Riots on the Temple Mount
"Trodden down of Gentiles until..."
October 6, 2012 - Audio, 8.50 MIN
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The news this weekend of riots by Muslims on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, draws our attention to the long history of the site and its relevance in Bible prophecy. Hello again, this is Paul Billington commenting on this week's edition of the Bible in the News.
The area known as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the spot where the magnificent temple, built by Solomon, once stood. That temple was destroyed by the Babylonians but was replaced by another temple as recorded in the Biblical books of Ezra, Nehemiah and contemporary prophets (about 500 BC). That temple area was extended by Herod the Great, and the huge platform remains to the present day - This is the Temple Mount. The Romans demolished the actual temple in AD 70, and today a Moslem mosque, known as "The Dome of the Rock" (built in the 7th century AD) stands there. In 1967 the area was recovered (some would say "occupied") by Jews, some of whom want to rebuild the Jewish temple, so from time to time there are clashes between Jews and Muslims as each tries to make its claim.
The riots that took place there this weekend stem from this rivalry, and from the ages-long controversy that is involved. The prophecy of Daniel chapter 8 is concerned with this contested ground. In Daniel 8:11 we read of the Roman power (which was an extension and development out of the Greek empire of Alexander). It was this power that removed the Jewish temple:
"Yea, 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. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered."
So it was Rome that brought to an end the daily sacrifice that was offered. Rome also cast down the sanctuary (Miqdash, holy place - i.e. the temple). The prophecy continues:
"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."
The "sanctuary" or temple was to be "trodden under foot" for a period of 2,300 days - which, in symbolic language is 2,300 years.
Over 250 years ago a writer by the name of Thomas Newton considered this prophecy and wrote the following:
"'Unto two thousand and three hundred days' or years, then I conceive they are to be computed from the vision of the he-goat, or Alexander's invading Asia. Alexander invaded Asia in the year... before Christ 334. Two thousand and three hundred years from that time will draw towards the conclusion of the sixth millennium of the world; and about that period... Rome is to be overthrown, and the Jews are to be restored."
The result of this observation is simple enough: 2,300 minus 334 BC brings us to 1966.
The same writer (Thomas Newton in 1754) also wrote this, commenting on Luke 21:24,
"By tracing the history of Jerusalem, from the destruction by Titus to the present time, it appears, evidently, that as the Jews have been 'led away captive into all nations,' so Jerusalem hath been 'trodden down of the Gentiles.' There are now almost 1700 years, in which the Jewish nation have been a standing monument of the truth of Christ's predictions, themselves dispersed over the face of the whole earth, and their land groaning under the yoke of foreign lords and conquerors: and at this day there is no reason to doubt but they will continue in the same state, nor ever recover their native country, 'until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' Our Saviour's words are very memorable, 'Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' It is still trodden down of the Gentiles, and consequently the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled... When the 'times of the Gentiles' shall be 'fulfilled,' then the expression implies, that the Jews shall be restored, and for what reason, can we believe, that though they are dispersed among all nations, yet by a constant miracle, they are kept distinct from all, but for the farther manifestation of God's purposes towards them? The prophecies have been accomplished, to the greatest exactness, in the destruction of their city, and its continuing still subject to strangers; in the dispersion of their people, and their living still separate from all people: and why should not the remaining parts of the same prophecies be as fully accomplished too, in their restoration, at the proper season, when 'the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled?""
Another writer, R. Milligan, writing in 1868 made the following remarkable comment upon the prophecy of Daniel chapter 8 and the 2,300 day-years in his book "Reason and Revelation":
"It seems most probable, however, that this period is to be reckoned, not from the rise or birth of the Ram, as some writers have alleged, (for he was in his full strength and vigor when Daniel first saw him,) but FROM THE TIME WHEN HE WAS FIRST ATTACKED BY THE HE-GOAT. If this assumption is warranted by the context, it fixes the beginning of this period to the spring of the year 334 BC and consequently it will terminate in the spring or about the middle of AD 1967. And this conclusion seems to be sustained by the chronology of the twelfth chapter. The reader will observe that in that chapter the future history of the Israelites is summed up in three leading events. These are, first, their restoration to Palestine; second, their general conversion to Christ; and, third, the conversion of the world through their agency and instrumentality."
As we see the prophecy unfold - and especially how it was understood long beforehand, we have to recognize the hand of the Almighty at work and that it is connected to the site of the Miqdash (temple).
The prophecy is not yet completely fulfilled of course, but we can see its progress. The words of Daniel do appear to indicate the 1967 event, but it continues; (verse 14) "THEN shall the sanctuary be cleansed." The Hebrew Tanach and Green's version bear this out. The next development (THEN) is the cleansing of the holy place. So we must expect further events connected with the Temple Mount. The riots of today are but a foretaste of impending changes before the Lord comes:
"At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart" (Jeremiah 3:17).
Thank you for listening. Join us again next week on Bible in the News.
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