Bible Truth Versus SDA Truth: The Two Witnesses
SDA "Truth" about the Two Witnesses
Seventh-day Adventists identify the "two witnesses" of Revelation 11 as the Bible. They also teach that the French Revolution of the 1790s is described in this same chapter. The following points are taken from Revelation Seminars:
1. The Two Witnesses represent the Bible.
"These two witnesses refer to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible."1
2. The Two Witnesses are persecuted for 1260 years.
Seventh-day Adventists measure the 42 months and 1260 days to be a prophetic time period lasting 1260 years. Because the two witnesses are said to be prophesying "in sackcloth", Adventists equate this to 1260 years of persecution:
"History affirms a 1260-year period from A.D. 538 to A.D. 1798, when the Christian Church persecuted Bible-believing Christians."2
3. The Two Witnesses will be "dead" for 3-and-a-half years.
Seventh-day Adventists teach this too is a prophetic time period, lasting three-and-a-half years.
"Three and a half days represent three and a half years."3
4. The nation that killed the Two Witnesses was France.
Seventh-day Adventists teach that the great city of Revelation 11:8, which is called "Egypt" and "Sodom," is representative of the nation of France during the French Revolution of the 1790s.
"Only one nation could possibly fit: the nation of France. It was grossly immoral (Sodom) and atheistic and God-hating (Egypt). During the French Revolution, before the 1260-year persecution ended, the French government burned and banned Bibles for three and a half years in an effort to abolish Christianity. Killing God's witnesses is as serious as crucifying His Son..."4
5. The resurrection of the witnesses refers to events in the 1800s.
Seventh-day Adventists teach that the resurrection of the witnesses in Rev. 11:11-12 refers to the exaltation of the Bible after the French Revolution ended:
"This means that the Word of God would be highly exalted after it was resurrected, and it was! The British and Foreign Bible Society was organized in 1804 and the American Bible Society in 1816. The Bible became available to the man on the street and has remained a best seller to this day."5
6. The city of Rev. 11:13 is the Catholic Church.
Seventh-day Adventists teach that the city struck by an earthquake resulting in 7,000 deaths refers to events occuring during the French Revolution:
"The city mentioned here is the fallen Roman Church, supported by the ten nations of Europe (Rev. 17:12-13). The "earthquake" hit as Napoleon sent his military to Rome and captured the papal leader in 1798, bringing to an end the 1260-year period. France represents one tenth of the city. Seven thousand nobles lost titles during the French Revolution."6
Problems with SDA "Truth" about the Two Witnesses
1. Do the Two Witnesses represent the OT and NT?
In the third verse of Revelation 1, the very first thing John instructs the readers of Revelation is that they are to "keep" (observe) the Revelation. The reason John gives for his command to observe the Revelation is apparent:
...keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand. KJV
...keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. NKJV
...obey what it says. For the time is near when these things will happen. NLT
...take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. NIV
...keep what is written in it, for the time is near. ESV
...heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. NASB
...keep what is written therein; for the time is near. RSV
...keeping the things written in it -- for the time is nigh! YNG
As if that were not plain enough, at the end of the Revelation John again instructs the readers or hearers of Revelation to keep (observe) "the sayings of the prophecy of this book." (Rev. 22:7) Why? Because the events described in Revelation are...
....the things which must shortly be done. (Rev. 22:6)
...for the time is at hand. (Rev. 22:10)
John evidently expected first century Chrisitans to be able to read, understand, and observe what was written in Revelation. If Revelation was speaking of events occurring in France in the eighteenth century, how could the first century readers in the seven churches, to whom the letter was addressed, possibly be expected to make any sense of Revelation or observe it?
While the "two witnesses" may in some aspects signify the Word of God, this could not possibly be a reference to the New Testament--a document that no first century Christian would even be aware of. Nearly half of the New Testament had not even been written by the time John sent out the Revelation, and a large part of what we call the New Testament involved letters from the apostles and others that were not even gathered together and compiled into a single unit until hundreds of years later.
