Revelation 11 will humble even the greatest of theologians, preachers, and biblical scholars. The chapter is complicated with a variety of cryptic symbols. The language is stark. The beast, the Antichrist, surfaces for the first time here. Take a moment and read the chapter.
Interpreting the passage is challenging and humbling. But four lessons for the church emerge in Revelation 11:
1. God protects us spiritually, but we may still experience persecution.
2. God calls us to speak prophetically, which opens us to hostility.
3. Any temporary defeat is reversed by God’s promise of resurrection.
4. The faithful witness of the church carries tremendous power and authority.
We will unpack these thoughts further on Sunday. For now, you should understand that you can make an incredible impact in this world, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. Why is this chapter such a challenge? First, consider the framework: Is this language more symbolic or less? Some believe the temple and time period are symbols, especially since the temple had been destroyed about 25 years earlier. Those who hold to a more symbolic perspective believe the temple here represents the
Christian community, the church.
Others believe this passage represents a literal rebuilding of the temple during the end times. And that the worshipers here represent Jews who come to Christ during the end of days. (I favor this view.)
The “measuring stick” in this passage will not be mentioned again until Revelation 21, when the New Jerusalem is built—where Jewish and Gentile believers will come together. But no measurement is given. There is no answer as to how many worshipers are there. Why? Because God wants as many worshipers as possible. There is still time to repent and come to
Second, consider the backdrop. What has happened in the outer courtyard? The second verse reveals that other nations who do not proclaim Christ have taken over it. What is God’s plan for the courtyard of the temple? What does it really represent? We will answer these questions on Sunday. It’s a critically important part of Revelation. Onward to Sunday!