Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You Are Wrong

Mark 12:24 ESV
24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?

Not knowing one precludes knowing the other. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

To Joshua

Joshua 1:1 ESV
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant,

Notice the different descriptions used for Moses and Joshua, the different roles they perform.  God told Moses he would be as God to his brother and people. Moses would give the words of God for Aaron to speak and the law so the people might live. 

Joshua will continue in the work begun by Moses. Up to this time, Joshua spoke with Moses and stayed in the tent of meeting while Moses went to meet with God. 
Now God tells Joshua He will fulfill through him the promises made to Moses. 

There is an echo here of the first and second coming of our Lord. When Jesus came He fulfilled the law and made a new covenant of grace. The next time He comes He will battle His enemies and claim the earth. The promised land will be delivered. 

Will Tread

Joshua 1:2-3 ESV
2 Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

One may find foreshadowings of Christ in the accounts of Moses and Joshua. Moses died before entering the promised land due to disobedience. Jesus died to atone for our disobedience. Joshua is told to rise and lead the people into the promised land. Jesus rises from the grave to lead the captives free.

The word translated here as servant appears as the transliterated "therapon" in the Septuagint. It is a different Greek word than commonly translated as servant in the New Testament, and carries the meaning of one carrying out the commands of the Lord.

The land is given. God's promises are the same as done.
The wandering in the desert is over, the wilderness journey finds its end.

Israel is to tread in the land, which can point to the winepress in Revelation. In a sense, the destruction of the current occupants due to their wickedness is a judgment against them. God reminds Israel that He is not giving them the land on their merit, but His will and authority.

The measure of the land is not undecided, but it is the land the tread as they follow Him.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

But Now


Times Of Ignorance

Acts 17:30 ESV
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

The choice is ever before us. Ignorance is no excuse. In ignorance, Adam and Eve disobeyed God even as they reached for their own knowledge. 
In doing so, they forfeited intimate knowledge of God. Don't make that same mistake. 
He has made a way back.

I was asked how this verse compares with Romans Chapter One.

As I've said before, sin reflects ignorance, even if one knows it is a sin and does it anyway, it is still the ignorance of disobedience.  How else can one can one explain rebellion against God and seeking darkness?

In Romans Chapter One, Paul writes of God's invisible attributes which are displayed in creation.  Paul says that this alone was enough evidence of God and Who He is and that people cannot claim ignorance as an excuse for not acknowledging Him. There is a universal longing for God and His truth which burns in every person. This manifests itself in our need to worship something, even if it is not God.

A sense of justice is something we are born with. Even someone who denies that God exists and says there is no truth, will speak of injustice and tell you that what they say is true. A kind description of this incoherence is ignorance. In the ESV translation of Romans 1:25, "because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie..." is the description given by Paul. It is written elsewhere who is the father of lies.

John called out in the wilderness as he prepared the way of the Lord, "Repent". This resonates in our hearts because our hearts were made for the Lord. The heart that fails to respond to God's call is given over that choice.

Jesus was the word of God expressed in human form. He said His words were the words of the Father. He commanded that we repent. God calls out through creation and came Himself to tell us to make sure it is clear.

I Am God.

One And Only

John 3:16-18 HCSB
For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

God's only Son, sent from the Father above and born of man from below, uniquely enters creation. 
We enter into heaven in a similar way, born from above and of women below, children of God. 
The angels look on and wonder.

Proclaimed The Name

Exodus 34:5-8 ESV
The Lord descended  in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed,The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfastlove and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands,forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation. 8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.

Jesus would later descend to earth and stand among us. He would return to heaven, rising into the clouds. 
God gives His name to Moses as the Lord. In this way He revealed Himself and and in that way passed before Moses. Moses sought to know the Lord, to see Him, and it was granted as far as possible at that time. 
He passed before all of us in the man Jesus, bringing the Father into the realm of flesh and blood, and His name. 
In this passing, we are given insight into God, loving and merciful, but just. 
The revealing would continue in words written on stone, then on scrolls, until the time it would come to be written on the hearts of man.
It is in His name we find salvation and rest. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Exodus 2:10 ESV
When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, Because, she said, I drew him out of the water.

The Hebrew name seems to imply more of the sense that: he draws out of the water. Moses was drawn from the water, would grow up in Egypt, and lead his people out of slavery as God's appointed one, a foreshadowing of the coming Anointed One. Instead of the palace of Pharaoh, he chose his people. He was chosen to lead them to freedom.

