Sun, Jul 02, 2000

The Coming Temple: Revelation 11:1-2

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.

THE COMING TEMPLE

REVELATION 11:1-2

(READ REVELATION 11:1-2)

The daily prayer of faithful Jews from all over the world has been, "May it be acceptable to Thee, eternal God, our God and the God of our fathers, that the sanctuary may be rebuilt speedily in our days and our portion assigned us in Thy Law. There we will serve Thee in reverence as of old in bygone days."

The Jewish people came back into the land in 1948, as they once again became a nation. Then, in 1967 they re-captured the old city of Jerusalem, including the temple mount area. Although after capturing the old city, Moshe Dyan gave the temple mount back to the Arab’s to oversee, even though it belongs to the Jews, and this continues to cause trouble as zealot Jews desire to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

Now, as we move into Revelation chapter 11, we are continuing in a parenthetical section of the book. John is filling in some of the details that will happen during the tribulation period before he tells us what the third woe or the seventh trumpet judgment is all about starting in verse 15 of Revelation chapter 11.

But before John speaks of further judgments, he is going to share with us the measuring of the temple and then he will tell us of the two witnesses of God that are around at least through the first 3½ years of the tribulation period. For many this chapter of Revelation is very perplexing. In fact, Alford calls this chapter "One of the most difficult in the whole apocalypse."

I think one of the reasons many find this section so difficult is that they try to spiritualize or take these verses symbolically instead of interpreting this section literally. Leon Morris, in his commentary on the book of Revelation, falls into this line of reasoning by making this section symbolic, and yet in doing so he has to ignore some facts regarding the church that places his view on shaky ground as you will see.

Morris says that "It is important we take this whole section (vv. 1-13) symbolically. It is plain enough that the sanctuary of verse 1 is symbolic, but most expositors take the witnesses in the holy city literally. Then difficulties multiply...John is saying that the spiritual temple, the church, will be preserved 9cf. (The sealing of 7:1-8), though it will be subjected to physical oppression as the gentiles trample it."

Morris sees the church sealed during the tribulation period and yet "physical oppression" will come upon them by the gentiles if the church is around during the tribulation period, which I don’t believe we will be, but if we are, then we would read of the church in Revelation 13:7, which speaks of the Antichrist coming against them. It says "It was granted to him to makewar with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe,tongue, and nation."

The problem with that is Jesus told Peter "...that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18. The word "overcome" in Revelation 13:7, NIKAO in the Greek, and "prevail" in Matthew 16:18, KATISCHUO in the Greek, have basically the same meaning. Thus, the saints spoken of in Revelation chapter 13 can’t be the church but the tribulation saints, those that are saved during the tribulation period. And thus, as we have said before, the church or the bride of Christ is taken up to be with the Lord before the tribulation period or the seventieth week of Daniel begins.

Thus, the best guidelines to follow in interpreting this section of Revelation, is to take each fact literally. In doing so I believe that a literal temple in Jerusalem will be built, probably at the beginning of the tribulation period. This temple and the sacrifices that will take place there are in direct defiance of the work of Jesus Christ. That is His completed work at Calvary, the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Thus, this false witness of God is spoken of in verses 1 and 2, and then beginning in verse 3 we see two true witnesses of Jesus Christ come forth. The false witness as opposed to God’s true witnesses. We are going to look at these two witnesses next time but for this study we will be looking at the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem.

The first temple was constructed during the reign of king Solomon. This monumental task took some seven years to complete, and thus, in 953 BC the first temple was dedicated by king Solomon. But this magnificent structure was short lived. The reason was because of the spiritual decline of the nation.

During the reign of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, the nation was divided into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Judgment first came upon the Northern Kingdom of Israel because of their idolatry, their wickedness. They had no godly kings on the throne and in 722 BC they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians.

The Southern Kingdom of Judah, where the temple was located, fared a little better than the Northern Kingdom, for some of their kings actually served the Lord. They were good kings. But judgment fell upon the Southern Kingdom of Judah beginning in 606 BC when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, laid siege upon the city and placed a puppet king on the throne, besides taking some captives and spoil back with him to Babylon.

Because of various rebellions by these puppet kings, Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians destroyed the city and the temple in 586 BC. We are told in II Kings 25:8-12, "And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of KingNebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of theking of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the LORD and the king'shouse; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire.And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down thewalls of Jerusalem all around. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried awaycaptive the rest of the people who remained in the city and the defectors who had desertedto the king of Babylon, with the rest of the multitude. But the captain of the guard leftsome of the poor of the land as vinedressers and farmers."

During the third and final siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, the city and the temple were destroyed. The temple artifacts and such were carried away to Babylon and all that was left were some poor, elderly, weak people who were unable to rebel against Babylon, but could take care of what remained of the land, the city. But the city of Jerusalem was a ash heap at this point. Thus, the first temple only lasted less than 400 years because of the idolatry of the people and their refusal to repent and get right with God.

Then, after 70 years of captivity were completed, we see under the leadership of Zerubbabel, just under 50,000 Jews returned home and the second temple was competed in 517 BC. Ezra tells us "Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy." Ezra 6:15-16.

