Then I was given a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. – Revelation 11:1

 Someone has commented, “When Memorial Day comes, Summer isn’t far behind.” Or, “When you see it’s Thanksgiving, you know Christmas isn’t far away.” Similarly, if you ever hear that the Temple is being rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, you know that the End Times is very near, perhaps extremely near. The book of Revelation speaks of such a rebuilt temple – “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angle stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.” In the latter times described in the book of Revelation there will be a rebuilt temple. Plans to rebuild and the rebuilding of the temple itself will be a definite sign that we are living in the Last Days.

Revelation speaks of a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem from which Antichrist will break a seven-year covenant with Israel by asserting his self-proclaimed deity in a desecrating act in the Temple. Jesus quoted Daniel as referring to this as “the abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). This event will mark the midway point of the Seven-year Tribulation; the last seven years of prophecy pertaining to Israel as per Daniel (cf. Daniel 9:24-27). This last half of the Tribulation will be particularly, a “time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).

Now, the Church may be raptured from this world before the Tribulation Temple is rebuilt. But there is nothing that would prohibit the Tribulation Temple being built or at least signs of its imminent rebuilding before the Rapture. Therefore, when we begin to see signs that indicate the rebuilding of a Temple on the Temple Mount, we should “Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). As we study this passage, you will hopefully see just how close we are. Are you ready?

Measure a Temple?

Revelation 11:1a – Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, . . . ”

This probably puzzled John, to be given a reed and then to be instructed to measure a Temple. You see, at this point, the Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed about thirty years prior in 70 AD. What could this mean? It meant, the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem! This must have enraptured John as well as perplexed him.

The Bible speaks of a Millennial Temple from which Jesus will reign for a thousand years on earth (e.g. Ezekiel 40-48; Amos 9:11; Micah 4:1; Haggai 2:9; Zechariah 6:12-13). The Temple mentioned in these chapters is the Millennial Temple of Christ. Messiah will build a Temple. But there will be another temple, made by man which precedes this, the Tribulation Temple mentioned in Revelation 11.

We all know of the tension that exists in the Middle East between Jew and Arab. This tension is at its height in Jerusalem at the Temple Mount. To understand this tension and the incredible nature of Revelation 11:1-2, which indicates a temple will be rebuilt I Jerusalem, we need to first look at a bit of Temple history.

The first Temple was built by King Solomon the son of David around 1050 B.C. (2 Chronicles 3-4). It took Solomon 7 years to build this Temple (1 Kings 6:38). The building of this Temple was viewed as being so holy that it was made in silence, all stones were cut away from the building site (1 Kings 6:7). The Temple was built 480 years after the children of Israel came out of Egypt (1 Kings 6:1,37-38). This Temple held the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 8:1-9). It was the most holy place for God’s people. But because of the spiritual idolatry of God’s people God allowed the Temple to be plundered and burned by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:9-17). The destruction of the first Temple occurred around 586 B.C.

The second Temple was built after 70 years of captivity. This was because of the people’s general spiritual decline and particular failure to keep the Sabbath year. God disciplined His people by allowing their defeat and to be taken into captivity. When the first Temple was torn down, around 586 BC, the “times of the Gentiles” began. Then, God through the Persian king Cyrus, allowed His people to return and rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-4; see Jeremiah 25). This Temple was rebuilt under the priest Joshua and governor Zerubbabel. But the glory of this second Temple was nothing compared to the glory of Solomon’s Temple (Ezra 3:12). The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Malachi discuss the rebuilding of the Temple of God and some of the problems faced in the process.

A third temple? In 20 B.C. king Herod, (who was put in power by the Romans) in an attempt to find favor with his Jewish constituents, ordered a Temple renovation. This building project restored much of its past glory. This renovation took about ten years and was so extensive that it is sometimes referred to as the third Temple.

The Temple destroyed again. In A.D. 70 the Roman general Titus rode into Jerusalem and put down a major rebellion by the Jews. In the process the Temple was destroyed. Titus had ordered the Temple be left alone, but a drunken Roman soldier threw a torch into the Temple and the Temple ignited. So hot was the blaze that the gold inlay on the Temple parts melted and seeped into the crevices of the structure. There were foundation stones of the Temple that can be seen today that weigh an estimated hundreds of tons. The Roman soldiers lust for gold resulted in them ripping every upper stone of the Temple apart to get at the gold. This led to the complete destruction of the Temple. This was a fulfillment of Jesus prophecy in His Olivet discourse given 30 years earlier:

  • Matthew 24:1-2 – “As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples came along and wanted to take him on a tour of the various Temple buildings.2 But he told them, “All these buildings will be knocked down, with not one stone left on top of another!”

