Morning Prayer: 01 Oct – Revelation 11:1-2 ~ the remnant or the church

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentences

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

Revelation 11:1-2 (ESV) – to be read aloud

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

Reflection

THE SECOND VISION – THE SEVEN TRUMPETS

Interlude: Measuring the temple (11:1-2)

This is a photo of a scale model of the Temple on the Temple Mount in Herodian Jerusalem, 1st century CE. (Israel Museum in Jerusalem).
This is a photo of a scale model of the Temple on the Temple Mount in Herodian Jerusalem, 1st century CE, as viewed from the Mount of Olives. (Israel Museum in Jerusalem).

Overview of Chap 11: John goes on to speak of the tremendous opposition faced by the people of God throughout the centuries and especially in the last days. He tells of two witnesses who bear unflinching testimony to the word of God and of the terrible figure of the antichrist, who however, is not able to overcome God’s people in the end. (Morris, p.140)

Interpretation: Chapter 11 has been subject to a variety of divergent interpretations depending upon how the language of verses 1 and 2 are understood, i.e. literally, highly symbolically, or something in between. Mounce’s comment is helpful on this matter:

That the language of prophecy is highly figurative has nothing to do with the reality of the events predicted. Symbolism is not a denial of historicity but a figurative method of communicating reality. Apocalyptic language has as one of its basic characteristics the cryptic and symbolic use of words and phrases. (Mounce, p.212)

At this point in our reading of Revelation, our sources (Ladd, Morris, and Mounce) diverge in their understanding of Chapter 11. And, it is beyond our abilities to resolve their differences. Therefore, it seems best to present a brief summary of each of their conclusions and let the reader decide for him/herself which makes better sense.
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The faithful remnant of Israel: Ladd understands the reference as a prophecy of the preservation and ultimate salvation of the Jewish people, citing Paul’s conclusion in Romans 11:26 that “all Israel shall be saved” and Jesus’ lament and predictions in Matt 23:39 and Luke 21:24.

When in contrast to the city as a whole, the temple proper and its worshippers are preserved, the contrast seems to be between the Jewish people as a whole and a remnant who are true worshipers of God. (Ladd, p.150-2)

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The witnessing church: Morris takes vs 1-13 symbolically, i.e. John is saying that the spiritual temple, the church, will be preserved, though it will be subjected to physical oppression as the Gentiles trample it.

It is better to think of the great city as man in organized community and opposed to God. It is another name for this world as a worldly system…. What John is doing then is outlining the function of the witnessing church. Its lot will be hard, but its eventual triumph is sure. This is a heartening message for his troubled readers. (Morris, p.141)

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The people of God: Mounce views this passage as representing the church from two different perspectives, i.e. during the difficult period lying immediately ahead the people of God will be kept safe from demonic assault although they will suffer at the hands of the unbelieving world.

For John, the temple was… “the Christian community who worship God”… the church, the people of God…. God will give spiritual sanctuary to the faithful believers against the demonic assault of the Antichrist…. The protection of believers was not security against physical suffering and death but against spiritual danger…. The distinction between the sanctuary and the outer court is a way of pointing out the limitations placed upon pagan hostility. It may physically decimate the witnessing church, but it cannot touch its real source of life. (Mounce, p.212-5)

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Canticle

Christ, as a light – illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield – overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
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Peanut Gallery: In September, we will begin reading through the Book of Revelation (ESV). Our purpose will be devotional, i.e. to discover the word of blessing that God has for us in these troubled times… to find hope and help for our daily lives.

This will not be a Bible Study per se: we will not attempt to unravel the “mysteries” of Revelation… that is far beyond our abilities and is not our interest here. However, so as not to get too far afield, we will rely on three study resources: primary – A Commentary on the Revelation of John (George Elton Ladd); supplemental Revelation (Leon Morris) and  The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce).

The general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) On Sundays, we’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world. Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.