But this temple could not compare to the glory of Solomon’s temple. This was strictly a low budget construction project. Ezra tells us "But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, sothat the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weepingof the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off."Ezra 3:12-13.

Those who witnessed the glory of the first temple were brought to tears at the paleness of this structure. And yet many rejoiced at the new temple because it truly is a matter of the heart and not the outward appearance. But then in 167 BC this temple, the second temple, was desecrated by the Seleucid ruler Antiochus the IV or Antiochus Epiphanes. He slaughtered a pig on the altar and then placed a pagan image in the holy of holies. This idol that was set-up was known to the Jews as "the abomination of desolation."

Approximately 100 years later, Israel fell to the Romans and were now under Roman rule, 63 BC. Then in 37 BC an Idumean, (from Edomite stock or a descendant of Esau), named Herod the Great was appointed king over Israel by Rome. This man was very short, under 5 feet, and thus he liked to build with very big stones, some weighing over a ton. This man was a brilliant builder.

Then in 20 BC Herod the Great, trying to get in good with the Jewish people, started an enlargement of this second temple and this project continued on during the life of Christ and was finally finished in 63 AD, only some 7 years before it was destroyed by the Romans. This temple was twice the size of the first temple and Herod had to construct a vast platform around it, so he could enlarge it. This second temple was known as Herod’s temple and the sages said of it, "He who has not seen the temple has not seen a beautiful building."

And of this temple the Bible says, "Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Mark 13:1-2. Thus, only 7 years after the work had been completed, the temple was destroyed.

Titus, with his forces came in and destroyed the city and burned the temple to the ground. In doing so the gold melted from the temple and as they tried to recover it the Roman army literally moved every stone out of its place, just as Jesus predicted some 38 years earlier.

As we shall see, a third temple, the tribulation temple, must be built. It is still future. And we shall look at the Scriptures that show that a literal temple must be built during the tribulation period.

REVELATION 11

VERSE 1

John is given a measuring rod or reed, KALAMOS in the Greek, which is about 9 to 10½ feet long. And with this measuring instrument he is told to measure the temple proper and not the whole structure of the temple. The word for "temple" in the Greek is NAOS and it speaks of the holy place and the holy of holies. This area is where the priests would go. In contrast we also have the Greek word HIERON, which speaks of the whole structure of the temple, and John did not use this word in this verse. This will be important for us to understand as we move into verse 2 in a few minutes.

Another important aspect of this temple is that the altar of sacrifice will be included in the construction. You see, for the Orthodox Jew, the sacrifice must be offered for their sins. It is not a matter of having your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, as some would have you believe. We are told in Hebrews 9:22, "And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission."

Also today the Orthodox Jew believes that as long as they desire to build the temple, God will honor their desire and forgive them of their sins until the temple can be built and the sacrifices offered for their sins.

Thus, this future temple that will be constructed in Jerusalem will allow the Orthodox Jew to offer sacrifices according to the Mosaic Law. Obviously the sacrifice for sin has been made by Jesus Christ, and so God does not honor this temple, but is just telling us what will come to pass. And it is this temple that the Antichrist will come into and stop the daily sacrifices and demand to be worshiped as god. In Daniel 9:27 we read "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate."

The word for "sacrifice" or ZEBAH speaks of a bloody sacrifice, while the word for "offering" or MINHAH speaks of a non-bloody sacrifice or grain offerings. Thus, the Antichrist will come into the temple of God and put a stop to the daily sacrifices that have been taking place. That means that the temple must be completed and in operation before the 3½ year mark of the 7 year tribulation period, for it is then that the Antichrist will put an end to the sacrifices that will be started up once again!

Not only does the Old Testament speak of the temple being rebuilt, but also the New Testament speaks of its construction, of it being in existence. Paul tells us in II Thessalonians 2:3-4, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."

Satan’s desire is to be worshiped, and thus his right hand man, the Antichrist, wants nothing less. He sets himself against the true God by going into the temple of God and demanding to be worshiped as god. Jesus said this regarding this horrific time period which takes place at the 3 ½ year mark of the 7 year tribulation period. In Matthew chapter 24, beginning in verse 15 we read, "Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened." Matthew 24:15-22.

When this event takes place, when the Antichrist goes into the temple of God and demands to be worshiped as god, the Jews are told to flee from Jerusalem and head to the mountains for safety. The reason is that the Antichrist will turn from a man of peace into a demon from hell! His true colors will come forth and his fury will be unleashed upon all those who refuse to worship him. In fact, his persecution will be so intense and war so horrible that unless Christ stepped in, all flesh would be destroyed!

And so the temple will be rebuilt sometime early on in the tribulation period, long before the 3½ year mark, and the sacrifices and offerings will also begin. Now John is going to give us some important details in the measurement of this third temple.

VERSE 2

Many today feel that the temple should be built on the site of the Dome of the Rock, which is supposedly the site of the holy of holies of the first and second temples. The Dome of the Rock you may remember from pictures of the temple mount, it is that big gold dome structure that was built back in 630 AD by Omar and is supposedly the spot where Muhammad was to have ascended up into heaven. It is the third most holy site for the Muslims, Mecca being the first, the birth place of Muhammad, and then Medina, and then the Dome of the Rock.

