Summary: The subject of the whole chapter could be the great salvation of Israel and the coming kingdom of God. But first we have to look at verses 1& 2 which speaks of the great destruction of Israel.
Revelation chapter 11 is one of the most important and one of the most exciting chapters in Revelation. Five reasons:
1. It points to the rebuilding and destruction of the temple of Jerusalem.
2. It shows the destruction of Jerusalem by the Gentiles.
3. It ties in with the prophecies of Jesus.
4. It also covers the great salvation of Israel and the coming kingdom of God.
5. It is a summary, an overview of the rest of the book.
The subject of the whole chapter could be the great salvation of Israel and the coming kingdom of God. But first we have to look at verses 1& 2 which speaks of the great destruction of Israel.
READ v. 1. Here comes the great judgment of Israel, of the temple, their altar worship, the people, and the city. John is instructed to take a rod and measure the temple, the altar and the people who worship there.
The words “rod” and “measure” are used in the Bible in two ways:
1. The rod can be used to measure a building for construction or for restoration, or it can be used to measure a place for preservation or protection.
The possible meaning here is that God could be saying the HE wants the true worshippers of Israel preserved and protected while the antichrist and Gentile nations trod Jerusalem underfoot. He could be saying that He wants a remnant of Jewish believers saved, protected, and preserved during the great tribulation.
2. The word “rod” can also mean to measure a place for destruction and punishment or correction.
The possible meaning here is that God could be saying that He wants the temple and the Jewish people measured for judgment and correction; that in the last days they must be judged along with everyone else because of their unbelief, or denial and rejection of Jesus as God’s Son.
Which one of the two did God mean? Before we can give an answer to that, we have to look at several facts.
1. Scripture says that the antichrist is to actually walk into the temple and demand that the world give their first loyalty to him and the state.
Jesus said this would happen. READ Mt. 24:15. Remember Jerusalem is looked upon by several major world religions as being one of the religious centers of the world. No better place could be chosen to launch the worship of the state, especially when an attempt will be made to wipe out all Christian believers.
2 Thess. 2: 3-4 says that the antichrist will set himself up in God’s temple, declaring that he is god, that is, that he and the state can meet the needs of man and bring utopia to the world. READ.
So this passage clearly says that the antichrist is going to appear in the temple. This means that the Jews must rebuild the temple in Jerusalem before this event can ever happen. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.
2. There are five temples mentioned in Scripture that need to be noted at this point.
- Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7); destroyed by Nebuchadnezar in 587 B.C.
- Zerubbabel’s temple (Ezra 3:12); he rebuilt the temple after the Babylonian captivity, but it was desecrated and dedicated to the god of Jupiter by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168-170 B.C.
- S temple (Jn. 2:20); this was the temp0le that existed in the days of Jesus and was so well known to Him. It was destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D.
- There are two future temples yet to be built.
- The temple of the tribulation, the one to be rebuilt during the first three and ½ years of the antichrist. (2 Thess. 2: 4; Rev. 11:2)
- The temp-le of the millennium, the temple of our Lord.
3. Now note what John is told to do. He is instructed to take the rod and measure the temple, the altar, and the worshippers. There are several speculations as to what is meant here. And really it’s not known for sure if this is meant to be literal or symbolic. We could spend days discussing this and still get no where.
So what we WILL say is that it seems that God is telling John to measure the temple for judgment and correction. The Jews are just as guilty as the Gentiles in rejecting Jesus. They are just as guilty as most others in rebelling against the Lord.
So God has to judge them just as He has to judge all the ungodly and evil of this world. God has no favorites and shows no partiality. All the ungodly and evil are to be judged in the last days including the ungodly and evil of the Jews. So the Jews with their temple and their city will be trodden underfoot by the antichrist just as so many others will be.