This past Sunday, we crossed over the halfway mark in our series on the book of Revelation. It has been a strange, yet wonderful story. This week, we come to one of the most puzzling chapters in Revelation. All sorts of interpretations have been scattered throughout church history. Yet as we appropriately place this story within the narrative of Revelation, it has powerful implications for the church. I will not give too much away in this blog entry. Let me encourage you to read it and come preparing to study Revelation 11 on Sunday. I will include the NTE version for you in this entry. See you on Sunday.
(Revelation 11 NTE) Then a measuring rod like a staff was given to me. “Get up,” said a voice, “and measure God’s temple, and the altar, and those who are worshipping in it. But leave out the outer court of the temple. Don”t measure it. It is given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. I will give my two witnesses the task of prophesying, clothed in sackcloth, for those one thousand two hundred and sixty days. These two are the two olive trees, the two lampstands, which stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. So if anyone wants to harm them, that is how such a person must be killed. These two have authority to shut up the sky, so that it will not rain during the days of their prophecy. They have authority over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with any plague, as often as they see fit. When they have completed their testimony, the monster that comes up from the Abyss will make war on them, and will defeat and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. Their bodies will be seen by the peoples, tribes, languages and nations for three and a half days. They will not allow their bodies to be buried in a tomb. The inhabitants of the earth will celebrate over them, and make merry, and send presents to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who live on earth.” After the three and a half days the spirit of life from God came in to them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on all who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven. “Come up here!” it said. And they went up to heaven on a cloud, with their enemies looking on. At that moment there was a huge earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell, and seven thousand of the people were killed by the earthquake. The rest were very much afraid, and glorified the God of heaven. The second Woe has passed. The third Woe is coming very soon. The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and loud voices were heard from heaven. “Now the kingdom of the world has passed to our Lord and his Messiah,” said the voices, “and he will reign for ever and ever.” The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones in God’s presence fell on their faces and worshipped God. This is what they said:”Almighty Lord God, we give you our thanks,Who Is and Who Was,because you have taken your power, your great power,and begun to reign. The nations were raging; your anger came downand with it the time for judging the deadto give the reward to your servants the prophets,the holy ones, too, and the small and the great –those who fear your name.It is time to destroy the destroyers of earth.” God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant appeared inside his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, thunderclaps, an earthquake, and heavy hail.