The problem with the Jews building their temple on this Muslim site is given to us in a Time magazine article dated October 16, 1989 and titled "Time for a New Temple?" They said "The merest hint of rebuilding the temple is considered an outrage by the prophets followers, who, in the words of an official at Al Aqsa, ‘Will defend the Islamic holy places to the last drop of their blood.’" You see, if the Jews attempted to rebuild on this site, you would see a holy war break out! I believe that the key to the site of this third temple is found in this verse. John is told not to measure the outer court, for it has been given to the gentiles!

Dr. Asher Kaufman, who is a Plasma Physicist at the Rachan Institute in Jerusalem, feels that through his investigation, that king Solomon’s temple actually stood to the north of the present day Dome of the Rock. In fact, the area that he feels the holy of holies was located in king Solomon’s temple is now a place called the Dome of the Spirits or the Dome of the Tablets. The Muslim’s named it this way in around 600 AD, could it be speaking of the place where the stone tablets, the 10 commandments were kept in the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies!

Also, according to the Mishna, a highly esteemed book of Jewish oral traditions, when the high priest stood at the entrance of the holy of holies on the day of Atonement, as he looked out he could look right through the eastern gate. And back in 1970 they excavated and have confirmed that the original eastern gate is directly below the present day eastern gate that has been sealed up by the Turks to prevent the Messiah from coming through it!

If this is the place, the Dome of the Spirits or the Dome of the Tablets, the Jews could rebuild their temple, and the Dome of the Rock would not have to be destroyed or taken down. Why, because it will be in the outer court, a place that John was told not to measure for it has been given to the gentiles!

Now the inscriptions that are located on the Dome of the Rock are very interesting. In fact they are some 734 feet long in all. Listen to some of the inscriptions that are located on this shrine!

SOUTH WALL: "...There is no God But Allah alone; he has no co-partner..."

SOUTHEAST WALL: "...The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is but a messenger of Allah and His word which he cast upon Mary, and a spirit from him. So believe only in Allah and of his messenger, but do not say ‘Three’ (trinity) and it will be better for you. Allah is only one God. Far be it from his glory that he should have a son."

WEST AND NORTHWEST WALL: "...Praise be God who has not taken unto himself a son and who has no partner in sovereignty nor has he any protector on account of weakness."

As you can see from this, this shrine has nothing but blasphemies against Jesus Christ, I guess there is just something about that name! And so I believe it is this area on the temple mount that will be given over to the gentiles, and the third temple will be built alongside it, in the area of the Dome of the Spirits!

Now one of the fascinating things to me is that plans are being made to rebuild the temple. Listen to this ad that was placed in The Washington Post on May 21, 1967, even before Jerusalem was liberated by the Jews!

To all persons of the Jewish faith all over the world -

A project to rebuild the temple of God in Israel is now being started. With divine guidance and help the "temple" will be completed...

How close are we? Again from the Time Magazine article, "Two Talmudic schools located near the Western (Wailing) wall are teaching nearly 200 students the elaborate details of temple service. Other groups are researching the family lines of Jewish priests who alone may conduct the sacrifices." They are making temple garments and have went through great lengths to decide the exact species of snail to use that yielded the particular colors that these garments are to be dyed.

If you go to Israel and visit the Temple Institute, you will see that they have most of the implements that are needed for temple worship. They have a three pronged fork used to turn the offerings on the altar. A copper wash basin. A loom for making the priestly garments. An incense set. A pure gold diadem of the high priest. Shofar or ram’s horn. The incense spices. A silver Mizrak that was used to catch the blood from the sacrifice and carry it to the altar. Last time we were in Israel they were working on the building of the seven branched oil burning lamp for the temple. Now, a few years and 22 million dollars later, it has been completed. They have a 4½ ton marble foundation stone or cornerstone ready to be laid once they get permission to build. And that list can go on-and-on. They are ready to build!

There are actual models of what the temple will look like, even wired for electricity and closed circuit television. That may help explain the words of Jesus when He said "Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand)." Matthew 24:15. You see, the only people allowed into the holy place were the priests, and the only one allowed in the holy of holies was the high priest, and only once a year, on the day of Atonement. But Jesus is speaking to all the Jews, that they will witness this event of the Antichrist entering into the holy of holies and demanding to be worshiped as god, and they could if they had closed circuit television!

Yes I do believe that this third temple will be rebuilt. Not because the Jewish people said that it would, but God said it would take place. Keep in mind that as you read God’s Word, that He is a God of details. That He wants us to know and understand these things, and that what He has said, He means! Our Lord said "That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it. ‘Present your case,’ says the LORD. ‘Bring forth your strong reasons,’ says the King of Jacob. ‘Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; he who chooses you is anabomination." Isaiah 41:20-24. God alone knows the beginning from the end and He has shared these things with us to comfort us and to show us that He is God! That should be to us a great joy as we see the things that He spoke beginning to come to pass before our eyes!

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