Wednesday Evening Bible Study
June 18, 1997
We are in a kind of parenthesis between the sixth and seventh trumpets.
I believe this is all describing things that will take place chronologically during this time, since John records in 11:14
Re 11:14 The second woe is past; [and], behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
:1-2 The Tribulation Temple
:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod
The "reed" for the Jews was a stick that was 6 cubits (about 9 to 10 feet) long.
Later, John will be given another "reed" and asked to measure the New Jerusalem:
Re 21:15-16 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
:1 the angel stood, saying,
Which angel is this?
It seems that this might be the "mighty angel" of chapter 10.
We suggested that this could be Michael the archangel, or perhaps even more likely, it could be Jesus Christ Himself.
:1 Rise, and measure
Remember, the angel was on the earth, standing on the earth and the sea, and John had gone down to take the book from his hand.
Some have suggested that this act of "measuring" is a way of showing ownership, the ownership of God.
When you buy a piece of property, it's important to know just where the property line is!
:1 the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
temple - naos - used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the sacred edifice (or sanctuary) itself, consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies
It is talking only of the building itself, and not the outer courtyard which was part of the temple complex, but not the temple itself.
This temple is a real, genuine temple, complete with altar and worshippers.
Don't try to make this symbolic here.
This is a literal description.
Altar - John is told to measure the altar, indicating that there will again be animal sacrifice.
That worship - Even the worshippers are measured, perhaps to see just what kind of worshippers they are.
What kind of a worshipper are you?
Are you one who understand what it means to adore and bow before God?
Or is it just all that "singing" we have to endure before the study begins?
What if God were to measure you?
History of the temple
The first temple was built around 1000 BC by King Solomon, according to the plans given to him by his father, King David.
That temple was destroyed in 586 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
When Cyrus allowed the Jews to go back to Israel, they rebuilt their temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel, and this was known as the "second temple".
This second temple was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BC, but later cleansed and used again after the Maccabean revolt (and the beginning of Hanukkah).
This second temple was enlarged and remodeled by King Herod, and was still under construction during Jesus' day.
The second temple was destroyed by the Romans under Titus, when they attacked Jerusalem in AD 70.
Why must there be a temple?
Da 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Even though Antiochus Epiphanes kind of fulfilled this prophecy, when Jesus comes along, He says that it still isn't fulfilled.
Mt 24:15-16 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
There must be a temple for there to be an abomination of desolation.
2Th 2:3-4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
This is how the antichrist will do it, claiming to be God Himself, demanding to be worshipped.
There doesn't seem to be any reason to take this passage any other way but literally.
John is speaking in clear, literal language, not the symbolic language of chapter 12.
Problems with rebuilding of the temple
The biggest problem to the rebuilding of the temple today is the location of two Islamic mosques on the site, the Dome of the Rock, and the El Aqsa Mosque.
About Islam and Jerusalem:
Mohammed, the founder of Islam, never actually made it to Jerusalem. When he died, a story developed that gave Moslems claim to Jerusalem. (From Leon Uris, Jerusalem, Song of Songs, pgs.158,159)
In the story, Mohammed was visited by Gabriel one night, who cut him open, took out and washed his heart, and sewed him back up. Gabriel then took him on a magical horse to "the fartherest place", which was to be understood as Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, Mohammed landed at the temple mount and there saw the "Rock of Abraham's sacrifice", which supposedly had also been the altar in the Temple's holy of holies (wrong). A ladder of light appeared from the rock, and Mohammed climbed into heaven.
In heaven, Mohammed saw Moses, Jesus, Abraham, and was even led into a private audience with God, where God unmasked Himself to Mohammed. God had wanted His followers to pray 35 times a day, but good old Mohammed talked Him down to 5 times a day.
Then Mohammed got on his magic horse and rode back to Mecca.
Because of this story, two very important mosques were built on the temple mount. The Al Aksa Mosque (mosque of the "fartherest place") and the Dome of the Rock (which covers a large rock) are both on the temple mount.