Jesus was drawn from the water of mankind, grew up in the dominion of the evil one, then lead its captives to liberty, casting off the chains of sin. He left heaven to redeem us, and by His sacrifice we can find our way back home.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Revelation -Chapter 11:3-14 Two Witnesses


This passage may be the most debated passage in the Apocalypse. Are they figurative or literal? Do they represent two real witnesses or do they represent a witnessing church? That is for the readers to decide.

     3 And I will give to my two witnessesauthorityand they will prophesyfor a thousand-two-hundred, and sixty daysclothedin sackclothThese are the two olive trees and the two lampstands who have stoodbefore the Lord of the earth.8 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out oftheir mouths10 and devours their enemies.11 And if anyone may want to harm them, this is how they must die12These men have the authority to shut up the sky so that it will not rain13 during the time14 of their prophecy, and they have the authority over the waters to turn them into blood15 and to strike the earth with every plague as often as they may wish.16 And when they will complete their witness, the wild beast17, who comes up from the abyss18, will make war with them19 and will conquer them and will kill them. And their bodies will lie on the street of the great city20, which is called spiritually21 Sodom and Egypt,22 where their Lord was also crucified.23 And men from all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations see their dead bodies24 for three and a half days and they don’t permit them to be buried2510And the ones who dwell on the earth26 will rejoice on the basis of them and will celebrate27 and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented the ones who dwell on the earth.28 11 And after three and a half days, a breath of life29 from God went into them, and they stood on their feet, and utter terror30 fell upon the ones who watched them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up into heaven in the cloud31, and their enemies watched them.32 13 And in that hour, there was33 a great earthquake and a tenth of the city fell and seven thousand names of men were killed34 in the earthquake and the rest became terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.35
     14 The second woe has passed36, behold, the third woe is coming soon37.

τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου (to my two witnesses)

“Two” comes from the OT demand that two or three witnesses be used. Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15; and Numbers 35:30. Osborne*** (Pg. 420). Mounce** sees the two witnesses as a representation of believers. (Pg. 223). I will also point out the Jesus sent out his disciples in twos in Mark 6:7.

     We get the word martyr from this word translated as “witness”. They will give their life for their testimony.

“authority” is not in the text, nor is there anything else here. We finally find out that authority is what is given to the two witnesses only after we read verse 6. Osborne*** points out that the two witnesses reenact the prophetic ministries of Elijah and Moses. (Pg. 422) Mounce** (Pg. 222) also points out that it was Elijah and Moses who appeared with Jesus during Jesus’ transfiguration in Mark 9:4.

     What is given to the two witnesses may be the same thing as was given to those who through the ages who have given witness to the word of God. It is the word of God that is contained in their prophesy. It is this word that arouses such anger and hostility by those not of God and will lead to the world rejoicing at their death.

Beale* states that the two witnesses are believers as a whole. He bases this on the idea that the early christian community understood that Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28-32) had begun to be fulfilled (Acts 2:17-21). “This prophetic gift would be the means by which the entire church would “witness” to the whole would (Acts 1:8).” (Pgs. 573-574).

A retelling of the three and a half years.

περιβεβλημένοι (clothed)

Greek: “having been clothed”.

Sackcloth is a symbol of mourning. Beale* states that the morning was over the judgements that God was enacting over the unbelievers. (Pg. 576).

     John the Baptist wore a similar garment as he cried out in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord.

ἑστῶτες (have stood)

As is John’s style, ἑστῶτες is in the perfect tense. This participle is also in the masculine and modifies οὗτοί (These). It doesn’t modify either olive trees or lampstands as both of those nouns are feminine.

The allusion comes from Zechariah 4:2-6. Note that the lampstands are found in the seven messages to the seven churches. They represent witnessing. Mounce** (Pg. 224) sees the olive trees as suppling the oil for the lamps on the lampstands. This is an indication that the Holy Spirit is with them. Beale* also has this in view and offers a great summary of the allusion to the passage in Zechariah.

     There were two items in the temple referred to as witnesses to the Lord. These were the lampstands. They signify the light of the world and were supplied olive oil for burning, which can represent the Holy Spirit. This directs our attention back to the temple.

     Note that the temple has been measured. The tribes of Israel have been numbered and sealed. In the last days they give witness to God, as servants to the Most High. Even now, many would rejoice at the destruction of Israel.

