Update 185


Our Reward and God's Heavenly Books

On Saturday, March 19, 2005, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Our Reward and God’s Heavenly Books.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Stand Against the Wiles of the Devil!

by Edwin Pope

When Terry Ratzmann entered the rear of the Church hall at a Living Church of God service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, this past Sabbath and began firing his 9mm handgun, unloading 22 rounds from his weapon directed at his Church brethren, the members of the local congregation were stunned and in dismay, as were all members of the Churches of God when they heard of this horrific story. Ratzmann completed his horrifying deed, after having killed seven of his brethren and injuring another four critically, by turning his weapon upon himself and firing his last shot.

There can be no doubt that the true adversary of all of mankind, and especially of God’s Church at this end time, had inspired Ratzmann to carry through with this heinous attack against God’s people. Of course we understand that Satan may well have begun to increase his evil attacks as his time draws short and we approach the end of the time allotted by God for him to carry through with his evil thoughts to destroy all of mankind. In just a few short years now God will restrain Satan’s activities against mankind for 1,000 years and Satan knows this is certain.

Some have asked why God would allow such a thing to happen, especially in the Church. We do know that we are entering that time period when Satan’s evil tactics will increase considerably, compared to what God has allowed him to do in recent years. We are coming down to the end of this present age and God describes the events to befall mankind in great detail in numerous passages throughout His Word relative to Satan’s wrath. We must not lose sight of the fact that Satan is the present ruler over this world (Luke 4:5-7; John 14:30). However, that rulership is coming to an end, and Jesus Christ will soon replace Satan and will sit on the throne of His forefather, David, which has been reserved for His rulership (Luke 1:32-33), and He will rule with power over this world.

In Zechariah 13:8 we are told that after these things come into full force, two-thirds of the people in all the land will have been cut off (destroyed) and that one-third will have had to go through the fire (face severe trials) in order that they might be refined. Zechariah 14:3-4 tells us that in that day the LORD will be going forth to fight and that His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. The second coming of Christ will occur during a time of great turmoil upon the earth, specifics of which are outlined in Revelation 12:9-17.

We, in the meantime, must be preparing our own lives in order to stand in that day. In speaking to the churches in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, it is revealed by Jesus Christ that remnants of four of the Churches of God (Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea) may be extant upon the earth during this eventful time revealed as “the time of the end,” as Christ comes to establish rule upon the earth.

Christ’s admonition to three of the groups (Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia) is to “hold fast” to what they have been given. Two of the groups (Sardis and Laodicea) are admonished to repent. Specific promises are given to those who overcome Satan, the flesh, and this present evil world. Christ notes specifically that some, and specifically those of Laodicea, will have to go through further testing and refinement in order to become ready.

In addition to these prophecies, the Scriptures reveal more information relative to Satan’s end-time wrath which is coming to try the whole world, as is noted by Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:10 and in Matthew chapter 24. When we understand all these prophecies as noted here in this Editorial, we realize we all have much work to do in preparation. And added to this is our obligation to get a warning message out to the world and to reveal the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, which will usher in a time of peace and prosperity upon the earth the likes of which no one on earth today has ever seen.

You and I are admonished to be ready, for as Christ reveals in Matthew 24:36, “…of that day and hour no one knows … not even the angels in heaven, but My Father only.”

We must never become discouraged, dear brethren, as these horrific events unfold before us; but let us draw closer to one another and to our God, never letting down our guard. Let us ask our Father for the strength and courage provided to us through His Spirit, and let us do His Will in all things as these times draw to their conclusion. We must never forget Paul’s admonition to the Ephesian Church of his time and to you and me as members of the end-time Church of God:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

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Continental Europe and England

On Saturday, February 26, 2005, the Daily Mail published an insightful article about the future relationship between continental Europe and England. The rather cumbersome headline read: “Birth Certificate for the United States of Europe — Germany lets the cat out of the bag over what the EU constitution really means.”

