Sometimes passages in Revelation make me scratch my head and wonder what John was smoking! Such is the case today. Two verses at the beginning of chapter 11 that do not seem to fit in with the rest of the chapter. However, I believe the Lord will connect these verses for us before the end of our time together today. So, hang onto your hats and let’s dive into Revelation 11.
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, 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.
In this passage John becomes a workman being told to take a measuring rod and measure the temple of God. He is told to measure only the inner portion, the parts known as the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. At this point, we need to attempt to establish the identity of the referenced temple. In the history of the Jewish nation, there have been a few temples. The first place of worship for the Israelites was the wilderness tabernacle. The earliest temple was that begun by Solomon around 958 BC. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 BC. Zerubbabel built a temple after the Jewish exile. The third temple was the temple of Herod, built around 515 BC and destroyed by Titus in AD 70. There has never been another temple built for the Israelites to use for worship. Is the temple referenced in verse 1 one of these temples? Another option is that a heavenly temple is being referenced. We will see a reference to the heavenly temple later in the chapter.
So, is the temple of Revelation 11:2 any of these, or is it a completely new temple, yet to be built in Jerusalem? I would submit to you that there is yet a temple to be built in Jerusalem in which the Jewish people will, one day, worship and sacrifice.
I believe during the time of the tribulation antichrist will make a covenant with the Jewish people. He will encourage and allow them to build a temple in which they can worship. At the midpoint of that seven years of tribulation, antichrist will break that covenant and set himself up as god in the Jewish temple. Check out Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Daniel 9:27, and Daniel 12:11 for references for future temple worship and sacrifice. We will touch on these later.
If you know anything about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, you know it is currently occupied by Muslims and is the site of two of the most holy places in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the gleaming Dome of the Rock. Christians and Jews are forbidden to worship on the Temple Mount. The Mount is not a large patch of ground and there is little room to accommodate a Jewish temple of the size and scope that is anticipated for the tribulation temple.
None of this has hindered Jewish people from planning the re-building of the Temple. Even today, devout Jews are diligently working to construct everything necessary to completely equip a future temple. I’ve seen with my own eyes the work they are doing, and people, they are serious about it. They believe that there will be another temple on the Mount in Jerusalem. I believe it too.
I cannot tell you how it will happen, nor can I tell you when, but it is my firm conviction that a temple will be built on the Mount in Jerusalem, and the Jewish people will worship and sacrifice there.
In verse 2 we come to a very important time reference. Forty-two months. We will see this time reference several places in our study, but in different wording. In Daniel 12, this time period was described as ‘a time, times, and half a time’. Elsewhere in Revelation we will find ‘3 ½ years’ and ‘1260 days’ referenced. Every reference like this seems to be part of the time of tribulation that will come upon the world…either the first half or the last half, which is also known as The Great Tribulation. More on that later.
The ‘nations’ is usually a reference to Gentiles, or everyone who is not Jewish. Such is the case here. The temple would be only for those of Jewish descent. The nations’ trampling of the outer court is highly significant, and is the link to why John wrote these two verses and placed them in chapter 11. We will study that next week and visit with two very interesting characters. Until then, keep your eyes on Jesus.
This post contains affiliate links.
My goal with providing these links at the end of my posts is to offer you something to expand your study of the book of Revelation. Dr. David Jeremiah has written a great book on the players that will emerge in the end times. I think you would really enjoy this book. Click the picture below or THIS LINK to learn more.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
In late 2000 the Lord placed within my heart a ravenous hunger for studying the Bible. Honestly, I had no idea how to do it and do it effectively. Oh sure, I had been in church since 9 months before I breathed earth’s air, but had only spent a year or so doing any sort of study of the Scriptures. Yet, in those days in 2000 I knew that I MUST begin to study God’s Word.
Thankfully, I had a friend who had done a Beth Moore Bible study and she, too, was experiencing the same hunger as I. We prayed a lot and with the Lord’s leading organized a small ladies’ Bible study group. We began with Beth Moore’s study, Jesus, The One and Only.
Y’all, I was like a starving person who had just pulled up to a banquet table laden with every food imaginable. I was like a dry sponge who had been submerged in a sink of water. I could not get enough of the Word of God. I would spend at least an hour a day drinking in the sweet taste of Scripture. My faith began growing and my heart began changing into one that looked more like that of Jesus.
That is what the study of God’s Word will do for you. An expanding faith and softened heart.
