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. 2] But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.
Though we didn’t really get into it in our first studies in Revelation, these verses are part of the reason some teachers believe the book was written in the middle of the first century and not at it’s end, as others have said. These references to “the temple” are said to mean that the Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem was still standing, so the book was written before 70 AD, when that Temple was destroyed. If that is so, then how is the phrase about the “forty-two months” to be understood? Jerusalem had been and has been trodden underfoot for centuries and it wasn’t until 1948 that Israel once again was numbered among the nations. Even though Israel has declared Jerusalem to be her capital, most nations maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv due to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Now the UN has recently declared that the Temple mount and the wailing wall don’t belong to her at all.
As we’ve said before, one of the elements of predictive prophesy is that it must be fulfilled as stated. There’s no room for some “spiritual” fulfillment, though application may be made from it.
This means that a Temple must be built in Jerusalem.
One of the objections against this idea are the Islamic buildings which are already on the Temple Mount. They are indeed truly beautiful, magnificent edifices. They almost beggar description in their ornateness. I can’t imagine the time and effort taken to build them. At the same time, though, I’ve read that there is still room on that mount to build the Jewish Temple as well. Considering the tension in the area, though, I can’t really see that happening.
However, there are indications in the Bible of what might happen. I say “might,” because, again, I claim no special revelation. I’m just trying to compare Scripture with Scripture.
The Temple Mount has been the subject of intense rivalry between Jew, Christian and Muslim for a long time. Indeed, the very existence of Israel itself is such a subject. And now, I’ve read that President Trump’s desire to move the American Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem might turn the area into chaos.
What is going to happen?
Scripture might shed some light on the subject. At the very least, current events might be preparing the way for prophetic fulfillment.
Daniel 7:20-27 is a pivotal Scripture in this discussion. The angel Gabriel is sent to Daniel with a message. He says that a seventy week period of time is set aside for your people and for your holy city, v. 24. First of all, who are Daniel’s people, and what is his holy city? The “people” has to be the nation of Israel and the “city” is Jerusalem. What, then, is “the seventy weeks”? The word translated “weeks” is literally, “sevens”. There are “seventy ‘sevens’ ” determined for Israel and Jerusalem.
Without getting into the detailed and confusing discussion and the very, very many views of it, suffice it to say that this period is 490 years. This seems to be borne out by the statement that after 69 weeks, or 483 years, arrived at by adding the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks of v. 25 together, Messiah will be “cut off,” that is, He will be killed. During this time of 490 years, of which seven years remain, six things are said to happen, v. 24. May I say, and listen to me on this very carefully, so far as Israel is concerned, none of these things has yet happened. She is still in unbelief and has never as a nation bowed to the Lord Jesus as her Messiah. Yes, Messiah has come and has purchased redemption. Yes, there is salvation for “whosoever will,” but Israel has yet to enter into that redemption. According to Scripture, one day she will.
So. Chaos and turmoil and strife embroil the Promised Land. What is to be done?
Daniel 9:27 speaks of an individual who will confirm a covenant with many for one week. One week. Seven years. The 484th year through the 490th year. The seventieth week. We don’t know who this is. Again, there is a lot of discussion. Suffice it to say that, sooner or later, someone will come up with a “treaty” or a “peace process” that will bring peace to the region. This treaty might allow Israel to build a Temple on the Mount. If so, in turn, this will prepare the way for the rest of Revelation.
Two things seem to be mentioned in these verses. First, the presence of a Temple and a “measuring” of the Temple and those who worship there. Perhaps this will reveal that neither fulfill or have the righteousness required by a holy and just God. Just because man builds it doesn’t mean that God will come there. Second, the city will be under Gentile domination for forty-two months, or three-and-a-half years.
It seems to me that these verses are a summary, if you will, of the entire “week,” the seven years still remaining of God’s redemptive program for the nation of Israel. Scripture does tell us this week will be divided into two sections. We see that in these verses: Israel will enjoy a period of peace in which she will be able to build a Temple, but this will be followed by a period in which she will trodden underfoot. Zechariah 14:1, 2 seem to describe this terrible time.
The thing is, all these things don’t just happen. We live in a time when God seems irrelevant. Science denies His existence. Popular culture is doing everything it can to live in defiance of His teaching. “Life goes on.” But this is all going to come to a screeching halt and the world will indeed find out that the way of transgressors is hard, Proverbs 13:15 (KJV).
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.