Kidron Saga, Part 4: Jesus and the Glory of God
Let’s recap our Kidron Saga so far: We’ve seen God’s presence dwelling among people first in the Garden of Eden, then in the Tabernacle, then in the Temple before departing Jerusalem. But this isn’t the end! God sent His Son, Jesus, to dwell among men, which we’ll take a close look at this week.
Jesus’ deity was hard for the Israelites to grasp. They were expecting God’s glory to be localized in the same way it had been with the Tabernacle and the first Temple. But this time, God came to dwell with man as a Man in the form of His Son. Though the Jewish people rejected Him then and largely still do today, this set the stage for how God’s glory would return in the next step of His plan to dwell with man. We hope you’re ready to learn from this week’s excellent teaching!
If you missed the first three parts of this series, you can find them on our Archives page!
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. Don't forget to visit our website, foiradio.org. There you'll find out more information about the Friends of Israel Today radio program. You'll also find archived pages of over six years worth of Chris's teaching. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, it's going to be really important for our listeners to go to foiradio.org because we're actually entering into our fourth installment of a series that we're in right now called The Kidron Saga. We're actually going to be looking at the meaning of what it meant for Jesus to come, Jesus, the actual manifestation, the presence of God on earth as He walked around. It's all going to make sense, but you know what? You got to go to foiradio.org to catch up if you haven't listened to any of the messages yet. You'll find them all there. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Steve Conover: Again, that's foiradio.org. In the news, Hamas, the terrorist organization governing the Gaza Strip, they congratulated the Taliban reconquest of Afghanistan and the "defeat" of the United States. This after President Biden withdrew the remaining American forces from Kabul. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also commented, saying, "The military defeat and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan should offer an opportunity to restore life, security, and lasting peace in that country."
Chris Katulka: Steve, this is my take. With all the congratulatory remarks coming from Hamas, coming from Iran, even coming from China in some ways, I think this is a sign that this was the wrong way to leave Afghanistan. Biden's withdrawal has Hamas cheering. It has Iran ready to pounce. Remember, Iran sits right on the border of Afghanistan. They've got troops ready to go, ready to pounce into Afghanistan. China, they're already congratulating the Taliban and saying that they recognize the Taliban as the government that's over Afghanistan which just shows that they're looking for an opportunity. The negative ramifications of our president's decisions, they are numerous. He has opened America and Israel up to new potential terrorist threats.
So we're continuing our six-part series on the Kidron Saga and again, the reason I've called it the Kidron Saga, it's simple. It's because the Kidron Valley is a specific location in Jerusalem that much of biblical prophecy takes place in. In Jerusalem, there are two mountains that sit side by side next to one another. That's Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives. We're studying the prophetic tension that exists between these two mountains and what sits between them is the Kidron Valley. Look, as we've been studying the Kidron Valley, we started looking at a major component to biblical prophecy. That's God's physical presence dwelling with his creation. The Hebrew word for dwelling to to dwell is shakan. Maybe you've heard the term shekinah glory, the shekinah glory of God dwelling with his people. This Hebrew word will actually make its way throughout scripture. It's found in the Old Testament. It's found in the New Testament. It's a reminder that God desires to dwell with his creation. The Kidron Valley is going to become that prophetic footpath for that to happen.
Now, in the last three episodes, we studied how the physical presence of God came down into the tabernacle, Exodus 40, into the temple, 1 Kings 8, and how the physical presence of the Lord actually departed from the temple before it was destroyed in 586 BC because of Israel's sins. It's really important to understand what happened after the temple was destroyed, but God wanted the Jewish people to rebuild the temple 70 years later and by 516, 517 BC, the Jewish people rebuilt the temple. God encouraged them to do it. The prophets had encouraged the Jewish people to do it. What's amazing is that when you see that temple, that second temple finally built, well no glory returned to it. That's right. Remember, once the tabernacle was completed, God's glory came down. We did a whole message on that. After that, the first temple was built and once the first temple was completed, God's glory came down, but after the second temple was completed, nothing happened. It was empty. Really the Jewish people, they knew this. They understood that God's presence wasn't there.
