THE LULL BEFORE THE FINAL STORM
The period intervening between Armageddon and the judgement of the nations will be one of feverish activity both in the land and throughout the earth. While Christ and the saints overshadow the work of the remnant of Judah in cleansing the land and making preparations for the construction of the House of Prayer for all nations, the nations of the world will be deciding their policy in regard to the new power established in Jerusalem.
Some like Britain will submit to Christ's rule and assist in the work of restoration both of the people of Israel and of the land. The remainder under the 'spiritual' guidance of the papacy will set themselves for the final struggle with Zion's king.
The object of the lull is to give all nations an opportunity to declare themselves and to allow for full ripening of the vine clusters in the Roman West. The rebellious nations will fully deserve the judgements that will fall upon them. All the evidence will reveal to them the fact that a supernatural power is ensconced in Jerusalem. To oppose that power after witnessing the destruction of Gog's army and the world shattering events associated with Armageddon will be the height of folly, but the nations will be intoxicated with the wine of'Babylon the great' and will share her awful fate - Rev.18:2-3.
While the nations assemble for war the land promised to Abraham's seed will be revealing the effects brought about by Christ's presence. The submissive nations will journey to a land blossoming with verdure and rich growth to behold the miracle of "rivers in the desert".
RIVERS IN THE DESERT
The return of Christ to the earth will mean the return of miracles by his hand even more astonishing than those which he performed during his ministry. As far as the nations are concerned those miracles will be witnessed in the great earthquake and the outpouring of divine wrath through
the elements in the destruction of Gog. However, the consequences of those events will leave a permanent testimony to the presence of miracle. The total transformation of the land topographically, ecologically, and botanically will flow out of the events of Armageddon and Christ's presence in Zion.
The resurgence of deserts and wasteland will result from the supply of water to arid regions in the vast territory promised to Abraham. Initially, the streams in the desert will be to provide sustenance for the remnant of Judah who flee from the oppression of Gog into the wilderness region east and south of Jordan - Isa.41:13-14,17-19, 43:18-21, 30:25. Within a few years the miracle of total transformation to Edenic conditions will be seen, so dramatic that the physical beauty of the land is chosen by Isaiah to represent symbolically the moral excellency that will be Israel's when Christ has refined and transformed them by turning away ungodliness from Jacob - Isa.35:1-2.
For such conditions to prevail, an adjustment to weather patterns would be required so that the arid deserts which now receive little rain might receive regular and abundant rainfall. The bringer of the spiritual "latter and former rain" to Israel (Hos.6:2-3) will experience no difficulty in so adjusting the weather patterns.
THE TIME OF TROUBLE SUCH AS NEVER WAS
The nations having tumultuously assembled and set themselves to overthrow Zion's king (Ps.2:1-6), the lull will end and a violent storm will break as Yahweh's controversy with the nations begins – Jer.25:31.
THE DESTRUCTION OF ROME
The first to suffer divine wrath will be Rome which is spoken of as being overthrown by a massive upheaval. Rev. 14:8 - A second angel follows the angel bearing the proclamation to the nations with a declaration that Rome has been destroyed. This indicates that the overthrow of Rome occurs some 10 years after Armageddon.
Rev.18:21 - Rome's end is to be violent. An earthquake or subterranean subsidence of the sort which overwhelmed Sodom and Gomorrah appears to be inferred by the language used - Rev.l9:20; cp. 11:8.
A FINAL PLEA TO THE NATIONS
In the aftermath of Rome's destruction, the Lord Jesus Christ will make a final plea to the nations to act wisely and submit themselves to his rule - Rev.14:9-10, Ps.2:11-12.
When this last call is rejected, as it will be by the Catholic nations where Papal influence still prevails despite the Vatican's demise, Yahweh "will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth" who resist Christ's rule - Jer.25:29.
YAHWEH'S CONTROVERSY WITH THE NATIONS
Jeremiah describes the terrible but justified judgements that will be poured out upon the nations so that all resistance might be broken and all flesh completely subdued. So horrific will be these judgements that lamentation or burial for the dead will not only seem out of place but a matter of no
concern to the survivors desperately seeking preservation of their own lives - Jer.25:31-33.
