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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - REVELATION 11
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    CHAPTER 11

    Re 11:1-19. MEASUREMENT OF THE TEMPLE. THE TWO WITNESSES' TESTIMONY: THEIR DEATH, RESURRECTION, AND ASCENSION: THE EARTHQUAKE: THE THIRD WOE: THE SEVENTH TRUMPET USHERS IN CHRIST'S KINGDOM. THANKSGIVING OF THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS.

    This eleventh chapter is a compendious summary of, and introduction to, the more detailed prophecies of the same events to come in the twelfth through twentieth chapters. Hence we find anticipatory allusions to the subsequent prophecies; compare Re 11:7, "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" (not mentioned before), with the detailed accounts, Re 13:1, 11; 17:8; also Re 11:8, "the great city," with Re 14:8; 17:1, 5; 18:10.

    1. and the angel stood--omitted in A, Vulgate, and Coptic. Supported by B and Syriac. If it be omitted, the "reed" will, in construction, agree with "saying." So WORDSWORTH takes it. The reed, the canon of Scripture, the measuring reed of the Church, our rule of faith, speaks. So in Re 16:7 the altar is personified as speaking (compare Note, see on Re 16:7). The Spirit speaks in the canon of Scripture (the word canon is derived from Hebrew, "kaneh," "a reed," the word here used; and John it was who completed the canon). So VICTORINUS, AQUINAS, and VITRINGA. "Like a rod," namely, straight: like a rod of iron (Re 2:27), unbending, destroying all error, and that "cannot be broken." Re 2:27; Heb 1:8, Greek, "a rod of straightness," English Version, "a scepter of righteousness"; this is added to guard against it being thought that the reed was one "shaken by the wind" In the abrupt style of the Apocalypse, "saying" is possibly indefinite, put for "one said." Still WORDSWORTH'S view agrees best with Greek. So the ancient commentator, ANDREAS OF CÆSAREA, in the end of the fifth century (compare Notes, see on Re 11:3, 4).
    - the temple--Greek, "naon" (as distinguished from the Greek, "hieron," or temple in general), the Holy Place, "the sanctuary."
    - the altar--of incense; for it alone was in "the sanctuary." (Greek, "naos"). The measurement of the Holy place seems to me to stand parallel to the sealing of the elect of Israel under the sixth seal. God's elect are symbolized by the sanctuary at Jerusalem (1Co 3:16, 17, where the same Greek word, "naos," occurs for "temple," as here). Literal Israel in Jerusalem, and with the temple restored (Eze 40:3, 5, where also the temple is measured with the measuring reed, the forty-first, forty-second, forty-third, and forty-fourth chapters), shall stand at the head of the elect Church. The measuring implies at once the exactness of the proportions of the temple to be restored, and the definite completeness (not one being wanting) of the numbers of the Israelite and of the Gentile elections. The literal temple at Jerusalem shall be the typical forerunner of the heavenly Jerusalem, in which there shall be all temple, and no portion exclusively set apart as temple. John's accurately drawing the distinction in subsequent chapters between God's servants and those who bear the mark of the beast, is the way whereby he fulfils the direction here given him to measure the temple. The fact that the temple is distinguished from them that worship therein, favors the view that the spiritual temple, the Jewish and Christian Church, is not exclusively meant, but that the literal temple must also be meant. It shall be rebuilt on the return of the Jews to their land. Antichrist shall there put forward his blasphemous claims. The sealed elect of Israel, the head of the elect Church, alone shall refuse his claims. These shall constitute the true sanctuary which is here measured, that is, accurately marked and kept by God, whereas the rest shall yield to his pretensions. WORDSWORTH objects that, in the twenty-five passages of the Acts, wherein the Jewish temple is mentioned, it is called hieron, not naos, and so in the apostolic Epistles; but this is simply because no occasion for mentioning the literal Holy Place (Greek, "naos") occurs in Acts and the Epistles; indeed, in Ac 7:48, though not directly, there does occur the term, naos, indirectly referring to the Jerusalem temple Holy Place. In addressing Gentile Christians, to whom the literal Jerusalem temple was not familiar, it was to be expected the term, naos, should not be found in the literal, but in the spiritual sense. In Re 11:19 naos is used in a local sense; compare also Re 14:15, 17; 15:5, 8.

