Regardless of what comes in the latter-days, we can be prepared through full knowledge, and understanding of the Gospel. Indeed, as I mentioned in a previous post – not all latter-day revelations are found in the books of Daniel, and Revelation; rather as God declared, He is the LORD that speaks the things of the end from the beginning:
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
I am not one given to theological trends, I believe the admonishment to ‘prove all things, and hold fast to that which is true.’ (1 Thess. 5:21) So, I’m not really blowing smoke when I say I believe I have received an important revelation regarding the coming days. As I hope my readers can perceive as I lay this ground-work my perspective is based upon plain scripture, and if not you oughtn’t to read my works at all for it is written:
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
The Messianic Age
I have been speaking of the New Covenant era – in the first post I showed three authoritative testimonies which plainly state that the covenant of God is no longer exclusively with people of Jewish descent (teachings from John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Paul the Apostle – ‘let every matter be established out of the mouths of two, or three witnesses.’ (Deut 19:15; Matt 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1; 1 Tim 5:19)). According to these three witnesses, no one is accepted as the people of God except they receive the Messiah: Jesus Christ. Those who are genealogical Jews are counted NOT to be Jews (God’s people) if they do not receive Jesus Christ, and those who are not genealogical Jews are counted to be Jews (God’s people) if they receive the Messiah: Jesus Christ. ‘Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.‘ (Gal 3:7)
In the second post we looked at an example which conclusively verifies that under the New Covenant God’s people are NOT BOUND to the Old Covenant statutes or regulations. Each one is accepted by God – and given the Holy Spirit upon the merit of their faith in Jesus Christ alone. We saw that the three essential ordinances to receive salvation under the old covenant (and the three defining staples of the Jewish religion), namely:
- The covenant of circumcision
- The Law of Moses
- Submission to the Levitical priesthood
which all Jews HAD BEEN held strictly enforced to follow, are no longer necessary practice under the New Covenant.
Some have posed the thought that we are in the ‘age of the Gentiles.’ I pointed out this thought in a previous post – so… do we live in an ‘age of the Gentiles?’ No, that thought would presuppose that the ‘age of the Gentiles’ will, at some point end – that salvation will once again be extended ONLY to Jews. There is no scriptural precedent for that thought – furthermore, even under the Old Covenant, Gentiles could be included in salvation by observing the three ordinances mentioned above (circumcision, law, Levitical priesthood). We are not in the ‘age of the gentiles,’ we are living in the age of the Messiah – or the more scriptural term ‘the year of the Lord’s favor’ wherein ALL THOSE who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. In this age Jesus Christ fulfills all righteousness, and imputes it to those who believe in Him, apart from observing the law (Rom 3:28; Gal 2:16).)
In this current age we live in, all things are fulfilled in Jesus Christ and salvation is open to every man, Jew or Gentile. No earthly custom, culture, or religion need be observed – Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all righteousness before God. This is the Messianic age, or age of Messiah – and it culminates not when the remnant of Jews return to God through Jesus Christ, but when Jesus Christ returns to the earth.
(If you want to study these things in depth personally, the most concise places to find the distinctions between Old, and New Covenant doctrine in scripture is the book of Hebrews (wherein the writer explains Christ’s fulfillment of all three of these tenants of Jewish culture.) and Galatians. If, after studying Hebrews you remain confused about whether we should continue to follow the Old Covenant traditions, then read the book of Galatians – where Paul strictly warns believers not to fall back into the tenants of the Old Covenant, lest they be quote: ‘FALLEN FROM GRACE.’ (Gal. 5:4))
WHERE is the Israel of God?
19 The woman saith unto [Jesus], Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye [Jews] say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, NOR YET AT JERUSALEM, worship the Father.
22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
Where is the Israel of God? Where is the place of the Lord’s habitation?
In the above conversation, Jesus clarifies that since the coming of Messiah (‘the hour cometh, and now is‘ – since Christ was in the earth already) a new mandate for worshiping God has come! Thus Jesus is announcing this era that I have described above as the ‘Messianic Age’ – He clarifies this when He gives distinction to the fact that He, Himself, is Messiah (v.26). Once again, the distinction was the person of Jesus Christ – the Messiah. Nothing else had changed, but Messiah – who is the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets had come, and was in the earth.