Fast forward to the days of Jesus, that second temple that was rebuilt actually received a major facelift by Herod the Great. The temple that Herod built, actually you can still see remaining ruins of the retaining wall that once held up the temple in Jerusalem. It's an amazing feat that Herod did. It was considered one of the most beautiful temples in all of the Roman Empire, but none of that mattered because God's physical presence wasn't in the Holy of Holies. This fact becomes important to how we understand what the Jewish people were feeling during the days of Jesus. Religious Jewish people knew the temple was devoid of God's glory. They knew his physical presence was absent from the Holy of Holies. It's the reason they were longing for the messiah to come, the messiah that they believed would lead the Jewish people back to God. He would deliver them from their enemies and God's glory would return. This is what the Jewish people were waiting for. They were waiting for God's glory to return to Israel.
Listen, God's glory did return, but just not the way that they were expecting it to. Listen to how John's gospel describes the birth of Christ. Just listen to John 1:14, a verse that you probably read a lot on Christmas cards, but listen to this. "And the Word," that's Christ. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father full of grace and truth." Now, you might be familiar with that verse, but I want to go back to this moment when the tabernacle and temple, when God's presence comes into the tabernacle and temple because I want you to hear the similarities that John is picking up on here to communicate something very important. Listen to this, Exodus 40:34-35, "Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle and Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle."
1 Kings 8:10-13, "And when the priest came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the priest could not stand to minister because of the cloud. For the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord and then Solomon said, 'The Lord has said that He would dwell in a thick darkness. I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.'" Do you see the similarities between these incredibly important verses? Exodus 40, "The glory came down and it dwelled, shakan, in the tabernacle." 1 Kings 8, "The glory came down and dwelled, shakan, in the temple." Now, look. As Jewish people in the days of Jesus are looking for the glory of God to return to the temple, they missed an incredibly important event. Look at John 1:14, "The glory came down and dwelled." That same word, shakan, that is found in Exodus 40, that is found in 1 Kings 8, is communicated in the Greek this time, not in the Hebrew. It comes across ... Did you hear what it said? It said in John 1:14 that, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." That same word is used there.
Jesus is Immanuel which in Hebrew means God with us. God's presence was walking among his people. Now, remember what happened to God's glory when He left the temple before its destruction in 586 BC. You got to go back and listen to that message that we did in our third installment of this series. God's presence left the Holy of Holies in Ezekiel 8-11. It moved through the temple, out the east gate, down the Kidron Valley, over to the Mount of Olives, and then God's presence departed. Okay. So now that you know God's glory returned in the person of Jesus Christ, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," now watch the prophetic tension between these two mountains unfold.
But before we get there, before we look at that tension begin to unfold with Jesus, the city of Jerusalem has been the center of the world's attention throughout history, but it's greatest moments are actually still yet to come. That's what we're talking about in this series that we're doing here as we're talking about the Kidron Valley. Dr. Randall Price, he digs into Scripture to explain how major Bible prophecies will converge and culminate in this very city in the end times. His writings are going to take you through biblical history to the current state of Jerusalem in the Middle East to the glorious future of the city and its heavenly counterpart the new Jerusalem. Find out what will happen, who will be involved, and how God will fulfill prophecy in Jerusalem in this comprehensive study called Jerusalem in Prophecy. Steve, can you let our listeners know how they can purchase their copy of Dr. Randall Price's Jerusalem in Prophecy?
Steve Conover: Yeah, the easiest way, Chris, is just visit our radio website at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. There you can learn more or purchase your copy.
