BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 5: John 11:45-57

Summary of passage:  As usual, some believed in Jesus after Lazarus was raised from the dead and some didn’t.  The Sanhedrin met and were threatened by Jesus’ rise.  They would lose power and the Romans would take over.  Caiaphas, the high priest, said it is better for Jesus to die than lose the nation to Roman control.  They plotted against Jesus who moved to the desert near Ephraim with the disciples.  The next Passover came and Jesus did not appear since he would be arrested immediately if he did so (and likely put to death).

Questions:

12)  Some believed; others were threatened by him.

13a)  “What are we accomplishing?”  “The Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”  “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Not to lose power.  Political survival.  Be careful not to oppose God when you’re single-minded about power and driven by greed.

14)  Part personal question.  My answer:  The significance is Caiaphas took this as a literal death to save the nation of Israel whereas Jesus did this spiritually:  he died for the nation to save their souls not their lives and gather all God’s people (Jews and Gentiles) as one to Jesus.  God is good.

Conclusions:  I can’t imagine Jesus enjoying this time on earth where he has to constantly hide from the Pharisees instead of ministering to the people.  It’s a good lesson for us.  There are times in our lives when we just have to do the grunt work and times in our lives that aren’t pleasant but we must endure like Jesus.  I think a lot of people picture Jesus just doing his miracles and then dying.  They forget the day-in and day-out living that he did like we all do to get to God’s purpose.

End Notes:  The people are divided and some went to the Pharisees.  John either learned of what transpired during this meeting through Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathaea or someone who was on the council and then converted to Christianity.

Now the Sanhedrin admit he is performing miracles and is the Messiah.  So now Jesus is a threat to them and he must be stopped.

In all four Gospels, the Pharisees appear as Jesus’ principal opponents throughout his public ministry. But they lacked political power, and it is the chief priests who were prominent in the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.  Here both groups are associated in a meeting of the Sanhedrin.  They did not deny the reality of the miraculous signs but they did not understand their meaning, for they failed to believe.

People probably imagine the “what if” again.  What if Jesus had lived?  Would everyone believe?  Maybe.  But then we wouldn’t be saved.  There is no “what if” ing God and His will.  What happens to you is for a reason.  Period.  Move on. Don’t dwell on “what if’s” because they will never be.  You can lament them.  But you can’t change them.

“Our place” refers to the temple.  It had become an idol to the Sanhedrin, thinking of it as theirs.  It’s God. Always.

Little did the Sanhedrin know that history would take its course and the Jews would love “our place” anyways in 70 AD when the Romans did invade Jerusalem, scattering the nation, and eradicating the nation of Israel for almost 2000 years.  And this had nothing to do with Jesus.

Caiaphas was logical but not moral.  He was willing to kill an innocent man to save many.

Caiaphas was high priest for 11 years.  “That year” is to draw emphasis to the year Jesus died. God overruled what he said here.  His words were true in a way he could not imagine.

Now, the high officials are joining with the lesser officials to kill Jesus.  Lazarus’ raising was the last straw to them.

Jesus retreats again because his time had not yet come.  He was not afraid.

Now, we are about to speed up history and Jesus’ days are numbered.  John jumps to a few days before Jesus’ last Passover.  The chief priests are the Sadducees and they were often in opposition to the Sanhedrin.  Not when it came to Jesus.  Both were united against him.

Note of location of Ephraim:  Ephraim was one of the original tribes of Israel but Jesus retreated to the town of Ephraim.  Unfortunately, no one knows exactly where that is and I couldn’t find any maps.  One could suppose it was located somewhere within this region.  Map HERE

Who was Caiaphas?  He was the official high priest during the ministry and the trial of Jesus (18-36 AD). By this point in history, the high priesthood had evolved into a political office, the priests still coming from the descendants of Aaron but being generally appointed for worldly considerations.  When Pompey gained control of Judea in 63 BC, the Romans took over the authority of appointing not only the civil rulers but the high priests also, with the result that the office declined spiritually.  Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, had been high priest by appointed of the Romans from 7-14 AD.  In-between, three of his sons had succeeded him but Annas was still considered a high priest.