2. Are the Two Witnesses are persecuted for 1260 years?
Adventists convert the 1260 days into years, thus stretching this prophecy out more than a thousand years. Again, how could first century readers be expected to understand events thousands of years in the future, and why would they even care to "read" or "hear" or "keep" the sayings of a book that had no relevance or bearing on their lives?
Again, how could the 1260 days represent years when John said "the time is near when these things will happen"? How could these events be centuries in the future when the angel said these things "must shortly be done" and "the time is at hand"?
Furthermore, there is nothing in this passage indicating a persecution. It merely says the witnesses are in sackcloth, or are mourning (2 Sam. 3:31; Jon. 3:6,8).
3. Was the Bible "dead" for 3-and-a-half years?
Seventh-day Adventists claim the three-and-a-half days are actually years, and point to events during the French Revolution as fulfillment of the prophecy:
"This period may be reckoned from November 10, 1793, when a decree issued in Paris, abolished religion, to June 17, 1797, when, it held, the French government removed restrictions against the practice of religion."7
To begin, the French Revolution was more of an assault upon the Roman Catholic Church than upon the Bible itself. According to SDAs, Catholicism is the "beast", the "harlot" and "Babylon" of Revelation. During the French Revolution, "the [Catholic] church was outlawed, all monasteries destroyed, 30,000 priests were exiled and hundreds more were killed."8 The French even invaded Italy and took Pope Pius VI prisoner. Since SDAs identify the "beast" of Revelation 11 as Satan, and that same "beast" attacked Roman Catholicism (the "beast" of Rev. 13 and 17), then according the SDA teaching, Satan is attacking and attempting to destroy his own kingdom! Does this make sense?
If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? (Luke 11:18)
Harold Snide points out additional problems with the SDA reckoning:
The problem from a historical standpoint is to find three and one half years during which God's Word remained dead as a result of this government action, and after which period of three years and a half, the Bible was unusually exalted. ...we shall find no such period of three and a half years in the events of Revolutionary France. We shall find that the event usually suggested as terminating the period, either did not occur at the time indicated, or else was an affair of minor significance. Furthermore, we shall discover that the intense antagonism to God and His Holy Book did not last nearly so long as three and a half years but ended after a few months. A simple narration of the principal events of the Revolution, involving religion and the church, will make this all very clear.
The worship of Reason ... began early in November 1793. It was November 26 when the Council of the Commune outlawed all other religions. Previous acts of the revolutionary government had assured nominal liberty to worship to all; and just nine days after the Council of the Commune outlawed Christianity, the Convention, a superior governmental body, forbade violence contrary to liberty of worship. And on May 9, 1794, the Convention under the influence of Robespierre, decreed the worship of the Supreme Being. The government support of any worship was abolished September 20, 1794, without much discussion. This automatically brought a considerable degree of religious liberty. It is true that the non-juring priests still suffered some persecution, but this was far more from political than from religious animosity.
On February 21, 1795, Biossy d'Anglas made a speech and a motion for complete separation of Church and State. This was passed, allowing any kind of religious worship throughout France, but with some restrictions as to place, advertising, endowments, etc. The refractory clergy were still considered criminal, but this was a political matter, and could hardly be considered the death of God's Two Witnesses. In the provinces there was much delay and opposition by local officials in permitting the liberty granted by the Convention.
A further attempt was made in late 1794 and early 1795 to revive interest in the tenth-day festivals in the hope of competing with Christianity and its weekly Lord's Day; but this effort was a ludicrous and dismal failure.
A new constitution was demanded to replace that of 1793. Its formation was in the hands of comparatively moderate men. Separation of Church and State and freedom of worship were incorporated in this new constitution. It was adopted August 17, 1795. Thus we see that in less than six months the atheistic enactment of November 26, 1793, was abrogated; and in less than two years there was actually greater religious freedom guaranteed on a fundamental legal basis, than existed prior to the outbreak of atheism. The "Two Witnesses" just simply did not stay "dead" three and a half years.
