Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
This month’s article is titled “The Rebuilding of the Temple.” It is a verse by verse exposition by Dr. Ernest L. Martin of the prophecies given to the prophet Haggai from the small book with his name, 3rd from last of the 12 Minor Prophets. You will learn that not everything prophesied in Haggai was fulfilled when the prophecy was originally given by God through Haggai to the people of Judah returning from Babylon. Some prophecies are for the time just future to us.
The Book of Haggai, therefore, gives prophecies not only about the same time as Zechariah and later Malachi, but also about a time far future from their own time, a time in the near future to us. Both the past and the future prophecies deal with the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
There is an erroneous idea held by some people that most if not all prophecies regarding Christ’s return were fulfilled (spiritually if not physically) before 70 AD. In fact I was recently challenged on this matter and was somewhat taken aback because I had not thought through my understanding regarding this issue. This erroneous concept is called “preterism” and it encompasses a range of beliefs from partial to full preterism. This impossible idea developed because many Old Testament prophecies did not take place as expected, and some people concluded that either the prophecies failed (were wrong), or were completely fulfilled in 70 AD but the fulfillment was not recorded. This particularly applies to the fig tree passages of Matthew 24:29–35; Mark 13:28–31; and Luke 21:29–33 that refer to “this generation shall not pass [away].”
The solution to this supposed scriptural difficulty is that many prophecies simply have not yet occurred. Some aspects of the prophecies of Haggai are evidence to that point.
Let me briefly list a few points about unfulfilled prophecies. Babylon was never destroyed as prophesied. It still existed in a diminished condition in Christ’s day. But Babylon will be rebuilt and then destroyed exactly as the Bible predicts and describes. Contrary to the belief of many preterists, the Roman general Titus was not the antichrist. Neither he nor his father, the Emperor Vespasian (who never returned to Jerusalem before its capture) ever committed any abomination of desolation in the Temple. Destruction of the Temple was not what Daniel or Jesus meant by the term abomination. Nor did Titus or Vespasian ever proclaim themselves to be God in any sense that would fulfill the descriptions of Daniel, Jesus, or Paul.
According to Josephus those who desecrated the Temple were truly Jewish rebels themselves, not the pagan Romans. Josephus describes their heinous and blasphemous acts that dishonored God and the Temple, even to committing murder by the altar. Josephus further tells us that Titus gave specific orders not to harm the Temple, but that it caught fire from unknown causes before the Romans had full control over the Temple complex. There is no record of Romans performing any rituals within the Temple before it was destroyed.
Also, the Mount of Olives has not split in two, nor has Christ visibly returned (Zechariah 14:4). God has never yet defended the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:8–9). There has never been a mass conversion by the inhabitants in Jerusalem to acknowledge Him who they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10–14). The list of prophecies yet to be fulfilled could go on and on. No Temple exists at present in Jerusalem. However, as the Book of Haggai shows, along with Zechariah, a Temple must be built in the future — or the prophecies are false and God is not Lord of His creation.
This is germane to the Book of Haggai because the people at that time believed that God failed to keep His promises. As a people they were suffering at a time when they thought that God had promised great blessing. You and I would probably think the same as they did, given the information they had. But as you will read, God did not abandon His people Israel, but everything will be fulfilled according to His timetable, not their timetable, not my timetable, and not your timetable either. This study is an excellent one to keep in mind as you wonder, “what on earth is God doing, that’s not how I would run things!”
After you read this month’s article, I want to encourage everyone to read again the March 2008 article “Gentile Nations and Israel” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p080301.htm, which covers prophecies that inform, and are informed by, this month’s article about the prophecies in the Book of Haggai. You will greatly increase your insights into future events by reading these two articles together and closely. Study them along with your Bible open.
New Byte Shows have been completed with GeorgeAnn Hughes and they are listed at my Byte Show webpage: http://www.thebyteshow.com/DavidSielaff.html. One show in particular that I want to inform you about was the one where GeorgeAnn let me participate in introducing Professor George Wesley Buchanan to her Byte Show audience. Professor Buchanan and I did a Byte Show titled “The True Temple Site,” where Professor Buchanan presented his biblical evidence about the true site of the Jerusalem Temple above and west of the Gihon Springs, and I presented Dr. Ernest L. Martin’s historical and biblical research. Both Professor Buchanan and Dr. Martin came to the same conclusion about the same time because the historical and biblical facts demand that the Temples were never on the Haram esh-Sharif, the traditional but wrong site. You will find that show very interesting along with other recent Byte Show presentations.
I was reminded recently about the passage in Acts chapter 8 where the evangelist Philip encountered the Ethiopian eunuch:
“And Philip ran thither to [toward] him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias [Isaiah], and said, ‘Understand you what you read?’ And he said, ‘How can I, except some man should guide me?’ And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”
They talked, Philip explained his experiences of the risen Christ and how it completed the prophecies in Isaiah. The Ethiopian eunuch, an unclean and mutilated Gentile was baptized.
This passage reminded me that like the eunuch asked, others are asking for help. The purpose of ASK is to provide that help and guide you, to increase the understanding of what you read in your Bible, and not just in Isaiah, but in the all the Holy Scriptures.
I wish we could share the many sincere expressions of appreciation for the work of Dr. Ernest Martin that has become so valuable to so many around the world. We are honored to continue his work, just as we are in awe of God as He works to help you to grow in grace and in knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). Hopefully, we can count ourselves as being a part of that growth. We seek to guide you through Scripture as we learn together. The apostle Paul was writing about each of us when he wrote:
"For we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them."
We hope ASK merits your financial support in these times of trouble. We are zealous for your prayers and your various means of encouragement that buoy our spirits and help us gauge how we are doing in our various modes of presentation. May God bless you richly, as we thank you warmly.
David W. Sielaff
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