The Abomination of Desolation
Vol: 93 Issue: 23 Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I received two different emails on the same topic yesterday, each from a different correspondent citing different sources.
What made it noteworthy in my mind was that the topic was a building that was destroyed 1,939 years ago.
The first was from Carla, who wanted me to comment on a theory advanced by Bible prophecy teacher Jack Kelley concerning the eventual location of the Third Temple.
Here is how Jack explains it from his website :
Following Israel s return to God after the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, the Jewish people will re-establish their covenant (old not new) with Him. This will require a return to Levitical practices and so a Temple will be built. This is the Temple spoken of by Daniel and Revelation.
Following instructions given by Ezekiel and needing to avoid the enormous problems a Jerusalem Temple would create in the Moslem world, this Temple will be located north of Jerusalem in Shiloh. It will be defiled in the middle of the last 7 years as outlined in Daniel 9:24-27, Ezekiel 44:6-9, Matt 24:15 and 2 Thes 2:4 kicking off the Great Tribulation.
Jack’s conclusion that the Third Temple will be located in Shiloh is rooted in his interpretation of Scriptures concerning the Two Witnesses, the identification of the Holy City as Shiloh rather than Jerusalem, and finally, that the earthquake that splits the Mount of Olives at the Second Coming will also destroy the current Temple Mount.
The second email was from my friend Heidi Swander who forwarded an article bearing the headline: “Can The Third Temple Be Built Without Destroying the Dome of the Rock?”
But this article wasn’t published on a prophecy website by a prophecy teacher. Heidi’s article was published in the Jerusalem Post.
“A new Jewish interfaith initiative launched last week argues building the Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem would not necessitate the destruction of the Dome of the Rock.
“God’s Holy Mountain Vision” Project hopes to defuse religious strife by showing that Jews’ end-of-days vision could harmoniously accommodate Islam’s present architectural hegemony on the Temple Mount.
This vision of religious shrines in peaceful proximity can transform the Temple Mount from a place of contention to its original sacred role as a place of worship shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians,” said Yoav Frankel, director of the initiative.
The Interfaith Encounter Association at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim’s Konrad Adenauer Conference Center in Jerusalem is sponsoring the program, which includes interfaith study and other educational projects.
According to Islamic tradition, the Dome of the Rock, built in 691, marks the spot where Muhammed ascended to Heaven. But according to Jewish tradition, Mount Moriah, now under the Dome of the Rock, is where the Temple’s Holy of Holies was situated.
The JPost article goes on to say that the traditional expectation for the Third Temple was that the destruction of the Dome of the Rock was a precondition to rebuilding on the site.
But it cites a Jewish scholar who says an authentic prophet could appear on the scene, who would then have the authority to specify the Temple’s precise location irrespective of Jewish tradition.
The JPost then quotes Sheikh Abdulla Nimar Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who ALMOST agrees with Frankel. Almost.
Except for one little detail.
“Why are we taking upon ourselves the responsibility to decide such things?” Darwish said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post. “Even Jews believe that it is prohibited to rebuild the Temple until the Messiah comes. So what is there to talk about?”
“The Mahdi will decide whether or not to rebuild the Temple. If he decides that it should be rebuilt, I will go out to the Temple Mount and help carry the rocks.”
But, Darwish told the JPost, “As long as there is a Muslim alive, no Jewish Temple will be built on Al-Haram Al-Sharif [the Temple Mount]. The status quo must be maintained, otherwise there will be bloodshed.”
So we have a Christian Bible teacher arguing that the Third Temple will not be located on Temple Mount.
We have a Jewish scholar arguing in favor of the appearance of an inspired Prophet who will have the authority to relocate the Temple to accommodate political considerations. And a Muslim who thinks the inspired Prophet that will order the Jewish Temple rebuilt will be the Mahdi.
And, before we go any further, there’s something else I want you to take note of. There hasn’t been a Jewish Temple since AD 70. There hasn’t been a serious discussion about rebuilding the Temple since the 6th century AD. The Bible says that in the last days, the Temple will be rebuilt and Temple worship will be restored.
So, 1,939 years after the Temple’s destruction and almost 1,300 years since it was replaced by the al-Aqsa Mosque, what are we talking about?
An article in a secular newspaper about the coming of the Messiah, the rebuilding of the Temple, the Islamic Mahdi and perilous times to come.
While I respect Jack Kelley’s scholarship, I don’t believe that a Temple built anywhere except on Temple Mount can be legitimate. Kelley’s argument is persuasive and he cites a number of Scriptures that would tend to support his theory.
“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months,” says Revelation 11:2.
Jack writes: “According to Prophecies in Daniel 9:27, Matt 24:15 and 2 Thes 2:4, a Temple will exist in Israel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed by Revelation 11:1 which describes John measuring a Temple during the Tribulation. Its location is the Holy City. Chapter 11 also introduces the 2 witnesses who preach in the Great City and are ultimately killed there, their bodies left lying in the street. The Great City is identified as the place where the Lord was crucified: Jerusalem. But is Jerusalem also the Holy City?”
It would appear that the validity of the entire scenario rests on the answer to that question — Is Jerusalem “the Great City” of Revelation 11:8 also the Holy City of Revelation 11:2?
Nehemiah 11:1, Isaiah 52:1, Matthew 4:5 and Matthew 27:33 all identify Jerusalem by name as “the holy city.” Nehemiah 11:18, Isaiah 48:2, Daniel 9:24, Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 22:19 all identify Jerusalem in context as “the holy city.”
On the other hand, the phrase, “great city” is used by the Old Testament once in Genesis, once in Joshua, once in Jeremiah, and four times in Jonah. It’s used in the New Testament ten times — all in the Book of the Revelation.