We shall see after Jesus’ betrayal, it was the house of Annas where he was brought and tried.  Caiaphas then took a leading role in the persecution of the early church.  Summarized from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by Douglas and Tenney.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 4: John 11:32-44

Summary of passage:  Mary then went to meet Jesus as well. Jesus wept with the mourners. He told the people to remove the stone away from his tomb. He thanked God and told Lazarus to come out, which he did still wearing his grave clothes.

Questions:

9)  “For the benefit of the people standing here that they may believe that you sent me.”  It’s important for us so we know everything Jesus does is for us and to clarify to us that Jesus’ power is from God.

10a)  “Come out.”  “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

b) Our spirits will all rise from the dead just like Lazarus’ physical body rose.  Jesus will conquer death.

11)  John 10:10: Jesus gives us life to the full.

John 17:1-2:  Jesus gives eternal life to all those chosen by God.

Ephesians 2:1-5:  We are alive in Christ and saved by grace.

Colossians 3:1-4:  Christ is our life who gives us glory.

1 Thessalonians 4:16:  Those dead in Christ will rise first.

I like Colossians because it emphasizes our glory in eternal life as chosen by God.

Conclusions:  For me, lackluster.  Question 11 was repetitive.

End Notes:  Same as yesterday’s.  Mary’s response to Jesus is the same as Martha’s. Is it out of faith or criticism? We don’t know and aren’t told here.

Jesus was moved as God is by our tears and pain. All the mourners would have been wailing. It is culturally acceptable 2000 years ago to cry unlike in our era, which is taken as a sign of weakness.

Fun Fact: The word for “wept” (the only place this form is used in the entire New Testament) that Jesus did is a quiet one. It is not a wail.

“Moved in the spirit” is more properly translated “groaned.” This phrase literally means in the Greek “to snort like a horse”. It implies anger at the Devil and “was troubled” implies tenderness for the mourners.

Jesus was so moved an involuntary groan escaped his heart. He shares in our grief and he does something about it. Lazarus being raised from the dead is what he does for all of us.

I find it fascinating how somehow tears became a sign of weakness. Abraham, Jacob, David, Jonathan, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Jeremiah the weeping prophet all wept in the bible along with Jesus. It’s a very human emotion/reaction and yet we work to suppress it. The ancient Jews wailed loudly for days when a loved one passed. Jesus dignified tears and if we are to be more like him, why not cry?

The ancient Greeks believed in emotionless gods and the inability to feel.

“Deeply moved” is used twice in this passage.

“What ifs” cause more grief in this life cause it’s all in the mind.

They needed to believe to see the glory of God. Otherwise, they would miss it.

Mary and Martha acted on their faith by removing the stone. Jesus used a loud voice so all could hear him. Lazarus listened as we all are when Jesus commands.

Lazarus would have been wrapped tightly in linen much like the ancient Egyptians wrapped their mummies. These “grave clothes” he would need again unlike Jesus who left his behind. Also, Jesus had man assist in the miracle by commanding them to remove the clothes.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 3: John 11:17-44

Summary of passage:  Jesus arrives in Bethany four days after Lazarus had died.  Martha went out to meet Jesus and said if only he had come sooner.  Jesus asks her if she believes in him.  She says yes.  Mary then went to meet Jesus when Martha returned and said the same thing.  Mourners followed Mary to meet Jesus as well.  Jesus wept with the mourners.  He told the people to remove the stone away from his tomb.  He thanked God and told Lazarus to come out, which he did still wearing his grave clothes.

Questions:

6)  Martha knows Jesus could have healed Lazarus and now that he’s here she knows he can ask God to do something.  Jesus asks her if she believes in him even though Lazarus died.  She says yes.  She returns to get her sister.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life.  They mean I will have eternal life.

8 ) Part personal Question.  My answer:   Jesus cares deeply for his people.  He was moved by how much pain they were in because of Lazarus’ death and was sad for them.  Jesus cares about my pain and shares in it.  He wants to comfort me and alleviate my pain.  When I suffer, he suffers.

