What Unparalled Global Events Does the Bible Predict Will Encompass the World in the Future? – Program 4
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. Zola Levitt, Dr. Randy Price, Peter LeLonde, Dr. Dave Breese; ©1995|
|The Bible indicates there will be a temple standing in Jerusalem during the tribulation. How near are we to seeing that temple being rebuilt?|
Today, on The John Ankerberg Show: “What Unparalleled Global Events Does the Bible Predict Will Encompass the World in the Future?”
- Dr. David Breese: We have the Rapture of the Church and then the world drops into the very, very dark abyss of the Tribulation. The Tribulation sees the rise of Antichrist, the establishment of world government and world religion; and then the Antichrist decides that the irritant to his total power is this faint memory of the existence of God as represented by Jerusalem, Israel. So he initiates a global war against Israel.
- Peter Lalonde: We’ve got to recognize the world in which the Antichrist arises. First of all, you’ve had the Rapture take place. Millions of people have vanished off the face of the earth and while we’ve been debating that subject, maybe we’ve sometimes forgotten what that event really is like. People have watched family members disappear. Children have vanished off the face of the earth. You’re sitting with your wife—she’s gone. It is going to drive the world insane.
- Dr. Randall Price: Now, for the first time in 2000 years we see Jews. Maybe it’s a minority, maybe it’s a handful of Jews, but though that minority can be a very vocal and demonstrable minority, they are preparing to rebuild the temple.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Do you find it significant that we have the peace conference going on?
- Dr. Zola Levitt: Absolutely! Look, what would you say, what would any of us say, if the headline tomorrow morning is: “Here’s a new idea. We’ll let the Israelis have their temple worship. An amazing suggestion has come up. We can move the Dome of the Rock lovingly, carefully, to Mecca, Medina, Damascus, and by the way, the Israelis said they’re a little uncomfortable. They would sign for seven years.” That’s the ball game.
- Lalonde: CNN will go to immediate worldwide coverage. You know that there are going to be people just glued to their TV sets trying to figure out what’s taken place in this world. There will be chaos and confusion.
Ankerberg: My guests today are four of the premier teachers on biblical prophecy in the United States. They are: Dr. Zola Levitt, Host of “Zola Levitt Presents,” Peter Lalonde, President of “This Week in Bible Prophecy,” Dr. Randall Price, author of In Search of Temple Treasures, and Dr. David Breese, speaker on “The King Is Coming.” We invite you to join us.
Program 4: What Unparalleled Global Events Does the Bible Predict Will Encompass the World in the Future? – Will the Temple Be Rebuilt in Jerusalem in the Near Future?
- Ankerberg: Welcome! Welcome! We’re here in beautiful Dallas, Texas, and we have some of the most popular and authoritative ministers and writers and authors on biblical prophecy that we have in the States. And we’re glad that you’ve joined us, because we’re talking about such an important topic.
- We’re talking about what Jesus and the apostles said about that time period when Jesus would come back to planet earth. Many of you might not be familiar with what Jesus said.
- He said, “I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself,” talking to those who are believers. And then He said certain events are going to take place; the Tribulation time period. And it’s very interesting.
- And, Randall, I’d like to come to you, because part of your Ph.D. dissertation was on this. In 2 Thessalonians 2 we find these words from the apostle Paul about a charismatic world figure that will come on the world scene during this Tribulation period after the Rapture takes place—the beast, the Antichrist, the political leader and so on. And it says that “he sets himself up” in God’s temple and commits blasphemy by proclaiming himself to be God. The book of Revelation says the world is going to worship this man, alright? But where I want to stop at is this: if he’s going to go into the temple, there’s got to be a temple in Israel. Right now, there isn’t any temple, but what are you hearing in Israel?
- Price: Let me just preface my words by saying, “There must be a temple.” The Scriptures are firm on that, both from the Old Testament and the New Testament. And that very passage you mentioned—that that temple of God must stand—and there’s never been a time in history in which the events those events speak of have been fulfilled. So we’re looking definitely to a future act.
