Tuesday, 09 September 2014 00:00

Pt. 53 - Measure The Temple

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Measure the Temple1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want." (Revelation 11:1-6)
 

“Measure the Temple”

The word we interpret as “measure” in English is ’umod’ in Hebrew, pronounced ’oo-mode’. This word comes from the Hebrew verb ‘mahd’, which means ’to cover with a garment’ or ’to measure’ or ’to extend protection’. In other words, while we read the surface text and think of John merely measuring the size of the temple and altar - seemingly pointless since no dimensions are given - it seems what John was actually told to do was to provide protection for the temple complex. In other words, he was told to provide a covering with the power given to him as one of the two witnesses.


This additional Hebraic understanding cannot be ignored. Most commentaries will describe how the measuring rod in scripture tends to indicate construction, specifically construction of the temple. And while that appears to be true in a few passages, such as Revelation 21:15-15 where actually dimensions are given, it may not be the case here. Instead, it seems that Jesus was giving John a glimpse into his future, showing John what would be required of him during the great tribulation of his people. Israelis will be under intense persecution in those days as the Muslim nations surrounding them finally succeed in trampling Jerusalem, and presumably all of Israel. However, God has always preserved a remnant of His people in every persecution, and in this instance that remnant will be covered by John. However, those outside the temple complex will not be so lucky.


“Exclude The Outer Court”

The symbolism behind the exclusion of the “outer court” seems self-evident. In the adjacent illustration we can see where the outer court was located, and how it was otherwise known as ‘The Court of the Gentiles’. During the celebrations of the festivals of God, the Jewish people would occupy the inner court Temple Diagramof the temple complex and the Court of Women, but these areas were off limits to gentiles on penalty of death. Instead, this outer court area south of the temple was established for gentiles, and was later expanded several times in order to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims that were coming to Jerusalem each year during the high holy days.

Today, this outer court on the southern portion of the mount includes the Islamic buildings known as the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. So in a sense, the outer court has ALREADY been given to the gentiles. And since the Islamic people will be the very group that will be trampling Jerusalem during the time of Israel’s great tribulation, John was specifically told NOT to measure or protect their outer court area. The implication is that these gentiles will be subject to the plagues that the two witnesses will generate during the 42 months of their ministry, and that there will be no protection for those in this outer court that trample the city.


“They Will Trample The Holy City”

When we read that the gentiles will “trample” Jerusalem during the end times, it seems to indicate that they will simply run amok throughout the city. However, the term ‘trampling‘ actually has a specific connotation in Hebrew thought. It literally suggests a trampling of grain on a threshing floor in order to break open the Threshing Floorhulls and reveal the seeds. The illustration to the left shows how this process would take place in ancient times, where animals were used to trample the grain against the threshing floor. This speaks to the wheat harvest, and that should bring to mind a number of passages and parables in scripture, which indicate Israel will be ‘threshed’ and “trampled” in the last days before God‘s wheat (the saints) can be brought into His barn (heaven).

When this analogy is expanded a bit further, it implies that those doing the trampling of the wheat are also those that are breaking the commandments of God. The word ‘parar’ in Hebrew is translated as ‘break’, and while it often is used to indicate the breaking of a commandment, it once again refers to the treading of grain on a threshing floor in order to break open the hulls and remove the seeds. So this word has a dual purpose. While these gentiles are trampling Jerusalem to break open the wheat, they will be breaking the commandments of God at the same time.


“Fire Comes From Their Mouths”

Fire From HeavenThis is another one of those points where it’s helpful to remember that the Revelation was given to John in a vision, and visions recorded in the Bible were always transmitted through sometimes bizarre symbolism. So when we read that fire will come “from their mouths”, we should understand this as a symbolic way of saying that the two witnesses will be able to call down fire from heaven to destroy any and all that would attempt to harm them during the time they are prophesying. 

In the same way, at the end of Revelation we see Jesus riding on the white horse with a sharp sword that comes out of his mouth. In symbolic terms, this means that he will simply speak destruction upon his enemies, and they will be slain at His command. As with the entire Revelation, the text is not literal in itself, but reveals a literal truth through it's symbolism.

So as long as we’ve been discussing the Apostle John in this role, isn’t it interesting that back in the 1st century John seemed to understand that he already had this power to call down fire;

When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” (Luke 9:54)

While Jesus chastised James and John for their over-zealous offer, it’s likely that John’s perspective on judgment has been quite refined over the past two millennia. When he calls down fire on his enemies this time, he will do so with the wisdom and prompting of the Holy Spirit.


