Cleansing of the Temple

Scripture: Hebrews 8:5
When the children of Israel left Egypt, God wanted to dwell among His people. He asked Moses to build a sanctuary, a model of salvation. Throughout Scripture God communicates through the elements of the sanctuary.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Welcome to those who may have just joined our special presentation series, Here We Stand. This is dedicated to the truth of God’s Word, that it is the only rock that will survive the future. The Bible is the foundation for the Christian faith, and it is the devil’s plan to get us to shift our house from that rock to the sand. The Bible tells us we should dig deep and build on the rock. That’s what we are doing, going a little deeper into this.

We have been looking into some of the foundational teachings of the Bible. These are also some of the distinctive teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are inviting anybody who might be watching to evaluate these unique teachings based on the Scriptures. I think that you will find that there are good Bible grounds for this.

The name of our message tonight is, “The Cleansing of the Temple.” We have a lot of information. I hope you are praying for me. I have to do my best to cover as much as I can, but I want to be slow enough to be as clear as I can. I also want to thank those who are translating these messages right now as I speak. That is quite a challenge and I appreciate our translators doing what they are doing.

Before we understand the cleansing of the temple, I should take a moment and tell a little bit about the birth of the temple.

In the Bible we read the story of how God, through Moses, lifted the children of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt. This is a story of salvation into the Promised Land. First, after they left Egypt, they went to Mt. Sinai. There at Mt. Sinai the Lord delivered to Moses the Ten Commandments. Not only did He give him the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, during the time that he was up there the Lord delivered to him a very unique set of plans on how to build this portable temple, this tabernacle, out there in the desert. That tabernacle was going to be a model to help communicate the plan of salvation to humanity. It was filled with gold, and beautiful materials were incorporated in it, but let’s get right into the lesson now because we are going to go through these things point by point.

Let’s start with question number 1. What did God ask Moses to build when they were out there in the wilderness? You read in Exodus 25:8, “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Right now that begs a question. When Solomon dedicated his temple, which is the second temple, he said, “Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” 2 Chronicles 6:18. When God said, I want to dwell among them in this sanctuary, did the Lord fit into this tent they made out there in the tabernacle? Obviously the Lord was not homeless, right? But He wanted to communicate something to them through this three-dimensional model of a dwelling place. Just keep that in mind. They took some of the resources and the money from spoiling the Egyptians and with all the skilled artisans that they had, they built this very unique structure that they could break down and reassemble as they moved, and in the very heart of it was the Ark of the Covenant. God even gave the details to them right down to the very garments that the priests and the high priests were to wear. Everything about the sanctuary and the garments of the high priest is filled with meaning that helps us to understand the plan of salvation.

Number 2, What did God expect His people to learn from the sanctuary?

“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary” Psalm 77:13 [KJV].

The way that God saves humanity is communicated through this miniature model of the building. You would be surprised how many times in the Bible the Lord gives visions to His prophets and it is in the context of the sanctuary—the vision of Revelation, for instance. Jesus is seen walking among the candlesticks. These seven candlesticks are a type of what was in the earthly sanctuary. In the vision of Isaiah chapter 6 it talks about the two angels by the throne of God—symbols of the two angels on the Ark of the Covenant. I could go on with the vision of Ezekiel talking about the altar. So many of the different prophets in the Bible received communication from heaven through the context of the sanctuary—the vision of Zechariah with Joshua the high priest, and so forth.

This is a very important study. Quite honestly, most churches do not understand this. Some of the things I have been sharing during this series are unique, but not necessarily unique teachings of the Seventh-day Adventists. We talked about the Sabbath truth. There are many other denominations that understand the seventh-day Sabbath. We talked about the truth about the state of man in death, hell. We talked about the Ten Commandments. We talked about the punishment of the wicked and some of these things. None of those things are really unique, but I have not found any people out there anywhere that understand the sanctuary message the way the Seventh-day Adventist Church does—at least, they used to.

I remember that I used to teach Sunday School in a Methodist Church in Texas years ago and it just so happened that one day the subject of the sanctuary came up. I had been studying this. I was just sitting in the class, 20 years old, and pretty soon I was making a comment now and then and they started asking me to teach it because nobody had learned anything about the sanctuary. There is kind of a universal ignorance on the subject that is all the way from Exodus to Revelation. So it is appropriate for us to look at this. The main thing that we learn through the sanctuary subject and this truth is that it teaches us about Jesus, the way of God—“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary”—and how He saves the human race. By understanding this model you will understand something about how the Lord saves.

Number 3, From what source did Moses obtain the blueprints for the sanctuary? What was the building a copy of?

