May 10 2022
Today, Tuesday May 10
The Rebuilt Temple
“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 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. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.”
Today we begin our study in the middle chapter of the Book of Revelation which takes place in the middle of the Seven-year Tribulation period. This is a very exciting chapter that gives us great insight into both the first and second half of the Tribulation. Remember, as I have said numerous times, that I believe that we should approach this book as a prophecy that will literally take place. From the first verses in this chapter, it is clear that the Tribulation is divided into two parts of three and half years each.
The chapter begins with John being told to measure the temple of God, including the altar, and those who worship in it. Obviously, this was not an effort to determine its physical dimensions, since none are given, but was conveying some important truth beyond architecture. It could have indicated, as on occasion in the Old Testament, that God sometimes marks things out for destruction (2 Sam. 8:2; 2 Kings 21:13; Isa. 28:17; Lam. 2:8; Amos 7:7-9, 17). But John's measuring is better understood as signifying ownership, defining the parameters of God's possessions (Rev. 21:15; Zech. 2:1-5). This measuring signified something good, since what was not measured was evil (v. 2). It is best to see it as God's measuring off Israel, symbolized by her temple, for salvation and for His special protection, preservation, and favor. The prophecies yet to be given to John will thus distinguish between God's favor toward Israel and His wrath on the pagan world.
The place is Jerusalem and the time is the first half of the Tribulation. Israel is worshiping again at its restored temple, built under the protection of the Antichrist, whose true character has not yet been revealed. To spiritualize Revelation 11:1-2 and make the temple refer to the church creates a number of serious problems. For one thing, how could John measure an invisible body of people, even if the church were still on earth? If the temple is the church, then who are the worshipers and what is the altar? And since the church unites Jews and Gentiles in one body (Eph. 2:11), why are the Gentiles segregated in this temple? It seems wisest to interpret this temple as an actual building in the holy city of Jerusalem (Neh. 11:1, 18; Dan. 9:24).
On one my trips to Jerusalem years ago I was privilege to go to a museum with Dr. Harold Willmington where we were able to see actual items that were being rebuilt or restored to be placed in this temple that many Jews are planning on rebuilding on Temple Mount the first chance they get. Many orthodox Jews today dream of rebuilding their temple, but its site is now occupied (and in the minds of many Jews desecrated) by the Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock. Because Muslims believe it to be the place from which Muhammad ascended to heaven, it is among the most sacred shrines in the Islamic world. For the Jews to wrest that site away from the Muslims and build their temple there would be unthinkable in today's political climate. But during the Tribulation, under the protection of Antichrist they will be able to rebuild the temple.
We will go into more detail about this time period and how this unfolds in the next few blogs and Pastor Chats. We definitely are living in the days when we could see all this be fulfilled as the world is crying for a peacemaker especially with the threat of nuclear war on the horizon.