WHAT IS THE SIGN OF THE BEGINNING OF THE END TIMES?
I believe that the sign of the beginning of the end times is the building of the temple in Jerusalem. This paper will offer two reasons for that belief.
We know from II Thess. 2:4 that the temple must be built by at least the middle of the 70th week. That verse reads, , “Who (the antichrist -see verse 3) opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, shewing himself that he is God”. We know from this that the temple will have been rebuilt by, at least, the time of the tribulation.
But I believe that there is a clue in Dan. 9:26 which points to the temple having to be built by the beginning of the 70th week.
We read in Dan. 9:26, “And he (the antichrist) 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…”. To which covenant does this verse refer? That is to say, God made several covenants with “many”, i.e. Israel, how do we know which covenant the antichrist will “confirm”? I believe the answer to that question is found in the fact that in the middle of the 70th week the antichrist will “cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease”. I will put that in other terms for clarity.
At the beginning of the 70th week the antichrist will confirm a covenant, but in the middle of that week he will cause the sacrifices to cease. In other words, the antichrist’s actions at the beginning of the 70th week are put in contrast to those actions of the middle of the week. If in the middle of the week the antichrist will cause the sacrifice to cease, logic demands that at the beginning of the week he confirmed the covenant that called for sacrifices. Those are, of course, the sacrifices of the Mosaic Law.
Almost all of the sacrifices of the old covenant were, according to the Mosaic Law, required to be offered at the altar in the temple, or in the area just outside the temple (see II Chron. 4:1 and 7:7).
And here is my point: In order for the covenant, which required sacrifices to be confirmed, that covenant must have already been in place, i.e. sacrifices were being made before they were confirmed by the antichrist at the beginning of the 70th week. Because, by law, those sacrifices were made in or around the temple, the temple must have been already rebuilt before the beginning of the 70th week.
In short, if we are looking for a sign of when the end times will begin, we should be looking at Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple of God there because the 70th week cannot begin without it.
The second reason for my belief that the sign of the beginning of the end times is the building of the temple in Jerusalem is centered on the fact that the end times are basically Israel centered (please see the paper that discusses the Israel centered end times). Therefore, I believe that the end times cannot begin until God takes Israel back as His chosen nation. So in order to know when the end times will begin, we must know the sign of Israel being taken back.
How can we know when God takes Israel back as His chosen people? I believe that the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem will be the first sign that God is preparing to take back His people to Himself. Let me offer the Scriptural reasons for that belief.
In Exodus 25:21-22 we read, “Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony which I will give you. There above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all My commands for the Israelites”. And in Deut. 12:11 we read, “Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for His Name …there you are to bring everything I command you”. It is clear that God told Israel that He would dwell and meet with them from wherever the ark of the Testimony was.
God promised in II Chron. 7:14-16 “….if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place, My eyes and My heart will always be there“. Of course, there was the other side of this promise, which was the promise of verses 19 and 20. “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commandments I have given you, then I will uproot Israel from the land I have given them and I will reject this temple which I have consecrated for My Name“.
Indeed, Israel did forsake their God and worship idols and God did give them up. In II Chron. 36:19 we read of how the Babylonians, “set fire to God’s temple and set fire to Jerusalem”.
For 70 years Israel was lo-ammi (not My people) but when the 70 years were over, God, in His grace took them back again. Is it any wonder that Israel was so anxious to rebuild the temple when they were released from captivity? They understood that it was because they had sinned that God had given them over to captivity, and that God did not dwell with them as long as His dwelling place with them, i.e. the temple, lay in destruction.
Now we need to ask ourselves if we have the Scriptural proof for the conclusion that the temple will be rebuilt for the end times. The answer is, yes, we do. The KJV of Dan. 9:27 reads, “”….and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate….”. The note in the Companion Bible on the phrase, “for the overspreading of” reads, “on the wing or battlement of”. The NIV translates 9:27, “And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing of the temple until the end that is decreed is poured out on him”. The fact that the temple will have been rebuilt by the time of the tribulation is further proven in II Thess. 2:4, “Who (the antichrist -see verse 3) opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, shewing himself that he is God”. We know from this that the temple will have been rebuilt by, at least, the time of the tribulation.
To answer the question posed in this section directly, I believe that as the building of the temple in Jerusalem is completed, God will take Israel back His chosen people.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Please E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org