Prophecy – Part 110, THE GREAT ANNOUNCEMENT FINAL TRIUMPH OVER EVIL

PART TWO – CONTINUED

In our previous study we examined how to handle the suffering through the example of Christ and His free gift of eternal life.  Next, we moved to Revelation 10:8-11, the Little Book.  Also, we looked at the Seventh Trumpet and the fact that it is going to bring forth the last events of human history–the part of the message of the “Little Book” that John is to declare.  We ended with Revelation 11:1 and information dealing with Israel, its temple, and John’s instruction to measure the temple.

Today we want to get started with Revelation 11:1-2 and John measuring the temple.  John has been instructed to take a rod and measure the temple, its altar, and the people who worship there.  We were examining the rod and the measurement.  The words rod, and measure are used in the Bible in two ways.

  • The rod can be used to measure a building for construction or restoration, or it can be used to measure a place for preservation or protection (Zechariah 2:1-5).

This is a possible meaning here.  God could be saying that He wants the true worshippers of Israel preserved and protected while the Antichrist and Gentile nations trod Jerusalem underfoot (Revelation 1:2).

God could also be saying that He wants a remnant of Jewish believers saved, protected, and preserved during the great tribulation (Romans chapters 9-11).

  • The word rod can also mean to measure a place for destruction and punishment or correction and chastening (2 Samuel 7:14; 8:2; 2 Kings 21:13; Psalm 2:9; Isaiah 34:11; Lamentations 2:8).

This too is a possible meaning here.  God could be saying that He wants the temple and the Jewish people measured for judgment and correction; that in the last days they must be judged along with everyone else because of their unbelief, denial, rejection, and blasphemy against God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Which of the two meanings is meant here?  Before an answer is given, several facts need to be considered.

  1. Scripture says that the Antichrist is to actually walk into the temple and demand that the world gives their first loyalty to him and the state.
  • Jesus Christ Himself said that the Antichrist would actually stand in the holy place of the Jews (their temple) and make this proclamation.  (Remember Jerusalem is looked upon by several major world religions as being one of the major religious centers of the world (religions such as Judaism, Islam, and Christianity].  There would be no better place that could be chosen to launch the worship of the state, especially when an attempt will be made to wipe out all Christian believers.)

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation [the antichrist], spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand):” (Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9:24-27; 11:31). 

Let’s take a quick look at the overall outline of Matthew 24-25.  (This will help those who are just joining us in our study of Revelation.)

 It will show the following:

  1. The Nine Signs of the last Days, Matthew 24:1-14.
  2. The Tenth and Most Terrible Sign: The Abomination of Desolation and the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-28).
  3. The Coming of Messiah, the Son of Man (Jesus) (Matthew 24:29-31).
  4. The Time of the Lord’s Return (Matthew 24:32-41).
  5. The Lord’s Return and The Believer’s Duty: Watch – Be Ready – Be Faithful (Matthew 24:42-51).
  6. The Warning is to Watch and Be Wise, Not Foolish (general warning) (Matthew 25:1-13).
  7. The Believer’s Duty to Work Anticipating the Lord’s Return (Matthew 15:14-30).
  8. The Final Judgment of the Nations (Matthew 25:31-46).

Note the words: “‘The Abomination of Desolation’ and ‘The Great Tribulation,’ such as was not since the beginning of the world.”  It is for this reason that the title given to this tenth sign is, “The Most Terrible Sign: The Abomination of Desolation and the Great Tribulation.”

  1. There is the appearance of the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15).
  2. There is the warning to flee immediately (v. 16-20).
  3. There is the great tribulation: unparalleled in history (v. 21).
  4. There is the promise: the days shall be shortened for the elect’s sake (v. 22).
  5. There is the frantic search for a deliverer, for an earthly Messiah (v. 23-24).
  6. There is the truth about deliverance, about Messiah’s coming (v. 25-28).

(Matthew 24:15)  – Abomination of Desolation — Antichrist — End times.   There is the appearance of the abomination of desolation.  Christ said four things about this sign.

