Summary: In times of tribulation, worship God and be a witness for Christ.
A student in Bible School was confused when his theology professor began a series of lectures on Bible prophecy, or “eschatology” as he called it. The professor spoke about pre-millennialism, a-millennialism, and post-millennialism. Then he talked about the pre-trib, mid-trib, and post-trib views of the rapture of the church. It was more than the student could take.
So he folded his arms one day, sat down and said, “I.A.K.”
The professor asked, “What does that mean?”
The student replied, “That means I am confused.”
The professor said, “Confused doesn’t start with a K.” &
The student responded, “You don’t know how confused I am.” (George Sweeting, Why Study Prophecy? Founder’s Week Messages, 1978, p.5-6)
Sometimes the study of Bible prophecy, or eschatology, can be very confusing. The book of Revelation doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, and many find it to be irrelevant to their needs today. After all, who cares about the Great Tribulation to come when you’re going through your own tribulations today?
Yet there is a lot we can learn about handling our own trials by looking at how God’s people will handle their trials during the Great Tribulation. Do you want to know how to handle your trials today? Then turn with me, if you will, to Revelation 11, Revelation 11, where we see how God’s people will handle their trials during the Great Tribulation.
Revelation 11:1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there… (ESV)
During the Great Tribulation, there will be people who worship God.
Revelation 11:2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. (ESV)
Already several questions present themselves, like what is the Temple of God? And why measure it? Why is the outer court excluded? Why is it given to the Nations if it’s a Jewish Temple. And what does it mean, “They will trample on the holy city for 42 months?”
Well, in my study of Bible prophecy, I have found it best to take things at face value. The Temple here is a literal temple in the Holy City, Jerusalem, that will obviously be rebuilt before or during the Tribulation. Like the last Temple in Jerusalem, it will have an inner court for the Jews and an outer court for the Gentiles. And for a literal period of 42 months, during the Tribulation, other nations will overrun Jerusalem.
Now, that’s not so hard, is it? The question is, “So what?” “What is the significance of all this?” Well, I believe the significance is found in the instruction to “Rise and measure the temple…and those who worship there” (vs.1). It is an expression of ownership. God is evaluating His property.
What do you do when you buy a house? You measure it. I’ve seen people pull out a tape measure and run it along the length and width of what will be their new home. Some people pace the length and width of their property to get an idea of how big it is. In the houses we have purchased over the years, we always paced the floors of each room to get an idea of their dimensions.
When you measure something, it is an expression of ownership. You are evaluating YOUR property. In Zechariah 2, Jerusalem is being measured. Why? Because Zechariah 2:12 says, “The LORD will inherit (or possess) Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.” God is measuring His property, and that is what God is doing here in Revelation 11. All those who worship God belong to God. So in the midst of your tribulation…
Serve the Lord. Bow before Him and give Him praise.
That’s what God’s people will do during the great tribulation. They are God’s very own people. In fact, these particular ones are Jewish believers in Jesus, because they are in a place where Gentiles are excluded. They are in the Temple, and they are worshipping the true and living God, unlike the rest of the world who will worship the antichrist at this time. These are the ones that God will claim as His very own, even during the Great Tribulation.
Tell me: Do you want God to claim you as His very own during your trials and tribulations? Then do what these people are doing. Worship Him. Praise the Lord even in the midst of your pain.
Steven Galloway's 2008 novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo, tells a fictional story about the real lead cellist in the Sarajevo opera, Vedren Smajlovic. In the novel, Smajlović, put on his formal black tails and sat down on a fire-scorched chair in a bomb crater and began to play (show picture). The crater was outside a bakery in his neighborhood where 22 people waiting in line for bread had been killed the previous day. During the siege of Sarajevo in the early 90s, more than ten thousand people were killed.