- Now, for the first time in 2000 years we see Jews, maybe it’s a minority, maybe it’s a handful of Jews, but though that minority can be a very vocal and demonstrable minority, they are preparing to rebuild the temple. We have the divine promise that is always in Scripture that a temple would be rebuilt accompanied with thousands of years of Jewish prayers that would see the temple rebuilt. And so this is a coming as a physical fulfillment of the spiritual aspiration: that the temple, which is the center of Israeli faith, the center of national sovereignty, the center of all of the promises of God for their future: that all the nations of the world would come and worship God at the temple; that His temple would be a house of prayer for all people. This is part of that promise.
- And so today we have a Temple Institute who are preparing vessels, useable vessels, qualified vessels for a third temple. We have a Temple Mount Yeshiva, activists who are seeking to try to motivate, or shall we say compel, the government of Israel to hear the demands of the Jewish people and see some type of action allowing Jews to worship openly on the Temple Mount which was promised at the very beginning in ‘67 when it was turned back to the Muslim authorities—that it would be a place of plural worship. And then, we have other groups, such as Atara L’yoshna, who are training a group of priests for priestly duty. Even though a temple doesn’t stand, their conviction is so strong that the temple will be rebuilt in their generation that they’re preparing people for that act.
- We have other types, the Sanhedrin Institute; we have actually the Chambers of the Sanhedrin built adjacent to the Temple Mount up at Yeshiva Hydra, that is under the auspices of Rabbi Shlomo Goren. And here is a 71-seat auditorium overlooking the Temple Mount in which they believe one day will be part of the third temple, part of that administrative district. So many things like this. As well as Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, this priestly school; others who are trying to buy land adjacent to the Temple Mount. First time in history this kind of thing has been possible and has been seen to the degree it is. So it’s actually a very important thing, because those who are involved in that do not believe that this is simply a trivial event, simply a reactionary or some type of lunatic fringe. They believe they are fulfilling the dictates of Scripture and that this ultimately must go forward and climax in the actual rebuilding of the temple.
- Ankerberg: Zola, you’ve been back and forth to Israel quite a bit and have been there recently again. How close do you think the Jews are to rebuilding the temple?
- Levitt: If only the site were clear, they would start today. And everything Randall has cited along with the terrific enthusiasm of the people, you know, “lunatic fringe,” he says. So was Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah. That’s what it takes. If you read their stories carefully, people were saying to these luminaries: “Are you crazy! We’re at war with the Samaritans. What are you doing?” They were fighting with an army. A sword in one hand and a brick in the other trying to rebuild the holy city and the temple and the wall and so on. That is the attitude today. It’s a fine attitude. The people that carried this stone to the wall back in 1990, they ignited a terrific problem, but they made a point, by gosh. There are some Jews who are going to go ahead and fulfill this thing if they can.
- On the other hand, there’s God’s timing, you know. There’s so many people out there trying to help a forgetful God fulfill His prophecies. We’ve always seen this happen. People tried to burn the Dome of the Rock, to bomb it. There’s quite a bit of security up there because everybody is aware it’s in a fishy place. It was put there on purpose.
- Ankerberg: Alright, Dr. Breese, what is the problem here? We’ve got, before that temple can be rebuilt, something else has to happen, which all the Arabs in the world have a vested interest. Tell us about it.
- Breese: Yes. I would not want to have the insurance policy on the Dome of the Rock these last couple of years, especially during the war with Iraq in the Desert Storm thing. What if one of those SCUD missiles took a left turn and went down the chimney of the Dome of the Rock? That would have been an exciting international catastrophe. Well, there is a discussion as to the exact, I mean, within a few feet location of the old temple, the second temple and the holy of holies, and there’s been a suggestion made which I think to be provocative and that is that there’s enough of a separation so that, given an ecumenical atmosphere taking over the world, someone might suggest we leave the Dome of the Rock, put a temple up over here, and put a church up over here so we would have the three great monolithic religions of the world all in a conglomerate worshipful relationship on the Temple Mount. I do not think that there’s much of a Chinaman’s chance that that is going to happen but it is interesting to hear it said.
