Fred Coulter - October 12, 2003

pdficon small - PDF | Audio | [Up]

Track 1 or Download

And greetings, brethren. This is day two of the Feast of Tabernacles – 2003. And let’s just pick up right where we left off yesterday. And remember the theme is “The Beginning and the Ending”. Now we’re going to see through the Bible there are many different beginnings and many different endings having to do with different people and Israel, and Judah, and so forth. So let’s take a look at this and let’s see how they began going into the Promised Land.

Now we know how they began when they left Egypt. And what happened there, and the ending was that they had to wander for forty years. And the children of Israel, all that were over twenty, died in the wilderness as it says there in the book of Hebrews, and their carcasses were strewn in the desert because of their rebellion against God. So we come to the book of Joshua and let’s see how God told Joshua that it was going to be. This is the beginning of going into the Promised Land.

Now Joshua, you remember, was the one who took over from Moses, and he was the one that God appointed to do it. And so here’s what God told Joshua to encourage him. And He said… Let’s just begin right here in Joshua 1:5. “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” And that is an important thing to remember because it is so easy for people to start drifting away from God because they think that somehow God has forsaken them, or somehow God has failed them. But that is not the case. God will let us go through trials. God will let us go through tribulations to test us, to prove us, to know what’s in our heart. And that’s why when you read Deuteronomy 8 He said that that’s why He allowed them to hunger, to thirst, to wander through the desert – to test them, to prove them, to know what was in their heart. And so we’re going to see every time God begins something this is the way that He starts it. And we will see how it ended, and what happened to the children of Israel, and what happened to the children of Judah.

“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.” As we saw - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee:…” (vs. 6-7). Now this is an important thing. Most people don’t even realize it. He didn’t say, “Be courageous and go fight against the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, etc., the Jebusites.” No, He said, “You be strong and courageous because it’s more important for you to do what I command you.” And that takes more courage than fighting. And that takes more courage than anything else. Now you can even see that in yourself and the world today. And you can see that in people around you. Many people are courageous to do different things. But to be courageous to follow God, to love God, now that’s another whole story.

Now He says, “…turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. [And] This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth;…” It’s going to be part of your heart, part of your mind, part of the way that you run your life so that you can have wisdom, and judgment, and understanding, so you can serve the people. “…Then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (vs. 7-8). Now here’s a key. Success comes from loving and obeying God. Success comes from God’s blessing. Not just the physical things and positive thinking that people can do. While that in a measure will help carnal people in the world to a certain degree. Here is the true substance of success and the true substance of courage.

Verse 9, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [will be] is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” And so the children of Israel started conquering with a high hand. They went into the land. Jericho fell. And then someone got a little greedy, didn’t they? And they went to the city of Ai. And because someone took some of the things from the city of Jericho then God was not with them, because you see the people didn’t obey God. And so the enemy was able to defeat them. And they cried and moaned and groaned and said, “Oh what’s happening? Where is God? Why isn’t He with us?” And God told Joshua, you know, “Don’t come and moan and groan to Me. You get the priest and you go find out what this was that happened.” And so they found one of those from the tribe of Judah that had taken the wedge of gold, which God said all of that was to be dedicated to Him. And after that then they began to have more success. They drove them out of the land. They finally with all the battles and everything, they were able to conquer the land, and they had rest, and they had peace. And just as God told Joshua that He would be with them all the days of his life. So that’s how it started out.

Now then we go through the cycle. Just like it was when they came to Mt. Sinai, the children of Israel didn’t want to hear the voice of God. So they said, “Ok, we’ll listen to a voice of man. Moses if you speak, we’ll obey.” Well likewise here, you see, after Joshua was gone, and after the elders after him died out, then the children of Israel again began to go against God’s way. And so all the way through this…let’s just read it here…Judges 2:10. For the reason that we’re kind of doing an overview and a survey here, is so we can look at the beginning and then we can look at the ending. And we can also look at the revival, and we can look at the fall. And we can see that within the beginning and ending of a major thing there are many little beginnings and endings and ups and downs and cycles that the children of Israel went through, and all you have to do is read the whole book of Judges and you’ll understand that’s what they did, time and time again. So one of the lessons we need to learn is this: will human nature ever learn? And the answer is: without the Holy Spirit it becomes nye on to impossible. Because there’s a way that seems right to God, which is the way that He gives to us through His commandments, through His righteousness, through His truth. However the way that seems right to a man is different than God’s way. And it seems right, and it seems good, and it seems attractive. And it does something that satisfies human nature, which is this: human nature likes to come along and say, “God, let me do this. Now I want to do something for you.” Or, “God, I think You’re a little harsh on those other gods out there. After all these are nice people. How could it be so bad since these people are so nice?” Or whatever the reason may be.

Now notice what happened. It says, “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers:…” Now, there’s a generational change. Now we’ve experienced a generational change in the church, haven’t we? And what did the church do in this generational change? So you can look back and you can look at the beginning of what we understand the Church of God in our time to be, and you can look at the end of what happened to that Church of God. When there was a generational change the same thing happened to the church as it did to the children of Israel.

