Here we have a wealth of symbolic references which taken together establishes the Jewish angle. The Spirit is laying out the testimony of Jesus Christ from two standpoints. Similar to the narrative bodies from God the Father and God, the Son. From chapter 14 onwards it is from the Church standpoint. It shall suffice to say aim of the narrative method adopted by the Spirit is neither for the temple of God nor for the Church but to lay out the direction to the throne of God and of the Lamb by using parallax method. We have two known points,- Jews and Gentiles blessed according to the divine promise to Abraham, and from these positions the Spirit points our attention to the holy city of God.
Firstly the reference to the vision of Zechariah ties up with the two witnesses Jesus represents in the Book. Grace and truth came by Jesus. The two olive trees are Old Testament figures, Moses and Elias. They were sent to meet Jesus on the Mount of transformation (Matt.17:1-13)’ When Jesus answers the disciples he leaves no doubt as to their role in the end times. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things Matt.17:11”. John the Baptist is another who was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb to discharge his role as the voice in the wilderness. Similarly death and resurrection of Jesus was foreordained “Heaven must take Him in until the time comes for the restoration of all things, which God announced long ago through His holy prophets(Act3:21; Mal.4:6)”. Restoration of Jews and their temple form the context of the vision of Zechariah. Who are these two olive trees? These are two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth (Zech.4:14) The angel while commands John to measure the temple of God is part of a vision but the intent of the Spirit is clear: it invites comparison with a similar vision of Prophet Ezekiel.
Another important feature the Spirit relies on is the time element. By restructuring historical temple of God in post-exilic Jewish nation or the temple in the Millennial Reign about historical city of Jerusalem, what we get is New Jerusalem. For this reason instead of Jerusalem proper we find two names Sodom and Egypt ‘where also our Lord was crucified (11:8). Such names Egypt or Babylon (Harlot of B.) are merely labels and interchangeable. In order to instruct the reader ‘into righteousness we are not to look back. Lot’s wife is a sign indeed. So let us keep focus on New Jerusalem. Instead of the temple (for the Jews) but the tabernacle of God in which there is no distinction between Jew of Gentiles. This renders the names of Elijah, Moses John and every other foreordained (or anointed ones) fit with these two olive trees. Significant is that while Jesus names Elias by name; the Spirit while describing the two witnesses in sufficient detail has left out names.
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein (v.1).
In this vision we do not read what were the measurements; neither will you from the New Jerusalem in which what was measured was according to the measure of a man, that is of the angel (Re.21:17). Here we have the POV of the Church, it applies to the measurement in keeping with of spiritual bodies.
“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles:…(v.2a).
As with the measurements mentioned above we have a line to indicate ‘nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it (Re.21:24)
“And the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months(v.2b)”.
This event is yet to take place. Significant is the number of moths is same as the time taken by the ministry of our Lord Savior. In the previous chapter the mighty angel had given the little book to the apostle and commanded him prophesy from it. This is evidently a part.
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth(vv.3-4).
This period works out same period taken for the destruction of the holy city.
(To be continued)