From 70 A.D. the Jews were dispersed throughout the world. It wasn’t until May 14, 1948 that Israel was able to miraculously return to their homeland and reestablish the nation of Israel. This was an unprecedented historical event. Never before and never since has a nation come back from the dead!

But Israel was still not in control of the holy city of Jerusalem. It wasn’t until the 1967 war that Israel gained control of Jerusalem. But an unexplained act of appeasement by Moshe Dian was to lead to tension for decades to come. General Moshe Dian allowed the Muslim caliph to remain in control of the Temple mount. If this hadn’t happened the Jews might have rebuilt the Temple then and there. God had another plan. It will take unprecedented political diplomacy and charisma to work out an agreement that will allow the Jews to rebuild their Temple. And the person that will do this is the Antichrist.

The Antichrist and the Temple

In Daniel chapter 9 we are told of one who will arise after Messiah is “cut off.” Messiah is Jesus and He was cut off “not for Himself” on the cross where He made atonement for the sins of the world. After this work of Messiah is done, the “prince who is to come,” the Antichrist will come on the scene. When exactly he will come on the scene is not specified only that he will in the future do so. We see this in Daniel prophecy:

  • Daniel 9:26-27 – “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.27 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.”

Verse 27 tells us that this antichrist figure will make a 7-year covenant with God’s people but in the middle of this covenant will betray that covenant (See Daniel 12:11). It is possible that this covenant will allow for the Temple to be rebuilt and for Temple sacrifices to be reinstated. But “on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,” in other words the Antichrist will not only betray his covenant with Israel but will desecrate their Temple. Other scriptures confirm this:

  • Matthew 24:15-16 – “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
  • 2 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,4 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.”

In order for this to happen, another Temple will have to be built in Jerusalem on the Temple mount. The Temple built during the Tribulation is the fourth Temple. (Solomon built the first Temple. The second Temple was built under Joshua and Zerubbabel. The third Temple is the renovated Temple of Herod. The fourth Temple is the Tribulation Temple.) How close are we to this happening?

How Close Are We?

Today in Jerusalem there are Jewish yeshivas (priestly schools) training students to be temple priests in the near future. All the Temple utensils that will be used in the rebuilt Temple have been made according to the specifications of the Law.

In Israel there is a Temple Institute devoted to preparing for the rebuilding of the Temple. The Temple Mount Faithful[1] is a group established after the Six-Day War in 1967 that is devoted to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. They see a rebuilt Temple as a means to save a world. Their stated prime objective is the rebuilt the Temple so that it can become the moral and spiritual center of Israel and the entire world. [2]

Skip forward to the last couple of years. On August 29th 2016, the Nascent Sanhedrin, (a relatively new group that is becoming more credible and accepted), appointed a high priest to serve in a rebuilt Temple.[3] On November 20th 2016 an article in Breaking Israel News entitled Sanhedrin Asks Putin and Trump to Build Third Temple in Jerusalem [4] the article reported how Russian President Putin and American President Trump were both asked to “fulfill their Biblical-mandated roles by rebuilding the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.” The article reported, “An Israeli bystander called out in Russian, “Welcome, President Putin.” Putin approached the man, who explained the importance of the Temple Mount and the Jewish Temple. Chadrei Charedim, an Orthodox Hebrew news site, reported that Putin responded, “That’s exactly the reason I came here – to pray for the Temple to be built again.” That was a “Wow!” exchange.

On Monday May 14th, 2018, on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s rebirth as a nation, President Trump followed through on his promise of recognizing Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel by moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem. This is significant in that it solidifies Israel’s place in Jerusalem. Many Jews today see President Trump as a modern-day King Cyrus who was used by God to give Israel permission to rebuild Jerusalem. [5]

Even more recently, in another article in Breaking Israel News dated March 19th, 2018, entitled Sanhedrin Calls on Arabs to Take Their Role in Third Temple as Prophesied by Isaiah[6] it states: “The Nascent Sanhedrin, a Biblically mandated court of 71 elders, released a letter in Hebrew, English and Arabic inviting the Arabs as the sons of Ishmael to take their role in supporting the Third Temple as prophesied by Isaiah. This move is far more than symbolic. It is intended to bring the entire world one step closer to the global peace that will characterize the Messianic era.”

