New Testament Reading: Hebrews 9:1–15; 23–28
“Now even the first covenant [that is, the Old Covenant] had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant… [Hebrews 9:23] Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:1–15; 23–28, ESV).
Sermon Text: Revelation 11:1-2
“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’” (Revelation 11:1–2, ESV).
In the previous sermon that I preached on Revelation 11:1-2 the majority of the time was devoted to proving that it is best to take the word “temple” in verse 1 to be a reference, not to a future rebuilt brick and mortal temple in the earthly city of Jerusalem, but to the heavenly temple and all who worship God the Father there through faith in Jesus the Christ in Spirit and in truth.
To put it differently, the measured temple of Revelation 11:1-2 refers to the church of God, purchased by Christ’s blood, and filled with the Holy Spirit, as she worships, not at the earthly Old Covenant temple of stone, which was a copy of the heavenly realities, but at the heavenly temple itself, “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (Hebrews 9:24, ESV).
Remember the case that I made. This interpretation is the one that is in step with the overall message of the book of Revelation. This interpretation is the one that is in step with the way that the Apostles of Christ spoke of the temple – “For we are the temple of the living God”, Paul said (2 Corinthians 6:16, ESV). This interpretation is the one that is in step with the way that Christ himself spoke of the temple. The eternal Word of God, the second person of the Trinity “tabernacled” amongst us in the incarnation. Christ claimed to be the temple. He declared the earthly, Old Covenant, brick and mortar temple to be desolate. And he promised to send the Spirit to fill, not the earthly temple, but his people after his ascension to the Father. I also demonstrated that this interpretation – the one that takes “temple” in Revelation 11:1 to refer to the church – is in step with all that the Old Testament has to say about the temple. For the earthly tabernacle, which later became the temple, was never about the structure itself, but rather God’s presence dwelling in the midst of his people, whom he had redeemed for himself. The Old Testament prophesies concerning a future temple clearly refer to one that is far superior to the earthy temple of the Old Covenant both in regard to its scope and the purity of the worship offered within (Ezekiel 40-48). When we read the New Testament it becomes clear that these Old Testament prophesies, types, and shadows all pointed to the Christ and to the temple of the new heavens and the new earth, of which Revelation 21:22 says, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22, ESV).
When John, in Revelation 11:1, “was given a measuring rod like a staff, and… was told, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there” (Revelation 11:1, ESV), he was to mark off, not a physical and earthly structure, but a heavenly and spiritual one. People were to be measured. It was “those who worship there” at the temple of God and the alter who were to be measured.
“Temple” In The Book Of Revelation
So where is this temple that measured? Let’s look more closely at the book of Revelation today to give a more precise answer to that question.
The Greek word for temple (ναός) appears sixteen times in the book of Revelation. Twelve times it is translated “temple”; four times it is translated “sanctuary” in the English Standard Version (ESV). Let’s look at these verses together.
Turn back to Revelation 3:12. To the Christians in the church at Philadelphia Christ said, “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name” (Revelation 3:12, ESV). Is this temple physical and earthly? No, it is clearly heavenly and spiritual, for it has Christians as it’s pillars, metaphorically speaking, and not stone.
Now turn to 7:15. Remember that this verse is contained within the interlude that comes between the breaking of the sixth and seventh seals. Also, remember that this verse comes after the sealing of the 144,000 on earth. And remember that this verse is referring to those that John saw in heaven, “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9–10, ESV). These are the ones who, in verse 15, are said to be “before the throne of God, [serving] him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence” (Revelation 7:15, ESV). Is this an earthly physical temple? No, it is a the heavenly temple. It is the “temple” which is in heaven now where God dwells, being surrounded by angels and the souls of the redeemed who worship him day and night. The thing that makes it a “temple” is the presence of God with his people.
The next two occurrences of the word ναός are found in 11:1-2, which is the text we are considering today. We will return to it.
Turn to 11:19. There we read, “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail” (Revelation 11:19, ESV).
Turn to 14:15. There we read, “And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe’” (Revelation 14:15, ESV). Again, the word temple is used to refer, not to an earthly temple constructed by men out of stone but to the heavenly temple or dwelling place of God.
