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The Old Testament (Part Two)–2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 6, 2024 1:00 am

The Old Testament (Part Two)–2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 6, 2024 1:00 am

God set apart the nation of Israel to bring Him glory among the nations. But the Old Testament recounts how many lost sight of God’s grand purpose. In this message, Pastor Lutzer shares three reasons why our lives should be changed by Israel’s story. What can we learn from the history surrounding the Temple Mount?

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Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

The nation Israel had one reason for being, to bring forth a Messiah who would first die as a sacrifice for sin and later be raised to return one day as King over all the earth. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, as we read the Bible, it becomes clear that Satan wanted to stop the birth of Jesus at all costs.

Dave, you're absolutely right. Satan would do whatever he possibly could to make sure that the Christ child would not be born. And even after Jesus was born, when you stop to think of King Herod who wanted to kill Jesus and have all of those children, all of the male children up to the age of two murdered, he hoped that he would ensnare Jesus in that.

That was very satanic. But God always works his way and nonetheless, even when it seems as if Satan is going to have a victory, it ends up being his defeat. Isn't it wonderful to be on God's side in the midst of the conflict?

But you're right. When we stop to think of the Bible, it is all about Jesus. It is all about his birth and his redemption.

So let's listen carefully. And then you think of Esau growing up of course and having antagonism with his twin brother Jacob. And later on Esau goes in one direction and Jacob goes in another.

Esau and his descendants become known as Edomites and they live in what today is called Petra that some of us have had the opportunity of visiting. And what you have in history all throughout the Old Testament is antagonism toward the Jews and especially toward the seed of the woman. I have no doubt that Satan often thought to himself, I wonder who is going to bear the Messiah. And so he would try to work his wonders so that he would prevent the purpose of God from being accomplished. As a matter of fact, there were times in the Old Testament when it seemed as if the line that God had chosen was almost wiped out.

But God always kept a remnant and that line kept progressing throughout history until we get to Jesus. But it was always attacked. And the Edomites of course were part of that who antagonized Israel. Israel wanted to go past them. The Edomites didn't let them. The Amalekites are descendants of the Edomites. And these Amalekites attacked Israel and God says I will have war with Amalek from one generation to another generation. Well, one day in the land that we today call Israel, there was a king who was an Edomite. And he was a descendant of Edom. And his name was Herod the Great. And Herod the Great was a madman. But one of the things that he did is to continue to attack the seed of the woman, didn't he? When he hears that Jesus is born in Bethlehem, he says to the wise men, come and tell me about it because I want to worship him too. And they're on to him and they don't do that and he becomes angry and he kills all of the boys in Bethlehem who are two years of age and under hoping to kill Jesus. As a matter of fact, Herod the Great even killed his own family members.

He was a very evil king. But one of the things about Herod is that he really loved to build. And he wanted to build the Jews a temple. The Jews said no, we have a temple in Zerubbabel. We have Zerubbabel's temple. He said okay, I won't build you a temple. I'll simply renovate Zerubbabel's temple. Actually, he rebuilt it all.

As a matter of fact, the tearing down of the old one and the building of the new one happened simultaneously. And it was a huge, glorious temple. In fact, he trained a thousand priests as masons to work on it to make sure that the Jews were satisfied. He himself indicated that he was converting to Judaism.

So he's doing them a huge favor and also to try to give himself a great position in history. And so Herod's temple was built. Today when you go to Israel, they'll talk about the first temple period.

They mean Solomon. And then they'll talk about the second temple period. And the second temple period is basically Herod's temple. You say, well, what about Zerubbabel's temple?

By and large in history, it didn't play a big part. And because it was absorbed into the great Herod's temple, Zerubbabel's temple is not spoken about, but Herod's temple is. All right, now let's do the math. He begins at about 20 years before Jesus is born building this massive structure. Jesus comes on the scene.

The building is not yet finished. Now, mind you, the inner part was, but the outer part was still being built on. And Jesus is sitting on the opposite side of the Mount of Olives and he's looking at Jerusalem and he says to the disciples, look at the stones that are here. And in Herod's glorious temple, they were everywhere. He says, not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be hewn down.

Wow. Jesus said that this temple will be destroyed because the Jews did not know the day of their visitation. It's finally finished in about 64 AD and a few years later in 70 AD. This glorious temple that was built by Herod, which supposedly housed worship, the temple into which Jesus was brought as a child when his parents took him to Jerusalem. This glorious temple was taken down stone by stone. It is said that when the Romans came and Titus came and conquered the city, that they believed that there was gold in the stones and so it was totally and completely dismantled in accordance with the words and the prophecy of Jesus. The temple was gone.

Today you can go to Jerusalem and there are no artifacts of Herod's temple except for a retaining wall that was left. And that retaining wall is known as the wailing wall. Was an outer wall to hold in the temple area and the mounds of dirt that were taken into the area to build the temple.