Isaiah paints a similar word picture of the awful events of this time of national judgement - Isa.2:10-21, 34:1-3, 66:14-16.
Micah also prophesied of this day, as do many of the prophets, saying, Yahweh "will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard" (Micah 5:15).
After a century in which war, suffering and violence have become commonplace, and after the horrors of Armageddon which will be widely reported throughout the world, to say that the judgements are of such intensity that they surpass any previous sufferings, imposed upon humanity
for their wickedness, is to say that they are virtually indescribable. Little wonder that John was not permitted to record the seven thunder judgements of Rev.10:34.
THE DURATION OF NATIONAL JUDGEMENT
According to Dr. Thomas the lull of about 10 years following Armageddon will be followed by a period of 30 years of intense wars. The wars will move from one nation to another until all nations are subdued - Jer.25:32. This means that a tapering off will occur as time goes on and nations large and small, near and far, are forced to submit to Christ's rule. Slowly but surely resistance will be crushed until only small pockets remain which Christ will overcome in his final campaigns after the pattern of David's subjugation of the nations around Israel. Thus will the image of Nebuchadnezzar be ground to powder by the 'stone' power which will then fill the whole earth - Dan.2:44.
RANDOM OR SELECTIVE JUDGEMENT OF INDIVIDUALS?
While it is clear that all flesh will be worthy of the divine fury to be poured out upon them, some will be more worthy than others. The inference to be drawn from some prophecies is that a heavy vengeance is to fall upon those who most deserve it - Isa.2:12, 66:14,17-18; Jer.25:31.
It is logical to expect that as Yahweh removed from among Israel in the wilderness, over a period of 40 years, a perverse and wicked generation, so will He destroy from among the nations the incorrigible and inveterate sinners who despite judgement will not respond to Christ's call for submission (Isa.26:9-10). Those who survive will consist of the responsive and the younger who will have grown up through the turbulent years of Armageddon and subsequent wars and will have been thereby rendered willing to receive instruction.
The principle that will govern this matter is expressed in Jeremiah — "I Yahweh search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Jer.17:10).
ISRAEL ESTABLISHED IN THE BONDS OF THE COVENANT
THE RETURN OF SCATTERED ISRAEL
Purged by the fires of affliction and trials encountered in "the wilderness of the people" Israel will willingly accept the covenant offered to them by Yahweh (Ezek.20:34-38). However, unlike the covenant of Sinai which never touched their hearts, this new covenant will affect every individual
who enters the land under Elijah. It will be written upon their hearts and be a motivating force in their lives (Jer.31:31-34).
In this refined and disciplined state they will gather on the borders of the
land ready to enter into their inheritance.
ISRAEL ENTERS THE LAND
From the south through Egypt and the north through Assyria a double stream of traffic will converge upon an area east of the Dead Sea (Isa. 11:15-16). Here under the guidance of Elijah and immortal assistants the regenerated Israelites will prepare to meet Judah's king - their Messiah.
Here there will be a period of great rejoicing as Israel prepares to journey along the Valley of Achor up to Zion (Hos.2:14-15). The Valley of Achor, formed by the great earthquake of Armageddon (Zech.l4:4), will stand before the nation as a door of hope - a way of entry into the fellowship of Israel's true God (Hos.2:16-20).
Triumphantly, Elijah will lead Israel into the presence of their Messiah and a scene paralleling that of Joseph and his brethren will take place – Gen. 45:1-8.
ISRAEL'S DELIVERANCE COMPLETE
With Israel's humble acceptance of their Messiah and King and his reception of them, the deliverance of the nation will be complete. Israel's redeemer will have turned ungodliness away from Jacob (Isa.59:20-21) and all Israel will have been saved (Rom.l 1:26-27). Judah and Israel will
be united under one king (Ezek.37:21-22) who will guide them so that they might continually walk in the ways of Yahweh (Ezek.37:24) and dwell at peace in the land promised to their fathers (Ezek.37:25-27).
