Walpole once remarked that “The wisest prophets make sure of the events first.”
And in this day and age there is no shortage of so called seers who seem to have taken Walpole’s advice.
Modern prognosticators are famous for coming up with predictions that, well, quite frankly are a bit underwhelming.
You’ve probably caught the breathless headlines before:
“Hard times are ahead!”
“Two nations will go to war, but only one will win.”
“Yosemite Sam will never defeat Bugs Bunny in a war of wits!”
Most modern prophecy is little more than a statement of the obvious, delivered with glazed eyes and a spiritual sounding vibrato in the voice.
I guess that’s why I find the study of Biblical prophecy so fascinating.
When an Old Testament prophet began a statement with the words, “Thus says the Lord..” they weren’t offering their own speculations, but a revelation from the One Who is above and beyond time.
And sometimes these predictions seemed almost impossible to fulfill.
Consider Ezekiel 36:8-11
But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.
Israel would return to her land after a long and desolate absence.
The land, once a waste place would be reclaimed, renewed and blossom.
Now this seems like a no-brainer to us.
But for centuries even Bible believing Christians looked at the waste place the Promised Land had become and said, “How could such things be? This must be symbolic, because there is no way this could ever happen literally.”
And yet in our day we have seen the Jews regathered to the land.
The land has been amazingly restored, even to the point of becoming an exporter of agricultural products to the world.
This prophecy has literally been fulfilled before our eyes.
When God declares something, no matter how improbable, it is not only possible, but inevitably becomes a reality.
The reason I share this is because there is another prophecy concerning the Last Days that tends to generate similar skepticism in our day.
It is a prediction clearly made in both the Old and New Testaments, yet seems so unlikely, so impossible that some have tried to consign it to the waste bin of symbolism.
Ezekiel devotes five entire chapters to this future event.
The book of Revelation describes it this way:
Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. (Revelation 11:1-2)
The Bible declares that there will be a rebuilding of the Jewish Temple on its historic site.
Of course one minor problem stands in the way of this prediction coming to pass.
The Dome of the Rock, the third most venerated shrine in Islam, stands smack dab on top the Temple’s previous site.
If the Jews demolished the Dome of the Rock, they would have to face the united wrath of nearly a billion Muslims.
So how could this prophecy ever come to pass?
It would require supernatural intervention, right?
Well, hang onto your hat.
An article in today’s Jerusalem Post may be giving us an insight into how that intervention may soon come to pass.
Can Third Temple be built without destroying Dome of
A new Jewish interfaith initiative launched last week argues building the Third Jewish would not necessitate the destruction of the .
An aerial view of Jerusalem’s Old City.
“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.
Until now Jewish tradition has assumed that destruction of the Dome of the Rock was a precondition for the building of the third and last Temple.
However, in an article that appeared in 2007 in Tehumin, an influential journal of Jewish law, Frankel, a young scholar, presented a different option.
His main argument is that Jewish doctrine regarding the rebuilding of the Temple emphasizes the role of a prophet.
This prophet would have extraordinary authority, including the discretion to specify the Temple’s precise location, regardless of any diverging Jewish traditions.
So a “prophet” would have the authority to determine whether and where a new Temple would be rebuilt.
Great for the Jews, but how would this “prophet” get the Muslims to sign off on the deal?
Sheikh Abdulla Nimar Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel, tells us there is a similar authority figure in Islam who alone would have the authority to have the Muslim world accept such a situation.
“The mahdi (the Muslim messiah) 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.“
Darwish warned against any attempt to rebuild the Temple before the coming of the mahdi.
“As long as there is a Muslim alive, no will be built on Al-Haram Al-Sharif [the Temple Mount]. The status quo must be maintained, otherwise there will be bloodshed.”
So both sides see only one way this intractable problem can be resolved – the coming of a supernaturally empowered individual who gives he order.
How interesting that the Bible predicts just such a supernaturally charged individual coming on the scene to bring a peace agreement to pass that will include a rebuilt Temple.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)
How interesting that Sheikh Darwish and Yoav Frankel would agree on one thing.
If a man shows up who performs the signs and wonders of an ultimate prophet, even the Temple being rebuilt is possible.
According to Daniel, both of these men may live to see the day when a hoped for but false “messiah” does just that.
Some have theorized that the Temple will be rebuilt following a natural disaster like an earthquake.
Some have suggested the Muslims built their shrine on the wrong spot and that there is room for both the Dome of the Rock and the Temple on the same piece of real estate.
But this article indicates a third possibility – that it will be the supernaturally empowered deception of the Antichrist that will resolve the issue.
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (II Thessalonians 2:3-4, 9-12)
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