“The broader context of Zechariah 4 show the richness of the connection to the present context: (1) in Zech. 1:16-17 and 2:1-5 an angel ‘measures’ Jerusalem to signify that it will surely be reestablished so that ‘God’s house will be built in it’, and God ‘will be the glory in her 
midst’ (cf. Rev. 11:1-2). However, Satan, together with the world powers, opposed the reestablishment of God’s temple in Jerusalem (Zech. 3:1-2; 4:7), just as the beast and the world oppose the witnesses (Rev. 11:5-10).” (Pgs. 576-579).

ἐκ (of) 

Greek: “from”.

10 “mouths” is actually singular here. “their mouth” is not very good grammar. Perhaps it means that the two witnesses were in complete harmony in their witnessing and speak as one.

     It is the word of God they speak, so it is not troublesome they speak as one mouth in the Greek.

11 The fire coming out of their mouths probably represents two things, 1. The Word of God as they witness and 2. the Judgements of God.

     Jesus spoke of the fire of His word and the wish it was already kindled in the world. The sword of His word serves to judge the world. His is the first word and the last.

12 οὕτως δεῖ αὐτὸν ἀποκτανθῆναι (this is how they must die) 

Greek: “In this manner it is necessary to kill him”.

     By our words we will be judged. By the law we stand condemned. By the grace and truth of Jesus Christ we live. Apart from Jesus we die.

13 μὴ ὑετὸς βρέχῃ (it will not rain)

Greek: “the rain may not rain”. An allusion to the Elijah story in 1 Kings 17-18 where God shuts up heaven for 3 years. According to Osborne*** (Pg. 423), “later Jewish tradition symbolically represented this as three and a half years in keeping with the apocalyptic image of Daniel 9:27; 12:7.”

     There is no refreshing Spirit present. The rain from heaven is dried up. Only judgement pours forth from heaven.

14 τὰς ἡμέρας (during the time) 

Greek: “the days” as in “the days of their prophecy”.

15 Parallels with the first Egyptian plague in Exodus 7:20-21, the second trumpet in 8:8, and the upcoming second and third bowls in 16:3-4.

Note the idea that these two witnesses come in the “spirit of” both Moses and Elijah.

     These two men of the Old Testament witnessed to the might and power of God, and are identified as the two that met with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

16 It is worth noting here that some scholars see the two witnesses/ believers as the executers of the trumpet judgements. If this is true, then that would add to the celebration of their deaths in verse 10 as the unbelievers would think that the judgements were over as a result of the wild beast killing them.

17 τὸ θηρίον (the wild beast)

Note the use of the article τὸ (the). The use of the article makes this wild beast a specific wild beast: THE wild beast. John’s readers are expected to know who this vision is referring to even though the wild beast is just now being introduced.

Osborne*** suspects that the wild beast here is an allusion to Daniel’s ten-horned “beast” and the “little horn” of Daniel 7:7-12. There, the prophesy depicts four beast that represents the four empires that nominate the Jews from their exile into Babylon to the Roman empire. Most scholars identify them as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The “little horn” is normally identified with Antiochus Epiphanes. In 167 B.C., he forced the Jews to sacrifice to Greek Gods and had a pig sacrificed on the alter in the temple. (Pg. 425).

18 An allusion to Daniel 7:3a LXX: 3 καὶ τέσσαρα θηρία ἀνέβαινον ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης (and the fourth beasts came up from the sea). John substitutes θαλάσσης (sea) with ἀβύσσου (abyss). John probably does this to make a connection with the locusts (9:2; 11). In Revelation 13:1, the wild beast is seen coming up from the sea: ...ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης θηρίον ἀναβαῖνον (...a wild beast coming up out of the sea).

19 Mounce** states that the expression “will make war” indicates that the two witnesses should be interpreted as a large group rather than two. (Pg. 225). Beale* expands this idea based on the allusion of the passage to Daniel 7. In Daniel, the wild beasts ἐποίει πόλεμον πρὸς τοὺς ἁγίους (made war with the saints). Beale sees the same in 11:7: ποιήσει μετ ̓ αὐτῶν πόλεμον καὶ νικήσει αὐτοὺς (will make war with them and will conquer them). Since the passage in Daniel is to “all the saints”, then Beale concludes that the two witnesses are “all the witnessing believers”. (Pgs. 587-588).

     This war is depicted as taking place on earth, and it is from the earth and sea that the wild beasts rise to persecute the saints. It must be true that anyone giving witness to God in these days is a believer.

