Probably the hardest thing to do, for a normal human being, is to accept what the bible says at face value. The words of the bible are not difficult to understand. They were written in the common speech of the day, Hebrew and Greek, and have been translated into the common speech of its intended audience, in our case English.
“Revelation isn’t hard to understand. It’s hard to believe.” – Henry Morris
The history of Christian Eschatology (the Study of End Times biblical prophecies) is full of interpretations by men who rebel at the plain teaching of the bible. While the early church universally believed a futurist interpretation of the book of Revelation, men like Augustine bristled at the idea that Jesus Christ will actually come back and set up an earthly kingdom, and rule for one thousand years.
Men like Augustine, realizing that such an idea puts the Lord at the center of biblical prophecy, came up with man-centered interpretations like Post-millennialism, Amillennialism, and Preterism. These Eschatological schemes, of which Dominionism is a logical conclusion, make the Lord dependent upon the Church to take over control of the world, before Christ can return. These schemes put the Church at the centre of the End Times events, and make the Lord a secondary player! Accordingly such men are busy attempting to create “the Kingdom of God on Earth”, which ultimately is destined to become the kingdom of the Antichrist!
Gary DeMar, in his book 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed, writes from a Post-millennialist, Dominionist, perspective. As I have been going through this book I have been amazed at how he constantly twists Scripture. The plain-sense meaning is right in front of him and he refuses to see the truth! The problem is that he approaches Scripture with Post-millennialist blinders on.
Chapter 7, “The Myth that the Temple Needs to be Rebuilt”, is no exception to the general thrust of the book. He doesn’t articulate it this way, but essentially what DeMar is saying is that “The restoration of Israel in 1948 was just a cosmic accident that has nothing to do with the bible or the will of God”!
For a man who claims to be a Reformed scholar, who supposedly believes in the sovereignty of God, somehow he believes that the restoration of Israel is a fact that God somehow missed! Reformed belief emphasizes the sovereignty of God to the point of being rather fatalistic; “It must have been God’s will”, and yet when it comes to Israel, they are adamant that the re-establishment of Israel, and a future Temple, simply cannot be God’s will!
Here is how he begins the chapter;
“A battle is raging over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Many Jews want to see the temple that was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 rebuilt to match its former glory. But there is a big obstacle in the way. The Muslim Dome of the Rock now dominates the site, and Muslims claim the Jews have no right to the site. There are millions of Christians who believe a rebuilt temple is a mandatory prerequisite for the rise of antichrist, the great tribulation, and the final battle of Armageddon.” (10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed, Gary DeMar, page 103)
His first couple statements are absolutely true, and there is indeed a Muslim structure on the Temple mount, exactly as he says. Furthermore he is correct that the Muslims claim that Jews have no right to the site.
Simply as a Christian, and as a man who believes in justice, I have to ask, why don’t the Jews have a right to the Temple mount? If DeMar believes the bible, as he claims to do, who has legal title to the site?
Speaking from a strictly legal perspective; when someone buys a property, who owns it? The purchaser does. He can give it to whom he wants, and when he dies it is left to his heirs. So, when was the last time the Temple mount was purchased? Did Mohammad, or his followers purchase it? No! They claim the right of conquest, and DeMar appears to agree with them! This amounts to the endorsement of theft!
Throughout the world, except in Islam, land taken in conquest remains under the title of the original owners. Even under communism, land that was stolen was eventually returned to the original owners, or their heirs, some seventy years later!
The last time anyone purchased the Temple mount was when David, king of Israel, purchased it from Araunah (or Ornan) the Jebusite, the original Canaanite owner. No one, except the Jews, David’s heirs, has a right to that piece of real estate! They have a deed witnessed by God Himself;
And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 2 Samuel 24:24
When you go on vacation, does that mean that someone else can move into your home and call it their own? Israel did not go on vacation, they were taken away as slaves, yet they retained ownership of their land. Notwithstanding the fact that some people did move into their land while they were away, that land still belongs to Israel, to do with as they see fit.
But, what about End Times prophecy, does the bible indicate that there will be an End Times Temple in Jerusalem?
The only time where Revelation speaks of a temple in Jerusalem is in chapter 11:1-2, all the other references are to the Heavenly temple.
11 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 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.
DeMar claims that the temple that John was commanded to measure had to be the temple that was still standing at the time he wrote, since one couldn’t measure a temple in a vision. There is ample evidence that John wrote long after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, however, and even if he had written before that date, there is no evidence that the early Church understood that the events spoken of in Revelation were related to that event.
Here is an excellent article that helps clear up any questions about the date that John wrote Revelation; https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1552-when-was-the-book-of-revelation-written
The only way that one can claim that Revelation is a historical prophecy about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, is to spiritualize everything in it!
