THE GREAT SIGN FOR THEN AND NOW

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

BEHOLD YOUR HOUSE IS LEFT UNTO YOU DESOLATE!

These words of Jesus found in Matthew 23:38 are pregnant with meaning.

Desolate means “void of inhabitants”. The Spirit of God departed from Jerusalem.

“And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man …” (Genesis 6:3).

After entering Jerusalem and proceeding to the Temple, Jesus told the disciples, who had marveled at the construction, that the day would come when one stone would not be left upon another.

” … What sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?”

After listing a number of signs, Jesus adds, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee …” ((Luke 21:7,20,21).

The Jews rebelled against the harsh Roman rule. In 66AD, an army was sent to Jerusalem and succeeded in breaching part of the walled city. The Interpreter’s Bible Dictionary says for some inexplicable reason the army was recalled. It returned three years later in 70AD and destroyed the Holy City, but during the interim Christians departed and went to Pella across the Jordan.

Heeding Jesus’ admonition spared Christians from a horrible death experienced by hundreds of thousands of Jews.

Not only was Jerusalem desolate of the Holy Spirit but also desolate of true believers, the saints of God.

Do the words of Jesus have a message for today?

Yes, they do.

The armies of Luke 21 become the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet in Matthew 24 and in Mark 13.

What was it that Daniel spoke concerning this?

After a period of time ” … shall Messiah be cut off, and shall have nothing: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary … with the abominable armies he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolater (Daniel 9:26,27 – KJV Margin – difficult to understand).

In the above text, Jesus is crucified, the Roman armies come, destroy Jerusalem and the sanctuary, and it remains desolate of the Holy Spirit until the consummation, completion, perfection of the plan of salvation, when the determined punishment will be poured out on the desolater.

In Matthew 24:3, the disciples asked what would be the signs of the destruction of the Temple, the fall of Jerusalem, AND the end of the world. So we see that these signs apply also to the end of all things and the Second Coming of Christ.

What else is there in Daniel on this subject? In chapter 8:11-14, the little horn power damages the sanctuary service by taking away the DAILY SACRIFICE. All the furniture and all the services of the wilderness tabernacle or sanctuary pointed to Christ.

However, the DAILY SACRIFICE more completely symbolized the gospel. Every morning and every evening, an Israelite could see the smoke of these burnt offerings ascending to heaven and KNOW THAT A SACRIFICE HAD BEEN MADE FOR HIM. This is how the gospel was preached to them (Hebrews 4:2).

The little horn takes away the DAILY SACRIFICE. The little horn takes away the GOSPEL.

Not only does the little horn take away the gospel but:

” …shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 11:31).

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate is set up …” (Daniel 12:11).

The true gospel is taken away and a false gospel, an abomination of desolation is put in its place. After a period of time (see verse 14) the sanctuary is to be reconsecrated (NIV) or restored (NRSV). The gospel is to be restored to its rightful place.

Who is this little horn of Daniel 8 who replaces the DAILY SACRIFICE with the abomination of desolation?

Many commentators say it is Antiochus IV, a Greek King of Syria, who stopped the services of the Temple at Jerusalem and erected a statue of Zeus therein during the 160’s BC. He severely abused the Jews and their religion.

While these events could be a partial and preliminary fulfillment, they cannot be the complete and final fulfillment of Daniel 8:11-14.

The vision was for the time of the end, the last end of the indignation, verses 17 and 19. From Adam to Abraham was 2,000 years. From Abraham to Christ was 2,000 years. From Christ to the present is 2,000 years. Some expressions in the New Testament indicate that the beginning of these last 2,000 years is considered to be the “last days”. Given that post Christ time is the last days, Antiochus’ time of 160’s BC could in no way be considered the time of the end, or the last end. It is believed that these expressions in Daniel 8:17 and 19 refer to our present time.

Why would Jesus warn His followers about the abomination of desolation if it were something that had taken place almost 200 years before?

The little horn of Daniel 8 is Rome.

In Daniel 2, the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represented the four great monarchies of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

In Daniel 7, the beasts of Daniel’s dream represent Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

In the time of Daniel 8, Babylon has fallen to Medo-Persia and is not in the picture. The ram is Medo-Persia. The he-goat is Greece and the little horn is Rome. This sequence is consistent with chapters 2 and 7.

The fourth beast of Chapter 7, Rome, is said to be diverse from the other kingdoms. Diverse is mentioned 4 times, verses 7, 19, 23, and 24. How was Rome diverse, different from the others?

The other kingdoms had been states which controlled religion. Rome began as a state which controlled religion but evolved into a religion which controlled the state, the Holy Roman Empire.

The armies before Jerusalem were an instrument of Pagan Rome

The false, man-centered gospel, the abomination of desolation, is an instrument of Papal Rome.

During the Dark Ages, the Roman Church taught that man was justified, made acceptable to God, by God coming into man’s heart and making man more kind and more loving.

