Is Israel Ready to Rebuild the Temple? – Program 6
| October 2, 2013 |
|By: Dr. Randall Price, Dave Hunt, Dr. Dave Breese; ©1993|
|The panel answers audience questions, including what Christians should be doing to facilitate building the third temple.|
Questions From the Audience
- John Ankerberg: Today on the John Ankerberg Show, are the Jewish people ready to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem? If they were to begin building this year, what political shockwaves would it cause the nations in the Middle East? And where would the erection of the third temple place us on the prophetic calendar of events predicted in the Bible? In a previous program, I asked this question of Dr. Gleason Archer, one of the premier Hebrew teachers in our country.
- John Ankerberg: If you heard, Dr. Archer, that they were going to start rebuilding the temple next week, according to your Bible chronology, what would that say to you?
- Dr. Gleason Archer: I’d say that the tribulation is very near.
- Ankerberg: Gershon Salomon is the leader and chairman of the Temple Mount Movement in Israel. On October 8, 1990, he led a procession of Jewish people and attempted to bring the cornerstone for the third temple to the temple mount. It caused a riot that drew worldwide attention and resulted in the United Nations condemning Israel for this event and Saddam Hussein firing SCUD missiles against Israel during the Gulf War. But, concerning the rebuilding of the temple, Gershon Salomon confidently states:
- Gershon Salomon: And I have no doubt that you and I, we shall see the Ark of the Covenant in the middle of the third temple on the temple mount in Jerusalem very soon—in our life.
- Ankerberg: Randall Price is one of the authors of the new book, Ready to Rebuild. He has worked many years in Jerusalem and is finishing his PhD in Hebrew studies at the University of Texas. This is what he warns:
- Randall Price: The rebuilding of the temple, and even the temple mount itself, has the potential to ignite a conflagration in the Middle East of proportions of a third world war.
- Ankerberg: When will the third Jewish temple be built? What problems lie ahead for Israel? What significance does this event have to biblical prophecy? My guests who will be answering these questions are: Dr. David Breese, Dave Hunt, and Randall Price. We invite you to join us.
- Ankerberg: Welcome. Is there evidence that the Jewish people are now planning to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem? As we’ve seen in past weeks, the answer is yes. They also know for sure the place where the third temple must be built. Due to archaeological excavations, they know it must be built in Jerusalem on the temple mount right over the site where the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim mosque, now sits. We have talked about what would have to take place before the Jews could rebuild their temple on that site. In today’s program, my three guests are going to field questions from the audience concerning the rebuilding of the temple, and specifically, what does the Bible teach will happen when Christ returns to earth and establishes His thousand year rule. I’d like you to listen as we now go to Kansas City and join our program already in progress.
- Audience: Yeah, we’d been talking earlier about rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem, and Randall Price, I know you had some important thoughts on this. My question is: What should the Christian response be to the efforts to rebuild the temple?
- Price: Good. First, we need to always keep in mind the distinction between God’s program for the Church and God’s program for Israel. So this is a Jewish endeavor. The promises concerning the temple relate to Israel. Ultimately, all believers will be involved in the millennial temple. But the temple that is coming is coming from the people who are returning to the land in unbelief. It is in that state of unbelief that they will build the temple. And so, while in a sense we ought to pray the general pray: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They will prosper who love thee.” We ought to pray, “Thy kingdom come” in the sense that ultimately God will bring His kingdom and we need to pray that God will use all of these events in His program.
- We need to be careful not to support this with money, with contributions, and welcome without any kind of discernment those who are Jewish representatives representing the rebuilding of the temple. And this has been something that has been happening on a very widespread way in Christian organizations. There have been those who have given money; actually built buildings for some of these organizations. I have known of some of the leaders of these movements who come into churches and be welcomed and applauded for their efforts and given many platforms and yet it is these same people who are opposing Jewish believers in the land of Israel and whose efforts stand in direct opposition to Christianity. So we need to be very careful. Yes, God will use some of these efforts to bring about His ultimate purpose and we ought to support the Jewish people in prayer and God’s purpose of redemption. We ought not to be involved with these things personally and with our finances.
- Audience: In Romans 11 when it speaks of “after the fullness of the Gentiles that all Israel will be saved,” I just wonder if there is a consensus of opinion among all three of you. Does that mean all the Jewish and Palestinians and Israel, or just exactly what does it mean?
- Hunt: I’ll speak first on it. You addressed all three of us. Dave, I think it was, was saying earlier, the good news: how wonderful it is that when Messiah appears, Israel will be reborn. “Replace the heart of stone with a heart of flesh.” I don’t remember whether it was Randy or Dave quoting that Scripture. That’s wonderful news.
