The 35 Most Asked Prophecy Questions – Program 7
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Renald Showers; ©1995|
|Certain events in the tribulation time take place in a temple that will have been rebuilt in Jerusalem.|
The Temple Rebuilt
- Showers: In a number of our studies thus far, we’ve made some references to a new temple that the people of Israel will have at least by the first half of the seven-year Tribulation period. We note in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that the Apostle Paul referred to the fact that Antichrist in the middle of the Tribulation will walk into that temple and announce that he’s God. He noted in Daniel 9:27 that when Antichrist does that in the middle of the Tribulation, he’ll put a stop to sacrifices and offerings that the Jews will be offering by that time. The Jews will not offer sacrifices and offerings to God without a temple. That implies there will be a temple. We noted in Matthew 24:15 Jesus said to the Jews of the future Tribulation, “When you see the abomination of desolation stand in your holy place.” Jesus, again, was referring to the temple. All these things indicate that the people of Israel, the nation of Israel will have a new temple for at least the first half of the Tribulation period. How does that relate to some of the current trends going on?
- Today, there’s an interesting organization in Jerusalem called The Temple Institute. And scholars and skilled craftsmen, as a result of research, are reproducing, in fact, they’ve already reproduced so many of the instruments of worship that were used in the Old Testament temples of Israel. They’ve reproduced the high priests’ garments. They’ve reproduced the long silver trumpets that were played in the worship services of the Old Testament temples.
- In addition, they have set up a training school where they are taking Jewish men whom they are convinced are physical descendants of the priestly tribe of Israel and they are training them how to perform the ritual and worship of the Old Testament priesthood; even how to perform the animal sacrifices. They want everything ready to go so that when they can build the new temple, everything will be set for the worship that’s there. In addition, there’s a Jewish couple who migrated to Jerusalem from the United States a number of years ago. Through their research they have rediscovered the kinds of harps that were played in the worship services of the Old Testament temples and they’re in the process of reproducing those harps so that those will be available for the new temple. In addition, there is an elderly Jewish woman living in France who has been a professional musician for most of her life and she through intensive research has rediscovered the kind of music that was played in the worship services and that was sung in the worship services of Solomon’s temple and the second temple which Herod eventually had called his temple. And she’s already set some of the Old Testament poetic books such as the Song of Solomon to that temple music. She’s in the process of setting all 150 of the Psalms from the Old Testament to that temple music so that the music will be ready when the temple is built.
- Very interesting to note that it’s just been within the last number of years that all this activity toward a new temple has been taking place and God, through the prophetic Scriptures in Daniel 9:27 and in Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, is making it very clear that Israel will have a new temple during the first half of the Tribulation period. And when Antichrist takes control of Jerusalem in the middle of that Tribulation period, he’s going to confiscate that temple for his purposes and announce that he is God. Interestingly, again, this demonstrates there is a God who knows the end from the beginning that He could foretell even thousands of years ago there would be a temple in this future period of time and we notice how movement in that direction is taking place right now during our present lifetime. So Israel will have a new temple.
- But we also noted that once Antichrist takes charge of that and announces he’s God, he’s going to turn against Israel and begin persecuting it worse than it’s ever been persecuted in all of past history. And one of the reasons is, Satan wants to annihilate the nation of Israel and the Jewish people from the face of the earth. Why does Satan want to do that? Well, the reason is, there’s a program to which God has committed Himself and it’s revealed in the Scriptures in various ways. The program is this. That God will not finally crush Satan and get rid of him and his kingdom rule from planet earth until the people of Israel as a nation repent of their rebellion against God and believe in Jesus Christ as their true Messiah and Savior. To Satan’s way of thinking, “If God will not crush me until Israel repents and believes in Jesus Christ as its Messiah and Savior, if I can totally annihilate Israel, the Jewish people, from the face of the earth before they repent and believe in Jesus, then God will never crush me.” So in light of that, here’s a significant thing that Satan is going to do in the second half of the seven-year Tribulation period.
- In Revelation 16:12-16, the Apostle John records something that’s going to happen when the sixth bowl judgment is poured out upon planet earth, the sixth bowl or vial judgment. Now, this will be the next to the last judgment of the seven-year Tribulation period, so this is what’s going to transpire almost at the very end of the seven-year Tribulation period. John says, Revelation 16:12, “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” The Euphrates River, historically, at least in ancient times, was the major dividing line between most of Asia and the Middle East. It was a natural barrier. Interestingly, it was a natural barrier between the Roman Empire which extended that far east to the Euphrates River, and the Parthian Empire which was east of the Euphrates River. And the Romans were never able to conquer the Parthians. It was a dividing line there. It was always a natural barrier that invading forces against Israel had to cross to come against Israel. The Medo-Persians had to come across that; the Babylonians had to come across that; the Assyrians had to come across the Euphrates River from Asia to come and attack Israel. This prophecy is indicating that right near the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, the Euphrates River is going to be dried up to make it possible for the rulers of Asia, the rulers of the Far East, to march their massive forces west across the Euphrates River to come to the land of Israel. I take it this could include all the Asiatic nations, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and on and on and on you could go. That all the Asiatic forces—Japan, I’m sure, as well, are going to move their armed forces westward across the Euphrates River at the very end of the seven-year Tribulation period to come to the land of Israel. But that’s only the beginning of this particular prophecy.