And lastly, in an article in ChristianHeadlines.Com dated May 30th, 2017, and entitled Plans Underway for Construction of the Third Temple[7] it states:

Rabbi Richman, director of the International Department of The Temple Institute, says he is committed to rebuilding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. . . .

“It would be hard, I think, not to see what’s happened in the past 50 years as a tremendous – not just fulfillment of prophecy – but a tremendous jump start, a tremendous fast forward,” Richman said. “It’s more than prophetic. It’s like a kiss from Heaven. It’s like a divine kiss. It’s like an intimate brush with the reality of God’s compassion and love. He keeps His promises.”

We are close folks. The possibility of a re-built Temple in Jerusalem is closer than ever before. When I read these articles, it sends a shiver of excited expectation down my back. And such current news of plans to rebuild the Temple brings to mind the verses:

Romans 13:8–14 – Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Yes folks, we’re close. Are you ready?

“Rise and measure. . . the altar”?

 Why would John be instructed to measure the altar? An altar is the place where sacrifices are made. Noah was the first to make an altar to worship God (Genesis 8:20). He built it after God had made a way for him to survive the Flood. Abraham was the next person to be known as an altar builder (Genesis 12:7, 8; 13:4, 18; 22:9). The word “altar” is found 323 times in the Bible. It is a significant theme. When John is instructed to measure the altar, it is as though he is being warned about the sacrifice of that altar. We know that the Antichrist will do something referred to as the “abomination of desolation” (e.g. Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). Perhaps this abominable event will be connected in some way with a desecration of the altar of the Lord in the Tribulation Temple.

The instruction to measure the altar brings into question what is being offered on that altar. Paul spoke of presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice on the altar of God (Romans 12:1-2). Offering ourselves to God as a living sacrifice is the first step in understanding and discerning God’s will. Therefore, to be instructed to measure the alter seems to be a call to offer what is right and acceptable to God on that altar. When we offer halfhearted offerings on God’s altar or offerings that are flawed or less than our best, it is offensive to God (cf. Malachi). We need to measure what we put on the altar, as well as the altar itself, to make sure all that is offered is offered to God for His pleasure. What we offer on the altar should be an expression of loving devotion, appreciation, and thanks to God for His gracious provisions. Nothing less is acceptable. Measure your altar. Measure what you put on the altar. Are you putting anything on the altar? If you are, what are you putting on the altar?

Will the Tribulation Temple Measure Up?

In Revelation 11 God gives John a measuring rod to determine if the Temple, altar and worshipers thereof measure up. Do they? I do not believe they do. Why? Henry Morris explains:

 “The reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem is based on a covenant made by Israel with a godless dictator. The new altar is an insult to the Lamb of God, who had offered one sacrifice for sins forever; and the worshipers in the temple, though professing to honor God, have rejected Christ. Therefore, all come short, when the measuring rod of God’s standard is applied. . .. Israel is, therefore, about to enter the time of her greatest suffering. . ..”

When Jesus returns at His Second Coming, He will tear down the desecrated Temple defiled by Antichrist, and He will build the Millennial Temple from which He will reign for a thousand years. It will be a glorious Temple.

 Measuring Up

 Revelation 11:1b – “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there”

But let’s bring this home to a more personal application. What does it mean to “measure”? In the simplest sense to measure means to determine the dimensions of something. But when we look in the Bible it means something more as well.

First, measured to instill hope. In Ezekiel 40-48 when plans for the Millennial Temp are discussed, six times the Lord uses the word “measure,” “measuring” 9 times, 33 times God uses the word “measured.” That’s 48 times in nine chapters! Why does God do this. God does this as if to say, “measure the Temple, get ready, it’s definitely going to happen; it will be built.”

In Jeremiah and Zechariah, Jerusalem is measured for rebuilding (Jeremiah 31:38-39; Zechariah 2:1-5). Historically, during the time of these prophets, the Temple had been destroyed. The people were literally in the dumps. God used measuring as a way to illustrate that the building plans were underway and that the people of God might have hope. He was communicating to them, “The Temple will be rebuilt!” When you measure to build something, you are expecting it to be built. In the same way when God instructs us to measure out for the temple, He is communicating to us that we can expect it to be built.

When God orders us to measure out something, it should give us hope because what God measures out, will be built.