- But you better get saved now. You better turn to your Messiah now. Because Jesus said, “He who endures to the end shall be saved.” And it’s going to only be those Jews who have survived Armageddon. It’s a horrible destruction. And those who happen to have survived this destruction and they’re the remnant who are left alive when the Messiah returns to rescue them, they will see Him; “they will look on Him whom they have pierced.” They will believe in Him. But I wouldn’t risk my chances of surviving that far into Armageddon. I think you ought to come to the Messiah now and trust in Him. I think that’s what it means. All Israel will be saved, not everybody, but all of those who are alive at the time that the Messiah appears and they look on Me whom they have pierced, God says, and they will turn to Him. Zechariah 12:13-14.
- Breese: I would second the motion by emphasizing the importance of believing in Christ now. If you believe in Christ now, you are a member of the Body of Christ. Those who are saved during the tribulation are not members of the Body of Christ. They are members of Israel that will have a kingdom in this world forever and ever. So, in a sense, we’ve got to keep in mind the Jews get the world; the Christians get the universe. And that comes by accepting Christ now, becoming a member of His Body, and then being translated at the rapture from here to heaven whereas the gospel of the kingdom promises that faith in Christ as Messiah will bring you into that kingdom which will be the Davidic kingdom forever and ever in this world. But the price to pay during the tribulation will be a terrible one.
- Hunt: So it’s both Jew and Gentile who can come to Christ and be in the Church right now.
- Price: Let me add that not only was there a promise made to Israel of a believing remnant being saved, but also to Egypt and to others. Isaiah makes it clear that one day Egypt will be called “my people,” and Assyria will be called “my people,” just as He calls Israel “my people.” And so that invitation is not only extended to Jewish people, but also to all people, even those who are now in opposition to the plan of God through Israel. God has His plan to include all of those in this wonderful purpose of salvation.
- Ankerberg: Dave Breese, run that by us again in terms of the two economies, and then get us into the millennium. Who goes in? What happens?
- Breese: Well, this is the day of grace when I believe the gospel of Christ, which is the finished work on the cross, I am instantly and eternally saved from the eternal penalty of sin. Salvation has three phases: Salvation from the penalty of sin; from the power of sin; finally, from the very presence of sin. But at any rate, when I believe the gospel of the grace of God I have life everlasting. I am a member of the Body of Christ. The members of the Body of Christ will be taken from this world at the rapture, at which time the Body of Christ will no longer be in the world.
- So the gospel being preached is not “believe and become a member of the Body of Christ” during the tribulation, it is rather, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” the gospel of the kingdom.” Those who accept the Lord at that time, they will move into the kingdom which lasts for eternity in a cleansed world, but they will not be the heirs of the universe. That is a marvelous privilege that is indigenous to the Christian.
- I was going to say one more thing. There’s a cult going in the United States that says, “Believe in us and our message and all the promises God made to Israel will devolve upon you in that you are a part of this thing that we have.” I won’t give you the name, but the initial are the Worldwide Church of God. Now, I will give you one verse in the New Testament better than all the promises of the Old Testament put together: Romans 8:32: “He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us” what? “All things.” And what is “all things”? It is this world, it is this universe, it is everything that God has created and this universe or any possible universe belong to us as Christians. It is fantastic to be a Christian today. The best deal the God makes with anybody in all the history of the universe is what He makes to us now: The free gift of salvation as a result of which the universe is ours.
- Ankerberg: Okay, if a Jewish person right now accepts the gospel, what is he?
- Breese: They are no longer a Jew, nor a Gentile. You join a new race when you accept Christ. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, but you are a member of the Body of Christ” and to be a member of the Body of Christ for any Jew is a far better situation than simply to be a Jew. And so what are they now? They are the sons of God. And the sons of God inherit all that God shall ever make.
- Ankerberg: What about those that have become Christians that are Jewish believers but still want to hold onto the Law?
- Breese: Well, that’s a mistake on their part. Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us as it is written: Cursed is everyone that hangeth on the tree.” We are delivered from the Law.
- And by the way, that is what the Church needs to discover today. They want to keep the law, whatnot. They are selling the gospel short, because the gospel says when you believe on Jesus Christ, the One that fulfilled the law on your behalf on Calvary’s cross, all that He is and all that He has done applies to you; “and there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” We are free from the law. Do not think that you gain spirituality by practicing the law, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walked not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” That’s the law of Jesus Christ. It’s a terrific thing to be a Christian, and you are delivered from Moses’ law and you are made a part of the economy Christ.
- Ankerberg: And those that believe in Christ at this time, whether it be Gentile or Jew, are raptured and they go to heaven. During this tribulation period, those that believe in the gospel, the message of the kingdom, are not going straight to heaven. What happens to them and when does that period start?