Conclusions:  The personal questions to me are becoming redundant and are too simple and broad.  Great passage.  Needed more meaty questions to digest it thoroughly.

End Notes:  Why 4 days?  The Jews believed at the time that the soul hovered near the body for 3 days, hoping to return.  Then it left.  So Jesus wanted to be sure the time frame had passed and the miracle was indeed seen as a miracle from God.

It was tradition for mourners to stay with the family for an extended period of time after a death.  All work stopped and hence Mary and Martha were at home.

Martha honestly tells Jesus she is disappointed in his arrival.  She believes in his ability to heal the sick but not in his power to raise the dead.  Yet Martha “even now” has faith.  This is what we must have.  Despite our disappointment in Jesus not doing our will but his, we still have to have faith.

Raising Lazarus from the dead did not cross Martha’s mind so she assumed he meant in the Last Days.  This reaction is true.

Jesus IS the resurrection and the life.  He didn’t say “know” or “understand” or “have.”  He IS!  This is the 5th of the “I am” Statements in John.

Jesus of course is speaking of a physical death we all must suffer due to Adam’s sin.  But Christians never suffer a spiritual death.

He asked for belief.  However, if she had said no, Lazarus still would have risen since Jesus had already said he would (John 11:4).

Other Bibles say “secretly” instead of “aside”.  Scholars think this was so Mary could speak to Jesus without mourners around.

“The Teacher”.  Not a teacher but The Teacher.  There is only one.  Also, a woman uses this term.  Rabbis did not instruct women, but Jesus does.

Mary’s response to Jesus is the same as Martha’s.  Is it out of faith or criticism?  We don’t know and aren’t told here.

Jesus was moved as God is by our tears and pain.  All the mourners would have been wailing.  It is culturally acceptable 2000 years ago to cry unlike in our era, which is taken as a sign of weakness.

Fun Fact:  The word for “wept” (the only place this form is used in the entire New Testament) that Jesus did is a quiet one.  It is not a wail.

“Moved in the spirit” is more properly translated “groaned.”  This phrase literally means in the Greek “to snort like a horse”.  It implies anger at the Devil and “was troubled” implies tenderness for the mourners.

Jesus was so moved an involuntary groan escaped his heart.  He shares in our grief and he does something about it.  Lazarus being raised from the dead is what he does for all of us.

I find it fascinating how somehow tears became a sign of weakness.  Abraham, Jacob, David, Jonathan, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Jeremiah the weeping prophet all wept in the bible along with Jesus.  It’s a very human emotion/reaction and yet we work to suppress it.  The ancient Jews wailed loudly for days when a loved one passed.  Jesus dignified tears and if we are to be more like him, why not cry?

The ancient Greeks believed in emotionless gods and the inability to feel.

“Deeply moved” is used twice in this passage.

“What ifs” cause more grief in this life cause it’s all in the mind.

They needed to believe to see the glory of God.  Otherwise, they would miss it.

Mary and Martha acted on their faith by removing the stone.  Jesus used a loud voice so all could hear him.  Lazarus listened as we all are when Jesus commands.

Lazarus would have been wrapped tightly in linen much like the ancient Egyptians wrapped their mummies.  These “grave clothes” he would need again unlike Jesus who left his behind.  Also, Jesus had man assist in the miracle by commanding them to remove the clothes.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 2: John 11:1-16

Summary of passage:  Mary’s brother, Lazarus, was sick.  Mary had previously washed Jesus’ feet with perfume.  She sent word to Jesus who knew God’s plan.  He waited 2 days for Lazarus to die and then he returns to Bethany (just outside Jerusalem and remember Jesus is somewhere on the other side of the Jordan River) despite the disciples’ protests.

Questions:

3a)  He knew God’s plan to raise Lazarus from the dead. God alone can raise the dead and this event will help initiate events that will lead to the cross–God’s ultimate plan and glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To draw us closer to Him, rely on Him, and follow Him.

