Tuesday in the Twenty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation 11:1-2

God’s Care for His Temple

Chapter eleven is considered the hardest chapter to understand in the entire Book of Revelation.  And many will no doubt disagree with my interpretation.  As I have said someplace else, it is important not to be dogmatic where differences such as these occur: In essentials we must not compromise, but in nonessentials we must exercise charity.  I ask for that now.

I agree with those who see the “temple” referred to in these two verses as the Church of Jesus Christ and not a future rebuilt temple complete with sacrifices.  My reasoning for this is that besides our Lord’s “Olivet Discourse” in which he prophesies the destruction of that physical building wherein the Jews worshiped—which prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70—other places in the New Testament use “temple” plainly in reference to Christ’s Church (e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22).  God’s temple now consists of Jew and Gentile born from above who seek not “present Jerusalem [which] is in slavery with her children, but the Jerusalem above [which] is free, and she is our mother” (Galatians 4:25-26).  The wall of separation having been broken down between us (Ephesians 2:11-22), Jew and Gentile together in Christ now “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one…for [God] has prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16). 

That having been established, the “measuring rod” John is given to measure the temple, altar, and those who worship there (and how would one literally “measure” the people worshiping there with a rod?) is symbolic of God’s preservation and protection of His people (NICNT, 219).  The image of God’s measuring His temple, which is His people washed in the blood of the Lamb, is similar to his sealing them on their foreheads in 7:1-8.  Is not this theme of God’s preservation of his people repetitious in the Book of Revelation?  Indeed, it is!  Don’t you love to hear it?

But God’s preservation of His people does not mean that they will be removed from persecution.  On the contrary, the “nations” will trample the “court outside the temple” and the “holy city” for forty-two months.  The “nations” are unbelievers.  The outer court is the world in which we live—our place of exile and sojourn.  The “holy city” is the Church, for in this world, there is no holy city, not even Jerusalem (Galatians 4:25-26).  “Forty-two months,” “1260 days,” and “a time, and times, and half a time” are all symbolic of that time between our Lord’s ascension and his return.  This will be evident 12:1-6.  In the meantime, we are persecuted but never defeated.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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