Kingdom come the final v.., p.4
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       Kingdom Come: The Final Victory, p.4
 

         Part #13 of Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye

  Rayford understood that God had repeated Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Feast and that it had been a prophecy of this very event. The wedding hall was filled with guests good and bad because “there is none righteous, no, not one.” Those in attendance were not perfect, but forgiven, as was the bride herself.

  Irene continued: “As Jesus stretched His arms to encompass the mighty throng that constituted His bride, God said, ‘The Bridegroom loved you with an everlasting love, though you were unworthy and rebellious and disobedient. He redeemed you by leaving His home, only to be rejected by His own, and laying down His life for you. He returned here to prepare a place for you, that where He is, you may be also. And He left His Spirit to teach and protect you and to prepare you for this day.

  “ ‘The genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, has been tested by fire and found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom you loved before ever you saw Him. Yet believing, you rejoiced with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

  “ ‘Henceforth now and forevermore, you and the Bridegroom are one.’ ”

  Rayford wished he could have been there to hear the crescendo of the heavenly hosts as the saints and angels praised God. How he longed for that day, a thousand years hence, when he would ultimately experience the complete wonders of heaven.

  “And what about the feast, Irene?” he said. “What was that like?”

  “Oh, Ray,” Irene said, “that is yet to come. It will usher in the Millennium at the end of these seventy-five days. For people have been invited to that celebration who were not in heaven for the wedding itself.”

  Thirty days into the interval between the Glorious Appearing and the millennial kingdom, Tsion told Rayford and the others to expect something dramatic.

  “More dramatic than what we have witnessed so far?” Irene said.

  “That’s a matter of perspective,” Tsion said. “But I had expected to awaken today to something wholly different on the landscape of the horizon, and yet the abomination of desolation remains.”

  “Where the Antichrist defiled the temple?” Cameron said.

  Tsion nodded. “The prophecies are clear. Daniel 12:11 says, ‘And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.’ That, my friends, is today.”

  Late that afternoon, Rayford was startled by the sky turning black and lightning and thunder rolling in. He felt compelled to venture out and was surprised to see that everyone else seemed to have the same idea. Natural phenomena were simply not as terrifying as they had once been, and based on Tsion’s teaching, Rayford was convinced this was hardly natural. This was an act of almighty God.

  When it appeared that the fiery show had riveted the attention of all, a great bolt of lightning streaked from the sky and vaporized the temple. There seemed to be not even a speck of dust remaining, no chunks of stone flying, no fire. Where the temple had once stood, the black sky rolled back to reveal blue and nothing on the horizon.

  And the reshaping of the geography continued.

  __

  By the time Rayford first visited what Cameron and Chloe had come to call COT, their temporary home was crawling with children—more than two hundred. And how they loved Cameron and Chloe!

  “Some reward, eh, Dad?” Chloe said. “We were without Kenny for a little while, and now we have more loving children than we can handle. We need a structure for them.”

  “Way ahead of you,” Rayford said. “The Lord has already put that construction on my agenda.”

  __

  As the renovated earth took spectacular shape over the next forty-five days, Rayford found himself curious about the upcoming opening of the new temple. At another banquet of fresh fruit and steaming, buttery vegetables, he discussed this with Chaim and Tsion and Irene and several others. “Will Jesus explain it all?” Rayford said.

  Chaim and Tsion nodded. “Think of Jesus Himself as the government, Rayford,” Tsion said. “He will put in place princes and governors under His authority, but obviously, everything and everybody will report to Him. Any munitions left over from anywhere on the earth will be dismantled and eliminated. The temple will be full of priests, and the nations will be called to worship and sacrifice there.”

  “But you taught me that Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb who rendered the sacrifices obsolete. With Him here and in charge, what is the need for a temple, and especially for sacrifices?”

  Suddenly there came a long, loud blast from a sheep’s horn, and all at the table stood as one and hurried out.

  “You are about to get your answer from the ultimate authority,” Chaim said, hurrying along.

  As on the day of the sheep-and-goats judgment, Rayford could tell that the others knew instinctively that they were being called to assemble. They knew by whom and they knew where. It was merely their obligation to go.

  From all over the region, people streamed from their dwellings, many piling into vehicles, others walking toward the new temple site. Rayford headed for the eighteen-mile causeway to take in all of Jesus’ creativity along the way. As far as he could see, happy people were eager to see Jesus—not to mention His latest project.