It tells us right there in Exodus 25:40 [KJV]. He said: “Look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.” God gave a picture of the design of this sanctuary to Moses while he was up in the mount. Again, it mentions this in the New Testament as well. It must be important. It’s all through the Bible. “For He said, ’See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain’” Hebrews 8:5. Moses was divinely instructed to make all these things according to the pattern that God had given him up in the mount.

Have any of you ever seen or played with match box cars? Maybe you bought them for your children or your grandchildren. It is kind of interesting that when they make a new matchbox car they actually take a full model car and they very carefully measure it, and then they superimpose those measurements on something that is only 100th of the scale of the original. But they are made to scale.

The earthly sanctuary was something of a miniature of the dwelling place of God in heaven. It teaches us about the plan of salvation. Now, obviously there are some differences. For instance, in the earthly sanctuary they were instructed to engrave angels on the walls in the Holy of Holies. In heaven God does not have golden wallpaper with angels engraved on it, He has a living, moving wall of real angels that surround Him. The Lord is surrounded by billions of ministering spirits—seraphim and cherubim around the throne of God that are real. By the dwelling place of God there are two primary angels.

Lucifer, before he became Satan, probably held one of those positions—covering cherub. On the Ark of the Covenant there were two golden angels, so it is a miniature of what the reality is in heaven. Keep in mind that while the dimensions of the earthly sanctuary might have been 45 feet one way, in heaven it could be 45 light years. God’s dwelling place, when you start studying the distances in the cosmos, is massive. It is a miniature copy, so we can learn something about God and how He saves us.

Number 4. Let’s begin to look quickly at some of the different items in the sanctuary, and then I am going to pause and I will take a moment to try to illustrate this with more detail. What furniture was in the sanctuary?

You start with the courtyard of the sanctuary. In the courtyard of the sanctuary were two primary articles of furniture. You can see them in this illustration. First, there was the altar. It says in Exodus 29:18 [KJV], “And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord.”

When someone first came in, the first thing they saw was the altar. Then in Exodus 30:18 [KJV], “Thou shalt also make a laver of brass and thou shalt put water therein.” The priests would wash in this laver. There is a place for them to wash their hands and their feet.

After you move out of the courtyard you move into what they called the Holy Place. There were three articles of furniture in the Holy Place. The first thing you saw (Numbers 4:7 [KJV]) was what they called the table of showbread. For years I read the King James Version, and it uses old archaic spelling there and it called it shewbread. That’s what it looks like, but it is pronounced “showbread,” but I always said “shewbread.” It is the showbread because it was bread on display before the Lord. “And upon the table of showbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon.” Let us just look at these things and then I will explain them more.

Numbers 8:2 [KJV], “When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.” So there was a lamp stand, and you’ve heard of the Jewish menorah with the seven lamps on it. They were based on the seven-candle lamp stand in the Holy Place of the temple.

Exodus 30:1 [KJV], “And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.” This was the altar. They would put incense on there and it would waft over the curtain before the Lord into the Holy of Holies.

That takes us to the next and final place in the sanctuary. It was a very simple structure; it had three rooms. The final room, sort of the inner sanctum, was not just the Holy Place. It was called the Holy of Holies, or the Holiest of all, and in there was one thing—it was the Ark of the Covenant. What was in the Ark of the Covenant? It was The Ten Commandments. So at the very heart of the whole sanctuary is the law of God.

The temple was full of gold and beautiful costly materials, and the whole thing was basically a receptacle for the greatest national treasure, which were the Ten Commandments written on two rocks, really. How does God value His Word, and what is Jesus compared to? Isn’t He the Rock? That is why we use this theme during our series.

If you go to Israel today (I have been there a few times), the most valuable treasure is the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls are in a museum called The Shrine of the Book, and they actually built the museum to look like one of the jars that they found the Dead Sea Scrolls in. Part of the reason they did that is because they knew it was the greatest national treasure. They wanted it to look artistic and modern. At the same time they wanted to protect it against terrorist attacks, because it was recognized that the Scriptures were the greatest treasure of the Jewish people. As a matter of fact, Paul even says the Jewish people were called to preserve the oracles of God—the sacred writings of God. Three and a half feet of reinforced concrete is the roof of that museum, and it is filled with all kinds of top security apparatus to guard leather parchment that is 2,000 years old. But it is the Word of God. We should have a holy place for the Word of God in our hearts, our temples, too.

Deuteronomy 10:4-5 [KJV], “And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.” So the Ten Commandments were placed in the Ark of the Covenant, which was in the Holiest of Holies. What was going on? Why was there an altar in there? On a daily basis there were sacrifices being brought into the sanctuary.

Number 5, Why did animals need to be sacrificed in the Old Testament sanctuary?