That view makes Nero out to be the Antichrist, yet Nero did not impose a mark on the right hand or on the forehead throughout the world, nor even in the Roman Empire! Nero did not rise from the dead, as the Antichrist will do. Nero died on this earth, and his body is still here, whereas the Antichrist will be picked up alive and thrown bodily into the Lake of Fire.
DeMar claims that the “abomination of Desolation” was accomplished when Antiochus Epiphanes slaughtered a pig on the altar of the Temple, some 180 years before Christ! Jesus must have been ignorant of history when he said;
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
Nero did nothing of the sort. Joab was killed while clinging to the horns of the altar, in 2 Kings 2, and that did not constitute an abomination. While Roman troops did kill Jews in the Temple, that does not constitute the abomination of desolation. Those who were there to witness it had no opportunity to flee to the mountains, but were slaughtered, and the few survivors taken captive were made into slaves.
No. The abomination of desolation is a yet future event which will occur in the Temple in Jerusalem. While DeMar denies that the bible demands the Temple will be rebuilt, in order for Jesus’ statement of Mark 13:14, and Matthew 24:15, to be true there must be a future Temple in Jerusalem.
DeMar states “Rebuilt-temple advocates Tommy Ice and Randall Price are forced to admit that “There are no Bible verses that say, ‘There is going to be a third temple.’” As if this provides conclusive proof that there will not be a Temple in Jerusalem. DeMar should be careful when making such statements. There is not statement that “God exists in the form of three persons” either. Does this mean that there is no Trinity?
Logically following his reasoning he must also deny the existence of the Trinity! I am sure DeMar wouldn’t do that, so why is he so inconsistent in his approach to Scripture? Simply because his Eschatology demands a non-literal approach to End Times prophecies.
Now, go back to Revelation 11:1-2 again. Notice the last statement; “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.”
The Temple mount has been in Gentile hands nearly two thousand years, far longer than the forty two months mentioned here. Forty two months is exactly 3 ½ years. This cannot be a reference to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem simply because their destruction of it lasted far longer than the time given. Again, this prophecy is a reference to a future event after Israel has once again regained control of the Temple mount.
DeMar states on page 105: “A third temple is required only if the Bible requires it and specifically states the requirement.”
Here’s the thing; The Old Testament requires that the Messiah would die on a Roman cross, but never once spells it out. In the same way the whole bible requires an End Times Temple in Jerusalem.
DeMar tries to confuse the Temple in Jerusalem with the Lord’s body by quoting John 2:21 “But he spake of the temple of his body.” This would be kind of like saying “We don’t need a Temple because WE are the Temple, and God dwells in US!”
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
DeMar would have us believe that Malachi was saying that the Lord would suddenly come to His body;
3:1 “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Once again we have another End Times prophecy that makes no sense using the Post-Millennial method of interpretation. This is clearly an End Times prophecy, for everyone “abode” during Christ’s first coming. This is speaking of Christ’s return in judgment. The sons of Levi have yet to make an offering in righteousness.
How can the Lord come to his Temple if none exists? How can He “suddenly come to his body” when he has occupied it for over 2,000 years?
Which Temple was Paul speaking of, in 2 Thessalonians 2, the earthly temple, the temple of Christ’s body, or the Temple of Heaven? Here’s a hint, the Antichrist will not have access to God’s home in Heaven, nor will he take up residence in the hearts of believers!
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Note that since Christ is the Lord, the day of Christ, and the day of the Lord are the same thing.
DeMar would have us believe that the son of perdition was none other than the Roman Emperor Nero, yet, as we have seen, Nero did few of the things the bible specifies as characteristics of the Antichrist. Nero never even made it to Jerusalem, let alone to the Temple. While Titus’ troops destroyed the Temple, he did not declare himself to be God.
The Thessalonian believers were concerned that they were in the Tribulation period, and were worried as a result. Paul was writing them to comfort them, by showing them that the Tribulation had not yet started. Now Gary DeMar is trying to tell us that the Tribulation period is past history, and we need not worry!
Many of the Caesars claimed to be gods, yet none had the audacity to claim they were the God of Gods, but this is exactly what the Antichrist will do;
36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Daniel 11:36
The “indignation” is the Tribulation period, and it is God’s indignation against the depravity of man. This man will prosper, or succeed, until God is done with him, at the end of the Tribulation. There are many passages that indicate that the whole world will be involved in Armageddon, not merely the armies of the Roman Empire.
Jeremiah 25 contains a list of all the nations who will participate in Armageddon. There are too many to list, and so the author ends by stating “and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth”. Now, the author has already listed the local nations surrounding Israel, so this cannot be them. The plain-sense of the statement must mean all the nations of the world, i.e. the whole world.
The whole world has never attacked Israel together, and will not do so, until the campaign of Armageddon.
Using the Post-Millennial spiritualizing/allegorical methodology, one could say that it meant “many nations”, but that is simply not consistent with the plain sense of the passage. Using such methodology you could make the bible say anything you want! This is the chief advantage of the post-Millennial method, but it is NOT what the original Author intended!