At the close of the last chapter, we saw that mighty angel giving the little book to John. The apostle was told to take the book and eat it. The book was to become a part of him. As a result of eating the book, John would prophecy concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings (10:11). As we begin chapter 11, the same vision still continues. This is important because we can only understand chapter 11 in the light of the context of chapter 10. There will be in the beginning of this chapter a symbolic representation of John’s preaching to peoples and nations and tongues and kings.
COMMAND TO MEASURE THE
there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and
someone said, “Get up and measure the
John has already been given a book to eat. We saw in the last chapter that symbolism
came from the book of Ezekiel. Now he is given a rod with which he was so do a work of
measuring. This symbolism also comes
from Ezekiel in which he is taken in a vision into the
I heard one speaking to me from the house, while a man was standing beside
me. 7 He said
to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and
the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of
is told the purpose of this vision of the temple. It is that the people of
The picture John sees is very similar. He is told to measure the temple, the altar, and those who worship in it. Ever since John was confronted by the glorified Jesus in chapter 1, his vision has been in the context of the temple. Jesus was standing in the middle of the lampstands (1:12-13). The souls of the martyred believers were seen under the altar (5:9). An angel stood before the altar of incense (8:3). Before we finish this chapter, we shall see the ark of the covenant in the temple (11:19).
temple is this? Is it the
in Old Testament times, the Lord decreed that His people should build a
tabernacle, a place where God would come to meet man. The tabernacle was the center of the Jewish
community. It was always located at the
center of the camp of
years later, Solomon built a temple for the Lord in
It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. (1 Kings 8:10-11).
is Jesus today? He is in heaven. But He is also in
men’s hearts. He said, “I am with you
always” (Matthew 28:20). God has a new
temple. It is the church. We are the temple. Do you not know that you are a
means that as John proceeds to measure the
THE OUTER COURT
“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.” (Revelation 11:1_2).
temple and the altar made up only a portion of the entire temple compound in
There have been some who wished to take this passage
and to interpret it to refer to a literal temple in
It refers to the literal first century temple that was destroyed by Titus.
It uses the symbol of the temple to refer to God’s people, the church.
It refers to a literal future temple to be constructed before the Second Coming.
A literal temple
A symbolic temple
A literal temple
The 42 months refer to the time of the
Roman War to the fall of
The 42 months are symbolic of a time of testing.
The 42 months refer to the halfway mark in a future great tribulation.
Both the Preterist
view as well as the Futurist view interprets this as a literal, physical temple
• John saw the lampstand, an article of temple furniture, and was told that it represented the seven churches.
promised in Revelation 3:12 to make the overcomer a
pillar in the
• The ones who come out of great tribulation are described as serving the Lord day and night in His heavenly temple (Revelation 7:15).
• At the end
of this chapter, the ark of the covenant will be seen
• When we see the vision of the New Jerusalem, we will read that there is no more temple because the Lord God and the Lamb are its temple (Revelation 21:22).
It can be stated in no uncertain terms
that if this reference is to a literal, earthly temple, then it is the only
such reference in all of John’s book because every other reference to a temple
in this book is to some other sort of temple beyond the physical temple in
This gives us the key to understanding the meaning of the symbolism. Jesus is the temple. It is within Him that the fulness of God dwells in bodily form. At the same time, the New Testament writers also described those who are in Christ as also being the temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Ephesians 2:21).
What does it meant by this measuring and what is meant by the giving of the outer court to the Gentiles? If we are indeed to see this vision as a measuring out of the people of God, when what we have in this passage is similar to that which took place with the sealing of God’s people in Revelation 7. It is a sign of God’s protection of his people.
The people of God protected
The people of God selected
This group envisioned as 144,000 from the tribes of
This group envisioned as the temple represents all of God’s people.
At the same time, we are told that they will tread
under foot the holy city for forty_two months.”
(Revelation 11:2). The reference to
the holy city looks to
Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:23_24).
This prophecy was literally
fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Roman general Titus destroyed
What is true physically of
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-- so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-- that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25).
The hearts of many of the Jewish people have been hardened to the gospel of Christ. It has only been a partial hardening – there are still many Jews who hear the message and believe. This hardening has taken place so that Gentiles might be saved.
