Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Gary Petty] Is the construction of a Third Temple in Jerusalem the focal point of anti-prophecy or is God's focus on the construction of a different, more permanent temple?
In August 2020 an agreement was announced between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations. Some held the agreement as an historic step in bringing peace to the Middle East. Others felt very bad about it, they denounced it because the Palestinians actually felt betrayed. One of the benefits of the accord was the opening of air traffic between the two countries, but a commercial by the Emirates Airlines immediately caused such a backlash from the Palestinians it had to be pulled. Now watch a few seconds of the commercial and see if you can catch what was offensive to the Palestinians.
> Tel Aviv is known as the cultural hub of Israel. And the art scene is huge and noticeable throughout the city. Between large festivals, private galleries, and street art tours, you will find so much to be amused about.
[Gary Petty] Did you notice what's offensive? Look at the upper corner up here. It's a picture of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. They found this offensive, it's what caused the protest. Why? We're going to look at the Biblical history of the Jerusalem temple, some Biblical prophecies concerning a future endtime temple, and the real importance for God's people about a temple for Christians about a temple. And we will see why this commercial is offensive to so many Palestinians.
According to the Bible the original Jerusalem temple was built by Israel's King Solomon in the mid-1900s B.C. And it was a spectacular building with an outer court where daily animal sacrifices were made in honor to God. An inner room was known as the Holy of Holies. Now originally this most holy of all places contained the Ark of the Covenant constructed during the time of Moses. Now Solomon's Temple had three basic functions. First, it was a unique place for the worship of God. The animal sacrifices reminded the people of Israel that they were God's special people and there were consequences for their disobedience against Him. Animal sacrifices were a reminder that the result of sin was death. For God to accept them there had to be a substitute offered to God for the legal penalty for their sins. And this was the reason for the animal sacrifices.
Now the second function of the temple was to be God's special dwelling place on Earth. It's very interesting. When Solomon constructed the temple, the people that were gathered outside, they were a huge mass of people there, they actually saw a cloud come down into the temple. They called it the glory of God. This dense cloud had such power in it that as it came down and filled the temple all the priests were forced to leave. They actually left it because the presence of God was there in that temple. Now this doesn't mean that God isn't present everywhere. He is. It does mean that the temple was something special in God's interaction with humanity.
Now the third function of the temple was to teach the concept of holiness. Holiness is a concept that we don't think about too much today. Holiness is when God declares an object or a person or even time to be special and dedicated to Him, which means that this is important. Only God can make something holy. And it's a basic principle of holiness that has to do with God's interaction with humanity. And it's essential to understand what holiness is in our relationship with Him. You know Solomon's Temple existed for hundreds of years before being destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. A later temple called the Second Temple was built in the late 6th century B.C. and remodeled by Herod the Great. And it was the new, in the New Testament, it's the Second Temple, this complex where Jesus taught, He threw the money changers out, and predicted His future destruction.
In 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed Herod's temple. The result was that for almost 1,900 years it was the desire of the Jewish people who were now scattered all over the world, it was their desire to return to the land of Israel, a land of their forefathers. And for some of them this yearning included the building of a Third Temple. Since the modern nation of Israel was established in 1948 the idea of a Third Temple has been reignited. And one of the most active organizations in the movement to rebuild a Third Temple is the Temple Institute in Israel. Through very intensive research they have identified actual Levitical priests, they have reconstructed many of the instruments needed for the reinstitution of animal sacrifices. And they've actually trained those priests in how to carry out the sacrificial ceremonies. You can go to the website and see how they've done this.
The deep Jewish religious beliefs and emotions, and it's this very emotional issue concerning the Third Temple, are seen in some of the statements of principles of the Temple Institute. They make this statement, "At this one place on Earth, unlike any other, the one place that the Creator Himself chose to rest His presence." This goes back to the idea of the very presence of God came into the temple in Solomon's time. And so they look at this and say, "This is the place that we have to rebuild for God's presence." Their principles go on to actually predict something based on some Biblical prophecies. They say, "We are rapidly approaching climactic times, in which the Holy Temple will once again become the focal point for mankind's spiritual focus." They're very motivated people.
