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Revelation 11:1-2 Brilliance of the Gospel

God came to die at the hands of the very sinners that He came to save for the sake of His name, His worship, and His glory.

Revelation 11:1-2 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

Have you ever wondered why Good Friday is Good Friday even though it is the day when Jesus suffered and died? Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I spent Good Fridays mourning and feeling sad in a spiritual depression. Good Friday should not cause spiritual depression, but joy and repentance.

Why? Because, on Good Friday, Jesus finished the redemptive work on the cross, and when He said “It is finished” it was finished indeed.

If you ask what is the brilliance of the gospel? I would say that when darkness prevailed, uncertainty grew, and hope died, the lost world was reconciled with God through the complete redeeming work of Christ on the cross finished in its totality. That means nothing is left for you and me to do but believe in the gospel.

The problem is that on Good Friday, many people feel sad and sorry for Jesus. What they need is to believe in the brilliance of the gospel, the Good News, that Jesus suffered to redeem them from the bondage of sin, rescue them from the consequences of sin, and restore them to God.

Currently, we are studying the book of Revelation in our morning services, and this idea of the brilliance of the gospel is there, too. Revelation 11:1-2 was given to John to show God’s plan to save Israel and through Israel, all nations, even in the end times.

The big idea for us is that rather than feeling sad and sorry for Jesus on Good Friday, we should reflect and believe in the brilliance of the gospel that God came to die at the hands of the very sinners that He came to save.

Many ask why would God do that? Though Revelation 11:1-2 is about Israel, we learn three reasons that apply to us as well. God did this for the sake of His name, His worship, and His glory.

For the Sake of His Name

In the Bible, God has many names and each name is associated with what He has done. All of them reveal God’s character.

However, in Exodus 3:14-15 when Moses asked for His name, He gave only one name— Yahweh, meaning “I am who I am” but in Hebrew, it contains past, present, and future tenses. In this, God declared to Moses His name is, “I was God, I will be God and I always and forever am God.”

His name is precious and holy to Him because it is not dependent on time, space, or what any people group at any time in history would say about who He is. He predefined His existence in His eternality but in the history of our time and space, He chose one man. Abraham, and through Him, one nation Israel, and within Israel, one city, Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem, one place, the temple, and in the temple, He chose one place, the Holy of Holies to dwell and be known as “I am who I am.”

With that being the backdrop, Revelation 11:1 says, “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God.” ” Biblically, the idea of God measuring something has two understandings: God’s declaration of judgment or God’s declaration of what belongs to Him as His own possession.

Judgment usually comes when God’s standard of holiness is not met. The symbolic interpretation says this is indicative of God’s judgment because in the Old Testament, God told other prophets to measure the temple. They say that since the temple was destroyed in 70AD, this text is speaking of measuring the spiritual temple which is the church. I do not believe in symbolic interpretation of God’s Word.

I believe this text is talking about a physical temple in the future which will be built during the seven-year tribulation in the end times in Jerusalem. By the time we get to Revelation 11, the church has already been raptured, there is no church on earth.

In the history of Israel, there have been three temples. First, the Temple of Solomon that Solomon built, second the Zerubbabel temple that was built after the Babylonian captivity in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, the third temple was built by Herold. This was the temple in the days of Jesus and the apostles which was destroyed in 70 AD as prophesied by Jesus on Palm Sunday.

Yet God said there would be a fourth temple, but for that to be true there has to be a nation of Israel. For 2000 years there was no country named Israel but then in 1948, God allowed Israel to be a country, if God can do that after 2000 years for His name’s sake, He can rebuild a temple in Jerusalem, too.

Why has the temple not been built already? It is because of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Mount Moriah. That is the Dome of the Rock that you see in Jerusalem. It is the third holiest place for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. Simply put without supernatural intervention that can bring the Jews and the 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide together, there cannot be a temple.

But, God will do it for His name’s sake. Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11; Matthew 24:15-16, 21 tell us that in the first three and a half years of the seven-year tribulation, the Antichrist will convince everyone, the Muslims, and the Jews that he is the Christ because both Jews and Muslims are waiting for the return of the Messiah who very much resembles the antichrist.

Under his leadership, the fourth temple will be built, and worship will resume however the prophecies say the Antichrist will break his covenant with the Jewish people, bring unholy sacrifices inside the temple, and set himself up as god to be worshiped.

I was reading an article about a Jewish group that is leading the charge to rebuild the temple. They call themselves “Faithful of the Temple Mount.” One of their leaders said, “We shall continue our struggle until the Israeli flag is flying from the Dome of the Rock.”

