The Holy City Is Trodden Down

08 Oct
Trodden down

from Google Images

In Revelation 11:1 John was given the task to measure the Temple of God, but he was told leave out the outer courts (Revelation 11:2), which included the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Molten Sea of brass (1Kings 7:23; 2Kings 25:13), and all the way out to the Eastern Gate of the Temple compound. John’s measurement was to include only the House, itself, with its two main rooms and the furniture therein. The only exception was that he was also to measure the people who worshiped inside the House. This seems to act as a kind of separation between the elect and the unbelievers, as we have also seen in Revelation 7:1-8. Therefore, if nothing outside the House was measured, that also included the people outside the house worshiping in the Temple courts.

In other words John was to leave out, or cast (G1544) out (G1854) as in John 9:34-35, the outer courts and the people worshiping therein, because the activity in the outer courts of the Temple precincts was not accepted by God, neither were they accepted who worshiped there on the grounds of what they were doing. All of its services were given over to the nations, showing that, although they were Jews, it was as though they were gentiles (cf. Amos 9:7-8), because they had been treading under foot (persecuting) the holy city (i.e. new Jerusalem, or the elect) for 42 months or about 3 1/2 years.

Paul had arrived in Rome under house arrest cir. spring of 61 AD, and there he was able to rent a house for two years, from which he preached the Gospel to all who came to him (Acts 28:30-31).[1] Shortly after this time, it is believed he was beheaded, as is testified in Christian annals.[2] The point of fact is, Nero blamed Christians for the starting the fire that destroyed Rome. He did so in order to keep the blame from falling on him. Therefore, it is not reasonable to believe Paul was ever acquitted. Thus, from some time in 63 AD to the beginning of the Jews’ war with Rome in 66 AD, we have the 42 months whereby the holy city – the elect of Christ – was persecuted by Jerusalem and to some degree by Nero, although Nero’s persecution seems to be focused in Rome.

It seems there is little doubt that the mention of the holy city is supposed to represent the city of Jerusalem. The question is, however, does the Angel intend for us to believe this is literal Jerusalem in Judea or is it spiritual Jerusalem, the holy city that descends from above as the Bride of Christ (Revelation 21:1-2)?

Notice that the time that was given the “gentiles” to tread down the holy city was forty-two months (Revelation 11:2). Literally, that’s the same amount of time the two witnesses preached at Jerusalem (Revelation 11:3), namely, 1260 days or three and one-half years. I believe a point could be made about the difference between the two highlighted periods. For example, forty-two probably represents rebellion in Scripture. Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years due to their disobedience to the Lord, and they camped at forty-two places (Numbers 33:1-49). Also, Elisha cursed a group of young men who came out of the city and criticized him and made light of Elijah going up into the clouds. Two bears came out of the wooded area and tore up 42 of them (2Kings 2:23-24). Another Scripture tells us that Ahaziah, King of Judah, did wickedly in the sight of the Lord, and he was 42 years old, when he began to reign (2Chronicles 22:2).

On the other hand, the ministry of the two witnesses lasted for 1260 days, and the public ministry of Jesus lasted that long, as well. Although the time periods are the same length (viz. 1260 days and 42 months), they are expressed differently, and I think this is so for a reason. Of course, some might argue this is coincidence, and, presently, I wouldn’t be able to argue against that definitively. Nevertheless, I see rebellion signified in the number 42.

There seems little doubt that Jerusalem is intended in the words holy city in Revelation 11:2. However, there is also little doubt that Jerusalem in Judea is intended in Revelation 11:8, and there it is called the great city rather than the holy city. Jerusalem is the only city in Scripture that is referred to spiritually as Sodom (see Deuteronomy 31:1, 29; 32:29-32; Ezekiel 16:46, 55) and Egypt (Exodus 13:3, 14; Galatians 4:24-25). This is hardly the same city that we find in Revelation 11:2, because Sodom represents wickedness, and Egypt represent oppression. How can the city in which the Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8) be the holy city of Revelation 11:2? While Jerusalem is referred to as the holy city elsewhere in Scripture, I believe it can be argued that in such places it really means Zion, that is, the elect of the city.


[1] See my study: Paul’s Post Council Journeys;

[2] See Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History; Book 2; Chapter 25, 5-8

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Posted by on October 8, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation


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