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The Temple

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
July 14, 2019 12:00 pm

The Temple

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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Lord we love you. We thank you and praise you for your love goodness and grace to us. We asked father that you open the word of God to us today that we might have a deeper and better understanding that we might love you more and it's in Jesus name we pray. Amen. You may be seated.

How many of you read the book Pilgrim's progress Pilgrim's progress is the second most published book in the entire world.

Only the Bible was published more than Pilgrim's progress.

It is a great and glorious book. If you haven't read it, I would encourage you with all my heart to read it is a glorious portrayal of the Christian journey of the Christian life and a Charles Spurgeon read it over 100 times. If you read the book, you'll come to realize very quickly that was written allegorically. If you see that in the names of the characters. The book of the primary character. The pilgrim himself is his name Christian and then the guy that goes out and shares the gospel is named evangelist and then there two guys that are trying to lead Christian astray in their names are pliable and obstinate.

We get to one chapter and there's a whole chapter that deals with Christian going to the house of the interpreter which is a picture of the Holy Spirit and he sees all these visions and there's one particular vision where there is a man with a broom and he's in a parlor and he tried to sweep the dust up with the dust is flying everywhere and he can't get it controlled. Finally, a young lady comes in and she's got a bottle of water and she takes the water and she sprinkles it on the floor and then the man is able to sweep the dust up because it won't fly all over the place and he takes care of it in the room is cleansed. That is a picture of vision that that meant that the broom of the law cannot cleanse the heart until the heart is saturated with the word of the gospel. Pilgrim's progress is called an allegory because it is not meant to be read and understood literally, it was not written lit to be understood literally.

It was written as an allegory, and if you take Pilgrim's progress and you try to understand it literally. It's going to be extremely extremely confusing.

Now the, the book of Revelation is not an allegory, but is at a book that is a is filled with continuous apocalyptic visions from the very beginning, the book of Revelation employee symbols to explain redemptive historical realities. You don't grass that is your reading the book, then you're going to go down some wrong roads and some very weird paths in Revelation 1 we saw this very plainly. The seven candlesticks represent the seven churches. The seven stars represent the seven angels we saw the two edged sword representing the word of God numbers were very very important in the book of Revelation that the seven represents the number of completeness and the number of perfection. The number 1000 represents along exterior extended period of time.

We saw the number hundred and 44,01212 times a thousand.

Representing the entirety of the believers from the time of Adam all the way until the end when Christ returns. We see all of these numbers.

We've already dealt with that we've already seen that but it today as we get into into Chapter 11 and then we get into chapter 12 and 13. It is absolutely vital that you understand the kind of literature work that that we are reading. If you try to take this passage literally, you can end up with some very confused theology some very puzzling eschatology and some very dishonoring Christology. A lot of times I'll see people, poke out their chest and so I believe the Bible literally and I think I know what they're saying. I think what they're trying to say is I believe that the Bible is true. You better believe that the Bible is true that the Bible is the infallible and errant plenary verbal inspired word of God. Every jot and tittle every word, every sentence we can trust that is absolutely true, but if the Holy Spirit of God inspired the writer of Scripture took to write a passage that was symbolic and we turn around and try to to to take it literally and were going to come up with a very perverted understanding of that particular text. I realize that much of the evangelical world over the last century and 1/2 has been inundated with dispensationalism the dispensationalism act is if their view of the book of Revelation was not the primary view all the way back to the time that John wrote the book of Revelation want you know that's not true. Dispensationalism is a very new theology. There was no dispensationalism until the year 1850 before that time there was no one who believed that there was a two-part second coming of Christ. If there was, first of all or a rapture with the church would be taken to heaven.

And then there would be seven years of tribulation where people would get a second chance to come to know Christ as Lord and Savior and finally a second coming where Jesus returns back to this earth. No one before 1850, which just about 15 years before the Civil War. No one taught that and no one believed that the dispensationalism believed that in Revelation chapter 4 through Revelation chapter 18, the church is not even mentioned that they say that the reason for that is that the church's rapture die out pictured in Revelation chapter 4 verse one then there churches in heaven and for the next 14 chapter 14 chapters layer during all that time of the rest is is just referring to what's going on here on earth and what are they say is happening. I say this is the time that that God is dealing once again with ethnic Israel.

