The Temple and Two Witnesses (11:1-14)
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Revelation 11:1
Israel will rebuild their temple in Jerusalem prior to the opening of the first seal. That it “will be built” is a fact of Scripture. Paul’s comforting words to the Thessalonians was that the Day of the Lord had not come during their day. He says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Before the Antichrist comes and defiles the temple, it must first be rebuilt.
Five Jewish temples are mentioned in Scripture:
1. Solomon‘s temple (1 Kings 5-8). It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 583 B.C.
2. Zerubbabel’s temple (Haggai 1-2; Ezra 3:4-13; Ezra 6:1-22). It was destroyed by Antiochus Epiphanies in 168 B.C.
3. Herod‘s temple (John 2:19-20; Matthew 24). It was destroyed in AD 70.
4. The future Jewish temple that could be built any day now and will be desecrated by the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:45; Daniel 12:7; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thes. 2:3-4; Rev. 11:1-2).
5. The Millennial temple (Ezekiel 40-48; Zech. 6:12-13; see Ezekiel 45:7), which will be built by Christ.
When the seven-year tribulation begins, the temple will already exist and many Jews will worship in it. John is told to measure this temple, the altar, and those who worship therein. The measuring is not for dimension but for judgment. The Jews will be worshiping there, in apostasy, when the abomination spoken of by Daniel takes it over.
This rebuilding of the temple is not an act of righteousness nor is it pleasing to God. See Isaiah 66:3-4, “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.” It is further testimony to their rejection of the Messiah and their Scriptures. God will judge the rebellious nation and their temple. As we said, the measuring of the temple, the altar, and the people is for judgment.
When the Antichrist is seen in that temple, it is a sign to the believing Jews to get out of Jerusalem. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:” (Matthew 24:15-20). Some will flee and survive, others will remain, and many will be killed. Today, there are many Jews determined and eager to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
Anyone with connection to the World Wide Web can access the Temple Mount Faithful and read their newsletter. You will see a corner stone ready to be laid for the new temple.
The temple that will be built is the one Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:15. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” The holy place may be within the temple, or it could be the temple site itself. It is believed the Antichrist will enter the temple in the three and one-half year mid-point of The Lord’s Day. (See Daniel 8:9-14; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:45; Daniel 12:1,7,11; Revelation 13:1-18; Revelation 14:9-11; Revelation 20:4-6.)
“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Revelation 11:2).
The temple will be built in troublesome times. The Jews will not be able to take possession of its outer court or the old city of Jerusalem. During the six-day war (June 5-10, 1967), Israel took possession of old Jerusalem, and the place of the temple mount. However, the Jews have not been able to enter the Dome of the Rock nor build their temple on the site. Events will develop which will destroy the Dome of the Rock and a new temple will be built on its site, or the new Temple will be built on a site near the Dome. There will probably be an agreement between the Jews and the Ten Kings, which will allow them to rebuild the temple.
The time of this full takeover by the Antichrist will be at the mid-point of Daniel’s seventieth week. Only three and one-half years of Gentile hostilities against Israel remain from that mid-point.
The Antichrist will enter the holy land and take over Jerusalem and the temple. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” (Revelation 13:5). Forty-two months is exactly three and one-half years. The prophecy, that only three and one-half years remain, was given by John to encourage the Hebrew to overcome and reject the mark of the beast.
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3).
The two witnesses (v.3-13) of verse three will begin their ministry of three and one-half years at the week’s mid-point, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3). The Hebrew calendar has thirty days per month. One thousand two hundred and sixty days divided by thirty equals 42 months. That comes out to three and one-half years.
The two witnesses are clothed in sackcloth, which is symbolic of great mourning and contrition. This illustrates the gravity of their ministry. (See Genesis 37:34; 1 Chronicles 21:16; Esther 4:1-2; Job 16:15; Isaiah 22:12; Lamentations 2:10; John 3:5-8.)
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.