Lesson one continued
Persecution and false teachings had a strong hold on the Church. We will discuss more about false teachings when we look into the letters to the churches. Persecution was a daily fact for the early Church as well as the Jewish community. The destruction of the temple affected both and had been prophesied by Yeshua.[i]Josephus is our primary source of information for its devastation. The Jewish revolt of A.D. 66-70 ended in the siege of Jerusalem in the spring of A.D. 70. Jews inside the city were united. Bad move. Herod’s temple was an impressive structure, still being adorned in A.D. 63. The temple precincts were enormous although the temple proper had to be confined to puny Biblical standards (Solomon’s temple was a modest structure). Herod had to tear down Zerubabel’s temple and fill in three valleys to build a temple precinct that would be in keeping with the temple trend of the day.[ii] At the end of August A.D. 70, romans under Nero’s orders attacked the temple. Set fire to its gates, and slew man, woman, and child. Not one stone was left on another and the only Jews who escaped were Christians who believed Yeshua and fled to the mountains.
“The abomination that causes desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet”[iii] Antiochus IV Epiphanies, as the name indicates, claimed to be the earthly manifestation of Zeus. He killed most of the male population of Jerusalem in 167 B.C. and enslaved the women and children. He outlawed all Jewish rites including the daily sacrifice in the temple. A pig was sacrificed on Zeus alter; this was the” abomination that causes desolation” spoken of by Daniel.[iv] The temple was later cleansed and godly worship reinstated. When Rome destroyed the temple in 70 A.D., nothing was left of the building. The Shiite Muslims took Jerusalem before the end of the first millennium A.D. in 637.[v] In 653 they began construction of the Dome of The Rock. That, in my opinion, is certainly a desecrating obscenity at the Jewish place of worship.[vi] This Anti-Christ Allah who proclaims himself the only god and calls for war against Christians and Jews reminds me of revelation 13.
We know the predictions of Daniel and Yeshua have been partially fulfilled, but the eleventh chapter of Daniel says the king of the north will take up with those who betray the holy covenant[vii] and then he will march into the sanctuary and desecrate it and the citadel. He will set up the obscene sacrifice in place of the daily sacrifice. That happened with Antiochus IV Epiphanies but Yeshua said to be ready to run for it when you see the monster of desecration set up in the sanctuary as the prophet Daniel described. If this is not a future event, he would have had to be talking about the Dome of The Rock, which has caused not only Jews, but Christians too, untold misery. If it is a future event, and we don’t know that it is, the temple will be rebuilt soon. Stay alert! Watch and pray.[viii] Remember we are looking at birth pangs, not death throes.[ix]
The themes of the book of Revelation encourage us because
- God is in control. We have access to fearless confidence[x]
- We are confident of our Saviors sure return, and wait patiently, watching diligently[xi]
- We can be sure no one who wants to come to God will be left out.[xii]
[i] Matthew 24.
[ii] Ezekiel 40; note; Archaeological Bible, 1648.
[iii] Archaeological study bible, page 1406
[iv] Daniel 9, 11, 12.
[v] Wells, The Outline of History, page 660.
[vi] Daniel 19:27.
[vii] Nehemiah 9:7, 8.
[viii] II Peter 3:1-17.
[ix] Barkley, volume II, page 123
[x] Acts 4:23-31
[xi] Acts 1:9-11
[xii] Acts 2:21; Revelation 3:20, 21