Dispensationalism believe that God has two peoples is an earthly people of God, they say, which is Israel is a heavenly people of God.

They say that is the church folks, this is believed by some very good and godly men, some in that I have great respect for and that I love very much but yet I believe that it leads to some terrible terrible era and you may say will what does it matter only share with you couple reasons that it really matters. Number one. If you believe this, it very well could hinder your preparation for persecution, tribulation, if you believe that the church is going to be ruptured out and taken to heaven before they're both, but before the great tribulation before persecution comes and you're not going to be motivated to a two to get yourself prepared and ready for the persecution that's coming second.

This theology builds back a wall between Jew and Gentile, that Jesus Christ broke down with his precious blood.

I was raised as as a new Christian and a dispensational church and I can remember people saying I wish that I was a Jewish Christian, and I heard that many times this if I was a Jewish Christian that would be part of the chosen people of God, and I would still know Jesus Christ as my Lord and as my Savior. While that bothered me. I didn't really know Scripture well enough at that time to know why it bothered me so bad I know today, I know what bothered me in the New Testament the chosen people of God are not ethnic Jews that believe in Christ, they are spiritual Jews.

They are spiritual Jews spiritual Jews believers in Christ from every tribe, kindred tongue and nation. In Romans chapter 2 they the apostle Paul's said this and said it it he is a Jew who is not one outwardly good is one inwardly, who's been circumcised, not in the flesh but in the heart.

In Matthew chapter 21 verses 42 through 45. Jesus was speaking to a Christ rejecting Israel to the leadership of a Christ rejecting Israel and Jesus said because of that, and he went on to quote from Psalm 118 to give them scriptural proof from the Old Testament hasted because of that he said the kingdom of God was can be taken from them and given to another people to listen carefully to what he said here Jesus said to them if you never read in the Scriptures, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes. Therefore I tell you the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

And the one who falls on the stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crushing when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them so her with who are the this this new people of God, the holy nation.

The chosen of the chosen people. Who is it that can be given the kingdom of God. Who are the new chosen people of God and the answer that is the church and in Galatians chapter 6, verse 16. Paul's called the church that is real of God in first Peter chapter 2, and in verses six through 10, Peter took the same passage that Jesus used in Psalm 118 when he was speaking to the religious leaders when he told them that the kingdom of God was due to be taken out of their hand and given to another in the use that to tell the church made up of Jew and Gentile the church who are the people of God, and who is going to receive the kingdom of God.

Listen to what Peter said Fort stands in Scripture.

Behold, I'm laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious. And whoever believes in him will not be put to shame. So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, they stumble because they disobey the word as they were destined to do and listen to what he says he's talking to the church and he says, but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation of people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy and does this mean that God is finished with the Jewish people, absolutely not. In the book of Romans chapter 11. We are told that before Christ returns. There will be a great influx of Jewish people into the church. They will come to know Christ but but I want you to know that they are not going to come to Christ any differently than you and I came to Christ they are going to come to Christ through being convicted of their sin repenting of their sin and believing in the shed blood of Christ for their salvation and there will be no distinction between Jew and Gentile, a Jew will be saved just like you and I are safe today by grace through faith plus nothing. Galatians chapter 3 verse 28 to 29 says this, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus and listen to this and if you are Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring. Ayers according to the promise August look at the passage two points and one share with you today .1 is the temple look at verse one again with me that I was given a measuring rod like a staff and I was told, rise, and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship they are and here's the question what is this temple that he's talking about.

I want to give you first a dispensational viewpoint and then will look at the meal viewpoint. The dispensation was believe that the temple is a literal building that is good to be rebuilt on that very same spot in Jerusalem where the temple stood when Jesus walked this earth. Now what is on that spot today there to Islamic holy sites.