20 Most of the time in Revelation, “the great city” is Rome, but here, the context tells us that this great city is Jerusalem. In this context, Jerusalem in not painted as being “the city of God” any longer. They are now part of the “Synagogue of Satan” and the “Jerusalem now” in Galatians 4:25 as opposed to the “Jerusalem above”. It is also possible that Rome and Jerusalem are figuratively combined as they could represent the wild beast’s evil empire that combines all unbelieving people who persecute and kill believers. This comes to light in the 7 messages to the 7 churches in chapters 2 and 3.

Mounce** states that this is not a certain city, but represents all cities throughout the evil empire. (Pg. 226). Beale* states that the “great city” represents the ungodly world. (Pg. 591).

21 πνευματικῶς (spiritually)

or “figuratively” although more is going on here than just a figurative name. John is trying to state that the “Jerusalem now” is now degraded spiritually to the point that it is like both Sodom and Egypt. Osborne*** points out the Jerusalem has become like Sodom in rebellion against God and like Egypt where it has placed God’s people (believers) in slavery and oppression. (Pg. 427). Beale* states similar views but reaffirms that the great city is figurative. (Pgs. 591-592).

     Sodom and Egypt epitomize the rebellion on earth. God left His temple dwelling in Jerusalem long ago. He was rejected by His own The new city will reflect the presence of God and the restoration He brings.

23 Beale* sees “where their Lord was also crucified” as modifying “Sodom and Egypt” and thus shows just how unspiritual the unbelievers/ ungodly world are. He doesn’t see it as identifying literal Jerusalem. (Pg. 592).

24 τὸ πτῶμα (bodies)

This is actually singular in the Greek. The style matches the singular “mouth” in verse five. As stated in that note, John’s use of the singular probably shows that the two witnesses spoke in unity. Osborne*** notes that “they function as one”. (Pg. 426).

25 καὶ τὰ πτώματα αὐτῶν οὐκ ἀφίουσιν τεθῆναι εἰς μνῆμα (and they don’t permit them to be buried)

Greek: “and they don’t permit their bodies to be placed in a tomb”. It was a great insult in the ancient world to not be buried. Osborne*** (Pg. 426) and Mounce** (Pg. 226).

     There is no need for a tomb. The resurrection of His Son made this unnecessary for those who believe. The power and might of the Lord will be displayed again. Life is victorious over death.

Three and a half days of victory is anemic compared to the three and a half years of witnessing and executing God’s judgements that the witnesses perform. We will find out that the wild beast’s victory is indeed short lived.

26 οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (the ones who dwell on the earth) 

Throughout the Apocalypse, οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς always refers to 

27 χαίρουσιν ἐπ ̓ αὐτοῖς καὶ εὐφραίνονται (will rejoice on the basis of them and will celebrate)

Note that both verbs are actually in the present tense. The TR/KJV replaces the present tense verbs with future tense verbs. With that said, the context is future in nature.

28 If the two witnesses are meant to be figurative and represent the witnessing believers, then that would explain why and how “all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations” see their dead bodies as bodies would be dead throughout the entire evil empire (combined Rome and Jerusalem). If this is the case and the believers have been the one dishing out the judgements against the unbelievers, they one can see why the unbelievers would be rejoicing. They think that they have gotten rid of the judgements in killing the witnesses.

This could also meant literally two witnesses in a specific place where there are people from “all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations” there as well.

29 πνεῦμα ζωῆς (a breath of life)

or “a spirit of life”. πνεῦμα can mean “spirit”, “wind”, or “breath”. This is a possible allusion to Ezekiel 37 where the dry bones receive breath. Mounce** (Pg. 228) and Beale* (Pgs. 596-597).

     One might be reminded here that a remnant of Israel will survive and receive life. David’s throne was established forever. There were a small number that returned from exile in Babylon and rebuilt the temple. God said He would save a few, and so He will. He has done it and will do it.

30 φόβος μέγας (utter terror) 

Greek: “great fear”.

     Those with no fear of God previously now see reason to do so.

31 ἐν τῇ νεφέλῃ (in the cloud)

The article τῇ specifies a specific cloud. The cloud in question could be the could of the mighty angel in 10:1 Beale* (Pg. ) or could be the cloud that Christ returns with in 1:7. Osborne*** sees the latter.