Moreover, we can discover no adequately significant event coming even approximately three and a half years after the atheistic supremacy, to mark the close of the period. Three and a half years from November 1793, would bring us to the spring of 1797. It has been asserted that the Convention then repudiated its atheistic pronouncement. History shows no such action. In the first place, the Directory was in power, not the Convention, in 1797. Furthermore, the atheistic intolerance had spent its force and had been repudiated by decree and by the new constitution of 1795, so this work did not remain to be done in 1797.
Others take an earnest speech by Camille Jordan, June 17, 1797, as the event closing the three and a half days. On the contrary, this speech, instead of raising the "Two Witnesses," came at a time when they had been much alive for over a year; it dealt with minor phases of religious liberty such as the privilege of ringing church bells, and it failed in its object.
Aulard (Vol. 17, p. 12) summarizes the incident thus:
Jordan, in a fulsomely sentimental and pseudo-pathetical speech, depicts all France as desolated by the loss of her church bells. He earns the nickname of Bell-Jordan (Jordan Carillon), and his campaign fails.
Adventist professor W.W. Prescott was aware of some of these problems, and on April 26, 1910, he wrote a letter to W.C. White in which he said:
"Two or three of us have made a very careful search of all the histories of the French Revolution to be found in the Congressional Library, in an effort to find some authority for this statement concerning this decree suppressing the Bible; but thus far we have been utterly unable to find any reference to any such action."
Thus we can see that the actual events of the French Revolution do not support the SDA teaching.
4. Does France fit the symbols of "Sodom" and "Egypt"?
Revelation Seminars claims France "was grossly immoral (Sodom) and atheistic and God-hating (Egypt)." However, they provide no evidence the French were any more immoral than any other nation in Europe. Seventh-day Adventists claim that Egypt represents atheism because of Pharoah's statement:
Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice...? I know not the Lord. (Ex. 5:2)
To claim Egypt is atheistic based upon this single verse is utterly contrary to Scripture, as well as contrary to the historical and archaeological record of Egypt. The Egyptians were very religious, especially during the time of the Exodus, when God said He would execute judgment against the "gods of Egypt" (Ex. 12:12). Why would an atheistic country have gods?
Later, Jeremiah prophesied of Egypt:
"And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt...the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire." (Jer. 43:12-13)
Jeremiah decried the "gods in the land of Egypt" (44:8) and "Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods" (46:25).
Even the SDA Prophetess Ellen White repeatedly mentioned the religious nature of the Egyptians in her book Patriarchs and Prophets:
- Egyptians in Joseph's era involved in "worship of false gods" (p. 214)
- Pharoahs participated in the "worship of the gods" (p. 245)
- Children of Israel were "bowing down to their [Egyptians'] false gods" (p. 259)
- The Egyptians "worshiped deities termed by the Israelites false gods" (p. 259-260)
- The 10 Plagues would "silence their [Egyptians'] boasting of the blessings received from their senseless deities" (p. 263)
- Moses...entered the lordly halls of the king of Egypt. There, surrounded by...rich paintings and sculptured images of heathen gods" (p. 263)
- "The sun and moon were objects of worship to the Egyptians" (p. 272)
- When chasing the Israelites, Pharaoh took his priets with him "to secure the favor of the gods, and thus ensure the success of their undertaking" (p. 283)
- By freeing the Israelites, God had "shown Himself to be above all the gods of Egypt" (p. 305)
- The golden calf was an "imitation of the gods of Egypt" (p. 317)
- "God delivered Israel with...judgments upon all the gods of Egypt" (p. 334)
In the appendix of the same book, the publishers provide even more evidence of the highly religious nature of the Egyptians:
FROGS WERE HELD SACRED BY THE EGYPTIANS, AND ONE OF THEIR DEITIES, HEQA, WAS A FROG-HEADED GODDESS THOUGHT TO POSSESS CREATIVE POWER. ...ONE OF THEIR GODS (EXODUS 9:3), OF WHICH MANY REPRESENTED POWERFUL GODS IN THE EGYPTIANS PANTHEON. TO MENTION ONLY A FEW, WE FIND THAT THE APIS BULL WAS DEDICATED TO PTAH, THE FATHER OF ALL THE GODS, THE COW WAS SACRED TO HATHOR, ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY WORSHIPED OF ALL FEMALE DEITIES OF THE NILE COUNTRY, WHILE THE RAM REPRESENTED SEVERAL GODS LIKE KHNEMU, AND THE RAM-HEADED AMEN, WHO WAS EGYPT'S CHIEF GOD IN THE NEW EMPIRE PERIOD.
