It is easy to get confused, particularly in the book of Revelation, about what is real and what is symbolic, what is a metaphor and what is simply struggling to find the proper words. Over and over again John is faced with the challenge of putting in to words things that are not of this world. Is something being like a horse mean it is a horse but different or that by horse he means an army where the horse is a representation of an army? By like a locust or like a scorpion, are these actual analogies and descriptions, or symbolic representations of the devastation?
But then we get to Chapter 11 of Revelation and there are no doubts. John is given a measure and told to measure the temple of God, the altar and the worshipers. We are not given the dimensions, so you might wonder why it is important that he conduct the measurements but then doesn’t write them down. I think this is because it is not the physical dimensions that matter but the absolutely assured fact that they have physical dimensions that is the point. You don’t measure a symbolic representation. Heaven is not symbolic. The altar of God is not a metaphor. This is real and measurable, tangible, with dimensions, shape, size. The worshipers are actual worshipers. It is real.
So, knowing that it is real, what are we called to do? Simple, witness. Notice that word is not convince. It is not sell. It is not market or push or argue or persuade. It is witness. When you are called to witness, you are called to do one simple thing: tell the truth exactly as you know it. You don’t have to interpret it. You don’t have to be able to see every angle or understand every metaphysical element. You simply need to tell what you know to be true.
God calls us to witness in what we say, in what we do, in what we elect not to say and in what we elect not to do. He calls us to witness by living changed lives that profess that what we believe and know to be true is something of such consequence that we don’t simply go on, but that we respond to it.
Knowing that you are a spiritual being, adopted as a brother or sister of Jesus Christ, living in an earthly body is a big deal. It changes everything. It changes your citizenship. It changes your loyalties. It changes your life.
Does the life you live witness to this fact?
The temple of God and the altar with its worshipers, exclude the outer court, because it has been given to the gentiles. they will trample the holy city for 3 1/2 years
42 months, 3.5 years
They are His witnesses. The stand before the Lord. If anyone tries to harm them fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies, they have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain, power to turn the waters into blood and strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
They are not called to sell or force the gospel. They simply witness. The word does the rest. Witnessing is simply telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Telling it in words and actions, by what I do and what I resolve not to do. Things that bring honor and glory to God.
It is convicting because, much of the time, my witness is a witness of my weakness and failings, not of God’s strength and power and perfection.