- I would throw one other thing in, too, that I think it’s well to remember. That temple will be built during the days of the Tribulation and will represent a revival of Judaism, the Jews’ religion. Jesus spoke about that and said, “There shall be great tribulation,” and then He said, “Pray that your journey be not on the Sabbath day.” And He was referring to that day of the Tribulation.
- Now, this demonstrates the fact that you have a different economy, different spiritual economy, that takes over that precipitates the rise of the temple and it shows that the Church is not here. Would Jesus say, would anybody say to this generation, “Pray that your journey be not on the Sabbath”? No, there is no Sabbath for the Church.
- Paul said, “I’m afraid of you lest I bestowed labor on you in vain because you observe days and seasons.”
- So every day is the Sabbath. But there will be a reinstitution of the Sabbath, of the Sabbath day’s journey, all of which will be a conglomerate of that temple program, so that it will not be the building of the temple, just some little group saying, “Let’s get it up overnight before they tear it down,” but it will be a massive human representation of what God is now saying is the faith for the whole world that you have to believe. And that is, in my opinion, what is being formed now, those convictions.
- Ankerberg: Randy, after the Gulf War there was a lot of speculation about where the temple should be rebuilt. Since that time, you know that they’ve done more research and now they’ve come to some definite conclusions. Tell us about what has been done in Israel, what they found out, and now where that leaves us.
- Price: Well, excavation on the Temple Mount itself is impossible, so definite archaeological locations can’t really be understood. But what has happened is there have been a number of those who are archaeologists in Israel, particularly one man, Lee Ritmeyer, who is the chief engineer, actually, the architect of all those excavations. I’ve been in correspondence with him. He lives in England. And he wrote his doctorate dissertation at the University of Manchester on the location of the temple. He bases his conclusions on not actually being able to find out where the temple sat but where the platform that the temple sat on was located. And he believes, based on existing structures that are there, that it stood at the place where the Dome of the Rock is today.
- Now, there are others, such as Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who is the former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, the first man actually to pray at the Western Wall. He actually had control of the Temple Mount for an entire month before it was turned back to the Muslim authorities. He sent an army corps of engineers out to survey the site. Based on his surveys, both above and below ground, he believes that the Dome of the Rock is at the place of the altar in the temple. Either place, you’re very close, and they believe the Dome of the Rock is situated at a holy site.
- There have been others proposed both to the north and to the south, but they do not have the same kind of evidence or substantiation. So, we come down to the same problem: if a temple is going to be rebuilt, unless we have some kind of amazing ecumenical atmosphere that removes the essential barrier between Islam and Judaism and Christianity—and that seems like there would have to be an amazing delusion to bring that to pass—the Dome of the Rock will have to be removed in order for the temple to be rebuilt. Of course, that’s the controversy today over that site and ultimately the thing that will precipitate the final war.
- Ankerberg: You showed me some plans that somehow, if the Dome of the Rock went down, how long would it take them to get a working temple up?
- Price: The estimation that I have heard from the people who actually have drawn the blueprints is six months. Now, that’s a functioning temple. That’s given the fact that they had a qualified priesthood to officiate and they can cleanse the site properly and everything else. But six months is not a long time to begin that. Ultimately, to continue building on that temple even as in the time of the second time in the time of Jesus, it went from before Jesus’ birth until almost its destruction.
- Ankerberg: Peter, what do you make of all of this excitement about the temple and, also, the Ark of the Covenant has come up quite a few times?
- Lalonde: Well, first of all, it’s a sign of the times in which we live. Here we sit in a world that has so many problems, so many crises; a new world order being born, a new international economic system, a new world military force, most recently in Haiti, coming to fruition. And yet, there’s this tiny piece of rock over in the Middle East, off the beaten path of anything that has any strategic significance recently in our world today, and the world’s attention is being drawn back to there. I think it’s a sign of this is where God is interacting with the world. And God is not letting the fact be forgotten that Israel is the center of prophetic developments in the last day.
- You know, I remember back at the time of the Gulf War that Dave mentioned, you had all of the nations of the world gathering together in Kuwait. All the focus was there. There was all the build-up and then our attention was moved for a brief period of time when Gershon Salomon and the Temple Mount Faithful went to place the rock up by the Temple Mount. They attempted to go up there; down come the rocks from above. Nineteen people killed. And the world’s attention is pulled away from—you know, we were full CNN coverage—back to Israel. It’s the one thing that could take our attention away from there because this is the spark, I think, of Armageddon.