Turn to 15:5. There John says, “After this I looked, and the sanctuary [ναός] of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests” (Revelation 15:5–6, ESV).
Look at 15:8. There John says, “…and the sanctuary [ναός] was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished” (Revelation 15:8, ESV). This is a another reference to the heavenly sanctuary mentioned in 15:5.
Turn to 16:1. There John says, “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God’” (Revelation 16:1, ESV). Again, this is the heavenly temple. It is the place where God dwells, where he is worshipped and served, and from whence his judgments flow.
Finally, we come to Revelation 21:22, in which John describes the new heavens and the news earth, saying, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22, ESV). It will be then, on that last day, that heaven and earth become one. It will be there in the new heavens and the new earth that the presence of God will be enjoyed by his people in a most immediate way. It will be in this place and at this time that all of the promises of God will be fulfilled in a most full and consummate way. There will be no physical temple made of stone on the earth in that day for all of creation will be God’s “temple”. His glory will fill all. His people will walk with him and enjoy his presence. This is the thing that Adam tasted of in the garden but forfeited. In the end God will bring it to pass, not through the obedience of the first Adam, but through the obedience of Jesus the Christ, whom Paul refers to as the second Adam. What has he done for us? He has made it possible for us to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).
So we’ve examined every usage of the word ναός (temple or sanctuary) in the book of Revelation. Not once is the word used to describe a future, physical, earthly, brick and mortar temple. Most often the word is used to refer to the temple of God as it is in heaven now – the temple that John was, time and again, given a glimpse of in the heavenly visions shown to him. Sometimes the word is used in reference to the “temple” of the new heavens and earth, which is not made of stone, but includes the whole of the new heavens and earth, for the glory of God will fill all.
Remember Christ’s promise to the saints in Philadelphia: “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.” In other words Christ says, “stay true to me till the end and you will enjoy a permanent place within my temple, that is, the heavenly one as it is now, and the temple of the new creation, which will come to be at the consummation. Does the hyper-literalist take this to mean that as faithful saints we will be transformed into stone and become literal pillars in God’s temple? They do not. Even they would have to admit that this is symbolic language which speaks of spiritual realities. Even they would admit that when Christ promises that the faithful will be pilers, he speaks metaphorically and means that they Christian will enjoy God’s presence an comfort forever and ever. But they are woefully inconsistent in their handling of this book.
We should not overlook the fact that word “temple” is actually used one time in the book of Revelation to refer to a literal temple of stone, built by man, which occupies a small piece of real-estate within God’s creation – a temple like the one that stood in Jesus’ day, the foundation of which remains in Jerusalem today. And that occurrence is found in Revelation 21:22 where John says, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22, ESV). So the only time the word “temple” is used to refer to a temple of stone built by man, John uses it to say, “I looked for one, but I did not see it.”
The Temple Measured
Having now considered the way that the word “temple” or “sanctuary” is consistently used in the book of Revelation it is not hard to understand the meaning of 11:1 where John “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” (Revelation 11:1, ESV).” By the way, we could have done the same thing with the word “alter” as we did with the word “temple”, demonstrating that this not a physical and earthly alter, but the heavenly one that has been mentioned numerous times in the book of Revelation thus far (Revelation 6:9; 8:3; 8:5; 9:13;14:18; 16:7).
John’s task was to measure the heavenly temple, the heavenly alter, and all who worship there.
And who are those who worship there?
The elect angels worship there. Revelation 7:11 says, “And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen’” (Revelation 7:11–12, ESV).
Those who have been killed for their faith in Christ worship there. “When [Christ] opened the fifth seal, [John] saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’” (Revelation 6:9–10, ESV).
Those who have faith in Christ who have died and gone to glory worship there. Remember that John “looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9–10, ESV)
And it is those who have faith in Christ living on earth worship there. “And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne…” (Revelation 8:3, ESV).
These are the ones who have been measured. John measured the heavenly temple, the alter and those who worship there – the elect angels, the saints gone to glory, and those in Christ who dwell upon the earth.
And what does it mean to be measured?