There's the dome of the rock in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They are, they are before I temple could be built on that particular spot in Jerusalem, all Mount Zion. They will that those two Islamic holy sites would have to be demolished and removed. Here's a question. Is that going to happen. Can that happen. I believe that that very well could happen and I believe that it very well might happen there Orthodox Jews all over Israel today that would love to see the rebuilding of that temple that they there is underground talk that you hear at their plans being made. Even now as we sit here about that that temple be in rebuilt in Jerusalem. But here's the problem.

Would this temple be a temple that God would honor when this temple be this building be a place that would give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ and the answer that is no. Why, what, what is a temple for it when we hear temple a lot of times I think we think church building is not with the temple was for the temple was for sacrifice now should go back with me to the cross for just a minute the crucifixion when Jesus was nailed to the cross.

What was it. It was a sacrifice. It was the ultimate sacrifice to pay the sin debt for his people.

Jesus died is our propitiation.

He died is our reconciliation. God is our redemption fee.

God is our atonement. Jesus's death was a a sacrificial a sacrificial atonement. His death was the ultimate sacrifice every animal sacrifice that was ever offered in the Old Testament was offered in faith. Looking forward to that day, Jesus Christ would die on the cross and they were all offered in faith, waiting, waiting for the true and ultimate sacrifice.

Jesus died on the cross as he was dying to breathe in his last breath you remember what he said. He cried out to Tillius.it is finished. It is finished and when he said that something happened in the temple, the veil in the temple was rent from the top all the way down to the bottom. Now when that happened.

God was making a statement that that access was opened to the presence of God for anyone that anyone could enter into the very presence of God nail through the blood of Jesus Christ. How big was that veil but it was 60 feet high was 20 feet wide. Josephus says that the width of that veil was his is as as thick as a is a palm of a man's hand.

It was that thick and so is about 4 inches thick me ask you something when when God made that statement when God ripped that veil from the top to the bottom. Was he making a statement absolutely, he was making the same statement that Jesus made when he was breathing his last breath and cried out, it is finished.

God was saying this is the sacrifice that honor.

This is the ultimate sacrifice. In other words, Jesus paid it all. That's the statement that he was making the next 40 years it next 40 years. They continued the priest to go through the motions.

They did when when they found out that that veil of been rent from the top of the bottom they got ladders in the holy of holies. And they went out there and they sewed it back up. They said were not can accept this. We don't believe that Jesus's death was the ultimate sacrifice so were going to continue to go through the motions and they did for the next 40 years continue to offer sacrifices they continued on the during the Passover season to kill the lambs and on the day of atonement to kill the goats every day. They bring their sacrifices into the temple and they did that for 40 years until 70 A.D. 70 A.D. Titus Gen. Titus of Rome marched his armies into the city of of Jerusalem.

They marched into the city. They killed 1.2 million Jews and they lit level.

The temple absolutely leveled it to the ground. There was no more temple votes Titus Gen. Titus was an instrument of judgment in the hand of God to honor Christ rejecting Israel. And when that temple went down.

It is been in operative for the last 2000 years as a dispensational essay. All will how wonderful it would be if that temple could be rebuilt. Me tell you something they may rebuild that temple. They very well may do that, but it will be a slap in the face of the son of God. If they reveal that temple. It will be saying to Jesus your sacrifice on the cross was not enough, we reject what you did on the cross and we go back to the types in the pictures and the symbols of the Old Testament rebuilding the temple would be just as offensive to God as those priests that went up and and so would back the veil in the temple of God is such a temple was built by the Jews in Jerusalem.

It will be a monument to their rejection of Christ.

The idea of rebuilding the temple and reinstituting sacrifices denies the sufficiency of the atoning blood of Christ, of her Christian pastors and heard of them taking up offerings to send an offering to Israel to rebuild the temple, and I think to myself, what are they thinking about what are they thinking about. They are asking God's people to take up an offering to do something that is going to make a statement that Jesus did not pay at all that it's not finished brothers and sisters, let me tell you something theology matters and it matters a lot. I know good men with bad theology who were besmirching the name of Christ because they don't understand this passage in Revelation. So what should we believe Joel BQ said this, as believers, we are living stones of a new temple in which God dwells. That is what Revelation 11 is about not a reconstructed Jewish temple in Jerusalem, but the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Paul says in Ephesians 219 to 22. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints of the household of God and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, and of all the building fit frame together growing into a holy temple in the Lord, whom you also are building together is a habitation of God through the Spirit. This temple is far more impressive than any structure built with human hands. Revelation 11 is not about politics, geography, buildings, places, or world events is about the church of Jesus Christ the temple of the living God all the way through the New Testament, it is stressed that believers are the temple. First Peter 25 says you sales like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Here in Revelation chapter 11 verse one and two John is told to measure the temple is is like a a a surveyor and just got a picture that in your mind a surveyor who goes out with his survey and instruments and he very meticulously up against a measure of the a piece of property out so we can lay out the boundaries and lay them out perfectly so everybody will know where the boundaries are.