Notice, “…and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD,…” Which means they didn’t keep His laws, they didn’t know God’s way. That which happened in Egypt was old history, “And we’ve heard them tell that story over, and over, and over again. Let’s have something new.” And of course all the Canaanites were there to say, “Yea, we’ve got something new for you.” So let’s see what happened. And they didn’t know “…the works which He had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:…” (Judges 2:10-11). But to them that seemed like a right and proper thing to do, because there’s a way that seems right to a man but the ends thereof are the ways of death. So there again you have the beginning and the ending. So here we have the beginning of forsaking God and we will see what followed over and over again.

“And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger” (vs. 12-13). Now you see God is stuck because He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would be with the children, that He would give them the land, that He would watch over them. But He also promised this: when you go back and read Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26, He also promised that if they didn’t obey there would be punishments, there would be curses, and so forth. And so here we have these little mini beginning and endings all the way through the history of Israel. “And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtoreth.” Just like saying going back to Sunday worship. Going back to the, as we would say the Catholic Church today, which is nothing but an extension of that because Baal is Nimrod, and Ashtoreth is Semiramis.

“And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and He sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies” (vs. 14). You see, it’s not how strong you are, it’s not how mighty you are, it’s not how much courage you may think you have, but if you don’t have the courage to love God and obey Him there is no way you’re going to defeat the enemy. Now we can learn a parallel from that in our spiritual lives too, can’t we? Yes. If we don’t love God, if we don’t serve Him, and if we’re constantly going to God and complaining, and we’re constantly going to God thinking that we can add something on better, which is going to help God we’re going to end up in the same way that the children of Israel did. See because they figured that in doing this that they could also be serving God. Just like we have today in the ecumenical movement. Human nature is no different. Satan the devil is no different. It’s just a matter of which part of the cycle that we happen to be in, or see, or observe. And remember, how many were faithful to the end? Moses and Joshua. Not even Aaron. He was hardly even faithful in the beginning. So there are a lot of lessons we can learn here. And these are things that we can project over, and when we understand what we’re going to be doing in the kingdom of God this will help us deal with human nature. And this is why God has called you to help Him rule the world. So it’s important that we understand these things.

So He sold them off into the hands of the enemy and guess what? They cried and boo-hoo’d and God had mercy. They came back, repented. God gave them a judge, a righteous judge to tell them do this, do that, do the other thing, and they did. And then as soon as that judge died - you can read the whole thing in the book of Judges – as soon as that judge died, guess what? They went right back to worshiping Baal and Ashtoreth. So here is the conclusion of it. Let’s come to the last verse of the book of Judges. Judges 21:25, and we will see that again because God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… Now let’s understand this: that God had bound Himself in covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the obedience of the children of Israel then, did not mean that God was going to completely forsake them and give up on them, but as He promised in the covenant that He made with them, if they disobeyed then they would have to go through the things that we’ve just covered here.

Now here comes the beginning of the next step. Let’s read it, Judges 21:25. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Now a little later we’ll talk about the king of Israel, and we’ll see what it was that the children of Israel wanted with a king, and how that God went along with it. Now sometimes when we ask for something and we complain and moan and groan and gripe, God will give it to us. Now sometimes He will give it to us to teach us a lesson. And that’s exactly what He did with the children of Israel.

Well, needless to say… Let’s come over here to 1 Samuel, just a few pages over from there. And you know the story about Samuel, how Samuel was born, and he was taken to the house of God and he was dedicated because that was the vow that Hanna had promised – that if she would have a son, be able to have children, then she would dedicate him to the Lord. So that’s how Samuel came to be at the temple. And he was probably dedicated to the temple at two or three years old, whenever he was weaned. And then here we have a dovetailing of an ending and another beginning. We have in 1 Samuel, we have the ending of Eli and his two sons as being high priests, and the beginning of Samuel being the high priest and leader of Israel.

Now, let’s understand something very important concerning what God will do even to those things that He said are sacred and holy to Him. Now you know the account. God revealed to Samuel to tell Eli what was going to happen to him. This is the third chapter. We’re not going to go…we’re just doing an overview of this and come to certain key important things that we need to do.

Ok, let’s continue on here. So again there was war. Now it’s interesting. I want you to think of some of the parallels that we are looking at today. So there was war between Israel and the Canaanites, the Philistines. And so, because God said He would be with them, He would fight with them, but the priests had to take the ark and go before the army, and God would deliver them. Well, because of the sins of Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas, when they took the ark and they went out to do that, they lost. Worse yet, the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant. Phinehas and Hophni were killed in battle. A messenger ran back and told Eli, and he fell back, hit his head on a stone and died, and fulfilled the prophecy of Samuel that they would die in one day. Let’s stop and think about it – if the people are not right with God and if the priest, or we can say today, the ministers are not right with God He’s going to take away even that which is thought of as being the most holy thing. Because God is interested in the heart, He’s interested in the mind, He’s interested in that you love Him and obey Him.

So Samuel was a good priest. Samuel was a good judge. Now all through his life the children of Israel followed God. Now as we come to the ending of his life, we saw how it began, now let’s see another ending and another beginning. As a matter of fact, another phase. So let’s begin here in 1 Samuel 8, and let’s see what happened. And let’s again see how the people reacted.

