As followers of the Lord Jesus it is easy for us to overlook or forget what the temple meant to the Jews living in Jerusalem. We are told in the Bible and have the backup of personal experience that God lives with and in His people. The following verses prove that God lives within each of His Born Again people by His Spirit
2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.
Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? … and:
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1Co 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
In the case of the Jew, God lived amongst His people in the Holy of Holy place in the Temple. If you were a Jew, it would be your duty and desire to visit the temple at least once a year … and that would be at Pentecost. The Psalmist as an example says:
Ps 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
The passion to be where God is was such that he declares he would rather open and close doors in God’s house, even for just one day, than being amongst the wicked for a thousand days. The temple meant everything to the Jew because not only was God present there, it was the place where sacrifices were conducted for the forgiveness of sin! Although God rejected this system and withdrew from amongst the Jews once the Curtain was ripped, top to bottom when Jesus died … at this time, that was the core of Jewish Religion. We need to understand the emotions attached to any shape of desecrating the temple and its system of worship and sacrifice. Yesterday we saw a disheartened Antiochus after he was prevented from taking Egypt … he therefore took out his rage on Israel … and in particular the temple … the heartbeat of Jewish Religion. Horror upon horror … an armed military guard would stand at the temple and as stated yesterday, they will take women and children prisoners, many houses and businesses were destroyed and the temple occupied. They removed every trace of Jewish religion with the intent of introducing Hellenistic Culture.
Da 11:31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.”
(1)The desecration was their presence with military weapons polluting the temple and its buildings rendering it unclean.
(2) They banished the priests preventing the daily sacrifices from taking place. This in itself was sacrilege … God not being appeased for the sin of the people.
(3) The abomination was them erecting a pagan altar on the altar where burnt offerings were made to God. To God this was exceptionally loathsome, hateful, sinful and wicked, that’s the meaning of “abomination”.
1) The apostate and the faithful.
Da 11:32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
(1) Those who had apostatized will flock to Antiochus and be further seduced by his charismatic charm. If he was able to influence strong kings to believe in him, common folk were a push over. Imitators are those who have not been chosen nor called by God to be His eternal family. They will permit their spiritual appetites to be entertained for a season … until the time arises for them to make a full declaration of faith. As soon as they can no longer hide their true colors, they leave … apostatize! Because there is no indwelling Spirit they have nothing to prevent them being seduced by the enemy … and will desert!
(2) The true believer, the faithful ones, will, because of the presence of the Holy Spirit be able to remain true to their Lord. You see, the words “know their God” addresses doctrinal matters such as election unto eternal life. Because of whom they are they are able to stand against the enemy. They might slip and stumble but they will not desert their Lord. This is where you prove your salvation true and real. When evil comes offering you all the attractions and enticements of the world … being God’s own … knowing God personally … you will be able to resist and honor God!
2) The faithful are wise.
Da 11:33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.
Those who are wise and have understanding because they “know their God” are able to direct others seeking God, in His ways. It will result in personal hardship as depicted by the words … will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. If there ever was a passage explaining what happened, it is Hebrews 11 as it looks backwards:
Heb 11:35 Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
Today’s counterpart would be evangelism and missions. The work is dangerous, especially in homes (around us) and amongst communities (either near or perhaps in foreign countries) where the very name of Jesus is despised and detested. In cases like this the evangelist’s life is always at stake. But, once you know God personally through Jesus Christ you want the world to know the way to the freedom you enjoy!
3) Hypocrites are always hypocrites, yet the faithful will always be faithful.
Da 11:34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
Where verse 34 refers to the apostate, verse 35 refers to the faithful. Times of testing tends to divide the genuine from the fraud. The latter will always be fake. The former will always be the Lord’s, using the hardships (stumbling) to seek God and pursue holiness in preparation for heaven.
Thank You, Jesus, that none can snatch us believers from your hands. Amen.