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Posts Tagged ‘sacrilegious object that causes desecration’

Mark 13:11-14 Desecration Standing Where It Should Not Be

Posted by adventbiblestudy on February 28, 2013


Mark 13:11-14 NLTse But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit. (12) “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. (13) And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (14) “The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills.

 

The disciples were still wondering why Jesus answered their question the way He did. They asked Him specifically about His comment concerning the stones of the temple, not one will be left upon another. This caught their attention. They wanted to know all the details about the temple. Just think of how they could use such information. Think of the respect they would gain. Now why did Jesus answer their question, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?” By answering, ““Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.” What does the Messiah have to do with the temple? Better yet, what does a false Messiah have to do with the stones in the temple?

 

Jesus quickly moved on to wars between nations and kingdoms. Now the disciples were trying to figure out how the three were connected. What is the common thread between the temple, false Messiahs, and wars? Jesus quickly added natural disasters, earthquakes and famines. All of these pointed to an end of the world they never considered. Their version of prophecy pointed to an end of the opposition, but not them. Jesus called all of His warning the beginning of birth pains. Why birth pains? Was Jesus using a simple cliché, or was He pointing to the start of something new?

 

Suddenly Jesus’ warning became personal, “watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.” These things weren’t supposed to happen to them, only their enemies. Was the Good News they were going to preach a part of the birth pains? Was the Good News the beginning of the birth pains? The disciples looked at one another hoping to see signs one of them understood what Jesus was talking about. All of this seemed so new and confusing. They were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority–quite unlike the teachers of religious law. (Mark 1:22 NLTse).

 

The disciples saw little comfort knowing the Holy Spirit would tell them what to say when the time came. They would much rather know what was coming and when. At least they knew they would not face this crisis alone. Jesus told them “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. Everyone wanted to, but they were all afraid to ask Jesus for additional details. Then Jesus told them, “everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

 

The disciples were wondering, the end of what? Jesus told them some strange things and details were getting stranger. Jesus used vague descriptions up to this point. Now it was time to send the disciples back to scripture. Jesus knew the disciples were looking for easy answers He was not going to give them. Did the disciples forget their training already? How was Jesus going to get His disciples to reply on scripture and the Holy Spirit?

 

Once again Jesus used a long pause to show His disciples He was about to explain an important detail. He rose to His feet and walked around, looking at and touching each of His disciples. Each disciple thought Jesus was about to reveal the answer to them, but Jesus passed by each one of them. Walking a short distance, Jesus turned and said, “The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be. Then those in Judea must flee to the hills.”

 

Jesus knew the key word, desecration, pointed the disciples to Daniel which contained a number of texts adding more detail. Jesus already told them about wars. Their questions began with the temple, the only detail Jesus needed to add was the sacrilegious object that causes desecration. Finding the proper texts in Daniel showed how Jesus understood this prophecy. It pointed back to everything He was trying to teach them, the prophecies they saw fulfilled that week, and of course continued efforts by the enemy using the same deceptions over and over again.

 

Jesus wanted the disciples to look beyond questions to the answers. Knowing the sacrilegious object causing desecration stands in the temple made the prophecy easier to understand, and pointed to another vision describing the role of the temple, especially the continued and ultimate misuse. Of course the prophecies Daniel was given provided only a portion of the answer. Ezekiel was given additional details.

 

This is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple. You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary–people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary. “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: No foreigners, including those who live among the people of Israel, will enter my sanctuary if they have not been circumcised and have not surrendered themselves to the LORD. (Ezekiel 43:12, 44:7-9 NLTse)

 

Ezekiel made it clear anyone standing in the temple with no heart for God has not surrendered themselves to the Lord. They have defiled His sanctuary. Ezekiel used the symbol of an uncircumcised foreigner to represent the desecration standing in the temple. They are uncircumcised in the heart. Ezekiel describes this symbol as having no heart for God. They are foreigners in God’s eyes. This is why Jesus pointed to birth pains, destruction of the stone temple, and the Good News preached to all nations. Jesus was preparing them for the end of the organized religion they knew and the rebirth of worship established in Eden.

Posted in Gospel Messages Mark | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Matthew 24:15-22: Desecration standing in the Holy Place

Posted by adventbiblestudy on July 27, 2012


Matthew 24:15-22 “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about–the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (16) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. (17) A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. (18) A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. (19) How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. (20) And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. (21) For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. (22) In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.

 

The disciples asked Jesus, “What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” They still clung to the popular interpretations taught by the religious leaders. Jesus addressed their question in a series of answers designed to give them a critical view of the subject. Jesus knew why they asked the question. Their minds were focused on one sentence Jesus said that day. “Therefore, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law.” The disciples had determined they were the prophets Jesus spoke of. In their minds they formulated a plan. If they could correct the religious leaders, they could unit them under the leadership of the disciples. This seemed to be the best way to continue their ministry. The more they thought of their plans, the more they were convinced it would be a success.