4a)  To let Lazarus die so that when he returns and raises Lazarus there will be no doubting God’s glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s all in God’s timing and what’s right for us and Him.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Those who walk with Jesus should have no fear.  Those who walk in darkness stumble and should have fear.

Conclusions:  I love how Jesus waits for Lazarus to die–waits on God’s timing.  Great lesson for us.  Patience is something many of us lack or need more of and this is a classic example of how good things come to those who wait.  Rely on God and His timing, not ours.

End Notes:  You could say Jesus saved the best miracle for last.  Here we have the 7th sign in John’s Gospel and it’s Jesus raising a man from the dead who had been dead for 4 days and whose body had begun to rot.  This puts Lazarus at having died shortly after the messengers left Bethany (1 day for travel, 2 days Jesus waited, 1 day to travel back).

Lazarus is the Greek form of “Eleazar” or God is my help.

John is the only one to record this miracle–the most astounding of all.  Why?  Some conjecture the other 3 Gospels were written while Lazarus was still alive and they didn’t want to offend anyone.  Some say it’s because Peter was not present with the Lord.  He was in Galilee preaching.  The other 3 Gospels may be based on Peter’s account of the Lord.

Note the women did not ask for a miracle from Jesus.  Just telling Jesus Lazarus was sick was enough.  They knew if Jesus could heal him, he would.  They had faith.

By the time Jesus got the message Lazarus was sick, he was already dead.  He knew this.  He also knew upon healing Lazarus, he’d set the course for his last days–the ultimate glory of God.

Note how Jesus loves all individually-Martha and Mary and Lazarus–as He does us.

He stayed two days deliberately until the fourth day.  This must have been agony for Martha and Mary but their faith did not waver.  This was bringing greater glory to God and shows us it’s in God’s timing, not ours.

Jesus could have healed Lazarus from afar.  Despite the dangers, he goes to Judea.  But Jesus still has work to do given to him by God.  There is enough time for us to do God’s purpose so don’t waste it!  No harm will come to them during this time.

Sleep is a metaphor for death.

Jesus is glad for many reasons:  grief was comforted, life was restored, many more believed, and the necessary death of Jesus was set in motion–not to mention his friend would live!

God often permits us to pass into profounder darkness, and deeper mysteries of pain, in order that we may prove more perfectly His power.

Remember Jesus was on the other side of the Jordan River.  He no heads back to Judea and Bethany to heal Lazarus.

All Jews in those days had two names – one a Hebrew name by which a man was known in his own circle, the other a Greek name by which he was known in a wider circle. Thomas is the Hebrew and Didymus, which is Greek for twin.  Thomas apparently looked like Jesus and hence his nickname.  Despite the risks, Thomas encourages the other disciples to accompany Jesus.  He may not understand the resurrection yet, but he knows Jesus enough to die for him.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 15, Day 5: Revelation 11:15-19

Summary of passage:  The seventh and final trumpet is sounded, signaling the beginning of Christ’s reign over earth forever. The 24 elders fell face down and worshiped God, praising Him for His judgments and rewards.  Again, as we’ve seen with God’s judgments, lightning, rumblings, thunder, earthquakes, and hail appears.

Questions:

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The elders bowed down and worshiped God.  I respond the same.

12)  Nations, the dead, and those still living will be judged.  Saints, those who reverence your name, and believers will be rewarded.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s given me a more eternal outlook and made me more aware of God’s plans.  It has given me hope as I know He has a plan for my life in His timing.  I’ve been able to let go of worry over the world and let God handle it.  I’ve become more focused on my immediate world and not the greater world.

Conclusions:  This is the half-way point of our study; hence, question 13.  See End Notes for explanations of symbols in this passage.

End Notes:  With the 7th trumpet, the final days are ushered in (Revelation 10:7).  What happens next will happen during the Great Tribulation, the last 3 1/2 years before Jesus reigns forever on earth.  The angel in Daniel 12:7 says the same thing. Jerusalem will fall.

