The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

“A brother and companion in”

“I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”  

- Revelation 1:9

What makes a pastor effective? What makes someone effective in serving our Lord? A lot of damage has been done to the name of Jesus, to His bride the church, and to the reputation of our Lord by those who claim to be pastors of Christ or in some way claim to belong to Christ. The world is deceived and under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). But even those who walk according to the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air are able to spot a charlatan, hypocrite, or shallow disingenuous follower of Jesus (Eph. 2:1-3). And when they spot a phony or shallow “follower” of Jesus, they are quick to exploit it to their own ends. They only have to find one slacker, one superficial “Christian” to have enough ammunition to excuse themselves from listening to any conviction for their sins that the Holy Spirit might be dealing with them about.

Did you ever ask yourself why the hypocrites Ananias and Sapphira were dealt with so severely by the Holy Spirit? They sold some property and gave a portion of it to the church giving the impression they had given it all at great personal sacrifice. That doesn’t seem to be such a big deal. But they were both exposed for their deceit and stopped literally dead in their tracks. What was the big deal? Peter was moved by the Spirt to indict them for having a heart filled by Satan to lie to the Spirit; they tested the Spirit of God with their lying ways. Why was that such a big deal? Why did they have to pay such severe price? After the incident it says, “So great fear came upon all those who heard these things” Acts 5:1-11). There was an important lesson to be learned early on in the early church; one that we should revisit in our day.

The lost world is rejecting a shallow superficial Spiritless church today. Sinners are running hell bent from the church headed for a cliff that will plummet them into a Christ-less eternity. It’s a heart breaking situation. But what is even more heartbreaking is that so much of the church just doesn’t seem to care. They indulge in political discussions which soon degenerate into arguments. They are satisfied to be preoccupied with tweets, twitters, and texts of depersonalized messages to others. Maybe they have a Facebook “ministry.” Maybe they have an Instagram account. But when was the last time there was an actual conversation up front and personal with an actual flesh and blood person?

Then there are the people who are more concerned with the standings of their team than the spiritual state of the lost around them. People know the sales coming this month but they aren’t too privy to the salvation condition of those around them.

The world sees through superficiality. They can spot a hypocrite a mile away; even if it is for the selfish sake of justifying or excusing their own sin. What’s the solution? One of the most enduring examples of effective ministry is the Apostle John. In His last inspired piece of writing he wrote the following:

·         Revelation 1:9 - “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”  

John identified himself as “both your brother and companion in the tribulation.” John was in the trenches with his people. He didn’t lead from the rear but led from the front lines. And because of this he was loved by those he led in the Lord. No one could accuse John of not genuinely caring or being false or hypocritical in some way. That was because he was a “brother and companion in.” That small little preposition “in” carries a lot of weight. It was because John was “in” life with those he wrote to and ministered to that he was so effective.

Now we would be amiss to attribute John’s effectiveness and longevity to only being “in” something. Most importantly he “was in the Spirit” (Revelation 1:10). But it was the Holy Spirit who moved John to be that loving brother and companion to those he ministered too. And this work of the Spirit in and through John is what made him one of the lasting pillars of the early church.

John was their companion in tribulation. Today we have Isis and Islam as the prime instrument of the devil to persecute the church. In John’s day it was Rome. Today’s brand of persecution has nothing on the Roman’s brand. The devil is ruthless in every age. It takes a genuine Spirit-filled Church to weather his diabolical storms. John was a church leader, a pastor, who led the charge through tribulations. And those following him loved him for his courage. Rumor had it that Domitian tried to do in John by boiling him alive in oil. But old bro John was miraculously preserved through it all. Was it true? We don’t know. It’s possible. But even if such an account isn’t true, it tells us a lot about how those around him felt about John.

The environment into which this revelation is being received is one of “tribulation” (Greek thlipsis). “Tribulation” means literally a pressing, pressure. It can refer to anything that burdens the spirit of a person. Jesus used this term when He stated, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33). There have always been, and there will always be, pressures and persecutions in this life, until the Lord returns to set things right. Until then people inside and outside of the church will be looking for those who have a genuine answer to their trial produced questions, a genuine solution to their pressure produced problems.

