Back To The Future – Sermon #25
Intro: We are still in the
midst of a parenthetical passage that began in chapter 10. We are in the midst of a pause in the actions and
activities of the Tribulation Period judgments. As we come to Revelation 11,
we have arrived at one of the most difficult passages in the book of the
Revelation. It is hard to understand, but keeping two thoughts in mind will
help us as we study these verses.
1. We are on Jewish ground – The images and terminology are Jewish in
nature. These verses deal with the future of the people of Israel.
2. We are dealing with future events – Some theologians take these
verses and try to make them fit the past. Some even try to make them fit into
the present. It seems to me that they will only fit into the future.
we are going to study today is a prophecy concerning the future Temple in Jerusalem.
I thought it would be good if we just took our time in this chapter and
considered these matters in some detail. So, with that in mind, let’s examine
John’s words concerning the future Temple.
I want you to see that this prophecy contains some very specific visions of the
future of the Jewish people. So, let’s study together The Tribulation Temple.
v. 1 A VISION OF PROMISE
(Ill. When John mentions the Temple, he is referring to place dedicated to
Jewish worship. The Jews have been without a Temple for nearly 2,000 years now. This verse
makes it crystal clear that a new Temple will be
built there in Jerusalem.
A brief study of matters related to the Jewish Temple might be in order here.)
The Past History Of The Temple – For some 500 years, from the time of
Moses to David, the people of Israel
worshiped God at the Tabernacle. It was there that sacrifices were carried out.
It was there that the priests made intercession for the sins of the people. It
was there that Israel
sought their God.
David died, he expressed a desire to build a permanent house of God, a Temple, where God’s presence
could dwell, 2
Sam. 7:1-4. God, however, refused to allow David to
build the Temple,
because he was a man of war, 1 Chron. 28:3. The privilege of building the Temple fell to David’s
son, Solomon, 2
Sam. 7:12-13. David was not allowed to build the Temple, but he began to
accumulate the building materials that would be necessary for its construction,
1 Chron. 22:1-5; 13-16. Before David died, he charged Solomon
to build the Temple,
built the Temple
as he was commanded by David, 1 Kings 6:1. It took seven years to complete
the building, 1
Kings 6:38. When it was finished, it was dedicated to
the Lord with a lavish sacrifice. 1 Kings 8:63 says
that twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred twenty thousand sheep were
offered to the Lord at the Temple
dedication. At this dedication, when the Ark of the Covenant was brought from
the Tabernacle into the Temple,
God demonstrated His approval of this house of worship by filling it with His
Shekinah glory, 2 Chron. 7:1-3.
cost an enormous amount of money to build. The Illinois Society of Architects
estimated, in 1925, that it would have cost $87 billion dollars! If that Temple were built in our
day, its cost would approach $500 billion dollars.
Temple building dominated the Jerusalem skyline until it was destroyed by
the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 538 BC. The Jews were taken into
captivity in Babylon
at this time. Some were allowed to return to Jerusalem,
and in 490 BC, the Temple
was rebuilt by Zerubbabel. However, this Temple
was not as elaborate or as beautiful as the first Temple had been. The prophet Haggai writes, “Who
is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it
now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?” Hag. 2:3. Ezra 3:12 adds this
insight regarding the rebuilt Temple, “But many of the priests and Levites and
chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when
the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud
voice; and many shouted aloud for joy.”
Temple was also
destroyed. In 168 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple by slaughtering a sow on the altar and
demanding that he be worshiped as god. He dismantled the Temple. In an effort to gain the support of
the Jews, Herod the Great rebuilt this Temple
in around 6 BC. Herod’s Temple took some 46
years to build, John 2:20, and it was far grander than the
has been. It would have been Herod’s Temple
where the Lord Jesus worshiped and preached.
Temple was also
slated for destruction. In Matthew 24:1-2, Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed.
This took place in 70 AD, when Titus the Roman general besieged Jerusalem. During that
siege, which lasted from 66 AD to 70 AD, some one million Jews were slain. It
is said that Titus crucified so many Jewish men during the siege that he ran
out of wood to make new crosses. The roads were literally lined with crosses occupied
by the rotting remains of the Roman victims.
in 70 AD, the city was destroyed. The Temple
was utterly demolished. All that remains of the ancient Temple is the Western Wailing Wall. Orthodox
Jews go there to pray every day. They believe that all prayers ascend to Heaven
by means of Jerusalem.
