The opinions expressed by Larry the Lubber on the third Temple in Jerusalem doth not necessarily reflect the views of this pirate’s crew — mostly because Larry be a pompous, sanctimonious authority on Scripture whose pontifications tend ter offend most everyone — even when he be right. – Staff
Matthew 24 initiates Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, also called the “Little Apocalypse.” Jesus’ prophecy of the future wrath about to befall Jerusalem and its Temple extends into chapter 25. In none of these accounts does Jesus mention a third Temple. Rather, when the Samaritan woman acknowledges Jesus as a prophet and raises the issue of worship locations, Jesus asserts that a time is approaching and is now here when worship will not be confined to Jerusalem.
“True worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (John 4:23)
Jesus’ accounts of the coming destruction and the desolation to follow are also found in Mark 13 and Luke 21. In all three gospel accounts, the authors had in their thoughts a forthcoming event that perhaps seemed imminent, thus they asked:
- “When will this (destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem) happen?”
- “What will be the sign of your coming?”
- “What will be the sign of the end of the age.”
Temple Worship and The Coming of Jesus
Jesus first addressed the “when” with this answer:
“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matthew 24:4-6)
“When you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16)
In 66 AD, the Great Jewish Revolt erupted in response to anti-taxation protests and conflicts between Jews and pagans in mixed cities. Gessius Florus, the Roman governor, seized funds from the Temple’s treasury and detained numerous prominent Jewish figures. The act of a Roman governor entering the Temple, albeit not its sanctuary, and appropriating funds dedicated to God was deemed blasphemous. This invasion by Rome into the holiest religious institution triggered a widespread rebellion in Jerusalem that culminated with the capture of the Roman garrison by rebel forces, compelling the pro-Roman king Herod Agrippa II and Roman officials to flee.
In this instance, Jesus’ cautionary words resonate: “When you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ flee!” This marked the moment to depart from Jerusalem and seek refuge in the hills of Judea and beyond the river Jordan, for Rome would soon retaliate and with great force.
Much has been made by others regarding the necessary rebuilding of a third Jewish temple in order to fulfill the prophecy of Daniel, but Jesus makes no mention of such a third structure. Rather his words, addressed to his disciples, seem to be the protection of any who might wish to remain when “the king who blasphemies God” — as Daniel predicted would come — storms into Jerusalem.
The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple
Daniel’s forthcoming visage lays out a sequence of kings and kingdoms.
“Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others. (Daniel 11:2-4)
In Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, the prophet foretells the reign of four Gentile Empires over Israel before the establishment of the kingdom of God. From Daniel’s perspective — from one living in exile and dispersed from the land God promised his people — the restoration of Jerusalem, rebuilding of its Temple, and the coming of the Anointed One are his focus.
Like Daniel, when Jesus warns that Jerusalem and its Temple will be destroyed and that he will return and usher in the end of all things, the disciples ask for clarity as to when and how and by whom.
The King Who Speaks Blasphemies Against God
In Daniel 11:36 and 40, we read [in literal Hebrew translation]:
And shall do according to his own will, the king, and he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god. Against the God of gods, he shall speak blasphemies and shall prosper till the wrath for what has been determined has been accomplished; it shall be done.
And at the time of the end shall attack him the king of the south and shall come like a whirlwind against him the king of the North with chariots and horsemen and with ships many. And he shall enter the countries and overwhelm [them] and pass through.
In verse 40, we encounter three belligerent armies: one hailing from the south, another from the north, and the forces of the willful king. The willful king shall triumph over the other two sovereigns and pass through the conquered land.
During the Battle of Actium on September 2, 31 BC, Agrippa, the son-in-law and lieutenant to the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, strategically severed Antony and Cleopatra’s primary force from their sea supply routes. Simultaneously, Caesar Augustus himself landed on the mainland, opposite the island of Corcyra (modern Corfu, situated off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea,) and proceeded southward. Trapped both on land and at sea, desertions from Antony’s army to Augustus’ side became a daily occurrence.
It was precisely at this juncture that the willful king, Caesar Augustus and Rome’s first emperor, directed his focus toward the Land the Glorious.