In verse 1, the measuring is most certainly the declaration of His possession and what belongs to God is always God’s no matter what. In Deuteronomy 7:6 God declared about Israel “The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

Do not ever buy into the antisemitic narrative that Jews killed Jesus. In John 10:18, when talking about His life, Jesus said, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” Isaiah 53 teaches that it pleased the Father to crush His Son. So, it was neither the Romans nor the Jews— it was the will of the Father.

The brilliance of the gospel is without the cross and the death of God’s Son on the cross, there would have been no salvation for the Jews or Gentiles.

For the Sake of His Worship

The rest of the verse 1 says, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there.” God wanted John to measure the temple, the altar, and the worshipers there in the temple.

This altar is most certainly the altar of incense by the entrance of the Holy of Holies where God dwelled. Though it is exciting that there will be a temple again, please do not miss the function of the temple. For 2000 years no sacrifices for sins have been offered at the altar for Jesus paid it all. God’s plan has always been to redeem Israel and through Israel to redeem nations so that all nations worship God in spirit and truth, but resuming sacrifices for sins dismisses the sacrifice of Jesus that paid for our sins once and for all.

So, the question is why would God allow the temple to be rebuilt? I was talking to a Rabbi and He said the majority of Jews in Israel are not even religious. Another source said a large portion does not even believe in God. I think, the re-establishing of the temple and resuming of religious activities will be like the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, their worship and reading of the scriptures will draw them to search for the Messiah.

When the antichrist will defile the temple, in doing so he will provoke zeal for God among Jews.

God is measuring His worshipers. The true worshipers never stop worshiping. Do you worship Jesus at home, at work, and before others?

For the Sake of His Glory

Verse 2 says “but do not measure the court outside the temple leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” If you recall, there were two sections of the temple: the outer court and the inner court.

The outer court was for the Gentiles and the inner court was where Jews gathered to worship God. Jewish historian Josephus says the barrier had inscriptions threatening death to any Gentile who would pass beyond.

When Jesus died and the temple was destroyed, the glory of God of Israel through the blood of Jesus reached Gentiles.

There was also another barrier within the inner court that separated Jews from the most holy place where God dwelled. Only the priest was allowed to go before God.

On Good Friday, when Jesus said, “It is finished” and took His last breath, the Gospels testify the curtain that separated God from His people ripped from top to bottom making God directly accessible to all Jews because Jesus is the eternal priest for His people before God.

I believe that post-rapture, all these barriers will be erected again according to the original temple design and the statement about not measuring the outer court indicates that the Gentile believers will be persecuted for they will not take the mark of the beast, but God will protect Israel.

I was reading an article that said today, the area that was considered the outer court of the temple is almost the exact area where the Dome of Rock aka Al-Aksa Mosque is. It is quite possible God revealed to us that what belongs to Muslims today will not be included in the Fourth Temple. Perhaps this is how the antichrist will manage to bring peace among Jews and Muslims that the temple will not have the outer court.

God is sovereign and His plans will move forward and for His glory, He will fulfill His plans to draw the whole of Israel to redemption in Jesus for His glory.

He has done it by sending His Son for the sake of His name, worship, and glory. The brilliance of the gospel on Good Friday is if Israel’s rejection of the Messiah made salvation available to the whole world what would happen when Israel will accept their Messiah?

Yesterday I was at a funeral and the majority of the people were wearing black clothes. I remember growing up, my younger sister and I always wore black clothes on Good Friday. However, the truth is Good Friday is not a funeral for Jesus. Good Friday is Good Friday because Jesus finished the redemptive work on the cross and when He said “It is finished” it was finished indeed. This brilliance of the gospel is God did that for the sake of His name, worship, and glory.

Reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus and ask yourself, “Does my worship measure up to God’s standard? Do I worship God in Spirit and truth?”

If not, then Good Friday cannot be Good Friday because you still stand judged.

Do not leave this place today feeling as if Jesus just died. If you do that, then you have missed the whole point of Good Friday. On Good Friday when Jesus was carrying His cross to the place of crucifixion, He said, “Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.”

So, weep and repent. The judgment of sin which is death and the payment of sin which is the blood both were needed and Jesus paid it all and said “It is finished.”

Now all that is left, is to believe in Jesus and the sufficiency of His sacrifice on the cross to save your soul for eternity.

Study Questions 

  1. What was the purpose of the measuring rod?
  2. What is the significance of measuring the temple, the altar, and the worshipers there?
  3. What other passages in the Bible may explain the idea of measuring the temple?

Deeper Study Questions 

  1. How God might be measuring worshipers today?
  2. If He measures you, will you measure up to the standard that God desires of His worshipers?

Read More

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