Revelation Chapter 11:1
Revelation 11:1 – Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.”
Chapter 10 brought us near the end of the Tribulation in the Revelation narrative, where the Lord commanded John to eat a little book that contains prophecies that cover additional events in the last half of the Tribulation in two interludes. Recall from the “Revelation Introduction,” an interlude gives us more information or a different perspective to the narrative. In other words, an interlude is a background story to the narrative, with clear indications that each interlude reaches back or forward in time, and generally returns to where the primary narrative left off.
There are four interludes in Revelation that give us details about events not covered in the main storyline, as shown below:
Verses 1-2: Revelation chapter 11 continues the parenthesis that began in chapter 10. John is told to “measure the temple of God”, which may be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation period. Or more likely the prophesied millennial temple (compare Ezek. chapters 40-42).
The “rod” is a surveyor’s instrument (compare Zechariah 2:1-5). The measuring anticipates the building of a new temple on earth during the Millennium. The outer “court” represents the control of Jerusalem and Israel by “Gentiles” during the last half of the Tribulation period.
The holy city is the earthly Jerusalem (compare Dan. 9:24; 11:45; Zech. 13:8-9; 14:2).
The “forty and two months” show that Jerusalem will be under Gentile control for three and one half years, probably the first half of the seven year Tribulation period, where the period of the Great Tribulation is seen as the last half of the seven year Tribulation period, in God’s postexilic program for Israel.
Chapter 11 begins with the mighty angel commanding John to measure three things: the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. God shows Moses the measurements for the first temple and a man measures the temple built in the Kingdom by the Lord, who is the “Branch”:
Zechariah 6:12-13 – Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the LORD; yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”‘
Ezekiel 40:3-5 – He took me there, and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze. He had a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand, and he stood in the gateway. And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you; for you were brought here so that I might show them to you. Declare to the house of Israel everything you see.” Now there was a wall all around the outside of the temple. In the man’s hand was a measuring rod six cubits long, each being a cubit and a handbreadth; and he measured the width of the wall structure, one rod; and the height, one rod.
The reason the man measures the temple is so Israel will become ashamed of their iniquities when they consider the design of the temple and follow the ordinances and laws associated with the temple:
Ezekiel 43:10-11 – Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them.
The people who returned from the Babylonian exile wept over their iniquity when they heard the Law of Moses, which included the pattern of the temple:
Nehemiah 8:5, 8-9 – And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up…. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
There is something about the temple design, besides the Law of Moses, that exposes Israel’s sin. Even though Israel did not understand, God revealed to the Church that the pattern pointed to the Messiah:
Hebrews 8:1-5 – Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
After the Tribulation, Israel will understand the pattern of the temple and how it points to Christ. In the Tribulation, however, Israel as a nation will still reject Christ as their Messiah. Before Israel accepts their Messiah and Redeemer, they must first return to God (Isaiah 44:21-22). The following passages show the first step Israel takes to turn back to God is to look toward the temple:
Jonah 2:1, 4-7 – Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly…. Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; the deep closed around me; weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever; yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God. “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple.”
2 Chronicles 6:18-21 – “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You: that Your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name, that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place.Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.”
2 Chronicles 6:22-25 – “If anyone sins against his neighbor, and is forced to take an oath, and comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this temple, then hear from heaven, and act, and judge Your servants, bringing retribution on the wicked by bringing his way on his own head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness. “Or if Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and return and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to them and their fathers.”
2 Chronicles 6:26-31 – “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants,Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance. “When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief, and spreads out his hands to this temple: then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men), that they may fear You, to walk in Your ways as long as they live in the land which You gave to our fathers.”
2 Chronicles 6:32-35 – “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name. “When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever You send them, and when they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.”
2 Chronicles 6:36-39 – “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to a land far or near; yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, and have committed wickedness’; and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have been carried captive, and pray toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and toward the temple which I have built for Your name: then hear from heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You.”
From the passages above, it is clear that the Lord accepted Solomon’s temple as the place for Israel to worship Him. We see in the passage below that the Lord also accepted Zerubbabel’s temple (Zechariah 4:9) built after the Babylonian exile:
Ezra 6:15-16, 21-22 – Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy… Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the LORD made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
The Lord even accepted the temple restored by the evil King Herod that stood during Jesus’ ministry, calling it “My Father’s house”:
John 2:13-17 – Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten me up.”
