We have come to the eleventh chapter of Revelation which some have called the most difficult chapter of the most difficult book of the Bible. And, my task is simply to try to make this chapter easy to understand and to help you see what God is trying to say to us. I believe that if I am able to do that, even in a small way, that you will be thrilled and inspired and encouraged.
Before we get into the chapter itself, we need to drop back and very quickly, review the book of Revelation to this point. This will give you the background against which we enter this chapter, because the book of Revelation is a marvelous unity. It is not simply a hodgepodge of various odd symbols thrown together in some way to confuse you, but if Revelation is carefully and thoughtfully studied, it will be seen as a book of beautiful unity.
In chapter one of Revelation, we see Jesus in the midst of His churches reminding us of His promise. “... and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). In chapters two and three, we see the church struggling, suffering, seduced and some of its soldier slain, and we sense the church that has been urged to be faithful until death wondering if it is really worth it. Is Satan winning the battle? Chapter four of Revelation answers with a resounding, “No!” We see a door opened in heaven and One is sitting upon the throne and we are made to realize that God is in charge of His creation. He rules and He reigns.
In chapter five, we see the book of human destiny sealed. We see the Lamb of God, who has been slain, ascend to the throne; and He is found worthy to unloose the seals and to reveal and carry out God's purposes. He begins to reign. In chapter six, as the first seal is opened, we see Him going forth conquering and to conquer. Which, according to II Corinthians 10:3–5, is accomplished through the agency of God's people who, through their warfare, are bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. But, where the gospel goes, persecution follows. So, the next three seals, when they are unloosed, reveal Christians suffering persecution, economic
hardship, and even death. But, lest this discourage the soldiers of the cross, we see, when the fifth seal is opened, the souls of them that have been slain for the word of God living in His very presence. Having been reassured that death cannot destroy God's people, we see, when the sixth seal is opened, the final wrath of God is seen poured out on a rebellious world and the question is asked, “Who is able to stand?”
Chapter seven answers, “The servants of our God.” They are preserved, protected and are seen standing before the throne and before the Lamb. We are told that God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes. And, what about God's people while they are on the earth? Does God not hear the cries, the prayers of His persecuted people? He does. And, chapters eight and nine show in God's warning trumpets. His judgment being sounded against those who persecute God's people, showing that He does hear their prayers. His people pray and God casts fire upon the earth.
The first four trumpets sound, and we see God sending natural calamities upon the world. The fifth trumpet sounds, and we see the wicked experiencing the spiritual agonies that accompany their sinful manner of life. The sixth trumpet sounds, and we see the wicked afflicted with the agony of warfare. All of these judgments are designed to turn men to God.
But, we are told at the end of the sixth chapter that the rest of mankind, who were not killed with these plagues, repented not. The statement is repeated for emphasis, “They repented not.” All that remains now is the return of Christ and the final destruction of the wicked. But, in the meantime, what is happening to God's people while these judgments are being brought against the wicked? Chapter 10 through chapter 11:14, forms a parenthesis, to explain to us what happens to God's people during all this—chapter ten introduces and chapter eleven describes it.
We begin the study of the eleventh chapter of Revelation with verse 1: “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.’ ” There was a long time when I was totally baffled by that verse. I could not understand what could possible be meant by the suggestion of
measuring the temple of God and measuring the people and measuring the altar, etc. Finally, it was called to my attention that the Bible talks about measuring things elsewhere, in other prophetic literature of the Bible. I believe that we should allow the Bible to interpret itself as far as possible. And I believe that we can find something of the significance of the measuring, if we will read some references from the Old Testament.
Concerning the temple of God, Ezekiel 42:20 says, “He measured it on the four sides; it had a wall all around five hundred cubits long and five hundred wide, to separate the holy areas from the common.” We see the temple of God being measured, and it is being measured for the purpose of making a separation between that which was holy and that which was common. Now, turn to Ezekiel 22:26, and we will see another passage referring to this measuring process and its significance. There is says, “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things: they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so I am profaned among them.” We see that there needs to be a distinction made between holy and the unclean, between that which is God's and that which is not God's, and the measuring that we saw in chapter 42 is for the purpose of making that kind of distinction. Ezekiel 48:35, says: “All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.” The temple is measured. It is measured, and determined to be holy, and the presence of God is there.