That's what's going on here except think of it this way, the temple or the people of God. They are the true believers in Christ. That's the temple and just like in Revelation chapter 7 when they were marking out the people of God. The Scriptures said there this that they were there was the ceiling of the saints. What was the ceiling of the saints about remember that the number the ceiling was on therefore heads. What could be known if these were God's people. That's was going out here in this measuring of the temple is a marking out of God's people. It is God saying to his people. You belong to me and I am going to take care of you. You going go through persecution you're going to go through tribulation you go, let's go through unbelievable difficult times, but I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will be with you. Second Timothy 219 says the foundation of the Lord stands sure, having this seal, the Lord knows those that are he is Revelation 11 verse two. John is told not to measure the court that's on the outside of the temple. That court is a symbol of nominal Christianity is people who call themselves a Christian and kinda go through the motions but they're not really part of the body of Jesus Christ. Now when the persecution comes what happens to people like this. They don't they don't stick around, they fall away and that's what's happening here is good to be a ravaging of the temple. And there a ravaging to God's people are going to go through persecution, but those who don't truly knowing or going to fall away. This is what John was talking about. First John chapter 2 in verse nine, when he said they went out from us, but they were not of us birthday had been others, they would have continued with us, but they went out that it might be manifest that they were not of us human.

When we were studying the letters to the seven churches in Asia minor and Revelation 2 and three. How often did we hear Jesus warned them about false faith and false teaching, and in those letters. Jesus was saying to them, do not be lukewarm. Do not fall for false teaching and do not possess one thing in you in your in your words that you don't possess in your life Joel BQ's commentary here in verse two, John is given a measuring stick to distinguish between the sanctuary and the outer courts. He is told to measure the sanctuary, the altar and the people who worship at the altar in the sanctuary. He is told to count these people, but not those who are on the periphery and outer courts. The idea is that those in the inner court in the sanctuary, who worship God are safe and counted with those of outer courts on the circuit circumference are not counted and are liable to be trampled on by the world, the Gentiles, pagans and other nonbelievers are not in the sanctuary did not dwell in the secret place of the most high.

They have not come to worship the living God through the blood of Christ merely to attend church. They are Christians in name only, so there's no safety for them or we insider.

We outside of God sanctuary. Are we worshiping God at the altar or merely merely going through the motions of being Christians, we know what it is to dwell in the secret place of the most high under the shadow of his wings have we entered the holy of holies by the blood of Jesus folks that message spoke to John's generation and 95 A.D. spoke to Augustine generation of 400 A.D. spoke to Calvin's generation in Luther's generation it and and Edwards generation and and Spurgeon's generation and BB Warfield generation and it speaks to our generation. Just as clearly, and what is the question. The question is not, will God allow allow the Jews to rebuild secular temple or what they think is a holy temple which is really a secular temple. It is that what is being said here is that the question it's going to be asked is there going to be a rebuilt temple know that's not the question. The question is this. Are you part of the temple.

Are you a true believer.

Do you belong to Christ.

Are you sealed by the Holy Spirit of God, will you be faithful to persecution, we persevere by the grace of God till either you die until Christ returns brothers and sisters that's relevant to us .2 is the time you look at verse two, but do not measure the court outside the temple leave that out for it is given over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months is period of time is repeated over and over and over again to the book of Revelation sometimes assist 42 month sometimes read 1/2 years, sometimes 1260 days. Sometimes it says a time and a time and 1/2 time. They all mean the same thing dispensation was take this literally and I say this is a reference to the second part of of the tribulation the last 3 1/2 years. But you know if you go through the book of Revelation and look at how this, the numbers are used symbolically all the way through seven candlesticks seven churches seven stars seven angels. Then there are the hundred 44,000, representing the totality of believers from the time of Adam all the way to the last person that comes to Christ before Jesus returns. Then in Revelation 13.

