Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dec 13: Revelation 11

Revelation 11

This chapter opens with John being told to measure the temple. Revelation contains many references and symbols from the Old Testament including Ezekiel, who in a vision accompanies a man who measures the temple. Some of the visions Ezekiel received from God are similar to Revelation in that they are epic and symbolic.

The two witnesses that we meet in this chapter appear in Jerusalem and are reminiscent of two of Israel‘s prolific prophets:
  1. Elijah, who in 1 Kings 17 “shut up the sky” so that Israel experienced a crushing drought.
  2. Moses, who in Exodus 7-11 struck Egypt with plagues.
Whether these witnesses are the actual prophets or just similar, they share the same mission: proclaim God’s word. The great city where they were telling people about God “is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.” In the rest of the bible Egypt symbolizes slavery from which God rescued his people, and Sodom represents great sinfulness that God judged. However, Jerusalem is rarely associated with Egypt or Sodom but here it may be highlighting the spiritual condition of God’s people, or humanity in general.

There are three different time periods mentioned in verses 2 and 3 of this chapter as well as verse 14 of the next. They could be different periods or be different ways of expressing one. (If “a time” is a year with 12 months and a month has 30 days, then 3.5 years = 42 months = 1260 days.)

The reading ends with another glimpse of worship in heaven. There is a temple with an ark of the covenant, which sounds exactly like something God previously had the Israelites build. However, there is great power emanating from this one as indicated by the lightning, thunder, earthquake and hailstorm. Something is about to happen. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out (or you could read ahead!).

-Written for Verve by Mike Zimmerman