The Writing on the Wall:
2000 Years of The Bible in the News!
Friday, February 17, 2012
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Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News. This is Paul Billington speaking from the famous "wailing wall" in Jerusalem. The wall is what remains here of the massive platform built by Herod, and upon which once stood the temple. In the time of Jesus it was an amazing sight, so much so that one of his disciples pointed it out to Jesus saying (Mark 13:1) "Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!"
Jesus responded to the disciple telling him: “Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” And he went on to tell the disciples about the coming invasion of the city and its overthrow. In Luke 21:20-24 we can read his words. He told them:
“When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is close. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
A terrible time had been prophesied, and this was the time when those Scriptures (or writings) would be fulfilled. Jesus went on to say that there would be great distress in the land, and wrath upon the people.
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
With these words, Jesus referenced the prophecy of Daniel chapter 8. Here, the prophet had spoken of a power that he called “a little horn” (verse 9) which would become great, and (verses 11 and 12).
“He magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.”
The daily sacrifice was offered in the temple that once stood on the great Herodian platform, close to where I am now standing. It was taken away or discontinued following the Roman onslaught of AD 70. The sanctuary, the Kodesh, or holy place - that is, the temple - was cast down. As Jesus expressed it: “There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” And so it came to pass as we can see from the great stones still lying where they fell almost 2000 years ago.
But in Daniel’s prophecy, and at verse 13, the question was raised as to how long this desolation would continue. Daniel says:
“Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
Paraphrasing this, Jesus said (Luke 21:24) that the people (or host) would be “led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
Clearly, in this context, “the times of the Gentiles” is the period of the downtreading. So during all this time the Bible has been in the news because prophecy has been fulfilling. Yesterday’s news is what we call history, and among the Gentiles that have trodden down this city, there was Constantine’s mother - Helena. She came here along with other Roman Christians. Then there were representatives of Justinian’s empire; the Byzantines. Many other conquerors came: the Crusaders, the Mohammedans or Moslems who built the golden domed mosque that we see here now. Then there were the Turks, and after them the British. All of them have visited this city and this wall.
The times of these Gentiles are included in Daniel’s 2,300 days -- for in prophecy a day represents a year. So the vision is for 2,300 years.
Now several writers have taken this period from the time when the goat power - representing the Greeks (see Daniel 8:21) gained victory over the ram power (representing Media and Persia - Verse 20). History tells us that this was in BC 333-334. Working on that basis, Thomas Newton in 1754 concluded that the period would end in 1967. Also Milligan writing in 1868 concluded that the period would end in the Spring or early Summer of 1967. So it is a remarkable fact that the Jewish people regained control over Jerusalem - and this wall - in June 1967!
The Bible was in the news yet again!
Daniel’s prophecy says that the period of downtreading would be for this 2,300 day-years, “then shall the sanctuary (or Kodesh) be cleansed.” Not immediately -- the word “then” implies a new phase which would involve the cleansing, vindication or avenging of the sanctuary.
But as we look at the scene here today, we see Jews worshipping a wall and praying to it -- even writing their prayers on scraps of paper and putting them in between the stones. This wall has become a virtual idol. And we know that Israel herself has to be cleansed of all her superstitions and idolatry. So this wall must go.
There is an interesting passage in the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 38 which speaks of the military defeat of Israel’s enemies. In order to overwhelm the multi-national forces of Gog, we are told that God will use the forces of nature. We read (verse 18):
“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and EVERY WALL SHALL FALL TO THE GROUND...”
So, as we might say, the writing is on the wall! The structure that we now see, built by Herod and then decorated by Islamic mosques, must all be wiped out of the way in order to clear the ground and make ready for the third temple which Ezekiel tells us about from his 40th chapter onwards.
You see, the temple of Ezekiel’s prophecy is hardly likely to be built upon Herod’s foundation. That just would not be fitting. Only Christ the true Messiah, can lay the foundation of the future temple. This is because it has a spiritual dimension that will be used in order to teach the nations the Truth. We learn this from Isaiah 2:2-5.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”
Join us again next week, God willing.
Printed: Friday, February 17, 2012
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