“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.’” Revelation 11:1-2.
A reed is also mentioned in Ezekiel 40:3 and is called a measuring rod in some translations. The reed used in the book of Ezekiel was nine feet long, so there is a good chance the length is the same here too.
The original temple was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem, the holy city, completed circa 949 B.C. and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar about 586 B.C.
After the Babylonian captivity the temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel the head of the tribe of Judah, and completed 516 B.C. This temple was so inferior to Solomon’s that those who had seen the first temple wept when they saw the new one.
About 20 or 21 B.C. Herod the Great decided that this would never do, so he began to rebuild this temple by razing much of it and building a new more beautiful one. Though by one account, he wound up completely tearing down the old temple. According to Herod, it was not his intent to build a third temple but to beautify the existing one.
Herod’s temple was not completed until 64 A.D. about thirty years after the Lord’s crucifixion. This temple was completely destroyed by Titus and the Roman legions in 70 A.D.
Referring to Herod’s temple, Jesus prophesied this.
“…Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:2.
About one million Jews were killed in the taking of Jerusalem; many more were removed from the land and sold as slaves. Without a country, without a temple, without hope; yet the Lord says this:
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Matthew 24:15-16.
So the Lord indicates the return of the Jews to Israel, which we are already seeing, and a rebuilt temple. This is the “temple of God” which John is to measure in verse one above.
The future temple will be built in obvious rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, especially since there will be an altar, which is unneeded because Christ is the sacrifice for sin.
While the following verses in the book of Hebrews, (written circa 64-68 A.D.) refers to the priests who ministered in the temple of Herod, the same will actually be true of the temple built during the tribulation.
“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…” Hebrews 10:11-12.
It is still called the temple of God. In a time of the worst kind of apostasy, Israel, even in disbelief, still shows forth that there is the true and living God.
So the temple is measured and those who worship there are remembered by God who measures their thoughts and intentions.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2.
But the court outside the temple is left out:
“…for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” Revelation 11:2b.
Bear in mind that the time of the Gentiles stretches from the conquest of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. to the end of the tribulation. This is why the land of Israel has had so much difficulty just surviving as a nation; they have become the tail and not the head.
“The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” Deuteronomy 28:12-14.
It is Israel’s fall into idolatry and gross immorality and finally their rejection of their own Messiah which has caused them all of this misery (this too is why America is declining) for nearly 2600 years.
At least that is what it says in Deuteronomy 28 above, read the whole chapter, it is an eye-opener. But it gets worse:
“When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just Person [Jesus Christ]. You see to it.’ And all the people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and on our children.’” Matthew 27:24-25.
We are in the time of the Gentiles, but, it is within the last forty-two months of the tribulation that the Jews will realize how near complete extinction they are, more so than in all the 2600 years before.
“He [the beast] shall speak pompous words against the Most High [God Himself], shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” Daniel 7:25.
A time and times and a half a time is the same as 3 ½ years or 1260 days or forty-two months; the months of the ancients were 30 days long and this is how these periods of time are calculated.
I have often wondered why God uses these three different measurements of time when just one will do; one thousand two hundred and sixty days (1260), time and times and a half time, and forty-two months seems redundant. There is not much to go on since all three of these time increments are referred to only two or three times each in Scripture.
As to the one thousand two hundred and sixty days, it is first mentioned here in chapter eleven and concerns the testimony of the two witnesses through the first half of the tribulation.
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11:3.
The term is used again in Revelation 12, and refers to God’s protection of Israel for 1260 days during the second half of the tribulation.
“Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” Revelation 12:6.
Interestingly enough there is a reference to 1290 days in Daniel 12:11. Though it may seem confusing at first, there is a good answer for the seeming discrepancy.
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Daniel 12:11.
These 1290 days still concern the tribulation period and are broken down in the following way. One thousand two hundred and sixty days cover the last half of the tribulation. It may take yet another 30 days to judge the nations, which consists of those who live through the tribulation.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:31-32.
There is an additional 45 days added to this number in the next verse, Daniel 12:12, bringing it to 1335 days total.
“Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days .” Daniel 12:12.
These extra days are seen as the time it will take Christ to set up His millennial kingdom, so it will be 1335 days from the abomination of desolation (Revelation 13:11-15) to the beginning of the millennium.
It would seem then that the term one thousand two hundred and sixty days has reference to the constant witness of Israel, in the person of the two witnesses during the first half of the tribulation to the true and living God.
And the same number of 1260 days is to show God’s constant, daily faithfulness to preserve the Jews throughout the second half of the tribulation.
The use of the term, one thousand two hundred and sixty-days which is the same amount of time as the other usages, seems to me to be significant in that there is no break in the time.
In other words, the two witnesses witnessed daily without a break, 1260 days, no forty hour weeks, no holidays, no Saturdays off, or vacations. The same would hold true of God’s preservation of the Jews in hiding from the beast, 1260 days of daily constant care.
The term time and times and a half time, mentioned in Daniel 7:25, 12:7 and Revelation 12:14 have to do with Gentile persecution of God’s people, both Jew and Gentile.
“He [the beast] shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” Daniel 7:25.
“…when he [an angel] held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and a half a time; and when the power of the holy people [the Jews] has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.” Daniel 12:7.
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.” Revelation 12:14.
As for the forty-two months, they are mentioned twice, Revelation 11:2, and 13:5, both of these references concern the second half of the tribulation which is forty-two months long.
The term forty-two months is linked to the iron fist of Gentile domination.
“But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city [Jerusalem] underfoot for forty-two months.” Revelation 11:2.
“And he [the beast] was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.” Revelation 13:5.
“For in those days [42 months] there will be tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” Mark 13:19-20.
Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and only payment for their sins will not go into the tribulation but will be raptured, removed, from this earth before these things happen.
No one on earth needs to go through these horrors because all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
Call upon the name of Jesus even if you do not understand the things written here. Pray and pray again and again until you see Him as your Savior.
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [Jesus] to be the propitiation [full payment] for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” Mark 13:31-33.
“And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Mark 13:37.
Revelation 11:1-2 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 12-22-16, updated on 7-28-22.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.