He shall enter Land the Glorious, and many [countries] shall be overthrown, but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, and Moab, and the prominent sons of Ammon. (Daniel 11:41)
Since the Roman Republic’s conquest of Judea in 63 BC, Jerusalem and the nation of Israel had experienced a state of semi-autonomous governance. Even with the defeat of Judea and Egypt, though, Edom, Moab, and the prominent sons of Ammon escaped Roman rule. The incorporation of Judea as a Roman province was enacted by the first Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. It is he who of whom Daniel writes when he says:
And shall do according to his own will, the king, and he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god and against the God of gods. Shall speak blasphemies and shall prosper till has been accomplished the wrath for what has been determined shall be done. (Daniel 11:36)
- Caesar Augustus was the first Roman emperor worshiped as a living god in the Imperial Cult.
- Augustus Caesar ruled at the time of the birth of Christ and lived from 63 BC to AD 14. He was the first Roman emperor to use the title “son of a god.” In fact it was his favorite title.
- Caesar Augustus praised his grandson Gaius for not offering prayers to God when he visited Jerusalem.
- Caesar Augustus publicly paid homage to Roman gods, but his personal beliefs remain uncertain.
- In A.D. 70, during the burning of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Roman army worshiped Roman ensigns in the Temple.
- Titus Caesar Vespasianus was declared Emperor on 1 July 69 AD. Titus was placed in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, and destroyed the city and the Second Temple. As such he received divine praise and worship as customary when one god defeats another.
- Titus Caesar Vespasianus issued blasphemous words challenging the God of Israel.
- Titus Caesar Vespasianus fulfilled 2 Thessalonians 2:4 by setting himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
The [one] opposing and exalting himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so as for him in the temple of God to sit down, setting forth he himself that is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
From Daniel’s perspective, the king who exalts himself are the Augustus: (Caesar, Tiberius Caesar, Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus). Nero, the final ruler, held sway until June 9, 68 AD, and during his reign, Titus Caesar Vespasianus was dispatched to Jerusalem to vanquish the Jews and break their spirit and power.
In 70 AD, Jerusalem fell, the Temple lay in ruins, and the Gentiles, now in complete command of the holiest site for Jews, desecrated all that held sanctity for the Jewish people.
“Lord, What Will Be the Sign of Your Coming?”
Jesus warned his disciples to ignore any who claimed to be he: that his appearance would be visible from horizon to horizon and none would miss his coming.
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31)
Later, while his disciples looked intently up into the sky as Jesus departed into the clouds, suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)
According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
Jesus admonishes his disciples in Judea to seek refuge in the mountains when they see the desecration of the Temple. He advises those in Jerusalem to evacuate and caution those in the countryside against entering the city. He declares that the destruction of the Temple marks the era of God’s wrath, fulfilling what has been foretold by Daniel. He describes how grievous it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers. The land will be engulfed in great distress, and wrath will be unleashed upon this people. They will succumb to the sword and be captured, dispersed to nations far and wide. In 70 AD all of this occurred exactly as Jesus predicted.
The Time of the Gentiles
Jesus then gives his disciples the closure of this “time of wrath” against his people.
“Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:21-24)
In 1967 the Jews reclaimed Jerusalem. The Gentiles still control the Temple Mount. Will there be a third Temple?
Where Is God’s Temple?
Jesus said of the Temple:
“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The temple he had spoken of was his body. (John 2:19, 21)
Paul said of God’s Temple:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. (Acts 17:24)
You yourselves are God’s temple and God’s Spirit dwells in your midst. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple! (1 Corinthians 3:16–17)
John said of God’s Temple:
God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. (Revelation 11:19)
The arrival of Christ does not hinge on the construction of a Temple. Jesus could come for his own at any given moment. As Jesus stated, “Watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). Our Lord’s arrival is unpredictable, akin to the days of Noah and Lot. Should he come, are we prepared?
We ought always ter thank Skipper fer you, me hearties, because of yer belief in his truth. You stand firm in the Son. You be one the firstfruits of the harvest. More’n that, you be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit. Aye, the Son himself be the very first fruit of the new harvest, fer he always goes before us. Now as ter the purpose of firstfruits we need ter look back a wee little bit ter Skipper’s Covenant Code.