Second, measured for judgment. Jesus spoke of the measure of judgment. He used “measure” to speak about the religious hypocrites of His day:

  • Matthew 7:1-2 – “Judge not, that you be not judged.2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
  • Matthew 23:31-33 – “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.32 “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.33 “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”

If God were to “measure” you for judgement, what would His judgment be?

Third, measured for God’s life parameters. The apostle Paul used the term “measure” to show that he did not want to go beyond the parameters of God’s will. Paul wanted to function inside the will of God.

  • 2 Corinthians 10:13-15 – “We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you.14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ;15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere,”      

God’s measure is to set parameters within which we will be safe and live holy blessed lives. Outside those measured borders there is sin and heartache. Are you living within God’s measure for you?

Fourth, measured for spiritual maturity. The term “measure” is used to assess a person’s spiritual maturity.

  • Ephesians 4:13,16 – “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

God measures to determine conformity to His will; to spiritual maturity. If God were to measure you, how spiritually mature would you be? If God were to measure you, for what purpose do you think it would be? Do you measure up?

If you’ve heard the Lord in some way through this teaching, I encourage you to listen a bit more. This is the most important part. How can a person measure up with respect to God? The bad news is that we all fall short and don’t measure up to God (cf. Romans 3). And the worse news is that the consequence or just penalty for not measuring up is death; not annihilation; but an eternity of just, righteous, holy wrath from God in a place called the Lake of Fire. God desires none to perish in this way. But He will justly impose His holy sentence on those who persist in rejecting His free gift of salvation from such wrath.

There is good news. There’s really fantastic news! While the consequence of our sin is death, God, through Jesus Christ, offers us freely, salvation from the consequence of our sins (Romans 6:23). Listen to this – “He [God] made Him who knew no sin [ Jesus] to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). On the cross Jesus, who never sinned, and because He never sinned was the only One qualified for this atoning task, paid the death penalty for our sins on the cross. When we, acknowledge our sin to God and that we deserve God’s judgment, but ask God to forgive us because we believe in Jesus atoning work on the cross, and trust in it as the just basis for God Who is Holy to forgive us, God will indeed forgive us based on what Jesus His Son has done on the cross for us. Our forgiveness and salvation from sin is simply but profoundly to be received by faith as a gift of God’s grace. It’s not about us making ourselves better. It’s about admitting no work or effort we do is enough to offset our sins before Holy God, but that we trust in Jesus and His work as the means for our forgiveness. When we do that, the Holy Spirit will regenerate or give us spiritual life; we will be born again (John 3). And the Holy Spirit within us helps us to build a relationship with Jesus and to understand and live our God’s Holy Word (cf. John 14-16).

The only way to measure is through faith in Jesus. Let me restate this plan of salvation as simply as ABC. First Admit your sin. Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). And we all have sinned and fall short of what it takes to enter heaven (Romans 3). If we acknowledge and admit our sin before God and turn from them to Him, we’re headed in the right direction. The next thing to do is Believe on Jesus; trust in Him and His redeeming death on the cross. The wages or consequences of our sin is death, but God offers us salvation from our sins freely through Jesus’ death on the cross (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid our death penalty on the cross for us. He’s the only One qualified to do that. Jesus took our sins on Himself on the cross and in exchange offers us His righteousness to be put to our account (cf. Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Lastly, Confession is involved. We confess our sins to God and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). But we also confess Jesus to those around us; we tell others about Jesus. The Bible states, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). Look up the verses in this study and pray over them. “So, then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Get into God’s word and let Him contact you more and more. Contact me through the comments section of my blog if you have any further questions. I’ll be praying you measure up. In His service, by His grace, for His glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

[1] http://www.templemountfaithful.org/articles/hand-in-hand-with-the-temple-mount-faithful.php and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Mount_and_Eretz_Yisrael_Faithful_Movement

[2] http://www.templemountfaithful.org/objectives.php

[3] https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/74772/sanhedrin-appoints-high-priest-preparation-third-temple/

[4] https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/78372/bin-exclusive-sanhedrin-asks-putin-trump-build-third-temple-jerusalem/

[5] http://thehill.com/homenews/media/387631-jeanine-pirro-says-trump-fulfilled-biblical-prophecy-by-moving-us-embassy-to ; https://www.liberty.edu/journal/article/examining-the-significance-of-jerusalem-as-israels-capital/ ;

[6] https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/104480/sanhedrin-calls-on-arabs-to-take-their-role-in-third-temple-as-prophesized-by-isaiah/

[7] https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/plans-underway-for-construction-of-third-temple-in-jerusalem.html