Thus will the long awaited national deliverance of Israel be accomplished - Ezek.36:24-35.
CHRIST'S REIGN ON EARTH
ALL NATIONS SUBJECT TO ZION'S KING
Finally, the campaigns of Christ to subdue and humble the nations will end with the total subjection of all peoples. Then "all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him" (Ps.72:11). Then will be fulfilled Rev.11:15 "The kingdom of the world has become our Lord's and his
Christ's, and he shall reign for the ages of the ages" (Diag.).
Thus subjugated to Zion's glorious king the nations will be ready to receive the blessings of his reign and guidance. These blessings will be bestowed in many different ways affecting every avenue of human life. The ministers of blessing and instruction will be the glorified saints.
THE SAINTS AS KING-PRIESTS
For the duration of the Millennium Christ's glorified brethren will rule the earth with him. To sit with him in his throne to govern the nations is the promise he holds out to those who overcome and endure to the end of their probation - Rev.3:21, 2:26-27.
The unspeakable blessedness of those who enter the Kingdom as immortals is emphasised by John in the Apocalypse where he twice speaks of the saints living and reigning with Christ as kings and priests for a thousand years in the space of three verses — Rev.20:4-6.
The glorified saints will be the administrators and the mediators of the kingdom age. They will govern and guide the mortal populace in every aspect of life. Prominent among their tasks will be the education and instruction of mortals in divine ways. They will also administer the new law
based upon the Law of Moses and judge with righteousness on Christ's behalf - Isa.32:1,16-17; Ps.72:1-4.
As priests the saints will minister to the spiritual needs of those over whom they are given responsibility. Once encompassed with mortal infirmity themselves they will be able to succour and guide the mortals with the compassion and insight now exercised by Christ towards his brethren (Heb. 2:17-18, 5:1-2). However, in that time the assistance provided to straying mortals will be more direct and open - Isa.30:21, 33:5-6.
Among the saints there will be varying degrees of authority, and of responsibility. This appears to be indicated by such declarations as Mark 10:40, and Matt.l9:28. Cp. also Luke 19:17-19.
TRIBUTE TO DAVID'S SON
Solomon was an ample type of Christ during his early reign. His was a reign of peace after the wars fought during David's reign had subdued the surrounding nations. His wisdom and prosperity coupled with the magnificent Temple which he built for Yahweh in Jerusalem attracted the nations
near and far to pay their tribute and bestow gifts upon him. So it will be when Christ reigns supreme over all nations.
The nations will bring their wealth to Christ in Jerusalem – Isa.60:5-6,9; Hag.2:8. Doubtless the wealth of the nations will be used to adorn the Temple that Christ will build.
The judgement of the nations will effectively rid the world of the incorrigibly wicked. The 40 years duration of these judgements will see the rise of a new generation whose experience of life will be limited to the troublous times subsequent to Armageddon. They will be aware that sin and wickedness, under the rule of Christ and his saints, will receive an immediate and just recompense of reward - Ecc.8:11. With the hardened and corrupt removed, the remnant of humanity will begin to learn righteousness — Isa.26:9-10.
Thus satan or sin in its political and ecclesiastical manifestations will be destroyed or bound for a thousand years (Rev.20:1-3). However, sin in the flesh will remain. Though sin will be suppressed by fear of the consequences and the constant presence of the saints, men will still need discipline and chastening in order for them to walk in right paths. This is evinced by the fact that once the pressure is released at the end of the Millennium, a massive rebellion will occur — Rev.20:7-9.
Discipline in the Kingdom Age will therefore be very strict, as it was in Israel under the Law of Moses. The difference being that the administrators of the law will possess supernatural powers of perception and judgement. This will in turn produce in the mortal peoples a revulsion towards
sin as they come to see the folly of rebellion, and they will also act to remove any cause of offence — Zech.13:3.
On a national level, rebellion will be hastily and severely punished should it occur, by removal of essential rain or by sending a plague - Zech.14:17-18.
