[Darris] There is one piece of ground in all the earth that holds a mystery for the world's three largest religions. This piece of real estate is important to every person, whether they realize it or not.
That ground is found in Jerusalem and it is under what is called the Dome of the Rock. You have all seen pictures of this place. It is one of the iconic symbols of Jerusalem.
You may not know what this piece of ground really means. This ground tells a story that unlocks a key to your relationship with God and Jesus Christ. And understanding this key is important knowledge for you to have.
Join us on Beyond Today as we ask: "Will a Temple Be Built in Jerusalem?"
[Announcer] Join our host, Darris McNeely and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today .
[Darris] In Jerusalem, on what is called the Temple Mount, stands a building called the Dome of the Rock. Inside this structure is an outcropping of stone, the top of what at one time was a rather steep hill. Centuries of building, destruction, rebuilding, and further destruction combined with expansive projects have shaped and reshaped the hill into what we see today.
This spot is arguably the most fascinating and intriguing piece of real estate on the planet. Jerusalem, the Temple Mount - what has occurred there is legendary and factual, mythical and real. If Jerusalem is the target of Bible prophecy then the Temple Mount and what is under the Dome of the Rock is the bulls-eye of this story.
Sounds interesting - even a bit dramatic, doesn't it? Yet, it is all true. And with all that is happening throughout the Middle East - where we have regime changes, and insurrections, and the threat of nuclear armament and war - it is important that you understand, not only what is happening, but why, and what it can reveal about God's great purpose for your life.
You see, Bible prophecy and the Middle Eastern turmoil that we see all around us continually is fundamentally more than the ongoing drama of conflict among these nations, or upset for the people and big power interventions. At the heart of this story is God's plan to restore peace to this earth. Peace within an eternal plan to bring many sons into His glory through a spiritual process that's called salvation. This is why it is important to you. And I want you to understand the background to this great story and what it can mean to your life.
Inside this Dome of the Rock is an outcropping of a very large expanse of rock. Now the Jews say that it was on this rock, at the very top of this mountain, that the patriarch Abraham laid his son Isaac in a near sacrifice. But at the last minute, God stopped it, prevented that sacrifice from happening. That story is told in Genesis.
And it was on this spot that King Solomon, the son of David, built a temple to God that is called in history the First Temple. The Bible describes this temple and the splendor that it had, and it describes it in such a way that really makes you wonder whether or not this must have been an ancient marvel of the ancient world.
Now that temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and on the same site the Jews later rebuilt a Second Temple that was expanded and embellished by Herod the Great. It was to this temple that Jesus went during His life and is the scene for so many of the episodes that we read when we open up the New Testament Gospels, the book of Acts, and read what happened there. That temple was destroyed in the year 70 A.D. when the Roman legions came in, surrounded Jerusalem, and then eventually stormed the city, and sacked the city, and that ended for nearly two centuries a Jewish presence on that spot as it completely destroyed that temple in that area.
Now according to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Mohammed made a night journey to Jerusalem during a vision and from the top of that same mountain spot, he leapt to heaven on the back of a horse - according to the story. And when this gold-domed shrine was built on the site in 691 A.D. it not only commemorated this mythic event, but it was meant to compete with the nearby Christian shrine that is called the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And both of those today still exist within the old city of Jerusalem.
And today, this spot, called the Temple Mount, is considered holy by both Jews and Muslims and Christians who look for Jesus Christ's second coming, well they are very interested in what happens on that very small piece of historic land. Which is why when the Jews call for a new temple to be built on this spot, as has been done in continual fashion in recent years, that call, that desire is something that is significant and it is important for us to pay attention to. Because such calls are part of the continual stream of events that continue to shape the landscape of the Middle East.
Major upheavals are occurring on a regular basis in the Middle East. They command the headlines and they command our attention. Most importantly, they command our understanding.
Most of the world really fails to connect the dots of all of these events that are supposed to be connected with Bible prophecy. Don't assume that they are just coincidences. These events - upheavals, turn over in nations, religious strife in Jerusalem and even on that spot of land - all of them are moving our world to a single great event that is called in the Bible, the great day of God Almighty. The question is: Will you be ready for that day?