Jonah and Joshua both refer to Nineveh as “the great city”, whereas Jeremiah is talking about Jerusalem. It refers to Jerusalem twice; Revelation 11:8 and Revelation 21:10 as the “great city”. The other eight times that the phrase “great city” appears in Revelation, it is in reference to Babylon.
In short, there is no relevant Scripture specific enough to justify concluding that the Third Temple will be located somewhere other than the location of the First and Second Temples.
Kelley gets it right when he concludes that the Old Covenant with the Jews will be in effect during the Tribulation. The Prophet Daniel says that Temple sacrifices and oblations are interrupted by the antichrist after 3 1/2 years.
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11)
In 168 BC, the Seclucid King Antiochus Epiphanes set out to Hellenize the Jews of Judea. To do so, Antiochus set about destroying the Jewish religious community, sparking the Macaabean Wars.
He occupied Jerusalem, and entered into the Holy of Holies where he sacrificed a pig on the altar. He then sprinkled the area with water in which swine flesh had been boiled, dedicated the Temple to Jupiter, erected a statue to Jupiter and plundered the Temple treasures.
The Apostle Paul says of the antichrist that he “sitteth in the Temple of God” — 2nd Thessalonians 2:4. Note that Paul does not call it “the Temple of antichrist” or the “Temple of the Jews” — he calls it the “Temple of God.”
If we are to believe that the Scriptures are Divinely inspired and therefore without error in matters of doctrine and reproof, then we have to believe that Paul referred to it as the “Temple of God” because God views it as legitimate.
Further, Jesus warned the Jews living in Israel at that future time, “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.” (Mark 13:14)
Jesus wasn’t speaking of Antiochus Epiphanes’ sacrilege which had occurred 130 years before. In context, Jesus was referring to the Tribulation Period, which is why He said, “let him that readeth understand.”
Here’s where all the dots come together. At the time Jesus spoke, the Temple stood on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Jesus said that when the abomination takes place, “let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains.
Shiloh isn’t in Biblical Judea. It is in Biblical Samaria. The reference to the abomination of desolation cannot be valid if it refers to a new Temple located in Samaria.
Antiochus committed his abomination on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (Let him that readeth understand.) The Apostle Paul says that he sits down in the Temple of God. Paul is writing to the Church at Thessolonika in AD 60. In AD 60, the Temple of God was located on Temple Mount.
Jesus refers to it as being desecrated, which implies that prior to that, it was consecrated as the Temple of God. The only consecrated Temple of God was on Temple Mount.
Jesus is God come in the flesh, with perfect foreknowledge of what is to come. If the Temple were to be located in Samaria instead of Judea, His warning would have been addressed to ‘him that be in Samaria’ to ‘flee into the mountains.’
I don’t wish to enter into a doctrinal dispute with Jack Kelley — I am only addressing the issue because I was asked a direct question about the validity of the theory, as I understand it.
I have nothing but respect for Jack Kelley. But it is perfectly fine for two Bible teachers to understand the same passages differently.
That is the way God set things up.
If there were no minor doctrinal differences, we would all believe exactly the same thing. The way it works now, like-minded believers get together to form individual churches that focus on the doctrines they agree are the most important. Some join established mainstream denominations. Others join individual Bible churches.
That is the reason that when you get ten Christians discussing a particular point of doctrine, you often get eleven opinions about how to interpret it.
Believe it or not, that is by Divine Design. God doesn’t want everybody to believe exactly the same thing.
In the story of the Tower of Babel, all the people were unified under a single leader, Nimrod, who decided that he would try to circumvent judgment from God by building a high tower.
This took place only a few generations after the Flood — the story was still fresh in everyone’s minds. By building a tower where they could take refuge, Nimrod hoped to attain a measure of independence from God. The tower was designed to insulate them from His judgment.
It was a stupid idea, but Nimrod was the king, so they united themselves with Nimrod and against God. Consequently, God confused their races and languages to keep them apart, preventing any one man from uniting all men against God. During the Church Age, no one man has ever been able to unite everyone under a single banner.
The Vatican almost managed it during the Dark Ages. Under that unified banner, individual conscience was dictated by the Vatican, not God. The result was the death of millions of Christians at the stake during the Inquisition that ultimately led to the Reformation, undoing the ‘Babel Effect’ imposed by the Vatican for almost a thousand years.
God intends for good, sincere Christians to disagree on minor points of doctrine. It keeps us from being gathered together like sheep. It is only after the Church is removed at the Rapture does the Bible introduce the concept of a one-world, unified religion under antichrist.
I may disagree with Jack Kelley on this minor point of doctrine, but that doesn’t mean that I think Jack Kelley is a false teacher spreading a false doctrine. The Bible encourages good men to disagree agreeably — the Apostle Paul spread the Gospel through both preaching AND debate.
The Lord gives His Servants the insights necessary to get the job done, even though we may not know exactly what that particular job might be. I know that my brother Jack Kelley and I agree on the essential doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.
“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. . . For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1st Corinthians 13:9,12)
Member’s Note: The Niagara Gathering
We’ve started working out some of the specific details for our Omega Letter Niagara International Fellowship Gathering scheduled for Saturday-Monday August 8-10. I’ve posted them in the Niagara Gathering Forum.
The Gathering Forum is accessible to logged-in OL members only — the general public doesn’t need to know the rest of the details.
But YOU do, because I want as many of you to make it as is humanly possible. Who knows if this is the last one before the Rapture? Or if a coming government crackdown will someday force our fellowship underground? I want to know as many of you in person as possible — we may one day need each other.
But apart from the practical considerations, I want to know you in person because I already love you like family. I write you a love letter every morning, and I eagerly read your forum comments for the kind of nurturing and encouragement one only gets from family in return. So if you can, PLEASE come and visit with the rest of the OL family.
I’m looking forward to burning a hot dog for you.