- Scripture says Jerusalem shall be a burdensome stone. Perhaps the Temple Mount is that very stone that is going to be the great burden. This is the center of where everything is going to unfold. And when you go to Israel and you see it there, it is not a substantial piece of land. It’s not like the Rocky Mountains here in Canada or the United States. This is just a small area, yet it is the center of what God is dealing in this time.
- Ankerberg: Steven Spielberg did a piece where he had the Ark of the Covenant in one of his movies. Why? Refresh for people who don’t know what the Ark of the Covenant is, Randall, what it is, why it’s important and the fact is, what’s the speculation of the rabbis there in Jerusalem?
- Price: Well, the Ark of the Covenant, first, was, in a sense, a touch point between heaven and earth, because when the Garden of Eden was part of the whole biblical scenario, man was cast from the Garden. He had no way to come back to God. We come to the Exodus. We find God coming about to bring man into His presence. And so at Mount Sinai we had the command given that He would build a tabernacle and the first vessel commanded to be put in that tabernacle. In fact, the reason the tabernacle and later the temple were built was to house that item. It was the Ark of the Covenant.
- That was to be a very unique place where God would meet with man. His presence would actually physically dwell on earth with man and that way that nation should be constituted a holy nation, a holy priesthood, and they could say wherever they were on the earth: If you want to find the true God, where is He? He is between the wings of the cherubim in the temple in Jerusalem. And so Jerusalem became the center of the earth, the spiritual focal point, as ultimately the Ark was moved and installed within the first temple.
- And the Ark has within it those precious items which were part of the history of the Jewish people. If it has, as Jewish tradition says, the actual five books that Moses wrote, the Torah, it has the title deed to the land of Israel contained within the Abrahamic covenant, as well as other items, such as the Mosaic Law, which was that promise and covenant with God. So, it constitutes that single-most important point in Israel’s history; the fact that they contained the land of Israel—they have the promise of that. And if indeed, as these rabbis believe, the Ark of the Covenant is underneath the Temple Mount in a secret chamber believed to be the Holy of Holies, if that were found, it would actually establish that claim of sovereignty over that site and, again, precipitate….
- Ankerberg: Also, you couldn’t put the Ark of the Covenant into a museum. Where do you put it?
- Price: Well, it couldn’t go into a synagogue or a museum. Only within a holy place that would demand the rebuilding of the temple. Now, the rabbis who have jurisdiction over this site, particularly one rabbi—Rabbi Meir Yehuda Getz—they believe very fervently they know exactly where the Ark of the Covenant is. They claim it is based on Jewish tradition and excavation which they undertook in 1980 and 1981. They did not get to the Ark of the Covenant, but they believe they confirmed, based on topographical, geographical types of evidence, that they have found that subterranean chamber. Whether or not they have, the claim itself is enough to try to motivate the government to do something about it or to provoke the Arabs to do something as well. Again, a center of controversy on the Temple Mount.
- Ankerberg: Zola, if the rabbis brought the Ark of the Covenant out, what would happen in Israel?
- Levitt: Oh, my! You know, you have two Israels like you have two Americas. Really and truly, there’s a spiritual side and there is a secular side. I can hear people on the secular side saying, “Don’t make trouble. We’re just getting things organized.” But the spiritual people would—-oh, this would rally the nation—well, in a way that would provoke world reaction. It’s amazing how secular people look at Israel.
- Randall mentioned the rocks coming down on the worshippers at the Wall. Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes characterized this was the Israelis’ fault. I don’t know how you jump up until your head hits a rock. And it was a scandal. It was studied out by David Bar-Illan of the Jerusalem Post. The sources were distorted. They did not interview any Israelis and so on. I’m making a point, not just to single that out. It’s day and night, the bias against Israel.