...ONE OF THE GREATEST GODS OF EGYPT, THE SUN OF GOD RA, WHO HAD BEEN CONTINUOUSLY WORSHIPED FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES OF THAT COUNTRY'S KNOWN HISTORY. ... EVERY EGYPTIAN KING CONSIDERED HIMSELF AS A "SON OF RA," AND CARRIED THIS EXPRESSION IN HIS TITULARY. WHEN AMEN OF THEBES BECAME CHIEF GOD OF EGYPT DURING THE EIGHTEENTH DYNASTY, THE POWER OF THE SUN-GOD RA WAS RECOGNIZED AS SO GREAT THAT A COMPROMISE WAS MADE BY COMBINING AMEN AND RA TO MAKE ONE GOD --AMEN-RA. A FEW YEARS AFTER THE EXODUS, WHEN IKHNATON INTRODUCED A SHORT-LIVED MONOTHEISM, THE ONLY GOD RETAINED WAS ATON, THE SUN DISK.
To claim that Egypt was an apt representation of atheism is thoroughly refuted by the Bible, Ellen White's writings, and SDA publications which show the Egyptians were a highly religious people. There is no method or formula that can be used to equate Egypt with atheism in the slightest. To say that Egypt represents atheism is pure fiction.
5. Does the resurrection of the witnesses refer to events in the 1800s?
Seventh-day Adventists claimed the Bible died in France in 1792, then came back to life during events taking place in the 1800s with the founding of Bible societies. The problem is, the first Bible society was founded 12 years after 1792, not three-and-a-half years. Furthermore, there is no connection between the events. The formation of the Bible society was a natural progression of events that began during the Protestant Reformation, which started nearly three centuries before the French Revolution.
The printing press was originally developed for the purpose of printing the Bible. The first printed Bible was the Catholic Vulgate Bible by Gutenberg in 1455. During the Reformation, Tyndale published the New Testament in English in 1526. The first French Bible was published in 1530, and Martin Luther published a German Bible in 1534. From the 1500s through the current day the publication and distribution of the Bible has continued to progress unabated throughout the world. Throughout the past 500 years various nations (France, Soviet Union, China) have temporarily burned or confiscated or otherwise restricted access to Bibles, but the Bible has never been "killed" or "dead" in any sense whatsoever.
6. Is the city of Rev. 11:13 the Catholic Church?
Revelation Seminars claims the "city" in Revelation 11:13 is the Papacy, and yet they also say the "city" of Revelation 11:8 is France. How can the city represent two different powers in the same passage? There is no indication in the passage that John saw two different cities. Every indication is Revelation 11 is that the same city that killed the witnesses is the city that receives the judgment of the earthquake. To interpret it otherwise is completely contradictory.