The newspaper continued to state:

“The new EU constitution was heralded as the ‘birth certificate of the United States of Europe’ last night… Hans Martin Bury, Germany’s Europe minister, said the constitution was more than just a ‘milestone.’ ‘I think the EU constitution is… the framework for… an ever closer union.’ His remarks contradicted those of Jack Straw, who claimed earlier this month that the constitution would mark an end to the transfer of British sovereignty to Brussels… Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancran said: ‘Once again a European politician [Mr. Bury] has told the truth… The EU constitution would mean the beginning of the end for British independence…’ Neil O’Brian, director of the Vote No campaign, said: ‘…The reality is that the constitution would mean even more power for officials in Brussels who are not elected…'”

The article continued to point out:

“In 2003, German foreign minister Joschka Fischer said it [the EU constitution] was ‘the most important treaty since the formation of the European Economic Community.’ He has referred to a ‘single European state bound by one European constitution.’ Former European Commission president Romano Prodi has spoken of ‘a change of centuries of history.'”

As Bible prophecy reveals, there will arise on the world scene a mighty and powerful United States of Europe. We are seeing its beginning stages developing in front of our very eyes. The Bible also indicates that England will NOT be part of Europe’s final configuration. In this light, England’s resistance to the adoption of the EU constitution is highly remarkable.

Germany a New Leader?

As www.german-foreign-policy.com reported in early March, “the German government would like to break US resistance to Germany’s receiving a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and will offer military compromises in return… Berlin is prepared to make a ‘substantial’ military ‘increase’ and relieve US strain, if Washington is willing to pay the price. To underline this military preparedness, the German Minister of Defense announced (in the wings of the Munich Conference) supplementary overseas deployments of the German military. In repeated allusions to Berlin’s demand for a permanent seat on the Security Council, Schröder and Fischer hinted that NATO ‘is not the principal setting for transatlantic partners to consult and coordinate their strategic intentions.’ The international ‘challenges’ are more of a political nature. Because Germany sees itself as ‘co-responsible for international stability and order’, it must also insist upon having ‘its say’ in political matters. ‘Our aspiration for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council arises from this context of attaining legitimization’, Schröder said on February 22… Washington boycotted German attempts to gain big-power status in the UN Security Council and the attempt to politically enter the league with the USA, Russia and the Peoples Republic of China. Washington is also supported by Italy and Poland, who are suspicious of German endeavors aimed at hegemony.”

Even though the publication seems to be motivated, to an extent, by a desire to propagate anti-German propaganda, it is remarkable that the article correctly points at Germany’s future. As Bible prophecy reveals, Germany will become the most powerful and influential European country in a few years from now.

Europe — a New Military Superpower?

On March 2, 2005, www.timesonline.co.uk published another insightful article, titled, “High-tech weapons help Europe to close military gap with US.” In the article, the following was pointed out: “The European Union is to develop unmanned drones, new armoured vehicles and advanced communication systems in a strategy to become a military superpower and close the defence technology gap with the United States. The programme involves setting up a joint EU fighter-pilot training programme and co-ordinating the testing of military equipment on proving grounds and in wind tunnels. The initiatives from the newly-created European Defence Agency represent the EU’s first step in military research and development. They are aimed at transforming the EU from being solely a political power, in charge of policies such as agriculture and trade, to a military one, capable of sending troops around the world to enforce a foreign policy agreed by its member states.”

Again, we are seeing the beginning of a MILITARY European super power, as clearly prophesied to happen in Scripture.

Europe vs. the USA?

Another remarkable commentary was published on the webpage of www.washingtontimes.com, on March 1, 2005, titled, “Perfect Storm Warning.” The article stated:

“Imagine a world where Russia and the European Union of 25 nations, and Russia and China, and the EU and China, all find more in common with each other than with the United States. Unimaginable, you correctly say. But the seeds of such an anti-U.S. entente were planted in Europe last week.”

The article continued to point out that the USA wants France, Germany and the UK to continue negotiating with Iran, as the USA could not give legitimacy to the Iranian clerics to do so. The Bush administration also stated that it would leave it to Europe to deal with China, and that it would await the outcome of their action, according to the article. The article continued: “On the third front – Russia’s democracy deficit… Democracy, as understood in Washington, is not on Mr. Putin’s agenda. Nor could it be after 1,000 years of authoritarian rule, including 70 years of totalitarian communism.”

The upshot is, of course, that Russia will continue developing a totalitarian regime, as envisioned by Putin. The world will stand by and watch. As prophesied, Europe will at first have economic ties with Russia and China. But ultimately, a seemingly friendly relationship between Europe on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other hand, will become hostile. At the same time, world influence of the United States will steadily decrease.

