WE PICK UP where we left off in Revelation chapter 10 where John was given the small book which detailed events which would occur in the Middle Ages where the Church would undergo a period of persecution and future restoration. John was on the ground kneeling and was commanded by Christ to rise up and go measure the temple.
The Temple, Two Olive Trees and Two Lampstands
“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. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” – Revelation 11:1-2, KJV
John was giving a measuring rod to go and measure the interior of the temple of God. There are two temples here for consideration on the true meaning of the passage. First is the spiritual temple of the Christians where the Holy Spirit dwells. This temple of the God is represented by the Church of the true faithful Christians, whereas the outer courtyard or narthex of the Church would be given to the nominal Christians who were not part of the true genuine faith but were cast out through schism and heresy. The other temple referred to in this passage is the physical location on the temple mount which contained the ruins of Herod’s temple which was destroyed in 70 AD, which would be given to the Gentiles. This was the area considered to be the “Court of the Gentiles” back in the days of the second temple. This area was also measured by John to determine the exact location which would be given to the Gentile nations and where the Gentiles would set up an abomination idol. Both the church and the city of Jerusalem would be trampled on for a period of “42 months”, or 1260 years.
Location of the Court of the Gentiles during the 2nd Temple
Thus, we have both a “spiritual trampling” on the Christian body for 1260 years, and a “physical trampling” and presence of the Gentile nations for 1260 years. During this time the true Christians worship the one true God in “spirit and truth”, whereas the nominal Christians and Gentiles worship a barren god or worship the true God outside the bounds of the True Church. Nominal Christianity during this 1260 period was embraced by the barbarian converts who brought about the downfall of the Roman Empire and embraced Christianity in name only, warlike and fanatical among each other, while the true liturgical worship and understanding of Genuine Christianity was reserved for those who fought heresies at every turn and defended Christ through the Ecumenical Councils. At the same time the holy city and Court of the Gentiles would be given to the nations who would trample and desolate Jerusalem for 1260 years through their new form of idol worship. These nations would be openly hostile to Christ and the Church. The trampling would begin with Jerusalem and continue through Constantinople until the peak on the gates of Vienna. Thus, the Eastern Church of Jerusalem and the three former empires of Daniel would be subjected by the followers of Islam through their Caliphate and Sultanate empires through these Middle Ages. The “trampling” of the holy city of Jerusalem began by Omar II in the year 637 AD, and the abomination or idolatrous structure was built in the year 688 AD. The trampling of the Holy City continued for 1260 “solar years” until the year 1967 AD, when the nation of Israel captured the Old City from the invading Arab armies during the six-day war. However, we are still waiting for the final completion of the years of the treading of the Temple Mount that still exists today until the fullness of the Gentiles is completed with the removal of the Dome of the Rock. Simultaneously, we await the spiritual temple of the Church to become fully restored at the end of the same 1260-year period with the sounding of the trumpet of the seventh angel.
“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.” – Revelation 11:3-4, KJV
During this period of 1260 years, the true Christians will prophecy, and proclaim and worship and promote the true faith through this period of persecution and mourning in the days of the seventh angel. The “two witnesses” are considered two classification of witnesses that belong to the woman clothed with the Sun: the Clergy and Laity. The Clergy consists of the bishops and priests who received their authority from the Apostles, while the Laity grew in size and influence, especially within the monastic communities which were to persevere and hide from the Dragon for 1260 years, clothed in sackcloth. Sackcloth is a symbol and garment of mourning. During this time of persecution these two witnesses are covered in black sackcloth to mourn the period of Christ’s glory, which becomes dim with the spread and delusion of Satan. This is described by King David: “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. Psalm 35:13 (KJV)”
Clothed in Black Sackloth
The black sackcloth is easily confirmed through the garments of the priests, monks and nuns in the monasteries, where they continuously pray and fast for our deliverance from Satan and his armies of destruction. During this period as described in the sixth seal and the Olivet Discourse, the light of Christ becomes dark as sackcloth, the moon or church becomes dark or red with the blood of the martyrs and the bright shining stars or bishops would fall from grace as a result of this extended tribulation. The glory of Christ is weakened during this period with the clothing of black and mourning of the two witnesses. The Church is bloodied with the sword of the barbarians and Muslims. The bishops are weakened persecuted during this time and appointed to positions by the oppressive Islamic governments of the Caliphates and Sultanates. The church would seek refuge in the monasteries during this period of time. These two witnesses are equated as “olive trees and candlesticks” as they bear fruit and work together in the progress and knowledge of the mysteries of the faith and shine the true light and nature of Christ with their wisdom, faith and good works.