In this world Jesus affirms we will experience tribulation. But I should mention here that this does not mean we will experience the Great Tribulation! We will experience pressures from the world and our adversary the devil. The “tribulation” referred to in John 16:33 and Revelation 1:9 are not the same as the Great Tribulation described in Revelation chapters 6-19. The difference between the tribulation referred to by Jesus that we would experience and that of the Great Tribulation is that the source or origin of each is different.

During the Great Tribulation God is the One who orchestrates the tribulation by pouring out His righteous and well deserved wrath on a Christ rejecting world (Revelation 6:17; 16:17-19). Christians are not destined to experience the wrathful tribulation of God but will be and are saved from it (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).  In this world now we have an adversary who prowls the earth like a roaring lion seeking to prey on the weak (1 Peter 5:8-9). We are in a spiritual war against Satan and his cohorts (Ephesians 6:10-18). We live in a fallen world where sin causes tribulation to its victims (1 John 3:8). In this world we will suffer tribulations.

It should also be noted here that the cause of the tribulation John and his fellow believers were experiencing was their faithfulness to “the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Their faithfulness led to tribulation. When was the last time you suffered for “the word of God” and/or “for the testimony of Jesus Christ? They experienced trials because they did the right thing in the eyes of God. They were not suffering as a consequence of their personal sins. They were not compromisers. They were not hypocrites. They weren’t sorry for themselves. They had no self-pity. They, along with John, were suffering for faithfully living out God’s word and sharing the testimony of Jesus Christ. The world yearns for those who can take a hit and keep on moving, and do it with joy. When you’ve been genuinely saved and born again by Jesus, how can you not tell the world of the incredible truth?

At the time that John was given this revelation there was a great persecution by Rome against those who called themselves “Christian.”  The Church experienced its first persecution under Caesar Nero (54-68) and more particularly under Emperor Domitian in A.D. 95 around the time that the book of Revelation was received by John. The persecution under Nero was instigated by Nero himself as historians tell us he blamed Christians for starting a fire in Rome that he in his personal madness had set. It was a fierce fire that spread to the entire city.  As the truth of this terrible deed began to be discovered Nero diverted attention from himself and blamed Christians. 

The Roman historian Tacitus wrote the following in regards to this situation:

“With this view he inflicted the most exquisite tortures on those men who, under the vulgar appellation of Christians, were already branded with deserved infamy. They derived their name and origin from Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, had suffered death by the sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate.  For a while this dire superstition was checked, but it again burst forth; and not only spread itself over Judea, the first seat of this mischievous sect, but was even introduced into Rome, the common asylum which receives and protects whatever is impure, whatever is atrocious. The confessions of those who were seized discovered a great multitude of their accomplices, and they were all convicted, not so much for the crime of setting fire to the city as for their hatred of human kind. They died in torments, and their torments were embittered by insult and derision. Some were nailed on crosses; others sewn up in the skins of wild bests, and exposed to the fury of dogs; others again, smeared over with combustible materials, were used as torches to illuminate the darkness of the night. The gardens of Nero were destined for the melancholy spectacle, which was accompanied with a horse race, and honored with the presence of the emperor, who mingled with the populace in the dress and attitude of a charioteer. The guilt of the Christians deserved indeed the most exemplary punishments, but the public abhorrence was changed into commiseration, from the opinion that those unhappy wretches were sacrificed, not so much to the public welfare as to the cruelty of a jealous tyrant.”  [1]

Nero was a madman; a precursor to Antichrist who had the spirit of antichrist (cf. 1 John 4). When Nero was three years old his mother murdered his father by giving young Nero poisoned food to give his father. One can only imagine the effect upon Nero as he watched his father writhe in pain and die before him.  At age 12 Nero tortured to death a friend who displeased him. At age 15 Nero married but then strangled to death his wife when she displeased him. He married and murdered two other wives and eventually murdered his mother as well. Nero was a madman and his behavior confirms this.