- Verse 13 of Revelation 16 goes on to say, “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon.” The dragon in the Book of Revelation is clearly identified as Satan. We’re told that, for example, in Revelation 12. “And out of the mouth of the beast”—the beast in Revelation is the Antichrist. We referred to him earlier in Revelation 13, the one who will be worshipped as God. He will blaspheme the true and the living God and will wage war against the saints. “And out of the mouth of the false prophet.” The false prophet will be another man who will be energized and controlled by Satan who will lead the unsaved people of the world in the worship of the Antichrist as God. So here are Satan, his Antichrist and his false prophet near the end of the Tribulation period sending demons out into the world. We’re told in verse 14 of these unclean spirits, “for they are the spirits of devils,” literally of demons. And here’s what these demons will do. They’ll be working miracles. “They go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Verse 16, “And he.” Now, the Greek literally has a force of “they,” referring to these demons, “And they gathered them,” they gathered the rulers of the nations of the world together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. What John has revealed to him here is this. Almost at the end of the Tribulation period Satan, his Antichrist and his false prophet are going to use demons, demonic influence, to persuade the rulers of all the Gentile nations of the world, all the Gentile nations without exception, to bring their combined military forces into the Middle East to the land of Israel, including the kings of the East, the Asiatic kings, but all the Gentile nations from all the rest of the world as well to the land of Israel. One of the major reasons that Satan will want the combined military might of the Gentile world gathered there in Israel by the end of the Tribulation period will be to be his tool to try to annihilate the nation of Israel from the Middle East before it can repent and believe in the Lord Jesus so that God will not crush him.
- When you study the Prophet Zechariah, chapters 12-14, this same gathering of the Gentile armies of the world to the land of Israel is very graphically described for us. Zechariah 12:1, “The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, says the Lord, which stretches forth the heavens and layeth the foundation of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him, Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem, and in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people, all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” And then he goes on to describe how these Gentile armies of the world will wage war against Judah. And when we come to chapter 14, verse 1, “Behold, the Day of the Lord comes, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee, for I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle and the city shall be taken and the houses rifled and the women ravished and half of the city shall go forth into captivity and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
- Now, you might be saying, But now, wait a minute, this passage has God saying He’s going to gather the nations of the world into the land of Israel against Judah and against the city of Jerusalem. But we saw earlier in Revelation 16 that Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet are going to use demons to gather the nations there. Isn’t that a contradiction? No. Both are true. Both God and Satan will play a role in bringing those forces there but for different purposes. Satan will bring them there for one reason: to try to annihilate Israel before it can repent so that God will not crush him. But God will bring them there as well to be His instrument to break Israel’s stubborn rebellion against Him and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior. And so while these armies are there decimating the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem and, by the way, the last couple of verses of Zechariah 13:8,9 make it very clear that things will be so terrible for the people of Israel that two-thirds of the Jews will perish very shortly from the face of the earth. Only one-third of them will survive what in scope will be the worst holocaust that Israel has ever experienced in all of history. But when Israel is backed to the wall with every other nation on the face of the earth fighting against it and it looks as if they’re about ready to be annihilated, God, through this tremendous pressure, will bring them to repentance; will break their stubborn rebellion against Him.
- And so according to Zechariah 12:10, when the Lord Jesus will come out of Heaven in His glorious Second Coming, at this point, at this worst hour in Israel’s history, this is what the Messiah will say of the one-third remnant of Jews that are left. In the middle of verse 10 of Zechariah 12: “They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only Son and shall be in bitterness for Him as one that is in bitterness for his first born.” He’s describing here that when the one-third remnant of Jews see the glorified Christ come out of Heaven and it dawns upon them that the very One whom their nation had crucified centuries earlier was indeed after all their true Messiah and Savior, they will repent. The word repent means “a change of mind.” They’ll go through a radical change of mind with regard to God and Jesus Christ. They’ll stop the rebellion against God. They will receive Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior.
- And according to chapter 13, verse 1 of Zechariah, God says, “In that day, there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” In response to their repentance, God will wash away the sins, will cleanse the people of Israel from their sins and will save them and then, according to Zechariah 14:3, now that Israel has repented, we read in Zechariah 14:3, “Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations as when He fought in the day of battle, and His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives” and the rest of chapter 14 describes how the Lord Jesus, now that Israel has repented, will destroy the rulers and armies of the world that are gathered there. And this parallels with what John recorded in Revelation 19, beginning at verse 11 and going to the end of the chapter. When Christ comes out of Heaven, here will be the Antichrist, the false prophet, the rulers and armies of all the Gentile nations gathered there in Israel, and Christ at that time will wage war against them. John tells us that in Revelation 19 and He will destroy these godless forces and then, according to Revelation 20, Satan will be bound; will be cast into the bottomless pit where he’ll be held as a prisoner of God throughout the thousand-year Millennium, and according to Zechariah 14:9, “The Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord and His name one.” Jesus, having crushed totally Satan and his forces in light of Israel repenting, Jesus will then take over the rule of the earth on behalf of God and as the last Adam, will be King over all the earth for the next one thousand years for the honor and the glory of God.