The seventh seal brought forth a profound silence (Revelation 8:1); the seventh trumpet initiates joy at the inevitable resolution.

Important:  Note the omission of “the one who is to come”.  Why?  Because now He has come!

The appearance of the ark (made of acacia wood Deut 10:1-2) is a reminder how God is keeping his covenant with His people and fulfilling His promises to us.

Note how the ark of the covenant is seen in heaven, not here on earth.  They are different.  The ark represented God’s presence and favor in the Old Testament. It also represents God’s throne (note HIS covenant, not the).  The ark was lost when the Babylonians invaded in 586 BC probably destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple (2 Kings 25:8-10).  God never again dwelled physically with His people despite the temple having been rebuilt in 516 BC and expanded upon by Herod at beginning of the first century.

Instead we were given the Holy Spirit to be with us everywhere we go.

Again, lightning, rumblings, thunder, earthquakes, and hail signify God’s impending judgments on the world and His presence.  In Revelation, it always marks an important event  connected with the heavenly temple.  We saw this at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16-19).

Conclusions to Revelation 11:  1)  We see God’s people proclaiming Him and are thus rewarded.  2)  We see God will judge His enemies.

Conclusions to Lesson 15:  If you want a more in-depth analysis of the book of Revelation, you’re gonna have to read the commentaries.  BSF seems to be avoiding asking questions that don’t have definite answers.  Heavy emphasis on personal response, being encouraged, and your thoughts and emotions from our study (there were 4 1/2 questions in this lesson alone).  Much less emphasis on understanding the symbols and the details in what exactly will happen in the Final Days.

Side Note:  Why didn’t we read Daniel 12 (which is incredibly short) when we read passages from Daniel in Lesson 8?  As our study goes further into Revelation, I’m reading more and more connections with Daniel 12.  Considering the sub-heading in my Bible of Daniel 12 is “The End Times”, I would have thought we’d read this if we were going to leave the book of Revelation which BSF has chosen to do.  Any ideas?

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 15, Day 4: Revelation 11:7-14

Summary of passage:  The 2 witnesses will be killed by the beast from the Abyss when they have finished their testimony.  Their bodies will lie in the street of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days.  They will be gloated over by the unbelievers because they had tormented them.  Then God raised them to life and rose to heaven in a cloud.  An earthquake struck, killing 7000 people, terrifying the survivors who thanked heaven.  This is the second woe.

Questions:

9a)  They were killed, refused burial for 3 1/2 days, and their bodies were left in the street of Jerusalem to gloat over. After the 3 1/2 days, God breathed life into them, they stood up, and struck terror into the inhabitants.  They they went up to heaven in a cloud while all looked on (like Jesus being hidden in a cloud Acts 1:9).

b)  God sent an earthquake that destroyed 1/10 of the city and killed 7000 people, which terrified the survivors so much they gave glory to God.

10a)  John 11:25-26:  Jesus says whoever believes in him will live and never die.

John 14:1-4:  Jesus says he is preparing a place for us and he will come back and take us there to be with him.  If you trust in God and in him.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28:  Paul says all in Christ will be made alive and will be risen from death but only after he (Jesus) has put all his enemies under his feet.

Philippians 3:20-21:  Paul says we will all be transformed once Jesus comes again and our citizenship is in heaven.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:  Paul explains that all people in Christ (those who die before Christ comes again and those still alive at the time of the Second Coming) will be risen forever.

1 John 3:2:  John says believers are children of God and when Jesus appears again we shall be like him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We’ve had this question before (Lesson 7 Day 5, Lesson 13 Day 5).  Any unbeliever I may have contact with.  Family members I’m unsure are saved.

Conclusions:  Very literal questions.  No discussion of identity of beast even though this is the first mention of the beast as the major opponent of God’s people in the final days of the Great Tribulation.  Emphasis instead on God’s almighty power over the beast and eternal life.

End Notes:  Who is the beast?  Most scholars say it is Satan.  We first saw the Abyss in Revelation 9 during the first woe where most probably Jesus was given the key to the Abyss and unleashed locusts and the king of the locusts onto the world.