It’s believed that when Nero came to power his insane nature led to his exalting himself as a god and demanding that all subjects of the Roman empire bow to worship him. (Sounds like some politicians of our day doesn’t it?) When Christians refused to worship him he began a one-man mission to wipe out Christianity. Nero would travel throughout the empire with his military and round up any who would not declare, “Caesar is Lord.”  Nero would take these “offenders” and dip them in hot wax and use them as human candlesticks in his imperial garden. He would then strip naked and ride his chariot in the garden shouting, “You are the light of the world! You are the light of the world!” A day is coming when bowing to a world leader or system of government will be demanded. There will be consequences for refusing. What will Christians do then? Will they have the spiritual fortitude and faith to stand firm for the Lord? We will see. The world is watching and they will see too.

Nero was described as “an ugly man with a bull neck, beetle brows and a flat nose with a tough mouth. He had a pot belly with spindly legs, bad skin and an offensive odor.”  At the age of 31 Nero committed suicide by slitting his own throat. By the end of his reign he had murdered an estimated 3 million Christians. Slitting throats are becoming more and more common in our day too.

Titus Flavius Domitian was the next Roman emperor to persecute Christians. He was the emperor who persecuted Christians during the end of the first century when the book of Revelation was received. Domitian’s persecution led to the murder of millions more Christians. Historians refer to Nero as a crazy devil. But Domitian was a sane devil. Domitian was cruel and calculated in his efforts to annihilate Christianity from the face of the earth. Domitian chose to attack Christian leadership. It was Domitian who, legend has it, attempted to execute John by boiling him in a cauldron of hot oil. God miraculously spared John through the execution.

John alone of the 11 original disciples (not counting Judas who committed suicide) survived execution for their faith. John, known as the apostle of love, survived. “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8a).  Frustrated, Domitian exiled John to the rocky, desolate, barren isle of Patmos. This island is 50 miles southwest of Ephesus (located in the area of modern day Turkey) in the Aegean Sea. It’s a small island 10 miles long and 6 miles wide. It was on this island, during a time of tribulation, that John received the vision of Revelation. There’s a lesson here for those partaking in comfortable Christianity today. Jesus has a way of giving revelation during times of personal tribulation. Our problem is, we have been trying to avoid tribulation and therefore aren’t in a position to receive much revelation from our Lord.

The Apostle John was persecuted for his loyalty to “the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” John would not compromise God’s word. John stood faithfully for the truth God had revealed. John persevered in the “patience of Jesus Christ.” John was who he was because he was a man of the word of God. He referred to the Old Testament 518 times in Revelation. He knew the word and lived by the word even if that meant discomfort and trials would enter his life. There isn’t much tribulation for us today because there aren’t many willing to stand for “the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” We are the spiritually poorer and less effective as a result.

John was their brother and companion in tribulation. But he was also their brother in the “kingdom.” John wasn’t a doom and gloom pastor. I don’t mean to convey the idea of us going and looking for trouble. We don’t have to manufacture trials. If we live right, holy lives unto the Lord, trials will come. John spoke of the truth and realities of persecution, but he also shared the prospect of serving in the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth. Praise the Lord for that! Jesus is coming back! That is just as certain as His first coming. And when we look at the indicators of His return and compare them to what is going on in the world today, well, yes indeed, we should be expecting Jesus to come take us home very soon.  

John was further their companion in the “patience of Jesus Christ.” All three of these things mentioned, tribulation, kingdom and patience are all connected to Jesus Christ. We suffer persecution because of our belonging to Jesus. If we aren’t suffering, I suggest we examine the genuineness of our faith. If Paul said, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). If we aren’t suffering or discomforted in some way, then maybe we should follow another of Paul’s inspired instructions when he wrote, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

We will serve in His Kingdom. But there is also an aspect of “patience.” These things are coming and will unfold. The patience of Jesus is necessary, even if it means trials and persecution because God desires none to perish and for all to have ample opportunity to repent and be saved (e.g. 2 Peter 3:9). If suffering some temporal trials is necessary to provide more time to repent and be saved eternally, then it is well worth it.

As we patiently wait for the Lord’s return, let us do so like a waiter or waitress. A good waiter or waitress is a servant, looking to assist patrons until directed otherwise. The people of this world are our patrons. Serve them the gospel. Serve them Christlike love. Serve them God’s word. Serve them genuinely. And do so until told otherwise.