The Bible tells us about this in the Old and New Testaments. I have chosen Hebrews 9:22 [KJV]. “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” There is no forgiveness for sin without the shedding of blood. That is why Jesus prayed three times, Father if there be any other way. Even while He was praying He was shedding blood, He was perspiring. There was no other way to be saved without the shedding of the blood of that Lamb. At the Last Supper, when Jesus instituted the new covenant, He said, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28 [KJV]. That great feast was a symbol of the blood that He was going to shed. When Jesus began His ministry, John the Baptist pointed to Him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29 [KJV].

Now, let me pause here and explain how it worked. All the way back in the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned, they first tried to cover their nakedness with fig leaves. That is a symbol of self-righteousness. God said that would not do, and He gave them tunics or robes of skin. One problem they had was they made themselves aprons of fig leaves. That means it wasn’t enough material, and secondarily, it was the wrong material. It was going to shrivel. God gave them something else that required (where do you get skin?) that something had to die. That is why you read in Revelation, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. God established the sacrificial system right back there in the beginning. Those lambs were slain to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. The Lamb of God had to be slain to cover yours and mine. They would do that on a regular basis through the year. They had a special service once a year on the Day of Atonement called Yom Kippur, when the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and he would cleanse the sanctuary from the sins of the people that had been symbolically stored there in the blood of these lambs through the year. We are going to come back to this, about cleansing the sanctuary.

Number 6, How is the plan of salvation illustrated in the sanctuary?

First of all, in 1 Corinthians 5:7 [KJV] it says, “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” Whenever they celebrated one of their holidays it all pointed to Jesus. Do you remember the story of the Passover? The angel of death was going through Egypt, and unless they had the blood of the lamb over their door posts, the firstborn in that family was going to die. Everybody had to be gathered into that home where the blood was over the door and they were under the blood. The angel of judgment passed over because they were under the blood. There is going to be a judgment day for everybody here. Everybody needs to be watching, and you need to know that you are under that blood today.

So these symbols still are very real. They apply to us today. But do we sacrifice lambs anymore? Christ is our Lamb. The old sacrificial system and the old feasts, they were all fulfilled through the death of Christ. For instance, you remember in Matthew 27:51 when Jesus died on the cross, there was a great earthquake. A number of graves were opened, and just as Christ was dying (He died during the Passover, by the way), the High Priest in the temple in Jerusalem was just getting ready to sacrifice the little lamb, and there was an earthquake and the veil in the temple separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was torn without hands from top to bottom. They knew it was supernatural, telling us that now there is a different temple that we operate through.

My heart goes out to all of my Jewish brethren and many of my Christian friends that keep talking about rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. There is a lot of confusion on that subject. I don’t believe that temple is going to be rebuilt. I don’t believe the Bible says that temple is going to be rebuilt. They misunderstand some prophecies. I will try to explain tonight. Not only are we under a new temple now, the Bible says in Hebrews 4:14 [KJV], “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” So Christ is now our High Priest.

Remember the Bible tells us about the High Priest when Christ was being tried? Who remembers what his name was? Caiaphas. He became enraged when Jesus said, “‘Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy” Matthew 26:64, 65 [KJV]. The High Priest was never to mar or damage his garments. So there is a tearing of the veil in the temple, and there is a tearing of the priest’s garments. The tearing of the veil was done by God. The tearing of the priest’s garments was done by man. God is saying that the old economy is passed away. We now have a new temple; we have a new priesthood. We are called to be a holy nation of priests that began with the death of Jesus. Does that make sense? Are you with me here? Hebrews 8:1, 2, “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.”

Is there a temple in heaven? Do we have to guess about that, or does the Bible say there is a temple in heaven? The one on earth was patterned after the true. Granted, it is different. It is certainly different in scale. It is a lot more real—the difference between a matchbox car and a real Ferrari. Here is a very primitive drawing of the sanctuary. How many ways were there into the courtyard? There was one way. How many ways did Jesus say there are to eternal life? There is only one way. How many doors? There is one door. Who is the Door according to the Bible? Jesus said I am the Way, I am the Door.

What is the first thing you see when you come in the door? It’s the altar of sacrifice. What is the first step in beginning to be a Christian? Is it the law or is it accepting Jesus’ sacrifice? The law is down the road, isn’t it? The children of Israel, before they could get out of Egypt and even get to Mount Sinai experienced having to put blood on the door posts to be protected from the destroying angel. So what came first, the law or the Lamb? The Lamb came first. How many times do you know people that mean well, but they are a little hyper-conservative, and they tell everybody about keeping the law before they understand about the Lamb? You should preach the law so that people realize their need of the Lamb, but the reason to keep the law is because we are saved, not to be saved. Do you understand the difference?