- Breese: Well, that’s explained in Romans 4, talking about Abraham. The promise that he should be the heir of the world was “not to Abraham or his seed through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” Abraham is the heir of the world and a Davidic kingdom will be set up forever in this world and its heir will be the Jews. The Jews inherit the earth.
- What happens when a person believes the gospel today? They are taken up at the rapture. They come back at the end of the tribulation to rule with Christ. They are the conquerors of the Antichrist. They’re a part of that army that comes back, and they shall reign in eternity with Him. But right now, when a person becomes a Christian, he is no longer a Jew, no longer a Gentile, he’s a son of God.
- Ankerberg: Okay, when Christ comes back with those that have been raptured as well as those that now believe in the kingdom, we have this millennial time period. When does it start? What is it? Define terms again.
- Breese: Alright. The millennial reign of Christ is the thousand year reign which begins at His glorious return. When He comes back for His glorious return, He doesn’t catch people up out of the world but He comes back to establish His kingdom. He reigns in that kingdom for a thousand years. That is also, as to its hegemony, the leadership, particularly a Jewish proposition. Christ will reign from the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be the capital of the world one day. That’s why we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem today. He will reign and during that thousand year reign people will be required to believe in Him. The righteousness of the law will be imposed upon the world.
- Now, Christians during that period of time can reign with Christ in this world, but if they would like to they could go have a picnic on the Pleiades. They are no longer limited to anything. The universe belongs to them. They can travel with the speed of thought to anywhere. It’s fantastic. Whereas, believers in the gospel of the kingdom are limited to that kingdom which is eternal but it’s also earthly.
- Hunt: Now, can I just add something to this? The millennium is not the ultimate kingdom.
- Breese: That’s right.
- Hunt: It very clearly says that, “Of His kingdom and peace there shall be no end.” The millennium ends in a thousand years with a war. I like to say to Jehovah’s Witnesses, you know, you see on the street holding their Awake magazine or whatever: “Hey, how are you guys going to get into the kingdom? You know, you call it Kingdom Hall. You’re not going to do it in those bodies.”
- Paul said, 1 Corinthians 15, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”
- Jesus said in John 3, you can’t even see it much less enter into it unless you’re born again, alright? So the kingdom is ultimately the new universe with God reigning supreme into which sin will nevermore dwell.
- Sin comes into the millennial kingdom when Satan is released. The millennial kingdom, it’s a visible manifestation up to that point of what God wants to do, but man is not willing to accept it—the final proof of the incorrigible nature of the human heart. It’s the final proof that all the theories of the sociologists and the psychologists and so forth are false: If we could just have a perfect environment, you know. If there weren’t any more temptations, and so forth. So Satan is locked up; righteousness reigns. It’s imposed. Christ Himself is here, and when Satan is released, he deceives the nations. Wait. Everybody’s back in the Garden of Eden. Everybody! And when Satan comes, just like he deceived Eve, he deceives them, all those who do not have a new heart—this relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
- It’s like the communists used to say, you know. Communism says, “Hey, we’ll put a new suit of clothes on everybody. Put you in a new house and a beautiful new environment.” Jesus says, “Big deal. You’ve still got the same rascals living inside those suits.” Jesus says, “I’ll put a new man inside of every suit where that man gives his heart to me and allows me to reign.” Now, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a new suit or shabby clothes or whatever, what counts is the heart—not on the outside. So you’re going to have a perfect reign of righteousness, a perfect environment that doesn’t change the human heart. Ultimately the kingdom is the reign of God over the universe forever and ever and that’s “a new heavens and a new earth.”
- Ankerberg: People want to know, if you start off that millennium with all believers, then why is it that sin comes in and we have another war at the end?
- Hunt: Well, you’ve got children born. It talks about children through that period of time.
- Breese: It’s really proof, is it not, that refutes the statement: If I could just see Jesus and meet Him, I’d believe in Him.” The world will see Him; the world will be in His physical presence, but they still do not believe in their hearts; and therefore, at the end of the millennium, even though Christ has reigned physically in the world, there are a lot of godless people who are quick to accept the deal of the devil where he says, “Hey, be autonomous. Make your own universe.” And that’s the reason for the last battle.
- Ankerberg: And how does that battle end?
- Breese: That battle ends with God in the end of His patience. Remember, the love of God is eternal, but the patience of God is not. “My Spirit shall not always strive with men,” the Bible says. At the end of God’s patience He sends down fire from heaven. In other words, He makes short work of the whole thing. That fire comes down from heaven, consumes, that is, in the sense of cleansing the world; kills all of those in rebellion against Him. And there will be a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. None of these things will ever be allowed to happen again.