  1. It (He) will be seen.  Believers can see it take place and prepare for the terrible trials which will follow it (see Matthew 24:1-31).
  2. It (He) was also prophesied by Daniel (Matthew 24:15).
  3. It (He) will stand in the Holy Place. The sign will take place and be seen in the Temple.  Some hold that the sign will be repeated in the end time and literally fulfilled within the temple, just as it was literally fulfilled twice in the past when Antiochus and Titus stood within the temple.  Others hold that the words “the temple” to be representative of all religion.  They believe the abomination will be the desolation of all religion,  all genuine Christianity. (Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Matthew 24:15 – page 187).
  4. Whosoever reads about the sign, as revealed by Christ, is to understand it. Daniel had said, “Know therefore and understand…” (Daniel 9:25; Daniel 12:10).  Believers are to study the sign and gain an understanding of it, so that they can be better prepared to “endure to the end…[and] be saved” (Matthew 24:13).

NOTE:  There is the idea that a person is to know and understand the times, to watch and observe the happenings of the times in which he lives.  As we have seen a lot of the problems (sin) in the Tribulation Age, it is also occurring in the Age of Grace.  Watch out because God is watching, and He will punish sin.

The terrible desolation that took place upon Jerusalem and that is to take place at the end of the world is due to sin.

Jerusalem (Jews) CUT OFF THE MESSIAH, that is, killed Him.  They committed the most heinous of sins:  they rejected God for centuries and eventually killed God’s very own son.  Therefore, Jerusalem was desolated.  There is a critical warning here for all people, saved and unsaved alike, in all ages, sin results in desolation.

NOTE:  Two significant facts.

1) Christ predicted the terrible desolation of Jerusalem.  His words were spoken somewhere about 30 A.D.  The desolation occurred just forty years later in 70 A.D.

2)  Christ has predicted the “abomination of desolation” at the   end of the world (cp. questions of the disciples, Revelation 24:3 and v. 15).  The sign will occur at the appointed time in the Tribulation Age.

This is something of critical importance.

1)  If we interpret “The abomination of desolation” only as historical and Christ meant it to be future as well as historical, we are more likely to miss the sign.

2)  If we interpret the sign only as future, and Christ meant it to be historical as well as future, we will have already missed a significant part of the sign and will not be looking at the past to help us understand the future.

3) Making sure we are accurate in our understanding of the sign is important.  It involves the Lord’s words and the Lord’s people and their testimony.  There may be different interpretations, but each one must humbly secure his understanding bowed in prayer before the Lord.

4)  God’s Word is not a secret; it is a revelation.  It is to be searched, understood, and applied.

Now back to Revelation 11:1-2 and the abomination of desolation.  We have already seen that he will stand in the temple and make proclamation (Matthew 24:15).

Second Thessalonians says the Antichrist will SIT IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD declaring that he is god, that is, that he and the state can meet the needs of man and bring utopia to the world.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). 

The Scriptures we have looked at clearly say that the Antichrist is going to appear in the temple, even in the very holy place of the temple.

This means that the Jews MUST REBUILD THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM before this event can ever happen.  The temple was completely destroyed in 70 A.D.

NOTE:  There are five temples mentioned in Scripture that need to be noted at this point.

  • Solomon’s temple (I Kings 7:1): destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C.
  • Zerubbabel’s temple (Ezra 3:12: he rebuilt the temple after the Babylonian captivity, but it was desecrated to the god of Jupiter by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168-170 B.C.
  • Herod’s temple (John 2:20): this was the temple that existed in the days of our Lord and was so well known to Him.  It was destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D..
  • There are still two future temples yet to be built.

+The temple of the tribulation, the one to be rebuilt during the first three and one-half years of the Antichrist Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 11:1-2).

+The temple of the millennium, the temple of our Lord (Acts 15:16; Ezekiel chapters 40-43).

NOTE:  John is told what to do.  He is instructed to take the rod and measure the temple, the altar, and the worshippers.  If we say that God means for him to mark the Jews in order to preserve and save them, then this means one of two things:

(1) That the temple and its worshippers will be saved and preserved and not destroyed by the Antichrist.  In light of Scriptures we have looked and the attacks of the Antichrist against all that is called God, this is difficult to see (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

(2) That this is a symbolic passage; that there will not necessarily be a true temple rebuilt; what God means is to mark the true Jewish worshipers for protection and for preservation.  There is a serious problem with this position.  It is very difficult to say that the temple, the altar, and the people are not real but rather symbols.  This is especially true when Jerusalem is so strongly pointed to as a real place, the place “where…their Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8).