Lebanon in Uproar

As WorldNetDaily reported on March 14, 2005, “An estimated 800,000 rallied this afternoon in central Beirut in the largest anti-Syrian protest in Lebanon since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and one of the largest protests in recent Middle East history. Crowds from across Lebanon gathered in Martyrs’ Square in central Beirut, a few miles from Hariri’s grave, to demand the immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops [from] the country, the firing of Syrian-backed intelligence forces, and an international inquiry into Hariri’s killing…

“Some were worried the protests could spill over into violence. There have been reports from the opposition that Syrian-backed forces have been shooting in civilian areas to provoke a conflict and precipitate a deteriorating security situation that would require Damascus to delay removal of its nearly 20,000 troops from Lebanon… Political sources told reporters Lebanese authorities were pondering a ban on future demonstrations to be enforced by the country’s army… Today’s rally follows protests yesterday and last week organized by Hezbollah forces in which hundreds of thousands packed into a central Beirut meeting square, chanting support for Syrian troops to maintain positions in Lebanon and denouncing America in what has been called a massive show of strength by pro-Syrian elements.”

In an additional article, The Associated Press stated, on March 14, 2005: “Hundreds of thousands of anti-Syrian demonstrators flooded the capital Monday in the biggest protest ever in Lebanon, surpassing the turnout for an earlier pro-Damascus rally organized by the Islamic militant Hezbollah. In a show of national unity, Sunnis, Druse and Christians packed Martyrs’ Square as brass bands played and balloons soared skyward. The rally, perhaps the biggest anti-government demonstration ever staged in the Arab world, was the opposition’s bid to regain momentum after two serious blows: the reinstatement of the pro-Syrian prime minister and a huge rally last week by the Shiite group Hezbollah…

“As Syria pulls its troops toward the border for an eventual withdrawal from the country it has controlled for decades, both the pro-Syrian government and the opposition have been whipping up crowds in a duel of people-power one-upmanship… The Shiite group has organized large rallies in the past, but its showing last week was a sign of its determination to make sure no future Lebanese government would consider peace with Israel or pressure Hezbollah to disarm… The large Sunni turnout also suggests many in the community were shaken by the size of the Hezbollah rally and wanted to show their own strength. Shiites make up about a third of Lebanon’s population, and Hezbollah is the country’s best armed and best organized faction. Sunnis form the country’s third biggest group after the Shiites and the Christians.”

As can be clearly seen from these reports, the situation in Lebanon is highly explosive. Will the situation be resolved peacefully, or will the powder keg explode, setting the whole region of the Middle East on fire?

Mass Murder in Wisconsin

As The Journal Sentinel and many other publications around the world reported on March 12, 2005, “A man neighbors described as quiet and devout opened fire on a group of men, women and children attending a weekly church service [of the Living Church of God] Saturday at a Brookfield hotel, killing eight people – including himself – and seriously wounding four others.” The shooter was later identified as Terry Ratzmann, 44, who lived with his mother and sister in New Berlin.

Speculations ran and are still running high, as to why Ratzmann committed these horrible crimes. Much has been written in the press. Some assumptions have been made as if they were statements of fact — which are not supported by the evidence, as officially released by governmental investigators. Sadly, some reports have suggested that Ratzmann’s horrific crimes were somehow related to the teachings and practices of his church. Again, there has not been shown any credible connection in this regard, and some of the allegations and rumors have been expressly denied by officials of the Living Church of God. As Edwin Pope points out in this week’s editorial, the real culprit of this terrible atrocity is none other than Satan the devil, the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), whom the Bible also identifies as the “destroyer” (compare Revelation 9:11, referring to Satan as “abaddon” in Hebrew, meaning “destruction,” and “Apollyon” in Greek, meaning “destroyer”), and as a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).

On March 13, 2005, the Living Church of God published a press release, stating: “‘We are also saddened by the loss of Pastor Randy Gregory, his youngest son James, and all those who died. Our thoughts go out to his wife Marjean, who is fighting for her life and is in critical condition at a local hospital, and to her family and all those who were injured; we are praying for their recovery,’ Crockett said.” Crocket is director of business operations and spokesman for the Living Church of God. The press release also pointed out that its “Members believe that they should ‘live peaceably with all men’ (Romans 12:18).”

