VERSE 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. 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. p. 497, Para. 2.
We here have a continuation of the instruction which the
angel commenced giving to John in the preceding chapter;
hence these verses properly belong to that chapter, and
should not be separated by the present division. In the
last verse of chapter 10, the angel gave to John, as a
representative of the church, a new commission. In other
words, as already shown, we have in that verse a prophecy
of the third angel's message. Now follows testimony showing
what the nature of that message is to be. It is connected
with the temple of God in heaven, and is designed to fit up
a class of people as worshipers therein. The temple here
cannot mean the church; for the church is brought to view
in connection with this temple as
them that worship
therein. The temple is therefore the literal temple in
heaven, and the worshipers the true church on earth. But of
course these worshipers are not to be measured in the sense
of ascertaining the height and circumference of each one in
feet and inches; they are to be measured as worshipers; and
character can be measured only be some standard of right,
namely, a law, or rule of action. We are thus brought to
the conclusion that the ten commandments, the standard
which God has given by which to measure
the whole duty of
man, are embraced in the measuring rod put by the angel
into the hands of John; and in the fulfilment of this
prophecy, this very law has been put, under the third
message, into the hands of the church. This is the standard
by which the worshipers of God are now to be tested. p.
497, Para. 3.
Having seen what it is to measure those who worship in the temple, we inquire further, What it meant by measuring the temple? To measure any object requires that we give especial attention to that object; so, doubtless, the call to rise and measure the temple of God is a prophetic command to the church to give the subject of the temple, or sanctuary, a special examination. But how is this to be done with a measuring rod given to the church? With the ten commandments alone we could not do it. When, however, we take the entire message, we find ourselves led by it to and examination of the sanctuary on high, with the commandments of God and the ministration of Christ connected therewith. Hence we conclude that the measuring rod, taken as a whole, is the special message now given to the church, which embraces the great truths peculiar to this time, including the ten commandments. By this message, our attention has been called to the temple above, and through it the light and truth on this subject has come out. Thus we measure the temple and the altar, or the ministration connected with the temple, the work and the position of our great High Priest; and we measure the worshipers with that portion of the rod which relates to character; namely, the ten commandments. p. 498, Para. 1.
But the court which is without the temple leave out. As
much as to say, The attention of the church is now directed
to the inner temple, and the service there. Matters
pertaining to the court are of less consequence now. It is
given to the Gentiles. That the court refers to this earth
is proved thus: The court is the place where the victims
were slain whose blood was to be ministered in the
sanctuary. The antitypical victim must die in the
antitypical court; and he died on Calvary in Judea. Having
thus introduced the Gentiles, the attention of the prophet
is directed to the great feature of Gentile apostasy;
namely, the treading down of the holy city forty and two
months during the period of papal supremacy. He is then
directed to the condition of the word of God, the truth,
and the church during that time. Thus by an easy and
natural transition, we are carried back into the past, and
our attention is called to a new series of events. p. 498,
VERSE 3. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they
shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days,
clothed in sackcloth. p. 499, Para. 1.
These days are the same as the forty-two months of the preceding verse, and refer to the period of papal triumph. During this time, the witnesses are in a state of sackcloth, or obscurity, and God gives them power to endure and maintain their testimony through that dark and dismal period. But who or what are these witnesses? p. 499, Para. 2.
VERSE 4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks
standing before the God of the earth. p. 499, Para. 3.
Evident allusion is here made to Zech. 4:11-14, where it
is explained that the two olive trees are taken to
represent the word of God; and David testifies,
entrance of thy words giveth light; and,
Thy word is a
lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Written
testimony is stronger than oral. Jesus declared of the Old
They are they which testify of me.
In this dispensation, he says that his works bear witness
of him. By what means do they bear witness of him? Ever
since those disciples who were personally associated with
him while on earth passed off the stage of life, his works
have borne witness of him only through the medium of the
New Testament, where alone we find them recorded. This
gospel of the kingdom, it was once declared, shall be
preached in all the world for a witness to all nations,
etc. p. 499, Para. 4.
These declarations and considerations are sufficient to sustain the conclusion that the Old and New Testaments, one given in one dispensation, and the other in the other, are Christ's two witnesses. p. 499, Para. 5.
VERSE 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. p. 500,
To hurt the word of God is to oppose, corrupt, or pervert its testimony, and turn people away from it. Against those who do this work, fire proceedeth out of their mouth to devour them; that is, judgment of fire is denounced in that word against such. It declares that they will have their portion at last in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. Mal. 4:1; Rev. 20:15; 22:18, 19, etc. p. 500, Para. 2.