  The seventy-five days since the sheep-and-goats judgment had flown so quickly that Rayford wondered at God’s economy of time. It wasn’t as if now, here on earth, a thousand years was as a day and a day a thousand years. But clearly that was true for God.

  Now, as Rayford and his friends and loved ones were passed by rolling caravans of people on their way to the new temple, the last thing on his mind was hitching a ride. A brisk walk of several miles was just what he needed.

  Paths and walkways that just days before had been sandy and dusty and desolate now teemed with lush green growth. Animals of every size and kind frolicked. Children ran and laughed.

  “What is that glorious smell?” Rayford said.

  Chaim pointed to the mountains and hills in the distance. “It smells like what it looks like,” he said.

  “Do we have time for a detour?” Rayford said.

  They left the route to the causeway, and many followed them to the foothills, where the streams had become pure white milk. Having only half finished his meal, Rayford knelt and cupped both hands in the white cascade, the icy flow hitting his taste buds like nectar.

  He rinsed his hands in the pure springwater of a nearby brook. “But milk is not what I smell,” he told Chaim. “I smell wine.”

  Again Chaim pointed, this time past the new foothills and to the rocky elevations that surrounded the city. There, gushing down the mountainsides were deep purple channels, collecting in great, beautiful pools below. “Do you believe this, Chaim?” Rayford said.

  The older man stood staring, then quietly quoted: “ ‘And it will come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drip with new wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water.’ ”

  Rayford closed his eyes and lifted his hands toward the temple, gleaming in the sun on the vast, elevated plain. “Hallelujah!” he cried. “We’re living the Bible!”

  He and Chaim turned back to the route that would take them to the causeway and eventually to Jesus, and all around them people shouted, “ ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel!’ ”

  When finally Rayford reached the northern end of the causeway, the millions pouring from the pavement to surround the seemingly endless temple stopped hundreds of feet below it in order to take it all in. Jesus the Christ needed no public address system, no microphone, no amplifier, no bullhorn. His voice was like the sound of many waters, and all Rayford could do was stand with arms outstretched, reaching toward Jesus. Though the Lord had to be miles away, Rayford saw Him clearly, and the earth shone with His glory.

&nbs
p; “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, I dwell in Zion on My holy mountain. Jerusalem shall be holy, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again. Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I, your Lord, dwell in Zion.

  “The mountain of My house is hereby established and shall be exalted above the hills. All nations shall flow to it. Many shall say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and My word from Jerusalem.”

  Rayford could barely take his eyes from the Lord, but the beauty of what He had created there overwhelmed him. Cypress trees decorated the expanse, next to pines and box trees.

  Jesus said, “All this to beautify the place of My sanctuary. I have made the place of My feet glorious. Now come and see what I have wrought.”

  Pristine white marble walls extended as far as the eye could see, and yet Rayford felt no compulsion to move—and neither, it was clear, did anyone else. He suddenly knew what the prophets meant when they used such language as “the hand of the Lord was upon me and He took me there in the visions of God.”

  Rayford felt transported to the top of a nearby mountain, from which he looked to the south and could take in the entire structure, akin to a city in itself.

  Jesus said, “Look and hear and fix your mind on everything I show you.”

  Only from this perch could Rayford take in the wall that extended all the way around the temple, its width and height equal. The gateway that faced east lay at the top of a set of stairs that was also the width of the wall. Each gate chamber was the same length and width, as was the vestibule of the inside gate.

  The eastern gateway bore three gate chambers on one side and three on the other; again, all the same size. From the front of the entrance gate to the front of the vestibule of the inner gate were beveled window frames in the gate chambers and in their intervening archways on the inside of the gateway all around, likewise in the vestibules and all around on the inside. On each gatepost were palm trees.

  In the outer court, thirty chambers faced a pavement that extended all the way around. These same features appeared on all four sides of the temple. Gateposts faced the outer court, and palm trees stood on its gateposts on both sides, and seven steps led up to it. There Rayford saw a chamber that appeared to have been equipped with tables on which to process offerings.

