Dispensational Pre – Tribulation Rapture Christians Will You Go To The Third Temple In Jerusalem And Pray?
Posted by Job on July 21, 2008
Pre – tribulation rapture dispensationalists are not only anticipating, but in many cases actually actively working to bring about the construction of the third Jewish temple, the recreation of the Levitical Aaronic priesthood, and the re – institution of the sacrifices to take away people’s sins. In this temple, Jews – reflecting the religious pluralism of modern rabbinical or synagogue Judaism – will make sacrifices and prayer intercessions for all people of all faiths, and will invite representatives of all faiths to come pray and worship on their outer court, the court of the Gentiles, which in their view will fulfill the Old Testament prophecies and help establish the Messianic age (paving the way for the coming of their Messiah) by getting more Gentiles to pray to their god and consent to becoming Noachide Gentiles.
Now it is no shock that liberal Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, etc. who accept the “many paths to heaven” falsehood of religious pluralism will flock there, and yes this includes the Roman Catholic Church. But the issue is whether dispensational pre – tribulation Christians will as well? Quite frankly, I see no reason why not. The current mindset as exhibited by said Christians that operate in the religious sphere (see popular televangelists), the entertainment sphere (see the books and films which are by no means limited to “Left Behind”, “The Omega Code”, “The Late Great Planet Earth”, etc.), and the political sphere (not just John Hagee and Pat Robertson but Ann Coulter) has basically accepted the idea that Jews and Christians worship the same God. I picked Hagee, Robertson, and Coulter because the former publicly advertises his refusal to proselytize Jews and the latter two told Jewish men on national television that they could get to heaven by faithfully practicing Judaism without accepting Jesus Christ. (Ironically, these very people have no problem consigning liberal Democrat Christians who publicly profess faith in Jesus Christ to the lake of fire, but open up heaven to Jews that reject and revile Jesus Christ.)
Now this is not to say that all or even most of these sorts agree with Hagee, Robertson, and Coulter, and the other fellows who must publicly espouse such beliefs to protect their political and financial interests. Still, if pre – tribulation rapture dispensationalism teaches that Jews and Christians worship the same God and that there is still great spiritual value in Jewish rituals and traditions, and that Christians should take seriously a lot of the things written in the Talmud and such, then why not go to the third temple and pray? Now again, it is one thing to believe that God will never break His promise to Abraham, and to believe the writings of the Benjamite Saul (Paul) in Romans when he stated that God had not cast Israel off. However, it is another thing to totally reject everything else that the New Testament writers (including this same Saul) said about Jews – and everyone else – that reject Jesus Christ.
In other words, it is one thing for God to keep His promises to the biological descendants of Abraham. It is another thing to sit around and pretend that the Jewish religion still has spiritual efficacy, is still pleasing to the sight of God, when the same New Testament that speaks of Jesus Christ called it a shadow of things to come. When even the Old Testament – the book of Jeremiah – spoke of a new and better covenant with the old passing away. Holding that God is honoring two religions according to separate lines of revelation and conflicting truth claims is asserting that God is double – minded, unstable, unreliable, indeed a liar and a charlatan. But that is precisely what supporting the construction of the third temple is claiming. It is based on the notion that Jews and Christians worship the same God, but that the worship of Jews is merely flawed and incomplete. Still, despite their flawed, incomplete worship God still honors it, and will honor their temple as God’s house. And since it is God’s house, it will be perfectly acceptable for Christians to go pray at the Jewish temple. And quite unlike the Benjamite Saul, who suffered great personal sacrifice to visit with and raise and give an offering to the suffering Jerusalem Christians (leading directly to his being arrested I might add!) in the process of going to the Jewish temple to pray the Left Behind folks will ignore all of the impoverished and oppressed Christians – especially the Messianic Jews – in Israel for fear of offending the temple rabbis. Of course, slighting the Jerusalem Christians in this manner would be perfectly fine because they will be raptured up and we will all be together again in heaven, right? So that will make disobeying the book of James all fine and dandy.
Now maybe I am wrong, but when I hear the Left Behind advocates preach, they really do seem to seldom deal with the epistle to the Hebrews. Take this passage from chapter 7:
“11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”
Summary? The Aaronic priesthood is dead, and has been replaced by the priesthood of Jesus Christ. It and things pertaining to it are dead and have no spiritual value, including the rituals and the temple. You might ask why the Jerusalem Jewish Christians still went to the temple to pray. Well, THAT temple was God’s house because GOD told the Jews to build it during the time that God was still dealing with the Jews as His unique people that He was using to accomplish His purposes in the world and revealing things to them through His prophets. So not only did the Jewish Christians worship in that temple, but Jesus Christ did Himself for that temple was God’s house built by God’s people. Hebrews 1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” … it was in times past that He through the prophets told His people to build the second temple. But the new temple will be constructed by people that have REJECTED GOD when He came in the flesh as Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:2 “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”
Look, even if you could show me where Jesus Christ ever told the Jews to rebuild the temple in scripture – and you cannot – making the claim that their rebuilding the temple has anything to do with the person that they REJECTED as their Messiah and God is ridiculous. It is equally ridiculous to claim that their building the temple has anything to do with Revelation, the eschatological writings of Paul, or the CHRISTIAN interpretations of the writings of the Jewish prophets. No, their rebuilding the temple HAS NOTHING TO DO with anything that Jesus Christ said or that followers of Jesus Christ believe. We must remember that while it is true that these people have not been cast away, but they are still – as Saul stated – spiritually blind, and as such are doing not the things of God but rather following the contents of their own hearts. As a result, the new temple will not be a place fit for a Christian to go pray and worship. Why? Because this temple will be an abomination produced by those determined to defy and reject Jesus Christ. So how can Christians participate in this worship or support it in any way without being participants in the desolation of abomination?