The Son Fulfills All the Holy Feasts
On the seventh day of each week, in honor of all Skipper done fer us, we be commanded ter rest. Only a skeleton crew ‘ill go ’bout tending ter sails and lines and such. Rest of the crew be ordered ter lounge about on deck or in thar bunks.
Passover Lamb Foreshadows the Son’s Sacrifice
- In 1 Corinthians 5:7 Paul says of the Son, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
- John the Baptizer calls the Son, “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).
- Peter says, “We are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:19).
- In Heaven’s throne room, the disciple John hears the twenty-four elders saying, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12).
The maiden voyage fer the Israelites who sailed away from Egypt on dry land occurred the day after the first Passover. The term “Passover” means the Angel of Death “passed over” the bunk of those with the blood of a lamb on thar doorpost. Skipper ordered ever crew ter slit the throat of an unblemished lamb, drain its blood, and roast its meat. In the same fashion, Skipper passes over all who accept the Son’s shed blood on the main mast as a sacrifice fer thar sins.
What Credentials Doth the Son Have ter be Our Sacrificial Lamb?
- The Son whar born in Bethlehem. Passover lambs be traditionally tended in pasture on the hills around Bethlehem .
- He be an unblemished male in his prime, young and vigorous.
- He whar subjected ter various trials and found ter be without blame or spots.
Festival of Unleavened Bread
This grand celebration includes the Skipper’s Passover supper and commences at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month, with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, startin’ on the fifteenth day of the same month. During this time, all crew be commanded ter feast on bread without the yeast fer seven days. On the first day of the week, we be commanded ter hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. Fer seven days, we be expected ter present a bountiful food offering ter Skipper. On the seventh and last day, again the crew be commanded ter avoid regular work. This feast works best while we be in port and not at sea whar waves and wind and storms might disrupt the holiness of this somber remembrance of how Skipper sails us through tough times.
Leaven represents sin. Unleavened bread represents moral purity and holiness. Unleavened bread be the symbol fer pure food untainted by filth. Fer us, the Son as unleavened bread, be pure food untainted by sin.
The Son be the “bread of life,” (John 6:35) and feedin’ on his righteousness be the way we live righteous, upright lives. The Son promises, “he who comes to Me will not hunger” (John 6:35). He says, “Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).
During the Passover Feast, the Son took the matzah bread and broke it. And as he did this, he said to his disciples, “This is my body given for you” (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 24:19).
The Son offered his body on the main mast fer the salvation of the world. When we “eat his flesh” we be takin’ in his Holy Spirit. He himself compared his death to the unleavened bread during the Passover feast.
“Matzah,” the word fer unleavened Passover bread, must be “pierced and striped” ter prevent it from becomin’ puffed up with leaven. The Son whar pierced and striped with the lash before nailed ter the main mast. Here is how Skipper commanded his people to eat the matzah.
Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast. From the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day you are to eat bread made without yeast. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.” Exodus 12:17-20
The Son appeared alive, up from the grave, the first day of the week and showed himself alive again seven days later, proving ter all that he conquered sin and death.
Offerin’ the Firstfruits
Once the first children of Skipper set foot in the promised land and reap the fruits of thar labor, they whar commanded ter bring the priest a sheaf of the first grain we gather. The priest raised this sheaf high before Skipper as a symbol of his acceptance of thar first harvest.
Fer us the Son became the Passover lamb, the matzah fer the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and the day of rest fer our Sabbath. The Son fulfilled all these feasts during his last Passover week.
- He supped with his mates the night before he died, feasting on matzah bread and wine.
- He became the lamb without blemish that whar offered as a sacrifice.
- He became the bread of life that takes away the sins of the world.
- He rested in a grave on the Sabbath. On the first day of the week, he appeared ter his mates as the sheaf of first grain come up from the harvest: a seed planted as dead, but alive once more as a living man by the Spirit of Skipper.
This be how the Son fulfilled all these feasts and now we be part of his new harvest.
Purpose of the Firstfruits
From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath (Pentecost), and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord. (Leviticus 23:15-17)
From Seed to Harvest
After his death on the main mast, when the Son rose from the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker, he became the firstfruits of all who die and rise again into new birth. Fer since death came through the first man who sinned, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man, but this one without sin. Fer as in the first man Adam, all sink ter the briny deep, so in the Son, all will be brought back ter the surface, alive by the Son’s Spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:20–22)
Fifty days after the Son come up alive and showed himself ter be the savior of the world he poured out his Spirit upon his mates. This be the new Firstfruits and we be counted in that harvest.