  Rayford had thought Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb, so he was surprised to see offering tables. But Jesus said, “Here is where the priests will slay the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. There are eight tables on which they will slaughter the sacrifices. There are also four tables of hewn stone for the burnt offering, and on these they will lay the instruments with which they slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice.”

  Rayford remained puzzled, but he knew the Lord would somehow make it clear why all this was necessary. Inside he saw hooks fastened all around; and the flesh of the sacrifices was already on the tables.

  Jesus said, “Outside the inner gate are the chambers for the singers in the inner court. This chamber, which faces south, will be for the priests who have charge of the temple. These will be the sons of Zadok, from the sons of Levi, who come near Me to minister to Me.” The altar lay in front of the temple.

  Then the Lord showed the sanctuary and said, “This is the Most Holy Place.”

  The beauty of the architecture washed over Rayford, and despite his questions, he was speechless. The width of the structure increased as one went from the lowest story to the highest. The doors of the side chambers opened onto a terrace, one door toward the north and another toward the south. Three stories opposite the threshold were paneled with wood from the ground to the windows made with cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Each cherub had two faces, so that the face of a man was toward a palm tree on one side, and the face of a young lion toward a palm tree on the other; thus it was throughout the temple all around.

  The doorposts of the temple were square, as was the front of the sanctuary. The altar was of wood. And Jesus said, “This is the table that is before the Lord.” Cherubim and palm trees were carved on the doors of the temple, just as they were on the walls.

  Before Rayford could ask again the reason for the continuance of animal sacrifices, Jesus brought him out into the outer court by the way toward the north, into the chamber opposite the courtyard. Chambers had been built into the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east. There was a walk in front of them also.

  Jesus said, “The north and south chambers are the holy chambers where the priests who approach the Lord shall eat the most holy offerings. There they shall lay the most holy offerings—the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering—for the place is holy. When the priests enter them, they shall not go out of the holy chamber into the outer court; but there they shall leave their garments in which they minister, for they are holy. They shall put on other garments; then they may approach that which is for the people.”

  Rayford still had questions, of course, but he was speechless as the glory of the Lord entered the temple by way of the gate that faced east. Jesus said, “This is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. When they set their threshold by My threshold, and their doorpost by My doorpost, with a wall between them and Me, they defiled My holy name by the abominations which they committed; therefore I have consumed them in My anger. Now let them put their harlotry and the carcasses of their kings far away from Me, and I will dwell in their midst forever. Now that I have judged those who rejected me, those who remain shall keep the temple’s ordinances and perform them. This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy.”

  The altar hearth had four horns extending upward from it. And Jesus said, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘These are the ordinances for the altar on the day when it is made, for sacrificing burnt offerings on it, and for sprinkling blood on it. A young bull shall be given for a sin offering to the priests, the Levites, the seed of Zadok, who approach Me to minister to Me. They shall take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar, on the four corners of the ledge, and on the rim around it; thus they shall cleanse it and make atonement for it. Then they shall also take the bull of the sin offering and burn it in the appointed place of the temple, outside the sanctuary. On the second day they shall offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they cleansed it with the bull. When they have finished cleansing it, they shall offer a young bull without blemish and a ram from the flock without blemish. When they offer them before the Lord, the priests shall throw salt on them, and they will offer them up as a burnt offering to the Lord.

  “ ‘Every day for seven days they shall prepare a goat for a sin offering; they shall also prepare a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without blemish. Seven days they shall make atonement for the altar and purify it, and so consecrate it. When these days are over it shall be, on the eighth day and thereafter, that the priests shall offer their burnt offerings and their peace offerings on the altar; and I will accept you.’ ”

  Surely these were the words of God, and while they left Rayford still wondering why burnt offerings were required when Jesus Himself had been the sacrificial Lamb, he was unable to speak.

  Then Jesus showed the outer gate of the sanctuary that faced east, but it was shut. He said, “This gate shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it. As for the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway and go out the same way.

  “Son of man, mark well, see with
your eyes and hear with your ears all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.

  “The Levites who went far from Me when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. Yet now they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.

  “But the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood. They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge. No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. They shall not take as wife a widow or a divorced woman, but take virgins of the descendants of the house of Israel, or widows of priests. And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings.

  “My princes shall no more oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel, according to their tribes. O princes of Israel, remove violence and plundering, execute justice and righteousness, and stop dispossessing My people.

 
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