VERSE 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. p. 500, Para. 3.
In what sense have these witnesses power to shut heaven,
turn waters to blood, and bring plagues on the earth?
Elijah shut heaven that it rained not for three years and a
half; but he did it by the word of the Lord. Moses, by the
word of the Lord, turned the waters of Egypt to blood. And
just as these judgments, recorded in their testimony, have
been fulfilled, so will every threatening and judgment
denounced by them against any people surely be
As often as they will. As often as
judgments are recorded on their pages to take place, so
often they will come to pass. An instance of this the world
is yet to experience in the infliction of the seven last
plagues. p. 500, Para. 4.
VERSE 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.
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. p. 500, Para. 5.
When they shall have finished their testimony, that is,
in sackcloth. The sackcloth state ended, or, as elsewhere
expressed, the days of persecution were shortened [Matt.
24:22], before the period itself expired. A
prophecy, denotes a kingdom, or power. [See Dan. 7:17, 23.]
The question now arises, When did the 1260-year period of
the witnesses close? and did such a kingdom as described
make war on them at the time spoken of? If we are correct
in fixing upon A.D. 538 as the time of the commencement of
the papal supremacy, the forty-two months being 1260
prophetic days, or years, would bring us down to A.D. 1798.
About this time, then, did such a kingdom as described
appear, and make war on them, etc.? Mark! this beast, or
kingdom, is out of the bottomless pit; it has no
foundation, is an atheistical power, is
Egypt. [See Ex. 5:2: And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord,
that they should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know
not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.] Here is
atheism. Did any kingdom, about 1798 manifest the same
spirit? -- Yes, France; in her national capacity she denied
the being of God, and made war on the
Monarchy of heaven.
p. 500, Para. 6.
Spiritually this power
is called Sodom. What was the
characteristic sin of Sodom? -- Licentiousness. Did France
have this character? -- She did; fornication was
established by law during the period spoken of.
Spiritually the place was
where our Lord was crucified.
Was this true in France? -- It was, in more senses than
one. A plot was laid in France to destroy all the pious
Huguenots; and in one night (Aug. 24, 25, 1572) fifty thousand
of them were murdered in cold blood, and the streets of Paris
literally ran with blood. Thus our Lord was
crucified in his members. Again, the watchword and motto
of the French infidels was,
CRUSH THE WRETCH, meaning
Christ. Thus it may be truly said,
Where our Lord was
crucified. The very spirit of the
bottomless pit was
poured out in that wicked nation. p. 501, Para. 1.
But did France
make war on the Bible? -- She did; and in
1793 a decree passed the French Assembly forbidding the
Bible; and under that decree, the Bibles were gathered and
burned, every possible mark of contempt was heaped upon
them, and all the institutions of the Bible were abolished;
the weekly rest-day was blotted out, and every tenth day
substituted, for mirth and profanity. Baptism and the
communion were abolished. The being of God was denied, and
death pronounced an eternal sleep. The Goddess of Reason,
in the person of a vile woman, was set up, and publicly
worshiped. Surely here is a power that exactly answers the
prophecy. But let us examine this point still further. p.
501, Para. 2.
VERSE 9. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues
and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a
half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in
graves. p. 502, Para. 1.
The language of this verse describes the feelings of other nations besides the one committing the outrage on the witnesses. They would see what war infidel France had made on the Bible, but would not be led nationally to engage in the wicked work, nor suffer the murdered witnesses to be buried, or put out of sight among themselves, though they lay dead three days and a half, that is, three years and a half, in France. No; this very attempt on the part of France served to arouse Christians everywhere to put forth new exertions in behalf of the Bible, as we shall presently see. p. 502, Para. 2.
VERSE 10. And they that dwell upon the earth shall
rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts to
one another; because these two prophets tormented them that
dwelt on the earth. p. 502, Para. 3.
This denotes the joy those felt who hated the Bible, or
were tormented by it. Great was the joy of infidels
everywhere for awhile. But the
triumphing of the wicked is
short; so was it in France, for their war on the Bible and
Christianity well-nigh swallowed them all up. They set out
to destroy Christ's
two witnesses, but they filled France
with blood and terror, so that they were horror-struck at
the result of their own wicked deeds, and were soon glad to
remove their impious hands from the Bible. p. 502, Para.
VERSE 11. And after three days and a 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. p.
502, Para. 5.