Ingathering of Sheafs
If we received life through the Good News of the Son, then we are gathered into him as if sheafs bundled fer a harvest. And if this be so, then we ‘ill stand in his glorious presence, you may lay her that.
Stand Firm in the Son
So then, me hearties, knowing all that the Son done so we can go into the grave as seed and come up alive in new bodies, stand firm and hold fast ter the teachings we passed on ter you. Don’t let others steal yer hope, faith, and love. Whether by word of mouth or by letter, keep ter Skipper’s Covenant Code and the knowledge that the Son unlocked Davy Jones’ Locker so all can surface and be saved.
May our Lord himself and Skipper our Father give us eternal encouragement and strength fer every good deed and word.
How is it possible that many who think they are saved by Jesus will find themselves on the outside of God’s kingdom? Who are those Jesus never knew? Let us hear what Jesus says to those who have ears to hear.
Who Are Those Jesus Never Knew?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy, testify, and preach in your name? In your name did we not drive out demons? In your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
We can know a great deal about a person and never know them.
Though during the time of Jesus, some commanded demons to be cast out Jesus says he never knew them. Some preached the word of God and Jesus and didn’t know him. Today some teach in universities and seminaries and testify to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, but Jesus says he does not know them.
How can we know if Jesus knows us and we know him? The evidence is the fruit we produce for him in our lives and the lives of our neighbors. The evidence is in the love we have for the Father and our neighbors.
For example, Paul writes, “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry rather than out of love. They preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not from the heart.” (Philippians 1:15-17) Even so, the message of Jesus is greater than the man or woman who profits off his character and words. Though the person may not be saved, the truth of the gospel stands apart from those who proclaim it for selfish gain.
Listen again what Jesus says.
“Father, just as you are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us.” (John 17:21)
If we are born by the Holy Spirit of God — if we have the Spirit of Jesus in us — we will do the works of Jesus (John 14:12). He will come into us and we will go into him.
If Jesus lives in us we will speak the words of Jesus and reflect his glory by loving the Father. We can know that we intimately know Jesus when, in any situation, we understand what Jesus would do and say. This requires trust, prayer, silence, and often moments of solitude. This requires we first listen to the Father and read his word before seeking the opinions of others.
If we have his Spirit, we will begin to act like Jesus.
- Jesus forgives.
- Jesus has compassion on all.
- Jesus obeys the Father.
- Jesus keeps the commands.
- Jesus shows mercy.
- Jesus gave all.
- Jesus is humble.
- Jesus is peace.
- Jesus encourages and exhorts.
- Jesus convicts and comforts.
To be born of the Spirit of Jesus is to know with certainty that we are in the kingdom of God now — that we are saved now.
In Jesus we “have new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:3)
To be born of the Spirit of Jesus is to know Jesus so intimately that we have full confidence that what comes after the grave is far greater than what comes before the grave. When we are in Jesus and he is in us, we willingly give away all we have now for a promised future we can only see with dim eyes.
This intimate relationship with Jesus is so important that he says, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:3)
No one — not even those who preach, teach, or heal in his name — will enter the kingdom of God unless they are born by his Spirit.
“To all who receive Jesus, to those who believed in his name, he gives the right to become children of God — children born of God.” (John 1:13)
In law, a right is a power or privilege held by someone as the result of a constitution, statute, regulation, judicial precedent, or other type of law. Governments give rights to citizens. For example, the right to freely assemble or speak without fear of retribution is a right Americans possess. But if we do not act on these rights we can be silenced and scattered. To all who receive Jesus, to those who believed in his name, we have the right to become children of God and should act upon that right by asking to be born new by his Spirit.
If indeed the Spirit of God lives in us, we are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ, but remain in the realm of the flesh and are controlled by the flesh (Romans 8:9). This new birth is so important that the early church considered it clear evidence that someone was saved by the blood of Jesus.
