After my conversation with my friend Charlie the other day, I thought I’d better go through the first chapter of Joel again, to refresh my memory with the context of chapter 2.
Every time I go through, even familiar portions of Scripture, I am so frequently taken aback by things I missed before, sometimes even things I did see, but didn’t fully understand the significance of them.
There is a debate among many Christians, as to whether the Temple must be rebuilt in Jerusalem, before the beginning of the Tribulation, or not, or whether it will be rebuilt at all, before the Lord’s return. As far as I can remember Charlie does not think it will be rebuilt until the Lord returns.
He may have Zechariah 6:12 in mind;
And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.
It is certain that Jesus will rebuild the Temple when He returns, but it already was built twice by sinful hands, so why wouldn’t it be built by men again, before the Tribulation commences? All these Scriptures indicate that this is the case.
I came across the following “game changer” as I was reading chapter 1 of Joel;
Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Joel 1:13-15
Think about what this is saying. How is it possible for there to be ministers at the altar, and for there to be a solemn assembly in the House of the Lord, without there being a Temple in Jerusalem? It is simply not possible! The Temple is The House of The Lord!
So, what this passage is telling us is that there will be a Temple in Jerusalem shortly before the Day of the Lord commences.
This fact does away with the idea that the rapture of the believers is, and always has been, imminent. No, the rapture, the great snatch, will not be imminent until the signs are all in place, and among them is the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the recommencing of the sacrificial system.
This also means that what Paul said to the Thessalonians is to be taken literally;
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; 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. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
No doubt this is a reference to the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 9:27, 11:31), and Jesus (Matthew 24:15). Revelation 13 also elaborates on the same theme; that the false prophet will set up an idol to the Beast, in the Temple, which will speak, and cause humanity to worship him.
Amillennialists twist Scripture here by saying that “since the believer’s body is now the Temple of God, this is a reference to the pope sitting at the head of the Church”. While it is true that the pope is AN antichrist, he is not THE Antichrist. When you twist Scripture this way, you can make it say just about anything, and this is exactly what Amillennialism does! This is why no one thought up Amillennialism until Augustine came along; It took an exceptionally creative mind to come up with this philosophy!
I am concerned that, one day soon, someone is going to destroy the city of Rome, along with the Pope, and a European Union leader, and Amillennialists will then feel comfortable in uniting with the remaining Catholic congregations! At that point they will be ready to crown the Antichrist, all because of an erroneous eschatology!
Augustine’s theology, and eschatology, is very dangerous!
Let’s take a look at Daniel for a moment;
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.And he 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. Daniel 9:26-27
I have heard some Christians say that the person who caused the sacrifice and the oblation to cease was Jesus Christ Himself, because He finished sacrifice with His own sacrifice on the cross. Thus the person who confirmed the covenant in verse 27, must also be Jesus Christ! (I suspect that the person I was speaking with is an Amillennialist)
Jesus is the person who instituted sacrifices in the Garden of Eden, and He will use them throughout the millennial reign, as an object lesson. Sacrifices will be just as valuable then as they ever were!
(Note: Sacrifices never saved, but always pointed to the one true sacrifice of the Lord Himself. Those who say that Jesus did away with Sacrifices, on the cross, are implying that Sacrifices did save up to that point.)
This idea does away with the plain-sense understanding of Scripture. In verse 27 the “he” is referring back to the prince of “the people of the prince that shall come” from the previous verse, and is a reference to the Antichrist. The “week” referred to here is the last seven years that God has allotted to Israel to “put away iniquity”, from verse 24. The person who confirms the covenant for seven years, breaks his word in the middle. This could not be Jesus Christ because He never broke His word!
This philosophy will ultimately fall into the hands of the Beast, who would benefit from an interpretation that muddies the waters, and ultimately turns Jesus Christ into the Antichrist!
Daniel 11:31 reiterates the fact that these prophecies are indeed concerning the literal physical Temple in Jerusalem;
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.
The “sanctuary” here is a reference to the sanctuary of the Temple, and “the abomination that maketh desolate” is the placing of an idol to the Antichrist in the physical Temple, which we have already discussed.
No, in order for all of the bible’s End Times prophecies to be fulfilled, the Temple must be rebuilt before the Day of the Lord, the Tribulation, commences. The Jews are ready to rebuild, and I expect them to commence shortly, perhaps immediately after the Psalm 83 war.