It seems best to see that God is telling John to measure the temple for judgment and correction.  The Jews are just as guilty as the Gentiles in rejecting God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  They are just as guilty as most others in rebelling against the Lord…

*rejecting Him                                    *denying Him

*disbelieving Him                               *disobeying Him

*cursing Him                                       *ignoring Him

*neglect Him                                       *blaspheming Him

Therefore, God must judge them just as He must judge all the ungodly and evil of this world.  God has no favorites and shows no partiality.  All the ungodly and evil are to be judged in the last days including the ungodly and evil of the Jews.  Therefore, the Jews with their temple and their city will be trodden underfoot by the Antichrist.

We will consider further in our next study additional thoughts concerning certain circumstance and judgment and the   destruction of the tribulation temple.  We trust you will join us next week as we continue through Revelation.

SALVATION

It is a personal belief that there are many around the world who have not heard about God’s Son and how to go to heaven (John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13, Matthew 28:18-20).  Inasmuch as I consider this as true, I would like to take the time to explain how anyone who wants to be saved can absolutely receive God’s Son as their personal Savior.

One of the certainties is that life will end.  But what then?  From the beginning of history, people have wrestled with the problem of death.  They have hoped for something beyond that awful finality.

Christ gives us immeasurably more than a vague hope for an afterlife.  He promised His followers heaven, and then confirmed that promise by His resurrection.

The heaven Jesus spoke about at the Last Supper is a definite place.  A place beyond the reach of sin, suffering, and death.  A place of fellowship with Christ and with all who love Him.  A place of reunion with loved ones.  A place to get acquainted with the spiritual giants of the past.  A place where we can rest in God’s love.  A place of new opportunities to serve Him.

Heaven is a place prepared especially for us (true Christians).  “I go,” Jesus said, “to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).  When friends are coming for a visit, we carefully prepare the guest room, and plan for food and entertainment we know they will like.  Our Lord is doing no less for us!

KNOWING GOD

“If you really knew Me, Jesus said to the disciples, “you would know my Father also, (see John 14:7).  Just before that, He had said, “I am the way…: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (v. 6).

Such exclusiveness does not fit into our modern culture, in which all religions and beliefs are thought to be equally valid.  But Jesus’ statements that He is the only way and the only Savior do fit the viewpoint of the Bible.  The first commandment rejects all gods but the one true God (Exodus 20:3).  The chosen people were required to obey and worship Him alone.

The apostle Paul summed up the faith of the New Testament when he stated, “To us there is but one God, the Father…and one Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 8:6).  And the early Christians died by the thousands rather than acknowledge the emperor as divine or worship the Roman gods.  Our Savior’s message is of one God, one Lord, one faith and one way to God.

POWER FOR DAILY LIVING

Sometimes we wish Jesus were on earth today, healing, teaching, and encouraging.  Yet He said we will do greater works than He Himself did “because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).

When Jesus ascended to heaven, He did not leave His people without hope or power.  He bestowed greater hope and power!  He healed a few people in one tiny country; today His followers are helping multitudes throughout the world.  He worked for three short years; Christians have been doing His works for twenty centuries.  He sometimes spoke to several thousand people; today His message is reaching millions.

How can we do His works and greater things?  Through belief in Him and prayer in His name (see John 14:12,13).  When we trust wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ, we lay hold of the greatest power in the universe.  And when we pray in His name, we open the door for Him to work through us in surprising ways.

Jesus Christ brings us assurance of heaven, fellowship with God, and power for daily living.  Like the disciples, our hearts may be troubled, and sometimes we have many questions.  But the one who, is the Way, grants us peace and answers our questions as we walk daily with Him in faith (Philippians 4:13,19).

Check out John 3:16, Romans 10:9-13 and Matthew 28:18-20 and follow the path to heaven in Romans 10:9-13.  God is waiting to show you just how much He loves you.  Read John 10:7-18 and 27-30 and think about what God is saying to you. Then respond in prayer, thanking God for your Salvation.

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