     It is into the clouds that Jesus ascended, and we are told He will return. It is a mighty cloud of witnesses that surround us. A voice spoke from a cloud on the Mount of Transfiguration and led the Israelites in the desert. The hand of the Divine is in view.

32 Osborne*** sees this as the possible rapture event where the believers are “caught up” to heaven, but also states that the timing is off as the true resurrection occurs at the return of Christ at the end. (Pgs. 431-432). Beale* sees the resurrection of the the witnesses as figurative where God restores the church/believers that have been conquered for a short time by the wild beast. (Pg. 597).

33 ἐγένετο (there was) 

Greek: “there became” or “there came”.

34 Osborne*** points out that the seven thousand dead is a reversal of the seven thousand in 1 Kings 19:18 (and also Romans 11:10) who were reserved by God because they had not bowed a knee to Baal.

35 Osborne*** (Pgs. 433-435) says that this represents true repentance of these unbelievers but Beale* states that it doesn’t and represents unbelievers who are forced to acknowledge God’s sovereignty, but remain unconverted. (Pgs. 603-604).

     It is true that every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. This does not mean they accept His Lordship. Consider the demons that plead with Jesus to enter the swine.

36 ἀπῆλθεν (has passed) 

Greek: “has departed”.

37 ταχύ (soon) 

Greek: “quickly”.


NT = New Testament 
OT = Old Testament 
ESV = English Standard Version 
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
KJV = King James Version 
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A 
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV) 
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)


The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)

(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)

A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger

(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)

*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale

**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce

***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne

+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace

++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule

+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick

A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)

The Greek

Ἀποκάλυψις 11·3 Καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου καὶ προφητεύσουσιν ἡμέρας χιλίας διακοσίας ἑξήκοντα περιβεβλημένοι σάκκους. 4 οὗτοί εἰσιν αἱ δύο ἐλαῖαι καὶ αἱ δύο λυχνίαι αἱ ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου τῆς γῆς ἑστῶτες. 5 καὶ εἴ τις αὐτοὺς θέλει ἀδικῆσαι πῦρ ἐκπορεύεται ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτῶν καὶ κατεσθίει τοὺς ἐχθροὺς αὐτῶν· καὶ εἴ τις θελήσῃ αὐτοὺς ἀδικῆσαι, οὕτως δεῖ αὐτὸν ἀποκτανθῆναι. 6 οὗτοι ἔχουσιν τὴν ἐξουσίαν κλεῖσαι τὸν οὐρανόν, ἵνα μὴ ὑετὸς βρέχῃ τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς προφητείας αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἔχουσιν ἐπὶ τῶν ὑδάτων στρέφειν αὐτὰ εἰς αἷμα καὶ πατάξαι τὴν γῆν ἐν πάσῃ πληγῇ ὁσάκις ἐὰν θελήσωσιν. Ἀποκάλυψις 11·7 Καὶ ὅταν τελέσωσιν τὴν μαρτυρίαν αὐτῶν, τὸ θηρίον τὸ ἀναβαῖνον ἐκ τῆς ἀβύσσου ποιήσει μετ ̓ αὐτῶν πόλεμον καὶ νικήσει αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀποκτενεῖ αὐτούς. 8 καὶ τὸ πτῶμα αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τῆς πλατείας τῆς πόλεως τῆς μεγάλης, ἥτις καλεῖται πνευματικῶς Σόδομα καὶ Αἴγυπτος, ὅπου καὶ ὁ κύριος αὐτῶν ἐσταυρώθη. 9 καὶ βλέπουσιν ἐκ τῶν λαῶν καὶ φυλῶν καὶ γλωσσῶν καὶ ἐθνῶν τὸ πτῶμα αὐτῶν ἡμέρας τρεῖς καὶ ἥμισυ καὶ τὰ πτώματα αὐτῶν οὐκ ἀφίουσιν τεθῆναι εἰς μνῆμα. 10 καὶ οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς χαίρουσιν ἐπ ̓ αὐτοῖς καὶ εὐφραίνονται καὶ δῶρα πέμψουσιν ἀλλήλοις, ὅτι οὗτοι οἱ δύο προφῆται ἐβασάνισαν τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Ἀποκάλυψις 11·11 Καὶ μετὰ τὰς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ ἥμισυ πνεῦμα ζωῆς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσῆλθεν ἐν αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἔστησαν ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας αὐτῶν, καὶ φόβος μέγας ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τοὺς θεωροῦντας αὐτούς. 12 καὶ ἤκουσαν φωνῆς μεγάλης ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ λεγούσης αὐτοῖς· ἀνάβατε ὧδε. καὶ ἀνέβησαν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἐν τῇ νεφέλῃ, καὶ ἐθεώρησαν αὐτοὺς οἱ ἐχθροὶ αὐτῶν. 13 Καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐγένετο σεισμὸς μέγας καὶ τὸ δέκατον τῆς πόλεως ἔπεσεν καὶ ἀπεκτάνθησαν ἐν τῷ σεισμῷ ὀνόματα ἀνθρώπων χιλιάδες ἑπτὰ καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἔμφοβοι ἐγένοντο καὶ ἔδωκαν δόξαν τῷ θεῷ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. Ἀποκάλυψις 11·14 Ἡ οὐαὶ ἡ δευτέρα ἀπῆλθεν· ἰδοὺ ἡ οὐαὶ ἡ τρίτη ἔρχεται ταχύ.