We read another prophecy in the Old Testament, a passage that actually has more direct bearing on what we are seeing in Revelation. This should help us to get the background and meaning of the concept of measuring. This is Zechariah 2:1–5 which says: “Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he said to me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.’ And there was the angel who talked with me, going out: and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, ‘Run, speak to this young man, saying: “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. ‘For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her,
and I will be the glory in her midst.” ’ ” There are two ideas suggested in the measuring process: one is the idea of separation and distinguishing that which is holy and the other is the idea of protection.
Now, let us see how these ideas apply to Revelation 11. The temple is to be measured. Actually, the word “temple” would be better if translated “sanctuary,” because it does not have reference to the whole temple complex. There are two Greek words translated “temple,” but this word is one that has reference to the holy place and the Most Holy, the inner sanctuary of the temple. John is to measure the temple of God and the altar and them that worship therein. The measuring is to distinguish a holy people, a people separated for God, a people protected by God because the presence of God is here. The point is that although the saints will suffer, they will not perish.
That is made clear in Revelation 11:2: “But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” Now, the temple is mentioned again. This does not have reference to the literal temple that was in the city of Jerusalem. To so treat it is to do violence to the way in which the book of Revelation and the New Testament deal with the concept of the temple. The temple of God is spoken of in the New Testament as being the church of God. For example, in I Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul said, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” You is plural, and has reference to all of the Christians together, the whole church. In the Old Testament, God had ordered the people of Israel to build a house where he might dwell, where his presence might be.
When you come to the New Testament, there is a transformation of the concept, because the church now becomes the temple of God where the Spirit of God dwells. He dwells in us individually, as Paul mentions in I Corinthians 6:19–20 and He dwells in the church as a whole. We are the temple of God. Again in II Corinthians 6:16–17 Paul said, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple
of the living God. As God has said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.’ therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” II Corinthians 7:1 continues: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The apostle Paul, the writer of II Corinthians, says that we are a temple of the living God and, consequently, we ought to come out of the world. We ought to be a separated people. We ought to be a people no longer living in the defilement of the flesh and the spirit. Just as the measuring of the temple was suggestive of the idea of making a distinction and separation between the holy and the unclean, God's people, the church, are to be a people that are a holy people, a people set apart, sanctified, and protected by God. That is the picture we are seeing in Revelation 11:2
We need to remember that Revelation is written in the context of the new covenant where Christians are identified as the true Jews. Notice Romans 2:28–29; Galatians 3:29; Galatians 6:16; Philippians 3:3; James 1:1 and I Peter 2:9–10. These are some references showing that , under the new covenant, Christians are regarded as the true Israel, the Israel of God, those who are Christians are true Jews, so collectively, Christians who form the church comprise the temple of God. That is what we are seeing in Revelation 11:1–2. We are seeing the church of the living God measured, separated and protected because Jehovah is there. His presence is with His people.
But while God preserves and protects His people, the fact remains that His people will still suffer. In Revelation 11:2, he says, “But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” The temple, the court, the holy city was also a part of the temple of God. The holy city, here, does not have reference to literal Jerusalem. The holy city is the expression of the new Jerusalem that is spoken of in Hebrews 12:22–23, where the writer says, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an immeasurable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.” The holy city represents God's church. What we are seeing are terms referring to the church. But, in this composite symbol, we see the church, on the one hand, exposed to the world so that the church continues to suffer persecution. The court, the holy city and the temple represent the church of Christ. Both aspects of the experience of God's people are seen, both protection and persecution.
In Luke 12:4–5, you recall Jesus said, “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into Hell: yes, I say to you, fear Him!” This has always been the experience of God's people. There has never been a need to fear those who can kill the body; yet, God's people have always been exposed to the persecution of those who oppose God and His cause and His people. At the same time, God's people have always been protected, preserved, so that they can not be cast into hell. As long as we are faithful to God, as long as we remain His people, we are protected though we may be persecuted.