Clearly to be measured is to be protected.
The only other time something is measured in the book of Revelation is in chapter 21 which describes the measuring of the perfect and pure new Jerusalem. John, being “carried… away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain… [saw] coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:10–11, ESV). The city is described as being perfectly cubed,12,000 stadia (which is 1,380 miles) in length, height, and width. It’s walls are 144 cubits (or 216 feet) high. It is of this city that John said,
“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:22–27, ESV)
The measuring of the city in Revelation 21 signifies, among there things, it’s security. This it is will be perfectly secure. “Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
This is also the meaning of the measuring of the temple and those who worship there in Revelation 11. The heavenly temple is secure. Those who worship there are protected and preserved spiritually. That is true of those who are there now – the elect angels, and the elect saints who have gone to glory – and it is true of those in Christ who are still sojourning on earth.
You and I, brothers and sisters (please don’t miss this) worship now at the heavenly temple.
“For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.’ Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear.’ But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:18–24, ESV).
You and I, brothers and sisters, have been measured by God. God’s promise to us is that he will preserve and protect us to bring us safely home. Christ said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29, ESV).
The Temple Court And The Holy City Left Unmeasured
But it is important to notice that, not only was John commanded to measure, but to leave some things unmeasured.“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” (Revelation 11:1–2, ESV).
Without a doubt this reference to the temple court and the holy city being trampled by the nations would have brought to remembrance the recent destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans. That was a cataclysmic event. It’s significance can hardly be exaggerated.
Jesus predicted that event in his earthy ministry, saying, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2, ESV).
The Jewish historian, Josephus, described the event after it happened. Here is the first paragraph of Book 7, Chapter 1 of Josephus’ , The War Of The Jews, also called, The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem:
“Now, as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other such work to be done) Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency… and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. (2) This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison; as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; (3) but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. (4) This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.
Some believe that the book of Revelation was written prior to 70 A.D. and that the destruction of the Jewish temple. Many of them believe that the events of 70 A.D. in some ways fulfilled, either in part or in whole, the passage that we are considering today. When they read the words, “do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations”, they think of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans. I do not wish to describe the preterist, or partial-preterist, position today, but to simply say that it seems better to understand the 70 A.D. destruction of the temple to be in the background of this text. Without a doubt this reference to the temple court and the holy city being trampled by the nations would have brought to remembrance the recent destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans.
Whether you believe the book of Revelation was written before or after the destruction of the temple you must admit that Revelation 11:1 is symbolic for the truth of the matter is that everything was leveled by the Romans in 70 A.D. The temple and the alter were not left standing.
Symbolized here, then, is this truth: though God’s true temple be secure (measured) in heaven, and though those who worship there, either from heaven or from the earth, be secure, preserved and protected by the very presence of God in and with them, the church is also vulnerable as she lives in this present evil age.
To put it differently, we have not yet come to enjoy the complete security associated with fulness of the eschatological new creation city and temple of Revelation 21 – the one of which it is said, “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:23–27, ESV). That reality – the reality symbolized by everything being measured and declared to be temple – is yet in our future.
The temple of God as she is now must be viewed from these two perspectives: She is secure and yet vulnerable. This theme runs through the book of Revelation. The church is consistently portrayed as suffering yet secure, persecuted yet preserved. She, like Christ, her husband, is given to over to trials and tribulations, even to the point of death, and yet through death she obtains life. Christ said these things to us “that in [him we] may have peace. In the world [we] will have tribulation. But take heart; [Christ has] overcome the world” (John 16:33, ESV).
Brothers and sisters, when we think of God’s temple as it is today we are to think, not of the earthly, manmade, brick and mortar temple, which, under the Old Covenant, was merely a shadow or copy of heavenly realities and greater things yet to come, but instead we are to think of the heavenly temple itself – the place where God dwells in glory – and all who worship there in heaven and on the earth – “You are the temple of the Holy Spirit”.
And when we think of this heavenly temple we are to think of something that is both measured – owned by God, protected and preserved – and yet at the same time unmeasured – vulnerable to the trampling feet of the nations.