Now let’s pick it up here in verse 1. “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.” Now that was a mistake because his sons were not fit. Now we also have to understand here that his sons also made their own choices. And I think he probably figured, “Well, you know, maybe if I put them in here they’ll do good.” But they didn’t. Verse 3, “And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” (1 Sam. 8:1, 3). So now again we have corruption.

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him,…” (vs. 4). “Now look, you’re old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (vs. 5, paraphrased). Now again, they wanted to have someone between them and God, and let God be further removed. Now they didn’t look at it that way. They looked at it, “Well, we’re solving this problem because Samuel’s sons are the way that they are.” “But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us” (vs. 6). So be careful what you ask. That’s the moral of the story. Because if you ask and you get your will, and it’s not God’s will it’s not going to work out right and there may be some things which come along as little burdensome penalties. Well, as we’re going to see they had a burdensome penalty here.

“And the LORD said unto Samuel [after he prayed to Him], Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (vs. 7). Now we’re going to see how does God solve this problem, because this is a very important thing. You have judges – they still sin. Now you have a king, and we’re going to find out that they sin. And just exactly as some of the judges sinned so did the king sin. So let’s see how this began. So we have the new era. He said, “Ok, go ahead and do it.” He said, “But I’m going to tell you something. He’s going to take your sons, and take your daughters, and going to take your horses, and your mules, and he’s going to also take another tenth. So if you want this I’m going to give it to you, but here is the burden you’re going to bear.” And they said, “Well, that’s good. We’ll take that.” And so they selected a king. And the king was Saul. And you know the story there. And you know what happened there. Let’s take a look at it. So we find that they had an ordination ceremony, and anointing of Saul as king.

Now let’s come to 1 Samuel 10:17. We’re going to see that God kept warning the people, kept warning the people. “And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; and said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: and ye have this day rejected your God,…” Now that’s something, isn’t it? That even though they rejected God, we’re going to see God said, “Alright, I’ll still work with you provided that…” And we’ll see what He says. “…Rejected your God, who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto Him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands” (1 Sam. 10:17-19). So that’s when they went ahead and installed Saul as king.

Now let’s come over here to chapter 12 and let’s pick it up here in verse 1. “And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day” (1 Sam. 12:1-2). And so here we have an ending, we have a beginning. Let’s see what happened. Now here’s the condition. Even though…let’s come over here to verse 13…even though they had a king God said “Alright…” “Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you. If ye will fear the LORD, and serve Him, and obey His voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: but if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers” (vs. 13-15).

So he said again. Let’s come over here to verse 20. Now you see the pattern that we’re following all the way through. “And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; and turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the LORD will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you His people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king” (vs. 20-25). And we might add, “and the temple of God”. Because remember, God wanted the tabernacle to be built so He could dwell with them. And every time God wanted to dwell with His people they always said, “No, give us a little breathing room, God. Put a man here and let him tell us. Ok, so now put a king here and let him lead us.” And God said, “Alright, I’ll do that, but I still want you to love Me, and obey Me, and keep My commandments.”

Now then, you know what happened to Saul. Isn’t it amazing? Isn’t it amazing? You look at the whole cycle of everything, see how Saul started out. When he was little in his own eyes he was fine. Now then here we have again, human judgment. God told Saul, “You take the people, and you go down, and I want you to punish Amalek because I remember what he did when you came out of Egypt.” He said, “You go down and utterly destroy (1 Samuel 15) all that they have and spare them not – but slay man and woman, infant and suckling, ox, sheep, camel, and ass.” Well you know what happened there. They went on down and they started doing the killing and they thought, “Well now, boy, look at all these fine cattle, and all these sheep.” And everything like that. “Surely God would not want us to kill those. Why we can take those and we can offer them to God. Now that will make it right.” Well no, that wasn’t so.

Now here’s a good lesson. Here’s a good lesson. Let’s come over here to verse 19. Here’s what Samuel said to Saul. 1 Samuel 15:19, “Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?” Now they thought they were doing right. Of course again, they had their way of doing it separate from God’s way. Saul said, “Oh I’ve kept the commandment of the LORD, with a few modifications. Because the people, they wanted to have the cattle. They wanted to do this.” And so forth. And then lo and behold, now we’ve got Agag too. And God was the one Who said, “Kill everybody.” Because of what they did, that was God’s judgment. So they didn’t do it.

“Why have you done this?” Verse 20. “And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD,…” Now how many people out there, who have their own way, are still thinking, “Well, I’m obeying God.” “…And have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people…” Always got to blame someone else, don’t you? “But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God…” (vs. 20-21). You know, it’s just like some people saying, “Well, if I can’t get the Sabbath off, I’ll go ahead and work on the Sabbath and I’ll give to God what I make on that day.” Does God need that? No. He wants you to keep the Sabbath. But you see the same reasoning here.

Now verse 22, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?” Now how many times have we read, just in these two days, “Obey the voice of the LORD”? That’s what God wants. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,…” God doesn’t need those animals. God doesn’t need the sacrifice. “…And to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king” (vs. 22-23). And so, you know the ending of what happened to Saul. He had a worldly repentance. He says, “Oh, I’ve sinned, but oh please, will you come and worship with me publicly so the people won’t think bad of me?” So finally Samuel consented and did so. A little political gesture, as it were. And then aged Samuel had to finish the work that Saul was supposed to do. And he got his sword and had to hack up the king of the Amalekites, Agag.

