Saturday, 24 June 2017 14:13

71. The measuring: being trampled for forty-two months * Revelation 11:2 - Part 2 of 2

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2  But the court which is outside 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.

 

PART 2

 

*** Outer court ***: In the measurements noted by Ezekiel, we see the mention to an inner court and to an outer court (Ezekiel 40:17,19,27,44; Ezekiel 42:1,3,7-9). In John's time, the temple had gone through some renovation since the rebuilding described by Ezekiel, but it also had these two courts. The inner court was divided into three areas: the court of the women, the court of the Israelites, and the court of the priests. The outer court was the court of the Gentiles. The Gentiles, meaning non-Israelites, were only permitted to go to the outer court. There was a barrier demarcating the limits of that area. Any Gentile going beyond those limits would suffer the penalty of death. Revelation 11:2 said that the outer court had been given to the Gentiles, or to the nations, as some versions say. The verse says that this court "is outside the temple". This is a contrast to where God's people are: the worshipers are inside the temple (Revelation 11:1).

*** Do not measure ***: In Revelation 11:1, John was called to measure the temple of God, the altar, and the worshipers. In verse 2, he is told not to measure the outer court because it had been given to the Gentiles. When Ezekiel was witnessing the measuring of the temple in his vision, God said: "Thus says the Lord GOD; No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any foreigner that is among the children of Israel." (Ezekiel 44:9). Note that God qualified the foreigner: "uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh". Those are the non-believers. Bringing this concept into the verse of Revelation 11:2, we can see that the nations or Gentiles do not truly believe God's message. They stand in opposition to God's people. They do not have a true connection with God. As we saw in study #70, the measuring has to do with the connection God has made available to His followers. The nations are not seeking to have a connection with God, therefore, they are not part of the measuring. Revelation 21:15-17 also gives us measurements of another building. The New Jerusalem was measured with a golden reed (Revelation 21:15). The New Jerusalem is where God will reside in the New Earth. In this sense, the New Jerusalem is a symbol for the temple of God in the New Earth (Revelation 21:2-3). Those who can enter it are the ones "who are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 21:27). "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14). Outside the city limits are the ones who decided to do the exact opposite. The Bible says: "For outside are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie." (Revelation 22:15).

*** Trampling over for forty-two months ***: In the Old Testament, the expression 'trample over' or 'trodden down' was used to refer to the oppression God's people suffered under enemy rule: "The people of your holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down your sanctuary." (Isaiah 63:18. Also see Jeremiah 12:10). We also see this expression in the book of Daniel (Daniel 7:7,19,23), and in the words of Jesus (Luke 21:24). We also see the trampling of the holy city in Revelation 13:1-10. There is a very close link between the passages in Daniel and Revelation, regarding the trampling over God's people. They all last forty-two months. As we've said many times in previous studies, in prophecy, time is to be understood differently, with 1 prophetic day = 1 literal year (Ezekiel 4:6,7; Numbers 14:34; Leviticus 25:8; please also see studies #16, #20 and #68 for a detailed explanation). Let's compare some of the passages involving the trampling of God's people by the Gentiles.

 

 
Daniel 7 and 12
The trampling over A power that will "wear down the saints of the Highest One" (Daniel 7:25) "and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24) "they will tread under foot the holy city" (Revelation 11:2) The dragon "persecuted the woman" (Revelation 12:13)
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all tribes, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:7)
 
"And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." (Revelation 13:6)
Duration
"and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time" (Daniel 7:25).
 
"it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed" (Daniel 12:7)
"until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24) "for forty-two months" (Revelation 11:2) "into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time" (Revelation 12:14) "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)
Who is trampling "a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it" (Daniel 7:23) "the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24) "the Gentiles" (Revelation 11:2) Running away "from the face of the serpent" (Revelation 12:14)
The sea beast (Revelation 13:1-10)
 
"was given him over all tribes, and tongues, and nations" (Revelation 13:7)

 

*** Prophetic Application ***: In Luke 21:24, Jesus was referring to the actual destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD, and to what would happen during the end times. He was drawing a parallel between the two events. When we compare all these verses from Daniel, Luke, and Revelation, we can see that the people of God are the ones whom God consider as being citizens of Heaven. Those whom he made "kings and priests" (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10). His people are His church, symbolized by the woman. The woman was being persecuted by the serpent, also known as Satan (Revelation 12:7, see also Revelation 12:9). Revelation 13 sheds some light over the nature of the trampling: "And [the sea beast] opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven". As we will see later in Revelation, the sea beast is a politico-religious power that deceives the entire world and preaches a message contrary to God's truth. This entity is able to do that because it has power "over all tribes, and tongues, and nations" (Revelation 13:7). In other words, this power controls the "Gentiles", and it is under Satan's direction. The Bible says that Satan is the one deceiving the whole world (Revelation 12:9). Comparing this sea beast power with the passage in Daniel 7:23, we can see that this power has to do with the fourth kingdom, which is "different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth". When we studied Daniel 2 (study #3), we saw that the fourth kingdom was the Roman Empire, which was represented by the legs of iron. The Roman Empire was never really defeated, as we see in the History books. The Roman Empire was, in a way, diluted or divided. And that is exactly what we see portrayed in Daniel 2: the feet and toes of iron are mixed with clay (Daniel 2:41-43). The politico-religio power trampling over God's people is a power led by Satan and that has its roots in the Roman Empire.

This prophetic period of forty-two months is the period of more than 1200 years known as the Middle Ages when Christians suffered tremendously. The Bible was not allowed in the hand of the people during that time. The prophetic time of 42 months, or 1260 literal years, points to the Middle Ages but is a reference to other 42 month periods mentioned in the Bible. This way we can see in context the behavior of the Gentiles and the behavior of God's people during this period:

- Elijah: He announced that a period of drought lasting 42-month (3.5 years) would fall over the nation if Israel. The drought happened because of the apostasy of the leadership of God's people (king Ahab). Ahab led the people into idolatry and away from God's teachings. Few continued to be faithful, but as the woman in Revelation 12, they had to flee into the wilderness or hide in caves.

- Jesus: His ministry lasted about 3.5 years. He faced much suffering and persecution by the leadership of the Jews, as He spread the Truth. He was faithful to the point of death, and that is how He overcame and was able to sit in the Father's throne (Revelation 3:21). But the leaders of the Jewish nation were against Jesus' teachings and did not receive Him as the Messiah (John 1:11; Matthew 26:57-68).

*** Overview ***: Both in the time of Elijah and during Jesus' ministry on Earth, the leadership of God's people was doing work contrary to God's teachings. That is not to say that the leadership of a local church is inevitably wicked. The references are pointing to the leadership as a system. When the system which was supposed to follow God's commands move away from God's instructions, they automatically align themselves with God's enemy and start doing Satan's work instead. Those faithfully following God's commands are God's true church. His church is not made of people carrying a title that states they are God's church. What counts is not saying you are God's church, but actually living God's Truth with sincerity. His faithful church at the time of Elijah or prior to Jesus' death was not represented by the leadership of the people. Anyone or any system who is not aligning themselves with God's measuring reed is considered a Gentile: those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8). And they will be found outside of God's temple, in the outer court. The citizens of God's kingdom should actually be comforted by the measuring taking place because Jesus will only take with Him the true worshipers of God. They will be able to go inside the actual Temple of God in Heaven.

   
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