There are three places in the sanctuary. There is the courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place. There are three areas in salvation. You have what they call justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is what happens in the courtyard, sanctification is what happens in the Holy Place, and glorification is what happens in the Most Holy Place. There are three places in the exodus experience for the children of Israel that help illustrate salvation: Egypt, the wilderness, and the Promised Land. They were justified in Egypt, they were sanctified in the wilderness, and glorification is when they made it into the Promised Land.

This represents the fire; this represents the water. When they came out of Egypt they had a pillar of fire. You have to be born of the Spirit, baptized in fire, and baptized in water. At Pentecost they got the Holy Spirit—tongues of fire. It is the symbol of the Spirit. We need both baptisms. Sometimes some churches make a big deal of baptism by immersion, but they forget about the baptism of the Spirit. I am not talking about speaking in tongues; I am talking about a spiritual life where you live a holy life. This represents baptism. You need both. Our world was washed in water in the days of Noah, it is going to be washed in fire when Jesus comes again, and then we are going to enter into a new heaven and a new earth.

Some of you might be looking at the little cross down there. That is because I had a rabbi tell me one time that they actually have a stake driven in the ground with a little crossbar on it so that they would tie off the lambs when they sacrificed them and catch the blood.

Then you have the Holy Place. There are three things in there. You have the table of showbread, the altar of incense, and the seven-branch candlestick. After you are baptized, you enter into the church. This is sanctification. It is the next phase of salvation. This is the Holy Place because now you are to live what kind of life? You are supposed to live a holy life. The Bible says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” God wants us to be holy, friends. The bread represents the Word of God, the lamp represents sharing your faith—letting your light shine, and the altar of incense represents prayer. These are the three disciplines of the Christian life. We need to read the Word, we need to pray, and we need to be witnesses. Let your light shine.

Not only does that represent the Christian life, it represents Jesus. You see, Jesus is the Lamb, Jesus is our High Priest, and Jesus is the Living Water, isn’t He? Jesus is the Door, Jesus is the Light of the World, and Jesus is the Bread of Life. Are you still with me? Jesus is the One who makes our prayers acceptable. That was at the altar of incense. We pray in whose name? Every prayer is sprinkled with the incense of Christ’s name. That makes it effective, and it is the Holy Spirit that brings our prayers before the Lord.

As you get into the last apartment of the sanctuary, what is in there? You have the law of God. The Holy of Holies represents the presence of God. In that golden box were the Ten Commandments made out of rock, and Christ is that Rock. Everything about the sanctuary is telling us about God. Oh, there is so much more. This is not only telling us about the church, it tells us about the Christian life, it tells us about Jesus, it tells us about your body.

The Bible says, Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? Think about this for just a second. There was a fire always burning in the sanctuary. Do you know that your body is constantly burning energy? You have a fire in your system. As a matter of fact, your stomach is hotter than the rest of you. There was a cleansing that took place. Your circulatory system–you are about 85% to 90% water. There was a cleansing system that went on; there was storage of food. I won’t take this very far, but we all know we store, don’t we? There was a lamp. The Bible says the light of the body is the eye. Then there was the Spirit, and this represents the Holy of Holies, and that represents the mind of man. Thy word I have hidden in my heart. In the Bible, of course, the man thinks with his heart. It is talking about your mind. It is even the symbol of the human body. The sanctuary teaches so much about God. I would like to write a book about this someday and show how much we can learn about Jesus from this. Jesus is the door, Jesus is the priest, Jesus is the lamp, Jesus is the bread, He is the water, He represents the altar, He is the rock, He is the light, and He is our High Priest. Everything about this is telling us about Jesus for us to recognize Him.

There are three sanctuaries that you find in the Bible—literal, physical sanctuaries. There was the tabernacle that they built in the wilderness. Then about the time of David’s death, he collected the materials and his son Solomon built the most glorious, earthly, physical temple. The son of David built the most beautiful temple. Jesus is the Son of David who builds the most beautiful spiritual temple. It’s His church. As a matter of fact, when they were building Solomon’s temple, it says in 1 Kings 6:7 that they were so reverent about the way they did that. The temple, when it was being built, was built with stone shaped at the quarry so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built. They wanted to have a sense of reverence there.

I could launch off on sermon number 63 right now and talk to you about reverence in the sanctuary. That would be a good revival sermon. One of the things I love about our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters that come into this movement is that they come generally with a greater, deeper sense of reverence. I really appreciate that. Sometimes we forget when we come to worship that we are in the presence of God and instead we act like it is a meeting of the Moose Lodge. Solomon’s temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem. Years later when Ezra and Nehemiah came back, they rebuilt the third temple. It was later embellished by King Herod the Great.