And so then from that point God said that’s going to be the end of Saul. But it didn’t happen right away. It took a period of time. But in the mean while God says, “I’m going to select Me a king. Someone after My own heart.” So the next thing He did, He sent Samuel over to Jesse’s house and said, “Well, out of his sons, I’m going to select a king.” And that happened to be the one who was not there – David, out watching the sheep. God selected him at a young age. David started out great. David was doing marvelously. David, perhaps of all the kings of Israel, was the most obedient of all with the exception of, as God says, the affair with Uriah the Hittite and Bathsheba. So God blessed David. He fought against the Philistines. He fought against the Canaanites. Then he had his other sin – numbering Israel. When he numbered Israel he didn’t listen. And Joab told him, “No, you don’t need to number Israel.” He said, “You go do it anyway.” But he stopped numbering Israel and then God had to punish him. God had to intervene.

And so that’s how the place where the temple would be located came about. So then David sent to Kirjath-jearim to get the ark of the covenant, and he brought it into his own house. And there he had a little tent, and there he would worship God, compose his psalms and sing them to God. And then he decided he wanted to build a house for God. Now here again, here again, he wanted to do a work for God. And it seemed good, it seemed right. Now what a marvelous thing – David sitting there, you know, strumming on his instrument of ten strings, and being inspired to write the psalms and sing them and be able to see God in the sanctuary there where the ark of the covenant was – at least the Shekhinah or the presence of God. He said, “Oh, I’d like to build a house for God.”

Now let’s come here to 2 Samuel 7, and let’s see – whenever you have some good intentions, and even if God let’s you do it, is it the right thing? We can answer the question: only if you obey the voice of God. So God sent Nathan. 2 Samuel 7:1, “And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; that the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.” Just a little…, you know, how can God be honored with this so humble thing? It’s just cloth. Let’s do something greater. “And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,…” (2 Sam. 7:1-4). And we’ll paraphrase it. You can read it. “Go and tell My servant David, that I’m going to build a house for him. But I will let his son build a house for Me, which will be the temple of God. But not him because he was a bloody man.” So you would think, you would think that after God had given the plans, which He did to David for the temple, everything to do in the temple. You would think, “My, what a fantastic and tremendous thing that this is.” And how much that this would help the children of Israel. It would give them a central place of worship. Now they have a king to govern them. Now there’s going to be a temple where God will place His name, and He will dwell there at the temple, and it will be beautiful, and it will be magnificent, and it will be something that all the people can look to and see, and surely they will all love God. And surely they will obey Him.

So now we have Solomon starting out. And he started out…let’s come here to 1 Chronicles, the last part of 1 Chronicles. 1 Chronicles 28, and let’s see the instructions that David gave to Solomon. So here we again have an ending, and we have a beginning. And the moral of the story is: it’s not how you begin, but it’s how you end. So let’s see what happens.

1 Chronicles 28:8, “Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek…” Now notice again, every time there is a new beginning it starts out almost the same way, doesn’t it? Obey the voice of the LORD. Keep and seek. Be diligent. That’s what David is telling Solomon. “…Keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind:…” Now there’s a great lesson for us here. How can we do the work of God in our lives today unless we’re doing this too? “…For the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts:…” Now again, here’s this little word “…if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever.” Now we’ll see what happens to Solomon. “Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, an do it” (1 Chron. 28:8-10).

Now just come over here a couple of other verses and let’s see how similar this is to the instructions that God gave Joshua when they first came into the land. Now verse 19, “All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing [that is, all the plans so that you can use the silver, you can use the gold, you can use the iron, you know, and here’s how to make it.] …even all the works of this pattern.” So he had the plans. I guess, rolled up in a scroll, and here’s how to do it. “And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD” (vs. 19-20). And so that’s what happened. He finished it. He did it. It was a magnificent project. And they had a great dedication.

Now let’s come over here to 2 Chronicles 5 and let’s see what they had with the dedication. Now here Solomon started out wisdom, blessing, understanding, he was humble. He said, “Oh God…”, after God appeared to him in a dream and vision, and said “What do you want Solomon? Anything you want I will give you.” He said, “Give me an understanding heart that I may judge your people.” And He said, “Because you have asked for that, you have wisdom, you have understanding, and because you didn’t ask for wealth I’m going to give you that in abundance also.” So he started out great. Built the temple. That was finished. Then they had the dedication ceremony. And all Israel then would know that it was God Who put His presence into this temple.

Let’s come here to 2 Chronicles 5:11. And here’s what happened. “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: also the Levites which were the singers, all of them [so it lists all of them and their brethren]…arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)…” And this happened on the Feast of Trumpets. “It came to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one [a great and fantastic dedication to God], to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD:…” Just like we saw yesterday when God put His presence in the tabernacle, likewise He repeats it here. And it was so much, “…so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God” (2 Chron. 5:11-14).

So here you have a great a great beginning, don’t you? Solomon is a good king, an wise king, a rich king, and God blessed them. And we’ll see how much God blessed them, and we’ll see what God gave them, and then we will see what was the ending.