So, they write their prayers on paper and stuff them in the cracks of the wall.
Jews from around the world can E-mail their prayers to Jerusalem. These prayers are printed and
taken to the Wailing Wall.
the Jews have no Temple,
but that will change in the near future.
The Present Preparations For
The Temple – When John mentions a Temple in verse 1,
he is letting us in on the truth that a new Temple
must be built in Jerusalem.
It might surprise you to learn that some people are already making preparations
for such an event. Let’s take a quick look at what the Jews are doing to get
problem that has always stood between the Jews and a new Temple is the Mosque of Omar, or the Dome of
the Rock. This is the third holiest site for Muslims. It was completed in 691
AD. Inside the dome is a great rock. Muslims believe that that Mohammad
ascended into Heaven from this rock, conferred with Moses, and returned to
earth with the prayers that all Muslims are supposed to pray. For many
centuries, it was believed that the Dome of the Rock was built on the site of
the original Temple.
It was believed that the Dome of the Rock would have to be demolished before a
could be rebuilt. However, recent excavations revealed that the ancient Temple was actually about
100 years north of the Dome of the Rock site. This, a new Temple could be build without disturbing the
Muslim holy place.
the way, the problems in the Middle East today
are not political problems; they are religious problems. Every group involved
in the turmoil in the Israel
wants control of the ancient city of Jerusalem.
It is the most contested ground in the world. For the Jews, their struggle is
one of survival. For the Arabs and Muslims, their goal is the annihilation of Israel. It will
all be settled one day!
is interesting to read that preparations orthodox Jews are making for the
rebuilding of their Temple.
One group, know as The Temple Institute, is dedicated to the ideal of
rebuilding the Jewish Temple. They have been working to prepare for the day
when the Temple
is a reality. They have already prepared many of the items they will need to
worship. A visit to their website at http://www.templeinstiture.org
is very enlightening! The Temple Institute has already built the Golden Altar
of Incense; the Menorah; and the Table of Shewbread. They have reconstructed
most of the garments worn by the High Priest. They have also produced many of
the instruments used by the Levites in Temple
worship. The day is coming and the Jews are getting ready. They know that a new
Temple will indeed stand in Jerusalem some day soon.
the Jews need are the ashes of the Red Heifer so they can consecrate a priest.
They are doing their best to breed an acceptable animal as we speak. They are
also trying to find the Ark of the Covenant. They may succeed some day!
any rate, much more could be said about Jewish preparations for the rebuilding
of the Temple.
But, just this small amount is exciting news! It makes me want to look up!
The Powerful Message Of The Temple – The message delivered by this promise of
a new Temple in Jerusalem is that God is not through with the
Jewish people. They are still His chosen ones and He still has a plan for them.
He has already returned them to their homeland. On May 14, 1948, a nation that
had been extinct from nearly 1,900 years was raised from the ashes. Israel became a
nation and was restored to her former lands. The Jews began to return to Israel. Our
generation has seen God’s hand of protection upon the people of Israel
during the wars they fought and won against overwhelming odds. And, God isn’t
through yet! He will continue to use them and will save a remnant of the Jewish
people in the end. The promise of a new Temple
is simply God’s way of saying, “I am not finished with Israel!”
I. A Vision Of Promise
VISION OF PRESERVATION
John is told to take a reed and measure the Temple, the altar and the worshipers. This
reed refers to a plant that grows in the Jordan valley. These reeds grow to
a height of 15 to 20 feet. They are hollow and lightweight, yet they are
exceedingly strong. They are used for walking sticks, Eze. 29:6. They are cut down and sharpened and used as writing
tools too. 3
John 13. They were also used in ancient times as
measuring sticks. A “rod” is about six cubits, or nine
feet. John is told to take the measuring rod and measure the Temple. This is symbolic of two things.)
A Symbol Of Full Preservation – The
act of measuring speaks of possession. God is claiming the Temple, the altar and the worshipers as His
Own. This is just another reminder that God is not through with the Jewish
people, Ill. Rom. 11:1-5, 26!
A Symbol Of Faithful
Preservation – God will keep every promise He has ever made to the
nation of Israel.
He has set them aside for a time because of their unbelief. In the end,
will be saved! God will continue to work in and through Israel until a remnant is saved, Zech. 12:10-13:1; 8-9.