And this brings us back to why the Palestinians found the airline's commercial to be so offensive because it showed the Second Temple. It's because Palestinian culture and education actually denies the historical existence of Solomon's Temple of the Temple Mount. They see both the Jewish and Christian teachings about the temple to be absolutely false. And of course you can imagine the result is that many Palestinians feel that they are victims of Jews and Christians. And this creates in their culture an overwhelming frustration and anger. Two different worldviews, two different beliefs, two different views about how God interacts with humanity. And that's why there is no political answers to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
Now if you're interested in the Biblical prophecies about what is commonly called the "end times," we have a free study guide that will help you, "Are We Living in the Time of the End?" There is a chapter here that's very interesting, I'll just draw your attention to it very quickly. It's called "God's Framework for End Time Prophecy," and actually lists some of the important things that must happen before the end time prophecies can happen. And one of the important focal points as mentioned here is the rebirth of the Jewish nation. The construction of a Third Temple, whether it's a massive edifice or a small structure, a tent, an altar, it is going to be a major prophetic event. And that's why the establishment in 1948 of Israel was monumental in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Order your free copy, "Are We Living in the Time of the End?" by calling the number on your screen or going to beyondtoday.tv where you can order a copy, read it online, or just download it into your computer.
Now let's take a look at some Biblical prophecies about a future Third Temple. In the Old Testament Book of Daniel there are a number of prophecies about a time when it says the daily sacrifices are stopped and the abomination of desolation is set up. The daily sacrifices were offered in the temple in Jerusalem. So we know what these prophecies are about. They're a direct reference to the temple. Now here's what's really interesting. When Daniel was inspired to give these prophecies there was no temple in Jerusalem. It had been destroyed by the Babylonians. You see the fulfillment of these prophecies require a future place in Jerusalem to be dedicated to the reestablishment of animal sacrifices in the name of the God in the Bible. The key to Daniel's prophecy is in understanding that the abomination of desolation happens more than one time.
During the time of the Second Temple an abomination of desolation, which was a statue of a pagan god, was set up by a Greek king during the time of the Maccabees. But hundreds of years after that, hundreds of years after that, Jesus talked about a future abomination of desolation. You see this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. Now to understand what the Bible means by the abomination of desolation I encourage you to go to beyontoday.tv and watch the program, "What is the Abomination of Desolation?" This program will help you understand how this prophecy has actual multiple fulfillments. And when you see that you'll understand what this abomination of desolation is, sort of a cryptic description, what it actually means.
Let's now look at Christ's prophecy about the abomination of desolation. It's in the Olivet Prophecy, Jesus's disciples had come to Him and they had questions about when He would set up God's Kingdom on this Earth. Now when was He going to do this? And Jesus says to them, He says, "Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place," and Matthew adds this little comment, he says, "Whoever reads, let him understand, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." Jesus goes on to describe His second coming. Now the holy place here is a reference to the temple. Remember the most holy of all holy places was the inner court of the temple.
So when we see what Jesus says here and He combines that with the prophecies in Daniel, which He references, we can see that before the coming of the Messiah to rain on Earth there's going to be an altar connected to some concept of a Third Temple where daily animal sacrifices will again be offered by Levitical priest in the name of God. Now these prophecies have led many evangelicals here in the United States to actively support the rebuilding of a Third Temple. They're actually sending money to Israel to get these different organizations to actually build this temple. Okay. Here's something to think about. Is it possible that the Third Temple is going to be a place of evil?
The Apostle Paul gives a prophecy about just before the return of Jesus Christ. And he talks about a man of sin, someone who's under the direct influence of Satan, who performs miracles, and actually deceives much of humanity. Now this prophecy is usually connected in many denominations to the anti-Christ, the coming great anti-Christ. Now let's look at something that Paul says about this demonic person, the anti-Christ. He says, "Let no one deceive you by any means for that day will not come..." That day is a reference to the return of Jesus Christ. "That day will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of sin has revealed, the son of perdition." This terrible person is going to wield great power.
If you read through this whole chapter you'll see he wields great power, deceives the whole world, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped so that as he sits, listen to this, “he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” If the temple Paul is talking about here is the future place of sacrifice that we've been talking about, that place is going to be used by the anti-Christ to deceive the world. That's something to keep in mind as you watch world events and we look towards a time when there's going to be a re-establishment of animal sacrifices in Jerusalem.