Wordlessly the mark of the beast. The 666 number sixes is short, becomes short of the perfect number of completion which is the number 7666 tells us of the of the faults Trinity wordlessly. All these numbers and how their symbolically going to Revelation 20 we see the thousand years that pictures the church age. From the first coming of Christ to the second coming of Christ.

Revelation chapter 8 verse one we are told that there will be silence in heaven for half an hour and we know that all those that I just mentioned were were to be taken symbolically. So why should we get to this particular passage here and say this is gotta be literal.

I don't believe that it is. Richard Phillips said a symbolic approach these 42 months, and it's equivalent is expressly not so much a quantity is a quality of time. This designation signifies an intense period of persecution that is limited by God's will is go back to the Old Testament see if we have any any references back to the to that number 3 1/2 years 42 months or 1260 days. We first see it. Israel's journey through the wilderness and there was they were in the wilderness for two years until God said that there were to be judged and then their judgment was that be in the wilderness for 40 more years you take this to the Adam together. It's 42 years from the time they left Egypt to the time they got to the promised land. The Bible also list in Nehemiah 42 camps that were in Israel during that wilderness wandering when Elijah prayed for the heaven step two. You are to be shut up because of the idolatry of the Israelites, God shut the heavens up for how long. 3 1/2 years, or 42 months. Once again, Richard Phillips said the number 42, seems to be associated with times of rebellion which God's faithful people are protected in the midst of the trouble then in Daniel seven. You might remember the prophecy that Daniel made at their was coming up. A time which would be a time in a time and 1/2 time.

3 1/2 years in that time didn't come for several years down the road a time of great tribulation under a ruler name Antiochus epiphanies who is a Seleucid Greek who was a horrible ruler over the over the Jewish people who would take pig fat and stuff it down the mouth of priest to kill them and what happened. The Lord was with them through that time in the Lord finally brought them out of that.

So this 3 1/2 year. Again symbolizes an intense period of suffering through which God's people emerge in victory, some kiss democracy of the nations of Revelation 11 to our non-Christians who trample all that is holy and make it profane the 42 months. Thus, refer to the persecution that Christians suffer throughout the ages. This interpretation matches the vision of Revelation 12 in which the church goes in the wilderness for 3 1/2 years at time time and 1/2 time during which he is protected from the Dragon and nourished by God.

This too shows the present age in which God's people face continued persecution, but are Safe by our sovereign God, how important is it to view this passage in a symbolic way. It is of utmost importance. The dispensational essay. These verses have nothing to do with the church folks.

These verses have everything to do with the church. The dispensational says this this passage has to do with the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. I want you to know that that's not the case. I submit you today. This passage is not given to help us to to learn how to to give money to give to a Israel so they can rebuild the temple, folks.

This is given to us to let us know that doing that would demean the atoning work of Christ.

The passage is telling us that persecution and tribulation is coming. We need to study the word of God. We need to pray for the loss we need to witness to the world and we need to corporately worship that when that persecution comes, you and I would be ready and we would have a promise Jesus wins. And if we are with him were going to win with him. A man named man. Let's pray heavenly father we thank you and praise you for your goodness, grace and love, Lord, what we are looking at today's very difficult passage, but Lord is a passage that ultimately tells us that you are going to be with us forever that you are going to be our strength that Lord we can put our trust totally and completely in you no matter what it looks like the world is doing. Heavenly father, help us, that we might stand on these truths that we might live out our lives in obedience to you that Lord we would not be like the nominal Christians on the outside who were not in that inner court who were trampled in who ran away in fled during times of persecution, may we stand and stand for you no matter what the cost, Jesus. We love you. We thank you for your love and goodness to us. We asked this prayer in your holy and precious name. Amen


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