John was a brother and companion in. He was in their lives. He was living in similar life circumstances. He was not aloof. He was not preaching, teaching or living something that was disconnected from reality or out of touch with the real issues in the real world. John was effective in ministry, he was looked for and welcomed by people for ministry, because he was in life with people demonstrating the real practical life application of God’s revealed truths. That’s an example we should follow. Let’s be a brother and companion to people according to His word and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

[1] Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (abridgment by D.M. Low) Harcourt, Brace and Co.: New York 1960, p. 202).

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Called to Endure

"Let us run with endurance the race set before us" - Hebrew 12:1
In Hebrews 12:1 we are called to endure when it states, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us . . . .”  These first three verses of Hebrews 12 contain the key to enduring in our walk with the Lord. Let’s look at them and see if the Lord won’t open them up for us.

What is “endurance”? The Greek term translated “endurance” is hupomone and means enduring, patience, perseverance, constancy, continuing. Webster’s Dictionary defines “endurance” - the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially : the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity e.g. a marathon runner’s endurance. The Enhanced Strong’s Concordance describes endurance as the New Testament characteristic, “of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”


At the onset of WWII, England soon found itself the last bastion of hope against Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. At one point when Germany had overrun Europe and England stood alone, Winston Churchil the Prime Minister of England summoned his countrymen to endure and press on in the fight at all costs. These were some of his words:


I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say; It is to wage war, by sea, by land and air, with all our might and with all the strength God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory – victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”


The Bible says we are in a war of even more momentous proportions than the one Churchill and England faced. It is a battle against principalities and powers and rulers of this dark age, a demon hoard (Ephesians 6:12). Quitting is not an option. If we quit the demons of hell will ravish us and smear the name of the Almighty. That is unacceptable. We are called to endure and we must endure.

When we look at the context of this verse  we need to recognize is that Hebrews twelve follows Hebrews chapter 11. In Hebrews 11 we have the Hall of Faith. Much like we have Halls of Fame in sports, the Bible has a Hall of Faith where a summary list of people from the Bible who were exemplary in their faith. But the key thing to note here is that their faith enabled them to endure. The purpose of faith is to enable us to live lives pleasing to the Lord (Hebrews 11:6). It is faith that enables a person to endure because faith is the “substance of things hoped for,” (Hebrews 11:1) it is the ground or foundation that provides a path from the present to the future. Moving from the present to the future is what we call enduring. Faith is the “evidence of things not seen,” it enables us rise above doubt, emotional stresses, depression etc., and press on. But how do we practically press on and endure? This is where Hebrews twelve comes in.

First, understand that God will help us endure just as He helped those in the Hall of Faith chapter. Hebrews 11 has a long list of those who pressed on and endured in their faith even when buffeted and torn by trials and hardships of various types. The testimonies of the faithful ones in the Hall of Faith are very impressive and awe inspiring. But Hebrews 12:1a starts out by saying, “Therefore we also, . . .” which tells us there is a way to follow in the  enduring footsteps of these giants of the faith.

Second, the key to enduring begins by laying aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1b). To endure you have to travel light. Don’t allow excess baggage to weigh you down. Prioritize your life with heavenly priorities and don’t allow yourself to be ensnared or tangled up in the sins of the world.

Third, to endure we need to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 11:1c). Someone has said that in order to win a race you have to be in it to win it. You can’t just drift to the side or get off course, you have to stay on track and run “the race that is set before us.” Get in to the action, jump into the fray with both feet. Serve the Lord in some way! Faith by its very nature and definition is an action. Faith that is alive is not stagnant but active (see James 2:14-26). Faith actively endures. And also, we should focus on the “race set before us,” in other words you can’t run a future race or a past race, but only the one in the present. Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough problems of its own (Matthew 6:34). Paul was inspired to tell us to forget what lays behind us in our past (Philippians 3:13). You don’t endure by dwelling on past victories or defeats or by worrying about future races or opponents, you endure by keeping your focus right. And what is the right focus and the most important aspect of enduring in our faith?