Homer Hailey wrote on this passage, “The measured temple symbolizes the inner or spiritual life of the true worshipers which neither Satan nor his instruments of persecution can reach; this is measured and protected by God. But He has not promised to protect the physical life of the body of Christians from being sacrificed and trampled under foot.” As Jim McGuiggan put it, “He permits the suffering but will not permit the annihilation—the inner sanctuary is kept by Him.” This harmonizes with what follows in this chapter, what is taught throughout the book of Revelation and throughout the New Testament.
Remember, Jesus said to His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). God's people will be a persecuted people. Remember, the scripture says, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). The point is, God's people need to understand that in this life there will be suffering, there will be hardships and
there will be persecution. There will be every effort on the part of Satan to seduce, to allure to his way of life. And, in this world, we endure all of this. But, the point also is that Satan can not destroy. He is not able to snatch any out of the Lord's hand. We can leave God, but as long as we stay with God, Satan cannot overcome us. What we are seeing, I believe, in the composite picture of Revelation 11:1–2 is the church, persecuted and protected.
Now, we need to deal with the number given in Revelation 11:2. What is the “forty and two months?” I believe that when we understand the significance of the forty and two months, we will understand even better that these verses are speaking about God's people, His church. Forty and two months is the same thing as three and a half years, and, on the Jewish calendar of 360 days in a year, that equals 1,260 days. That, also, is the same thing as the expression of Revelation 12:14, “time, and times and half a time,” time being a year, times being two years, and half a time being half a year which add up to three and a half years. We have three and a half years expressed in four different ways.
I want you to see how these terms are used elsewhere in the book of Revelation, so that you will begin to understand what is meant by that forty–two months period of time. First, here in Revelation 11:2, we have seen the holy city being trodden under foot for forty–two months. In the next verse, the church is proclaiming the gospel to the world on a day–to–day basis for 1, 260 days, which is the same period of time. The church is being persecuted, but protected from the full wrath of Satan during this period of three and a half years (Revelation 12:14 and 12:16). Satan is trying to deceive God's people during this period which is spoke of as forty-two months in Revelation 13:5. What do we see here? We are seeing the same period of time spoken of in terms of days, months, years, and even time, times and half a time. It is a period when the church is being persecuted, a period when the church is proclaiming the gospel to the world, a time when Satan is trying to deceive the people of God.
This expression, “time, times and half a time” is also used in Daniel 12:7. Read this, because I want you to get the full picture, and this will complete the references found in the Bible
to this period of time. Daniel 12:7 says, “Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.”
Even in Revelation where that expression is used, it has reference to the time when the holy people are being broken in pieces, a time of persecution of God's people. Now, we ask a simple question? What is the period of time during which the church suffers persecution, during which the church is trying to proclaim the gospel to the world, the time during which the world is being seduced by Satan? It is the period from the time the church began on the day of Pentecost to the time that Jesus comes again. The church has been preaching the gospel, the church, consequently, is suffering persecution, and Satan is trying his best to seduce the people of God. This expression then, has reference to the entire Christian age, and that is important for us to understand.
We are learning in chapter 11 about the condition of the people of God. In chapters 8 and 9, we saw what has been happening to the world. Now, we are going to learn about God's people during the time when all the calamities, spiritual agonies, and warfare are affecting the people of the world. Here is what has been happening to the people of God. They are preaching the word and they are being persecuted. They are suffering, but they are being protected by God so that they cannot be destroyed. The gates of Hades shall not prevail against the church, and God's people will ultimately be triumphant. That is the message we are seeing.
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matthew 5:11). That is how it will always be with God's people. We are not, in this life, going to have a bed of roses. But, we shall have the continual presence and protection and preservation of the power of God working among us.
You might say, “Why would Revelation use a symbol of three and a half years to speak of the entire Christian age? Does that make sense? Superficially, it may not. But I believe we must
let the Bible interpret the Bible as far as possible. Does the Bible have anything else to say about a three and a half year period from which Revelation might have drawn such a symbol for a period of proclamation of God's message and the persecution of the people of God?
