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Olivet Overview – Part 2 – By Ed Wood

Last time we looked at the events Jesus foretold in his last public address to his followers just before his crucifixion. As we have seen, the total destruction of Jerusalem and the temple he revealed took place exactly as he described it some forty years later (70 A.D.) By the Roman army led by Titus, the Emperor Vespasian’s son. We have already seen here an example of prophecy fulfilled. Twenty centuries have passed since Jesus spoke of the time yet to come before he would return in a manner so awe-inspiring and unmistakable that at long last the world would be unable to deny that he is exactly whom he said he was so long ago – Son of God and Messiah.

In the first article in this series we took a look our present time and it seems that only willful stubbornness would prevent a person from acknowledging that much more of what the Lord disclosed as already well under way and likely to intensify during the last seven years of history as we know it – a time often referred to the Tribulation, and that with good reason:

Matthew {24:22} [Jesus said] For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved. [Here, as in the following Bible references, bracketed sections have been added.]

Since Jesus was not only the Son of God in the flesh twenty centuries ago, but indeed God himself who exists beyond all time and space as we perceive it, we should not be surprised as to accuracy. The truth is that despite what all too many of the inspirational self-help crowd and even some preachers are peddling, the days ahead are going to get a LOT WORSE! But believers in Jesus Christ can take hope in that before the worst of it comes, they’ll be long gone:

1 Corinthians {15:51-53} Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.

1 Thessalonians {1:9-10} For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

These are but two passages supporting the Pretribulation Rapture in which true followers of Christ will be supernaturally removed from the Earth so as not to be subject to the “wrath” that is to come. There are precedents, notably Enoch (Genesis 5:24); Noah and his family (Genesis 6:9 – 9:17), and Lot and his family (Genesis 18:16 – 19:28). It is not my intention at this time to go into an extensive defense of this subject since so many have already done so over the years. For example, an excellent and comprehensive treatment is to be found in Terry James’ new book Rapture Ready…Or Not? which I strongly recommend to everyone as they expectantly await Jesus’ return.

Nevertheless, it is important that those of us who believe in the certain truth of God’s Word to be informed of what will soon come to pass not only to increase our Bible knowledge, but to relate it to whoever else we many encounter who thirsts for accurate answers in a world which is so lacking in them today. But be cautioned – there will definitely be resistance from those who only what they want to hear. And even this is a sign of these times:

2 Peter {3:3-7} Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Sadly, you may find the greatest opposition from the clergy of the major denominations of organized religion since many of such institutions have already fallen deeply into apostasy, embracing the “doctrines of devils,” just as the apostle Paul said they would in the last days:

1 Timothy {4:1-2} Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.

2 Timothy {4:2-4} Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

But now, let us continue our Olivet exploration and see where it takes us.

Just Around the Corner

1) The Abomination of Desolation {Matt. 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-16}

In his discourse, Jesus mentioned an “Abomination of Desolation” being set up in the “holy place as mentioned by Daniel. Here are Daniel’s own words:

Daniel {11:31} And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily [sacrifice,] and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

            Antiochus IV Epiphanes fits the bill above by putting a statue of Zeus with his face on it and by sacrificing pigs in that “holy place” within the temple’s inner section, circa 170 B.C. This makes sense in that though it was a future event to Daniel, it was already an accomplished event by the time Jesus walked the earth. (See the apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees and Josephus’ history, Antiquities Book 12, chapters 5-11 for more details about all of this.)

Interestingly, Daniel also mentioned the following which does describe a second desecration:

Daniel {9:26-27} And after threescore and two weeks [Seven weeks (49 years) – Time it took from Artaxerxes order to rebuild Jerusalem until it was finished. (Neh. 2) and sixty-two weeks (434 years) – time from completion of Jerusalem to Jesus’ crucifixion] shall Messiah [Jesus] be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince [the Roman army, under the command of Titus in 70 A.D.] that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood [See Jeremiah 46:8 where the term “flood” is actually referring to an army, as it is here], and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he [Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

            How we know this is not referring to Antiochus is that the desecration described here occurs after the Messiah (Jesus) was cut off, not before. Remember, the first violation of the temple’s holy place was over 170 years earlier. Revelation further confirms what Jesus said:

Revelation {13-11, 13-15 } And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy [Antichrist]. . . And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

Again, it looks like another defiling statue imbued with some manner of “pseudo-life” (either by technology, supernatural means or both) will be erected in the “holy place.” This was something well beyond Antiochus’ abilities, but certainly not those of Satan’s ultimate henchman of the future. What this also tells us is in order for this prophecy to come to pass, the holy place has to exist once again, either in a partially or completely restored temple. This has not happened yet however most prophecy scholars think it will rise again atop the Temple Mount once again despite the fact the Muslim Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque are presently there. An organization named the Temple Institute has already prepared the implements that will be used in this restored temple and descendants of the Levitical priesthood are being trained to resume the Mosaic sacrifice system – see http://www.templeinstitute.org for more information. Personally, I agree that a third temple is guaranteed because with God, nothing is impossible.