Understanding these events, along with one great truth about that small piece of real estate that's under this building, the Dome of the Rock, understanding that is crucial to your spiritual life today and to your eternal life with your Creator God.
Now that's not an overstatement. Let's understand why. Stay with me during this program. Let's begin for a moment by going back in the Bible to a prophecy in the book of Daniel in chapter 11. In what is called the longest prophecy in the Bible, a very detailed and intricate historical prophecy.
We begin in verse 40 and take it down to the end of the chapter to verse 45. We find that what is described is a major power intervention and clash within the Middle East and specifically within Israel, as it is today, and Jerusalem. It says in verse 40, "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown;..."
And now in verse 45 it says, "...and he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him" (Daniel 11:40-45).
This glorious holy mountain is describing Jerusalem and quite frankly that very spot that is today the area of the Temple Mount where something will happen, where a presence will be planted in that spot according to this prophecy that is going to gain the interest, and if not further conflict for a time of the rest of the world. That prophecy is very significant for us to understand as we look at this important question of whether or not a temple will be built there.
In fact, it fits into the entire story of the Middle East and what is taking place according to Bible prophecy, not only now, but most importantly, according to this prophecy, in the future. We all continually hear news about the events that are taking place in that critical world region.
Our Bible study aid, The Middle East in Bible Prophecy , is going to help you understand the biblical and historical background to all of these major events. Most importantly, this aid is going to help you to learn what to look for in the future as prophecy is fulfilled.
You can read The Middle East in Bible Prophecy online at BeyondToday.tv . You can also receive a hard-copy like I am holding here in my hand, by calling the number on your screen, which is: 1-888-886-8632. Again, it's 1-888-886-8632. Call us. Go online and begin reading more information on this fascinating topic that swirls today in the Middle East and is going to culminate at the end of this age with prophecies that will be fulfilled there. It will help you understand, not only current history, but Bible prophecy. Call us now or go online and begin reading more information on this fascinating topic.
Now, let's go back to the Bible and let's examine a very important - a key prophecy from Jesus Christ Himself that tells us why this small piece of real estate in Jerusalem is important.
Bible students are all familiar with Matthew 24, the Olivet Prophecy, where Christ gave some specific details about prophecy before His coming, and what the world conditions would be like. In chapter 24 and in verse 15, Christ prophesied an action that is "standing in the holy place."
What He said is this, "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Matthew 24:15-16).
This is a major prophecy and it refers to a key prophecy from the book of Daniel.
Christ's declaration points to something foretold many, many years earlier by Daniel who was living in Babylon when he foretold an event that took place even years after Daniels' life, when the Jews returned to Jerusalem and built a temple there.
There is another time of foreign occupation that occurred. A lot of wars took place in and around Jerusalem and the land, in those years and that time after the Jews returned, up unto the time of Christ. There is one episode that that prophecy talks about where a ruler by the name of Antiochus was moved to invade Jerusalem and desecrate the temple that was there, and its altars. He did so by offering swine's blood - pig's blood - as part of a horrendous sacrifice.
It is mentioned in Daniel 11:31 where it is described and his actions there, describe the daily sacrifice being removed from the alter and the temple, and in its place what is called and set as "the abomination of desolation."
Now this refers to a number of events that took place in the year 168 B.C., when this crazed Antiochus entered Jerusalem, killed 80,000 men, women and children, and then desecrated the temple by offering a sacrifice to the chief Greek god named Zeus. This outrage then was a forerunner of the event that Jesus Christ said would occur in the last days - those days yet ahead of us as He referred to it there in Matthew 24:15.
When Christ referred to this prophecy, He made another statement that is often ignored by students of the Bible. It's in the parenthesis there, where it says, "whoever reads let him understand."