All we have to do is go to James 5:17. There, you recall that James said, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.” There is the figure that we are seeing over and over again in Revelation. You might say, “What is the possible connection, if there is any, between what happened in the case of Elijah for three and a half years and the use of such a symbol in Revelation?” That three and a half year period just happened to be in the days of Elijah and Ahab when God's message was being proclaimed that His people were being oppressed.
Look at I Kings 17:1. I want to show you several references in I Kings related to it. It says, “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.’ ” Now look at chapter 18:10: “As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you.” Now, read verse 13: “Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid one hundred men of the Lord's prophets, fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water?” Here is a period of the prophets' proclamation of God's word when the prophets had to be hidden in a cave because of the persecution that was brought against them.
While this is a period of proclamation of God's message and the persecution of God's people, it was also a time of the protection of God's people so they could not be destroyed. I Kings 18:4 says, “For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.” And then, in verse 39. we are told: “Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!’ ” Then, 19:18 says, “Yet I
have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
God's people were oppressed. Many were killed. But, God preserved His people, and, when Elijah was in a condition of despair and saying, “I am the only one left,” God said, “Elijah, there are seven thousand who have not yet bowed their knee to Baal.” And, we need to realize brethren, we are not alone in the world. We are not fighting our battles alone. There are people elsewhere in this world who are trying to please God, to serve God; and we know that God is on the throne, and that He is in charge, and His people will be triumphant. Let us not be like little children who say, “Everybody else is doing it.” We ought to grow up and realize this is a lie of Satan. Everybody else is not doing it.
There are still people who are serving God, who are committed to Him, and who have not bowed their knee to Baal. And, we need to realize, and understand that here was a period, also, in the time of Elijah, a three and a half year period of the proclamation of the message of God. The persecution of God's people, but, also, the preservation of God's people. So, three and a half is a perfect symbol of the Christian age when, again, God's people are proclaiming the message, being persecuted and, yet, being protected by the grace of Almighty God. That the speaker in Revelation had the three and a half year period of Elijah's day in mind is indicated by the statement in Revelation 11:6, “These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy.” That is a perfect statement of what happened in the days of Elijah. The heavens were shut, and it rained not for three and a half years.
Now, read Revelation 11:3: “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” Who are the two witnesses? In verse 4, he says, “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.” Then, we are told in verse 10: “And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because those two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.” The two witnesses are called two olive trees, two candlesticks, two prophets. To what can this possibly refer?
Let us think about it a minute. There is only one other time in scripture where two olive trees are associated with candlesticks. Again, it is an Old Testament reference, I believe gives us the background to what we are seeing here. In Zechariah 4:1–6, we read: “Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, ‘What do you see?’ So I said, ‘I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at the left.’ So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, ‘What are these, my lord?’ ” Now we have two olive trees which represent the word of Jehovah. What are the two olive trees doing? They are standing there on either side of the candlesticks furnishing the olive oil to provide the light from the candlesticks. We have seen in the scripture where the candlesticks and the olive trees are tied together.
When we return to the more immediate context of Revelation we see, in 1:20, that the candlesticks (or, the lampstands) represent the churches. What was the purpose of the church as it went out in the world? It served as a witness to the whole world. It was carrying the message of the prophets to the whole world. Now, there is one thing that we need to know. In connection with all of this. According to Revelation 11:7, these two prophets are going to be slain. “Now when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.” You do not speak of making war with two people, so, we are not talking about two individuals in Revelation 11. There is a war that is taking place.
Revelation tells us who the beast makes war with, in Revelation 13:7. It says, “And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” The beast makes war with the saints. That is God's people, the church. So, who are the two witnesses, the two candlesticks, the two olive trees, the two prophets. It is the gospel–proclaiming church. Why is it spoken of as two? There may be several reasons. One is suggested in a principle established in Deuteronomy and repeated in II Corinthians 13:1: “This will be the third time I am coming to you. By the mouth of two or three witnesses
every word shall be established.” The point is that the church serves as an adequate witness to the world. It may also be that the two witnesses represent two things: The word of God, as suggested by the olive trees in Zechariah 4, and God's people, because the word of God is what God's people carry into the world. But, what happens? Revelation 11:4–5 says, “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.” You may say, “That does not sound like a church to me. How is fire coming out of the mouth of the church? That does not make sense.” Let us go back to Jeremiah 5:14 and read: “Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: ‘Because you speak this word, behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.’ ”
As the church goes forth presenting the word of God, it converts many; but it is a fire devouring those who reject it. And, then again, it says in Revelation 11:6, “These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.” You say, “Can the church do that?” We have already read Revelation 8 that says, “Yes, the church can do that."” The prayers of the saints are sent to the throne of God and God casts fire down on the earth. God hears the prayers of His persecuted people. Yes, the prayers of the church have a power to change the world, to affect the world, to affect the governments of the world.