When Israel took over all of Jerusalem after the 1967 war, Moshe Dayan met with a council of Moslem clerics and gave them control of the entire temple mount, as a way of making peace with the Islamic residents of Jerusalem.
Today, Jews are not allowed on what is known as the "temple mount".
The Moslems won't allow them.
The Orthodox rabbis also won't allow Jewish worshippers, because they are afraid that someone might accidentally walk on top of the Holy of Holies.
Solutions to rebuilding
There's a great wealth of information at the "Temple Mount" website, sponsored by Chuck Missler and Lambert Dolphin.
The Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem measures today approximately 45 acres in extent. It is surrounded by a trapezoidal wall: The south wall measures about 910 feet, the North about 1025, the east wall about 1520 and the west wall about 1580 feet in length. The average height above sea level on the platform is about 2400 feet above sea level. Most of the buildings and surface features are Islamic - no visible traces of the First or Second Temples can be found on the platform today. The area is park-like in its settings with plants of trees and shrubs and many ancient buildings and monuments added over the past 1300 years of Moslem stewardship of the site.
Tradition has it that the first and second temples were built on exactly the same foundation, and so it is important in the rebuilding of the third temple, to located exactly where the first and second temples were before rebuilding.
The problem in determining the location is that the Moslems will not allow excavation under their mosques.
There are currently three theories as to where the first two temples were located, and where the third would have to be rebuilt:
This is the traditional view, and still has many leading scholars behind it.
Supposedly the Dome of the Rock is right on top of where the temple should be.
Certain historical accounts say that this building was built by the Moslems to overlay the location of the original Jewish Temple(s) and most rabbis in Israel today associate the original Temple location with this site. Dr. Leen Ritmeyer has researched and written on the original 500 cubit square boundaries of the original Temple Mount site based on this assumption.
Some radical Jews have tried even to blow up the Dome of the Rock in order to make way for rebuilding a temple.
But that won't happen without a HUGE fight.
Dr. Asher Kaufman for the past 20 years has proposed that the original temple was 330 feet to the north of the Dome of the Rock, based on a number of topological and archeological considerations, a place now occupied only by a small building, the "Dome of the Spirits."
The problem with this view as well as the next, is that the Moslems consider the entire temple mount to be a giant "outdoor mosque", and no way are they giving any of it up.
3. The Southern view.
Over the last five years, Tuvia Sagiv, a prominent Israeli architect has proposed that the original temples were actually south of the Dome of the Rock.
Sagiv has done extensive research using ground penetrating radar, infrared heat photos, and historical research to come up with this proposal, and is gaining among some scientific circles.
If Tuvia Sagiv is correct, the Temple site lies due east of the Western Wall,
under the clump of trees between the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque.
The problem still remains as to the Moslems allowing any Jewish temple on their property.
Further news regarding the rebuilding of the temple
They're getting ready.
On Good Friday, 1990, one hundred fifty devout Jews, members of the Yeshivot (a school) Ateret Cohanim (priests), moved into four buildings in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem.
They're training to learn how to do the priestly duties.
They've supposedly even built a model of the bronze altar so they can practice "ascending" the altar.
The Faithful of the Temple Mount
An organization under the leadership of Israeli military hero and patriot Gershon Salomon, is dedicated to the rebuilding of the temple.
The Temple Institute
This group supposedly already has made over 60 of the 100 implements needed for sacrifice and worship in the temple.
Semi-automatic looms are making cloth for the priestly garments.
The Red Heifer (from article in Jerusalem Post, "A Truly Holy Cow", May, 1997)
Several months ago, a little calf was born at Kfar Hassidim, a small religious kibbutz near Haifa.
Her name is melody, and she's all red, and there hasn't been one like her since AD 70.
According to Jewish tradition and lore, she' the 10th since the time of Moses, a supposed sign of the coming of the Messiah.
Former Jewish Underground member Yehuda Etzion, ringleader of a plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock in the 1980s, was quoted in the Sunday Telegraph as saying: "We have been waiting 2,000 years for a sign from God, and now he has provided us with a red heifer."
