Ancient Temple Signs and Signs of the Last Days
Unusual signs in the ministry of the priests
We are going to be looking at the time when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and looking at the period between 30-70 AD to consider some remarkable signs leading up to the destruction of the Temple because some of these very same signs are being repeated in our day. Is it just coincidental? Or could it be that God is trying to send us a message?
Most people know how Titus and the 10th Legion of the Roman Army surrounded the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD, burned the Temple to the ground and took the temple treasures back to Rome. Also he took many of the Jewish people captive that were in the city. Yet most believers today are unaware of the supernatural signs that preceded these historical events.
Jesus Himself predicted the destruction of the Temple and gave the reason why in Matthew 23:34-38. The destruction of the Temple, just like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) and the flood in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:11-13 ), was because of the shedding of innocent blood, the worst form of violence before God.
According to the Jewish Talmud (a book of commentary and discussions by Rabbis), in Yoma 39, there is mention of a number of events or unusual signs that had taken place before but that ceased and never again happened after 30 AD. Before 30 AD, during a 40-year period when a Rabbi by the name of Simeon the Righteous was serving as high priest there were a number of unusual miraculous signs that took place during his ministry as the high priest, that all ceased in the year 30AD. Jewish history tells us that for this 40 year period when Simeon the Righteous was the high priest, prior to 30 AD, these positive supernatural signs took place, then ceased.
What were the signs.
* (1) The drawing of Lots. On the day of atonement, the high priest reached his hand into a box called the lottery and would pull out what some say was a stone, there being a white stone which had written upon it, ‘for the Lord’ and a black stone which said, ‘for azizel’. Then the high priest offered a goat upon the alter as a sacrifice unto the Lord and he laid his hands upon the second goat, called the scapegoat and spoke the sins of the people, which would then be sent into the Judean Wilderness, where it would die, being shoved off a cliff. For centuries, when the high priest reached into that lottery box, it always fell on ‘for the Lord’, which was the stone removed from the lottery box, until 30AD, when for the first time it fell on ‘for azizel.’ That continued to happen for the next 40 years. The Jews believed this positive sign to mean that God’s blessing was upon them and that He had accepted their sacrifice, but then when ‘for azizel’ came up in the high priests right hand and kept coming up year after year, they took this to mean God’s displeasure upon the priesthood and Israel.
* (2) The second sign was concerning a crimson strap. A red thread was placed around the neck of one of the goats and a red thread around the horns of the other goat. A third red thread or strap was attached to the door of the temple. When the scapegoat was shoved off the hill of the scapegoat in the Judean Wilderness, the red thread on the temple door supernaturally turned white. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” According to Jewish history that red thread on the temple door turned white consistently, every year, until 30AD, after which it never turned white again from 30 to 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed.
* (3) The third unusual sign was concerning the Candlestick or Menorah in the Temple. Every morning, the wick had to be changed, fresh oil placed in the Menorah and it had to be lit. During the time of Simeon the Righteous, they always lit the Menorah from the western end of it and then from it they would light the other six branches. What happened beginning in 30 AD, was the western branch went out and they were not able to light the other branches from it.
* (4) The Alter of Sacrifice. During the time of Simeon the Righteous, only two logs were used for the entire sacrifice, they lasted all day during the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement. They needed no other logs for the sacrifices. In 30 AD that miracle ceased and they had to keep putting more logs on the fire to enable them to complete the sacrifices.
* (5) The priest would eat a small amount of bread from the table of shewbread. History tells us that the priest was satisfied by eating a piece of bread the size of an olive. That also changed in 30 AD and the priest was no longer satisfied with that small amount of bread.
* (6) There were doors to the Temple that opened and closed by themselves. In Yoma 39, a commentary on Zechariah 11:1, it teaches that the doors of the temple opened and closed by themselves. The scripture says, “Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.”