During the time where there was no temple, Daniel was a captive in Babylon, and he still prayed toward the place of the temple. In Daniel 6:10 we read about Daniel praying toward the place of the old temple. One time while he was praying God brought him into vision and he received a prophetic vision about a ram and a goat. The angels explained that these beasts represented different nations and powers that would occupy God’s people. The ram represented Medo-Persia and the goat represented Greece. One of the goat’s horns broke off and four horns came up, and one of those horns ultimately became the area of the Roman Empire, and a little horn came up out of there. While Daniel is seeing all this he sees something unfold where there is a great apostasy and great persecution that comes to God’s people and it really breaks his heart.

As a matter of fact, it identifies the beast power of Revelation. You find in Daniel 8:12 [KJV] what this beast power does. “It cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.” It goes on to say that it does it under the guise of religion, worship, and sacrifice, but not the truth. When Daniel saw this it just broke his heart and he wanted to know how long is this going to be and when is this going to happen? The angel comes and tells him in verse 14. “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

Tonight’s presentation is really part one of two parts. Tomorrow night I will give you more in part two. I just want you to notice that. Don’t forget that number I just gave you, because we are going to drift from it and come back. “Two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” After Daniel sees all this, before the angel can fully translate the meaning of this vision, he is so overwhelmed because he has been praying for God’s people. This is breaking his heart to see what they are going to have to endure. In Daniel 8:27 [KJV] it says, “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” He probably related it to some of his friends and they couldn’t understand what it meant.

Then you get to Daniel chapter 9 and the angel Gabriel comes back not only to explain the 2,300 day vision, but he comes to complete what he wanted to reveal. In Daniel chapter 9 Daniel is praying, and he is praying very specifically about God’s people. He realizes the 70 years of captivity should have expired, and he is wondering how long it will be until they can go home. In the midst of his prayer (Daniel 9:23), the angel Gabriel is sent, and Gabriel says, “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you…” Gabriel comes to explain the former vision, the 2,300 days, and he is adding even more than Daniel could have dreamed. He is going to encourage Daniel and tell him about when the Messiah is coming. That was the hope of Israel when God would come to earth, the Lamb of God they were all waiting for.

Every Jew in the temple, when they sacrificed the lamb, they knew it was not the goats, calves, and bulls that God was interested in. It was going to be the Lamb of God, the blood of God’s own Son. They knew that God would come to earth and offer Himself. Abraham said, “God will provide Himself a lamb.” So they all knew that. Daniel was praying about this and he received this vision. Now listen to what it says, and this is in your Bibles, friends, in Daniel 9:24. “Seventy weeks are determined for your people.” Who were Daniel’s people? The Jewish people were God's people. For several purposes: “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision.” What vision is being sealed up? The only vision that had been given was the one in Daniel 8 about the 2,300 days. He is going to finish and seal that up as well. “To seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.”

Do you know what the word Christ means? Christos is the Greek word for “the Anointed.” Messiah is the Hebrew for “Anointed.” One is Hebrew; one is Greek. They both mean “Anointed.” When Christ was baptized, He was anointed with the Holy Spirit. He began His ministry then. Jesus is the Anointed. I used to think when I was a baby Christian that His first name was Jesus and His last name was Christ. I had no idea what it meant, but that is really a descriptive term; that wasn’t His family name.

Number 7, What event and what day were to mark the starting point for the 490 and the 2,300 year prophecies?

You read in Daniel 9:25 [KJV], “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” Now before I go any farther, I am assuming that many who are here today already know this. Let me ask you: in Bible prophecy, what does a day equal? A year; you know that. There are a lot of references for that. I put some on the screen for those who may want to know. You have Ezekiel 4:6, Numbers 14:34, 1 Samuel 1:28, and one of my favorites is found in Luke 13:32. Remember they came to Jesus and they said, “‘Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.’ And He said to them, ‘Go, tell that fox, “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”’”

Jesus said this about six months into His ministry after John was arrested. Did Jesus preach three more days or three more years? Christ even making a prophecy used the day for a year principle. We are told there are going to be 70 weeks determined for the Jewish people. A week has seven days; 70 weeks would be 70 X 7. That’s 490 days, but a day in prophecy is a year, so it is really 490 years. One time Peter said, “‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” God is very merciful. He even gave that very number of years to the Jewish nation to complete their mission of introducing the Messiah to the world.