John makes it clear that the "great city" was "where also our Lord was crucified." (Rev. 11:8) Any first century reader would immediately recognize that the Lord was crucified in Jerusalem. Therefore, this could not possibly be a reference to Paris, or to France, or to Rome, because Jesus was not crucified in any of those places. Some have claimed that Jesus is "crucified" afresh through the martyrdom of His followers, and that this passage could thus refer to any city where the followers of Christ were persecuted. If this is true, then the prophecy could refer to Rome, Paris, or to nearly any other city in the world, because Christians have been persecuted almost everywhere. However, we cannot select another location for the city of Christ's crucifixion unless Jerusalem fails to fit the specifications of this prophecy. Since the Lord was indeed crucified in Jerusalem, the very first attempt to identify the location of this city should be to look at Jerusalem. Under examination, Jerusalem fulfills many other aspects of this prophecy (as will be shown in the next section).
Bible Truth about the Two Witnesses
Who are the Two Witnesses?
In this study it has already been established that the book of Revelation was written about events that were "near at hand" of "things which must shortly be done." Since Revelation was written in approximately 65 AD, we will look for events in the time period shortly following 65 AD as fulfillments of the prophecies of chapter 11. We will proceed verse by verse through the chapter to identify the two witnesses.
1 - 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.
John is told to measure the Temple and those what worship therein. Obviously the Temple was still standing when John was given this command, or else he could not have measured it or the worshippers within. This places the timing of the events in this passage prior to 70 AD.9
David Chilton explains the symbolic meaning of measuring:
"Measuring is a symbolic action used in Scripture to 'divide between the holy and the profane' and thus to indicate divine protection from destruction (see Ezek. 22:26; 40-43; Zech. 2:1-5; cf. Jer. 10:16; 51:19; Rev. 21:15-16)"10
As we have seen from the study on the 144,000, they are a group of Christian Jews who worship at the temple in Jerusalem prior to 70 AD. We also learned in that study that judgment begins at the "house of the Lord." By the symbolic act of measuring, God is signifying to John that He is about to find out who "measures up" to His standard. Those who are found worthy, those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb (the 144,000) will be spared the judgment.
2 - 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.
In order to understand verse 2, we must understand the warning Jesus gave to the disciples:
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. (Matt. 24:15-16)
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:20-24)
Jesus warned his disciples that when they saw "Jerusalem compassed with armies" and the Roman soldiers occupying the "holy city" of Jerusalem, they were to flee. When the Roman armies laid seige to Jerusalem in 66 AD, their soldiers occupied the outer parts of the "holy city" and placed their pagan banners within the holy precincts of outer Jerusalem. The disciples recognized this as the sign foretold by Jesus, and when the Romans withdrew temporarily, the "144,000" Christian Jews fled the city. The Roman armies later returned to Jerusalem and again occupied the outer sections of the "holy city." The seige of Galma began in the spring of 67 AD, and Jerusalem finally fell in the autumn of 70 AD. This is a period of three-and-a-half years, just as John had predicted, with the "holy city" being "tread under foot" by the Romans. For a long part of the 42 months, the treading under foot was restricted to the outer sections of the city, but the gentile armies gradually pushed further and further inward as defensive position after defensive position fell, until the entire city was trodden under foot and razed to the ground. Although the Roman armies dispersed at the end of the 1260 days in 70 AD, Jerusalem has continued up to this very day to be "trodden down of the gentiles."
3 - And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 - These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
The olive trees supply oil for the candles and the oil is a symbol of the Spirit of God (Zech. 4:1-6). Jesus has already explained to John, "the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." It would be inconsistent to interpret this symbol to be anything other than the witness of the Church of God. The Church of God prophesies in mourning for 1260 days while Jerusalem is beseiged. They are in mourning for the terrible plight of their friends and relatives in Jerusalem and Judea who refused to accept and follow Jesus, and are now doomed to destruction. The Church of God has been entrusted with prophecies, spoken by Jesus Himself, telling of the destruction of Jerusalem. During this three-and-a-half year period the Church of God is to bring to people's remembrance those prophesies so that all will recognize the sign of Jesus' soon coming in judgment upon Jerusalem.
5 - 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.
6 - 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.