We are also quoting the following excerpts from a report by Mike Hanisko, Pastor of the United Church of God congregation in Milwaukee, WI:

“As you can well imagine, the events that took place at the Living Church of God services this past Sabbath have shaken the entire community here. The emotional impact on both the LCG [Living Church of God] and UCG [United Church of God] congregations has been devastating… As in many metro areas, most of our UCG members know most of the LCG members and have maintained a good relationship with them. I personally knew all those who were killed except for the shooter. Randy Gregory and I have had several joint counseling sessions with member families where one mate was a UCG member and the other a LCG member… I have spent a good part of the last two days at the hospital where the victims were taken and where many LCG and UCG members have been gathering. Sheldon Monson, who pastors for LCG in the Twin Cities, has also been here, and he and I have been talking with the members and together anointed Matt Kaulbach last night. Church members from both LCG and UCG congregations have been providing food and other help to all the families directly affected by the tragedy… The local community has been very supportive, and as often happens in these kinds of tragedies, a makeshift memorial has sprung up near the hotel where the shootings took place. Many have left flowers, cards and other mementos at that location.”

We are also publishing excerpts from a moving report by Jon Gregory, of March 14, 2005. Jon’s dad, Pastor Randy Gregory, and Jon’s brother, James, were murdered during the shooting, and his mother, Marjean, is in the hospital, in critical condition. Jon writes: “Thank you for your prayers, love, and support. These are very trying times on us all. The most important thing you can do now is pray. Pray for all the victims’ families including mine. To give you an update on my mom, she is making a miraculous recovery…Today, Mr. [Charles] Bryce [Director of Church Administration of the Living Church of God] and Mr. Monson were there to help me tell my mom the news, which she was already somewhat aware that my little brother and Dad had been shot and killed… Keep praying that she has the faith and the strength to get through this. For me, pray that I have the faith and wisdom to get through tough decisions and seemingly insurmountable problems. God will never give us more than we can handle, and my friends and family have helped me through this so much along with the victims’ families who are also dealing with this tragedy.”

Let us keep the families of the deceased and the injured in our minds and prayers. We are listing their names below, as we have received them from various reports:

Killed were:

Randy Gregory, Pastor of the Milwaukee LCG congregation
James Gregory, Randy’s son, age 17
Gerald Miller
Gloria Critari
Bart Oliver, age 15
Harold Diekmeyer
Richard Reeves

Wounded were:

Gloria Critari’s 10 year old granddaughter, Lindsey, who was treated and released.
Marjean Gregory, Randy’s wife who is in critical condition
Angel Baricak, a 20 year old lady. She is in satisfactory condition.
Matthew Kaulbach, 21 years old. Matthew is in satisfactory condition and is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days.

Our prayers and hearts go out to these innocent victims of a Satanically-inspired act. As mentioned, some sensational newspapers and reporters have tried, and will continue to try, to somehow connect this horrendous crime with the teaching of God’s Church, especially in regard to end-time prophecies. Of course, a world cut off from God does not and cannot understand the signs of the times (compare Matthew 16:2-3). But those who do understand (compare Matthew 24:32-35), have a compelling duty to proclaim God’s Word, in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2), “as a witness,” and THEN the end WILL come (Matthew 24:14).

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Will the Jews build a temple in Jerusalem, prior to Christ's return?

When we consider all the Biblical Scriptures related to this topic, it appears very likely that a temple will be built in the near future, prior to Christ’s return.

When Christ was asked by His disciples what the sign of His coming and of the end of the age [of this present civilization] would be (Matthew 24:3), He referred to the “great tribulation” (verse 21) and, at that same time, “‘the abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (verse 15; compare, too, Mark 13:14, adding, “where it ought not”). In Luke 21:20, in the parallel account, Christ is quoted as saying, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.”

