Yesterday, I turned on the TV to watch the evening news and instead of viewing Channel 40, my regular news channel, the TV had reset to Channel 4 because the electricity had gone off. So, imagine my surprise when I saw Benny Hinn instead of Brit Hume! Since I had not heard Benny Hinn speak for some time, I thought I would watch his program for a few minutes to see why he was so excited. He was animated about recent developments in Israel. From what I gathered (I missed the first part of his program), he was overjoyed at the preparations made by a group of Jews who intend to rebuild their temple. Evidently, a number of Jewish "rebuilders" are ready to go to work at a momentís notice Ė if and when a political solution or military action makes construction possible. To demonstrate the passion of the rebuilders, Benny Hinn showed a video clip of four men carrying a golden replica of the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders. He also mentioned that schools have been set up in Israel to train priests for the sacrificial rituals that will be conducted once the temple is rebuilt. Benny Hinn said that Bible prophecy predicts the templewill berebuilt and he was excited about developments that were quickly moving toward that great day. I know, from watching other broadcasts by Benny Hinn, that he also believes the efforts of the rebuilders in Israel indicate the rapture of "the church" is very near.
During the program, Benny Hinn showed a video clip that particularly fascinated him. The video clip showed a rabbi standing before a crowd of people making a declaration that went something like this: "We [the Jews] believe in a coming Messiah. If it turns out that the Messiah is Jesus, we will accept Him." Benny Hinn said he "shivered all over" when he heard these words. Perhaps he shivered because he believes that 144,000 Jews will indeed become believers in Jesus after the rapture and millions of Jews (and others) will be given a second chance to receive Christ as Messiah and Savior during the Great Tribulation. The willingness of a Jewish Rabbi to accept Jesus as the Messiah gave Benny Hinn the shivers because he sees a shift in Jewish attitudes and he thinks this is a prophetic fulfillment in the making.
One of the Last Prophetic Signs
For millions of Christians, the rebuilding of the Jewish temple is one of the last prophetic signs that occurs about the time the seventieth week begins. These Christians have a prophetic schematic that makes the nation of Israel central to end time events. They believe the temple in Jerusalem has to be rebuilt for several reasons, and here are two. First, they believe that Paul predicted the Antichrist will physically enter the Jewish temple and declare himself to be God."He[the Antichrist]will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in Godís temple, proclaiming himself to be God."(2 Thessalonians 2:4) Second, they also believe that the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:15 point to the Antichrist standing in the rebuilt temple:"So when you see standing in the holy place Ďthe abomination that causes desolation,í spoken of through the prophet Daniel Ė let the reader understand Ė then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."(Matthew 24:15,16) (The abomination that causes desolation, they say, is the Antichrist.)
The "Rock" of Impasse
The Most Holy Place of Israelís first temple was built on the same rock where Abraham offered up Isaac. God specifically directed King David to this rock when the time came to build the first temple. (1 Chronicles 21) This rock is 39 feet by 56 feet in size and it is the highest point on the temple mount (2,450.42 feet above sea level). Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple Solomon built on August 10, 586 B.C. A second temple was built around 515 B.C., but the construction was nothing compared to that of the first temple. The second temple was "reconstructed" several times and the Romans eventually destroyed it on the same date the first temple was destroyed, A.D. 70, August 10. Roman soldiers pulled the great stones of the second temple apart to find the gold that melted and ran into the cracks during the great fire that consumed the temple.
For centuries following A.D. 70, the temple mount laid in ruins and Jerusalem was ruled by various Arab caliphs. In A.D. 692, Abd al-Malik completed the construction of The Dome of the Rock. It is believed that The Dome of the Rock was built by Abd al-Malik for political reasons. He wanted to relieve a rival caliph in Mecca of some of his influence and authority. So, Abd al-Malik built a beautiful edifice that would serve as a holy shrine for Moslems and it would also serve as a place of prayer for Jews and Christians. To make The Dome of the Rock a "holy" shrine for Moslems, Abd al-Malik made the claim that Mohammed was taken up into the seventh Heaven from this rock one night to meet with Allah. When Mohammed returned to Earth, he was anointed to spread the teaching of Islam and tell everyone that one prayer was better than many. Thus, Abd al-Malik hoped to draw pilgrims away from his rivalís Kaaba Shrine in Mecca by offering another holy shrine, or place of the Hajj.
About 20 years ago, two attempts were made to prove that the Holy of Holies, the most sacred room in the Jewish temple, was not located on the rock where The Dome of the Rock now stands. If it could be proven that The Dome of the Rock is not sitting on the site of the Holy of Holies, a third temple might be built on the exact site required by God without disturbing a sacred shrine of the Moslem world. Dr. Asher Kaufman, a Jewish physicist, presented a theory that the original site of the Holy of Holies was some 300 feet northwest of The Dome of the Rock. Conversely, a Jewish architect, Tuvya Sagiv, presented a theory that the site of the Holy of Holies was located to the south of The Dome of the Rock. Archeologists have not widely accepted either of these views. Archeology aside, putting the Holy of Holies on a mountain prominence that is physically lower than The Dome of the Rock would be the equivalent of putting the God of the Jews in a lower position than the God of the Moslems, and human nature predicts this is not going to happen.