In 1793, a decree passed the French Assembly suppressing
the Bible. Just three years after, a resolution was
introduced into the Assembly superseding the decree, and
giving toleration to the Scriptures. That resolution lay on
the table six months, when it was taken up, and passed
without a dissenting vote. Thus, in just three years and a
half, the witnesses
stood upon their feet, and great fear
fell upon them which saw them. Nothing but the appalling
results of the rejection of the Bible could have induced
France to take her hands off these witnesses. p. 502,
VERSE 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. p. 503, Para.
Ascended up to heaven. -- To understand this expression,
see Dan. 4:22:
Thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto
heaven. Here we see that the expression signifies great
exaltation. Have the Scriptures attained to such a state of
exaltation as here indicated, since France made war upon
them? -- They have. Shortly after, the British Bible
Society was organized ; then followed the American
Bible Society ; and these, with their almost
innumerable auxiliaries, are scattering the Bible
everywhere. Since that period, the Bible has been
translated into nearly two hundred different languages that
it was never in before; and the improvements in paper-making
and printing within the last seventy-five years have
given an impetus to the work of scattering Bible which is
without a parallel. p. 503, Para. 2.
The Bible has been sent to the destitute, literally by shiploads. One vessel carried out from England fifty-nine tons of Bibles for the emancipated slaves in the West Indies. The Bible has risen to be respected by almost every one, whether saint or sinner. Within the last century, translations of the Scriptures have increased fivefold, and the circulation of the Scriptures thirtyfold. --  No other book approaches it in cheapness or number of copies sold. According to the Missionary Review of September, 1896, it has been translated into languages embracing nine tenths of the human race. And the American Bible Society, in its eightieth annual report, dated May, 1896, gives the number of Bibles and parts of Bibles issued by that society alone, as 61,705,841. Add the issues by the British Bible Society and other publisher, and how vastly would the number be increased! What other book has the world ever seen which approaches the Bible in this respect? It is exalted as above all price, as, next to his Son, the most invaluable blessing of God to man, and as the glorious testimony concerning that Son. Yes; the Scriptures may truly be said to be exalted "to heaven in a cloud," a cloud being an emblem of heavenly elevation. p. 503, Para. 3.
[ Increase of Crime, by D. T. Taylor, p. 5.] p. 503, Para. 4.
VERSE 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. p. 504,
What city? [See chapter 17:18:
And the woman which thou
sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings
[kingdoms] of the earth.] That city is the papal Roman
power. France is one of the
ten horns that gave
power and strength unto the [papal] beast; or is one of
the ten kingdoms that arose out of the Western Empire of
Rome, as indicated by the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's
image, the ten horns of Daniel's beast [Dan. 7:24], and
John's dragon. Rev. 12:3. France, then, was
a tenth part
of the city, and was one of the strongest ministers of
papal vengeance; but in this revolution it
fell, and with
it fell the last civil messenger of papal fury.
And in the
earthquake were slain of men [margin, names of men, or
TITLES of men] seven thousand. France made war, in her
revolution of 1789-98 and onward, on all titles of
nobility. It is said by those who have examined the French
records, that just seven thousand titles of men were
abolished in that revolution.
And the remnant were
affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. Their
God- dishonoring and Heaven-defying work filled France with
such scenes of blood, carnage, and horror, as made eve the
infidels themselves tremble, and stand aghast; and the
remnant that escaped the horrors of that hour
to God -- not willingly, but the God of heaven caused this
wrath of man to praise him, by causing all the world to
see that those who make war on heaven make graves for
themselves; thus glory redounded to God by the very means
that wicked men employed to tarnish that glory. p. 504,
For the statistics and many of the foregoing thoughts on the two witnesses, we are indebted to an exposition of the subject of The Two Witnesses, by the late George Storrs. p. 505, Para. 1.
VERSE 14. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third
woe cometh quickly. p. 505, Para. 2.
The series of seven trumpets is here again resumed. The second woe ended with the sixth trumpet, Aug. 11, 1840; and the third woe occurs under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which commenced in 1844. p. 505, Para. 3.
Then where are we?
Behold! that is to say, mark it well,
the third woe cometh quickly. The fearful scenes of the
second woe are past, and we are now under the sounding of
the trumpet that brings the third and last woe. And shall
we now look for peace and safety, a temporal millennium, a
thousand years of righteousness and prosperity? Rather let
us earnestly pray the Lord to awaken a slumbering world.
p. 505, Para. 4.
VERSE 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. p. 505, Para. 5.