Many believe that the Lord will reject the temple built before the middle of the Tribulation because Jesus has done away with the sacrificial system of worship carried out in the temple that God required to atone for sins before the cross:
Hebrews 9:24-26 – For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another – He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Hebrews 10:10-13 – By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
While God certainly will not accept sacrifice as atonement for sin since Christ has finished that work, He still recognizes the Tribulation temple as the “temple of God” and considers it His:
Malachi 3:1-2 – “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.”
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, 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.
As mentioned earlier, the measurement and design of the temple will somehow spark a heart of repentance for Israel (Ezekiel 43:10-11). However, we will see in the next section that John is not to measure the court outside the temple because it is given to the Gentiles because God rejects it. This suggests that measuring the temple goes beyond bringing Israel to repentance; it identifies that which God apportions to Israel and therefore takes ownership. In the same fashion, God shows His sovereignty over the earth by measuring it:
Habakkuk 3:6 – He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations. And the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills bowed. His ways are everlasting.
God also tells John to measure “the altar, and those who worship there,” which shows God’s recognition and ownership of both the altar of incense and the people who worship Him in the temple. Recall from Revelation 8:3, there are two altars. The altar of incense is in the holy place and the altar of burnt offerings is in the outer court outside the temple:
God gives the outer court over to the Gentiles (Revelation 11:2), which includes the altar of burnt offerings. Therefore, the altar measured by John is the “altar of incense,” which is in the holy place:
Exodus 30:1, 7-10 – “You shall make an altar to burn incense on; you shall make it of acacia wood…. Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. You shall not offer strange incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; nor shall you pour a drink offering on it. And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD.”
The “altar of incense” in the earthly temple stood not only for a means of intercession and atonement, but also for judgment:
Numbers 16:44-48 – And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun.” Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.
2 Chronicles 26:16-20 – But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the LORD – valiant men. And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the LORD God.” Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him.
Similar to the altar of incense in the earthly temple, the altar of incense in Heaven represents intercession and judgment:
Revelation 8:3-6 – Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
Therefore, the “altar of incense” represents Christ, as He is both the Mediator who intercedes for the saints and the Judge of men:
Hebrews 9:11-15 – But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 7:24-27 – But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Hebrews 10:29-30 – Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”
The reed that John takes to measure the temple, the altar, and people is “like a measuring rod.” The Greek word translated as rod is generally used to describe the scepter or staff of someone in authority. In Revelation, the “rod of iron” shows the nature of Christ’s rule in the Kingdom Age:
Revelation 12:5 – She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
Revelation 19:15 – Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Revelation 2:27 – ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ – as I also have received from My Father…
As discussed in Revelation 2:27, ruling with a rod of iron shows a just rule, where punishment is swift and harsh, with no compromise. The same Hebrew word translated “scepter” instead of “rod” in the following passages also points to Christ and His rule in the coming Kingdom:
Genesis 49:10 – The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
Numbers 24:17 – “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.”
Psalms 45:6-7 – Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
A scepter or rod represents an authoritative rod of correction:
Psalms 23:1-4 – A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalms 89:30-33 – “If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, if they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My loving kindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail.”
Proverbs 13:24 – He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Isaiah 11:1-4 – There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
The following passage shows Israel under the rod of correction during the global re-gathering that began in the last century and will continue until the end of the Tribulation:
Ezekiel 20:34-38 – I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord GOD. “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
Note that God will purge the rebels who ignore correction. Zechariah also speaks of this purging during the Tribulation; the “measure” of Jews who turn back to God in the Tribulation period is one-third:
Zechariah 13:8-9 – And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”
In summary, the Jews will rebuild the temple in Jerusalem before the middle of the Tribulation. God will recognize the temple, the altar, and those who worship there by measuring them. However, the act of measuring these things with a rod shows that they are under judgment by Christ, who is the foundation stone that will rule in the coming Kingdom with justice:
Isaiah 28:16-17 – Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily. Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place.
Indeed, the antichrist will desecrate the temple in the “abomination of desolation,” just as Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the second temple with idol worship and an abominable sacrifice. Also, two-thirds of Israel, those who rebel against the corrective rod of the Lord, will perish (Zechariah 13:8-9) during the time of “Jacob’s trouble” in the Tribulation:
Jeremiah 30:7-11 – Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. ‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. ‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD, ‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.’
Nonetheless, God will accept the repentant hearts of His people who look to this temple (2 Chronicles 6, Jonah 2:4-7) because they seek to return to Him (Jeremiah 24:6-7), which is the central purpose of the Tribulation – “To make reconciliation for iniquity”:
Daniel 9:24 – “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
image courtesy: Revelation 11-1 The Meadows Baptist Church
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.