I should point out that a change from worship in Jerusalem would not only be a great change in the spiritual, and religious realms of Jewish society, but ALSO a great change in the social and political realms of Jewish life and culture. From the time of King Solomon the temple in Jerusalem was the center of the economy in Israel – and was supported by the entire nation. Not to go into too great a depth on that, basically, changing the mandate of worship in Jerusalem would change just about EVERYTHING in Jewish culture which was not already determined by the covenant, and the law.
Furthermore, Jesus declaration that worship in Jerusalem was not necessary is a direct statement that the era of temple-worship had passed. What was the point of going to Jerusalem to worship? The Temple – God’s dwelling place in the earth – was there. But here Jesus declares that under the Messianic era (the era of the Messiah), God will dwell and commune with EVERYONE who worships Him in Spirit, and in Truth. It was no longer necessary for people to go to Jerusalem to meet with God.
For Jesus to make the declaration that there was no further need to worship in Jerusalem is to completely liberate God’s people to serve and worship the Lord independently anywhere – the formulation of their own communities for worship would be sufficient, no matter where they were! In fact, this was precisely what the early Christians did in the book of Acts; taking the cultural synagogue practice to a new level (it is believed that the origin of synagogue meetings came about in the time of Israel’s exile, after the first temple had been destroyed).
This thought may bring immediate questions to why Jesus continued to teach in the temple, and why Paul, and other apostles continued to travel there. The answer to that question is simple: to minister to the Jews. When Jesus went to the temple, He taught, and healed the sick – He ministered to the Jews. The Messianic age had begun (since Jesus had come into the world) but was not yet completed because He had not been crucified, raised and ascended to the right hand of the Father. Yet regardless, physically He was a Jew by nationality, and by default followed Jewish cultural customs, though He was not bound by them – He is Messiah! (Matt 12:8)
When Jesus came, He declared that He was come to minister to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’ (Matt 10:6; 15:24, etc.). Thus, Jesus chief ministry, while in the earth was to the Jews. Why? Because this was – as He described it – the hour of their visitation (Luke 19:44). God had sent His Word to the Jews first – they were given the first opportunity to receive the Messiah (just as Paul, also declared it was quote ‘to the Jew FIRST’ (Rom 1:16; 2:9 – 11)). There is no respect of persons (or of cultures, ethnicities, etc.) with God – Jesus went to the Jews first because their culture was instigated by God, because for all the years of time since Abraham, they had carried the knowledge (and the Word) of the One True God – they had the first opportunity to receive Him.
Jesus ministered in the temple, and according to Jewish custom because while these things were passing away (fulfilled in Him) the Jews could not receive Him if He did not act in a way that was consistent with their revelation of God. He was already in process of delivering the disciples from the legalistic precedents of the law of Moses – declaring all foods clean (see previous post), making statements like: ‘the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’ (Matt 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5) (Which is to say, faith in Jesus Christ, and obedience to Him personally fulfills the requirements of the Sabbath. Say: ‘MESSIANIC AGE’)
Even when Jesus commanded people to offer the sacrifices of Moses in His day it was not because they had to for the fulfillment of righteousness, BUT FOR THE PURPOSE OF TESTIFYING TO THE JEWS! Look at this – Jesus heals a man of Leprosy; there was a specific sacrifice required by the law for one who was healed of leprosy, read what Jesus tells the man:
Matt 8:4 (Also Mark 1:44; Luke 5:14)
See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, FOR A TESTIMONY UNTO THEM.
Even while He walked the earth, Jesus wasn’t advocating the usage of the law to meet its righteous requirements, but as a testimony to the Jews!
Even after the revelation of the Messiah, when the fullness of the Messianic age was in place, Paul, and others continued to travel to Jerusalem and participate in temple services upon occasion, not because they had to – but so that they could continue to bring the testimony of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving Jews. This was the clear perspective of Paul in continuing to follow Jewish customs, just as he plainly declared it was:
1 Cor 9:19-23
19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Paul considered himself no longer to be bound by Jewish custom, but in order to continue bringing the testimony of Jesus Christ to the Jewish people, he occasionally followed Jewish customs. And he says the same of the gentiles – to them that are without the law (gentiles) as without the law – i.e. he did not continue to follow the Jewish culture when with the Greeks, but Greek culture. Notice the parenthesis in verse 21, where he says: ‘being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ‘ this is a direct statement of the precedent I mentioned previously: OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST – not strict adherence to the law of Moses – is the fulfillment of righteousness in the Messianic age.