Finally, as a constant reminder of the consequences of rebellion or harboured wickedness it appears that an area outside the western wall of the Temple will be devoted to become a dump for the bodies of those who appear before Yahweh to worship but are corrupt and unyielding to His will – Isa.66:23-24.
A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS
WHEN AND HOW THE TEMPLE WILL BE BUILT
In the wake of the great earthquake which decimates Gog's forces and topples every structure in the land a massive clean-up will be undertaken to cleanse the land and prepare it for the process of rebuilding. Once the area around newly exalted Mt. Zion is prepared, work will probably begin on the foundations of the Temple. This means that while Christ is calling upon the nations to submit to his rule, he will also be guiding the construction of the Temple in its early stages.
The building of the Temple will probably be carried out in a manner similar to the construction of Solomon's temple. Solomon the king guided the construction, assisted by able men of Israel who overseered the work. Highly skilled artificers were selected to manufacture the intricate and
ornamental portions of the building, while thousands of Israelites and Gentiles laboured off the site preparing the timber and stone for the building. So accurate was this preparation of materials that there was no need for on-site adjustment. Each stone and beam fitted precisely so that no hammer or axe was heard on the site.
Similarly, Christ will guide the construction of the house of prayer for all nations with selected saints (like Ezekiel) acting as overseers. Christ is the "man of brass" and the saints "a line of flax in his hand" (Ezek.40:3) whom Ezekiel saw measuring and making the various features of the Temple. (See "The Temple of Ezekiel's Prophecy" - H. Sulley pgs.31-37). Christ is the builder who will be associated with his glorified brethren in raising up this house. However the physical labour will most likely be performed by refined Judah assisted by the saints.
The materials for the Temple will be provided and prepared by both Jew and Gentile - Isa.60:5,6,9-11,13,17. The assistance provided by Hiram king of Tyre in supplying materials to Solomon almost certainly typically foreshadowed the assistance to be provided by a humbled and submissive
Britain - Ps.45:12.
THE SITE OF THE TEMPLE
There can be no doubt as to where the extraordinary building seen by Ezekiel is to be erected. In Ezek.40:l he informs us that he was taken to Jerusalem ("the city [which] was smitten"), while in v.2 he describes being set upon a very high mountain. This is obviously Mt. Zion exalted after the manner described in Zech.l4:10 (see notes on 'Armageddon and its aftermath'). Around this mountain he beheld a mighty building which he then gives an account of in great detail.
Testimony abounds that Zion is to be the site of the Temple of the future age. Here are just a few passages - Ps.132:13-14; Ezek.43:2-7; Isa.18:7; Zech.l:16; Ps.48:1-3,11-13; Isa.2:2-3.
THE HOLY OBLATION
The Temple will be built in the Holy Oblation as shown by the following diagram. A section of the land, approximately 56 miles square (Ezek.48: 20), occupying practically all of Judah's ancient territory will be set apart for the specific purpose of divine worship (Zech.2:12). This territory will
be divided into profane (Ezek.48:15), holy (verse 14), and most holy (verse 12) sections. The southernmost portion will be given over for the city where visitors to the land will be housed pending their call to the Temple for worship (Deut.33:19). The central section will be given over to the Levites (the mortal priests of a lower course) who will assist immortal priests in the worship. The northernmost sector will be for the use of the sons of Zadok — the immortalised priests. East and west of this Holy Oblation will be a section described as the Prince's portion (Ezek.45:7). Those among the immortals or mortals whom he wishes to particularly honour, may find a place of residence in the Prince's portion in accordance with the terms set forth in Ezekiel 46:16-17.
THE TEMPLE STRUCTURE
It is not intended in these notes to provide a detailed examination of Ezekiel's Temple or a verse by verse treatment of Ezekiel 40 to 48, but rather to supply a brief description of the principal features and functions of the Temple, which with diagrammatic assistance should adequately portray this magnificent structure before our minds.
