Summary: Measuring of the Temple in Revelation 11
Measuring Out, Marking Off: Rev 11:1-2
The Revelation of Jesus Christ is said to be the hardest book in the entire Bible to interpret; that being said, most commentators agree that Revelation Chapter 11 presents the most problems in it's interpretation. This week, we are going to spend some time with key phrases, words and imagery from that time period.
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." Rev 11:1
"Rise and measure" The "reed like a measuring rod" is a tall, tubular reed that grows in the region and was also used as a staff (like a staff, ESV, NASB) and also could be whittled down to be used as a writing instrument (3 John 13). This reed was lightweight, and could grow to a height of 20 feet making it a handy form of measurement. Measurement, at times in the Bible, would refer to ownership (Ezekiel 40-41; Zech 2:1-3) "John's measurement of the temple is a symbolic action. To measure something means to claim it for yourself. (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament) Today, for instance, we have land surveyed to determine what the property lines are so that there is no dispute as to whom owns what. "It is best to see it as God's measuring off Israel, symbolized by her temple, for salvation and for His special protection, preservation, and favor. The prophecies yet to be given to John will thus distinguish between God's favor toward Israel and His wrath on the pagan world." (John MacArthur, MacArthur NT Commentary – Revelation 1-11)
"The temple of God"--This is quite specific: the temple of God. As mentioned above, Ezekiel 40-41 the measurements are taken--in that case, of what is known as the Millennial Temple. This Millennial Temple will be built and used during the Millennial Kingdom following the Tribulation Period. However, this temple being measured is not the Millennial Temple, and it not Herod's Temple from Jesus' day. It is the Tribulation Temple, but not the entire temple.
"The Tribulation temple will be built early in the first half of the Tribulation under the patronage and protection of Antichrist. Many orthodox Jews today dream of rebuilding their temple, but its site is now occupied (and in the minds of many Jews desecrated) by the Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock. Because Muslims believe it to be the place from which Muhammad ascended to heaven, it is among the most sacred shrines in the Islamic world. For the Jews to wrest that site away from the Muslims and build their temple there would be unthinkable in today's political climate. But during the Tribulation, under the protection of Antichrist (cf. Dan. 9:24-27), they will be able to rebuild the temple." (MacArthur).
The Dome of the Rock is a hyper sacred site to the Muslim. It is the supppsed place where Muhammed ascended into heaven, and is considered by Muslims and some Jews and Christians as the site where Abraham offered up Isaac. In short, Muslims will never give up the Dome of the Rock.