1. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
NOTE: The angel here described is measuring, or judging the people who are worshipping in all of God's truth. See also 1 Peter 2:5-10 and Matthew 15:9. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16. To judge something, you must compare it to something else, "The word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept; line upon line... Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet:" Isaiah 28:13,17. The people will be measured as to their belief in the Saviour and whether they live the Commands of God as lived by Jesus, with the power from Jesus.
2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
NOTE: In the sanctuary service the sinner brought a lamb to the court of the temple to sacrifice it for his sins. This represented belief in the Saviour to come, Jesus, the Lamb of God that would take away our sins. See Leviticus 1:3. This angel is commanded NOT to measure those that just believe in Jesus but those that believe and obey. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" 1 Peter 4:17. "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God," Hebrews 6:1.
3. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
NOTE: These two are clothed in mourning attire (Gen. 37:34 and Rev. 6:12). This 1,260 days is part of the same time period as is described in Daniel 12:11. The mourning is for the taking away of the Sabbath. See explanation on Daniel 8.
4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
NOTE: "These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." Zechariah 4:14. margin: "Sons of oil" or sons of the Holy Spirit.
5. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
6. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
NOTE: As in the historical type, these two will say as Elijah said, "NO RAIN." "And it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months." James 5:17 and 1 Kings 18; so the final wake-up call to earth will resemble Elijah's time. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:"
7. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
NOTE: For the interpretation of this beast see Rev. 17:8. The word "beast" means dangerous, venomous, and wild. This is Satan, "for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Cor. 11:14. (See 2 Thes. 2:8-10.)
8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
NOTE: Jesus was crucified at Jerusalem. It will be spiritually Sodom and Egypt, because there will be the sin of Sodom there and the sin of Egypt, or worship of the Sun, or Sunday worship.
9. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
11. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
13. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
The Historical Type in the French Revolution
Note.-- In the days of "The Terror," in France, atheism took the helm, and in seeking to abolish God, the Holy Scriptures were condemned as agents of superstition, and again and again in symbol of putting religion to death the Scriptures were burned amidst merriment and blasphemy. France, "eldest son of the church," as one of the ten kingdoms of Western Rome, had been the Papacy's chief supporter. Thus it was a "tenth part" of that "great city," the mystical Babylon of prophecy. Here, in one of the streets of the "great city," atheism thought to put the Word of God to death while it was giving the Papacy itself a deadly wound. But the earthquake of the Revolution passed, and out of it all came a new era of greater liberty, and the Holy Scriptures were exalted and spread abroad as never before.
This time of the French Revolution was the very time when the great movement of modern missions rose, and Bible societies were organized. Atheism, in revolt against the persecuting papal system, had thought to end all religion along with superstition; but the God of heaven preserved His Two Witnesses, and how wonderfully has their testimony been spread to the nations, the Scriptures in whole or in part speaking in more than 700 languages today. A wonderful historical type, indeed.
15. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.
16. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God,
17. Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
18. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth.
19. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Note.-- "The temple is opened; the second apartment of the sanctuary is entered. We know it is the holy of holies that is here opened, for the ark is seen; and in that apartment alone the ark was deposited. Since that time the people of God have seen by faith the open door in heaven, and the ark of God's testament there. They are endeavoring to keep every precept of the holy law written upon the tables therein deposited. And that the tables of the law are there, just as in the ark in the sanctuary erected by Moses, is evident from the terms which John uses in describing the ark. He calls it the 'ark of His testament.' The ark was called the ark of the covenant, or testament, because it was made for the express purpose of containing the tables of the testimony, or ten commandments... John, beholding the ark in heaven under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, still calls it the 'ark of His testament,' affording unanswerable proof that the law is still there, unaltered in one jot or tittle."-- "Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation," by U. Smith.
NOTE: We shall soon see with our eyes, not just by faith, heaven opened with God's Law, but it will be too late to choose to obey it then.
The last gospel message calls men to prepare for the judgment of which this holy law is the standard. As we have seen in the study of Daniel 7:25, the great apostasy from God has "thought" to change the times and the law of God, particularly the time and law of the Sabbath, the seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment, which is God's holy day, substituting for it Sunday, the first day. But the law stands unchanged in the temple of God above. By it we shall all be judged. No power on earth can change it. As Christ said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all by fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:17-19.