His Parousia was just the beginning of His work!  He still has all authority in the heaven and upon the earth until such time as His work is done.

And just as He was faithful to all His Father’s will from birth to Parousia, so He will continue to be faithful to finish His work – all to the glory of the Father.  And the incarnate Son of God – Jesus the Christ – God/man, will live amongst His people (in them, and they in Him) into the ages-enduring:  Immanuel, God-with-us.

Therefore, when we gather in His Name (i.e. in Him, Who He is and all He’s done), there is the New Holy Temple of God in all its glory.

The earthy manifestation of that holy place is the Church, instituted by the Christ at His resurrection, baptized and filled by His Spirit at pentecost…; still with all its warts; still besieged by sin in varying degrees in all of its people; for even though we are “new creations” in Christ Jesus, the vestiges of our adamic heritage persist until our final justification and sanctification.

And that’s the work of the Christ as well; for we are assured that all that He has begun He will finish.

Well, we have to do justice to what we’ve begun, because we haven’t yet completed everything that we need to do with these first two verses.

And, in order to get to that, I just want to make a few comments about approaching the numbers that God has revealed in His Word.  We’ve done this before, but it was a long time ago.

It’s pretty obvious to all of us by now that the Revelation of Jesus Christ bears witness to the glory and perfections of God – Father, Son and Spirit; three in one, and one in three. He is One; and He is many.  To describe that, or to make a representation of it, is idolatry; because, for One-And-Many-to-be-the-same is beyond Adamic humanity’s rationality… it is completely irrational.  But, from our Triune God’s perspective, a one-dimensional creation would have been totally irrational since He is One-ness, and He is three-ness.

Now, the Revelation is the “capstone” – the culminating point, the crown, the fountainhead of all God’s Word written.  And since that’s the case, the numbers that are revealed all through Scripture reach their supreme culmination as well.  Not only do we see such things as the eminence of achievement in Christ Jesus the Lord, and the optimum of the glory of God in the heaven, and the fullness of the Revelation of the mystery of God (and many others – all revealed throughout the Scripture); but the numerical Revelation reaches its height here too.

The numbers are important.  But, like all of the words and combinations of words and connections of words, the numbers bear witness (and reach their fullness) only with regard to that which God has revealed previously… and revealed from His Own perspective.  Triune God “perceives” in His One-ness and His three-ness while fallen mankind proclaims One-and-Three wholly irrational!  See the problem?

Since the numbers have that relationship that God has given to them in relation to His former Revelation; and since the numbers have a meaning only that Triune God has given to them; and since the former numerical Revelation reaches its zenith in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ, we then have to approach them just as we approach the words and the connections and the contexts.

The numbers in the Revelation aren’t just “inserted” by God to make things complicated; they aren’t there to shroud the meaning of the text; they aren’t revealed to John to confuse the tyrannous empire of the time; they don’t just “appear” in the Revelation, known only by God and therefore unknowable by the ones to whom the letter was written!  What good would that be?  What hope and assurance and comfort and confidence would that be to the remnant of Israel in the nations?  What good would that be to the Gentiles in the nations who are just being taught the salvation of the world in Jesus Christ?

There would be no good reason for God to reveal Himself and the mystery of His salvation of His creation using some numerical terms that had no meaning to anybody except Himself!

So the understanding of the revealed numbers can’t come out of man’s rational activity apart from God’s Word.  And they certainly can’t come out of man’s imagination.  And any attempt at numerology as an endeavor of man is farcical, in and of itself, outside the knowledge of God’s perfections, and outside the knowledge of His former Revelation. 

But any attempt to place meaning on the numbers revealed in John’s Revelation without consulting the previous Revelation has to be looked upon as adding to, or subtracting from, the Word of God; and it has to be condemned.

Like the words, and the combinations of words, and the connections between words, the numbers that are revealed (and their meanings) must arise from the text of Holy Scripture; for their use here in the capstone of the Bible indicates the “fullness” of what God has formerly revealed!  And sometimes the former Revelation doesn’t pointedly use the specific number (as its fullness appears in John’s text), but it’s incorporated into the broader context of God’s Word!

That’s where we have to be exceptionally careful; and on those occasions when we can’t fully explain a particular numerical reference, then we’ll just have to admit that we don’t yet know enough.

We’ll trust God that it’s there but we’re not “there” yet (wherever “there” is); and we won’t “make it up”.

Nevertheless, these first two verses, with the reference to forty-two months perfectly parallels the Olivet discourse of our Lord Jesus Christ as He spoke to His disciples during the night before His crucifixion.

That teaching was in response to the disciples’ questions concerning the time when all of this was going to take place.  It’s called the “Olivet Discourse” because the prophecies took place on the Mount of Olives; and the words of our Lord are recorded in Matthew chapter twenty four, Mark chapter thirteen and Luke chapter twenty one, where Jesus prophesies the siege of Jerusalem and its final destruction in 70 AD.

So unbelieving Israel has been excluded (excommunicated) by the protective measuring, for it has been given to the nations; and they will trample under foot the courtyard and the holy city for forty-two months.

Our Lord guarantees His protection to the Church (He has already marked them out and rescued them); but Jerusalem has been delivered up to destruction (all here in verses one and two)

 The armies of the abomination of desolation (Luke chapter twenty-one) have already made all the rest of Israel a wilderness.  All the plagues and pestilences prophesied have occurred (and are still ongoing); the prophesied (incredible) array of the military might of all the nations under the headship of the Roman emperor now in view of everyone on Mount Zion.  And the siege will last forty-two months.

One of the greatest prophetic passages in all of Israel’s history occurs in First Kings chapters seventeen and eighteen.  We’ve mentioned Elijah’s killing of all the Ba’al idolaters at the top of Mount Carmel in a former sermon.

But the context of the Elijah event provides us with the former prophetic Revelation, the fullness of which is here in the first two verses of our text.

Elijah (alone) faced King Ahab and all of the Ba’al worshippers of Israel; and he prayed for a drought/siege of Israel, which lasted three and a half years.

During the time of the siege, Elijah stayed with a Gentile woman (a widow) and her son, protecting them throughout the drought, when nobody else had much of anything, and blessing them with an abundance of every good thing … even to the point of raising her son out of death… Gentiles!

Then, at the end of the three and a half years of drought/siege (at the point when survival of anything was in doubt), Elijah gathered all of the idolaters at the top of the mount and called for the judgment of fire and brimstone from under the altar in the heaven, after which every single one of the idolaters was put to death.

Now if you listened carefully to this short accounting of that event in Israel’s history, you heard that every single part of it reaches its fullness here in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ!

The perfections of God and His Word!  Having heard it, it should give you pause. For there should never be a trace of unbelief, no matter how insignificant, regarding God’s wisdom, His justice, His truthfulness, His covenantal faithfulness, His sovereign administration of His creation, or the perfect reliability of every bit of His written Word.

And never should you allow a doubt to creep into your minds of the glory and grandeur and majesty and splendor of our Lord Jesus Christ – revealed here in John’s Revelation; for all this work has been accomplished for us… and it’s still ongoing.

We’ll stop now to prepare for communion; but there is a little more work to do with this opening two verses; we’ll do that next Lord’s Day, and then we’ll proceed into verses three and beyond.

May the Lord bless the reading and the preaching of His Word in the assembly of the saints.