Part 2

Now let’s continue on with Solomon. Again, I want to repeat – the beginning and the ending, and it’s not how you begin, it’s how you end. That’s the important lesson that we’re going to learn here, you see. And not only that, we will see that that applies not only in our lives, in the lives of people, in the lives of nations, but also in the life of the church. And we are going to see that here Solomon had everything. Now just like today people think, “Boy, if I had the perfect job, and I made “x” amount of dollars, and I lived in this kind of house, and I had this kind of car, and I had all of these things – I’d be happy. I’d be obedient. I’d love God.” Would you? Did Solomon? Did Israel? No. Let’s see what happened.

Well, after he built the temple and his house, here came the queen of Sheba one of many ambassadors from all the nations of the world. And please understand this, they had ships that went all around the world. Solomon had everything. He had absolutely everything that he wanted. Plus he had God’s blessing. So what a way to start out. The queen of Sheba was just so absolutely taken back when he showed her everything, and told her everything, she was just amazed.

Well, let’s see what happened here. Let’s see what happened to Solomon. Let’s come down here to 1 Kings 10:18. “Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind [so it had a big round thing behind it]: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays” (1 Kings 10:18-19). So here he was in his throne…you can just see two lions like cherubim right there. Of course, you know, you’ve heard of the lion of the tribe of Judah. That’s Christ so that’s why they had the lions there. And then he had a platform and he had twelve lions – three on each side all around it.

Now let’s come down here to verse 21. You talk about luxury, you talk about wealth, you talk about having everything your heart would desire. “And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.” It says that silver was just kind of like pavement on the street. Well, I tell you, if you put silver out on pavement on streets today it wouldn’t be there in the morning. It would be all stolen away at night.

And then he had this navy, big trading combine going through the whole world. “For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom” (vs. 22-23). Now you would think that the people would be so inspired that God poured out these blessings upon him. You would think that Solomon would be so humble, so grateful for everything that God had given him. Now you see, he never learned the one basic lesson: everything comes from God. And when you forget that everything comes from God and you start going your own way then you’re in deep trouble. So they brought all these things. He was wealthy.

Now then, instead of turning to God and loving God and serving Him, he fell victim to his own vices, and his own excesses. Let’s read it, chapter 11. “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.” Well now, you talk about a big husband/wife problem. Multiply this hundreds and hundreds of times over. “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines:…” And they all had to be pleased. And so what did Solomon do? He pleased them. Got himself in trouble with God. “…And his wives turned away his heart” (1 Kings 11:1-3). Now the thing that is so profound here is this: we do not have an account that Solomon repented. Now we can’t make a judgment on what God’s final judgment is going to be. But we’ll have to say that it’s certainly far different than what it’s going to be for David.

“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth…” The same sin that God sent the children of Israel into captivity for, right? “…The goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father” (vs. 4-6). Now we’re living in the same kind of age today, aren’t we? Yes, indeed. How many people are smitten with exactly the same thing, that because of the physical circumstances around them they don’t fully follow God? Yet they think they are doing good. Well, maybe they don’t have all these wives, maybe they’re not given over to these same things here. Granted. But still, nevertheless, if you don’t fully follow God you’re in trouble. So he did evil.

Now verse 7, when he did evil instead of repenting, now he could have repented. He could have put all those wives away but I guess he didn’t want to face the wrath of all these women being angry at him, so then he decided to please them a little more. Instead of pleasing God, Solomon – verse 7, “…built an high place for Chemosh,…” Well after all wasn’t he qualified to build those temples? Did he not build the temple of God? So couldn’t he make nice temples to these gods? And after all, and you have the temple mount over here, then across the valley over to the west – there became the mount of abominations where Solomon built all the temples to all the foreign gods. Now how are you going to have the children of Israel worship and follow God, come to the temple of God, when they come into Jerusalem here’s the king that’s supposed to represent God, and what does he do? He’s built all these temples to these other gods to please his wives. Now how many temples and prayer sanctuaries, and incense offerings were there? Let’s read it.

So he “…built an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.” Yet you have to understand this, that Solomon in his own mind was probably convinced that God would overlook it. Not so. “Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant” (vs. 7-11). So that’s what He did. But for David’s sake He said He wouldn’t do it until he died.

So his son Rehoboam then came in and was the belligerent young man who said, “If you think that my father’s leg was heavy upon you, wait till I lay my little finger upon you.” And so then the split came. Rehoboam kept the tribe of Judah and some of the Levites. Jeroboam, his servant, was given an opportunity. And God sent a prophet to him, Ahijah, and said, “Look, you’re going to have 12 tribes. Now if you will follow God and keep his commandments, I’ll build you a dynasty just like I did for David.” Well, Jeroboam didn’t do that. His start was terrible from the beginning, and his ending was absolutely horrible. And the end result of that was that the children of Israel were sent off into captivity, and God put them away. He retained Judah and Jerusalem for David’s sake. And you can read the history of the kings. There were good kings there were bad kings, there were kings that were righteous, etc. And so all the way through…what you might do in a Bible study, just go ahead and go through and read the history of the kings of Israel and of Judah. There will be some great lessons for you to learn.