Now the starting point is given. It says, “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince…” Well, the going forth of that commandment is not hard to find. The decree of Artaxerxes was given in 457 B.C. You can find that in your Bibles in Ezra chapter 7. The decree is listed right there in your Bible. It is a very well established date. Many Bibles even have it in the margin. Now was the Messiah anointed? Sixty-nine prophetic weeks; you notice the prophecy is divided up. First it says there will be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks. That’s not the whole 70. How many of you remember what a score is? Four score, Abraham Lincoln said. That’s 20. Threescore is the old English way of saying 60. So you have 69 weeks, but there is still one week left that hasn’t happened yet. We will get to that in a minute. From the time the commandment goes forth until the Messiah is anointed would be the 69 weeks which equals 483 years. If you count 483 years, or 69 weeks from 457 B.C., something very significant happens. Jesus is baptized right then, in A.D. 27. You can even find it; the date is given. If you have a margin in your Bible in the Gospel of Luke, it identifies the year when Christ was baptized. It tells everybody that was in power at that time. There is only one year in history when all those characters were in power, and that was in 27 A.D. when Christ was baptized.

What happened then? He officially began His public ministry at His baptism. The Holy Spirit came down at His baptism, and Jesus was anointed by Him. He went into the wilderness and He clobbered the devil when He was tempted. Jesus began His work for us now. For how long did Christ minister? For three and a half years. If you go to Acts 10:37, 38 [KJV], it says; “That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” Notice at the baptism of John, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” So Christ was anointed in A.D. 27; that is what Daniel said would happen. From the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, to the anointing of the Most Holy was 483 years.

There is one seven-week, or seven-year, period left. How many of you have heard about the seven years of tribulation? Let me see your hands. You heard that, okay. Somebody take a camera and turn it on the audience. I don’t want to make you self-conscious, but I would just like to get a witness here. Where in the Bible do you find the phrase “seven years of tribulation?” It’s not in the Bible. The closest you can come is that some people say they take the seven days that Noah was on the ark, and they say that is going to be a symbol for the seven years of tribulation. Or they take the last seven years of Daniel’s prophecy, they tear it off the whole 70 weeks that it is a part of, and they kind of let it hover near the end of time until they figure it is time for it to land. Why would it even make sense for it to be a 490 year prophecy if you can cut off the last week and put it where you want? It’s not complete anymore. It would be called the 483 year prophecy. There is no Biblical reason for doing that. There is going to be a tribulation in the last days. I’m more inclined to think it is going to be closer to three and a half years, based on Bible patterns, than seven years. We’ll talk about that.

Number 9, What is to happen in the final week of this 70 week prophecy of Daniel chapter 9?

In Daniel 9:26 [KJV], “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.” Who was the Messiah cut off for? He was cut off from the land of the living for you and me. In the midst of His life, in the prime of His life, He died for us. The Messiah was cut off. In Daniel 9:27 [KJV] it says, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” One more time, what happened when Jesus died on the cross after three and a half years of preaching? He preached exclusively to the Jewish people. Isn’t that right? One time a Gentile came to Him and asked for something, and He said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Christ preached almost exclusively to the Jewish people because He came to confirm the covenant with the Jewish nation.

What troubles me is that a lot of my dear charismatic friends and people that believe these Left Behind scenario books–you’ve heard of the Left Behind books. They may be very entertaining, but they are biblically very inaccurate. When it says He confirms the covenant with many for one week, the Bible tells us that this is the Messiah. They say it is the antichrist in those books that is confirming the covenant. I have a question for you. Where, anywhere in the Bible, does it say that the antichrist makes a covenant with anybody? For him to confirm the covenant, first he has to make one. No, the covenant that is being confirmed is the covenant that the Lord made. It is the new testament that the Lord made with all the redeemed. That you will find in Jeremiah chapter 31 and Hebrews chapter 8. That is what Jesus confirmed. Three and half years, He confirms that covenant in person. Notice that three and a half is exactly in the middle of seven. There are a lot of Bible numbers, and people wonder what these numbers mean. Three and a half is one of the numbers that has great significance. You find it in Daniel chapter 7, in Daniel chapter 12, and in Revelation chapter 12. Several times in the Bible it talks about three and a half years or time, times, and the dividing of a time; 1260 days or three and a half years.

How long was the famine in the time of Elijah? Three and a half years. Usually it represents a time followed by great trial, and it’s a time of persecution and rejection. There was a great showdown at the end of Elijah’s three and a half years, wasn’t there? At the end of Jesus’ three and a half years there was a great showdown and He rose and came out victorious, and then the Holy Spirit rained down just like after Elijah’s three and a half years. Do you know there is a three and a half year period in the book of Esther? It begins with a three and a half year period. It says that in the third year of the reign of Ahasuerus he had a feast lasting 180 days. That’s exactly three and a half Jewish years. What happened? There was a great persecution of God’s people that followed that time period. They tried to annihilate the Jews through Haman. There is a pattern. Then there is the three and a half years in Revelation of the persecution of the two witnesses. You find it all through the Bible. So it wouldn’t surprise me if the small time of trouble fell into that pattern, but I don’t know that.