Fourth, to endure the most important thing is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2a states, “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, . . .” There is something transformational that takes place in the one who fixes their gaze on Jesus. You see when we try to endure without fixing our eyes on Jesus, we begin to look at those around us and that can be bad. We begin to wonder if we measure up to others or if they measure up to us. If we take our eyes off Jesus and look to our self, we begin to wonder why we aren’t getting the recognition we think we deserve for all the sacrifices and hard work we are doing as we endure in our faith. The easiest way to get sidetracked and in a ditch  that will threaten our enduring is to get our eyes off of Jesus. When we look at Jesus, when we fix our eyes on Him, when we fix our gaze of faith on Jesus, everything is put in its proper place. As we look at Jesus we realize Who we are serving and who we are not serving (Colossians 3:17, 23-24). Yes, this is the major key and why in verse three it states, “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3). When we keep our eyes on Jesus we thwart the temptation to be discouraged or depressed. When we keep our eyes on Jesus we learn how and why we are enduring. When we keep our eyes on Jesus our priorities fall into place and we stay on track.

To grow in our faith and endure we must come close and stick close to Jesus. Knowing Jesus is what eternal life is all about (John 17:3; 1 John 1:1-4). The key to enduring in your faith is coming close to Jesus. The closer you come to Jesus the more clearly you will see your sin (Isaiah 6). The closer you come to Jesus, the more power you will have over sin (1 John 3:6a). The closer you come to Jesus the more strength you will have to endure the trials of life. The answer to endurance is coming close to Jesus and sticking close to Jesus.

Fifth, to endure we need to realize that Jesus victoriously has endured to the end ahead of us and for us (Hebrews 12:2). This truth paves the way for us to endure as more than a conqueror. Paul mentions that in Christ we are “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8:37). What does that mean? Well, a conqueror is a brave soldier who confidently goes into battle hoping he will survive and win the battle and war. There is some uncertainty with the mere conqueror. But someone who is more than a conqueror is someone who goes into the battle certain that the victory is theirs. Because Jesus endured and went to the cross before us, we can endure in His steps knowing nothing can separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39). Because Jesus went to the cross and paid the penalty for our sins are graciously forgiven. The security we have in the finished work of Jesus enables us to endure with a certainty that the victory is ours in Christ (John 19:30). Which leads us to the final key to enduring.

Sixth, to endure we need the joy of the Lord (Hebrews 12:2). It says Jesus endured, “for the joy that was set before Him.” That is another key. Joy is not mere happiness. Happiness depends on happenings or circumstances. Joy depends on Jesus. Jesus endured in His redemptive mission to and through the cross with joy. Joy in this sense is the confident expectation that victory is secure. Jesus had it all under control and knew what His cross work would graciously provide for sinful humanity. Now our joy is not confident in ourselves but in Jesus. Jesus endured no matter what; no matter the betrayal; the false accusations; the mocking; the beating; the trial and hardship; the injustice; He endured it all. He endured because He knew God was in control and nothing would befall Him that was beyond the will of God. That is the joy set before Him. In the same way we can endure with joy in that we know that nothing is going to befall us that God has not allowed and if He has allowed it He will also provide help to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13). Furthermore, we endure because the issue of our relationship with Jesus is settled in our hearts. Leaving or forsaking or giving up is not an option. The only option is finishing well, and we will if our joy is in the Lord, if we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

There are many example of enduring faith in Scripture. Here ae  few for your further study:

  • Abraham and Sarah endured (not perfectly – Genesis 16; 20) and when God faithfully came through for them they birthed “Laughter” i.e. Isaac (Genesis 21).
  • Joseph (Genesis 50:20)
  • Paul (2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 11:23-28
  • Hebrews 11
At the end of WWII Winston Churchill was invited to speak at a university and share the key to the victory in the war. When he rose to speak he slowly approached the podium, paused an scanned the crowd. Then he said these simple words:

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.

We are called to endure. We must endure. In the strength of a close walk with the Lord – we will endure – for His glory!

[1]Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (G5281). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Will the Temple Be Rebuilt?