Seventeen years later, I still cannot get enough Bible in my heart. God’s Word is living and active and speaks into any situation in my life. It is my corrector, my comforter, my teacher, my encourager. In good times and bad I run to Scripture for sustenance.
Over the years, I have used many different methods for studying Scripture. That is why I am so, so excited about my friend, Arabah Joy’s, new resource Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days. Because really, Burger King was onto something when they used the “have it your way” slogan for 40 years. Bible study is not a one size fits all thing. The method that I use to study God’s Word may not appeal to you and vice versa. AJ has put together a resource that I believe will be the BOMB to many people who are unsure of how to study the Bible. It will also provide new and different ways to do Bible study for those of us who are Bible study veterans and anything in between.
Let me tell you a bit more about this exciting resource.
This 7-day course will:
- teach you 7 different Bible study methods
- streamline the learning process so you don’t spend weeks or months figuring it out
- give you tools for going deep into God’s word in as little as ten minutes a day (perfect for busy moms!)
- provide ready made templates and printables you can choose from
- show you exactly how to do each method with the daily videos
- revolutionize your time in God’s word and discover fresh intimacy with God in the process.
- equip you to nourish yourself with the Scriptures
- teach you how to develop your spiritual senses
- help you establish a Bible study habit!
Plus, you can go at your own pace and you’ll have lifetime access to the course materials.
What’s not to love about that!
Bible study is one of those things about which I am dogmatic. There is NO OTHER WAY to grow your faith and develop a relationship with Jesus than the study of God’s Word. Period. It just will not happen if you do not study the Bible. You will remain a spiritual baby without Bible study.
So, are you ready to learn new ways to study the Scriptures? If so, I want to invite you to purchase Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days and get started on your own journey to intimacy and vibrant faith in Christ. Simply click the links in this post and you will be taken to AJ’s website where there is lots more information about this resource.
BONUS: Arabah Joy is offering a BONUS for everyone who purchases Bible Study Methods this week. It is a 6 week Bible Study Plan for the book of Ephesians using the 7 methods taught during the course. How awesome is that!!
I, too, want to reward you for taking a step toward a deeper walk with Jesus and here is how I am going to do it.
First, if you purchase Bible Study Methods using my links in this post, I have a FREE resource that I will send you. It is a listing of 11 Bible studies that I recommend. All you have to do to get it is send me (via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, direct message, text, carrier pigeon!) proof of purchase of Bible Study Methods. That’s it. Then I will email you the 11 Bible Studies resource.
Second, everyone who purchases BSM this week using my links will be entered to win a copy of any of the Bible studies that I have written (you choose the study): HeBrews: A Better Blend, Tasting Grace: A Mentoring in the Kitchen Bible Study, or Legacy: It’s What You Leave Behind. In order to be entered to win, however, you must leave me a comment here telling me you purchased or email me at email@example.com.
Sweet blessings, friends, as you study God’s precious Word!
When I was a tiny child I had horrible tonsils that kept me sick with a sore throat for most of the first five years of my life. At the age of 5 I underwent surgery to remove the offending tonsils and suddenly I could eat. I ate and ate and ate. In fact, I gained no small amount of weight in a short period of time.
At that point, my sweet Mother, whose intentions were pure and good, began her campaign to make certain I did not become ‘fat’. ‘Fat’ became a word that eventually engulfed me like a disease.
“You cannot have that. It will make you fat.”
“Bread…corn…potatoes…dessert… is fattening.”
I adored food, but food soon became the enemy. By the time I was 18 I was in the throes of an eating disorder, and the demons of anorexia quickly took the message that my Mother had spoken to a whole new and devastating level.
Fat = unacceptable = unlovable
Suddenly love had strings attached to it which led me to do things that I should never have done in order to obtain ‘love’ from humans. I brought my strings-attached love into my marriage and that was disastrous on many levels. Thankfully, my marriage survived and I eventually understood that ‘I will love you if….’ is not genuine love.
In Romans 12:9 Paul speaks of the kind of love that should be part of the life of an authentic Christian.
Let love be genuine. (ESV)
Love must be completely sincere. (GNV)
Love must be sincere. (NIV)
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. (NLT)
Obviously Jesus is our model for this kind of love. He loved sincerely, without strings or hypocrisy. He did not pretend to love those with whom He came in contact. He loved them in spite of. He loved them…..
when they were fat.
when they were tall or short.
when they complained.
when they were filthy rich.
when they were dirt poor.
when they were sick.
when they were legalistic.
when they were dirty rotten sinners….like me.