Paul’s usage of culture pagan, and orthodox is plainly illustrated when he preached the Gospel among the Greek philosophers, as a Greek intellectual on Mars Hill – a pagan place where no orthodox Jew would ever be found ministering (Acts 17:18-34)! Among gentiles Paul did not follow Jewish culture, but the culture of the people where he was ministering – but at all times he ministered Christ no matter WHERE he was, or who he was with.
Know ye not, YE are His Temple?
Jesus Christ was not only the fulfillment of:
- the Covenant of Abraham – and thus circumcision passed away, and
- the law of Moses – and thus the letter of the law passed away (not the Spirit of it but the strict adherence to the letter of the law)
- the priesthood – by which the levitical priesthood passed away (we are now under the ‘Melchizedek’ priesthood, i.e. Jesus Christ, himself is the complete fulfillment of every priestly service we require (see Hebrews 4:14-5:10; 7-8:6; 9:11-28, etc.)) (Apologies that I have not gone into the further details of each these things. As I am blogging, and not writing a book most readers would find it over-tedious if I went into much further depth on these things than I have done in the last couple of posts. The substance of what I am building to may well be important enough to merit a book, in which case I will fill these topics out more thoroughly therein.)
BUT Jesus was ALSO the fulfillment of the TEMPLE WORSHIP! We no longer need to travel to Jerusalem – or any singular place – in order to worship God; if we are born again, we have permanent access to God through Jesus Christ wherever we are! As He said: ‘the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.’
Heb 9:1 & 8-12
Then verily the first covenant had [<- HAD: PAST TENSE] also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, WHILE AS THE FIRST TABERNACLE WAS YET STANDING [<- PAST TENSE]:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 WHICH STOOD ONLY IN MEATS AND DRINKS, AND DIVERS WASHINGS, AND CARNAL ORDINANCES, IMPOSED ON THEM UNTIL THE TIME OF REFORMATION [<- the coming of Jesus Christ].
11 BUT CHRIST BEING COME an high priest of good things to come, BY A GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Under the New Covenant, the scripture declares that there is a GREATER, and MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE (or temple). Jesus Christ was the fulfillment ALSO of the ‘tabernacle,’ or temple, itself:
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
Jesus referred to Himself as the temple of God. In context (and hermeneutically) He was speaking plainly of the temple of God. This was not an amorphous saying where the word ‘temple’ – as Jesus used it here – could have been construed as anything other than the temple OF GOD.
Indeed, Jesus WAS the very temple of God, for He is the ‘fullness of the Godhead bodily’ (Col 2:9), and the ‘express image of His person.’ (Heb 1:3)
Even the Old Testament ministers, and prophets knew that God was too great to dwell in a building made with hands, for upon constructing the earthly temple even Solomon declared:
1 Kings 8:27
27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
Like the covenant, the law, and the priesthood, the temple itself is also fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Furthermore each one of us, who is born again becomes the temple of God – for God comes to dwell in us.
1 Cor 3:16
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Cor 6:19
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
2 Cor 6:16-18
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Wherefore Jesus could plainly declare that men need not to go to Jerusalem, or anyplace else to worship the Father – for in receiving Messiah every Christian becomes the temple of God.
Further, the body of Christ – as a whole – is the temple of God in the earth. For those who are not yet saved, the church universal is the temple. This is not a PLACE they go in order to experience God, but a people they interact with: Christians.
18 For through him we both [Jews and Gentiles] have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom YE ALSO ARE BUILDED TOGETHER FOR AN HABITATION OF GOD THROUGH THE SPIRIT.
Jesus Christ is the demonstrative human temple. He is the chief cornerstone.
1 Peter 2:4-10
4 To whom [Jesus] coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Covenant, the Law, the priesthood, and the temple of God. This is the blessed hope of the gentiles, and the stone of stumbling to the Jews. This is a great stone of stumbling because Jesus Christ disannuls the entirety of Jewish culture as the appropriate response to God – but, of course, He was not singling the Jews out with this, adherence to NO culture is the appropriate response to God. Only adherence to Jesus Christ, the Messiah is the appropriate response to God.
