Study Notes

Revelation 11:1-2


We are in the parenthesis between the sixth and seventh trumpets. John's perspective has changed in this two-chapter parenthesis from heaven to earth.

11:1-2 Measure the Temple

John is told to measure the temple. This might not be too strange, except for the fact that the temple that existed in John's day had been destroyed about 20 years before Revelation was written! There was no temple at this time! Then what temple is he measuring?

The History Of The Temple

When Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, he was also getting detailed instructions from the Lord regarding a house of worship. It was a tent, a tabernacle - along with altars and pieces of furniture - that were to be made out of certain materials with specific details and dimensions (Exodus 19-31).

This tabernacle was carried through the desert during the 40 years Israel spent in the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land.

A few hundred years later, King David decided to build a more permanent structure for the Lord, but God wouldn't allow him to.

1Chr. 28:2-3 Then King David rose to his feet and said, "Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, 'You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.'"

As a result, David designed it (1Chr. 28) and gathered the treasure to finance it, but his son Solomon built it. Solomon's temple was the first temple. You can read the descriptions of this seven-year building project in 1Kings 6.

This temple was glorious, but the spiritual life of Israel went down the tubes over the generations. God warned them that if they didn't repent of their wickedness, He would give them over to their enemies. They didn't repent, and God allowed the Babylonians to come in and take the Jews captive.

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon...

2Kgs. 24:13-14 ...carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, just as the LORD had said. Then he led away into exile all Jerusalem and all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.

2Kgs. 25:9 And he burned the house of the LORD, the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every great house he burned with fire.

After 70 years in the Babylonian captivity, the Lord brought the Israelites back into their land. The book of Ezra describes the rebuilding of the temple by Zerubbabel and Jeshua. This was known as "the second temple." It was far less impressive than Solomon's temple. As a matter of fact,

Ezra 3:12-13 Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' {households,} the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy; so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.

Later, when the Roman Empire took over the area, Herod decided to radically reconstruct the temple to be a glorious sight. He figured that this would keep him on the good side of the Jews, as well as impressing other world leaders.

This reconstruction project began about 15 years before Jesus was born. This is why when He foretold of His death, saying,

John 2:19-21 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews therefore said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

This was the temple in Jesus' day, today known as Herod's temple. You may recall the conversation recorded in Mark 13.

Mark 13:1-2 And as He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, "Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!" And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another which will not be torn down."

This may have sounded ridiculous to Jesus' hearers. After all, the stones of the temple were massive each one measuring 40 feet by 20 feet, weighing tons.

But in less than 40 years, it came to pass. The Roman general Titus Vespasian laid siege to Jerusalem. When battering rams and ladders didn't give the Romans access to the Jews that were inside protecting the house of God, he commanded that the gates be burned, and then for the fire to be put out. Unfortunately, as the Jewish historian Josephus tells us,

...One of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window... (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.249)

This started an inferno that burned the entire temple. The huge amounts of gold and silver that covered the roof and walls melted, flowing down into the cracks and crevices. Not wanting to lose that much precious metal, the Romans pulled every one of those massive stones off of one another to get to it.

Jerusalem lay in ruins. About 600 years later, Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount, claiming that this was where Mohammed had left earth. This is the big golden-domed structure you see in pictures of Jerusalem.

There has been no temple to God on Temple Mount for the last 1929 years. But the Bible promises that there will be another one. John measured it when he was caught into the time of the Great Tribulation. In addition, Jesus, Paul the apostle, and the angel Gabriel told us that another one would exist. They all told of the day that the "Abomination of Desolation" takes place.

This is when the antichrist enters the temple and claims to be God, putting a stop to the sacrifices, and calling for a world-wide persecution of the Jews.

Dan. 9:27 "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations {will come} one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."

Matt. 24:15-21 "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. "But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days! "But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall."

2Ths. 2:3-4 Let no one in any way deceive you, for (the day of the Lord) will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

In order for the antichrist to enter the temple, there must first be one. This temple will most likely be built at the beginning of the seven year period we know as the Great Tribulation. It will be defiled three and a half years into it - at the halfway point.

Why does this affect us? Well, it may interest you to know that people have been making preparations for the rebuilding of the temple for about the last ten years. At least three major groups have dedicated their lives to seeing this vision brought to fruition.

There are men being trained in Y'Shevas (schools) in the rituals and sacrifices of the temple priests. There are blueprints drawn, priestly garments being manufactured, financing available, and over 2/3 of the implements used in the daily operation of the Temple have been completed.

You can meet these priests and see these items on display at the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. Their "Treasures of the Temple" exhibition features the vessels, implements and musical instruments associated with service at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The only real holdup to the reconstruction of the temple is the land itself. You see, although the Jews have possession of Jerusalem, Moshe Dayan gave control of the temple mount over to the Muslims after the 6-Day War in 1967 to hopefully keep peace with the area's Islamic people.

As a result, Jews are not even allowed to set foot on the Temple Mount, much less build a temple there. Oh, some have tried to blow it up, and others have tried to bring the cornerstone up to Temple Mount, but they are always driven away.

To make matters worse, the Dome of the Rock sits right on top of where many believe that the original temple was. Even if they were somehow able to get the land, a billion Muslims throughout the world would descend upon the Jews and kill them.

However, there have been some interesting developments in the last several years. Archaeologists and scholars have been researching this subject heavily, and some have come up with theories that say the temple was not where most believe it was - directly under the Dome of the Rock. These theories place the temple somewhat away from the Dome of the Rock.

One of these theories, founded by archaeologist Asher Kaufman, is called the Northern conjecture. This theory says that the temple was actually about 100 yards north of the Dome of the Rock. If this is true, then the Jews would have enough room to build their temple at this site if they were willing to give up having the outer court. And notice what John is told in verse two:

Rev. 11:2 "And leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations..."

The rebuilders are ready. They have a vision, and are set to go.

A Vision

And all this has got me thinking this week: against all odds, these Jewish men have a vision and are working towards seeing it come to fruition. I also have a vision: it began with me moving to Cheyenne and starting a Bible study in my living room, and growing it up into a church. My vision is to see this church make Jesus famous in Cheyenne. It includes bringing hundreds or thousands of people to salvation in Jesus Christ. It includes discipling people, raising them up and sending them out to plant other churches to the east and west. It includes creating a sanctuary and building that is a place of rest for multitudes of people. I am working towards that goal.

But my question to you today is not, "Will you catch my vision and jump on board?" My question is: "What vision has God given you?"

What mission has God assigned to you? Many of you have shared past visions that you had in your Christian walks. Running a retreat center. Writing songs of worship. Building a ministry of house-to-house evangelism. Starting a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Being called to a pastoral position.

Most of you have given up on that vision that God gave to you. You looked around at the circumstances, and said, "It's too late. I'm too old. It was a pipe dream." But you're wrong.

After God promised Abraham and Sarah a child, a lot of years went by. Too many years. Abraham got to be 100, and Sarah was 90. But it wasn't too late for God.

The last thing God promised the Jews in the Old Testament was that a prophet was coming to prepare the way of the Lord. 400 years went by, but it wasn't too late for God.

How long has it been since you lost hope in the vision God gave to you? How many months or years has it been since you decided that you were just young and foolish, that you really hadn't heard from God at all?

These Jews have a vision that they've been waiting almost 2,000 years for, and they haven't given up hope. The temple will be rebuilt - God has promised in His Word.

If he has given you a promise, a vision, a dream for your Christian life that you've given up on, I want you to come up for prayer. Share your vision with me or one of the elders. Let's pray together in conformation.

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