By James Lloyd
The well known episode wherein the Devil took Jesus up to an outcropping of the temple roof is familiar to most. Prophetically speaking, this famous encounter, in which Satan sought to tempt Christ, actually has a very important dimension to it; but with the non-scriptural doctrinal programming which permeates our unfortunate generation, most miss it. However, this amazing interaction actually shows certain prophetic teachings, which are widespread in our time, are grossly inaccurate.
The first thing we see is that it is the Devil himself who seeks to sway Jesus from His mission:
“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee…” (Matthew 4:5).
This attempt at dialogue on the part of the Devil is part of a series of temptations which occurred as Jesus had concluded His epic 40 day fast in the wilderness. We note the crucial truth that Jesus never enters into the Dialectic with the wicked one, but instead makes statements of fact.
Without a doubt, there have been many thousands of sermons preached on how Jesus always answered the challenge with the statement, it is written. This is, of course, a crucial component to resisting the lure of entering into the process of dialogue with the evil one, for this was the path taken by Eve, to her Spiritual detriment.
However, it’s not the statements which are made in the epic encounter that have captured my interest in the present work, it’s the location. This is because the clash between the LORD and Lucifer also manifested a fulfillment of a very specific prophecy of the redeemer. Further, the truth of this prediction, found in the prophet Daniel’s astonishing pronouncements concerning the 70 Weeks prophecy, have been obscured to such a degree that the overwhelming majority of believers have missed the point entirely. This is, of course, the epic forecast of Jesus Christ’s awesome achievements, and in Daniel 9:24, we have a complete list of the magnificent deeds the Messiah was to accomplish. In that single verse, we learn He will
“…finish the transgression…make an end of sins…make reconciliation for iniquity…bring in everlasting righteousness…seal up the vision and prophecy…[and] anoint the most holy…” (Daniel 9:24).
Although it is self evident these things were notachieved by the Antichrist, literally millions of Christians believe this prophecy is all about the supposed end time’s man of sin! The truth is, the prophecy goes on to tell us in the last 7 year period (the 70th“week”) which began with Christ’s public ministry, the Messiah will not only“confirm the covenant” between the LORD and Israel, He will be “cut off…in the midst of the week” – a point blank statement indicating the ministry of the Saviour was to last for 3 ½ years.
Daniel says His amazing sacrifice on the cross will “cause the sacrifice and the oblation” of the Old Covenant sacrificial system to cease,because His shed blood is a one time, priceless event. Thus, the temple system of the Christ rejecting Judaeans was predicted to be obsolete under the Gospel of Christ.
It is in the last part of the prophecy where we find the reference to what I’ve dubbed The Pinnacle of Apostasy. The King James Bible, which renders the Textus Receptus manuscripts with verbal equivalency (word for word), provides us with the following mysterious statement:
“…and for the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27).
In this passage, we have a remarkable prediction, and it has nothing to do with the thoroughly unscriptural idea this passage deals with a future Antichrist who supposedly makes a treaty with the Jews, and betrays them“in the midst of the week.” In fact, the popular Rapturist exposition of the prophecy completely obscures the striking accuracy of the prediction – a prophecy which has already been fulfilled.
Now before the reader dismisses me as a Preterist(those who say the tribulation occurred in 70 AD), I’ll hasten to add Preterismis a completely false doctrine, and the tribulational events described in Scripture are, unfortunately, still dead ahead. Indeed, it should be obvious to all that we are indeed living in the end times. However, this particular prophecy, the prediction concerning “the overspreading of abominations,”was fulfilled when the Devil took Jesus up to the rooftop of the temple.
The word overspreading is fascinating, for it carries a veiled meaning and, remarkably, the definition actually uses the word pinnacle. Strong’s famous concordance renders it as follows:
“Overspreading. 3671: kanaph, kaw-naf; from 3670; an edge or extremity; spec. (of a bird or army) a wing (of a garment or bed clothing) a flap (of the earth) a quarter, (of a building) a pinnacle” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, emphasis mine)
Consider the fact that, at the arrival of Jesus Christ, the temple system was already completely corrupted (read an abominationbefore God), which the LORD pronounced when he turned over the tables within it, and angrily stated the Judaeans had “made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13). After Christ left the temple for the last time, He pronounced it“desolate.” (Luke 13:35). Further, when we realize the most wicked, or abominable being in existence, Satan himself, repeatedly blasphemed Jesus Christ Himself, even as he was perched on a pinnacle of that same desolate temple, we begin to see the scope of the abomination which occurred in this encounter.