The Futurists and Dispensationalists today, inspired from some of the commentaries of the early church fathers, are unable to see the true identity of the two witnesses because they have fully embraced the false believe that Moses and Elisha would come back to earth to physically refute and challenge a future Antichrist for a literal three and a half years. This is one if the primary reasons why many Christians today can’t come to accept that the Antichrist already has come, because they await the arrival of these Old Testament prophets. Little do they know that the Antichrist Mohammed has been here since the year 622 AD while the two witnesses continue to challenge him.
“And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” – Revelation 11:5, KJV
Satan is unable to hurt the doctrines and defense of the God-Man by the two witnesses. The two witnesses possess a knowledge of Christ the God-Man and his true nature which they would staunchly defend. They had the incredible ability to refute and defend against heresies as if “fire proceedeth” from their mouth. For as new heresies arose to try to cause damage to the two witnesses, then ecumenical councils were called to defend against them, and heretical accusations were met with division and excommunication. Through the Holy Spirit proceeding out of their mouth, they were able to devour any accusations and heresies on the nature of the God-Man. This ability to destroy their enemies was not with physical bloodshed, but through spiritual warfare fighting the delusion and misinterpretations of their enemies.
“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” – Revelation 11:6, KJV
During this period the two witnesses have the ability to shut heaven by breaking away with other Christians churches in the Ecumenical Councils that rejected the true teachings of the God-Man, and excommunicating others for heresies. They also did not attempt to educate the non-Christians to the truth of their faith during this period and not inspired to do missionary work during this period to others they viewed as godless, resulting in spiritual famine for those that needed to hear the word of God.
Water represents the scriptures, which is the living water to satisfy the thirst of the soul. But when the scriptures were misinterpreted giving rise to heresies, they are turned to “blood.” During this period of time the two witnesses left the nominal heretics to misinterpret the scriptures as they preferred the refuge and solitude of the monasteries. While they had the power to smite the earth, they chose rather through prayer and fasting to save the earth from additional plagues.
“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” – Revelation 11:7, KJV
To finish the “testimony” means to define and defend the truth of the Gospel and doctrines of the nature of Christ from the heretics like Arius. When the Clergy and Laity in the church “finished their testimony” through the creation of the Nicene Creed and the definition of the God-Man’s doctrines and canons of the seven ecumenical councils, the “beast” or Antichrist Mohammed would ascend out of the deserts of Arabia with a new monotheistic religion, Islam, to make war against the Christian empires and overcome them. The completion of the testimony began in Nicea in 325 A.D. and is still fully upheld by the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day without alteration. When Mohammed appeared on the scene, five ecumenical councils were completed, with two more to occur as the Islamic Caliphate was spreading and setting up the first empire by 750 A.D. Satan was finally allowed to unleash his final and greatest heresy to try to destroy the spread and growth of the woman and her Man Child throughout the world. At the start of the 6th Ecumenical Council in 680 A.D., Omar conquered Jerusalem and the Omar temple was constructed in 688 AD. The two witnesses continued to fight during the Iconoclast crisis and 7th Ecumenical Council in 787. Prior to the fall of Constantinople, the two witnesses would also openly challenge the false claims of the Papacy in Rome of supremacy over the East, and the addition of the filoque clause (“and the son”) to the Nicene Creed. The Popes refused to recognize any other witnesses to the truth and believed they were the sole infallible witness to the testimony of truth. From the fall of Jerusalem and through the fall of Constantinople, the two witnesses would continue to prophecy while they were clothed in sackcloth through this 1260-year period. The spiritual death of the two witnesses finally came with the fall of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire in 1453. After Mohammed II conquered Constantinople the church was required to pay taxes and require approval for the appointment of new bishops or patriarchs and the practice of simony. It was during this period that the two witnesses lost their power and fire to destroy their enemies, and the faith outwardly in appearance became a dead corpse and former shell of itself compared to the glory days of the Byzantine empire.
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” – Revelation 11:8, KJV
The “great city” here in the Apocalypse is referring to the once great city of Constantinople, where the Ottoman Caliphate founded its capital of its vast empire. The church during this time was found to be in a state of spiritual death and emptiness. The church at this time practiced their faith and followed their traditions while at the same time not understanding the true mysteries and meaning of the traditions. The “square of the great city” is the converted grand church of Haghia Sophia, the once most glorious cathedral in all of Christendom, now converted to a mosque where spiritual idolatry and perverse worship was being practiced through the worship of the imams.
“Spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt” is understood to mean that the Greeks would suffer slavery, captivity and persecution similar to the Jews of Egypt for 400 years, or form 1452 until the mid 1800s with the Greek war of Independence. It is also referred to as Sodom because the city of Istanbul became a city of sexual corruption and perversion of the Sultans and harems situated in the once Great City.
“Where also our Lord was crucified” also implies the name once given to Constantinople as the New Zion, or New Jerusalem. Just as Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, his true apostolic Church would be crucified by the Islamic Beast and lose its former glory. As the Lord suffered and was buried for 3 days, the church would suffer persecution for three and a half “days”.
The “Square” of that Once Great City – Constantinople
“And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” – Revelation 11:9, KJV
The two witnesses, the Clergy and Laity, of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople did not die physically under the occupation of the Ottomans, but in outward appearance they suffered a spiritual death until the decline of the Ottoman Empire. They were under slavery just like the Jews of Egypt and lost the liberties and freedom of public worship, missionary work and building of new churches. The documented stories of the Western European visitors from England, France, Germany and Italy during this time of occupation would often describe the sad state of decay and death of the eastern Church. The priests were poor, unintelligent and destitute. The square of the once Great City was a now showing dominant Islamic presence.
“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” – Revelation 11:10, KJV
The Latin Church of Rome, or the “earth” were visibly overjoyed at the news of the fall of the Eastern Empire to the Ottomans and the visible death of the two witnesses. They believed the Eastern Church got what it deserved because it would not heal the schism with the West and recognize the supremacy of the Papacy over the East. The Church of Constantinople was no longer able to censure or disagree with the Latin Papacy. The ransack of Constantinople in 1204 AD weakened the Byzantine empire and left it vulnerable to the rising Turkish empire. The Latins took historical artifacts, icons, and treasures away back to Rome where the Popes delighted in the collecting, selling and “gifting” of the religious artifacts to the kings of Europe through their “selling of salvation” and Indulgences in return for their loyalty to the Pope. The sale of holy relics stolen through the fourth Crusade evolved into a BIG INDUSTRY in the West, where supposed “artifacts” of the True Cross were sold by the Church as well as other stolen icons, bones of many great Eastern saints, gold and bronze statues were sold for money or on display in the halls of the Vatican museums. The Papacy delighted in the collection of theses precious gifts at the expense of the fall and collapse of the Byzantine Empire. This time period would coincide with most corrupt and controversial era of the Papacy through the sale of Indulgences, which would eventually cause a backlash and eventually lead Europe to the Reformation and Renaissance.
“And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” – Revelation 11:11, KJV
This has a double fulfillment here. First, after three and a half centuries the Eastern Orthodox nations of the former Byzantine Empire would rise up through the Revolutions and Balkan Wars to throw away the tyranny of the Turks. This would create fear and panic among the Turks who would be the cause of the genocides of the early twentieth century to attempt to prevent the resurrection of two witnesses to recapture their former empire and Great City. The Western Powers also were concerned with the Constantinople question and were worried about giving control of the city to the Russians after the fall of WWI. Since the Greeks were not given the Great City by the Western nations, the delay in the physical resurrection of the Eastern Orthodox in Constantinople remains unfulfilled. This can also be explained due to the second fulfillment.
Secondly, the “three and a half days” here also are to be taken twice, or taken to the second power. That is, using the day-year principle of prophetic interpretation we convert the three and a half days to years, and this is equivalent to 1260 days. We once again convert these days to years to represent 1260 years. Therefore, the resurrection of the two witnesses is set to occur in the Great City in a future appointed time which will cause great fear to occur upon the Barbarians and Western Nations. We see early signs of this today with the resurrection of Christian Russia. But how can this time frame be measured?
The answer is easy and logical. The Orthodox Church will be restored to its former greatness measured from the time she finished her testimony, that is, from the seventh ecumenical council to the eight and final ecumenical council. The seventh ecumenical council was in the year 787. Therefore, we can logically deduce the approximate the time frame when the Church of the East will spread from the East to the West and the Eight Council will be called. 1260 years after the last council, that is: 787 A.D. + 1260 years = 2047 A.D. It becomes easily to discern from simply adhering to the text of both Revelation 11 and 12 with respect to the two witnesses “three and a half day spiritual death” and the woman’s “three and a half year” flight to the wilderness, that there will be a 1260 year measurable period between the 7th Ecumenical Council and the future 8th Ecumenical Council.