No, said the Reformers. Man is justified by God’s work of grace in Jesus Christ. The change in man’s heart is a consequence, a result of man accepting that man has been made acceptable to God by God’s work of grace in Jesus.

The Protestants were in full agreement on two things:

1) Justification by faith, the true gospel; and

2) The papacy was the anti-Christ because it changed the gospel; the
way man was made acceptable to God.

The false, Roman gospel is the abomination of desolation. It is that astonishing, appalling, dreadful and detested thing which desolates or empties of inhabitants.

When the people of Jesus’ day asked for a sign, He told them that the only sign given would be that of the prophet Jonah who was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights. In other words, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The gospel would be the only sign.

When Christians saw the armies of Pagan Rome at Jerusalem, they knew it was time to flee.

When Christians today see the Roman gospel in the church, it is time to flee, to come out of Babylon, a confused gate of God (Revelation 18:1-4).

The emphasis must be on SEE. When they SEE.

Much of the growth and Christian activity in this country are found in independent, neo-Pentecostal and charismatic leaning churches. The focus is on man and God’s work of grace in man’s heart. The general belief is that man is saved by a new birth. Luther and Calvin would be appalled!

Man is not saved by a new birth, but he is not saved without one. While there is a time and place for man to testify how God has changed his life, man is not saved by a changed life but rather by that perfect life and atoning death of God’s dear Son.

This may appear to be a splitting of theological hairs, a straining at a gnat. It can be SEEN as the great issue when it is realized that the Reformation was the greatest Christian revival since Apostolic times, and the false, confused, Roman gospel is the abomination of desolation.

This world’s history is fast coming to an end. The confused, man-centered gospel is giving the trumpet an uncertain sound. No doubt God is winking at the ignorance of millions of sincere Christian people who believe and teach the abomination of desolation as the true gospel. It is with what they grew up.

“Blow the trumpet in Zion … (the true, certain sound) … for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand” (Joel 2:1).

“Prepare war. Wake up the might men” (Joel 3:9).

The mighty men are asleep in the pseudo-Protestantism of America. When they are awakened, and when they SEE the abomination of desolation in the Christian church, they too will give the trumpet a certain sound, and they will flee.

BLOW THE TRUMPET IN ZION!

The fall of Jerusalem is an example of the end of the world.

Jesus came to His own and His own received Him not.

He said your house is left unto desolate. The Holy Spirit departed. Jerusalem was desolate of God’s presence. When Christians SAW the Roman armies, they fled. Jerusalem was desolate of true believers. When the armies returned, the city was destroyed. It was desolate of all inhabitants.

The Roman armies desolated Jerusalem. The Roman gospel desolates the Christian church. Here’s a possible scenario for the last days.

As true believers, scattered throughout Christendom and other places, SEE the abomination, the confused, man-focused, Roman gospel in the church – it’s been there for years – they BLOW THE TRUMPET IN ZION! True believers are revived from the stupor in which they have been.

Sin has confused man and given time man has confused the truth of God.

In the ancient tongue, the word Babylon means “gate of God”. In the Bible, Babel (Babylon) means confusion. Babylon is a confused gate of God.

According to Revelation 18:1-4, a mighty message comes from Heaven, in the last days, which enlightens the whole earth. It is proclaimed that Babylon – the confused way of salvation, the confused state of mind – is fallen, is fallen and God’s people are to come out of her, that is flee.

Come out of the confused state of mind, the confused way of salvation which is said to be in man, in man’s heart.

As true believers see the error of their past and proclaim the true, Pauline, Reformation gospel, it exposes the Roman gospel for what it is, a confused gate of God, an abomination. This enrages those with a form of godliness and they turn on the true believers. There shall be a time of trouble such as never was. (Daniel 12:1; and Matthew 24:21)

As the saints of God come out of Babylon, flee Jerusalem, depart from the confused state of mind which believes salvation is something that takes place in man’s heart, and focus on Jesus who has their salvation within Himself, the Spirit of God which has given power to this last great message to a dying world, begins to be withdrawn for the earth.

“My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3).

Human probation closes. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly …” (Revelation 22:11,12).

Israel, God’s true church on earth, as a corporate body, rejected Jesus at the First Advent. Has human nature greatly changed since Christ’s day? The history of the Jews is the history of human nature.

Sin has confused man and man has confused the truth of God.

It was the leaders of Israel who called for the crucifixion of Christ. History … the history of human nature … will be repeated.

Christianity, as a corporate body, will reject Jesus again in the person of His saints.

In Moses’ time, ten plagues fell on Egypt. The last seven plagues fell on the Egyptians only and not on Israel, God’s true people.

As the seven last plagues fall on an apostate Christianity, the leaders, point to the saints as the cause of these calamities and call for their destruction.

Corporate Christianity is only a shell. The true believers have fled, leaving it desolate. The Spirit of God has departed, leaving it desolate. Now its inhabitants are to be destroyed just as destruction from the Almighty came upon Jerusalem. The abomination desolated it.