If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Through the living and enduring word of God, you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable. You have purified yourselves by obeying the truth. (1 Peter 1:22-23)
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Do this and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
God saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)
The person without the Spirit cannot accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. In fact, the things of Jesus and the Father seem foolish. Without the Spirit of Jesus, we can read the word of God but cannot understand its meaning. Only through Jesus’ Spirit can we hear and discern what the Father says to us through his word (1 Corinthians 2:14). The evidence someone is “in the word of God” and the word of God is “in” them is found in the fruit of their lips.
Do they profess Christ as Lord and Savior? Do they declare Jesus to be God in the flesh? Do they affirm that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one?
Jesus IS the Spirit that gives us new life (Philippians 1:19). Jesus IS the word of God made flesh.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among mankind (John 1:14).
“I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.” – Paul (Romans 7:7)
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now that I have come, they have no excuse for their sin.” – Jesus (John 15:22)
Jesus is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13).
If you have the Spirit of Jesus within you, his Spirit will affirm his words and the words of the Father. If you do not have the Spirit of Jesus within you, you will struggle to grasp the full revelation of God’s word and understand its meanings and implications for your life. In fact, you may reject it outright. Many who claim to be followers of Jesus reject his word.
Who are those Jesus never knew? Don’t wonder if it’s you. Be born again by the Spirit of Jesus. Then be in the Word of God — which is Jesus himself preserved for us in written form.
Me hearties when it comes ter times and dates of the day of the Lord’, thar be no need ter send a message yer way, fer you well know that the day of the Lord’s coming ‘ill sneak upon us like a thief climbin’ aboard in the dead of night.
Times and Dates of The Day of the Lord
While lubbers and drunkards be singin’ ditties ’bout “Peace and safety,” a tempest ‘ill crash upon ’em like a white squall. Before they kin drop sails, the rail ‘ill be under, and they’ll be shippin’ water over the side. None ‘ill escape, not even rats, you may lay ter that. Hear what the Son says about this day.
Jesus and Our Watchfulness
Be dressed and ready for service. Keep your lamps burning. It’ll be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. It’ll be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Luke 12:35-40)
With this stern warnin’ from the Son, keep watch! Expect him during any watch, even the dog watch. Don’t lounge about in darkness like a drunken sailor, fer if you do, this day ‘ill swamp you.
We be a crew of Skipper, led by the light of the Son. Have nothin’ ter do with the night or its shadows. Don’t pass out like lubbers or sailors on shore leave, fer they drop off so deep they kin’t be rousted. Rather, be vigilant and sober. Those who get drunk, get drunk at night, and those who pass out, pass out at night.
Have No Fear of the Wrath of God
But we wear the hope of salvation as our head scarf. Skipper didn’t appoint us ter suffer his wrath, fer what good father beats his children fer no reason? Nay, we’ve received salvation through his Son. If we be saved through the Son, then why fear the wrath of Skipper?
So yes, be alert at rest and at work, fer the Son ‘ill come just as he promised. Meantime, encourage one another, build each other up, and be of good cheer. Soon — very soon! — the Son ‘ill break forth, and all this mess ‘ill be made right.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-12
Some of Jesus’ disciples remarked about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said:
“As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
In 168 BC, Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, sacrificed a swine at the image of Moses that stood in the outward court and sprinkled the altar with blood from the sacrifice. He likewise commanded that the holy books should be sprinkled with the broth made of the swine’s flesh. Further, he put out the lamp (called by the Jew “immortal”) which burns continually in the temple. Lastly, he forced the high priest and the other Jews to eat swine’s flesh. All this triggered outrage against his rule and led to the Maccabean Revolt.
Andrew and Simon, James and John would have known the history of the Temple’s desecration and clearly associated Jesus’ warning with an event so profane that no Jew in Jerusalem would miss its significance.
[When this happens . . .] “Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.
In 63 BC, the Roman general Pompey the Great profaned the Temple by entering the Holy of Holies, which no one but the High Priest was allowed to do. He did not remove anything, neither its treasures nor any funds. In fact, the next day, he ordered the Temple cleansed and its rituals resumed. Crisis averted. But his callous act would have served as a warning to those who recalled Jesus’ words.
In fact, Pompey’s insolence preceded a similar event one hundred years later. Between 39 and 40 AD, the Roman emperor Caligula sent orders to Petronius, the governor of the Roman province of Syria, to install Caligula’s image inside the Temple of Jerusalem, “using whatever military force was necessary to see his orders through.” As they had when Antiochus IV Epiphanes profaned the Temple, Jews responded with riots.