All these positive supernatural signs took place until 30 AD, when they ceased and did not happen again for the next 40 years before the destruction of the Temple. Why? Many commentaries have said it was a sign of God’s displeasure upon that generation, or God’s displeasure upon the illegitimate priesthood appointed by the Romans over the Temple. Though that is true in the natural and the scripture does say that it is first the natural (as a type and shadow) and then the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46). But there is something else beyond those things. Hebrews 10:4-10 There were essential defects in these animal sacrifices. 1st.--They were not of the same nature with those who sinned, man. 2nd.--They were not of sufficient value to make satisfaction for the affronts done to the justice and government of God. 3rd.--The beasts offered up under the law could not consent to put themselves in the sinner's room and place. The atoning sacrifice must be one capable of consenting, and must voluntarily substitute himself in the sinner's stead: Christ did so and alone met all the conditions to be our substitute and the propitiation for our sins. Isaiah 53:11
First we have to remember that all these Temple sacrifices and rituals were only a type and shadow to point to Jesus, who was the reality and fulfillment of them. Jesus fulfilled all the types and shadows and sacrifices and made them unnecessary. Let’s look at each of the signs.
* (1) Why did the priests’ right hand always start picking up ‘for azizel’ instead of ‘for the Lord’? The scapegoat symbolically carried away the sins of the people, transferred by laying on of hands and confession. But this would no longer be needed because Jesus would ‘bare our sins’ upon the cross and we no longer would need a type and shadow of what He would do for us. Jesus carried the sins of the world. 1 Peter 2:24, Hebrews 9:28, Isaiah 53:11 Jesus became the replacement for the scapegoat, who would bare our sins outside the camp and die for us.
* (2) Why did the red (crimson) thread (strap) on the Temple door no longer turn white after 30 AD? Simply because John 1:29 tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 1:2-3; 2:17
* (3) Why did the western candle on the Menorah go out, which they couldn’t re-light? It was a sign that Jesus was now the light of the world (John 8:12), that His light was now replacing the light of the Menorah for He was the Light of the World. John 1:4-9; 9:5; 12:35-36, Revelation 21:23
* (4) Why did the logs that burned on the brazen altar for the sacrifices for so many centuries, need only two logs because they didn’t burn up and go out all day, then required many logs because they burned as normal wood? It was because the fire of the Holy Spirit was no longer going to be on that altar, but on a different one according to Matthew 3:11 and our body would be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:5, 2:2-4, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 12:13, 2 Corinthians 6:16
* (5) Why did the piece of bread from the table of shewbread no longer satisfy the high priest? Because Jesus was the living bread that came down from heaven and we are told to partake of Him (John 6:35). Satisfaction was now in Jesus, not in physical bread or wine. John 6:48-51; 7:37-38; 4:13-14, Revelation 7:15-17
* (6) Why did the doors of the Temple open and close supernaturally and then cease to do so? Because Jesus was now the way unto the father, the way unto salvation. Jesus said, “I am the door” (John 10:7, 9, 1-5). Ephesians 2:18, Hebrews 10:19-23
Because Jesus came into His ministry in 30 AD and became our high priest, and was revealed as all these things above for His people, these signs were no longer needed to point the way to Jesus for He had come in the flesh and they had Him now. God was saying, the Temple and the Temple sacrifices and rituals are no longer needed and they will no longer be the center of my working among men on the earth. All the types and shadows were replaced with the living Christ, our Messiah. He would become God’s sacrifice and would make us the Temple of God and the place on earth where His Spirit would reside and He would now work through His people, who would become kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:5-6). Matthew 5:14, Mark 16:15-16, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, 2 Timothy 2:2-3
We are a triune being, body, soul and spirit, just as the Temple had three parts, outer court, inner court and holy of holies, where God dwelt. Now, it is within our spirit that His spirit comes to dwell, this temple not made with hands and we are made complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).
Signs in the Heavens
Matthew 24: 1-2 This prophecy was given in 30 AD, 40 years before the destruction of the Temple, when it was fulfilled in 70 AD. According to Psalms 95:10, forty is the number for an unbelieving generation, in this case, those in the wilderness that died, who had come out of Egypt but not allowed to enter the promised land.
Luke 21:20-21 Josephus, a Jewish historian in the time of the destruction of the Temple, being a witness of that destruction, says in “War of the Jews”, book 5, chapter 5
*(1) Their was a supernatural light at the feast of unleavened bread (the 8th of Nissan) at the 9th hour (3 am) that shown all around the altar and the house, a light from heaven as bright as the sun.