Those that are concerned about what this might mean may be surprised, however, and probably alarmed, to learn that a Jerusalem-based rabbi, Haim Richman, and a Mississippi cattle rancher and Pentecostal preacher, Clyde Lott, have joined forces to not only create a truly kosher red heifer which, if it won't save the world, will at least rescue the local cattle industry. In fact, they hope to make it the dominant breed of cattle in Israel.
The importance of the ashes of the red heifer (Num.13) was mainly aimed at the priests. Whenever a person came into contact with a dead person, they became unclean, and unable to go to the temple to worship. Only through the purification of the ashes of the red heifer would a priest be able to fulfill his duties.
"I've devoted my entire life to this; God has placed it on my heart," says Lott, who sees himself as the spiritual heir of "the righteous Gentile from Ashkelon" who, according to the Midrash, provided the rabbis with the last known red heifer during the time of the Second Temple.
:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not for it is given unto the Gentiles
It would seem that the outer courtyard was not part of the temple any more, but controlled by the Gentiles.
Could it be that the temple will be rebuilt with the Mosques still in tact, with the Mosques being in the place of the courtyard?
The Palestinians certainly don't relish the idea of a Jewish temple!
From the Palestinian Authority:
"Immediately after Israeli soldiers occupied Arab East Jerusalem back in 1967, the Hebrew University, the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs, anthe Department of Antiquities collectively and individually began a massive excavation campaign in Arab East Jerusalem in a bid to find alocate traces of Jewish existence from the so called 'Temple Mount Era.'
"The fact of the matter is that almost thirty years of excavations did not reveal anything Jewish, no tangible evidence of theirs was unearthed. Much to their chagrin, what surfaced from their underground excavations turned out to be more Muslim palaces, courts and mosques. Other excavations revealed archeological ruins belonging to the Romans, Greeks and Canaanites.
"...Jerusalem is not a Jewish city, despite the biblical myth implanted in some minds. Nothing tangible has been found to give credibility to these claims.
What about Ezekiel's temple?
Ezekiel is shown a temple and he watches as an angel measures it.
He goes into great detail in this temple, from chapters 40-42, giving all sorts of measurements.
Some Jews feel that this is going to be the third temple (it didn't fit the second temple that Zerubbabel and Herod built).
Some feel this could be the next temple, especially with something like this:
Eze 42:20 He measured it by the four sides: it had a wall round about, five hundred [reeds] long, and five hundred broad, to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place.
Could the "profane" place be the Islamic sites?
I'm not sure that Ezekiel's temple could be built yet.
The prophet Ezekiel describes in great detail a temple in Israel that is too large to fit on the present Temple Mount site. The Temple of Ezekiel proper measures about 875 feet square, and it sits in the middle of a consecrated area nearly one mile on each side.
If Ezekiel's temple is the temple in Revelation, both mosques would have to be destroyed and leveled.
I think it's more likely that the third temple might be destroyed in the earthquake when Jesus returns, and a fourth temple built according to what Ekekiel sees.
:2 the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
Regarding Jerusalem, Jesus said,
Lu 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
This happened from AD 70 to 1967, when the Jews recaptured all of Jerusalem.
It is now under the control of the Jews.
Yet the city of Jerusalem will once more be put into the hands of the Jews, for a period of 42 months, or, 3 1/2 years.
Which 3 1/2 years is this? The first or second half of the tribulation?
Some see this as the first half, with the two witnesses ministering during the second half.
Others see this as the second half:
Though the Jews will control Jerusalem for the first half of the tribulation, establishing the temple and its worship, when the antichrist desecrates the temple, the city falls into the hands of the Gentiles. The antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and hand the city over to the nations.
Are you ready?
Though it's possible that the Temple will be rebuilt in our days (before the Rapture), it's going to take some pretty heavy things to get it rebuilt.
The Jews think it will take the Messiah to come.
Others (like us) think it will be the antichrist.