From these passages, we see that the abomination of desolation refers to foreign armies which will desolate Jerusalem. But is this ALL that the term, “abomination of desolation” refers to? Christ pointed out that the prophet Daniel spoke about the “abomination of desolation.” He did do so on three occasions — in Daniel 9:27; 11:31 and 12:11. (An additional similar reference can be found in Daniel 8:13). The way those passages are worded, they seem to refer to more than just armies. Daniel 11:31 states that a king of the North shall muster forces, “and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and PLACE THERE the abomination of desolation.” Daniel 12:11 states: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is SET UP…”

These end-time prophecies predict that a future “king of the North” will invade Jerusalem and take away daily sacrifices — indicating that the Jews will, in the future, begin to bring again daily sacrifices in Jerusalem. It is true that the Jews don’t need to have a temple to bring daily sacrifices (compare Ezra 3:6) — but this does not mean that the Jews will NOT build a temple, to bring daily sacrifices there.

Returning to the prophecy in Daniel 11:31, most commentaries agree that particular passage refers to Antiochus Epiphanes, at least as a forerunner for another end-time fulfillment. As The Nelson Study Bible points out, “Antiochus polluted the altar by offering a sow upon it. He declared the daily sacrifices and other Mosaic ceremonies illegal and committed an abomination of desolation by erecting an image of Zeus in the holy place (9:27; 12:11). Jesus said a similar thing would happen just prior to His return (see Matt. 24:15).”

We should take note of the fact that at the time when the first “abomination of desolation” was set up, Antiochus overran Jerusalem with armies; did away with the daily sacrifices, which were brought AT THE TEMPLE; and erected an image of Zeus (or Jupiter) in the “holy place” — the TEMPLE.

Please note the following comments published on June 24, 2004, by the Arutz Sheva National News: “After their conquest and occupation of Judea, the Syrian Greek Hellenists (c. 168 BCE) attempted to ‘break’ the Jews. They set up an idol and began offering pigs to their pagan deity in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. When they began to spread their heresy among the Jews, they started in a small town called Modi’in. They set up an altar in the town square and instigated some weak Jew to offer a pig up as a sacrifice in plain public view. Public acceptance was meant to imply that the Jews were repudiating the Torah and their covenant with the [God] of their fathers. But in a clear example of the ‘Law of Unintended Consequences’, it sparked a national revolt instead, when a priest by the name of Matityahu took a sword, stabbed the turncoat Jew and the Syrian Greek officials, and declared, ‘Whoever is zealous for the Torah and is steadfast in the Covenant, let him follow me.’ The revolt spread, and ultimately was successful, leading to a liberation of the Judean homeland from occupation. The Jews cleaned-up the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and re-lit the menorah. And Hanukah is celebrated until this day, throughout the Jewish world, as a holiday of the liberation of the Jews and Judaism from pagan culture.”

Since the original abomination, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, involved the existence of the temple, it is reasonable to conclude that the final abomination of desolation will likewise involve an existing temple. Other Biblical passages confirm this conclusion:

We read in Revelation 11:1-2 that an angel of God tells John: “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months [or 3 1/2 years].” Some rightly point out that the term “temple” or “temple of God” in the New Testament can refer to God’s Church [compare Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17]. They claim that the reference in Revelation 11:1-2 speaks exclusively to the Church. Although the Church might be included here, the more obvious and intended meaning is a reference to a literal temple in Jerusalem. After all, the Gentiles will tread the holy city (!) underfoot for 3 1/2 years, and the court which is outside the temple will be given to those Gentiles. It is difficult to see how all these references could just exclusively refer to the Church.

The Nelson Study Bible comments: “John is given a reed like a measuring rod, much like that used by Ezekiel (see Ezek. 40: 3, 5) in his vision of the measuring of the temple (see Ezek. 40-48)… This is the temple of the tribulation period that will eventually be desecrated (see 13:14, 15; Dan. 9:27; Luke 21:24; 2 Thess. 2:4)… Luke 21:24 prophesies that the Gentiles will tread the holy city underfoot until ‘the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’ Apparently the period of forty-two months is the conclusion of ‘the times of the Gentiles.’ ‘Gentile’ here may also be translated ‘nations’ (v. 9; 10:11).”

Another Scripture, indicating the existence of a future temple in Jerusalem, just prior to Christ’s return, can be found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. Paul writes:

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [of Christ’s return] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

This “man of sin,” who is also called “the lawless one” in verses 8 and 9, is identified in the book of Revelation as “the false prophet” (compare, for example, Revelation 16:13; 19:20; see, too, Revelation 13:13-14). This religious figure will deceive people through “great signs” (Revelation 13:13; 19:20). We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 that the coming of the lawless one is “according to the working of Satan, with all power, SIGNS and lying wonders.” This false prophet will receive his powers to perform great signs from Satan and his demons (compare Revelation 16:13-14).

