Meta. While we believe that there is an outer interpretation to all prophecy, we know that there is also an inner interpretation, and since this is the more necessary in our overcoming we always seek to give the Scriptures an individual meaning or explanation. According to the 1st chapter of Revelation the whole book is the picture of a redeemed man; therefore there is no doubt that the 11th chapter is representative of an inner work, something that will take place in each one as he is being transformed into the perfect image and likeness of God.
Revelation 21:15 reads, "And he that spake with me had for a measure a golden reed to measure the city." The 17th verse, giving the measurements, states that they were "according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel." In the 11th chapter we read, "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and one said, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein." Things are sometimes measured to find out not their size but their true value.
The Temple was in Jerusalem and represents the place of worship in the heart center (Jerusalem being symbolical of this center in consciousness). The altar would be the consciousness of full consecration that takes place first in the Temple of worship. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service." "Them that worship therein" are the true spiritual thoughts in man, that love and worship God.
Those who are in the process of overcoming realize that (as Paul tells us in Romans) within them are the carnal mind, or the outer, personal self, and the inner or Christ consciousness of Truth. The putting off of the personal is a gradual work, which begins after a full consecration to God on the part of the individual, and until it is entirely overcome there is often "war in heaven" within him. So the "court which is without the temple" that "hath been given unto the nations," and was not to be measured, represents the carnal thoughts or states of consciousness, conscious and subconscious, that have not yet been redeemed. Until they are lifted up and redeemed they to a certain extent "tread under foot," or keep from perfect expression and demonstration, the spirituality or God consciousness within man.
The two witnesses (Rev. 11:3), or two olive trees (read carefully the 4th chapter of Zechariah), seem to be avenues by which the oil of life of the Spirit is brought into the body consciousness. In Zechariah 4:14 we are told of "the two anointed ones" ("sons of oil," margin, A. V.) "that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." In Zechariah 4:4 the question is asked, "What are these, my lord ?" The 6th verse gives the answer: "This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts." Zerubbabel is one who restores the worship of God. So these two witnesses or anointed ones keep declaring the word of God in faith and power, from the heart center (Jerusalem) into the whole earth --the uttermost parts of our body.
Just below the heart is the seat of judgment; so these witnesses have power to discern and judge the thoughts and intents of the heart, and to cause a drought to come into the earth or carnal consciousness, and plagues of different kinds, as well as fire to purify and put away error thoughts that oppose the Truth.
"The beast that cometh up out of the abyss" (Rev. 11:7) must be some race error thought that has gained great ascendancy through the power of people's belief in it. This thought for a time keeps the witnesses from continuing their work, and they remain seemingly inactive. "They that dwell on the earth" (the carnal mind) rejoice, for they think that they are free to go on in their old error, sense ways, and not be brought into judgment for them; but in a very short time the word comes into greater activity than ever, with renewed power.
The remainder of this chapter, together with the 12th chapter, shows the great final struggle that occurs when error, the Adversary, is cast out of heaven (the kingdom of Truth within man) into the earth. The succeeding chapters tell of the overcoming in the earth or outer
man, until in the 21st and 22d chapters, which show forth complete redemption, the "holy city" comes down from God out of heaven to dwell in the earth. There shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things will have passed away. All things will have been made new.
We go through all these experiences, to the very highest and best, even the perfect renewal of the whole man--spirit, soul, and body. It all takes place right here on earth. Then that which takes place in us as individuals will be fulfilled in the earth also, and it will be redeemed. "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first–fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."