And that's all that was left. Whenever you go to Rome, please, please go to the Roman forum because there in the forum you can see the arch of Titus, which commemorates the victory of the Romans over Israel. And on the arch there is a candelabra made a replica of a candelabra that was taken from the temple area of Jerusalem and brought to Rome. Now, if you were to go to the temple area today, what would you see today? You would see what is known as the Dome of the Rock. The Dome of the Rock, which was built in the latter part of the 600.

So we could say the seventh century. This is a Muslim shrine. And when you're at the Mount of Olives and you're looking toward the temple area, you can see the wall.

Of course, on the other side of the wall is the Dome of the Rock and before you is the Kidron Valley. And the best place to see it really is from the Garden of Gethsemane, which is then your opportunity to see Jerusalem. But today there's this Muslim shrine. And when you're at the shrine, you notice many different, what shall we say, inscriptions from the Koran. And one of those inscriptions says, and heaps basically a curse on Christians who believe the Trinity, saying that there could not possibly be the Son of God.

God could not have a son. What happens when you go inside the Dome of the Rock? Inside the Dome of the Rock, as you might expect, you find a rock. This rock is the top of a mountain. I've been in the Dome of the Rock many times. And what you can see is people who had come and they chiseled pieces from the rock.

But it's the top of a mountain. And years ago, when I was studying in Israel more than 40 years ago, I wrote a paper on Herod's temple and also on the Dome of the Rock. And according to my studies, this rock is probably the place where you had the burnt offering altar. So you can understand that this is a very historical site. It is a site that is very holy to the Jews because it is here that the temple stood. It is a shrine built by the Muslims condemning Christianity. And it is a holy place to them. And no wonder so much of the history of the world has taken place and still will take place on this particular piece of real estate. But let's look at that rock again.

And let's think now. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 3 verse 1 that Solomon built his temple on Mount Moriah, on the very hill where David had purchased from Arona, the Jebusite, where he might worship the Lord. So Solomon builds his temple on Mount Moriah.

That's interesting. Where do we find Mount Moriah again in the scripture? Well, we actually find it earlier. You remember way back in Genesis chapter 22, God says, Abraham, I want you to take your son, and I want you to offer Isaac on Mount Moriah. So as far as we know, it was on top of this mountain, this hill. This is where Abraham came.

You say, well, I don't see the mountain. Well, you have to remember that we're talking about many years before Christ, 1800 years before Christ. This area was filled in so that the temple could be built. So when you look at that rock, you realize it has a tremendous, unbelievable history. Perhaps right there is where Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. So let me say again, it's holy to the Jews their temple was here. It's holy to the Muslims because they built this shrine here. It is not a mosque. It is a shrine, a dome of the rock. What about the Christians? Well, Christianity is spoken against in the dome of the rock. And if you go less than a half a mile, maybe a third of a mile, you get to the very spot in Jerusalem where Jesus Christ was himself crucified. So the spot also is holy to Christians.

Is it any wonder that peace is very elusive in the Middle East? Well, I brought you right up to the time of Jesus because this next message in the series is going to pick up with the New Testament. But where does this leave us?

What's the take home? Why should our lives be changed forever? Because we know this history.

Couple of reasons. First of all, number one, notice that God disciplines his people. God disciplines his people. You know, I read the story of the Old Testament.

I just can't get over it. As I explained last time, the Israelites were always falling into sin. They had this love of idolatry and God was constantly warning them and constantly punishing them. I think of those two beautiful temples. I think of the Temple of Solomon.

Yes, it did exist for 350 years. A glorious temple. God comes along and says, you know, because of your rebellion and your sin, the Babylonians are going to destroy it. I think of Herod's temple. What a wonderful tourist attraction it would have been today. And there's no doubt it could easily have stood the test of time 2000 years.

Other buildings have come close to that. But Jesus is saying, because of your disobedience and because you didn't accept me as Messiah, you're going to be destroyed. And so the Romans come and Titus comes and he says, surely God was on our side, or we could not have done this, said Titus, as he destroys the city and the temple. Isn't it amazing how God apparently is willing to do anything when people continue to sin? Our nation of the United States is under judgment. No question about it.

Longer story. But judgment has come to us. And so we have to ask ourselves, how do we live in a society that clearly is abandoning God and facing the consequences? But you know, he disciplines individual believers too. The Bible says in the book of Hebrews that those whom the Lord loves, he chastens and he scourges every son that he receives. As a matter of fact, it says that if you are not disciplined, you are not a child of God.

No Christian can leave God and live in sin without God's discipline and chastisement. Maybe it'll be mental torment. Maybe it'll be guilt.

Maybe it'll be consequences. But in some way or another, God disciplines his people. If there's a lesson to be learned from all of this is God really genuinely hates sin.

That's the first lesson. God disciplines us. Secondly, God restores us. God restores us.

Isn't it interesting? The 10 tribes go off into a Syria they're never heard from again. They're obliterated to history.

They intermarry and they're gone. But God made a promise. God promised Abraham that through his seed, he would find that the promise of Jesus, the promise of Redeemer would come about.

