Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Revelation 11:2 (Daily Verse and Comment)

  Revelation 11:2

(2) But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 
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God tells John particularly to "leave out" the court outside the Temple. Leave out, emphasized in Greek, means "to cast out" - not just "leave out" or "ignore." It implies, "Throw it out!" "Expel it!" It almost conveys a violent rejection of the outer court. The context suggests that this space, a place where anyone could go and gather, has nothing to do with the Temple except its proximity to it. It has nothing to do with God, nothing to do with the church.

God tells John - and thus the Two Witnesses - in the symbolism that they should reject the worldor perhaps less harshly, disregard it. The literal Greek rendering of casting, throwing, or ejecting that court is a bolder, sterner way of phrasing it.

This can have two senses. The first, probably the correct one, is that they should not concern themselves with the world at all. It is not their job to save it. They must leave it where God has put it - outside the Temple or the church. In fact, if the Two Witnesses were to spend their time worrying about all the people in the world, then they could not accomplish the measuring of the Temple.

So, God says, "Throw out any idea that the world's people fall into your area of responsibility. No, the world is not your concern." We could also understand His command to mean, "The world is My concern, and I already have a plan to deal with the world - at another time." It forces the Two Witnesses into a narrow work—solely to the church at this point because that is where it needs to start.

The second sense is that this verse suggests removing worldliness from the church. That, of course, would be covered in God's command to measure the Temple. So, the first sense - that they should ignore the world at this point - is more probable. God has that work reserved for another period, for other servants. He will take care of most of the world's people in His own time.

It has never been the job of the church to try to save the world. The church's job has been to preach the gospel as a witness, but it cannot actually "save" the people of the world. God does the saving. He is the One who calls - invites or summons - an individual whom He wants to save. The church has been commanded to go out and preach the message. If anyone responds to it, then the church must teach, baptize, and usher the individual into the church's fellowship for the support of the work occurring at the time.

The idea that we in the church must save the world is entirely erroneous. Christians of this world believe that if we fail to reach everyone now, they will never be saved. It is simply not the case! God has already reserved a future time and a method to save them. He says that most of the people who have lived on this earth will be saved. He says that specifically about Israel, and it likely applies to most of the Gentiles as well because He wants everyone to come to repentance. He will save them by bringing them into contact with the truth and giving them the Holy Spirit so they can understand - but in due time, not now.

He emphasizes this fact to the Two Witnesses. They are not to go out into the world - the outer court - to conduct crusades to bring in millions of new members. It is not their job. They are not to do for the world as they do for the church because it would be a waste of their time and resources. Because it is blinded, the world cannot understand God's way right now, so the Two Witnesses' preaching would just go right over their heads. The emphasis in Greek suggests they should not even try to go there! As their name suggests, their work will be one of making a witness, not of bringing the nations into the church.

"The court which is outside" has no part with the church. God will work with those people in the Millennium, those who live through the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. He will work with those who die during that time in the second resurrection, the time of the Great White Throne Judgment.

By the way, the word "Gentiles" here is the word ethnos, from which we get our word "ethnic." It simply means "the nations," "heathen or pagan people," or simply "peoples." In many places, the best translation is "the nations." He is referring to the different kinds of people in this world. They are the ones who inhabit the court outside the temple. It is very clear that He is speaking about nations or people who do not know God, who are currently cut off from God. Perhaps the most general way we could define this is is to call them "the unconverted" or "the uncalled."

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh

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