- But if the Ark of the Covenant came down the street, half of the world would say, “Look at the crazy Jews and now they’re going to get that slaughter-house religion of theirs going.” It will somehow be turned around to give the Antichrist his votes, you know. And this idea is characteristic, too, of put the buildings up there together, the world wants ecumenism. This actually was predicted in history in a funny way.
- After the temple destruction in 70 A.D., the emperor Hadrian built the temple of Jupiter up there on that site, a Roman house, to keep the Jews away. A final solution to the Jewish problem. The Muslims rode up in the seventh century. By this time the Roman Empire and its temples had deteriorated and, of course, there was nothing but pillars standing. But they put their Dome of the Rock on those pillars. The Romans were pretty good builders and their pillars were reliable. Finally, the Christians came from Europe teaching love and lopping off heads and English and Scandinavian soldiers riding through Jerusalem and they captured the thing and they thought it was Solomon’s temple—what they found there—the Dome of the Rock. It was an awesome example of failing to read your Old Testament. And they stuck a cross on the thing to make a church. And now you had a Christian cross on a Muslim dome on Roman pillars on Jewish land.
- Ankerberg: Dr. Breese, give the broad scenario from A to Z here. Start with the Rapture. What does the Bible say is going to happen? And the fact is, we’ve been talking about this terrible time period of the Tribulation. Let’s get to the end of that; and the wonderful news that Jesus Christ is going to come back and He’s going to rescue Israel. Why?
- Breese: John, I would sound one note in the beginning that might be a word of caution. If the Ark of the Covenant were discovered, how would we know it’s the Ark of the Covenant? If a piece of evidence according to law were not in the constant custodianship of responsible people so they knew where it was 100 percent of the time, they could never be sure that the same evidence of research B is the evidence that is set down in research A. Do I make my point, in other words? So, the caution I would say is, let’s not tie too much of the cosmic destiny of the world into the discovery of a commodity whose certification would be very obscure, okay?
- Ankerberg: Yes. Even if it was false, I think that it would still cause a commotion that would be unbelievable…
- Breese: Definitely.
- Ankerberg: …but I agree with you, you’ve got to check out—how do we know that we’ve got the original idea?
- Breese: That’s right.
- Ankerberg: Put all of this speculation, if you will, into real events and then put those real events into the biblical scenario for us.
- Breese: So we Christians should not be beguiled into too much confidence, because we have the greater confidence, the Lord Himself and the Spirit in our hearts.
- Now, in answer to your question, delayed for just a moment, we have the Rapture of the Church and then the world drops into the very, very dark abyss of the Tribulation. The Tribulation sees the rise of Antichrist, the establishment of world government and world religion. And then the Antichrist decides that the irritant to his total power is this faint memory of the existence of God as represented by Jerusalem, Israel. So he initiates a global war against Israel, and that war, interestingly enough, is concluded by rescue from Heaven. It opens up and there’s a mighty army that comes down from Heaven. John describes it in Revelation 19 saying, “And I saw the heavens opened and one rode forth riding on a white horse and he comes with ten thousands of his saints.”
- Let’s remember that when Jesus comes in His glorious return, we are coming back with Him. I’m not sure how many equestrians we have in the crowd today, but everybody should learn to ride, because we will be a part of that returning and victorious army. And so that marvelous triumph will show that “Jesus shall reign wher-e’er the sun does his successive journeys run.”
- So the conclusion for our purposes here, I would advise everyone: Get on the winning side. Join now with that Wonderful One who will one day rule in all of history. We get on His side now by faith, receiving Him and accepting the Gospel—that He died for our sins, rose again; by faith in Him we have life eternal. And then, the events of which we have spoken, we will be close to, but we will be looking on them from Heaven as very interested onlookers rather than threatened participants. To receive Christ now is a marvelous thing. Those who believe the Gospel of the Kingdom during the Tribulation will be genuinely saved, but many of them will be beheaded for the witness of Jesus; pay with their lives, their voices cry to God for vengeance. So, the lesson of it all is, come to Christ; do it now while there’s still time.
- Ankerberg: Thank you. We’re going to next week take up the questions from our folks here in the audience. Hopefully, it’s the question you would like to ask our distinguished panel and I hope that you’ll join us then.