Now let us keep place in our minds, that does not mean that Jewish culture is bad – it was initially set in place by God. Yet everything in the culture was prophesying of the coming Messiah. One who has lived by the culture who rejects the Messiah’s fulfillment of it has been blinded to what that culture means, and his religion is worthless. One who has lived under the culture, and RECEIVES the Messiah of whom it prophesied need no longer live under it, but keep step with the current covenant with God.
Where is the Kingdom? …Where is the Antichrist?
20 And when [Jesus] was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Above, Jesus plainly declares that the kingdom of God will not come with observation. It will not be found in this place, or that place – but in the people of God: those who have made covenant with Jesus Christ.
(Now I begin to scratch the surface of the revelation I’ve had about the end-days:)
Under the New Covenant, the TEMPLE is NOT A BUILDING – the TEMPLE is the BODY of JESUS CHRIST, the Messiah.
If the temple continued to be a building – OR were once again a building – then the covenant of the body of Jesus Christ would pass away and salvation through Jesus would be void. Everyone who wanted to serve God would have to, again, go to a geographic location to worship God – we would no longer have access to God wherever we are through Jesus Christ. If the temple were a building, then worshiping God (under the BETTER covenant with BETTER promises) in Spirit, and in Truth would pass away.
The writer of Hebrews plainly declared that the worship of God in a building was based upon the OLD COVENANT, and was imposed only in CARNAL ORDINANCES (Heb 9:10) – NOT in Spirit, and in Truth.
So, I begin my warning: ‘Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there!‘
There will not again come a time – according to Jesus – when the Kingdom of heaven abides in some place that it can tangibly be said: ‘here it is,’ or ‘there it is.’ (Here’s the first major bombshell:) The Kingdom does not come with observation – it will not be found in the Vatican city; it will not be found in Salt Lake City, Utah; it will not be found in Mecca, Lhasa, or Varanasi; IT WILL NOT BE FOUND IN JERUSALEM.
Do not be deceived about constructing an earthly tabernacle – A TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM. That, friend, would be a displacement of the body of Jesus Christ – that would be falling BACK into the rudiments of the CARNAL COMMANDMENTS (Heb 9:10). In fact, it would be OUTRIGHT BLASPHEMY because it denies the person, work, ministry, and covenant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To build a new earthly temple and presume to meet God in it (limiting Him) under the New Covenant era would be an abomination as the tower of Babel was an abomination.
But wait – 95% of my evangelical readers are now in a bind: ‘Doesn’t there have to be a temple built in Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecies of scripture regarding the latter days? Doesn’t the Antichrist have to stand in the ‘Holy place,’ and declare that he is God?’
First I will say: No, I don’t believe so. I believe that the fulfillment of those texts regard the SPIRITUAL temple under the New Covenant – which is a far more terrifying thought than that a building becomes inhabited by the devil!
But, before I get ahead of the revelation in answering that question fully – let me say this: I do believe that a new temple will be built in Jerusalem. In fact at this point, I am as sure of that as I am sure that there will be a singular human Antichrist figure, but let me say this of the construction of an earthly temple in Jerusalem:
GOD WILL NOT BE IN IT. BEFORE, DURING, OR AFTER.
To construct a temple – a building of brick and mortar now that Messiah is come, and declare that God is in it (oh dear, I may be revealing more than I intended in this post) IS BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT*(see bottom). To attribute the anointing to a person (or place) where the Messiah’s ministry, work, and covenant has been rejected is the definition of ‘antichrist’:
1 John 2:22
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:3
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Any representation of God, which denies the Messiah has fulfilled all things is antichrist.
*Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (see Matt 12:22-35) I say beacause: In context, when Jesus spoke of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, it was due to the Pharisees calling Jesus’ miracles – which were wrought by the Holy Spirit – satanic (again, Matt 12:22-35). Jesus equated the attributing of the Holy Spirit’s work to Satan as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Just so, surely the opposite is True, to attribute the work of the devil to the Holy Spirit is blaspheming Him.