2 Corinthians 3:14. They used to have a veil separating them from the presence of God. Only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies, but now through Christ who is our High Priest we can go into the presence of God. It says we can boldly go before the throne of grace.

Now we have a graph on the screen to help you better understand the prophecy we’ve just looked at. You have the decree that is given in 457 B.C. It says 70 weeks are determined for thy people. But it divides that 70 weeks into first 69 weeks, and then Jesus is baptized in A.D. 27. Then you have the last week that is divided in the middle by the Messiah being cut off. His life is cut off, and He causes the sacrifice to cease. Then we take a look at the last week of the prophecy. In the last week it’s cut off in the middle.

Number 10. Jesus instructed His disciples to begin preaching to one group. In Matthew 10:5, 6 [KJV] He said, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” In Matthew 15:24 [KJV] He says, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He told that to the Syrophoenician woman.

Jesus confirmed the covenant with His own people for three and a half years. But it says He confirmed the covenant for one week. How can that be? I’ll get to that in just a second. In Matthew 21:43 [KJV] the Lord said, “Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” After He preached the covenant to His own people for three and a half years, if they did not fully embrace it, were they to be the sole guardians of the truth anymore, or was He going to deliver it to a new nation? Who said that, Pastor Doug? I get away with things no one else can get away with because I’m Jewish. Some people would say this isn’t politically correct, but I really don’t care because I am Jewish. It is biblical. He told the Jewish people that, if they were not faithful (talking about the Jews as a nation).

I also want everyone to remember it is hard to be anti-Semitic and be a Christian because you believe in a Jewish Savior and read a Jewish Book. Before you start feeling too good about yourself, the Christian church has repeated the history of the Jewish nation in apostasy and unfaithfulness, and then some. Jesus said in John 2:16 [KJV], “Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.” That’s getting back to our story, the cleansing of the temple.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 2 it tells us that in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and then again at the end of His ministry, He entered into the Jewish temple and He saw it was full of merchandise. It smelled like a flea market and a barnyard. He evicted all the money changers. They were selling salvation and it had just turned into a big business program, so He chased them all out. He cleansed the temple from all of the worldliness that had crept in. Then the children came in singing. The Lord still needs to do that with His church. He needs to cleanse the temple. The Lord is going to come suddenly to His temple. So often the pulpits in our churches become an auction block instead of a place where the Word of God is expounded. We sell everything under the sun, doing bingo and bazaars in the church. It should be a sacred place where God is praised and worshiped and the truth is taught.

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and He wants to cleanse this temple, too. He wants it to be His dwelling place. You notice when He began His ministry He said you have made My Father’s house a den of thieves–My Father’s house. By the end of His ministry, when the religious leaders rejected what He was teaching them, He walked out of the temple for the last time the week before He was executed, and He said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” Matthew 23:38 [KJV]. Don’t forget that.

You’ve heard of the abomination of desolation. It happened to the Jewish temple, and the devil is going to try and do it to God’s spiritual temple, or His church. Matthew 24:1, 2, “I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.” When the disciples were talking about how beautiful the temple was, Jesus was saying, Look, this is not where your focus should be, not on some sacred building; it’s on the new building, the church. You see, you are the temple of God. You are now living stones in the temple of God. Jesus is the foundation stone. Paul said, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” He spoke to the church collectively and said, “What? know ye not,” ye are the temple of God? We comprise the temple of God. Jesus dwells in the midst of His people through the Shekinah glory of His Holy Spirit. So when the Bible tells us in Thessalonians that that wicked one, this antichrist power, would sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God, He’s not talking about them building another building in Israel somewhere; He’s talking about the antichrist power infiltrating the temple of God, putting himself in the position of God. By the way, that’s already happened.

In John 2:19 Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” What was He talking about? It says right there in John that He was speaking of His body. What is the church called? It is the body of Christ. We are now the temple of God. We are the body of Christ. The Lord raised up a new temple. He said after I die I will raise it up. When I rise, the church will be born—a new priesthood, a new temple, offering new sacrifices. It’s not just literal Israel; it’s spiritual Israel.

Mark 14:58 [KJV], The only two witnesses they could get to agree at the crucifixion of Christ, at the trial said, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’” He probably said something pretty close to that. He did make one made without hands; it’s the church.