Jesus loved sincerely.
Perhaps you, like me, have a history of love with strings attached. Guess what? Jesus can take that kind of love and turn it into a love in spite of. That is the kind of love Jesus has for you and me. Surely you and I can love other people in the same way.
So, tell me. What kind of love resides in your heart? Be honest now!
NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links.
Here a few links to some great books that go along with my post theme today.
I read a lot.
And I am always finding quotes that touch my heart.
And I think to myself, “I need to remember this one or that one.”
Then I promptly forget it….or forget where I saw it.
So, I have begun to accumulate notable quotes in one place for later reference. Now I am hoping I will remember to look at my notable quote document when I am seeking out a quote!!
Today, I want to share with you a couple of the ones I have found in the last few weeks in hope they will speak to your heart and life as well. Feel free to Pin, Share, Tweet, Stumble, or whatever else you can do with them.
This first one really convicted me….I mean CONVICTED ME!
How often do I NOT pay attention to the people in my life. I half-listen to what they say, or I am too busy scrolling through social media to pay attention to them. Worse yet, while they are speaking I am conjuring up in my mind what my response will be to them. Sheesh! I have work I need to do in this area, people!
The second quote comes from the Bible study I am currently doing with my small group. It is Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God Bible Study. Dear Gussie, I am being challenged and convicted by this study…and it is a good thing.
There is a story that goes with this quote. A sculptor had done a huge sculpture of a horse, I think it was. After it was finished a man came up to him and questioned him about how he was able to create such a beautiful sculpture of a horse out of a large chunk of stone. The sculptor thought a minute and then said that he simply chipped away anything that didn’t look like a horse.
I hope these two quotes give you something to ponder for a few days. Let me know your thoughts about them in the comments. Until Monday, friends.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Here is a link to the Bible study I referenced above in case you want to grab a copy for yourself.
Today in our Authentic Christianity series we are talking about spiritual gifts. This passage, along with three sister passages (1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Ephesians 4:7, 11 and 1 Peter 4:10-11) have been the sources of consternation and disagreement in the body of Christ. Much has been written and preached about spiritual gifts over the decades, so I’m sure I have nothing to add that would cause a light bulb to go off in your head. For that reason, I am choosing to focus less on the gifts themselves and more on Paul’s encouragement to use the gift you have been given.
Before we read the verses on which we are focusing today, I want give those who are new to the series links to past teachings so they can get the flavor of this series.
Authentic: Being a Stand-Out Christian in a Shut Up World
What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?
Will You Conform or Be Transformed?
Don’t Let Pride Take You Down
Stop the Fighting, We Are the Body of Christ!
My best friend, Cindy, and I have a long-standing joke between us. Cindy has the gift of mercy, among other gifts that are hers. Her heart breaks for those who are hurting and struggling. She has great compassion and feels things deeply. Me? Not so much. The joke is that when God was giving out mercy, I was in the ladies room! Once Cindy gave me a pack of tissues and on each tissue was a cartoon of a woman waving a Kleenex and saying, “Oh boo-hoo. Blow your nose and get over it.” Yep, she knows me well.
God gifted me with other gifts. I have the gifts of teaching and prophecy (no, I cannot foretell the future. That is not what prophecy means here). Because I do not have the gift of mercy I am not excused from being merciful. Cindy’s influence in the area of mercy has encouraged me to ask the Lord to help me be more merciful to those around me….to see them with the eyes of Christ. That does not mean I will suddenly be smacked with the gift of mercy, but I must be intentional about offering mercy when the situation requires it.
Let’s take a look at our focal verses for today. I’m giving Romans 12:5-8 to you in two versions…the ESV is first, then the Amplified.
5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;
8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].
6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is} prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith;
7 [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching;
8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.
In these verses, Paul is encouraging the Romans to use the gifts they have been given.
If you have the gift of prophecy (preaching, speaking forth, proclaiming God’s Word), use it!
If you have the gift of serving, serve!
If you have the gift of teaching, teach!
If you have the gift of exhortation (encouragement), encourage!
If you have the gift of leading, lead!
If you have the gift of mercy, be merciful!
Use your gift in the way that Jesus would have used it…..in faith, with generosity, excitement, and cheerfulness.
