Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mystery of the Temple

I bet I have your attention now, don't I? Do you know how I know? It's as simple as using the word mystery. It's been said that everyone loves a good mystery, and to look at how many best sellers, how many movies from Hollywood, or just programs on television that are mysteries would seem to justify that claim. There is something about trying to figure out the plot twists, the suspects, and the possible outcomes that simply draws our attention and keeps it until the end is revealed.

Unfortunately for many, the fact that there are hidden mysteries contained in the Bible seems to have been missed. In fact, it's my personal opinion that nobody loves a good mystery better than God does. How else do you explain the existence of so many contained in the Bible, not the least of which is prophecy telling us how the history of the world has and will unfold? Now you may wonder why God chose to include so many hidden things in the Bible, but as far as myself, I believe His intent was obvious. How better to make study fun than to include so many surprises in His Word just waiting for the serious student to find?

In the book of Hebrews, Paul tells us in chapter 11, verse 6, that God is a "rewarder" of those who "diligently" seek Him. Now what exactly do you think He might have meant by that? In John 1:1 we are told that "the Word was with God, and the Word was God". We are also told in 2 Timothy 2:15 to "study to show thyself approved unto God". Put these three together and the picture is that anyone who desires to know God needs to study His word diligently, and by doing so not only get closer to God, but will also receive His approval and a reward. Paul explains this to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 2:7-16 by saying that the wisdom of God is in fact a mystery to unbelievers, but this hidden wisdom is ours for the taking because God prepared it for those who love Him.

One of the signs of the coming tribulation period is the rebuilding of the temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. As many subjects I have had the opportunity to study over the years, by far the most intriguing is the Temple Mount and it's importance not only to Israel, but to God Himself. God ordained that this exact piece of real estate to be the most important to be found in the entire world. How important is that? You may be surprised to find there are many unique features of the Temple Mount that seem not only to verify it's importance to God, but to also be used as an example of the mysteries of which we have already mentioned. Let me give you just a couple of examples.

Recent research has revealed an extraordinary correlation between events in Israels' history and the distance from the Temple Mount to geographical locations related to these events. Most students of the Old Testament are familiar with the Babylonian Captivity where Israel was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon as slaves. We are also told by the prophet Daniel that Babylon in turn fell to Darius the king of the Medes in the story of the handwriting on the wall that is found in chapter 5 of the Book of Daniel. We know from history that this happened in 539 BC. We also know from history that Israel was reborn as a nation on May 14, 1948 in a fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 referred by many as the prophecy of the dry bones. This rebirth was facilitated by the country of Great Britain which had controlled the geographical area of Israel after the end of World War One. But what you may not know is that if you draw a straight line from the Temple Mount to Babylon, it measures 539 miles! Do the same between the Temple Mount and London, England and you get 1948 miles! These are just two examples of many I could give you, but the point I want to make here is this. The location of the Temple Mount and the rebuilding of the temple is very important to God and will occur as He said it will, apparently just after the 7 year tribulation begins. The question I want to ask here is this; why do they rebuild it?

In recent years there have been numerous steps taken and preparations made for the rebuilding of the temple. The instruments for sacrifice and worship have been constructed, the garments for the priests to wear have been made, and those who have been identified as being descendants from the tribe of Levi are even now being trained to serve as priests. The one drawback here though is this. Only a small minority of Jews are interested in rebuilding the temple on the Temple Mount. There is no way that Israel would attempt to start rebuilding the temple at this point in time especially considering the situation that exists with the Muslim Authority which controls the Temple Mount. It is only if a situation exists where the vast majority of the Jews want to rebuild, and the government is unafraid of retaliation that this rebuilding could occur. So what could happen to produce this feeling in Israel today?

I believe the answer can be found in the events of Ezekiel 38,39 where we are told of the conflict referred to as the Gog Magog War. I think the most telling part of this prophecy is to be found in the revelation that it is God Himself that intervenes to protect and save Israel from the invading armies of Gog. When Israel sees that they have been saved by Divine intervention, I believe they will want to rebuild the temple to give thanks to God. Of course, this is also the time where the Antichrist will enforce an agreement which will allow that rebuilding to take place. The stage is set for the next war to begin and the only question before us is "when"? There are serious concerns in Israel right now that with the election of a new president in the United States who they believe will not support them if they decide to move against Iran, forces them to act now before he takes office.

Keep watching.