By Destroying Them

Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ESV
6For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.

The God revealed in the Bible is the same from the Old Testament through the New Testament.  In these verses we see God warning all those who disobey His commandments.  This warning begins in the Garden and is repeated throughout Scripture, ending with the final outcome in Revelation. It is lack of understanding or disbelief to say otherwise. One of the central themes of Scripture is that we would know that He is God, One and Almighty, from everlasting to everlasting. 

Don't rest just with the parts you are comfortable with or make you feel warm and fuzzy. Look at what He has said. The point is not God agreeing with us, but our agreeing with Him. 

Bear the fruit that is in keeping with His righteousness. Remember the withered fig tree and the branches that will be cut off and thrown into the fire.

Though He loves us and came for us, it's not about us.

Daily Cross

Luke 9:23 NASB
He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Endurance in the faith is a daily thing. The renewing of the mind is a needful and constant characteristic of a disciple of Christ. Each day that passed for Jesus, He moved closer to the cross that awaited Him. 

In the final steps as He carried His cross to His death, a man was pressed to His aid. Jesus came to our aid in the form of a man as we made our way to our fate of our own death.

We must all face the death of our body, but we deny its victory by following after the life of Christ, by the turning from self to God, by accepting His grace. Our obedience to His word overcomes the natural rebellion which lies in the heart. 

He helps us bear the weight of our common burden and walks with us, lending His strength and  presence for the journey.

The invitation to follow is given to everyone, but not every one is ready to consider their own cross, or bear its weight. It can be hard to see a more abundant life now and the resurrected life that will come. 

God Fearing

It is ironic to consider that a God fearing person can have peace with God through Jesus. No longer facing the judgment of God, we can instead come before the face of our Father without fear. Truly love prevails. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Surviving Seed

Isaiah 1:8-9 ESV
8 And the daughter of Zion is left

like a booth in a vineyard,

like a lodge in a cucumber field,

like a besieged city.

9If the Lord of hosts

had not left us a few survivors,

we should have been like Sodom,

and become like Gomorrah.

The word translated here as survivors is σπερμα in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament done several centuries before Christ.  It means seed.  It brings forth the thought of Israel as the cultivated olive tree. Though severely cut back, the stump is alive. From that tree came the seed for the tree of life, of the Savior - Jesus Christ. 

Scripture says a remnant of Israel will be saved. This was repeated in the return of the exiles from Babylon.  Only a small number came back at the end of 70 years. This remnant will be the seed of renewal of God's chosen people as a people of God. From this seed will come the sweet fruit of the vine.

This is consistent with the 70 weeks of Daniel's prophecy. The pause in Revelation between the sixth and seventh unfolding of the seals, trumpets, and bowls may speak of the time between the 69 and 70th week. Maybe it is the time that allows for the fullness of the Gentiles, a time frame only known by God.

You Have Guided Them

Exodus 15:11-13 NASB 
11 Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?

Who is like You,majestic in holiness,

Awesome in praises,working wonders?

12 You stretched out Your right hand,

The earth swallowed them.

13 In Your loving kindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed;

In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.

Revelation speaks of the earth opening its mouth to swallow the flood that pursues the saints, issuing forth from the mouth of the dragon. 
Insight into the future can be harvested from the past. Prophesy is embedded in patterns, examples, stories and types contained in His word.

The Lord's Portion

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 ESV
8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,

when he divided mankind,

he fixed the borders of the peoples

according to the number of the sons of God.