Now what meaning does God's temple have for Christians today? I mean should we be collecting money and sending it over to Israel so they can rebuild a temple? Is that what this is all about? Now we've touched on a number of prophecies today that include Jesus's Olivet Prophecy. The study guide we're offering actually has an entire section in here dedicated specifically to the Olivet Prophecy and what Jesus said. And it is the foundation really of all end time prophecies. If you want to understand end time prophecies, you start with Jesus's Olivet prophecy.
So you need to get this so you can study the section, "Jesus Christ's Olivet Prophecy: Where Are We Now?" In there you'll see that He predicts a time of religious deception and confusion, wars and rumors of wars, famines, disease epidemics, and an increase in earthquakes. Now the difficulties of our world today that we're suffering from is just a small glimpse into the calamities that's going to befall humanity before Christ's return. You need to know what Jesus predicted so that you're not caught off guard. Order your free copy of, "Are We Living in the Time of the End?" by calling the number that's on your screen or simply going to beyondtoday.tv. You can read it, you can download it. But be sure to look at this material. It's very important.
What is the real importance of God's temple for Christians in your life? We've looked at the desire of many Jews and Christians to construct a Third Temple. We've touched some Biblical prophecies about future animal sacrifices in Jerusalem that's going to happen. But you know, there's another temple mentioned in the New Testament that is actually more important in your life than a Third Temple in Jerusalem. Here's something that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. He's writing to a group of people, specifically here they were having trouble with a lot of sexual immorality in the church. And he writes to them and he makes this comment. "Do you not know that your body," he's talking to Christians, "your body is," listen to this, "the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price, therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."
I want you to really think about this because we're going to zero in on this. I'm going to read it again. If you're on television, if you're watching at home, I want you to read this, okay? Read this with me. "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have from God?" That's a remarkable statement. Let's explore what Paul is teaching here to the followers of Jesus Christ. Christians who have the Spirit of God dwelling in their hearts and minds are the temple of God. They are the special dwelling place of God on Earth. Try to wrap your mind around that. Try to wrap your mind around being the special dwelling place of God, being the temple of God.
Now remember we explored the functions of Solomon's Temple in the beginning of the program. The first point was, it was a unique place for the worship of God. You know the temple was a place for animal sacrifices to remind the people of Israel that they were God's special people and that there were consequences for their disobedience against Him. Here, what we just read, Paul tells Christians to accept that they were bought at a price. There was a substitute given for Christians. Christians are called out of human societies to become the special dwelling place of God. To become one of these special people you have to have your sins forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and there is no other way. To say that all religions lead to the same God is unacceptable according to the teachings of the New Testament. According to Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, that's unacceptable.
You know the main tenet of cultural Christianity is that basically if you feel good about yourself, that you're a good person, then really how you define God doesn't matter. It's time for you to wake up to the perversion of that teaching because that's not what Jesus taught. Jesus is calling people to become part of His spiritual temple. He may be calling you but the only ones that are welcome to enter that temple are the ones who have been bought with the price of Christ's sacrifice, otherwise you can't be part of the temple. No human being is worthy to be called good before God. Only God in His mercy and His grace can make us worthy to become part of the temple He is building.
This brings us back to the second point, the second function of Solomon's Temple. The temple was God's special dwelling place on Earth. When Paul taught that Christians are the temple of the Holy Spirit, he was actually revealing one of the greatest mysteries of all time. In his letter to the Corinthians Paul states that Christians have the mind of Christ. To have God's Spirit in your mind and in your heart is to receive the very mind, power, and love of God into yourself. And remember the glory of God filled Solomon's Temple and it was so awesome that the people had to flee. The priests had to flee. But understand it's this same power and glory that God will give to those who enter His spiritual temple. It's the same spirit. You don't receive the power and glory of God simply by going to church for claiming to know Jesus. God gives His Spirit to those who humbly repent, receive water baptism, and have had hands laid on them to receive His Spirit. This is taught in the New Testament, and unfortunately ignored by much of Christianity.
Now the third function of Solomon's Temple was to teach the concept of holiness. Remember, only God can make a person or a place or a time holy. Human beings can't make anything holy. Holiness is an action of God to set aside something or someone for His special use. To become the temple of God, to have the sacrifice of Jesus Christ applied to you so that you become holy is something God must do. Now you must respond. You have to respond to that through humble soul searching, remorse, and desire for forgiveness and change. And this is what the Bible calls repentance. To become the temple of God you must seek to receive His Spirit in your heart and mind. To become the temple of God you must live as a holy vessel who has received God's Spirit.
