The 11th chapter of Revelation opened with John being told to rise up and measure the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was not standing when he was told to measure it, having been destroyed some twenty-five before by Titus and the Roman armies. There will be a Temple that will be re-built in Jerusalem that will be standing in the days of the Man of Sin, the Antichrist; the Satan empowered world leader who will come to the forefront sometime following the rapture of the Church. He will make a pact, a treaty, if you will, which will broker peace between Jewish and Palestinian factions; finally bringing peace in the Middle East. No world leader has ever been able to do this, so this one will be haled as the greatest leader of all times. This pseudo-peace will be short lived, some seven years in duration. The Prophet Daniel wrote concerning this, 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. [Dan. 9:27 KJV] There is a detailed teaching we could get into regarding this period that has been referred to as, “Daniel’s 70th Week”. We will delve into this at some other point in our studies.
For now, suffice it to say that the ratifying of this peace agreement allowing the Jews to re-build their Temple and re-institute the sacrificial system will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation period, a point in history that will be like none before it, or that will ever be again. [Matt. 24:21] John is told to measure this Temple, leaving out the outer court, or the court of the Gentiles; as it will be trodden under by the Gentiles (Nations) until the end of the Great Tribulation. It seems he is told to measure it for both judgment as well as preservation. Judgment, because at this point the Jews will still be in rebellion against God for the most part, having accepted the Beast as their political Messiah. Preservation, because he is told to also measure those who worship in the Temple. When the Antichrist comes against the Jews, Isaiah tells us that there will be a “remnant” who will return to the Lord. [See Isa. 10:21 – 27] This believing remnant will be rescued by being given a place in the wilderness, perhaps the rock city of Petra, to flee to where they will be protected from the attacks of the Antichrist.
In the 11th chapter we are also introduced to two witnesses, two individuals who will stand and prophesy, supernaturally empowered and protected, for the second half (3 ½ years) of the Great Tribulation. We are told that they will “prophesy”, which means they will be inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak forth words of judgment, calling for people to reject the Man of Sin and repent and receive the true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. They will be a tormenting force to those who live on the earth during this time, and so they will be despised by the masses for the most part. I stated last time that I believe these two will be Enoch and Elijah, although we cannot be dogmatic on this point as we are not given their identities in scripture. They will not be able to be stopped during the days of their testimony, although there will be those who will try. When their ministry is fulfilled, the forces of Antichrist will be allowed to rise up and kill them. The death of these two will be celebrated all over the world, and there will no doubt be around the clock live TV coverage as their bodies will lie in the street of Jerusalem for some three-and-a-half days. At the end of this time, just about at a time when the revelry of the world has reached a fever pitch, And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. [Rev. 11:11, 12]
As what seems to be a testament of the influence of the two witnesses, following their death, resurrection, and rapture; the Bible says, And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. Notice the word translated “Great” in this verse. It is from the Greek, megas, which is a word with very wide application that probably as used in this context speaks of the size, intensity, and violence of this particular earthquake. The word, megas, appears some 193 times in the KJV, 149 of which it is translated as, “Great”. Interestingly, 33 times it is translated as, “Loud”. At any rate, it will be so great that a tenth of the city of Jerusalem will fall at this time. It is possible that the judgment that the Temple was measured for will occur at this time leveling the, “Tribulation Temple” to the ground. The Bible tells us that seven thousand were, “slain of men”. This is an interesting phrase in the Greek that suggests that some who die as a result of this “mega” earthquake will be quite prominent people. Dr. J. Vernon McGee sheds light on this in his “Thru The Bible” commentary notes, “”Seven thousand names of men were killed in the earthquake.” This is an idiom to indicate that they were men of prominence. They were the ones who had gone along with Antichrist, men whose names got into the headlines when Antichrist came to power.” [Dr. J. Vernon McGee, “Thru The Bible”]
This earthquake ends the second woe. John continues, The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. Thethird, “woe” will begin shortly, but not right away. The third woe is not the blowing of the seventh trumpet, which not only unleashes the seven bowl judgments, but takes us the rest of the way through the Great Tribulation, into the Kingdom Age. The third woe is actually Satan being cast out of Heaven once and for all to the earth. [See Rev. 12:12]
John the Revelator continues, And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. [Rev. 11:15] Right in the midst of all of the woes and judgments of the Great Tribulation it seems that God inserts this as an encouragement for His people. Although the Great Tribulation will actually only be seven years in duration, the final three-and-a-half years will be by far the most intense and severe. God’s people will need encouragement, and He provides it here.
As has been the case throughout the Revelation that John received, he is given a glimpse of what is happening in Heaven or in the spirit realm. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. [Rev. 11:16 – 18] As far as Heaven is concerned, the Great Tribulation ends at this point. It will be some time however before that which has been decreed in Heaven, manifests on the earth. I quote Dr. McGee once again, “The blowing of the seventh trumpet is of utmost significance, and it is of special relevance in the understanding of the remainder of this book. In the program of God, it brings us chronologically to the breathtaking entrance of eternity where the mystery of God is finally unraveled. It brings us in God’s program as far as chapter 21 where eternity begins. The broad outline of events which are significant to God is given to us here by the Holy Spirit. This section is a summary, a syllabus, or a capsule synopsis of events up to the door of eternity.”
The chapter concludes, And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. This has nothing to do with the Church. This chapter, as is the vast majority of the book, deals specifically with the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people. In fact, the purpose of the time of “Jacob’s Trouble” [See Jer. 30:7] will be to be bring the Jewish people back to God, not to perfect the Church. Although some disagree, Bible prophecy makes a very clear dichotomy between the Jews, the nations, and the Church of God. [See 1 Cor. 10:32] The Church is not seen again until the New Jerusalem, and there is no Temple there. There is a Temple in Heaven. It is the one that was the pattern for that which Moses constructed. All of the language here lets us know that God is dealing with Israel now. Notice the Temple is, “Opened.” Access to God and worship is pictured here. This lets us know, and the Jewish people know, that we are dealing with a covenant making, covenant keeping God. He will definitely keep the Covenant He made with Israel, and He will make a New Covenant with them at this time, that is the Law written on their hearts instead of cold tablets of stone [See Jer. 31:31 – 34; Heb. 8:8 – 13].
“Lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and great hail” speak of judgment yet to come.
Please join us next time as we look at Chapter 12.