What if you are not happy with your gift, or wish you had a different gift? Well, sister (or brother), you cannot re-gift what God gave to you. You cannot decide that because you do not like it, you can just give your unwanted gift away or choose not to use it. Nope! It is yours, placed within you and assigned to you by God Himself because He knows it is perfect for you. No re-gifting allowed! If you ask God to help you see the plan He has for you to use your gift and to enable you to use it, He will. I will venture to take it one step further and say that you will never be satisfied and joyful until you are actively using the gift God gave you.
I want to encourage you not to run from your gift. It is how you are uniquely fitted to operate within and bless the body of Christ.
So, tell me, what is your spiritual gift or gifts and how are you using them to walk out authentic Christianity? Share in the comments.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Want to learn more about spiritual gifts? Dr. Charles Stanley, known as America’s pastor, offers a wonderful study on them.
DISCLAIMER: Electronic media makes it difficult to convey emotion. Please, please know that there is not one smidgen of anger contained in this post. As you read it, I hope you will hear my heart of love for the body of Christ. I believe this is an important conversation to have, and I invite you to enter in.
Would you pardon me while I climb atop my soapbox for a moment?
Stop it with all the denominational fighting! Just stop!
I grew up in the Southern Baptist denomination, and I am grateful for (most of) that upbringing. I learned about missions and Jesus and amazing old hymns and the beauty of an organ and piano and the order of service and the Doxology and Girls in Action and Acteens and Summer Vacation Bible School and ‘raise your hand if you read your Sunday School lesson this week’.
I also learned that women are not to be pastors and speaking in tongues is not actually an accepted thing and, dear Gussie, exclusivity. I think my Grandma might have had to be revived with St. Peter’s smelling salts when she stepped through the gates of heaven and discovered that there were Methodists, Church of God, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and many other people who affiliated with non-Southern Baptist denominations, or no denomination at all, right there in heaven.
I am not here to bash the Southern Baptist denomination. I really am not. My ‘letter’ is housed at the Southern Baptist church where I grew up, and I love that church and pray for that church. Southern Baptist just happens to be the well from which I draw my experience. No denomination is perfect, and many of you might have a similar perspective about your denomination. But, our time in Romans 12 today prompts me to step back with you so we can take a 50,000-foot view of the body of Christ and the scene that will one day be around God’s throne in heaven.
Let’s read these two verses…..
4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
You have a body….head to toe, inside and outside…it is a body that houses all sorts of organs, cells, membranes, ligaments, and muscles. Bones are connected by ligaments, tons of miles of blood vessels run all over your body, your brain is the control central, and your muscles allow you to walk and run. Your body is not just your brain. If you were only one big brain, you could not move or eat or kiss your sweetheart. If you were made up of only a pinky finger, you could not stand up.
Every part of your body is necessary to your physical well-being. Just let one part of the body malfunction and the entire body suffers in some way. Don’t believe me? Have you ever broken your pinky toe? Yeah! I rest my case. That pinky toe is important, people!
The same is true of the body of Christ…..regardless of the denomination in which you choose to worship…..if you name the name of Jesus Christ over your soul, you are a necessary and important part of the Body. Now, you may not like the way your toes look, but they are your toes and you must accept that and care for them because they are part of your body. So, let’s pretend the Baptists are the toes, the Methodists are the fingers, the Presbyterians are the blood vessels, the Church of God folks are the muscles, and our non-denominational brothers and sisters are the eyes.
Y’all, I am dying at all the exclusivity and condescension in the body of Christ. We are THE BODY OF CHRIST, knitted together in Him. We need those muscles and eyes and blood vessels, and even those toes and fingers. We need everyone who professes Jesus as Lord and stands firmly on the gospel in order to be a strong and functional body. We may disagree with Church of God folks about speaking in tongues, or the Methodists about sprinkling, but that does not give us the right to look down our noses at our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus said that the world would know that we are Christians by our L-O-V-E for one another in the body of Christ.
Even when I attended a denominational church, I did not label myself according to that denomination. If you ask me which denomination I belong to, I will tell you that I am a Christian because that is the label that I want others to associate with my life. My ministry is a non-denominational ministry. I have spoken at churches from many denominations. I seek to write from a Jesus perspective rather than a denominational perspective because I believe it encourages unity in the body of Christ.
So, friends, let’s use grape juice and wine. Let’s use the KJV and the NIV. Let’s use musical instruments and sing a capella. If we are going to choose a hill on which to die, for the love of Pete, let’s let that hill be the gospel of Jesus Christ, not whether to sprinkle or dunk. Let’s show love to our brothers and sisters in Christ and unity of Spirit to the world, so that the world will see Jesus.
I’m off my soapbox now! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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