*(2) A comet appeared over the city for one year (in 66 AD) which may have been Haley’s Comet according to researchers. He mentioned the comet because comets were considered a bad sign to the Jewish people.
*(3) He said there was a star that resembled a sword over the city. We don’t know for sure what it was, but it was considered a supernatural sign that judgment (or war) was coming upon Jerusalem.
*(4) This is a bazaar thing that most scholars don’t understand or think makes sense, but Josephus said that the red heifer, which was burned and used for ceremonial purification, gave birth to a lamb. In Numbers chapter 19 the red heifer sacrifice is a perfect picture of the crucifixion of Jesus. The scarlet, hyssop, cedar wood, the priest looking on, it was burnt outside the camp. Christ was crucified outside the camp, they put hyssop to his mouth, they put a scarlet robe on his shoulders, he was crucified on a wooden cross. Here Josephus said that before the destruction of the Temple, one of the red heifers gave birth to a lamb, which is biologically impossible. However, the red heifer was a picture of the crucifixion of Christ and Christ was the Lamb of God. These were strange supernatural signs to get the peoples attention.
*(5) Josephus also said that the East Gate of the inner court, made of brass opened by itself at the 6th hour of the night (midnight). This gate according to the Talmud in Yoma 38a was made of Corinthian bronze. One gate was 60 feet by 23 feet and there were two of them. This gate took 20 men to open, and that with great difficulty. The watchman who saw the gate open ran and told the captain of the temple who came with a group of men and shut it. There were two interpretations to what happened. One group said; we believe God’s favor is on Israel and God has now shut the door upon our enemies and the city is protected. That doesn’t make much sense because the door which was shut was opened by God, not the door being opened was shut by God. However, a group of wise men said no, this is a sign that God has left His temple once and for all and it is now left unguarded. That was really the crux of the whole matter. God’s presence had left the Temple leaving it open for the Roman 10th legion to come in and take over the Temple and destroy it and take the people captive. History confirms that these wise men were right in their interpretation of this sign from God.
*(6) Quoting from Josephus; “Besides these, a few days after the feast, one the one and twentieth day of the month of f… a certain prodigious and incredible phenomena appeared. Before the sun was setting, chariots and troops of soldiers were seen in their armour and were seen running among the clouds surrounding the city.” This is a supernatural sign that is very unnatural. This was seen just before the destruction of the Temple. The way Josephus wrote it, it seems that it was not a vision by him, but seen by many people. We are talking about a strange series of supernatural signs that the city was about to be taken and the Temple destroyed. God sent signs in 30 AD and again in 70 AD.
*(7) Again, quoting from Josephus; “At the feast called Pentecost, the priests were going in by night into the inner court. They all felt a quaking and they heard the noise of a great multitude and the noise of voices saying, “Let us depart hence.”” This appears that the presence of God, the angels of God protecting the city are departing from the city. The Babylonians destroyed the city on the 9th of Av on the Jewish calendar. Some put it at about 606 B.C., but over 500 years later, another destruction takes place by the Roman 10th legion. God warned the Jewish People from 66 AD when the comet came through until 70 AD, when the destruction came.
The Jews have a teaching about comets. We are sure that it was Haley’s Comet that came through in 66AD. Four years later the destruction came. If we look at Haley’s comet in modern history, we see that it came through in 1910 and 4 years later WWI broke out. It came through in the 1980’s, four years before the first Gulf War broke out. In 1998 the Hale-boop comet came through our galaxy, one much larger than Haley’s comet. Four years later, in 2002 we had war going on in Afghanistan and Iraq (having suffered the major terrorist attack in 2001). Also, a meteorite shower appeared over Italy that looked like a sword in the heavens. Four years later, the Catholic Church started going through the great trials of the church because of homosexual predator priests. Think about it. The scripture tells us in Luke 21:25 that we would have signs in the sun, moon and stars.
So, if there are going to be signs in the sun, moon and stars, then we need to take notice of them. We have had hugh solar flares recently, the sign of the planet mars, considered the war planet, coming very close to the earth. The last time it was so close to the earth was in Noah’s day. We have had repeated signs in the heavens that something is about to happen. We are coming close to the end of time and the return of Jesus and the signs are in the skies.