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following about the man of sin, in the Plain Truth of June 1967:

“This European power, resurrecting for a VERY short while the Roman Empire, will take over the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2.) They will take the Temple, and plant the palace of their headquarters there. With this coming military leader, pictured in Revelation 17 as the symbolic ‘beast,’ will be a supreme religious leader, called ‘the False Prophet,’ [Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10] and the ‘man of sin.’ So will you turn next to II Thessalonians 2:3-4: ‘Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day’ — the Day of the Lord, verse 2 — ‘shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and THAT MAN OF SIN be revealed, the SON OF PERDITION; who 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, showing himself that he is God.’ So there will have to be the Temple there!”

The Ryrie Study Bible comments:

“… the Antichrist [this is an incorrect designation — rather, the passage speaks about the false prophet] will desecrate the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem by placing himself there to be worshipped… This will be the climax of man’s great sin of self-deification, in open defiance of God.”

The Nelson Study Bible adds:

“The man of sin will proclaim himself to be divine and will sit in the temple of God, acting as if he were a god… The man of sin will probably stand in a physical temple in Jerusalem, and declare himself to be a god, the ultimate fulfillment of the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 7:23; 9:26, 27; 11:31, 36, 37; 12:11) and Jesus (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14). These prophecies may have been partially fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes erected a pagan altar to Zeus in the temple of Jerusalem in 167 B.C. (175-164 B.C.), or when Titus destroyed the temple in A.D. 70. Others have interpreted Paul’s reference to the temple of God as a reference to the church.”

However, we read that the returning Christ will consume the man of sin “with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Therefore, this man of sin will exist at the time of Christ’s return. He will proclaim himself to be God, not just “a god.” It is highly unlikely that Paul was talking about the Church as the temple of God in this context. There is no Biblical evidence that the false prophet will be sitting in God’s true Church, proclaiming himself to be God. However, Christ warned His Church in Matthew 24:11 that “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”

One argument that has been advanced for the idea that the “man of sin” is or will be a religious leader within the true Church of God is that he allegedly has to fall away from the truth, which he once knew. This is, however, not in accordance with Scripture. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 does not say that the end-time “man of sin” must fall away from the truth, which he once understood. Rather, the passage only states that Christ will not return “unless the falling away comes first, AND the man of sin is revealed.” It does not say that that man of sin once knew the truth and that he will fall away from the truth.

An additional passage which suggests that the Jews will build an end-time temple in Jerusalem, just prior to Christ’s return, is Psalm 79:1-7. This is an end-time psalm, as verse 6 shows. God is asked to pour out His wrath on the nations — a reference to God’s pouring out of the end-time plagues of His wrath, as described in Revelation 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19. In this context, Psalm 79:1 says: “O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled. They have laid Jerusalem in heaps.”

Another Scripture, which seems to make reference to a future physical temple in Jerusalem, can be found in Psalm 122:1: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD.’ Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem!” David wrote this psalm before there ever was a temple–the house of the LORD– in Jerusalem.

Other prophetic references to a future temple in Jerusalem could perhaps be found in Ezekiel 8:5, 16, as well as in Ezekiel 9:1-7. All these Scriptures are prophecies for the end-time, and they seem to refer to a physical temple and the abominations which will be practiced in it.

Finally, we find detailed descriptions of a future physical temple in Jerusalem in the book of Ezekiel, beginning in chapter 40. We know from those Scriptures that a literal temple will be in Jerusalem after Christ’s return. Ezekiel 40-46 do not tell us, however, when this future temple will be built. Is it possible that Ezekiel 40-46 describe the very same temple which the Jews will begin to build just prior to Christ’s return?

In conclusion, considering all the Scriptures on the topic, it appears very likely that a temple will be built in Jerusalem just prior to Christ’s return. Most certainly, God will give a clearer understanding about these things, as the time draws nearer.

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

From the Philippines: “I’m happy to report to you that we have now two locations where we distribute your booklets. We want to expand this more because in our area alone there are so many who don’t know the truth. Thanks for your help… for everything.”

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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