These verses are not intended to say the witnesses actually hurl fire from heaven or punish the earth with plagues. Rather, these figures of speech are used to identify the witnesses with the personages of Elijah and Moses, the same two whom John witnessed talking with Jesus during the transfiguration. This illustrates that the witnesses have the same outpouring of the Holy Spirit as did Elijah and Moses.
7 - 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.
8 - 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.
9 - 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.
10 - 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.
When the Christians flee from Jerusalem, the voice of prophesying about the return of the Son of God in vengeance is finally silenced, except for one lone exceptional soul mentioned by Josephus, whose name, ironically, was Jesus:
...there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city.
However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes... but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day... This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, "Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!" And just as he added at the last, "Woe, woe to myself also!" there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately...11
Thus, not a single Christian is left in the city "where also our Lord was crucified" to sound a warning. The Jews have finally rid themselves of the hated apostles and Christians, whom in past times they persecuted and imprisoned, but whom were delivered miraculously from prison to continue the work of God. Finally, the prophetic voices of warning are "dead" in the sense they have been silenced, having forever departed from Jerusalem. The Jews are pictured as exulting because their ears no longer have to hear the dire prophetic words, and their consciences can rest a little easier. However, this joy lasts for but a very short time.
11 - 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.
12 - 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.
The Church of God is thought to be defeated and silenced when it is forced to flee from Jerusalem. However, new life is breathed into the Church of God, and it arises and goes forth to conquer the world. Just as John heard a "voice" from heaven "saying, come up here" (Rev. 4:1), the Church of God is to follow in John's footsteps and "come up hither." This does not mean the Church of God was raptured up to heaven any more than John was raptured. It simply means that the same prophetic word and spiritual privileges given to John are available to the Church of God whom God "hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:6)
15 - 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.
This passage represents the fulfillment of the stone that strikes the feet of the image of Daniel 2 and begins to fill the whole earth. Jesus makes reference to this stone when He told the Jews:
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. (Matt. 21:43-44)
The Kingdom of God was taken away from the Jews and given to the Christians. The destruction of Jerusalem was the "sign" that Jesus had come into His kingdom:
At that time will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. (Matt. 24:30)
Marcellus Kit expounds:
"The judgment upon Jerusalem was the sign of the fact that the Son of man was reigning in heaven. There has been misunderstanding due to the reading of this verse, as some have thought it to be a 'sign in heaven.' But this is not what the verse says; it says the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. The phrase 'in heaven' defines the locality of the Son of Man and not of the sign. A sign was not to appear in the heavens, but the destruction of Jerusalem was to indicate the rule of the Son of Man in heaven."12
The destruction of Jerusalem was the pronouncement to the world that the Son of God was now ruling the earth, and that His mountain would gradually and progressively grow until it filled the whole earth, and that the Lord Jesus Christ will reign for ever and ever. Amen.
1. Revelation Seminar Studies, Lesson 12, "Two Worldwide Movements Unveiled".
7. Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 803.
8. Wikipedia, "Anti-clericalism", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-clerical, extracted Sep. 5, 2009.
9. Some claim the "temple" is a reference to the Christian Church. The only justification for this is found in a single verse of Paul's writings, where he calls the church a "temple" (Eph. 2:19-22). John, the author of Revelation, never uses the word "temple" to refer to the Christian church. He uses the word "temple" (Greek naos) 19 times in his writing. 16 of those are references to either the earthly temple in Jerusalem or the heavenly temple. Two of those references are to the body of Jesus (John 2:19,21). And the final reference is to God and the Lamb being the temple of the new earth (Rev. 21:22). The same word "temple" occurs in the 19th verse of chapter 11, which says the "ark" appeared in the temple. Is it not inconsistent to interpret the word "temple" in verse 1 and 2 as a spiritual temple called the church, and yet within the same chapter claim the "temple" in verse 19 is a literal temple?
10. David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance, p. 273.
11. Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, vi:v:3.
12. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory, p. 173 (1971).