(Note: Some in our day are attempting to replace Israel with the
church. They claim that Israel
has been forever set aside and the church has inherited the promises God made
Folks, we do not want the promises God made to Israel! The promises that we have
as the church are far superior to those given to Abraham and his descendants.
They will inherit the earth; we will inherit a home in glory! There is a
difference between Israel
and the church and that difference must always be kept in mind when studying
I. A Vision Of Promise
II. A Vision Of Preservation
v. 2 A VISION OF PUNISHMENT
(Ill. While this measuring of the Temple is in one sense a blessing for the nation of Israel, it also
brings to mind images of judgment. The rod is mentioned four times in the book
of Revelation. One is in these verses. The three other times are in connection
with the Lord Jesus and they tell us that He will rule this world with a “rod
of iron”, Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15.
So, while there is a vision of Promise and Preservation, there is also a vision
The Realities Of This
Punishment – John is told not to measure the outer court of the Temple. It is to be given
to the Gentiles and they will occupy the city for three and one-half years. These
are the days of the second half of the Tribulation Period. This verse brings out some thoughts that need
to be considered.
Temple will be rebuilt
sometime during the early days of the Tribulation. No doubt, one of the first
accomplishments of the Antichrist will be to arrange a peace treaty between Israel and her
enemies. He will do what no other diplomat has ever been able to do. Even
today, diplomats and world leaders are trying to secure peace in Jerusalem. They will all
fail! The Antichrist will bring a temporary, pseudo peace. When Jesus Christ,
the Prince of Peace comes, He will bring permanent peace to Israel.
peace treaty will give the Jews the right to build their new house of worship, Dan. 9:27. The Jews will rebuild their Temple and will begin
their sacrificial system of worship. Once again the Jews will slaughter animals
in their attempt to keep the Law of God.
will go well for a while, but somewhere around the mid-point of the
Tribulation, the Antichrist will enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple and he will
enthrone himself as god, Matt. 24:15; 2 Thes. 2:3-4. this event will mark the
beginning of the most intense time of persecution Israel will have ever experienced, Matt. 24:16-22. The Jews will lose
and they will be driven from their lands. They will be hunted down and killed
by the forces of the Antichrist and by the rest of their enemies.
The Reasons For This
Punishment – Israel
will be shown in the most vivid manner possible that animal sacrifice cannot
take away sin and bring peace with God. God will allow them to build their Temple, and He will allow
them to sacrifice again. However, their new Temple is nothing more than further rejection
of their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Their sacrifices repudiate the Gospel
and reject the cross and the blood of Jesus. (Ill. The blood of Jesus Christ did what the
blood of animals has never been able to do or will ever be able to do, Heb. 9:11-15; 10:10-14.) Their refusal
to accept the preaching of the cross by the 144,000 Jewish preachers will not
they have rejected the Gospel, the Jews must pay a price. They will be
persecuted and pursued by their enemies. This process will serve to purify the
Jewish nation and prepare them for the return of the Lord Jesus. When He comes,
the remnant of the Jewish nation that is left will turn to Him and receive them
as their Messiah, Zech. 12:10-13:1; 8-9.
preachers, including John Hagee and others, are preaching that Jews are saved
by a different method than other people. In truth, there is one plan of
salvation for all people and His name is Jesus Christ, Acts 4:12; John 14:6.
The Jews have rejected Jesus and they will be punished as a result. Those who
believe will be saved, John 1:11-12.
Conc: I hope you can see from these verses that God still has a plan for Israel and for
the future. I also hope you can see from current events that everything is
lining up to ensure that God’s plans will be brought to pass.
Israel is preparing to build their Temple. They are looking
for their Messiah to come and save them. Well, He is coming! But, I would like
to be able to tell them that He has already been here. He has shed His blood.
He has paid for sin and He will save all who will call on Him by faith.
hope you are ready to meet Jesus! He is coming and His coming will be very
soon. If you are not saved, you can be by coming to Jesus by faith today. If
you are saved and want to thank Him for it, you can do that today. If you are
not walking as close to Him as you should be, then you can come home today.
this thing is winding up. People need to make their preparations to leave this
world. Listen to what Jesus said, in Luke 21:28-32.
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up
your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable;
Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see
and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these
things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God
is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This
generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.