9 But the Lord's portion is his people,

Jacob his allotted heritage.

This speaks of God's relationship to Israel.  Just as the Levites were set apart among the nation of Israel, so will the house of Israel be set apart among the sons of God.  The Levites received their portion from that which was dedicated to God, serving the people and the worship of God. In the last days, a remnant will be saved and will serve as the firstfruits in the kingdom of God. 

The nations will receive their inheritance and the fullness of their number will be accomplished. Blessed is the man whose portion is God.  Blessed is the man who is God's portion.
Blessed is the body of Christ.  

Revelation -Chapter 11:1-2 Measuring The Temple


There are several possible views to this passage. 1. Preterists see this as being the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem that happened in John’s day. This would be King Herod’s temple where the outer court would actually be the Court of the Gentiles. 2. Idealists see this as on going persecution throughout the church age. The inner court refers to the church belonging to God and the outer court refers to the church being persecuted. 3. The dispensationalists see this passage as an actual rebuilt temple in the tribulation period where converted Jewish worshipers (144,000) are persecuted by the followers of the Antichrist. 4. A modified futurist view see this as either spiritually protecting the believers/church or the remnant of believing Jews. Osborne*** (Pgs. 408-409.

     We might consider that this conversation seems to take place on earth. The angel in the preceding chapter stood on land and sea. God once tabernacled with Israel in the desert, and was present in the Holy of Holies. Both the tabernacle and the temple were built according to God’s specifications, but were earthly manifestations that were but shadows of heaven and its purposes.

Chapter 11

And a reed was given to me similar to a staff1, and I was told2, “Goand measurethe templeof God, and the alter6, and count the worshipers in it. And leave out the outer courtyardof the templeand don’t measure it, because it was given to the gentiles9, and they will trample on the holy city10 for forty-two months11.

ῥάβδῳ (staff)

or a “rod”. In this case, a measuring rod. According to Osborne***, it would have been around ten feet, four inches. This is an allusion to Ezekiel 40-42. In the Ezekiel passage, the measuring signifies the ownership of God as well as his protection. Here, John may be referring to spiritually protection. (Pgs. 409-410). Mounce** points out that the protection goes hand in hand with the “sealing” of the saints in Chapter 7 and is spiritual protection and not physical protection from persecution. (Pgs. 219-220) and Beale* (Pg. 559).

     It is with a rod He will rule, a symbol of His power and authority. With His staff we find security and protection. In the 23rd Psalm both provide comfort. Moses held the rod of God in his hand before Israel and Pharaoh. Jesus comes as the good Shepherd.

     The reed used as a measuring rod was also used for a surface for writing. God’s written word serves as a rod and staff for His people.

     From the house of David, from the tribe of Judea, will rise a branch holding the rod, or scepter of God. He will take His place as King and Priest.

λέγων (and I was told)

Greek: “saying”. The problem here is that there is no one presented in the text who is speaking. The only noun that matches this participles case is κάλαμος (reed), but we know the reed is not speaking. This problem lead to the addition in the TR of καὶ ὁ ἄγγελος εἱστήκει, λέγων, (and the angel stood, saying). This rendering can be found in the KJV.

With all of that said, it probably is the same angel that spoke this that spoke in 10:9-10. Beale* (Pg. 557).

ἔγειρε (Go) 

Greek: “Rise”.

     This Greek word has the sense of awakening, as from sleep. It can remind us of Israel’s slumber, of ever seeing but not perceiving.

μέτρησον (Measure)

     Remember that earlier the tribes of Israel were numbered, or measured. This may allude to the restoration of God’s presence in Jerusalem, and the restoration of a remnant of His chosen people.

τὸν ναὸν (the temple)

or “the shrine of the temple”. Here, τὸν ναὸν is referring to the actual temple building and not the entire temple area. Osborne*** also reminds us that throughout the book of Revelation, the temple is always a “heavenly” temple. Since it is a “heavenly” temple, then it is very hard to understand how the outer courtyard can be literally “trampled”. Thus, Osborne says it refers to believers/church being persecuted. (Pg. 410).

     If one applies this prophesy to earth, it is easier to understand. Remember John is told to speak concerning nations, kings, and tongues. All these reside on earth. It is held by many that the temple will be physically rebuilt and then desecrated by the world leader. Some believe this desecration to have already taken place, and the temple is merely figurative.

