Lesson 35 – Revelation 11:2
Lesson 35 – Revelation 11:2
Revelation 11:2 Jerusalem will be dominated or “tread upon by the Gentiles” for three and one half years or 42 months. Some people suggest that when Jerusalem was liberated in the 6 day war that the time of the Gentiles has ended. Yet Jerusalem while under Jewish control is still very much an international city, and trodden upon by the Gentiles. First of all the Palestinians have not relinquished their claim on the City.
When Israel took over the City they allowed the WAQF (the Muslim leadership that administers the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple mount) to have limited control of the Temple mount. The United States and U.N. still exerts its influence on Jerusalem, as well as the Catholic Church the Greek Orthodox Church and several other churches. So Israel still is very much trodden down by the Gentiles.
John is told in the vision not to measure the court of the Gentiles. The court of the Gentiles and the city of Jerusalem are not measured or marked for judgment. The court of the Gentiles was the outside courtyard of the temple. The temple was divided into four courts, all surrounding a center building or which housed the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The courts moving out away from the Holy of Holies were the Holy Place, the court of the priests (where the altar of the burnt offering stood); the court of Israel or of Jewish men; the court of the women.
These were the inner courts for Jewish worshipers only. No Gentile was ever allowed within these court barriers. We see the consequences of Gentiles entering the Jewish courts in Acts 21:23-30. Surrounding these courts for Jewish worshipers was a huge outer court, the court of the Gentiles. This was the only court the proselytes and God-fearers were allowed to enter.
The Tribulation temple will be built early in the first half of the Tribulation with support and protection of Antichrist. Many orthodox Jews today dream of rebuilding their temple, in fact each year there is a ceremony that attempts to enter the Temple mount with a foundation stone to begin the rebuilding of the Temple each year, but the Israeli Army turns them away lest it cause a riot by Muslims.
As I already mentioned the site is now occupied (and in the minds of many Jews desecrated) by the Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. For the Jewish community 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 (Daniel 9:24-27), they will be able to rebuild the temple.
The reason that the Gentile court and the city of Jerusalem will not be measured for judgment is because they are already be under the Antichrist and his government. The government of Israel and the other governments of the world will have already submitted to the rule of the Antichrist.
But this will not be the case with true Jewish worshipers, nor with true Christian believers. The Antichrist will have a problem securing the loyalty of people all around the world who have strong faith. Strong Jewish worshipers will do what they have always done: refuse to buckle under to any Gentile ruler.
This passage, verses one and two, is a prophecy: the temple will be destroyed and Jewish worshipers will be persecuted. The antichrist is going to attack them with a vengeance never before seen in the history of the world. Of course, as has already been seen, he is also going to attack Christian believers (Revelation 7:9f) and all other persons of strong faith (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15; Daniel 12:7).
Forty-two months (3 ½ years) is the set time that Jerusalem will be oppressed: forty-two months (Revelation 11:2). 1260 days or 3 ½ years is the time that the two witnesses will prophesy to Israel and the world (Revelation 11:3). This is the same amount of time mentioned for the woman in the wilderness to be (Revelation 12:6, 14). This is also the same amount of time that the beast will be allowed to blaspheme God (Revelation 13:5).
Both Jesus and Daniel say that the Antichrist will rule for a seven-year period. Jesus says that the abomination of desolation (the Antichrist) will launch the worst tribulation the world has ever known (Matthew 24:15, 21). In His own words, the signs that occur up until the abomination of desolation are called “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8); and the trials after the abomination of desolation takes place are called “great tribulation,” tribulations so great that they are unparalleled in history (Matthew 24:21).
Daniel also gives a division of time just as Jesus does in Daniel 9:27 “In the midst of the week” (Daniel’s seventieth week) definitely points to a period of time (one week) that is divided into two parts. Daniel was dealing with the “seventieth week,” the end of his seventy week prophecy. Two things tell us that Daniel was dealing with the end time just as Jesus was:
(1) Jesus was dealing with the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world and,
(2) Jesus said He was elaborating on Daniel’s prophecy. Daniel said that the second half of his seventieth week begins “the abomination of desolation” or the prince who causes “abominable idols” (H.C. Leupold. Exposition of Daniel. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1969, p.434).
When Jesus said in Matthew 24:15 “when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet”, He was beginning to elaborate and explain in more detail what Daniel prophesied. Jesus explained that the first half of Daniel’s week would consist of signs which were “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8; Matthew 24:5-14), and the last half of Daniel’s week would consist of unparalleled trials of “great tribulation” which would be launched by “the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place” (Matthew 24:15, 21).
We need to consider the time frame of the end times (the seventieth week) as predicted by Yeshua and Daniel. Scripture refers to the length in these words as “Time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:25, 12:7); “1260 days” (Revelation 12:6); “42 months” (Revelation 11:2, 13:5-6).
Based on the days and months given in the Book of Revelation, if Daniel’s time equals one year, then his words, “Time [1 year], times [2 years], and half a time [½ year]” are equal to 3-1/2 years. Daniel stated that the abomination of desolation would begin “in the midst of the week,” after 3 ½ years. It is assumed by most scholars that Jesus’ words “the beginning of sorrows” is, the first half of the week which would be 3 ½ years.
So then in combining the two periods of time (3-1/2 years each), the length of the last days or end time is said to be a literal seven years. All this points to the final days of the Antichrist, and it is in the last 3 ½ years of his rule that he will launch the worst tribulation the world has ever known. As more and more Jews return to worship in the rebuilt Temple and they begin seeking their Messiah, Antichrist will act. At the midpoint of the Tribulation, he will halt their worship, desecrate the temple (the abomination of desolation; Daniel 9:27, 12:11; Matthew 24:15), and set himself up as the only acceptable object of worship (Revelation 13:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
This will be the culmination of the ” times of the Gentiles ” (Luke 21:24), the thousands of years during which Gentile nations have in various ways occupied and oppressed Jerusalem. Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, the Turks, the British, and the Arabs have all ruled Jerusalem, and today Israel’s self-rule is fragile and under continual attack.
The destruction and oppression by the rule of Antichrist and his demonic and human allies will surpass all the others. During this 3 ½ year period, God will protect many Israelis in a place He has prepared for them in the wilderness, some believe it will the rock city of Petra. Isaiah 63 describes a city called “Bozra” in Edom, which in the Hebrew means “sheep pen” and Petra which is in the land that was Edom, is like a sheep pen with an entrance through a 12 story canyon.
Revelation 12:6 reads, ” Then the woman [Israel] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days ” (Revelation 11:14).
Many Jewish people will heed Jesus’ warning to flee to safety (Matthew 24:15-20). Those who remain (some in Jerusalem; Revelation 11:13) will face terrible persecution from the forces of Antichrist. At that time, God will bring salvation to Israel, using the two witnesses who will appear in Jerusalem (v. 3).
At the end of the 3 ½ years, Jesus will return (Revelation 19:11-16), destroy Antichrist and his forces (Revelation 19:17-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:8), judge the nations (Matthew 25:31-46), and establish His earthly millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:1-10). We will see in Revelation 11:3 and following that God will use this suffering to prepare them for the gospel and to glorify His name. This persecution is the first step to prepare them for their coming salvation.