Some say the beast is the Roman Empire.  The Romans destroyed hundreds of towns when they invaded Judea in the first century AD.  This interpretation then has this passage meaning Christians are being killed by the Romans and being gloated over.  When Jerusalem fell in 70 AD, part of the city fell as the Romans surrounded them, leading to an outcry to God.

Note how the 2 witnesses accomplish their task before being killed.  This speaks to us.  Each of us is given a task by God and we won’t die until it is completed.  We are witnesses who give testimony.

The city is Jerusalem.  Sodom references immorality and was destroyed by God.  Egypt was the land of  oppression and slavery and was overcome.  The great city is probably Babylon which is the headquarters of Antichrist (Revelation 16:19, 17:18, 18:10, 18:16, 18:18, 18:19, 18:21).  Israel is identified spiritually with Sodom in Isaiah 1:9-10, Jeremiah 23:14, and Ezekiel 16:46-49.

“Figuratively” is better translated from the Greek as “spiritually”.  The spiritual state of Jerusalem is being judged.

People were gloating because they could not stand to hear the truth.  Every people, tribe, nation, and language will see.  This could reference our modern media age.

For a dead body to lie in view was considered the worst humiliation a person could suffer from his enemies (Psalm 79:3-4).

Jesus ascended in a cloud when he went back to the Father in heaven.  An earthquake struck as well after Jesus’s ascension.  Earthquakes are messages of judgment.  Here, God is not finished yet at the third woe is “coming soon.”  Crying out to God was too late.  At some point, judgment is rendered.  Don’t be left out in the cold.  Turn now!

The population of Jerusalem in the first century is estimated to be about 70,000 to 100,000, which 7000 would be 1/10 of the population.

The third woe is coming in Revelation 12:12:  the inhabitants of the earth will experience Satan’s fury as he is banished.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 15, Day 3: Revelation 11:1-6

Summary of passage:  John is given a reed and told to measure the temple of God and the altar and count the worshipers excluding the Gentiles who will trample the holy city for 42 months.  God will give power to His 2 witnesses who will prophesy for 1, 260 days.  These are the 2 olive trees and 2 lamp stands and anyone seeking to harm them will burn.  These men can make it not rain, turn water to blood, and strike the earth with plague when they are prophesying.

Questions:

6a)  “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar…but exclude the outer court..because it has been given to the Gentiles.”

b)  The holy city will be trampled for 42 months and the 2 witnesses will prophesy for 1,260 days.

7)  God says, “If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours them.”  They are also given the ability to make it not rain, turn water into blood, and strike the earth with plague.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  God protects those who speak for Him and about Him.  Basically, I have nothing to fear for God will deal with the Enemy.

Conclusions:  Very straight-forward lesson.  Love God’s blanket of protection over believers.

End Notes:  We have 2 HUGE divisions in this passage:

1)  The Temple (verses 1-2)

2)  The Two Witnesses (verses 3-6).

The Temple

We have two main sides to the interpretation of the temple:  1)  A physical temple.  2)  the temple is God’s people.

Some (including the futurists) believe a physical temple will be built.  Some even see two temples:  one during the Tribulation and one during the Millennium.  They point to Ezekiel 40-43 where a temple is measured, which scholars say is the temple of the millennial earth.  The temple of Revelation 11 seems to be before the temple of Ezekiel. The temple in Ezekiel is measured extensively, including the outer courts (Ezekiel 40:17-19).

The Tribulation temple will be built for sacrifices and worship  (Dan.9:27).  However, in this temple, God will not accept Israel’s sacrifices nor  inhabit their temple (Isa.66:3,4).  Moreover, according to Daniel, the Antichrist, after three and a half years, will break the treaty, subsequently overthrow Jerusalem and desecrate the temple (Dan.9:27).

The Millennium temple shall be one where God shall inhabit and fill it with His glory, and it shall be the dwelling place of the Lord (Ez.43:5-7).

