We Will be Stomped Upon

Revelation 11:1-3 ESV

“Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.’”

The Measurements

This was written in the Messianic era, not under the Old Covenant, so this must be understood in light of the age under Jesus Christ, the church age, and with the knowledge that the “temple” is no longer a physical building, but it is a spiritual building, not built with brick and mortar, but with living stones, i.e., with us as God’s people, and with Jesus as the cornerstone.

So, if someone today would measure the temple of God, it would not be a physical measurement with a yardstick, of sorts, but it would be a spiritual measurement (evaluation, examination) of the church, at large, and not with regard to physical size or number of people but with regard to the spiritual condition of the church, the body of Christ, overall.

And the altar of God, as well, is not a physical thing, but it has to do with our spiritual relationships with Jesus Christ, with our walks of faith, our submission to him as Lord, and with us giving our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world but transformed in heart and mind by the Spirit of God.

Have we died with Christ to sin, and are we continuing to do so daily? And are we walking in fellowship with him according to his commands? “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid? Your heart does the Spirit control? You can only be blest, and have peace and sweet rest, as you yield Him your body and soul” (Elisha A. Hoffman, hymn writer).

And the outer court is the world which is filled with the people of the world who have not surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and who have not followed the Lord in obedience of faith, in repentance, and in submission to Christ as Lord (owner-master) of their lives. They are regarded as the ungodly, they who have not received Jesus Christ in truth and in practice.

They Will Trample Us

The ungodly of the world, yet sadly which includes many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but not in truth, they will trample us who are true followers of Jesus Christ. For the Holy City is no longer physical Jerusalem in the physical nation of physical Israel (the country). Physical Jerusalem is now of Hagar, the slave woman, and not of Sarah, the free woman.

And the Israel of God is not the physical nation of Israel, as a whole, but it is all who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, who have died with Christ to sin and who are living to God and to his righteousness. For if we belong to Christ we are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. So we are the persecuted ones.

[Gal 3:16, 26-29; Rom 9:4-8; Gal 4:22-31; Eph 2:14-18; 1 Jn 2:22]

For to trample means to persecute, to attack, to accuse falsely, to molest, to be spiteful and hateful and to treat with malice and contempt. We will even be kicked out of or invited to leave gatherings of what are called “churches” if we are sold out to Christ, walking in obedience to his commands, and if we are sharing the truth of the gospel and not “cheap grace.”

Other professers of Christ will abandon, persecute, ignore, ostracize, criticize, ridicule, and want nothing to do with us if we are truly following Jesus Christ with wholehearted devotion and if we are doing and saying the kinds of things Jesus and his New Testament apostles did and said. For our opponents, although many of them profess to believe the Scriptures, they don’t do so in practice and they will not approve of you if you do.

The Witnesses

There are many views on who the two witnesses are, and I don’t think we should get hung up on that, for much of what is spoken of in the book of Revelation is symbolic in nature. Personally, I believe the two witnesses to be the Old and the New Testaments, the prophets and the apostles, and any who are teaching the Scriptures in truth in our day and time.

The point is that there are people who love the Lord Jesus who are bearing witness to him and to his gospel (the whole counsel of God) daily throughout the world, and many of them are being trampled upon for their testimonies for Jesus Christ and for his gospel message. And they are prophesying, not in the sense of future telling, but they are proclaiming the truths of the Scriptures to all who will hear. And that is happening today in our world.

And the idea of being clothed in sackcloth has to do with humility and servitude and submission to Christ as Lord. They are not gaudy preachers and evangelists who have large followings, but they are humble servants of the Lord just walking in obedience to the Lord’s commands in the power of God’s Spirit and not in their own flesh. Their desire is to obey the Lord in all things regardless of how they are treated by others in return.

So, I don’t believe we should get hung up on having to identify who these witnesses are, for when we do that, we can totally lose focus of what the real message is here and miss the point of the message. And the point is that those who are the Lord’s witnesses, who are taking the true gospel message throughout the world, they are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. And some of their persecutors are people professing faith in Jesus Christ, too.

And I believe the point, too, is that God is examining his church, not that he needs to do that, for he already knows the spiritual condition of his church, overall, but that the people professing faith in Christ need to hear the results of those examinations in order to see themselves as God sees them, and not as man sees them. And God is allowing his church to be trampled on for his purposes, to bring us all under submission to his will and purpose for our lives. And some of this involves divine discipline and correction, too.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

“Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here!’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them” (Revelation 11:12 ESV).

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

Songwriters: Cordelia J. Whiteside Bridgewater, 1920 / Andy Pickens Bland

We read of a place that’s called heaven,
It’s made for the pure and the free;
These truths in God’s word He has given,
How beautiful heaven must be.

In heaven no drooping nor pining,
No wishing for elsewhere to be;
God’s light is forever, there shining,
How beautiful heaven must be.

The angels so sweetly are singing,
Up there by the beautiful sea;
Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing,
How beautiful heaven must be.

How beautiful heaven must be
Sweet home of the happy and free;
Fair haven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be

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