Number 11, Since Jesus died in the middle of the final week, how did He confirm the covenant during the last three and a half years? It says He would confirm the covenant for one week. But He only died after the first three and a half. I’m so thankful for this verse. Sometimes one verse makes everything come clear. Hebrews 2:3 says, “How shall we escape” (there’s a question for you) “if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken”—first, first three and a half years, “spoken by the Lord and was confirmed” (he even used the same word), “and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him—three and half years through Jesus and three and a half years through the apostles. Why? Because Jesus said I’m going to My Father, and as the Father sent Me, so I am sending you. I am going to confirm it with the Jewish nation, only the lost sheep of the house of Israel. That’s My ministry for three and a half years. After all, they had the Bible. That was the most fruitful place to start. Who would be the most likely ones to first accept the Messiah? The Romans who knew nothing about their ancient history, or the Jews? First go to the Jews. Spend three and a half years with them in person. But He’s merciful. They were given another three and a half years through the apostles—through those that heard Jesus. What happened three and a half years after Jesus ascended to heaven? We’ll get to that.

Number 12, When did the 70 week or the 490 year prophecy conclude? If you go seven years from the baptism of Jesus, that whole one week, you’re coming to A.D. 34. In A.D. 34 something very significant happened. The highest governing body of the Jewish nation, the Sanhedrin, heard Stephen preach a Spirit-filled sermon. He traced the whole history and appealed to the leaders and told them that Jesus was the Messiah, and you know what they did? They plugged their ears (that ought to say something symbolically), they took him out of the city, they did not have a fair trial (just like they didn’t for Jesus), they killed him outside the city (just like Jesus was killed outside the city), and he prayed for their forgiveness as he was being executed (just like Jesus prayed for their forgiveness). It talks about them laying down their clothes (just like there were clothes at the foot of the cross), and they laid their clothes at the feet of someone named Saul, who was later called Paul, who in the next chapter was converted and went to the Gentiles. Then Paul and Peter began to preach to the Gentiles. A.D. 34 is right in the Bible. You can read this in Acts chapter 7. So there you have the 70 week prophecy. From the decree, you have the whole 483 years, the baptism of Jesus, three and a half years Jesus preaches in person, He dies in the midst of the week, He causes the sacrifice to cease when He dies on the cross because the veil is rent, and then the gospel goes to the Gentiles. Three and a half years He preaches through the apostles, and it goes to the Gentiles after that.

Number 13, How does the <__________2,000 year prophecy__________> relate to this? Remember I told you not to forget that time period? So the starting period is 457 B.C. If you start from 457 B.C., that comes all the way down to 1844. What happened in 1844? When Christ ascended to heaven, He began to minister as our High Priest as any earthly priest did on a regular basis. The Bible tells us that when the Lord comes He’s rewarding people, and the Bible tells us that judgment must begin at the house of God. If you read Ezekiel 9 it discusses that. The Lord entered the last phase of His heavenly ministry. Call it the Day of Atonement phase. But something else happened. Not only did Christ begin to minister for us as the High Priest in heaven; on earth, in 1844, the last phase of the church began. It’s called the church of Laodicea in Revelation. It was a great revival to the people who had been deluded by the truth being cast to the ground. The beast power had confused the church for so many years. Christians from many different churches began to study the Bible together and there was a great revival. They learned the truths that had been lost—the foundational pillars that we have been sharing during this series. And now people from every nation are being called into the church that was born in 1844. God not only began to cleanse His sanctuary in heaven; in 1844 He started cleansing His people on earth from the false teachings that had violated and that had defiled His church. His truth is pure because Jesus is the truth.

Number 14, Who are God’s people today? Whosoever believes becomes spiritual Israel. Galatians 3:29, “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Friends, does God still have an Israel out there? Yes. They might be Jews, they might not, but everybody that accepts Christ becomes a spiritual Jew. Romans 9:7, 8, “Nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham.” “That is, those who are the children of the flesh.” Not just those that are physical Jews. “These are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” If you want to be the real seed of Abraham, it is those who embrace the promises of God’s Word. They become spiritual Jews, and all the promises in this book belong to them. Romans 2:28, 29, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly…; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly.” The Bible says it is not the circumcision in the flesh anymore. It is the circumcision in the heart that makes you a child of Abraham. This is good news, friends. That means that you, if you have accepted Christ, you are God’s chosen people. The same way God’s chosen people in the Old Testament and in the New Testament made a lot of mistakes, we are making the same mistakes. All of the things that came into the temple to defile it back then are defiling it again. It’s time that we have our sanctuary cleansed. Christ is cleansing the sanctuary in heaven. He wants to cleanse the sanctuary in earth. He wants to cleanse our body temple sanctuary and our minds. 1 Peter 2:5, “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

There’s a storm coming, friends. The only thing that is going to help us get through is the tree. It’s the cross of Christ. He has to die that we could live. Are you building on the Rock? Is your temple going to survive?

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