And then that promise can be traced through the pages of the Bible. It comes through Judah and God fulfills his promise, but he fulfills it only to a remnant. The Old Testament is filled with uses of that word remnant. What does the word remnant mean? Well, if you look it up in the dictionary, it says a small part or a fragment. It also says that it is a piece of cloth frequently that is left over, an unused piece of cloth. Maybe you've gone into a store intending to purchase some cloth and they say, well, you know, we don't really have that, but we have this remnant over here. You know, God often works just through a remnant.

He works through a few. There are some religions in the world that say that the truth of our religion is proved by our military conquests. Jesus says something very different from that. He says to his people, fear, not little flock.

It is God's intention to give you the kingdom. God often works through small churches, sometimes small ways, always a remnant, never, never an entire nation, always the righteous within that nation. And God restores us. Could I say that God also redeems us? God also redeems us. In the end, as we shall learn next time, Jesus comes and fulfills all the prophecies of the Old Testament. He turns out to be the seed of the woman and he does indeed crush the head of the serpent. The serpent's head is there in the dust and Jesus comes and proves who he really is. And he comes and he does die on the cross and he does die for sinners such as you and me to reconcile us to God and to bridge the gap between our sin and God's holiness so that we can belong to God forever. You'll say, oh, Pastor Lutzer, how can I belong to the remnant?

I'll tell you how. What you do is admit to your sinfulness, admit to your need, trust Christ as your savior, recognize that it is your sin that has separated you from God and come in humility and repentance. And even in the Old Testament, God's grace and mercy was clearly seen for those who came with repentance and faith. And he is there for us as well.

Thank you so much for being with me in this very, very quick survey of hundreds of years of history. But at the end of the day, remember, it is the drama of God's redemption that is always triumphant. God will always win.

Always. Would you join me as we pray? Father, we ask that you will help us as we contemplate studying your word and reading your word.

Help us to put it together. Help us, Lord, to understand its context, but most of all, give us hearts that are willing to receive it, willing to listen, willing to respond. And for those who may be here today who need to be restored, those who need to be redeemed, we ask that you will do that. Thank you so much for the coming of Jesus and the fulfillment of your purpose and promise. And now, before I close this prayer, if you need to pray, if you need to talk to God, you do right now. Hear our prayer, O Lord God, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Well, this is Pastor Lutzer.

And once again, I'm sure that you understand our hearts here at Running to Win. It is to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And one of the things that thrills us is the fact that it is being used, that is to say this ministry is being used in seven different languages in 50 different countries. I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who listens in Spanish from Bolivia.

This person says, I have fallen many times. I've listened to your program and I am being ministered to and confronted clearly. Well, that's what we intend to do, to share the gospel but to also confront Christians that they might live for God. Would you help us? Would you become a part of this ministry?

I like to think of endurance partners as those who join the Running to Win family. Of course, you need info. I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy because here's what you can do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. And when you're there, you click on the endurance partner button. Or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Become an endurance partner, someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Once again, rtwoffer.com.

Click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. Running to Win listeners have a variety of backgrounds, but the common thread is an ever-increasing longing toward God.

Listen to what Kevin wrote to us. My family has never really taken religion seriously, so I guess I haven't either. I have a wonderful family, a decent job, a loving wife, pretty much all the things a man should be grateful to God for. However, I find myself struggling in the ways of faith during harsh times like these. What's more, I've made many, many mistakes, most of them unspeakable. I was wondering if you could give me some insight on how to ask for God's forgiveness for myself and my other family members who have turned away from His blessings. Kevin, as I read your question and listen to it now as it is read to me, I can't help but think of the words of Jesus who said to a young man, you are not far from the kingdom of God. And your heart comes through in this question, and I don't think that you are far from the kingdom of God.

What you need to do is to continue to pursue it. Now in answer specifically to your question, how do you begin to receive God's forgiveness, you begin by understanding the cross of Jesus Christ. That when Jesus died on the cross, the purpose of His death was a sacrifice for sinners, just like you. But what you need to do is to receive that for yourself.

As many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name. And when you believe, Christ's righteousness is credited to you. You say in your question that you made many mistakes, some of them horrible.

I think that's your language. The issue is not the greatness of your sin, though it would be much better if you hadn't sinned in these ways. The real issue is the wonder of the righteousness that is credited to your account when you believe in Jesus. And so I urge you to come to Him, read the New Testament and learn about Christ.

Now what about your family? Well, you have the privilege of praying for them, and to continue to witness to them about what you are learning. You cannot pray for them. You cannot receive Christ on their behalf. You must do it for yourself.

They must do it for themselves. But clearly, God is working in your heart. Pursue what God is talking to you about through His Word.

Join a good church, become a part of the fellowship, and God will direct you, and I believe your family will be blessed as well. Thank you, Kevin, for sharing your heart with us. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, as well. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. On our next Running to Win, we'll begin our race through the New Testament and see how it fulfills the Old Testament in the drama of redemption. Don't miss our next program. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-06 02:52:40 / 2024-03-06 03:01:16 / 9

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