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God” (I Peter 4:17).

Judgment begins at the house of God. The professed people of God are Christians. Note the account given in Ezekiel 9:1-6 of the judgment of Jerusalem.

“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lithe toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand;

and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s ink horn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar. And the glory of God of Israel was gone up (departed) from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house.

And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s ink horn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sign and that cry for all the abominations that he done in the midst thereof.

And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark: and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.”

“WHEN YE THEREFORE SHALL SEE THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET, STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE (WHOSO READETH, LET HIM UNDERSTAND) THEN LET THEM WHICH BE IN JUDEA FLEE …” (Matthew 24:15,16).

A sign for then … and a sign for now.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy leaden, and I will give you REST. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find REST unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28).

We must REST from our labor, our attempt to develop, with God’s help of course, something within ourselves that will make us acceptable to God.

Our justification, our redemption, and our righteousness is in – emphasis on IN – Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24-26).

Those who bring their works, their personal experience, however miraculous, to the judgment, are rejected out of hand (Matthew 7:22-23). All these works were done in the name of Jesus.

In Elijah’s day, God’s true people Israel had been worshipping Baal and did not know he was a false Christ.

There was a famine in the land, “… not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, BUT OF HEARING THE WORDS OF THE LORD” (Amos 8:11).

Elijah brings all Israel to Mount Carmel and to a decision: worship the true God or Baal, the false Christ.

The fire (Holy Spirit), which comes down from Heaven, enables God’s true people to SEE the error of their way. They turn from Baal.

The gospel seed was sown when the Holy Spirit came down on the Day of Pentecost. In the last days, the Spirit will be poured out for the harvest (Joel 2:23; Jeremiah 5:24; Hosea 6:3; Deuteronomy 11:14; James 5:7,8; and Acts 3:19,20).

Just as the fire in Elijah’s day helped believers SEE the truth, so in the last days the Holy Spirit will enable God’s true people to SEE the abomination of desolation standing in the Christian church. They will SEE that they have been worshipping a false Christ, an abomination which will desolate the church.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5,6).

When the Roman army mysteriously withdrew from Jerusalem in 66AD, the Jews sallied forth and fell on the rear echelon, killing many Romans and experiencing only a few casualties. They believed God had given them a great victory.

Three years later when the army returned, there was great suffering within the besieged city. Titus, the Roman commander, wanted to spare the Temple and the people. He pleaded with them to surrender. Although there was dissension among various Jewish factions, they remained defiant. When Josephus, the Jewish historian who was with the Romans, appealed to the Jews to capitulate, they threw darts at him.

They reasoned that they were God’s true people and that He would save His sacred city. They resisted with fanatical zeal until the whole city was razed and the Temple destroyed. The location remained desolate for more than 50 years. Read an account of the fall of Jerusalem.

Today much of the conservative wing of the Christian church is confident. Confident Jesus is soon to return and confident that they have the truth for these last days. “We are the body of Christ” is sung, yet most are totally ignorant of the gospel, the heart and soul of Christianity.

This should not be construed as a condemnation of the people, for the wheat and tares grow together until the harvest. The majority of God’s people are in the Christian churches, unaware that they stand with and on the abomination that desolates. When they SEE, they will flee and come out of Babylon.

Are the words of Jesus to Nicodemus applicable to the church leaders of today: Are thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

Will the triumphalism of the church cause its members to cling to a salvation by a personal experience and resist the true gospel when THE TRUMPET IS BLOWN IN ZION?

The closer we come to Jesus, the more faulty we appear in our own eyes. We can put no trust in our own defective, deficient, and flawed experience, but we are caused to flee to:

THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6).

Jesus told His disciples that some of them would not die until they saw the Kingdom of God come with power. Six days later, Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John. Elijah and Moses were there also (Mark (9:1-4).

The scene was symbolic of the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ will be the King. Moses represents those believers who are resurrected from the dead at the Second Coming. Compare the first part in Romans 5:14 and Jude 9.

Elijah represents the saints who are living at the time of Jesus’ return. They will be translated to Heaven without seeing death as Elijah was (II Kings 2:12; and 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).

Elijah asked Israel, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.

AND THE PEOPLE ANSWERED HIM NOT A WORD (1 Kings 18:21).

God’s true people were worshipping a FALSE CHRIST and DID NOT KNOW IT. One of the most sorrowful times in the history of Zion.

The fire Elijah brings down from Heaven enables the people to SEE that they had been worshipping a false Christ. So it is to be in the last days.

These latter day Elijahs will be translated to Heaven without seeing death at Christ’s return. Their message empowered by the Holy Spirit enables the true saints of God to SEE the abomination, the false Roman gospel throughout Christianity, so they come out of the fallen churches that preach and practice a confused gate to Heaven. They:

BLOW THE TRUMPET IN ZION!

When you SEE

THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

FLEE!

AND

BLOW THE TRUMPET IN ZION!

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