20 December 2017 Bible Reading
John is instructed to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there, which is symbolic of comparing these things to God’s expectations:
- Second Kings 21:13, And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.
- Zechariah 2:1-5, And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand! 2 Then 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.” 3 And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him 4 and said to him, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. 5 And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”
- Revelation 21:15-17, And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement.
Two witnesses to prophesy for 1260 days clothed in sackcloth. 1260 days is the same as 42 months and a time, times, and half a time, symbolic of a limited time of distress. Sackcloth is symbolic of mourning and distress (Job 16:15; Esther 4:1-3; Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31). The two witnesses are, “The two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.” This imagery is drawn from Zechariah 4:2-14. Zechariah 4 does not help us identify specific persons as the two witnesses of Revelation 11. The symbol is of a spiritual thing and the effect in the temporal world is that the Spirit of God was going to accomplish his word and will.
1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, Yahweh’s word came by Haggai, the prophet, to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 2 “This is what Yahweh of Armies says: These people say, ‘The time hasn’t yet come, the time for Yahweh’s house to be built.’”
3 Then Yahweh’s word came by Haggai, the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies waste? 5 Now therefore this is what Yahweh of Armies says: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and bring in little. You eat, but you don’t have enough. You drink, but you aren’t filled with drink. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm, and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes in it.”
7 This is what Yahweh of Armies says: “Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, bring wood, and build the house. I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified,” says Yahweh. 9 “You looked for much, and, behold, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says Yahweh of Armies, “Because of my house that lies waste, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore for your sake the heavens withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on that which the ground produces, on men, on livestock, and on all the labor of the hands.”
12 Then Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed Yahweh, their God’s[c] voice, and the words of Haggai, the prophet, as Yahweh, their God, had sent him; and the people feared Yahweh.
13 Then Haggai, Yahweh’s messenger, spoke Yahweh’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you,” says Yahweh.
14 Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of Yahweh of Armies, their God, 15 in the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
2 In the seventh month, in the twenty-first day of the month, Yahweh’s word came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Isn’t it in your eyes as nothing? 4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says Yahweh. ‘Be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ says Yahweh, ‘and work, for I am with you,’ says Yahweh of Armies. 5 This is the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, and my Spirit lived among you. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ 6 For this is what Yahweh of Armies says: ‘Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations. The precious things of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory, says Yahweh of Armies. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ says Yahweh of Armies. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says Yahweh of Armies; ‘and in this place will I give peace,’ says Yahweh of Armies.”
10 In the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, Yahweh’s word came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 “Yahweh of Armies says: Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with his fold touches bread, stew, wine, oil, or any food, will it become holy?’”
The priests answered, “No.”
13 Then Haggai said, “If one who is unclean by reason of a dead body touch any of these, will it be unclean?”
The priests answered, “It will be unclean.”
14 Then Haggai answered, “‘So is this people, and so is this nation before me,’ says Yahweh; ‘and so is every work of their hands. That which they offer there is unclean. 15 Now, please consider from this day and backward, before a stone was laid on a stone in Yahweh’s temple. 16 Through all that time, when one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty, there were only twenty. 17 I struck you with blight, mildew, and hail in all the work of your hands; yet you didn’t turn to me,’ says Yahweh. 18 ‘Consider, please, from this day and backward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, since the day that the foundation of Yahweh’s temple was laid, consider it. 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Yes, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree haven’t produced. From today I will bless you.’”
20 Yahweh’s word came the second time to Haggai in the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, 21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, ‘I will shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations. I will overthrow the chariots, and those who ride in them. The horses and their riders will come down, everyone by the sword of his brother. 23 In that day, says Yahweh of Armies, will I take you, Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says Yahweh, ‘and will make you as a signet, for I have chosen you,’ says Yahweh of Armies.”
11 A reed like a rod was given to me. Someone said, “Rise, and measure God’s temple, and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 Leave out the court which is outside of the temple, and don’t measure it, for it has been given to the nations. They will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months. 3 I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands, standing before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. If anyone desires to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6 These have the power to shut up the sky, that it may not rain during the days of their prophecy. They have power over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. 7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them. 8 Their dead bodies will be in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 From among the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations people will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not allow their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10 Those who dwell on the earth rejoice over them, and they will be glad. They will give gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. 11 After the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet. Great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 I heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” They went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In that day there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified, and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe comes quickly.
15 The seventh angel sounded, and great voices in heaven followed, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. He will reign forever and ever!”
16 The twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God’s throne, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was; because you have taken your great power, and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and your wrath came, as did the time for the dead to be judged, and to give your bondservants the prophets, their reward, as well as to the saints, and those who fear your name, to the small and the great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
19 God’s temple that is in heaven was opened, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant was seen in his temple. Lightnings, sounds, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail followed.
139 Yahweh, you have searched me,
and you know me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up.
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
but, behold, Yahweh, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in behind and before.
You laid your hand on me.
6 This knowledge is beyond me.
I can’t attain it.
7 Where could I go from your Spirit?
Or where could I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, you are there.
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there your hand will lead me,
and your right hand will hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me;
the light around me will be night”;
12 even the darkness doesn’t hide from you,
but the night shines as the day.
The darkness is like light to you.
13 For you formed my inmost being.
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to you,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful.
My soul knows that very well.
15 My frame wasn’t hidden from you,
when I was made in secret,
woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my body.
In your book they were all written,
the days that were ordained for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is their sum!
18 If I would count them, they are more in number than the sand.
When I wake up, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would kill the wicked.
Get away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 For they speak against you wickedly.
Your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Yahweh, don’t I hate those who hate you?
Am I not grieved with those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred.
They have become my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart.
Try me, and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the everlasting way.
15 “The leach has two daughters:
“There are three things that are never satisfied;
four that don’t say, ‘Enough:’
the barren womb;
the earth that is not satisfied with water;
and the fire that doesn’t say, ‘Enough.’