“The son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”

– 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4


Will a Temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem? The book of Revelation gives us strong evidence that it will. Jerusalem is arguably the most religiously and politically volatile place on earth. The mere mention of building a Jewish Temple where the Muslim Dome of the Rock is creates a worldwide stir. But the Bible tells us that not only will the Temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem during the Tribulation but a Millennial Temple will likely be built to replace the Tribulation Temple.  


The Bible speaks of a rebuilt Temple stating, “Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’. Jesus is “the BRANCH.” The Temple He will build is the Millennial Temple. He will rule from this Temple during the Millennium (Revelation 20). The Temple built during the Tribulation is built by man and will be defiled by man. So there’s going to be two more Temples? Confused? Maybe we should look a bit at the history of the Temple.    


The first Temple was built by Solomon around 1050 B.C. (2 Chronicles 3-4). It took him 7 years to build (1 Kings 6:38). It was constructed in reverence (1 Kings 6:7). It was built 480 years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6:1, 37-38). This Temple held the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 8:1-9). But because of the spiritual idolatry of Israel God allowed the Temple to be plundered and burned by the Babylonians around 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25:9-17).

After 70 years of captivity a second Temple was built. God through Persian king Cyrus allowed His people to return and rebuild the Temple under the leadership of Joshua and Zerubbabel (Ezra 1:1-4; see Jeremiah 25). The glory of this second Temple was nothing compared to the glory of Solomon’s Temple (Ezra 3:12). The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Malachi discuss the rebuilding of the Temple of God and some of the problems faced in the process.

In 20 B.C. king Herod, in an effort to find favor with the Jews, ordered a Temple renovation that restored much of its past glory. This renovation was so extensive that it is sometimes referred to as the third Temple.

In A.D. 70 the Roman Titus rode into Jerusalem and put down a rebellion of the Jews.  Titus ordered the Temple be left alone. But a drunken Roman soldier threw a torch into the Temple setting it ablaze. The fire melted the gold in the Temple. The Roman soldier’s ripped every stone apart to get at the gold thus destroying the Temple. This fulfilled Jesus prophecy made 30 years earlier (Matthew 24:1-2).

From that point Jews were dispersed throughout the world and persecuted severely for nearly 1900 years. On May 14, 1948 they miraculously returned to their homeland and were reestablished as the nation of Israel. This was an incredible fulfillment of prophecy (Ezekiel 36-37).

It wasn’t until the 1967 war that Israel gained control of Jerusalem. Inexplicably general Moshe Dian allowed the Muslim caliph to remain in control of the Temple mount. If this hadn’t happened the Jews might have rebuilt the Temple, then and there. But God had another plan. It will take unprecedented political ability and charisma to work out an agreement that will allow the Jews to rebuild their Temple.  Who could broker such a deal?

We don’t know when the Antichrist will come to power (Daniel 9:26-27). But when he does Daniel tells us Antichrist makes or will “confirm” an existing covenant (Daniel 9:27) for a 7-year period with Israel. He will break that covenant at the midway point (Daniel 12:11). This covenant will allow for the Temple to be rebuilt and sacrifices reinstated. But “on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,” in other words the Antichrist will not only betray his covenant with Israel, but will desecrate their Temple (Matthew 25:15-16). Indeed, what Jesus referred to from the book of Daniel as “the abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24:15) will occur when, “. . . the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). In order for all this to happen a fourth Temple will have to be built in Jerusalem. 

Today in Jerusalem Jewish yeshivas (priestly schools) train students to be temple priests. The Menorah to be used in the Temple along with all the other utensils have been made. In Israel there is a Temple Institute devoted to preparing for the rebuilding of the Temple. There is a group called The Temple Mount Faithful committed to rebuilding the Temple. People are ready now to rebuild the Temple.

The Temple Mount today is a 35-acre flat platform. It has only become one of Islam’s most holy sites since the 1967 war. In the late 600s A.D. a man named Omar built a mosque referred to now as The Dome of the Rock. Muslims believe the rock around which this mosque is built is where Muhammad on his magical horse ascended to heaven.  How could a Temple be built on this site? The mosque might be removed, (an earthquake or terrorist attack?). It is certain that any terrorist attack on the Dome of the Rock would lead to a jihad bloodbath of Biblical proportions. There is another possibility.