Notice the reference in Revelation 11:2 to forty two months. It adds up to three and a half years. This is the first time we have seen a reference to this amount of time in John’s writings, but it will not be the last. The number would have been familiar to John. It is from the Old Testament. Daniel made several references to such a number. In Daniel 7, we read of a vision in which four beasts come up from the sea. Each of these beasts represents an earthly kingdom.
• The first beast was like a lion; it represented the Babylonian empire.
The second beast
was like a bear; it represented the
• The third beast was like a leopard; it represented the Greek empire of Alexander the Great.
The fourth beast was like nothing that Daniel had ever seen. It was different than the first three. It had ten horns and from these ten horns sprung a small horn. Daniel’s attention was drawn to this small horn.
As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (Daniel 7:24_25).
This little horn is seen to arise again and again throughout the book of Daniel. He is described as coming to power on the heels of Alexander’s kingdom and he is described as an enemy of the people of God. Notice the time of his power. It is a time, times, and half a time. Most scholars agree that this is merely another way of citing the period that John has described as 42 months. It is a period of three and a half years.
of one of them came forth a rather small horn which
grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the
Who is this little horn? Is he someone who is yet to come? Is he the future anti-Christ? I do not think so. I would suggest that this prophecy in Daniel describes one who has already come. Notice the details that are given:
• He comes on the heels of Alexander’s kingdom.
• He subdues three kings.
• He speaks out against the Most High.
• He wears down the saints of the Highest One.
• He attempts to make alterations in times and in law.
He moves toward
the south, toward the east, and toward the
• He magnifies himself to be equal with the Commander of the host.
• He removes the regular sacrifice.
• He tramples the holy place and the people of God for 2,300 evenings and mornings (a period of a bit less than three and a half years); but after that the holy place will be properly restored.
If you were familiar with Jewish history, you would
realize this prophecy has already been fulfilled in a
very literal manner. When Alexander the
Great lay on his deathbed, his generals gathered around him and asked to whom
he was leaving his kingdom. He replied,
“To the strongest.” By this answer, he
ordained that his kingdom would be broken apart by
warfare. Alexander’s empire was initially divided up between eleven of his generals, but
as they fell to fighting among themselves, two major powers ultimately emerged:
Ptolemy and his descendants retained control of
Between these two rulers lay the tiny
Antiochus IV was a dynamic ruler. He embarked on an aggressive Hellenistic
campaign designed to unite all of his subject peoples. This involves leading them in the worship of
the Greek gods. When the Jews revolted,
he made it illegal to worship Yahweh or to own a copy of the Scriptures. He moved into the temple in
The Seleucids were driven out
Do you see the pattern? The Jews recognized Antiochus as the little
horn of Daniel. They referred to his
pollution of the temple as the Abomination of Desolation. This is why Jesus surprised His disciples
when He predicted an abomination of desolation yet to come. He said that
All of this serves as a backdrop for John’s vision. The truth is that we live in the times of the Gentiles. This world has been handed over to the nations. It is not being run by God’s people. Bad things happen in the Court of the Gentiles. People get stepped on when Gentiles are treading underfoot the holy city. But that is okay because God has measured out His city.
Anyone was permitted to enter the Court of the Gentiles. The moneychangers were there. The sellers of the animals were there. Herod had built up the Court of the Gentiles with row upon row of tremendous colonnades. The Court of the Gentiles had all sorts of religious trappings. There was only one thing it lacked – the presence of God.
Only Jewish people were permitted to pass into the temple. There was a wall around the temple that kept out the Gentiles. It was called the dividing wall. It divided the Jews from the Gentiles. It divided the chosen people from the rest of the people. What this wall represents was broken down by the death of Christ.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace (Ephesians 2:13-15).
Christ has broken down the barrier of the dividing wall. There is no longer a division between Jews and Gentiles. God knows the people who are His. One day there will be a division again. One day He will return and He shall divide between those who are His people and those who are not His people; between the sheep and the goats, between the wheat and the tares, between the foolish virgins and the wise virgins, and between the tree that bears fruit and the tree that is barren.
In which group are you? Are you one of God’s people. You can be. You can come to Jesus Christ in faith and be adopted into His forever family. You can become one of His chosen people as you enter into the presence of God.