So anyway, what happened with it? How did it come out? Well, the children of Israel were sent off into captivity. Later so were the children of Judah. God raised up an enemy. You see, when God is not pleased with His people and they don’t listen to Him, and they don’t obey Him, and they don’t keep His commandments, and they go do their own thing and go after other gods, then God raises up an enemy and He changes sides. So He raised up Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon and he came and he took away the temple. He destroyed the temple, carried off the children of Israel into captivity into Babylon. They were there for seventy years. God said, “After seventy years, I’m going to bring some of you back.” Now let’s see how they began, and then we will see how they ended.

Now let’s come to the book of Haggai. Here are the captives coming out from Babylon. And they are there, they have the high priest Josedech. They have the prophet Haggai, and they have Zerubbabel the governor. Now they didn’t start out too good. Now let’s read that, book of Haggai. There we go, there’s Zechariah. It’s just before the book of Zechariah. Now again, now again, didn’t start out too good. They didn’t learn the lessons they needed to learn while they were in captivity. So they came back and they were actually ignoring God when God had brought them back for the mission to rebuild the temple.

So let’s pick it up Haggai 1:2. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.” “Well, we’ll do it later.” No, God wanted it built now. “Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?” (Hag. 1:2-4). God wants a house built. See, men want to have a temple. God wants to have a house. There’s a difference. We’re going to see that’s very important.

“Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” Now here’s a great lesson for us too. Now in all of these things there are great lessons for us. “Ye have sown much, and bring in little;…” And we could say, “How long have you been in the church, and how much have you done, and now what do you have in the end? Do you have little or much? “…Ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes” (vs. 5-6). Look, they had inflation back then too. And they had inflation because they weren’t serving and obeying God. They were out there saying, “Well look, we can do God’s work later.” Don’t a lot of people do the same thing today? “Oh, I didn’t pray today, I’ll pray tomorrow. Oh, I didn’t study today, I’ll study tomorrow.” And so then tomorrow comes and then, “Oh go, it’s so busy. I just haven’t had time. Oh God, help me. I’m going to bed, I’m tired. I don’t have time to pray and study.” And you’re neglecting the important thing. That’s what they were doing here.

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” Stop and think. And maybe during this Feast of Tabernacles we can all consider our ways. And we can look back and we can think about, “Well, how did I begin? How am I ending?” That’s the question. So He says, “Now I want you to do something. I want you to stop doing your thing, and do what I want you to do.” You “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of Mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house” (vs. 7-9). So I might put here a New Testament quote: “He that has ears to hear, let him hear” because there’s a great lesson in this. To many people are going around doing their own thing, and they are using that which is God’s to accomplish what they want to do, and it’s just the same thing that happens here. They never have enough to give to God.

“Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.” So when you turn against God and you don’t do the things that God wants you to do, what’s going to happen? Everything’s going to go, if I could use the phrase, “to hell in a hand basket”. And it’s gone. So, “Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet,…” So they repented. So they considered their ways and repented. Now a good lesson for us: we consider our ways, we need to repent. “…As the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD. Then spake Haggai the LORD’S messenger in the LORD’S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.” So now since they repented God is with them. “And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,…” (vs. 10-15). So when everybody is doing what God wants and obeying the voice of God, guess what? God sends His Spirit. God stirs them up. Things happen. Things are done. Things are accomplished. Why? Because God’s blessing is upon it. And that’s a very important thing for us to understand. So they came and did it.

Now then, here’s another message. And he says here verse 1. “In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month [that’s the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, right? Yes, it is.], came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory [before I destroyed it because of the sins of the people]? and how do you see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?” It’s just a small little itty-bitty temple that they had there. So He says… Now, now I want you to notice again when they’re starting to do the work of God it’s the same message, isn’t it? You know, the question is: in all the beginnings and all the endings, and all the ups and all the downs, and the in and outs, are we ever going to learn the lesson that what God says, He means? So He says, “Yet now be strong [where have we heard that?], …O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:…” (Hag. 2:1-4). So now they started out great. Now let’s see what happened.

Let’s come to the book of Ezra. Book of Ezra. We need to go back to Ezra and let’s come to Ezra 6 and let’s see what happened here. Now Ezra 6:15, “And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar [now that’s the month before Nisan], which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy,…” (Ezra 6:15-16). That’s a different dedication than what people look to as Hanukkah today. So when you read in John 10 that at the feast of dedication, Jesus came there, I’m inclined to believe it’s the feast of dedication here, which is the authentic one, rather than the feast of dedication under the Maccabee’s. So let’s go on. So what did they do? They offered at the dedication of the house of God. It lists everything. They set the priests, verse 18, by their courses. The children of Israel kept the Passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. Hey, they returned to God, God blessed them, everything was fine. However, however things took a turn for the worse, as we will see here in just a bit.

But let’s come over here to Nehemiah 8 and let’s see what they did. Let’s see that they kept the feast of God, and let’s see that they kept the Feast of Tabernacles also. Let’s pick it up here, Nehemiah 8:1. “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.” So this is the Feast of Trumpets. “And he read therein before the street…” and so forth, “...from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.” They were listening. They were ready to do what God had said. “And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood [and so it was raised up so he could speak to the people], which they made for the purpose;…” (Ne. 8:1-4). And then it lists all the ones who stood with him.