Further, let us go back to Hebrews, which was a warning to Jewish Christians in danger of reverting to Judaism and rejecting the uniqueness and exclusivity of Jesus Christ as expressed in Hebrews 6:1-8.
1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3And this will we do, if God permit. 4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Interpretation: for a Christian to pretend that there is spiritual value in the Aaronic priesthood and things pertaining to it is for a Christian to run the risk of an apostasy for which there is no coming back; a sin unto death. My position has been and is that Christians who are going after these prosperity doctrines trying to receive blessings under the old covenant and making no effort to understand or mature in what is available to them under the new covenant are playing with hell fire. The book of Hebrews is all about enduring to the end. Take 3:12-19, which reads “12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
The doctrine of perseverance of the saints promises that the born again will endure to the end. However, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this area is hindered in Christians that insist on forsaking the new covenant – the covenant under which terms the Holy Spirit is operating at present – in order to go try to practice Judaism, of people who are trying to mix the priesthood of Jesus Christ with the priesthood of Aaron in their doctrine and practice. Hebrews says that people who do this never learn through sound Christian living right from wrong, and as such never attain spiritual maturity, but instead remain spiritual babies. Why? Because it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that matures a Christian, and resisting the Holy Spirit by going back to the old covenant resists that ministry. And again, since it is the mature Christians that will endure to the end, again Christians that are content to play games in this area are playing with hell fire. This is true whether you are a prosperity doctrine Christian or a Christian that is conferring righteousness on the practices and institutions of those that have rejected the Jesus Christ priesthood in order to keep the dead Aaronic priesthood going because of your own endtimes doctrines and hopes.
If chasing after old covenant blessings with the prosperity doctrine is playing with hell fire, I cannot see how going to the third temple to pray does not violate Hebrews 3:12-19. That is why I have real problems with what some Messianic Jews are advocating. It is one thing for them to advocate that Christians keep Passover, the Sabbath, the feasts, etc. in full view of how these observances typologically represent Jesus Christ, were fulfilled by Jesus Christ, and are only being done in remembrance of and in worship of Jesus Christ. In other words, so long as they know and teach that doing these things apart from Jesus Christ is not only meaningless but evil and spiritually harmful, and also teach that if a person has Jesus Christ then he has no need to do these things but should only practice them if he wants to (again, the message of Saul the Jew in Colossians 2:16) then that person is fine. But I often see Messianic Jews referring to and promoting teachings from the Talmud and other books written after the period of revelation to non – Christian Jews had ended by hard – hearted people that rejected the Holy Spirit. Some of the things in the Talmud are 100% true. But some of it is only 50% true (or more or less), and some of it is 100% lie. How can we tell which is which? The answer: we cannot. So why use it? Mixing Jewish tradition with the Bible really is no different from mixing Roman Catholic tradition with the Bible. If it is not infallible, the final authority, inspired, unchanging, and without contradiction or inconsistency, what good is it for use in instruction and doctrine? Claiming that 2 Timothy 3:16 only acts to give authority to scripture while not also invalidating the traditions and doctrines of men is the same trick that Roman Catholics use. If we are not going to accept that nonsense from Roman Catholics who at least PRETEND to accept Jesus Christ, why would we pay respect to the interpretations and doctrines of people who are brazen and open in their rejection of Him?
Just yesterday on a Christian television network, I saw a Messianic Jewish program showing devout people kissing, crying, and praying at the wailing wall. What is the wailing wall? It is alleged to be the last surviving remains of the Jewish temple. (Yes, I do say ALLEGED because the synoptic gospels assert Jesus Christ’s prophecy that nothing of the temple would be left standing in Matthew 24:2, Mark 13:2, Luke 21:6). By showing AND PROMOTING Christians and Messianic Jews worshiping not with each other in churches, homes, prisons, and Messianic synagogues but with rabbinic Jews at the alleged remains of what Jesus Christ said would be destroyed according to the provident will of the Father … I cannot see how many Christians would NOT be influenced to take a sojourn to Jerusalem and pray at the third temple and thereby risk apostasy. It is good to know that not all Messianic Jews support this madness: this is a post from a Messianic Jew that takes Hebrews seriously. But sadly, fellows like this are not among the ones that you see represented on Christian television.
Make no mistake, I do believe that there will be a literal third temple, and that a literal anti – Christ will enter into it halfway through the great tribulation, and an abomination of desolation will take place in the temple when the anti – Christ declares himself to be God. But Christians should realize that the third temple will be an abomination in and of itself; the last and greatest attempt by mankind to deny the existence of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and erect a false human priesthood in its place. As a result, unlike the people that defiled and desecrated the first two temples in the past, the anti – Christ will feel right at home in the third temple made by the L’oammi (not my people, see Hosea). Really, the third temple will be nothing more than A SECOND TOWER OF BABEL! So, pre – tribulation rapture Christian, if you think that you can go pray at the tower of Babel without committing apostasy, you had better think again. Or better yet, go home and read your book of Hebrews.