This was originally written in 2012, but suddenly it has become so relevant again. If you have followed me @ omharris.com, then you can find this post under the same name. I have edited it somewhat. God Bless.
I do not even know where to begin. This is like someone handing you a rope that was tied in knots and used to pull a car out of a ditch, and you are supposed to take the knots out. This fiasco started weeks ago and has only become worse.
Pastor Jeff’s message started in Revelation 11 this particular night, and initiated with a question. I suppose the question is an effort to quell the tensions that people may generally be feeling considering how things are developing in the world, but it could also be an attempt at explaining why he fell off his bicycle.
The question was, “why do these things happen?” I assume that an aspect of the question has to do with life. That would make sense considering the horrors that Middle Eastern Christians are going through. Pastor is tossing out speculative options, one of which includes the option: that it is just our stupidity that causes things to happen. That opinion seems to be running rampant at church for the last couple of weeks. The problem with that assessment is that it excludes the possibility that God really is in control of everything. I realize that makes many of you unhappy, but here is why I believe God is in control:
Joshua 8:26 ESV But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.
The Hebrew word for devoted here is consecrated.
Joshua did not set the ground rules for this engagement, God did, and God consecrated Ai for destruction. In the Hebrew, the word charam is repeated twice and therefore indicates a complete and utter destruction. Even those in the village that had not come out to fight were killed. The idea you should pick up on is that God ordained this, just as he ordains everything, whether you like it or not. This includes Judas, Pharaoh, the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment, and the events we find in the Revelation.
Revelation 11: 1-2
Jerusalem under the power of the Antichrist.
The last thing John hears that distinguishes the end of chapter 10 is: “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
In essence, this is another indicator that the church is gone from the earth as there is no mention of the church.
Thus we begin chapter 11.
Revelation 11:1-2 GW Then I was given a stick like a measuring stick (A reed). I was told, “Stand up and measure the temple of God and the altar. Count those who worship there. (2) But do not measure the temple courtyard. Leave that out, because it is given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for 42 months.
Given a reed – a measuring device, with instructions to measure all but the court of the gentiles.
As I began to write I had an image of a real-estate person come into my head. He walked through the building taking measurements for the owner. In Ezekiel’s case, he watched as the owner did the measuring.
Why would “God’s” temple be so quickly given away, especially since they just built it? We are given the answer, but do we understand it? It is given to the gentiles.
Why would He give it over to the gentiles?
This is God’s temple, but is it?
King David was not allowed to build God a temple but his son Solomon was. The temple had been robbed by Israel’s kings and turned into a corrupt commercial enterprise by the time Jesus walked its courts. In 1Samuel 4:21 God declared that the glory had departed from Israel because the ark was taken. It does not really matter because the glory was no longer in the ark, it was in the man Jesus Christ, and on the day he died the temple veil was ripped in two, exposing, in a sense, the emptiness of the holy place to the world and freeing God to be in those who chose to be his people.
As of this writing there is no temple, so yes, your assumption that the temple must be rebuilt is correct. For the Jews to rebuild it and hand it over to the gentiles seems preposterous. This is one of those moments when, as I was writing, the light came on. The Jews, and by extension the nation of Israel, will have a fresh sense of pride and security, but in what? God has always been trying to get them to look to him as their source. Having regained the land to rebuild, their pride will be looking in-ward once again. Can you imagine that.
Islam has had control of the temple mount long enough to believe it is theirs. Read some of the literature about the volatility surrounding the mount and you will find comments indicating that Muslims are willing to state that there was no temple there. Will Islam give up anything without a fight? Not for a moment, but they will for three and half years.
At this very moment the gentiles are struggling to gain control of Jerusalem. Here is a wild ride for you. November 2012 and the United Nations general assembly, by majority vote, granted the Palestinians statehood. From what I understand it is more a symbolic gesture at this point, but I can guarantee you that the can of worms has been opened and Israel is not voluntarily giving up Jerusalem as it’s capital to any terrorist organizations. They (Israel), have openly challenged this “statehood” by moving forward with the building of more homes for Jews, and the Muslims have since posted no trespassing signs, indicating that the “UN decreed land” is Palestinian and that by illegally standing upon it, actions will be taken against you. So the obvious factor here is an increase in strife, contention, and a Muslim populace that has control of the temple mount. Muslims will not allow the Jews to even walk on the temple mount as it is considered holy ground for their mosque. It is now July of 2015 and Israel does have a legal right to the temple mount to pray, but look it up on the internet and you will find they need police protection if they choose to go there.