How long will things go on like this? The text says that “the court outside the temple [will be]… given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:2, ESV).
The hyper-literalistic, futuristic, dispensational, pre-millenarian takes this number to be both literal and in reference to a reality future to us. Their view is that this text describes things that will happen, primarily to ethnic Jews, in either first or second half of a seven year tribulation (forty-two months equals three and a half years).
It is far better, and far more instep with the method of interpretation demanded by the book of Revelation itself, to take the number as symbolic.
The symbolism associated with the time frame of forty two-months (or three and a half years) is beautifully complex. In general it represents a time of tribulation for God’s people. Certainly the prophesy of Daniel 7 stands behind the number forty-two. In verse 25 of Daniel 7 we find a prophesy concerning a period of suffering that would be experienced by the people of God under one who would “speak words against the Most High, and… wear out the saints of the Most High, and… think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:25, ESV). The phrase “time, times, and half a time” stands for three and one half years, or forty-two months.
This prophesy of Daniel was initially fulfilled when “Antiochus Epiphanes oppressed Israel and ultimately desecrated the temple from 167 to 164 b.c. It is interesting that 1 Maccabees 1–3, 2 Maccabees 5; and Josephus’ works all describe the oppression as lasting “three years and six months.”
It should also be recognized that Israel wandered in the wilderness after their exile from Egypt, not for forty years as we commonly say, but for forty-two. Two years passed before they were condemned to wander for another forty because of the hardness of their hearts. There experienced a series of forty-two encampment before they entered the promised land.
Also notice that the Jewish historian, Josephus, tells us that the Romans siege against Jerusalem leading to it’s destruction in 70 A.D. lasted three and one half years, or forty-months.
Therefore, the time frame of forty-two months symbolized a period of suffering and tribulation for the people of God often with an emphasis upon trouble for the temple of God.
Notice that this same period of time is referenced again and again in the book of Revelation, but in different ways (recapitulation).
Look down at Revelation 11:3. There we read, “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3, ESV). According to the Jewish calendar one year is 360 days. 360 times three and a half is 1,260. 1,260 days is another way of referring to three and a half years time or forty-two months.
Look at Revelation 12:6. There we are told of a vision of a woman who gave birth to a male child. The male child was caught to heaven, but the woman, being pursued by the dragon “fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days” (Revelation 12:6, ESV), or forty-two months, or three and a half years.
Look at 12:14. There the woman is said to have been “given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14, ESV). The language of Daniel 7:25 is used here. It is a “time, and times, and half a time”, or three and a half years, or forty-months, or 1,260 days.
Finally look at Revelation 13:5-8 where we read,
“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 13:5–8, ESV).
The beast is here said to have authority for forty-two months, which is three and a half years, or 1,260 days, or a time, times, and half a time.
Clearly these are all descriptions of the same period of time. As we continue in our study of the book of Revelation it will grow exceedingly clear that these are all different ways of referring, not to a literal three and a half year period of tribulation yet in our future and immediately preceding the end, but to the whole time between Christ’s first and second comings. Perhaps the most obvious place to see this is in the episode of the woman giving birth to a male child, the child being caught up to heaven, and the woman being pursued by the dragon and yet protected for 1,260 days. Clearly this symbolizes the birth of Christ, his death, resurrection, and ascension, and the evil ones war against the church, and God’s preservation of her, not just in the time of the end, but from the birth of Christ in to the end. These numbers all amount to the same thing and they symbolize the church age – the age in which you and I live – an age marked by trials and tribulations, persecutions, suffering, and even death.
Here in Revelation 11:1-2 we are reminded that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that though we be trampled underfoot for these forty-two months, God is ever with us. We are measured and kept secure by his power in the midst of the tribulation.
This very truth is what provoked Peter to exclaim,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3–7, ESV).
How might we apply these truths, by way of conclusion?
Know that God’s presence is with you. Take comfort in him. Take sanctuary in him.
Remember that one of our primary functions as the church is to offer up worship to God. The 144,000 sealed reminds us that we are protected in the midst of battle. The measuring of the temple reminds us that we are preserved as we worship and serve the one true God in a hostile and idolatrous world.