    2. But--Greek, "And."
    - the court . . . without--all outside the Holy Place (Re 11:1).
    - leave out--of thy measurement, literally, "cast out"; reckon as unhallowed.
    - it--emphatic. It is not to be measured; whereas the Holy Place is.
    - given--by God's appointment.
    - unto the Gentiles--In the wider sense, there are meant here "the times of the Gentiles," wherein Jerusalem is "trodden down of the Gentiles," as the parallel, Lu 21:24, proves; for the same word is used here [Greek, "patein"], "tread under foot." Compare also Ps 79:1; Isa 63:18.
    - forty . . . two months-- (Re 13:5). The same period as Daniel's "time, times, and half" (Re 12:14); and Re 11:3, and Re 12:6, the woman a fugitive in the wilderness "a thousand two hundred and threescore days." In the wider sense, we may either adopt the year-day theory of 1260 years (on which, and the papal rule of 1260 years, see on Da 7:25; Da 8:14; Da 12:11), or rather, regard the 2300 days (Da 8:14), 1335 days (Da 12:11, 12). 1290 days, and 1260 days, as symbolical of the long period of the Gentile times, whether dating from the subversion of the Jewish theocracy at the Babylonian captivity (the kingdom having been never since restored to Israel), or from the last destruction of Jerusalem under Titus, and extending to the restoration of the theocracy at the coming of Him "whose right it is"; the different epochs marked by the 2300, 1335, 1290, and 1260 days, will not be fully cleared up till the grand consummation; but, meanwhile, our duty and privilege urge us to investigate them. Some one of the epochs assigned by many may be right but as yet it is uncertain. The times of the Gentile monarchies during Israel's seven times punishment, will probably, in the narrower sense (Re 11:2), be succeeded by the much more restricted times of the personal Antichrist's tyranny in the Holy Land. The long years of papal misrule may be followed by the short time of the man of sin who shall concentrate in himself all the apostasy, persecution, and evil of the various forerunning Antichrists, Antiochus, Mohammed, Popery, just before Christ's advent. His time shall be THE RECAPITULATION and open consummation of the "mystery of iniquity" so long leavening the world. Witnessing churches may be followed by witnessing individuals, the former occupying the longer, the latter, the shorter period. The three and a half (1260 days being three and a half years of three hundred sixty days each, during which the two witnesses prophesy in sackcloth) is the sacred number seven halved, implying the Antichristian world-power's time is broken at best; it answers to the three and a half years' period in which Christ witnessed for the truth, and the Jews, His own people, disowned Him, and the God-opposed world power crucified Him (compare Note, see on Da 9:27). The three and a half, in a word, marks the time in which the earthly rules over the heavenly kingdom. It was the duration of Antiochus' treading down of the temple and persecution of faithful Israelites. The resurrection of the witnesses after three and a half days, answers to Christ's resurrection after three days. The world power's times never reach the sacred fulness of seven times three hundred sixty, that is, 2520, though they approach to it in 2300 (Da 8:14). The forty-two months answer to Israel's forty-two sojournings (Nu 33:1-50) in the wilderness, as contrasted with the sabbatic rest in Canaan: reminding the Church that here, in the world wilderness, she cannot look for her sabbatic rest. Also, three and a half years was the period of the heaven being shut up, and of consequent famine, in Elias' time. Thus, three and a half represented to the Church the idea of toil, pilgrimage, and persecution.

    3. I will give power--There is no "power" in the Greek, so that "give" must mean "give commission," or some such word.
    - my two witnesses--Greek, "the two witnesses of me." The article implies that the two were well known at least to John.
    - prophesy--preach under the inspiration of the Spirit, denouncing judgments against the apostate. They are described by symbol as "the two olive trees" and "the two candlesticks," or lamp-stands, "standing before the God of the earth." The reference is to Zec 4:3, 12, where two individuals are meant, Joshua and Zerubbabel, who ministered to the Jewish Church, just as the two olive trees emptied the oil out of themselves into the bowl of the candlestick. So in the final apostasy God will raise up two inspired witnesses to minister encouragement to the afflicted, though sealed, remnant. As two candlesticks are mentioned in Re 11:4, but only one in Zec 4:2, I think the twofold Church, Jewish and Gentile, may be meant by the two candlesticks represented by the two witnesses: just as in Re 7:1-8 there are described first the sealed of Israel, then those of all nations. But see on Re 11:4. The actions of the two witnesses are just those of Moses when witnessing for God against Pharaoh (the type of Antichrist, the last and greatest foe of Israel), turning the waters into blood, and smiting with plagues; and of Elijah (the witness for God in an almost universal apostasy of Israel, a remnant of seven thousand, however, being left, as the 144,000 sealed, Re 7:1-8) causing fire by his word to devour the enemy, and shutting heaven, so that it rained not for three years and six months, the very time (1260 days) during which the two witnesses prophesy. Moreover, the words "witness" and "prophesy" are usually applied to individuals, not to abstractions (compare Ps 52:8). DE BURGH thinks Elijah and Moses will again appear, as Mal 4:5, 6 seems to imply (compare Mt 17:11; Ac 3:21). Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ at the Transfiguration, which foreshadowed His coming millennial kingdom. As to Moses, compare De 34:5, 6; Jude 9. Elias' genius and mode of procedure bears the same relation to the "second" coming of Christ, that John the Baptist's did to the first coming [BENGEL]. Many of the early Church thought the two witnesses to be Enoch and Elijah. This would avoid the difficulty of the dying a second time, for these have never yet died; but, perhaps, shall be the witnesses slain. Still, the turning the water to blood, and the plagues (Re 11:6), apply best to "Moses (compare Re 15:3, the song of Moses"). The transfiguration glory of Moses and Elias was not their permanent resurrection-state, which shall not be till Christ shall come to glorify His saints, for He has precedence before all in rising. An objection to this interpretation is that those blessed departed servants of God would have to submit to death (Re 11:7, 8), and this in Moses' case a second time, which Heb 9:27 denies. See on Zec 4:11, 12, on the two witnesses as answering to "the two olive trees." The two olive trees are channels of the oil feeding the Church, and symbols of peace. The Holy Spirit is the oil in them. Christ's witnesses, in remarkable times of the Church's history, have generally appeared in pairs: as Moses and Aaron, the inspired civil and religious authorities; Caleb and Joshua; Ezekiel the priest and Daniel the prophet; Zerubbabel and Joshua.
    - in sackcloth--the garment of prophets, especially when calling people to mortification of their sins, and to repentance. Their very exterior aspect accorded with their teachings: so Elijah, and John who came in His spirit and power. The sackcloth of the witnesses is a catch word linking this episode under the sixth trumpet, with the sun black as sackcloth (in righteous retribution on the apostates who rejected God's witnesses) under the sixth seal (

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