When we say, “Pray for the kings of the earth,” we mean it. It makes a difference. God hears our prayers and all His suffering and persecuted people will be avenged by the wrath of God. That is what Revelation 8 is telling us. Yes, the church is not some king of insignificant, trivial little institution on the face of the earth, it is God's powerful people proclaiming its message and powerfully affecting the coarse of the world.
Read Revelation 11:7–10: “Now when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street in the great city which
spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.” The two prophets tormented them, not in the sense the church was trying to be mean to the world, but, in the sense that Elijah was called by the wicked Ahab, “... the troubler of Israel” (I Chronicles 2:7).
That is how the world sees the church, as the source of its troubles. From God's point of view, it was Ahab who was the troubler of Israel. The point of the whole passage seems to be that, at the end of time, when the period of proclamation of the church is about to come to an end, it appears that the power of the church to proclaim the message throughout the world is going to be curtailed to such an extent that it seems as through the church is no longer able to carry on. It seems as though the church has been killed. It reminds us of what Jesus said in Luke 18:8: “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"”
We do know there will be some, because, when He comes again, one will be taken and the other left. But, there will be a brief time at the end where it will seem as though the gates of Hades have prevailed against the church. This three and a half years of evangelization by the church seems to suggest a brief period at the very end when it looks like Satan has won. But, when it looks like Satan has won, then what happens?
We come to an exciting climax, which is found in the middle of the book. They went up into heaven in the cloud; and their enemies behold them. Read Revelation 11:11–13: “Now after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Here we see God's people caught up to heaven.
Jesus is coming again. The wicked are being destroyed. We do not have the full description, because, all of a sudden, it is cut off with the words in verse 14: “The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.”
And, now, the seventh seal finally sounds, and there is finished the mystery of the gospel that is spoke of in Revelation 11:15: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were found voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ ” God is triumphant. His people have gone to be with Him. The have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and they shall ever be with the Lord, for the kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.
Revelation 11:16: “And the twenty–four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.’ ” Note what was said, back in Revelation 4:8, when we came for the first time to the throne of God to see God sitting on His throne. Angels were falling down before Him and saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Jesus has come, and He has delivered His people at the very time that Satan had, apparently, gained a victory. God's people are triumphant! They are preserved, they are protected, and they are saved to reign with Him forever and ever.
Then, we are told in Revelation 11:18 19: “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth. The temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant as seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”
Notice that now, finally, God's people have gone to meet Him, and the temple of God is opened, the sanctuary, where the ark of the covenant was, and only one man could go one time in a year into the Most Holy place. But, when Jesus shed His blood
on the cross of Calvary, the veil was ripped from top to bottom, the Most Holy place was opened. Now it is open for all who accept the message of Jesus Christ.
I believe the greatest commentary on this is found in Hebrews 10:19–25: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Brethren, the sanctuary of God is open in heaven where the ark rests and where the presence of God is, and we have direct access to Him who had been veiled for so long. So, let us draw near with fullness of heart, having our bodies washed with pure water, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.
Finally, in Revelation 11, we see the same scene that was seen the first time we saw God on His throne in Revelation 4. We are told that there followed lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and God in all of His awesome glory is there awaiting us. Will you give your heart to Him and begin to walk in His way? If you believe in Jesus, repent of your sins and confess your faith in Him. Then have your body washed with pure water, that your heart may be sprinkled from an evil conscience by the blood of Jesus Christ. That blood was shed on the cross. It split the veil of the temple, and opened the way to the presence of God.