"Conversations"WILL THERE BE A LITERAL "MAN OF SIN" & THIRD TEMPLE?
(a.k.a. "Should Majority Belief Always Be Presumed False?"
This brief exchange with an earnest Circle reader tackles the common question of literal Bible prophecy interpretation in light of a still deeper premise that majority belief within the church over any prophetic truth should be presumed to be wrong. A must read for wilderness prophetic saints!)
I hope this e-mail finds you well. I have been reading and gleaning much from your e-mails but thus far have been content to listen and ponder rather than weigh in. As my boss once told me, "you never learn anything when you're talking". So I have learned to listen much, and talk less.
Now I will just offer a few thoughts for you to ponder and share with the Circle if you choose to do so.…
First, from the time I was just a babe in Christ, until now 40 years later, the Lord impressed me with the understanding that He seldom if ever works with the majority, only a remnant who sell out to Him. It does Him no glory when the majority give witness. The pattern is all over scripture, indeed you witness to it every time with the words "little flock", but the overall type is in Judges when 32,000 volunteered to follow Gideon and go up against the Midianites, and Yahweh culled them to 300. Less than 1%.
The reason I mention that is because when the majority have a certain viewpoint I always get a check in my spirit, and ask, is there another explanation? The majority were wrong in their expectations regarding Christ 2,000 years ago, and the majority will probably be wrong in their expectations when He returns.
To my point then. I would tell you that the expectation of the majority is to look for a physical 3rd temple where a visible physical man of sin sits and demands worship as God. Let me ask, would any Christian be deceived by that? I doubt it, and I am extremely skeptical that it would possible for a physical 3rd temple to be built on the temple site, displacing the Dome of the Rock, without WW3 breaking out.
Is there another explanation? Well let me ask this question, what exactly and where exactly is the temple of God today? If your answer is "the body of Christ", then let me suggest that the man of sin is every man or woman who exalts themselves and displaces Christ as the head of His body. And did He not say that foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay His head? And did not Leland Earls give witness to the spiritual meaning of that statement as it pertains, not to a physical place to lay His head, but to His rejection by His own body? And did Isaiah not bear witness to this same thing when he wrote that 7 women would take hold of one man in that day, saying 'we will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name?" And have not the 7 churches of Revelation taken hold of their own doctrines (bread) and have they not clothed themselves in their own garments (doctrines by which they determine righteous conduct), being content to call themselves by His name (Christians)? And did the Lord not warn us that fine linen is the righteousness of His saints? Are the overcomers not with Him on Zion, rather than living in this world?
So who is this "man of sin" that we are all looking for? Is he some guy 'over there' or should each of us be looking within?
Steve, it was really good to hear from you. I appreciate the importance of "pondering" over "talking." I quite believe in it myself. …
At some point, what is called the remnant is going to become the majority and eventually the totality when in time to come all the wicked are finally culled out and the numbers of worshippers earthwide as well as around the throne are numberless. So we would also want to be cautious about saying He receives "no glory" from the witness of a majority. In time, He will receive all glory from all who live.
This leads to thoughts about prophecy fulfillment. As we know, the Lord's words can be fulfilled at more than one level of perception. A single prophecy can be fulfilled at multiple prophetic levels and applications. At the same time though, when it comes to scripture prophecy, there is almost always if not always a literal fulfillment, regardless of however many prophetic applications may overlay it.
All of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah for instance fulfilled at His first coming were fulfilled literally, and Jesus was quite clear in pointing this out to His followers after His resurrection. From that fact pattern, it is just as certain that those prophecies yet to be fulfilled about Him will be fulfilled equally literally (e.g., He will return in His real physical body, not just through "the body of Christ").
It is also at that very same time that Jesus was instructing His disciples about the end times. So it is an equal certainty He was communicating to them from the same platform of literality about the end times. He was talking about real people (false christs / armies), places (Israel / Jerusalem) and things (e.g., earthquakes). (It's because many believers took Jesus literally leading up to 70 AD that they escaped to Pella when Jerusalem was being surrounded by zealots and Romans). The parallel spiritual meanings and applications of His words then and others similarly associated (like "temple") would not have mitigated His literal intent. The way He handled scripture prophecy about Himself shows us He expected to be believed at face value for His meaning of future things.
This would in turn carry over to Paul's discussion of the man of sin. Paul is clearly identifying a human to come whom he refers to as the "son of perdition," the same term Jesus used to refer to Judas, who was also a literal man. There is no daylight between their meanings in the ears of the first hearers. The mantle of "son of perdition" from one literal man at the beginning of an age to another at the end of the age is as certain as the Elijah mantle transfer from one literal man during the kings to another at the time of Christ, and so on.
I think where the truth lies regarding the "remnant" vis-a-vis prophecy fulfilment issue then is not to say that prophecy is not to be fulfilled "literally" because that is what the "majority expects." It would be accurate to instead say that the prophecy will be fulfilled literally, but the majority "won't be able to perceive it" though they are expecting it and it is staring them in the face. Is not that the real pattern we see at the first coming?
Jesus literally fulfilled prophecy in His coming. And at the time He came, the majority population were all very expectant of His coming. But in spite of the literality of both the fulfilment and the majority expectation, the majority could not perceive it when it happened. That is the real mystery here. ("Having eyes they see not, and ears they hear not.")
And based on this pattern, and that the "son of perdition" is an anti-type of the Lord, we can just as easily expect that again, the fulfilment of the man of sin will be literal, and the majority will be (and are) expecting it, but the majority church won't perceive his coming for what it is when it happens. (And I submit that is what we are beginning to see at least as a test run with Trump.)
Any other speculative arguments as to how something could or could not literally happen are not really a factor. The capacity for prophecy to be literally fulfilled is not subject to our capacity to comprehend how it could happen. (That is all I would say about the possibility of a 3rd temple in Jerusalem).
So on this basis, I would say that we have every reason from scripture to believe in the literal fulfilments of the man of sin and the temple, yet those prophecies are still laid over with vital prophetic meaning and application which must be taken to heart. Personally, I am far more concerned about the temple of the body of Christ being inhabited by the corporate man of sin-spirit now, something I watch developing every day, which I intercede and war against. But this prophetic understanding in no way competes with the literal prophetic prediction and expectation the way many preterists, latter rain revelationists and others would pit it.
The prophetic and literal meanings of end times predictions are not at war with each other. They form a satisfying whole. And I would also point out that this is what you see in Brother Earls' writings as well. Some things he will speak of as having "only" prophetic meaning (not that he is necessarily right), but in the main, he recognizes the literal as well. There may be finer points where some might debate whether a particular meaning is "only" one or the other (like the meaning of "clouds" when it says He will come with the clouds. I heavily favor the clouds of witnesses (which is already scripture elsewhere) to the clouds of the sky. But even there, it does not have to be an either / or.)
To close then, for me, I strive for a wholesomeness of understanding. And I think the radical wilderness prophetic tends to miss that wholeness because it thinks in reactionary terms: "If the majority thinks such-and-such, it must be false." Well, it "might" be false, but not necessarily. The majority of Israel expected Messiah to come, and they were right. The majority of Christians believe Jesus died to save man from sin, and they are right.
The conclusion then that majority belief regarding spiritual truth per se is automatically false is a human philosophical conclusion, not one authored by the Holy Spirit supportable from the scriptural structure. And that philosophical conclusion in turn has proven to be the common source of various cultic revelationist beliefs. It is a spirit that a genuine truth seeker wants to avoid.
Thanks again for your earnest thoughts, Steve. I hope you find this response useful to your continued "ponderings" as it is to mine. Let us hear from you more!
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created January 30, 2019