2) Jerusalem surrounded. (Matt. 24:15-20; Mark 13:14-18, Luke 21:20-40)

Jerusalem threatened by enemies is by no means a unique event. Notable examples are its sack by the forces of Shishak, pharaoh of Egypt (1 Kings 14:25-26), threatened invasion but divinely thwarted invasion by Sennacherib, king of Assyria (2 Kings 18:13-19:36); its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-25:30) and, once again, a similar carnage by the Romans that we have already mentioned.

An important difference between Luke’s account and those of Matthew and Mark should be mentioned. Luke does not mention the “abomination of desolation” while both Mark and Matthew do. Why? Could it be that Luke somehow missed it in his research, something which seem doubtful considering the obvious care he took in compiling what would one day become the gospel that bears his name and the subsequent Book of Acts. Or was Luke describing the Roman invasion which resulted not in a profaning or occupation of the temple, but its complete destruction whereas Mark and Luke are revealing an event yet to come even in our time initiated by the Antichrist? I do not pretend to have a definitive answer to this question and offer this possible explanation as a possibility only.

What we do know is that at the very end of the Tribulation, Jerusalem gets surrounded and invaded yet again, the details of which come from a source about 2500 years ago from the Old Testament (Zechariah 14:1-21) and how the whole matter concludes – and who it is that intervenes! The last three chapters of Revelation provide an even more detailed account of this very same events.

In summary, at the end of the most terrible time in human history, Israel’s last defenders make a stand against the 200 million man (and no doubt woman) army as it begins its assault on the city the Jews have vowed never to surrender again, no matter what the cost! In their very last extremity, these besieged defenders call out to God for help – and get an answer that causes them to weep as they recognize at long last the Messiah that their ancestors rejected 2000 years ago to save them, and him accompanied by every saint that has ever lived. And from that fateful Last Day, life on Earth changes forever!

Next time, we’ll go back just a little bit time to look at some of the things which precede this culmination of history, following as we have the sequence of the Olivet Discourse. In the meantime – Keep looking up!


3 Comments

  1. John Hannigan says:

    Ed, I was wondering your view on the location of future temple. Modern day Jews believe that the “wailing wall” is the Western wall of the temple. However, in Part 1, you refer to Jesus’ prophesy that not one stone will be left upon another, and you refer to Josephus confirm that that had taken place. Why then do you believe that the current location of the Dome of the Rock is the location of the temple mount?

    • Terry James says:

      Hi John.

      Thanks for your interesting question. Let’s explore this topic further.

      First, we have these relevant passages as you said:

      Matthew {24:1-2} And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple:and his disciples came to [him] for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them,See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

      From Josephus, War of the Jews, Book 6, chapter 5, verse 2:

      And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about the holy house, burnt all those places, as also the remains of the cloisters and the gates, two excepted; the one on the east side, and the other on the south; both which, however, they burnt afterward. They also burnt down the treasury chambers, in which was an immense quantity of money, and an immense number of garments, and other precious goods there reposited; and, to speak all in a few words, there it was that the entire riches of the Jews were heaped up together, while the rich people had there built themselves chambers [to contain such furniture].

      The Western Wall was not part of the original temple but an addition made by Herod the Great. The temple buildings themselves were totally razed exactly as Jesus said they would be. This event was 40 years in the future at the time he predicted it but over 1900 years in our past by Titus’ army in 70 A.D. Note that it had also been totally destroyed by the Babylonians some 500 years earlier, as you recall, and was rebuilt in a less grand form under the permission of Cyrus the Great who allowed those Israelites who wanted to return to their native land to do so. Of course, there were various delays for various reasons after his edict, but, bottom line, it was eventually reconstructed in Jerusalem. We now have this example from history that just because the temple was destroyed doesn’t mean it can’t be rebuilt – and I think it certainly will be in the time ahead.

      I can’t tell you exactly how it’ll come to pass with the Muslim Waqf currently in control of the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, and Al-Aqsa Mosque currently located there. What I do know is that even the most improbable events recorded in the Bible always come to pass. For example, if you look at the turbulent history of the Israelites, what are the odds they have survived as a distinct people for thousands of years and been restored to their ancestral territory? Perhaps the Muslim structures will be destroyed in a quake or other natural disaster. Maybe an act of Islamic terrorism which somehow misses its target will do the job in a kind of poetic justice.

      I actually think the most likely scenario is that it’ll happen under the auspices of the coming Antichrist who will confirm some kind of Middle East peace treaty, one of the provisions of such being to allow the Jews to rebuild their temple in its original site. Since it appears that the Jews will be once again be offering sacrifices according to the ancient Mosaic regulations in the Last Days, something the Antichrist will interrupt for the last half of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27) I think it’ll be necessary for at least the Holy Place and Holy of Holies will have to be operational so this can happen. Of course, there is the outside possibility it’ll be located elsewhere, but I personally think it’ll end up back at its original location.

      So, keep on reading, questioning, and keep looking up!

      God bless.

      Ed W.

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