Of course, the Jews remain perplexed about rebuilding their temple. If possible, Israel would be willing to pay a very great price for possession of the rock (or the Holy of Holies as they call it). This point was underscored in July 2000 when Palestinian Yassar Arafat and Israelís Ehud Barak met with President Bill Clinton at Camp David to see if peace could be negotiated. The world watched anxiously to see if peace in the Middle East would be forthcoming and after several days of negotiations, the three leaders found that peace was not possible. Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israelís top negotiator during the Camp David summit, expressed Israelís desire for possession of the rock in an interview on September 13, 2001, when he said: " The Temple Mount would be under full Palestinian sovereignty, with Israel getting the Western Wall and the Holy of Holies."
Moslems are the worldís largest religious group and in an interesting way, they have a very powerful influence over the worldís economy because of oil. Currently, there are more than 1.3 billion Moslems and hundreds of millions of them would immediately go to war if they thought that the Jews would defile The Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The size (and ferocity) of the Moslem world is important because it is important to remember that The Dome of the Rock is religiously connected to 1.3 billion people. This rock is not a geographical matter over which the Palestinians have control, and the Jews know the Holy of Holies is not just limited to Palestinian control. I may be wrong, and this is speculation on my part, but I believe that Iranís unstoppable efforts to produce atomic bombs is a response to Jewish and Christian overtures for rebuilding the temple.
Do you remember Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejadís recent remarks on October 30, 2005 saying that "Israel should be wiped off the map," and then again, on December 14, 2005 he said that the Holocaust was a "myth." I think these inflammatory statements (which received worldwide attention) are calculated to forcibly remind Jews and Christians alike that The Temple Mount is non-negotiable. Evidence abounds indicating that President Ahmadinejad is a deeply devoted Moslem. He takes his religion seriously. He lives modestly, and he recently banned Western style music in Iran because he believes it is decadent. Is he telling the world in veiled language that any efforts to rebuild the temple will have to take place over the dead body of his nation? If the legacy of President George W. Bush is a "war on terror," is it possible that the legacy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejadís will be the "destruction of Israel" if anyone attempts to defile the third holiest shrine of Islam? I do not know what Ahmadinejadís thoughts are, but it is widely known that Israel has atomic bombs and I would not be surprised if Ahmadinejad is determined to have "atomic parity" with Israel because he feels The Dome of the Rock is threatened by talk of rebuilding the Jewish temple.
Last month, I made a comment in this publication that the temple in Jerusalem will not be rebuilt. I believe that God has set an airtight seal on The Temple Mount that cannot be broken by political or military means. For reasons presented in recent issues of The Wake Up Report! , I believe the pre-tribulation rapture schematic, which millions of Christians have embraced, is fatally flawed. The rules of interpretation they use to arrive at this conclusion are not valid or warranted. There will not be a pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation rapture. The seventieth week is not in the future. The Great Tribulation will not be seven years in length because Daniel 12:12 says it will be 1,335 days. You may ask, "What difference does it really make if a person believes in the rapture or not?" Actually, there is a huge problem lurking within Christianity. Millions of Christians believe that Plan A* events will occur during the fulfillment of Plan B and the consequences from believing this will be terrible. For example, under Plan A, Jesus would have stood on the Mount of Olives and divided the mountain."On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south."(Zechariah 14:4) Under Plan B, this will not happen! At the Second Coming, every island and mountian will be moved from its place! However, when the devil appears masquerading as God, I believe this is one of the things he will do! In fact, the devil will do many things that were predicted under Plan A. With cunning deception, he will lead the world into the greatest "con" the world has ever known using the same Bible that explains Godís plans!
* For a discussion on the concept of Plan A and Plan B, please see the January 2006 issue.
Sadly, people fail to understand that the Jewish roll (Plan A) in end time events is over. The New Testament Plan B actually tells us when the Antichrist, the devil, will appear. Unfortunately, when the Jews see the devilís glorious appearing, they will receive him as the anticipated Messiah. What else can Benny Hinnís Rabbi say when this event occurs and he sees such power and dazzling glory? When the Moslems behold the glorious appearing of the devil, attended by millions of angels (albeit fallen angels), what else can they say except the promised "Deliverer" has arrived? When confused and bedazzled Christians see the glorious appearing of the devil, when they hear him quoting lengthy texts from the Bible and fulfilling them right before their eyes, they will believe that he is Jesus! In short, the greatest deception ever to occur is coming and few Christians have a clue. The devil will expertly use the Bible and the Koran (and other holy writings) to prove that he is God. The devil knows how to twist and distort these books very well. He has had centuries to study them. These matters should make us very sober. Every seeker of truth should be carefully searching and researching the Bible. The Bible and the Bible only gives a correct view of coming events.