In response, “Publius Petronius, the Roman governor of Syria, traveled to Jerusalem to quell the unrest. He asked the Jews if they were willing to go to war with Caligula over the matter. The Jews replied that they offered sacrifice twice daily for [Caligula] and the Roman people, but that if he wished to set up these statues, he must first sacrifice the entire Jewish nation; and that they presented themselves, their wives, and their children, ready for the slaughter.” — Jewish historian Josephus
In the end, the threat of the abomination passed without the installation of Caligula’s image and the crisis was averted. The purity of Jewish worship in the Temple, however, remained under threat.
63 BC . . . 40 AD . . . Another event could not be far behind.
In May AD 66, a Gentile mob, profaned a synagogue in Caesarea.
Josephus writes, “A Greek, who was aware of the strict laws held by the Jews in regard to ritual purity and cleanliness, placed a chamber pot” [toilet pot] “upside down at the entrance [to the synagogue] and was sacrificing birds on it.”
Author Tim Miller writes in his July 2018 article, “The Fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE: A Story of Roman Revenge, “Similar provocations had taken place in the previous decade; for example, Roman soldiers had exposed their buttocks to Jewish pilgrims. They” [Roman soldiers] “also had seized and burned sacred Jewish scrolls.”
According to Josephus, in reaction to the desecration in Caesarea in 66, one of the Jewish Temple clerks Eleazar ben Hanania ceased prayers and sacrifices for the Roman Emperor at the Temple. As far as Romans were concerned, the refusal to carry out the daily sacrifice was an overt act of rebellion.
In this moment Jews who remembered Jesus’ words, should have gathered their loved ones and fled for history seemed to be repeating itself. Had not the prophet Daniel warned?
From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits and comes to the days of 1,335.”
Had not the Temple remained desecrated from 167 BC until 164 BC? If Jesus referenced a previous discretion as an inflection point, now would be the time to escape.
“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
Past . . . then . . . and now?
“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.” — Jesus
Protests over taxation joined the list of grievances and random attacks on Roman citizens led Rome to respond harshly. By order of the procurator Gessius Florus, the Jewish Temple was breached by Roman troops who had seventeen talents removed from the treasury of the Temple, claiming the money was for the Emperor. In response to this action, the city fell into unrest. This led to Roman troops marching on Jerusalem.
“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” — Jesus
Before this final siege, in September AD 66, Gallus Roman proconsul of Syria, sent detachments from the three other legions based in Syria to put down the Jewish Revolt. After suffering losses amongst his baggage train and rearguard, Gallus reached Mount Scopus and penetrated the outer city, but was unable to take The Temple Mount. After a siege of nine days, Gallus decided to fall back to the coast. His decision appears to have been based on the loss of siege equipment by ambush and the threatened cutting of his supply lines as the October and winter rains began.
From the perspective of Jesus’ warning, the retreat of Gallus would have been the time to heed Jesus’ warning.
“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.” — Jesus
And still, it appears few in Jerusalem fled. In fact, many assumed they had defeated Rome and celebrated. But the retreat and defeat of Gallus only emboldened Rome to strike back harder, with greater forces.
In August of 70 AD Roman general Titus conquered Jerusalem. Perhaps as a nod to Antiochus Epiphanes, one of his first acts was to sacrifice a swine near the eastern gate of the Temple. The destruction was complete, just as Jesus predicted.
“They will fall by the sword. They will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.” — Jesus
The end of Jerusalem had come. The Jews were scattered. Those who failed to heed Jesus’ words lay in the streets beheaded, run through, or dead from starvation brought upon them by the great siege.
Not until July 30, 1980, was Jerusalem once more restored and declared capital of Israel — the seat of power for its president, government, and ruling religious leaders. In passing “Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel,” Israel promised to protect all Holy Places.
“The Holy Places shall be protected from DESECRATION and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings towards those places.”
“Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
“Then there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish. They will be perplexed at the roaring and tossing of the sea.” [Something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood. (Revelation 8:8)]
“People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
He who has ears to hear, hear what our Lord is saying. Jesus is coming . . . and soon.