     These symbols and concepts are taken from things that have happened in the past. They give us the language and understanding to frame and decode this message of the future. Scripture is written for our benefit, that we would know. Jesus used many parables to speak of spiritual things.

The apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 3:16: 

Κορινθίους α 3·16 Οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ναὸς θεοῦ ἐστε καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν; 

16 Don’t you know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Also 2 Corinthians 6:16b: 

Κορινθίους β 6·16 ...ἡμεῖς γὰρ ναὸς θεοῦ ἐσμεν ζῶντος... 

16b ...for we are the temple of the living God...

θυσιαστήριον (alter)

     We see the alter included here. The new temple that is in Christ does not need an alter, for Christ made the last sacrifice once and for all. The cleansing of sin that required continual sacrifices has been has been replaced by the one and perfect sacrifice of the Son, our redeemer.

     Inclusion of the alter seems to bring the old temple worship into 

The major debate is whether this outer courtyard is based on Ezekiel (King Solomon's temple) or is based on King Herod’s temple. The immediate context with the allusions to Ezekiel 40-42 points to this temple being based on Solomon’s temple. Solomon’s temple had an inner courtyard for the priests and an outer courtyard for worshipers. Herod’s temple had three inner courtyards (one for priests, one for Israelites (men), and one for women) and an outer courtyard for gentiles. Osborne*** (Pgs. 412-413) points out that regardless of the view, both the inner and outer courtyards were holy ground that belonged to God. He concludes that the outer courtyard represents believers that will be “conquered”/”martyred” by the Antichrist for a short period of time.

καὶ τὴν αὐλὴν τὴν ἔξωθεν τοῦ ναοῦ ἔκβαλε ἔξωθεν (And leave out the outer courtyard of the temple)

     It was given to Solomon to build a temple for God. I’m not sure it can be said the same unction can be applied to Herod. It is noteworthy that in Solomon’s temple the outer courtyard was for worshippers, and differs from Herod’s.

Greek: “and throw out the courtyard which is from the outside of the temple from the outside”. John’s Greek is very clunky here. Basically, he is to not leave out the outer court of the temple.

τοῖς ἔθνεσιν (to the gentiles) 

This can also be translated: “to the nations”.

     It is from the nations, the gentiles, that the unnumbered heavenly host of saints arise. Jesus died for the world, but the world did not recognize him. Israel was chosen to reveal God. Through Israel, the light of world shown on every man. Those that receive Him are redeemed and are gathered to that light. Those that choose to remain and seek darkness will join the herd that rushes to destruction.

10 Paul refers to believers as being the “Jerusalem above” in Galatians 4:26. Mounce** (Pg. 221) sees the Holy City as being believers as well as does Beale* (Pg. 568).

     Later in this book we see the Jerusalem above descend from heaven.

11 Allusions to Daniel’s three and a half years (Daniel 7:25; 9:27; 12:7). Most scholars see this as the “great tribulation” where the evil forces of the Antichrist rule for a short time.

     The repetition and the different metrics used to speak of this time underscores the importance that we understand this. This time of rebellion and suffering will come to an end. It is needed for God’s purpose and His will is sovereign.

Beale* points out that this could also be allusions to some historical events such as the initial fulfillment of the “abomination of desolation” that happened under the Antiochus Epiphanes oppression in 167 to 164 B.C. (1 Maccabees 1-3; 2 Maccabees 5; Josephus, War) During that time, pigs were actually scarified on the alter in the temple. Josephus says that the period was around three and a half years. Another allusion may be to the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 A.D.) with also took around 3 and a half years. (Pg. 566).


NT = New Testament 
OT = Old Testament 
ESV = English Standard Version 
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
KJV = King James Version 
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A 
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV) 
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)


The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)

(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)

A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger

(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)

*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale

**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce

***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne

+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace

++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule

+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick

A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)

The Greek

Ἀποκάλυψις 11·1 Καὶ ἐδόθη μοι κάλαμος ὅμοιος ῥάβδῳ, λέγων· ἔγειρε καὶ μέτρησον τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας ἐν αὐτῷ. 2 καὶ τὴν αὐλὴν τὴν ἔξωθεν τοῦ ναοῦ ἔκβαλε ἔξωθεν καὶ μὴ αὐτὴν μετρήσῃς, ὅτι ἐδόθη τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, καὶ τὴν πόλιν τὴν ἁγίαν πατήσουσιν μῆνας τεσσεράκοντα [καὶ] δύο.