From the 15th verse to the end of the chapter, we seem to be carried over the ground, from the sounding of the seventh angel to the end, three distinct times. In the verses last quoted, the prophet glances forward to the full establishment of the kingdom of God. Although the seventh trumpet has begun to sound, it may not yet be a fact that the great voices in heaven have proclaimed that the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, except it be in anticipation of the speedy accomplishment of this event; but the seventh trumpet, like the preceding six, covers a period of time: and the transfer of the kingdoms from earthly power to Him whose right it is to reign, is the principal event to occur in the early years of its sounding; hence this event, to the exclusion of all else, here engages the mind of the prophet. [see remarks on verse 19.] In the next verse John goes back and takes up intervening events as follows:-- p. 505, Para. 6.
VERSE 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. p. 506, Para. 1.
The Nations Were Angry. -- Commencing with the wonderful
revolution in Europe in 1848, that spontaneous outburst of
violence among the nations, their anger toward one another,
their jealousy and envy, have been constantly increasing.
Almost every paper shows the fearful degree to which they
are now excited, and how tense has become the strain on the
relations between them. p. 506, Para. 2.
And Thy Wrath Is Come. -- The wrath of God for the
present generation is filled up in the seven last plagues
[chapter 15:1], which consequently must here be referred
to, and which are soon to be poured out upon the earth. p.
506, Para. 3.
The Judgment of the Dead. --
And the time of the dead,
that they should be judged. The great majority of the
dead, that is, the wicked, are still in their graves after
the visitation of the plagues, and the close of this
dispensation. A work of judgment, of allotting to each one
the punishment due to his sins, is carried on in reference
to them by the saints, in conjunction with Christ, during
the one thousand years following the first resurrection. 1
Cor. 6:2; Rev. 20:4. Inasmuch as this judgment of the dead
follows the wrath of God, or the seven last plagues, it
would seem necessary to refer it to the one thousand years
of judgment upon the wicked, above mentioned; for the
investigative judgment takes place before the plagues are
poured out. p. 506, Para. 4.
The Reward of the Righteous. --
And that thou shouldst
give reward unto thy servants the prophets. These will
enter upon their reward at the coming of Christ, for he
brings their reward with him. Matt. 16:27; Rev. 22:12. The
full reward of the saints however is not reached till they
enter upon the possession of the new earth. Matt. 25:34.
p. 506, Para. 5.
The Punishment of the Wicked. --
And shouldst destroy
them which destroy the earth, referring to the time when
all the wicked will be forever devoured by those purifying
fires which come down from God out of heaven upon them, and
which melt and renovate the earth. 2 Pet 3:7; Rev 20:9. By
this we learn that the seventh trumpet reaches over to the
end of the one thousand years. Momentous, startling, but
yet joyous thought! that the trumpet is now sounding which
is to see the final destruction of the wicked, and to
behold the saints, clothed in a glorious immortality,
safely located on the earth made new. p. 507, Para. 1.
Once more the prophet carries us back to the commencement of the trumpet, in the following language:-- p. 507, Para. 2.
VERSE 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. p. 507, Para. 3.
Having introduced the seventh trumpet in verse 15, the
first great event that strikes the mind of the seer is the
transfer of the kingdom from earthly to heavenly rule. God
takes to him his great power, and forever crushes the
rebellion of this revolted earth, establishes Christ upon
his own throne, and remains himself supreme over all. This
picture being completed, we are pointed back, in verse 18,
to the state of the nations, the judgment to fall upon
them, and the final destiny of both saints and sinners.
This field of vision having been scanned, we are taken back
once more in the verse now under notice, and our attention
is called to the close of the priesthood of Christ, the
last scene in the work of mercy for a guilty world. 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. This took place at the end of the
2300 days, when the sanctuary was to be cleansed, the time
when the prophetic periods expired, and the seventh angel
commenced to sound. 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
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. Ex. 25:16; 31:18; Deut. 10:2, 5. It
was put to no other use, and owed its name solely to the
fact that it contained the tables of the law. If the tables
were not therein, it would not be the ark of his [God's]
testament, and could not truthfully be so called. Yet 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 from the copy which for a
time was committed to the care of men in the typical ark of
the tabernacle during the Mosaic dispensation. p. 507,
The followers of the prophetic word have also received the reed, and are measuring the temple, the altar, and them that worship therein. Verse 1. They are uttering their last prophecy before nations, peoples, and tongues. Chapter 10:11. And the drama will soon close with the lightnings, thunderings, voices, the earthquake, and great hail, which will constitute nature's last convulsion before all things are made new at the close of the thousand years. Rev. 21:5. [See on chapter 16:17-21.] p. 541, Para. 4.
© by S. D. Goeldner,