The third temple, and the Holy City, Jerusalem, are to be trampled by these Gentiles for forty-two months. That is three-and a half years. For 42 months Israel will hardly be recognizable. Therefore the only real purpose that we can attribute to such unusual action is that it fulfills God’s plan. I suppose that I could also say that this is part of God’s judgment against Israel. I can totally see this, but that does not mean I have to like it. I know how I react to things and it will be a slap in the face.
What do we know about those that trample and pollute the temple in the future?
Our natural assumptions, especially if you are religious, is to assume that the gentiles are primarily the Greeks or Romans. The Jews saw them as anyone outside of the covenant, or non-Jewish peoples. Essentially we are using the term Gentiles to describe the nations. Color and ethnicity have little to do with it.
Daniel chapter 9 gives us a little insight. After an extended prayer of repentance over himself, his people, and their lack of faith an angel comes and gives Daniel a look into the future.
I am going to give you two versions. The first translation baffled me, and was a part of why I could not understand end times events for the longest time.
Daniel 9:26 YLT And after the sixty and two weeks, cut off is Messiah, and the city and the holy place are not his, the Leader who hath come doth destroy the people; and its end is with a flood, and till the end is war, determined are desolations.
Although it did not clear things up for me I heard many speakers try to explain “these sixty-two weeks are weeks of years.” Sorry, but it only hurt my head more. Even my MacArthur’s commentary adds, “these are weeks of years.” The following verse tends to say it clearest for me; “After the sixty-two sets of seven time periods…”. Now if I substitute the concept of time periods for years then I am talking about sixty-two sets of seven-year periods (62×7). In this case 434 years.
Daniel 9:26 ERV After the “sixty-two sets of seven time periods”, the chosen one will be killed. He will be gone. Then the people of the future leader will destroy the city and the holy place. That end will come like a flood. War will continue until the end. God has ordered that place to be completely destroyed.
Analyze the passage slowly and it will make sense. Daniel 9:26 KJV “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off”. Compare that with the words that others used in ascertaining the consensus and you will discover that we are talking about Jesus Christ. The NIV called him: “the Anointed One”. Scripture lays out Jesus death on the cross very clearly for us, and history backs it up. So we can say with a confidence that the first sentence is without a doubt talking about Jesus.
Many get caught up in anger, argument, and confusion as they scream out, “but the Roman Emperor Titus destroyed the temple in 70 A.D., so this passage, in reference to a far-flung, future event, is bogus and nonsense!” Not quite so. Josephus recorded the events of the day and makes another choice more viable. The legions in Jerusalem, according to Josephus, were composed of a few Italian troops while the majority were conscripts from locally conquered nations such as Syria and Arabia. Both of which despised the Jews that they were among.
It was the Assyrian troops, under the banner of Rome, that took it upon themselves to sack the temple. Hearing of this Titus ran among them and seeing as the fire they had set was one that could be stopped ordered them to stop their destructive actions and put the fire out. They ignored his order, escalated their actions, and brutally slaughtered Jews in hopes or obtaining any gold they might have swallowed.
Popular religious theory likes to hang their hat on the prince that is to come as being Italian, and therefore the pope himself. The problem with that thinking is that it was not Titus, the Roman general, that destroyed the temple, but the Assyrians. If we follow the path back to the destroyers, then we are talking about a leader that comes out of the middle-east, and is with little doubt Islamic. Are you paying attention to what is going in the Middle-east, and Islam’s impact on the world around you. It is not good and it is coming to your neighborhood.
If you wish to pursue some in-depth scriptural backing for all this then look into: Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist, by Joel Richardson (Author)
Sixty-nine sets of seven time periods have come and gone, and yet there is no future leader as yet, so it is safe to say that this continues to speak of a future time. I suspect that time is just around the corner and not another 2200 years.