The first two verses of Revelation 11 give us important evidence about the next Temple. It states, Now I was given a measuring stick and told to go and measure the temple of God, . . . But do not measure the outer court,” I was told, “for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the Holy City for forty-two months.”   Why would the outer court not be measured? This would significantly reduce the space needed for the Temple to be rebuilt.


In the March/April 1983 issue of The Biblical Archeological Review Dr. Asher Kaufman reported on his 16-year study of the Temple Mount. He theorized the Dome of the Spirit, (a gazebo like structure in the northwest corner of the Temple Mount platform) was the spot where the Holy of Holies of the Temple had been located. This could have great implications. Remember the instruction of Revelation 11:2, “But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. . . . ”  Given the positioning of the Temple with the Holy of Holies placed at the point of the Dome of the Spirit, the Temple inner court area would fit on the Temple Mount at this moment! The outer court area apportioned to the gentiles may be for the Muslims and their mosque. If this is true, the Temple could be rebuilt right now! All that remains is for a persuasive and cunning politician, (like Antichrist) to negotiate a treaty between the Jews and Muslims to allow for this.

In Daniel chapter 9 we are told of one who will arise and be “cut off.” This is Messiah Jesus. He was cut off “not for Himself” but for us on the cross. The Antichrist is the “prince who is to come.” The antichrist will oppose Christ and all He stands for but will do so in a deceptive way. The Antichrist will present himself as an alternative to Christianity. He will say something like, “Religions in general have been too intolerant and the root cause of wars and rumors of wars throughout history. Christianity in particular has been too intolerant of other religions. I’m here to present you with a new religion of tolerance.” He will preach tolerance. He will encourage religions to peacefully coexist side by side.  What better example of this than to have two historically intense religious arch rivals like Islam and Judaism set up their holy sites side by side on arguably the holiest site on earth?

But even if such a scenario seems too outlandish to you there’s another more recent option. In 2014 with the publishing of the book Temple – Amazing New Discoveries that Change Everything About the Location of Solomon’s Temple (Life Bridge Books, Charlotte North Carolina) by author and archeologist Robert Cornuke, still another possibility for rebuilding the Temple was postulated. It is Cornuke’s belief that what we think is the “Temple Mount” of today was really where the Romans legion of Jerusalem was garrisoned and not the Temple Mount. He believes the real “Temple Mount” was to the south in the City of David which is under excavation right now. Cornuke’s theory has been met with a lot of opposition by those holding to the more traditional view. It’s still an interesting and thought provoking hypothesis. Something for us to prayerfully and prophetically consider. The jury is still out. But if Cornuke’s claims are true, the next Temple could be erected as soon as contractors could be commissioned paid to do the job!

No matter where the Temple placement is, what we need to see is that the mere consideration of such a rebuild of the Temple is evidence we are in the End Times. Before the Antichrist is revealed and Temple rebuilt, the Rapture of the Church will occur. We shouldn’t be reduced to looking for Antichrist. Instead we should be looking for the return of Jesus Christ! Jesus is coming to take genuine born again believers out of this world before the wrath of God is poured out on a Christ rejecting world (1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11; Revelation 3:10). God’s promise is that Jesus “delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).


Scripture clearly states that “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Since the time of the Tribulation (described in Revelation 6-18) is a time of God’s and the Lamb’s outpoured wrath (cf. Revelation 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1), it would not be just for those “saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9) to go through the Tribulation period. This was prefigured in the Old Testament account of the removal of Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33). And it is seen in the context of the New Testament. Logically, when we consider scripture as a whole, inductively, it leads us to the expectation of being removed out of this world via the Rapture of Christians by Jesus before the Tribulation.


Are you ready? Look around you, see the signs. The time is at hand. You don’t want to be left behind to experience the Tribulation. Make your salvation sure (1 John 5:13). Turn from your sins and trust Jesus as your Savior (Acts 3:19; Romans 6:23; 1 John 1:9). If you see the Temple being rebuilt, it’s likely too late for you to escape, you’ve probably already been left behind. But at least you know what to expect.  God has provided an entire Book of Revelation to help you through. And though times will be hard and scary, the Lord will help you through. “And they overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).