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 that brings the return of our Lord. (Ch. 16) 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)

"I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth."   {"John's instructions are to measure (v. 1) the naos, which is the inner temple consisting in the holy place and the holy of holies." Ryrie} 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 He wants for His own personal possession for the sake of preservation. (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 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 (a Tribulation temple as some call it) and the Jews will return to their sacrificial system of worship. {"By the way, we see five temples in Scripture:  Solomon built the first one. Zerubbabel built the second one.  Herod built the third one.  And the Tribulation Jews will build the fourth one.  Christ will build the fifth one in the Millennium described in some of those Old Testament prophets and mostly in Ezekiel 40 to 48." John MacArthur} 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 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 believes that this event here in chapter 11 is when "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) 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. This could also be a part of what is seen in Revelation 7:9-14 where millions of Gentiles are saved since the parenthetical material here and in chapter 7 is not chronological.

So John is told to measure the temple in order that it might be set apart for God's purpose and promises to Israel. Verse 2 says, "Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it."  {"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 court.  Don't measure what's on the outside.  Don't measure the place where the Gentiles are, that doesn't belong to Me."}                                           

God does have an obligation by 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. {"This clearly gives the idea to me that the church is not present here.  You say, "Why?"  Because this doesn't feel like the church age anymore.  In the church age you remember Colossians chapter 3 verse 11 and Ephesians chapter 2 verses 14 to 16 tell us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, and Ephesians 2, that the middle wall of partition has been…what?…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 of the reasons why we feel that this leads us to the conclusion that the church has been removed. 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."  The times of the Gentiles are the times when the Gentiles under Antichrist dominate the city of Jerusalem and that's not going to end until the return of Jesus Christ." John MacArthur} It 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 his call are irrevocable." (Rom. 11:29) We need to pray for our leaders that they will stand with Israel not against them. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure." (Psalm 122:6)

And 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 promised. "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)  "This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar- the LORD Almighty is his name: "Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me." This is what the LORD says:  "Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done," declares the LORD." (Jer. 31:35-37                      


What did you learn from the Scriptures and the message today?

Why do you think there is and always has been so much anti-Semitism (hatred of the Jews) by people and Satan? Paul gives us a clue: "With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it.  My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed-cut off from Christ!-if that would save them. They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God's adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen." (Rom. 9:1-5)

If God does not keep His promises to Israel seen in the Old and New Testaments and for Jerusalem to one day be "the praise of the earth" (during Christ's thousand year reign on earth), how can we trust Him to keep the promises He has made to us as Gentile believers for eternal security (Ron. 8:38-39), for eternal rewards (1 Cor. 10-15), and eternal glory (Rom. 8:18-25)                                                           

What is your main take away from today's message and table discussion and how can you apply this to your life this week?

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