‘But the temple is no more—how can this be?
End times prophecy is tricky business with dual and even triple fulfillments, apocryphal symbolism and out of the blue proclamations and narratives that morph from historical records, to warnings of impending calamities, into oracles of events that we cannot ever fathom or foresee until they happen.
But in every case, as history has proven out, when they do happen, it is always starkly obvious for those who are watching. And it is always awe and faith inspiring.
Chapter 13 of Mark is full of fantastic prophetic warnings, and it all ends with this admonition from Jesus:
32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Mark 13
It seems like Jesus is trying to tell us something—oh, I know, watch!
It would appear that one of those significant events to be on watch for would be the horrific desecration of the temple.
The “abomination of desolation.” Jesus is quoting Daniel here from centuries earlier; words that were initially fulfilled by the Greeks back in 168 BC when Antiochus Epiphanies set up an altar for Zeus on top of the Lord’s altar and sacrificed a pig in the Temple.
The fact that Jesus is repeating this prophecy in answer to the question as to when the temple will be destroyed, again, couched in a warning to flee when it happens, would indicate that it has not been completely fulfilled. And, indeed later, the Romans would desecrate the temple just before they would go on an all-out campaign to destroy Israel and to wipe it’s memory from the map, literally, renaming it Palestine.
But most scholars believe, and it would seem to be the case in the context of the world ending prophecies to follow—like a burnt out sun and stars falling like fall leaves— and in light of other biblical warnings, that Jesus is also referring to a much later temple desecration to come.
This may well be describing apostacies that the Anti-Christ, or man of sin, as he’s referred to elsewhere will commit in the temple. Some believe he will set up the image of the beast in the temple—the beast he forces the world to worship in the last days of his reign of terror as described in Revelation.
‘But the temple is no more—how can this be?’ Huh, just a generation or two ago they also said ‘Israel is no more—how can this be?‘ We serve a God of the impossible. The meaning of these prophecies is often debated on the grounds that the temple cannot be rebuilt. Excuse me but—that’s absurd.
Because of Jesus’ words here, also repeated verbatim in other gospel accounts, I have always looked for the temple to be desecrated as a precursor to the day of the Lord—for these prophecies to be literally fulfilled.
I’m just reading the prophecies. Like this maddeningly out of the blue tidbit in Thessalonians, offered by Paul as a supplement to a verbal lesson he gave them earlier, of which there is no record. All we have is this:
This passage would seem to indicate that the literal temple would be intruded upon by a usurper who sets himself up as God and actually takes a seat in the temple. If that’s not an abomination, I don’t know what is. Now, there is disagreement as to who this is, if it had been fulfilled by the Roman invaders. Or, if it is future, is it referring to a rebuilt temple, or to our own hearts as we are now temple of the Holy Spirit?
There is no historical figure who completely fulfills this prophecy and the immediate and plainest understanding of these words would make one picture an actual stone and mortar temple— The temple.
Which means what? That the temple would need to be rebuilt before the return of Jesus for his elect. And this all seems to be an echo of Jesus’ own words in Mark.
A rebuilt temple is something that indeed seemed entirely impossible until 1947 when Israel returned to their land with the blessing of the United Nations and reclaimed Jerusalem as their capital, which finally got the blessing of the United States just three years ago under President Trump with the relocation of our embassy.
Don’t underestimate the significance of the most powerful nation on earth acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital city of the people of the covenant after two thousand years of exile. I can guarantee you the enemy is livid over this, as are all his servants.
“But there is a mosque sitting smack on top of the apparent temple site!” Yes, Captain Obvious, there is. But God has overcome much larger obstacles than that in preserving Israel as a people without a homeland for thousands of years, even in the face of varied and many attempts at genocide over the centuries. Restoring the land to them and then preserving them there, even though they are a tiny island in a sea of mortal enemies.
So don’t be so sure there is anything in the way. Watch, that is the point of today’s lesson—watch. The branches of the fig tree are getting tender. (Mark 13;28-30)
Keep an eye on Israel, keep and eye on your own heart and fight with all your might to preserve and restore truth and the freedom to live and proclaim it. Pray for the church, for the United States, and keep praying for Israel—for their protection and for them to recognize their Messiah—many have and are.
Israel is intrinsically intertwined and a major, the major, player in all of end times prophecies. How we relate to and support or neglect Israel will determine how we fare as a people in these final days as well. So, be watchful for all of that.
The enemy is not done trying to destroy Israel and his greatest and final attempt is yet to come.
“Blessed is he who watches. . .” We must be vigilant, watchful for the tricks of the enemy, so that we are not deceived into unwittingly supporting him against Israel, and against us– the church.
The enemy has plans, plans that are laid out in great detail in the old and new testaments, to stop and destroy Israel. He needs to destroy Israel because he is well aware of their key role in the final redemption and judgements of this earth that spell his final doom. The final desecration of the rebuilt temple in Israel will start the final countdown to our Lord’s return to avenge and rescue his people.
But we already know his battle plans;
This is but a small snippet of the great details given of this final battle and the preparations for it found in scripture. But there is something in the way right now, preventing this—us.
It would seem that we, the United States, are the major obstacle to the plan of the enemy, by way of the Antichrist and his pet beast, to his being able to make war on and destroy Israel.
Which is why the enemy is hell bent on destroying us, at least as the God fearing, freedom loving country that we have been who sees Israel as being the rightful inhabitants of the promised land and the people of the covenant of which we— are now benefactors.
This goes way beyond politics, we are in a battle for the soul and survival of this nation, the world. Jesus will not let his people, nor his creation, be destroyed, and he will put an end to it all before that happens—and then, it is all over. Then, the day of the Lord will come. And that final battle on the plains of Megiddo will not go quite like the enemy hoped.
Because, news flash—Our Lord was Jewish, and he plans on returning to the same land from whence he left.
Zechariah goes on the say that Israel will be saved by fleeing through the valley created by the Lord’s splitting of that mountain. And the carnage that befalls the enemies of Israel in that day is described in great detail as well. And it is not for the squeamish.
So, If this is the generation that will witness the final days and get to represent Jesus Christ even in the midst of the great tribulation, what an honor and a blessing to be counted among those chosen for such a time as this, for our eternal reward will be glorious and wonderful beyond comprehension.
Watch, stay diligent, stay on task, and keep the faith. That’s what Jesus wants us to really understand, that he has not forgotten nor forsaken us and we are on the cusp of the greatest adventure of all time.
Even so, come Lord Jesus–come.
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.