 

The first phase of their plan was to learn the truth about the return of the Messiah. Using this information the disciples planned on uniting all of the religious factions. Once the country was united, God could initiate His plan to free Israel.

 

John could see Jesus was not giving them a direct answer. He kept going over text after text to understand Jesus’ answers, but found it difficult to formulate a clear answer. Finally John decided to review what Jesus had taught during the day. One phrase rang in his ears over and over again. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites!” Was Jesus telling them not to become like them?

 

As the night wore on a cool breeze blew from the west. The disciples knew sleep would come easily. They looked forward to reviewing all the details of the day as they prayed before falling asleep. Jesus was not done yet. He continued with an answer sure to draw their attention. “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about–the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.”

 

This renewed their interest. Now Jesus was getting close to answering their question. John knew the time appointed prophecies well. “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.” (Daniel 9:26-27)

 

As John tried to calculate sixty-two sets of seven in his head, he missed the portion Jesus was hoping all of them would contemplate, “the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing.” John ignored the obvious in front of him. Instead he allowed his mind to jump to the next passage he remembered. “For warships from western coastlands will scare him off, and he will withdraw and return home. But he will vent his anger against the people of the holy covenant and reward those who forsake the covenant. “His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration. He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him. (Daniel 11:30-32)

 

John’s mind was drifting from calculating dates to trying to understand the military connection between the two passages. This seemed to be the key. He knew this is the portion the religious leaders focued on. If he could unlock the mystery… Suddenly his mind went back to the time prophecy as he remembered a third passage. “From the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object that causes desecration is set up to be worshiped, there will be 1,290 days.” (Daniel 12:11)

 

John was convinced the key was somewhere in the numbers and the military force mentioned in the prophecies. But when and who?

 

His brother James was thinking of the same texts from Daniel. He focused on the point Jesus mentioned, “about–the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” As he thought about the Sanctuary, he began to recall details from Ezekiel. He had long wondered what message Ezekiel gave to Israel. The description of the figures, wheels, and the Temple seemed most confusing. Looking for an answer to the desecration standing in the Holy Place brought to mind two specific texts

 

Ezekiel 43:10-12 “Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, (11) and they will be ashamed of what they have done. Describe to them all the specifications of the Temple–including its entrances and exits–and everything else about it. Tell them about its decrees and laws. Write down all these specifications and decrees as they watch so they will be sure to remember and follow them. (12) And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple.

Ezekiel 44:6-9 And give these rebels, the people of Israel, this message from the Sovereign LORD: O people of Israel, enough of your detestable sins! (7) You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary–people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. (8) Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary. (9) “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: No foreigners, including those who live among the people of Israel, will enter my sanctuary if they have not been circumcised and have not surrendered themselves to the LORD.

 

James could see the entire message had to be studied in its entirety to understand. Another item to put on his list to study. He also knew he wanted to study the connection between Daniel and an explanation offered in Ezekiel. Daniel mentioned a commander taking over the temple and installing the desecration. Does Ezekiel offer an explanation? “You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary–people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple.” Were foreigners the answer? As James considered the possible link, he remembered to look past the physical and consider the texts from a spiritual view. He suddenly noticed the text also mentioned the people in the temple have no heart for God. The text also goes on to say, “they did not surrender themselves to the LORD.”

 

James saw a vision flash before his eyes. He clearly saw the scene when he stood at the temple gate looking at Jesus teaching on one side of court, the religious leaders gathering at the money tables on the other. At the same time another text from Ezekiel came to mind. “Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money!” (Ezekiel 22:27) The answer was obvious. The people were not desecrating the temple because of their birth place. We are all equal in God’s eyes. Jesus went out of His way too teach this lesson. What was foreign to God was their attitudes, pride, and lack of respect. He began to question if the temple had not already been defiled.

 

Jesus had intentionally paused a long time. The disciples though He was enjoying the cool breeze, and maybe thinking about calling it the end of the day. This had been one of the longest and most fulfilling days the disciples could remember. Jesus knew He had covered a lot of subjects. It was His intent to give them time to consider not only the subject taught around the camp fire, but compare it to the lessons of the day. To attract their attention, Jesus adjusted His position and cleared His throat. “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat.”

 

Jesus knew the disciples would be comparing the warning to flee to the desecration on the Holy Place. In a spiritual sense He was. Jesus knew the moment they understood how people dishonored the temple, they had to make a decision quickly. There was no turning back. Either His disciples would become part of Jesus’ temple, or not.

 

Jesus wanted them to understand the emphasis on making an instant decision. He quickly told them there would be trails, and in a spiritual sense, explained how difficult they may be. “How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.”

 

Once again Jesus hesitated for a minute to give all the disciples an opportunity to compare His warning to other scripture using the illustration of a woman delivery a baby in addition to those explaining the responsibility parents are given. By comparing the end of the year to the last day of the week, Jesus wanted them to know they were playing a major role in the final chapter of earth’s history.

 

As usual, Jesus mixed the warnings with Hope. He promised then a quick end if everyone was willing to do their job. “In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.”

 

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