Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor
One would think that, of all the possible efforts to revise history imaginable, the piece of history that would be the hardest to revise would be to deny the historical existence of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
First, the Bible is filled with references to a Jewish Temple. And the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 in Qumron have conclusively and undeniably confirmed that the Biblical record is unchanged since the scrolls were buried there in AD 70.
Secondly, the Qumrom discovery included hundreds of Temple artifacts, documents, drawings, and other forms of historical confirmation as to the existence of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem up until the time of the Qumrom community's destruction around AD 70.
Thirdly, one of the retaining walls of Solomon's Temple, built almost three thousand years ago, still stands on the western side of the Temple Mount. I've seen it and touched its ancient stones. I've prayed at it. It is there.
Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority and cofounder of Yasser Arafat's Fatah Party, recently accused Israel of seeking to "rob Muslims and Christians of their holy shrines, destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and build the alleged Jewish Temple."
In February, Abbas accused Israel had been waging a “final battle” aimed at erasing the Arab, Muslim and Christian character of east Jerusalem. He charged that Israel intended to destroy Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, which sits atop the remains of the two biblical Jewish Temples. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the remarks as “harshly inflammatory” and “baseless.”
Abbas responded with the promise that there will be “no peace, no security and no stability unless the occupation, settlers and settlements are gone from Jerusalem.” He also stressed that the city will remain the eternal capital of the Palestinian state, according to the Palestine News Network news agency.
The very last thing that the government of Israel wants to do is to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque. There would be no tears shed if it were destroyed by an earthquake, or if it collapsed on its own, but the Israeli government would rather maintain the status quo as take on the global Muslim community all at once.
However, the Bible says that in the last days, the Third Temple will be rebuilt. Exactly how that will come about is anybody's guess. But the fact remains that it is a topic of conversation -- for the first time in twenty centuries.
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
According to this verse, when the Third Temple is rebuilt, it won't be the Jewish Temple, or the Israeli Temple or the Zionist Temple or even the antichrist's Temple, (which is how many Christians refer to it.)
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Church at Thessonlonika about the events of the last days, prophesied that the antichrist will sit in the Temple of God. For it to be the Temple of God, the Age of Grace must be over.
There is a reason why the Third Temple is consecrated and a reason why Paul calls it the "Temple of God" instead of just 'the Temple'.
First, if it weren't consecrated, it couldn't be defiled. You can't defile something which isn't holy in the first place. During the Age of Grace, the Bible identifies the Temple of God as the individual believer .
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)
But when the Holy Spirit is "taken out of the way" to allow the floodgates of evil to flow unchecked under the rule of antichrist, so are the vessels that He indwells.
That event, the Rapture of the Church, signals the conclusion of the Church Age and the resumption of Daniel's 70th week, or what Jeremiah 30:7 calls, the "time of Jacob's trouble". The Age of Grace is over and the final week of the Law resumes.
Unless the Law was again operational, the "abomination of desolation" would neither be an 'abomination' -- nor could it make the Temple desolate -- unless the Temple itself were legitimate in the first place.
Understand that the resumption of Temple worship and animal sacrifices during the Tribulation has no saving value. Nobody will be saved because they brought an unblemished lamb to the Temple for sacrifice. (Nobody was ever saved by Temple worship during the Age of the Law, either.)
Salvation is and always has been an outpouring of God's grace by faith from every Dispensation.
Secondly, God isn't going back to an "old system" because salvation is not a product of the Temple system, as we've just noted. The Age of the Law had yet to run its full course when it was interrupted by the Age of Grace.
Daniel notes that in the 69th Week, the "Messiah is cut off, but not for Himself"; the Temple is destroyed by the people of the coming prince (antichrist) and then there is a temporal disconnect when Daniel's clock stops for the Church Age.
The Age of Grace concludes with the Rapture and Daniel's clock restarts on the final week, the reasons for which are clearly outlined in Daniel 9:24.
It isn't a re-institution of the Age of the Law. It is the resumption of an unfilled Dispensational Period for which there is a definite purpose. The purpose is six-fold;
- to finish the transgression,
- make an end to sins,
- make reconciliation for iniquity,
- bring in everlasting righteousness,
- seal up the vision and the prophecy, and
- anoint the most Holy.
The Church plays no role, since parts 1 -3 were fulfilled at the Cross and parts 4-6 are fulfilled at the Second Coming and during the Millennial Rest.
Christians have no holy city of their own -- we share Jerusalem with the Jews, but it is not ours. Jesus finished the transgression and put an end to sins at the Cross, offering Himself as a reconciliation for iniquity.
So, then, what is the purpose of the Law? Why did God give Moses the Ten Commandments?
According to the Apostle Paul, the reason for the Ten Commandments was to prove we couldn't keep them and to point out our need for a Savior. That realization is offered to both Jew and Gentile. BUT, says Paul;
"I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
The 'fullness of the Gentiles be come in' is a reference to the conclusion of the Church Age, which ends when the last Gentile who is going to accept Christ does so. Once the Body of Christ is complete, the Rapture takes place, and God turns His attention back to Israel.
"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:26-27)
The 70th Week of Daniel is also called "the Time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7) because it is set aside for the judgment of the Gentiles and the national salvation of the Jews.
To summarize: the purpose of the Tribulation is two-fold. First and foremost, its purpose is to effect the national reconciliation of the Jews and their salvation -- as a nation.
The unbelieving Gentiles have already had their chance and rejected it. This idea that God continues His plan for the Gentiles into the Tribulation Period is without Scriptural support. That is not to say that Gentiles cannot be saved during the Tribulation. Some may well be.
But during the Tribulation, God's attention turns to the national redemption of Israel. Revelation Chapter 7 tells of 144,000 Jews who will be 'sealed' with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The Jews of Israel aren't saved during the Tribulation by the Temple practices or law. Zechariah 12:10 makes it clear that the Jews of Israel during the Tribulation are saved the same way we are -- by grace and supplications (prayer).
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only Son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
It is the Temple desecration that causes the Jews to turn their backs on the antichrist and turn towards Christ. That is the event that begins the second half, or "Great" Tribulation.
Secondarily, it is a time set aside for the judgment of a Christ-rejecting world (the Church having already been judged at the Cross). The Age of Grace is over, but salvation by grace through faith is still extended to the Jews.
The 144,000 are sealed with and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which gives them the power to share the Gospel and enables the hearer to be regenerated spiritually. Without the active indwelling of the Holy Spirit within these 144,000 Jewish evangelists, nobody could be saved.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1st Corinthians 2:14)
And so that's the overview. When the conditions are right, the Temple WILL be rebuilt.
Jewish religious leaders have already prepared the implements for Temple worship and are preparing priests for the resumption of the Temple sacrifice system.
Daniel 9:27 says that part of the "covenant" he confirms between Israel and her enemies includes the resumption of Temple worship and sacrifice. Indeed, it is that covenant allowing the resumption of Temple worship that starts the time clock counting down the days to the Second Coming of Christ.
Why is that important to you? While there aren't any signs pointing to the Rapture, the signs pointing to the soon arrival of the antichrist are more like BILLBOARDS than they are signs.
And before "that Wicked" can be revealed, the Restrainer and the vessels He indwells MUST be "taken out of the way." So the fact we can see him coming means the Lord is coming even sooner.
"Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:18)