Verse 5, “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” So then they found out that they were to go ahead and keep the feast of booths. Verse 14, “And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:…” (vs. 5-6, 14). That’s the Feast of Tabernacles. That’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re keeping.

Now then let’s understand they had some house-cleaning to do. Yes, they returned to God to keep Trumpets, probably also Atonement. If they kept Trumpets and Tabernacles you know that they also kept the Day of Atonement. Then they had some house-cleaning to do. Then they had to have all those who married the children of the Ammonites, and the Moabites and so forth, all the strange wives – to put them away. And so they did. Some didn’t. The ones who didn’t went up to Samaria and they joined with Manasseh the renegade priest, and they built another temple up there in Samaria, which down even to the time of Christ was that which was in competition with Jerusalem. So from that time coming clear down to the time of Christ.

Now we’re going to go ahead just a little bit further and then we’ll come back and we’ll pick it up again before the fall of the temple. But what I want to do, and what I want to bring out here is a very, very important thing concerning the temple. And concerning building a house for God, because that is so important when we understand what God is building, and where He is dwelling, and how that fits into the Feast of Tabernacles.

Now first of all let’s cover a principle that’s very important. Let’s come back here to the book of Acts. And right at the beginning of the church, they understood this. And this is how Stephen got himself in trouble, so let’s come back here to Acts 7. He was accused of speaking against the temple of God, and against the things of the customs in the temple, so he was hauled up before the Sanhedrin. And he began explaining everything going right down through the history just like we have done here. So let’s come down here and look at it.

Acts 7:47, “But Solomon built Him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,…” So he quotes Isaiah 66. “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool: what house will ye build Me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of My rest? Hath not My had made all these things?” (Acts 7:47-50). And the people of Israel never learned. And the Jews never learned. They trusted in the physical things – “…The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD are these” (Jer. 7:4). And if you speak against the temple, well you’re blaspheming against God, because after all this is God’s temple. Well it’s only God’s temple in as much as they obeyed God. Because the whole history is this: if you don’t love God and obey Him and keep His commandments, He’s going to take that away which you think is holy because you’re trusting in the wrong thing. If you trust in a temple, if you trust in a ritual, if you trust in how beautiful it is and how great it is, you’re not trusting in God.

Now notice what he says here. Notice Stephens witness to the Sanhedrin. “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy [Spirit] Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of Whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it” (vs. 51-53). So just like the children of Israel they didn’t repent. They were angry and took him out and stoned him. And that was the final judgment against them. God now better destroy the temple. So let’s come ahead to 70 AD. Let’s see what happened. Remember how many times does God, when the people forsake Him, He forsakes them and joins the enemy. He did that with the king of Babylon, didn’t He? Yes, He did. And we’re going to see that in the fall of the temple in 70 AD even Titus understood that God was with him and against the Jews.

Now I’m going to read to you what I have written for part of the commentary concerning the fall of the temple, because that was a key and important event in 70 AD.

“In Palestine by the spring of 70 AD the stage was set for the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. [Which Jesus said no stone would be left.] The noted Jewish historian Josephus wrote that during Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread a record number of Jewish pilgrims, who were pious followers of Judaism came from all parts of the Roman Empire to keep the Passover and the feast.”

Now here again, God entraps them in their own thinking. Perhaps they thought that if all these people would come and keep the Passover that surely God would intervene. He would send them aside because they already rejected Jesus Christ, and surely He would deliver us from the hands of the Romans. And they had an understanding of the book of Daniel so they pretty well thought that this would happen. So He caught them in their own delusion and in their own misunderstanding of the scriptures, their own misinterpretations, because they come to the scriptures and they want their own way rather than God’s way. So he recorded, Josephus did, because the Romans let them go in. Hey that’s a good way to trap them. Let them get in the city. So there were 2,700,200 persons who were pure and holy. Now that’s a tremendous number of people when the population of Jerusalem is normally, at that time, was normally about 80,000. Two million, two hundred thousand. And of course the food that they stored in Jerusalem always for about six months – they always had about six months supply of food – obviously with all those people would be gone in nothing flat. So what happened?

“After the multitudes were in the city the Roman army under Titus surrounded Jerusalem and it’s doom was sealed. Soon Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed. Within the city and it’s temple the internal fighting’s between various Jewish factions killed many thousands. In addition, because of the tremendous number of people trapped in the city the food supply was soon exhausted. Coupled with the assaults by the Roman army, tens of thousands died of famine with many resorting to cannibalism. In the streets rotting bodies were heaped high and stacked in the upper rooms of houses. So appalling was the scene that when the Romans enter the city they could hardly believe what they witnessed was true.”

Josephus described this horrifying carnage that they encountered.

“So the Romans being now become the masters of the wall, they both placed their incense upon the towers and made joyful acclamations of victory they had gained as having found the end of this war much lighter than the beginning. For when they had gotten upon the last wall without any blood shed, they could hardly believe what they found to be true. But seeing nobody to oppose them they stood in doubt as to what such an unusual solitude could mean.

When they went in numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without mercy. Set fires to the houses whether the Jews had fled, burned every soul of them and laid waste a great many of the rest. And when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses (that is, of such that died by famine).