The Temple consists of a building a mile square with lofty towers at each corner. On each side an outer and inner row of cellae flank a wide court running between each corner tower. This square building encloses another structure, this time circular in construction and composed of many large
cellae running continuously around the foot of Mt. Zion exalted in the midst. Over Mt. Zion is a cloud of glory as a covering by day and night, thus providing a shelter from the sun and rain by day, and light by night - Isa.4:5-6.
The entire city of Jerusalem is to become a temple-city, ''built unto Yahweh", and occupying an area greater than any time in the past — Jer.31: 38-40.
GROUND PLAN OF THE TEMPLE
The ground plan reveals a circle within a square. The never-ending circle suggests eternity; the square is the symbol of Israel (Num.2; Rev.21:16). The spiritual lesson derived from the construction of the Temple suggests the principle that eternal life is only possible through the Hope of Israel. Entrance for worshippers is only from north or south (Ezek.46:9), and whosoever enters by one entrance must go out by the opposite exit, ensuring that Psalm 48 verse 12 will be literally fulfilled. A stream of living water, emanating from under the altar will flow eastward from the northern and southern gates, so that anybody entering from these directions must go through the water. Baptism will thus find its counterpart in the age to come for the mortal worshippers.
THE ENTRANCE GATES
On approaching the Temple, the visitor will see a magnificent building with symmetrical arches and pillars extending for over a mile, and rising to a height of some 120 feet. Here, met by a mortal Levite, the visitor will be instructed in the etiquette of worship and symbolism of the Temple (Ezek.44:9,23,24, 43:10-11). Sacrifice then having been made (Isa. 60:7), the visitor will then be invited to ascend the seven (covenant) steps (Ezek.40:6,26) to the entrance hall where a line of tall, slender, elegant pillars made like palms and teaching a powerful lesson (Ezek.40:16; Ps. 92:12) will meet his gaze. There will be both compulsory (Zech.14:16), and voluntary pilgrimages to the Land (Zech.8:21-22), and services of various kinds will be continuous throughout the year (Isa.66:23).
Inside this entrance gate, there is found the outer court, closed in by another line of buildings similar in size and construction to those in which the entrance gates are found. Down the far end of this outer court will be seen the massive corner courts some 480 feet high and 360 feet wide (Ezek.46:22). Here the sacrifices will be prepared, a portion to find their place on the altar, and portion to be used as a sacrificial feast on the part of the worshippers (Ezek.46:20,22 - mgn.). Beyond this double range of outer buildings is the inner court which gives access to the circular Temple.
THE CIRCULAR INNER TEMPLE
Encircling Mt. Zion in the centre of the sanctuary, there is a range of buildings which acts as a division between the holy place and the most holy (the mount itself). Here are found the chambers of the singers (Ezek.40:44), courts of judgement, and so forth. The mortal priests shall bear the portions of the sacrifices through the entrance of this inner circular range of buildings, but will not be permitted to go beyond them. There the sacrifices will be taken care of by immortal priests who will supervise them to the altar (Ezek.44:15-16) - these verses should be in parenthesis to separate them from those that go before and after. The circular range of buildings will be used during the actual service of praise that shall be witnessed by the worshippers in the inner court.
This is situated in a dominant position on top of Mt. Zion (Ezek.43:12-16 mgn.), and is designated 'most holy’. Only immortals will have access to this 'most holy' mount (Ps.24:3-4), and they will do so as priests (Rev. 5:9-10). A stream of living water will issue forth from under the altar, and forming two streams will flow east to the Dead Sea whose waters will then flow north-west to the Mediterranean. The altar itself, with its four horns is like a miniature of the Temple with its four corner courts. As the Temple receives the worshippers, so the altar receives the offerings. The altar types the Lord Jesus (Heb.l3:10), from whom shall emanate a stream of living water in the doctrine of salvation that he shall cause to be universally proclaimed (John 4:14) and which shall heal the Dead Sea of nations (Isa.57:20-21). Thus will the Temple fulfil the prophecy of the Lord (Mk.11:17) and effect the transformation predicted in Isaiah 2:2-4.