Now, here is where we need to pause and gain some understanding about, not only the timing of this prophecy of Christ for the future, but why. Why we should even be concerned with coming to a better understanding as we read it and try to understand this event, our times and the future, and especially whether or not there is a temple to be built in Jerusalem, a sacrifice given there, and why it all would matter to your life right now.
Christ is talking about an event that will take place in Jerusalem on or very near to where the temples of the past once stood. For any future "abomination" to be placed there, there will have to be sacrifices offered on at least an altar that will be consecrated to a holy purpose. That's why, today, when you might hear a little piece of news that comes out of Israel, a call to rebuild a temple - for the Jews to go up on that Temple Mount and to rebuild a temple - that is something to take seriously from a biblical and a prophetic perspective. It is also serious politically because of the potential conflict that this will produce. It's already produced conflict in our own time when even an official of the Israeli government walked up on that Temple Mount, it created a violent uprising that took the lives of a number of people.
But here is the real point to understand: There is no need for a temple or a sacrifice of an animal on this or any other spot on the face of the earth today - no need. The Temple that God allowed Solomon to build was a place where man could meet God and could come into fellowship and communion with Him.
And when you understand how that temple was set up, the center of it, there was a place called the Holy of Holies. And in that Holy of Holies, this little confined space, stood the Ark of the Covenant. And in that Covenant were the tablets upon which the Commandments were written - there were other items there as well. But it stood there in that Holy of Holies and the presence of Almighty God resided there at that time. And no man but the high priest of Israel could ever enter the Most Holy Place, and he could only do it one day out of every year. And if historians and archaeologists today are correct about that spot, at the top of that rock, under that gold domed mosque there in Jerusalem, that is where the Holy of Holies stood during the time of Solomon's Temple, and that's where the Ark of the Covenant resided and that's where God's presence was.
And in that place, which was once holy, man could meet with God, seek forgiveness and enter into a relationship with Him through a priesthood and through the sacrifices. And there, prayers were answered and man could realize his eternal purpose for his life.
Now it's interesting for us to understand is that spot was really only a mere copy - the rest of the Bible, the book of Hebrews, tells us - is only a copy of a shadow of a divine reality in heaven, at the very throne of God. That spot was only meant to tell us something when God was present as He was during the time that the temple stood in the days of ancient Israel.
The book of Hebrews in the New Testament, we see that Jesus Christ, after His death and His resurrection, He entered into heaven itself to appear in the presence of God for man. And Christ did not enter a physical temple which was only a copy of the true we're told. Christ entered into the presence of God, the Most Holy Place it says. And with His blood offered one sacrifice for all men and all time; and that makes possible a divine relationship between God and man today without the need for a priesthood, without the need for a sacrifice, and without the need for any physical temple.
The divisive interest in Jerusalem and this small piece of real estate today called the Temple Mount, it's all misplaced. To have a relationship with God through Christ you do not need a physical temple with an animal sacrifice. All that was made unnecessary. It was finished by the shed blood, death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If we don't need a physical temple then, why is there such intense interest in Jerusalem and this small piece of land called the Temple Mount?
The Jews, they're interested because it is where the temple stood during the time of Ancient Israel, where men once went to meet God. The Muslims, they revere the site because they feel the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from there. And Christians, well they support the desire of Jews to build a new temple on the site in their mind to hasten the coming of the Messiah.
This place in Jerusalem is not holy. That's right. It's not holy. Only God can make something holy by His presence, and God is not there now. The only real value in this place of land is historical value and for what once was.
You don't need a temple and you don't need a priest to gain access to God in heaven. You have Jesus Christ as a High Priest today at God's throne and by Him we, you and I, can gain peace and a relationship based upon truth.
Every religion, every religion that looks to this Temple Mount, and even to Jerusalem, as a holy place or a holy city - and for that matter any other physical building or piece of ground on the earth - every religion that does so misses the point.
The point is this: God does not dwell in buildings made with hands.
He can come into your heart now. He can come into your life and change it, if you decide to repent and turn from a life of sin and begin living by the eternal law of God.
But today, you see Jerusalem, you see the entire Middle East caught up in turmoil and strife over this object and many other issues.