Other measuring in the Bible:

In Zechariah 2 a man measures Jerusalem, a scene possibly showing God’s coming judgment on the city. In Revelation chapter 21 New Jerusalem is measured.

In the Old Testament measuring shows ownership, protection, and preservation. When Habakkuk stood and measured the earth (Habakkuk 3:6), showing that the Lord owned the earth and could do with it as He pleased.  When this temple is measured, it shows that God knows its every dimension, and He is in charge.

People are measured as well as a standard of righteousness (2 Kings 21:13; Zechariah 2:1-5).  The city of New Jerusalem will be measured as well (Revelation 21:15-17).

This temple of God some scholars say represents the church.  Paul describes the church as a temple in Ephesians 2:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16.  Peter as well in 1 Peter 2:5.  In the New Testament, the temple is God’s people as we saw in Revelation 3:12 with the Roman pillars.  They will be measured for protection from spiritual harm.  Christ is the temple in Ephesians 2:19-21.

Hence, Christ is the cornerstone, the apostles are the foundation, and believers are the temple.

Others say the temple is the abomination of desolation prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11), Jesus (Matthew 24:15-16 and 24:21), and Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

The outer court or court of the Gentiles was about 26 acres in ancient times.  Scholars speculate that the outer court is the modern day Dome of the Rock, the Islamic mosque that most believe now stands where the ancient Jewish temple Solomon built that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD was.

The holy city is Jerusalem, which some scholars say symbolizes the nation of Israel.  Jesus speaks of this trampling in Luke 21:20-24.

42 months is 1260 days (42 x 30 days) which is 3 1/2 years, which correlates to the last half of the Great Tribulation as described by Daniel 11:26-27 – when the Antichrist pours out his fury on the people of Israel (Revelation 12:13-17 and Matthew 24:15-28).  We will see 42 months again in Revelation (Rev 13:5).  When we see it, it represents a limited time period of tribulation, distress, and persecution.  Daniel says it again in Daniel 12:7.

Fun Fact:  It took the Romans 3 1/2 years to conquer and sack Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Trample has the context of “with contempt” in the Greek.

If we are the temple of God as most scholars agree, then we are called to live up to that image.  To be God-like and live holy lives.

The Two Witnesses

Sackcloth in the Bible shows periods of mourning and distress (Job 16:15; Esther 4:1-3; Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31; Joel 1:13; John 3:5-6; Matthew 11:21).  It is a coarse dark cloth woven from the hair of goats or camels.  The 2 witnesses are mourning for the people, their sins, and the impending judgments against them.

The two olive trees and two lamp stands comes from Zechariah’s olive trees and oil lamps (Zechariah 4:2-14).  Zechariah was referring to two men: Joshua and Zerubbabel empowered by the Holy Spirit.

In ancient times oil lamps were filled directly from olive trees much like gasoline is today.  Here we see continual, abundant supply.

Here, we have the Law and the prophets (Elijah and Moses).  Elijah and Moses bore special protection from God and were given power from God as these two witnesses will.  Elijah shut up the sky (1 Kings 17:1) and Moses brought the plagues (Exodus 7:17-21).  They both appeared at the Transfiguration of Christ (Mark 9:4).

These connections lead scholars to say Elijah and Moses are the two witnesses.  Most agree on Elijah who was prophesied to return before the day of the Lord (Malachi. 4:5,6).  Others say Enoch or Zerubabel.  In the ancient Greek, the nouns are masculine. These two witnesses will be males.

Some scholars say all of God’s servants (believers) are the 2 witnesses proclaiming God’s word and that the 2 witnesses are the Holy Spirit.

Despite the 2 witnesses identity, the message is clear:  God’s will will be accomplished.

Think about it:  For 3 1/2 years, 2 witnesses will wander the earth, invincible and given superhuman powers for God.  They die (Rev 11:7) which we all do, but not before they finish God’s mission.  And they are risen again after only 3 1/2 days (Rev 11:11).  How awesome it that!  And imagine:  if this figurative instead of literal, this could be you and me–all witnesses for God!