“He Will Do Even Greater Things”

There is yet another very persuasive passage in scripture that I believe identifies two of the disciples of Jesus as the two witnesses of the Revelation. Consider the following account, where Jesus is speaking with the disciples just before his crucifixion, telling them of their futures and the things to come;

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” (John 14:12-13)

This particular passage is rather pregnant with implications. Jesus turned water to wine, cast out demons, calmed a roiling sea, healed the sick, and even raised the dead. But here, He told the disciples that they would do even greater things than He did. This begs the question ‘When?’

Though the disciples did perform healings, raise the dead, cast out demons, and do many of the same miraculous signs that Jesus did, none of these acts appear to be ‘greater’ than those signs. At least none that history records. After all, what would be considered "greater" than raising the dead? However, there is still time for this to happen, because aside from their power to impose a three and one-half year drought in Israel during the end times, they will be able to strike the earth with every kind of plague ‘as often as they want’. Given this, it’s quite possible that their signs and plagues will be so profound that they will be construed as "greater" than the miracles performed by Jesus during His 1st century ministry.


NEXT TIME: 

Next time we’ll finish with the two witnesses, which will set the table for the end of this age, and the coming of Messiah Jesus for His own.

Read 6310 times Last modified on Sunday, 03 April 2016 14:48

Comments   

#6 Bernie 2015-01-21 17:19
I can not thank you enough for the clarity for you are (and those like you) a child of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May He Bless you and your work. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! :) Praise be to the Lord!
#5 toddott 2014-11-16 22:57
Could the Temple also symbolize the Church (multiple meanings and layers of fulfillment). The Outer Court, those "of the flesh" (carnal Christians) will be "trampled" during the Tribulation in order to purify them (remove the chaff). They will be tested so that their faith is made pure. The rest of the "Temple," because they have kept the Word, will be kept from this time of testing (having already passed the test apart from persecution). Three types of believers...bar ley which needs only to be thrown i to the air so that the wind (Holy Spirit) blows away the chaff...wheat which needs to be threshed...grap es which need to be crushed??
Fire proceeding from their mouths could represent speaking judgment, just as the Sword of the Word of God speaks judgment and divides usunder the soul and spirit. Baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire represents this judgement.
#4 antoine 2014-10-04 11:00
Trampling can also be a referenceo to cleaning/purifying.

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The fuller’s soap contained traces of brimstone. Fuller is an Anglo-Saxon name for ‘to whiten’ because the fuller made wool clean and white before garments were made out of it. The Hebrew word rendered as “fuller” means “to trample” or “to tread,” suggesting that action as a major part of the craft.
+1 #3 mike 2014-09-23 21:16
Hi Marius. Thank you for that thought.

Yvonne, thank you also. I'm working on the next post right now, but I'm not sure when it will be up and running. Maybe another week or so.

Regarding ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever someone is calling them these days, it will certainly be something LIKE this when the antichrist rises to power. Daniel's visions tell us he will "start small but grow in power", and that he will conquer the Muslim nations surrounding Israel as he consolidates his power. So we should be looking for an unlikely candidate at first, rather than a powerful candidate. Whether or not this is the beginning of that scenario remains to be seen.

I know some are jumping up and down at the notion that this is it, probably because of the tetrad of blood moons that we are in the midst of now, but I wouldn't hang my hat on that just yet. We have a few prophesied things that MUST take place before anything truly significant will happen.

Whoever the antichrist winds up being, Daniel's visions also tell us that he will come into Syria and take it through an act of "intrigue", and that he will destroy an "overwhelming army" in the process. Don't really know what that means yet, but it will probably be obvious when it occurs.

Daniel also states that the antichrist will attack Egypt once successfully, and then again unsuccesfully due to "ships from Kittim" that will oppose him (the U.S. Navy). Once this happens, he will turn and enter Israel with his army, and will set up the 'Abomination' in Jerusalem. That is my take.

It seems probable from the biblical texts that the temple will be rebuilt at that time in order for that to take place, so it seems that the temple will have to be built in the meanwhile. Granted, history shows that these prophetic things can happen rather quickly, but I'm not thinking that anything has begun already, or is even right on our doorstep yet.

But time will tell.

Mike
#2 Yvonne Clutter 2014-09-23 16:04
Thank You Thank You Thank You. Your teachings make my brain explode. OK - so when do we get to feed on the next episode. Also may I get your thoughts on the current ISIS situation. Could its drive toward a caliphate be a preclusion toward Antichrist's rule? Last but not least, will you be able to finish the Daniel study soon?
#1 Marius Joubert 2014-09-19 18:12
Thanks for new revelaton!
Be blessed