Daniel tells us that the people of the prince to come will destroy the city. That is a fairly blunt way of putting it. Revelation 11:2 in the King James version states that they will trample the city and overtake the temple, again.
Seventy weeks (490 years) have been fixed for your people and your holy town, to let wrongdoing be complete and sin come to its full limit, and for the clearing away of evil-doing and the coming in of eternal righteousness: so that the vision and the word of the prophet may be stamped as true, and to put the holy oil on a most holy place. Daniel 9:24 (BBE)
As I read Daniel 9:24 it sounds like God is fully intending to bring everything to an end.
What do we understand as the end? Christ’s triumphant and deadly return to the earth, after which the millennial reign is set up, and the Holy Temple and city are re-established.
Again we are back to scratching our heads as what to do with this mystery time period. Problem is no one really knows, but we can speculate with reason because there are now so many other aspects falling into place.
Revelation calls the this prince/leader that is to come not only the beast (one of many) but also an Antichrist. Paul told us that anything that sets itself up against God, denying his power and life is an Antichrist, so the title fits.
1 John 2:22 NIV Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the Antichrist–denying the Father and the Son.
Who is John writing to?
Jews that will listen to what he has to say.
The church or the body of Christ depending upon your understanding.
The Gentiles or nations.
Why would John write to these groups?
To increase knowledge.
The world deems it self-defeating to give the enemy your game plan? Not when God is in control.
As a warning.
Every group is being warned. Look at the first four chapters of the Revelation and you clearly see the church body receiving warnings, but there is also an opportunity to change.
To establish prophecy.
What does that mean? Revelation 19:10 KJV “…worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” So it makes sense for us to give the testimony of Jesus as an aspect of our speaking to others about our life in Christ. The Jewish reader (the largest majority during this time was Jewish) understands that prophecy is demonstrated and established in patterns. Pattern = Validation, believability, and consistency.
So for chapter 11 to open with the measuring of the temple is hugely significant, especially to the Jewish community. Reading and learning the Law and the prophets was expected and a source of a father’s pride. They knew the relationship to Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 40:1-3 KJV In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither. (2) In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. (3) And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.
If time is to be no more, then the measuring of the New Jerusalem and the temple mark the immediacy of their integration here on earth.
after eating the scroll
John was told, after eating the scroll, that he was to tell many others. I believe that this is further evidence that the church is already gone, because it is not mentioned.
Revelation 10:11 KJV And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
The word before is Epi and carries meanings of “on, at, and before.” To speak “at” someone can be interpreted as an aggressive posture, but we certainly saw the apostle Paul do that at times. It seems that it is often the only way to break through some dense thinking.
In the case of Ezekiel he too is instructed to declare. How does this fit into the “pattern”?
Ezekiel 40:3-4 KJV And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. (4) And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.
The Jews who read the Revelation were well aware of what Ezekiel had written about a city that was to come. Unfortunately, they did not recognize that it was the Messiah himself who did the measuring the first time. Even the idea that the Gentiles would trample on the Holy City was an understood concept. Jesus himself spoke of this.
Luke 21:24 KJV 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.
Isaiah 5:5 NIV Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
In Isaiah, the example of the vineyard is Israel, and God himself told Israel that it will be trampled.
Let me reiterate something I said earlier. John’s largest audience at the time of writing was Jewish Christians. They did not give up their Jewish understanding, and their training would have had them memorize the prophets I referenced. If you walk away with anything, remember this. This is a very Jewish book and God has not decided to give up on this people. Their understanding and culture is integral to our interpretation. The second thing I wish people could comprehend, this book was meant to be read and understood. Pursue knowledge and understanding. God will open the windows of heaven to those who wish to understand. Proverbs 9:10 tells us: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
I suggest that you accept him as the Lord of your life. I am not very good at this evangelism stuff but try something like this. Jesus, I receive you into my life, and I accept this life that paid so dearly for me to receive. Thank you for bringing me into this family of God and that I get to spend eternity with you. Thank you for life and the peace that you bring into my life. Fill my life with your Holy Spirit as you have promised.