Then they stood in horror at this sight and went out without touching anything. But although they had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner, yet they had not the same for those who were still alive. But they ran everyone through with their sword whom they met with and obstructed the lanes with their dead bodies. And the whole city was run down with blood to such a degree indeed, that the fire of many of the houses were quenched by these men’s blood. And truly it so happened that though the slayers left off at evening, yet did the fires greatly prevail in the night and all was burning. [That is, of those other houses.] Hundreds of thousands perished by pestilence, sword, crucifixion, and famine.”

Josephus summarized this awful carnage:

“Now this vast multitude is indeed collected into remote places but the entire nation was now shut up by the fate as in prison. And the Roman armies compassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants accordingly the multitudes of those that were therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either man or God had ever brought upon the world.”

Josephus related the final numbers of casualties and the number of those that were made slaves:

“Now the number of those that were carried captive during the whole war was collected to be 97,000, as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, or that is, 1,100,000. The greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation.” [That is, they were citizens of the Jews.]

Now continuing here:

“After the Romans had gained full control of Jerusalem, Josephus further reported what the Romans did to those who had survived the siege. All who were still alive were herded into the women’s court of the temple and Titus put Fronto [who was one of his lieutenants] in charge of their fate.

So this Fronto slew all those who had been seditious, and robbers, and who were impeached by others. But of the younger men he chose out the tallest and most beautiful and reserved them for the triumphant [that is the triumphant victory march in Rome]. And for the rest of the multitude that were above seventeen years old, he put them in bonds and sent them to Egypt to work in the mines.

Titus also sent a great number into the provinces as a present to them, that they might be destroyed upon their theatres by the sword, and by the wild beast. But those who were under seventeen years of age were sold for slaves.

Now during those days wherein Fronto was distinguishing these men, there perished for want of food, 11,000. Some of whom did not taste any food through their hatred toward their guards, and others did not take it even when it was given to them. The multitude was so very great and they were in want even of corn for their sustenance. When the end finally came the city was razed to the ground.

Now at the end the Romans set fire to the extreme part of the city, and burnt them down and demolished it’s walls. Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder because there remained none of the objects of their fury, for they would not have spared any had there remained any other work to be done, Caesar gave orders that they should demolish the entire city and the temple.”

And the way they got every stone undone was they built fires, poured water on it, the stones were cracked, and then they were able to split open and they had all of the Jewish slaves do the work in tearing down the temple.

“There is no question that such an awesome destruction of the city and the temple which bore the name of God was in fact the execution of His judgment against a rebellious and sinful people. Even Titus realized that God had delivered the city into his hands, and had given him the victory over the Jews.”

Josephus wrote:

“Now when Titus was come into this the upper city, he admired not only some other places of strength in it but particularly those strong towers which the tyrants in their mad conduct had relinquished. For when he saw their solid altitude, the largeness of their several stones, the exactness of their joints, so also how great was their breadth and how extensive their length, he expressed himself in the following manner: ‘We certainly had God for our assistant in this war. And it was none other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications, for what could the hands of men, or any machines do against overthrowing these towers.’

Thus Jerusalem and the second temple were destroyed on Ab 9 and 10 (September 3 and 4), 70 AD, exactly 655 years to the day after the Babylonians destroyed the first temple in 586 BC. True to the prophecies of Jesus Christ, there was not one stone left upon another that was not thrown down. However, Fort Antonia remained under the Roman General Marcus Antonius, named for Marcus Antonius the General, was not destroyed by the Romans for it was Roman property. And after Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, Fort Antonio again became the garrison for the soldiers of occupation.”

And so to this day that mammoth western wall is the foundation of Fort Antonio.

Now, let’s just cover one other thing here. The Jews looked at the seventy years captivity from the destruction of the temple in 586 BC to the return out of Babylon, and they looked at the current destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD by Titus and they said, it’s going to be rebuilt in 70 years. This is why in 135, beginning right about 135, that Rabbi Akiba proclaimed Bar Kockba the messiah and they had the war to deliver Jerusalem out of the hands of the Romans so they could rebuild their temple. And the Jews met a worse and final fate in trying to do that. And I forget what the movie is, but the movie which shows how they conquered the fort of Masada, which was the last thing that the Romans destroyed in God’s punishment to the Jews.

So the lesson is this: it’s not how you begin, it’s how you end. And you have to come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Tabernacles – Day 2–October 12, 2003

Scriptural References

1) Joshua 1:5-9 10) 2 Chronicles 5:11-14
2) Judges 2:10-14 11) 1 Kings 10:18-19, 21-23
3) Judges 21:25 12) 1 Kings 11:1-11
4) 1 Samuel 8:1, 3, 4-7 13) Haggai 1:2-15
5) 1 Samuel 10:17-19 14) Haggai 2:1-4
6) 1 Samuel 12:1-2, 13-15, 20-25 15) Ezra 6:15-16
7) 1 Samuel 15:19-23 16) Nehemiah 8:1-6, 14
8) 2 Samuel 7:1-4 17) Acts 7:47-53
9) 1 Chronicles 28:8-10, 19-20 18) Jeremiah 7:4