The concept that God declares objects and people and time special and dedicated to Him, it's almost lost in our secular society and cultural Christianity. And it is a vital lesson we need to learn from today's program. The priests in Solomon's time dedicated their whole lives to God and service in His temple. How much more as the very temple where God dwells should Christians, His holy people, selected by Him for His purpose, dedicate our lives to submitting to His direction and living by His desire for us?
Now I have something more I want to talk about. But before I do let me remind you of today's free study guide, "Are We Living in the Time of the End? The study guide isn't just about knowledge. There are sections in here called "Preparing for the end time, and you, what can you do?" Okay? To find the answers to that question, get your free copy of "Are We Living in the Time of the End?" Call the number on your screen or go to beyondtoday.tv. Paul said that Christians are to glorify God in His temple. How can you glorify God as His temple? Well first of all you have to enter the temple. You have to come to the cold, harsh reality that much of the feel-good, Jesus loves you so just stay the way you are Christianity isn't what Jesus taught. Real Christianity is a realization of your nothingness without God. It is a realization that you are doomed by your own sins unless you become bought with a price which is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is a realization that you are powerless to be truly good without the indwelling of God's Spirit. It is the realization that God wants to change your corrupted nature to becoming His Holy Child.
You know here's something that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, the church at Ephesus. These were people who weren't from a Jewish background. These were people who were what the Bible calls Gentiles, non-Jews. They were coming into a religion with the God of the Jews. And so they had been outside that religion and they were coming into it. And here's what Paul tells them. He says, "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." This is what God is doing. He's creating a household. He's creating a family. "Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone." He uses the analogy of a building. He's building a temple. The prophets, the apostles, they're all part of this. Jesus Christ is the chief part of it. He's what holds this temple together.
This is more important than the Third Temple being built because this is what God is doing. He says, "And whom the whole building fitted together grows into," listen to this, "a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the spirit." The dwelling place of God in the spirit isn't the temple that people want to build over in Israel. It's going to happen. There's going to be something built over there because the Bible predicts it but that's not what God is concerned with. He's concerned with building a holy temple and human beings discovering that they can be the place who He dwells. That's remarkable. Any human attempt to construct a Third Temple is going to fulfill Biblical prophecy but that's not what God is working with right now.
Responding to God's call requires repentance and publicly declaring repentance through water baptism. It also includes the laying on of hands to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit in you. Do you understand that? Do you understand what God's calling you to do? It is to be part of this holy temple. And yes, baptism is important. And yes, laying on of hands for the receiving of the Holy Spirit and God will dwell in you. That's what we're trying to tell you. That's what we want to reach out to you and let you know what God is calling you to do. God is building a holy temple. And the time is now for you to respond to that call.
[Narrator] Please call for the booklet offered on today's program, "Are We Living in the Time of the End?" This free study aid will point you to the key Biblical signs leading up to Jesus Christ's return. We live in an unstable world, raising many questions about our future. This booklet provides Biblical answers. For the past two centuries history has reached a series of turning points that have brought us to the doorstep of Bible prophecy. In this booklet, you will learn how some prophesied events have only become possible to fulfill during our lifetimes. Most importantly, you'll find out what you can do to prepare yourself for the troubling times ahead.
Call us, 1-888-886-8632, to order your free copy of, "Are We Living in the Time of the End?" or go online to beyondtoday.tv to download or request it by mail. Jesus gave a list of specific signs to look for. And yet he said many would still be deceived. You will learn about God's framework for end time prophecy, such as world conditions that must exist when the Book of Revelation’s events begin to unfold. Many prophecies could not happen prior to the advances of communication and nuclear technology in the 20th century. Still others could not be fulfilled until the Jewish state existed in the Middle East, which has only come about within our living memory today. Jesus Christ warned that many of those who say they believe in Him will be caught spiritually sleeping. This is a time to be awake.
When you order this free study aid, we'll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. "Beyond Today" magazine brings you understanding of today's world and hope for the future. Six times a year you'll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family, and Godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet, "Are We Living in the Time of the End?" and your free one-year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine, 1-888-886-8632, or go online to beyondtoday.tv.