“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” – Revelation 11:12, KJV
After the 1260-year period ends at the completion of the days of the voice of the seventh angel and his sounding trumpet, the two witnesses will be “raised” or resurrect from spiritual death and ascend back to glory (i.e. a full restoration) to proclaim the Gospel message to the world. The Byzantine prophecies are clear about the fear that will fall upon the Muslims during this time period, and the abandoning of the Western Protestants and Catholics from their churches to the growing Orthodox faith. During this period, the two witnesses will be able to exercise spiritual authority that was not possible during it’s death which lasted for three and a half days. They no longer have to defend the truth hidden in the monasteries, but will be openly on the attack against the delusions and social order previously established by Satan during this time period through the full preaching of the Gospel to all nations. Upon the resurrection and restoration of the two witnesses of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, they will be publicly exalted throughout the world while the enemies will be humiliated and defeated due to the truth of the new testimony against them.
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” – Revelation 11:13, KJV
The “same hour” here refers to the same time frame within a 20-year period. The measurement of time is one hour. We know that “three and a half days” is equivalent to 84 hours, that is 24 + 24 + 24 + 12 = 84. We take the 1260-year period and divide that by 84: 1260/84 = 15 years. We know that within the same period as the restoration of the two witnesses and the wedding feast of the Bride will occur within 15 years after the Battle of Armageddon, which is to take place in Constantinople.
The great earthquake represents the great battle and war of Constantinople which will mark the change in the social order of the world. 700,000 men will die in three days in the battle for the city. The days will be shortened for our sake. After the sounding of the seventh trumpet and cessation of the war, the remaining still alive will give glory to the God of Heaven.
“The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” – Revelation 11:14, KJV
The second woe, or the dissolution of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. was already explained in Revelation chapter 9. It would be two more centuries until the spread of Islam. Thus, we are told the third and final woe will come quickly after this event and would extend through the Middle Ages. The details of the third woe were given to John in Revelation chapter 10 with his reception of the little book which provided the specifics regarding this 1260-year period. These details regarding the final woe are explained further for our benefit in Revelation chapters 12 and 13.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” – Revelation 11:15, KJV
The Days of the voice of the Seventh Angel is identified as the third woe. This 1260-year period of darkness and delusion causes the Light of Christ to become obscured as sackcloth, the Bride of Christ, the Church, becomes red with the shedding of blood of wars and genocide, and the bishops and leaders of the Church would fall from grace and corruption. But upon the sounding of the seventh angel’s trumpet the earth will rejoice at the resurrection and restoration of the two witnesses of Christ in the Great City of Constantinople.
“And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” – Revelation 11:16-18, KJV
The 24 elders respond in thanksgiving and honor to the statement of the seventh angel. The nations attacked and ruthlessly the two witnesses who defended the truth of Christ. God responded with his own wrath upon the attackers that tried to prevent the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world. Those in heaven joyfully proclaim their thanks that the time of the seventh angel has arrived and the mystery of God that was sealed and given to his servants the prophets will be shown to all the living on the earth.
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” – Revelation 11:19, KJV
John sees a grand vision of the opening of the temple of God in heaven, and sees the Ark of the New Testament visible to all of the saints in heaven. Since Jesus is New Testament, the Ark is a symbolic term to seeing the Mother of God, the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary in the temple of God. This is the most precious visible Ark that is more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim. The Word of God was her offspring who gave birth to the Gospel. She stands before God, and he recalls his covenant and promise to her that the Gates of Hell will not prevail. She is given special honor when the seventh trumpet sounds, and this will occur on the one of her feast days. According to the Byzantine prophecies, the cessation of the battle of Constantinople will occur on the dawn of the day of the Lord’s mother, which will either be March 25th or August 15th. This honor is due and justified because of her continuous prayers and intersessions for the salvation of mankind over the delusion of Satan for the last 2000 years. During this day of the arrival of the seventh trumpet upon that Great City and final completion of the third woe, the sky over the entire earth will be filled with lightening and thunder and great hail with the approaching column-shaped phenomenon visible in the heavens. Then a great moral earthquake will sweep through the nations to swiftly and decisively end the false delusion of Islam and the proclaim the Gospel delivered and birthed by Ark of the New Testament to all nations.