Between the sixth seal, sixth trumpet and sixth bowl judgment there are interludes and/or some parenthetical material before the final (seventh) judgment occurs in each one of these. This interlude runs from 10:1 to 11:14 just before the seventh trumpet is blown, opening the seven bowl judgments (in rapid succession) that brings the return of our Lord. These interludes and parenthetical comments by our Lord give us, as those who read Revelation now before these events occur, and especially for those who are left behind at the Rapture, great encouragement, that in spite of all hell breaking loose, God is still in control for His glory and the good of His people. The first two verses apply only to the Jews and we will focus on them in this week's study. This is so important to see especially in the times we are in today as our government in America begins to remove its support from Israel in their conflict with the Palestinians, the Arab world around them, and many other nations. Yet many commentators think that these two witnesses will have a worldwide audience due to television and thus their message preached from Jerusalem will be heard by every tribe, tongue, and nation among the Gentiles as well. It is a message of warning, of judgment (which has already been experienced in a large degree but the worst is still to come) and yet an opportunity for repentance and salvation. "The gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:14) Please read Revelation 11:1-13.
John's instructions are to measure (v. 1) the naos, which is the inner temple consisting of the holy place and the holy of holies. There are two things that occur in the Bible with regard to God measuring out things, one is judgment and the other is ownership of something that He wants for His own personal possession for the sake of preservation; the latter being what's in view here. (e.g., Rev. 21:15-17) It was good for John (and all of us, especially the Jews) to understand what God is doing here because Israel for all intents and purposes had been devastated by the Romans in 70 AD some twenty-five years before John is receiving this revelation and Israel's future looks very bleak. So in the first two verses we see this prophetic picture for John and for all of us that God is measuring out His temple and those who worship in it (the Jews) for preservation in the future. This is not necessarily a picture of temporal protection but for salvation and eternal life for the remnant of believing Jews.
We have seen earlier that there will be a temple in the Tribulation and the Jews will return to their sacrificial system of worship. We see five temples in Scripture: Solomon built the first one; Zerubbabel built the second one; Herod built the third one; the Tribulation Jews will build the fourth one and Christ will build the fifth one in the Millennium described by some Old Testament prophets, especially by Ezekiel in chapters 40 to 48. Many Jews today are secularists and even the orthodox Jews do not believe in the need for the sacrificial system for forgiveness of sin. But the Tribulation temple will remind them of their need for sacrifice for their sin pointing them to Jesus the Lamb of God. This along with the strong preaching of Christ from the 144,000 Jews (Rev. 7:1-8) and now these two witnesses will bring many to salvation. (John MacArthur, Arnold Fruchtenbaum and other commentators believe that this event here in chapter 11 is when the one-third remnant seen in Zechariah 13 will be completed and "all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:26) i.e., the ones left on earth who have not been killed by God's wrath through the Antichrist.) "And the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven." (see v.13 KJV) "In the whole land," declares the LORD, "two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.' "(Zechariah 13:8-9) This national repentance may occur immediately after the Antichrist desecrates the temple and those under his rule (the Gentiles) will trample on the holy city until the Lord's return. These saved Jews will then be supernaturally protected and cared for by God in the desert (or wilderness; Rev. 12:14; possibly in Petra) until Christ's return. The two witnesses will remain in Jerusalem for the rest of the Tribulation (v.3) and be supernaturally protected by God to preach to the Gentile nations through their world-wide audience perhaps on television.
So John is told to measure the temple in order that it might be set apart for God's purpose and promises to Israel. "Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. "["The temple had in the inner heart the Holy of Holies and just outside of that the holy place and just outside of that the courtyard of the brazen altar where sacrifice was made and outside of that what was called the court of the Gentiles. Gentiles couldn't go any further than that. Jews could go the next step, priests the next step and only the high priest into the inner sanctuary. God says in essence, "Don't measure the place where the Gentiles are, that doesn't belong to Me." God has an obligation by His promise to redeem Israel as a nation (Jer. .31:35-37; Rom.11:26) but He does not have that obligation to any Gentile nation but only to individuals in those nations who turn to Christ for salvation. These verses clearly give the idea to me that the church is not present here. In the church age Colossians 3:11 and Ephesians 2:14- 16 tell us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, that the middle wall of partition has been broken down. But here, all of a sudden, there is definitely Jew and Gentile as God says measure out the Jews as My people, but not those Gentiles. And the middle wall of partition which is down in the church age is back up again. And that's another reason that this leads us to the conclusion that the church has been raptured before the Tribulation. There is a distinction between the church and Israel and some day in the future God is going to complete His promise to Israel. This is part of the time period which Luke 21:24 calls "the times of the Gentiles" which began with the Babylonian captivity in 586 B. C. and culminates when the Gentiles under Antichrist dominate the city of Jerusalem and ends at the return of Jesus Christ." John MacArthur] This is Jerusalem's greatest hour of agony.
One of the main points of the book of Revelation is to show that God's plan to use Israel as His instrument of salvation to all the nations will happen just as God promised Abraham it would: "The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen. 12:1-3) "God's gifts and calling (on the nation of Israel) are irrevocable." (Rom. 11:29) We also see that His promise to bless Israel as His nation and to make Jerusalem "the praise of the earth" will happen just as He says: "I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth." (Isa. 62:6-7) We need to stand with Israel and we need to pray for our leaders that they will stand with Israel, not against them.
"Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
"May you have peace."
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem." (Psalm 122:6-9)
Until He comes, Len and Kristen
Americans United for Israel Event – Sunday, August 14, 2011 – 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. International Plaza Georgia World Congress Center PLEASE CLICK LINK BELOW FOR FULL INFORMATION
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