Wise people will be prophetically curious. (Hosea 4v6)
v1: The entire temple was not measured – only the Holy Places.
· Those who worship there: Jewish worshippers (Gentiles weren’t allowed in these places).
v2: In Jerusalem there is going to be a division. A functioning temple, complete with the Holy Place and areas of worship where only Jewish people will be allowed to go, will be rebuilt. Outside of this area will be a place where the Gentiles/nations (those who have no covenant relationship with G-d) will be allowed to worship.
The antichrist will rule from the temple – after the abomination of desolation- for the last 3.5 years (Jerusalem is going to be under attack for these 42 months). Islam will not be the religion of the antichrist. His religion will be one that is initially inclusive of all religions. He is going to try to unite all people around his leadership.
v3: Malachi 3v1-5. For those last 3.5yrs (1260 days), while the antichrist is reigning, these witnesses speak prophetic truth to the people on earth.
· Sackcloth is related to repentance. They are calling people to repent. Prophecy produces repentance (Rev 19v10)
v4 This verse, speaking about the coming witnesses, is key to helping us understand Zech 4v11-14.
· Olives give oil, lampstands give light. These two witnesses serve the L-rd by bringing the anointing of G-d’s Word, His revelation/light, to the people. People only understand, repent and begin to serve G-d when His anointed Word is revealed.
v5: As these witnesses speak a message of repentance, and as they prophesy in Jerusalem, they are given power. People, from the nations, will rise up against them because they don’t want to hear this message. Those who don’t believe, in what the Scripture reveals, are setting themselves up for the judgement of G-d.
v6: We do not know who these two witnesses are, but G-d has given us some interesting characteristics about them. They can shut up the sky like Elijah (1 Kings 17v1, 18v1, 18v41-46) and they can turn water to blood and strike the earth with plagues like Moses. (Exodus 7-11. See also Malachi 4v4-6 and Mark 9v2-4)
v7: Why does G-d allow His faithful witnesses to die? To teach us that death is not our end. It is a transition, and a preparation, for resurrection. If we die obediently serving G-d, we have a hope – the Kingdom. The resurrection speaks of the reality of the power and authority of this Kingdom. (Messiah rose first, as the first fruits; but, as part of the harvest, we are also going to have a resurrection experience– 1 Cor 15v20-23) Resurrection = victory.
v8: This ‘great city’ is Jerusalem (where Messiah was crucified) – also called Sodom (a place of ungodliness and sexual immorality) and Egypt – synonymous with the world and its worldview.
Jerusalem is going to become an affront to G-d. The antichrist will be ruling there and championing a religion of pluralism.
v9: When you deny someone burial you shame the body. The world will have utter contempt for these two witnesses that bore truth to the testimony of G-d. It shows us how far this world will be from G-d.
v10: At the feast of Purim (Found in the book of Esther) people celebrate the salvation of the Jews from Haman by sending each other gifts. It is completely flipped/reversed here. This is a celebration against G-d’s people.
· The dwellers of the earth felt that the witnesses had tormented them by giving them the truth of G-d, and calling them to repentance in order to find G-d’s forgiveness.