A devout Jew yearns to get as close to this piece of ground as possible and offer prayer.
A Muslim will tear that Jew apart if they dare try to get close to this building.
And sincere Christians, well, they will support the State of Israel in a belief that doing so will hasten the day Christ returns to this city and to this place.
And why? Because a misguided zeal to serve a distorted image of God. And this will lead to what we see described in one of Revelation's most dramatic scenes.
Revelation 16 beginning in verse 12, this prophecy says, "Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God almighty."
And then in verse 15, Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame" (Revelation 16:12-15).
When the nations come to Jerusalem and the armies will clash in the shadow of this piece of ground, it will be in vain, because God is not there - neither in that city nor in any kind of temple that may be erected.
God does not need a building for worship. But He does desire a people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
When the armies of the world converge on Jerusalem in the final battle of God Almighty, as this prophecy shows, you will need God's protection, blessings and love - more than anyone will have needed them ever before. You will need to develop this relationship with God right now. And this is where prophecy, history and God's plan converge in your life today.
Prophecy should bring you to understand that God is going to judge all nations and peoples and now is the time to change your life. History has meaning. This world has meaning, far beyond the whim of a politician or a statesman.
And God has a plan for your life and prophecy can motivate you to know what it is. That is the reason to study and to understand Bible prophecy within the context of your Bible, and this entire subject we're talking about today of whether or not a temple will be built in Jerusalem, and why or why not it is important.
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There is one piece of ground in all the earth that holds a mystery for the world's three largest religions. Will a new temple be built in Jerusalem? It's a politically charged event that we have been discussing on today's program.
I'm now joined by fellow Beyond Today hosts, Gary Petty and Steve Myers. Why does religion fight over land and buildings and holy places?
[Gary] You know Darris, it is a proclivity of human beings to want to commemorate events. I mean we put plaques up and memorials up all over the place for historical events that will be passed on from generation to generation. And of course, how much more so if it has to do with God's intervention or God's divine touching into humanity. So, whenever people think that there is something that God did, of course they want to commemorate that ground for future commemorations - remembering.
[Steve] It's interesting. I think one of the challenges that people have is the fact that they misunderstand. They misunderstand the spiritual side of things. We get into these physical representations, whether it's a building or whether it's a monument or whatever it may be and yet that's not what God has ultimately in mind. He has something spiritual in mind, and so I think there is a basic misunderstanding when it comes to relegating some temple or some mosque to some kind of special status in that way, because that's not what it's all about.
[Darris] And that's really why we wanted to do this program on this subject to deal with a question that a lot of people really don't understand. And when a call is made and sometimes just a little blip in the news will be made about a call for a building of a temple in Jerusalem, people just don't understand the connection of what that means. And they see these buildings and they see this tussling for land and over a holy spot and a holy place, without understanding that the Bible shows us that that is totally irrelevant. It is about God living His life within each one of us spiritually, creating a spiritual entity called the body of Christ.
[Gary] And people live in fear of those events instead of realizing, God gave His prophecy so that we can trust Him.
[Darris] And that's what we want you to understand. That's why our literature is pointing you in that direction to understand what it is that you can have is a relationship with God and Jesus Christ, right now, without the need for a physical temple or to worry about those things.
So, remember our free offers that we've offered on the program today, both The Good News magazine, and The Middle East in Bible Prophecy . You'll want to order your free copies today. You can call: 1-888-886-8632 or you can go online to BeyondToday.tv .
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Christ once wept over Jerusalem saying how much He would have protected her from the many sorrows He knew were coming. He still mourns for the city with its bitter divisions between people of faith who cannot reconcile longstanding religious division.
The Bible shows the great battle that concludes this age will be in Jerusalem. You can be ready in advance of this age-ending event by turning to Christ with a heart to hear and a mind to change. Putting on Christ is the key to standing firm in that day.
God help you understand and help you change.
Thanks for watching our program and remember to join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come." For Beyond Today I'm Darris McNeely.
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