Chris Katulka: Okay. So God's presence did return. He returned in the person of Jesus Christ. Now, watch this. In Matthew 21, Jesus is standing on top of the Mount of Olives. That should immediately get your minds moving to knowing that God's glory, remember, departed from the Mount of Olives back in Ezekiel chapter 11. Now, Jesus is on top of the Mount of Olives and He sends two disciples saying this in Matthew 21, starting in Verse 1. "Go into the village in front of you and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them and He will send them at once.' This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet saying, 'Say to the daughter of Zion behold your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"
Okay. So look, Jesus is fulfilling what the prophet Zechariah prophesied about, that Israel's king would come mounted on a donkey, but also notice the path He's taking to get to Jerusalem, to get to the temple. He started at the top of the Mount of Olives and Jesus is traveling down the Kidron Valley in order to make his way into the temple which is exactly what He does. Listen to the rest of the account here starting in Verse 7 of Matthew 21. It says, "They brought the donkey and the colt and they put on their cloaks and He sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!' When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred, saying, 'Who is this?' The crowd said, 'This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.'"
There's something interesting to pick up on here because Jesus is making his way down the Kidron Valley. People are crying out that He's the king of Israel, but when He makes his way into Jerusalem, it says that the whole city was stirred and they started asking, "Who is this guy?" The crowds replied, "This is the prophet Jesus." Now, yes, Jesus fulfills the duties of a prophet, but He's more than a prophet. He's Israel's King. He's their Messiah. The nation of Israel would actually go on to reject him. They would turn their back on him. What's even more interesting is that after his journey into Jerusalem, He enters into the temple and He overturns the tables. Do you remember that account? It's almost like a scene from Ezekiel 8-11 that we learned about last week. God's people turned their back on him again. They rejected their king. Their rejection of Christ was fully seen when the religious leaders convinced the Romans to have Jesus crucified. He hung on a cross, was buried, but gloriously came back, bursting from the grave, resurrecting, proving He is Israel's King who defeated the greatest enemy, sin.
But again, watch what happens at the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives. After being with his disciples for 40 days after teaching them about the kingdom of God after He's resurrected, Jesus takes the disciples to the Mount of Olives in Acts 1 and look what He does. Jesus gives the disciples incredible information on the coming of the Holy Spirit. Then look in Verse 9 of Acts 1. It says, "As they were looking on, He was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight." Amazing. Jesus departed. Ask yourself a few questions here. Did Jewish people come to believe that Jesus was the king of Israel? You don't have to be a Bible scholar. No, they rejected him. He was still rejected by his people. Even John says in John 1:11 that “He came to his own,” that's the Jewish people, “and his own did not receive him.” They rejected him and Jesus took the same path the glory of God did in Ezekiel 11. The risen Lord Jesus left Jerusalem, went down the Kidron Valley, up to the Mount of Olives with his disciples, and there He was lifted up.
Just as Jesus was ascending into heaven, listen to this, two men stood by the disciples. They were wearing white robes and they said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will come the same way as you saw him go into heaven." These angelic messengers were even telling the disciples that Jesus is coming back. And you know where He's coming back to? That's right. The Mount of Olives. You know what's amazing? When you read the prophet Zechariah, he tells you exactly where the Messiah's going to come. Zechariah 14:4, "On that day, his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley." Jesus is following the same path the glory did in Ezekiel. He will return. When Jesus returns at a second coming, He will return to the Mount of Olives in glory and power and He will walk down the Kidron Valley into the temple in Jerusalem and establish himself as Israel's king and the glory will return just as Ezekiel and Zechariah had promised.
But listen, you might be thinking, "All right. That's it. The message is done, right?" No, we're not done yet. The Kidron Saga lives on. Next week, we're going to look at the message Jesus gave the disciples from the Mount of Olives and what it means for us today.
Steve Conover: Chris, you talked about how they missed the point when Jesus first came. They didn't see it. When are we guilty of that as Christians?
Chris Katulka: Yeah, it's interesting. Number one, the Scriptures are always our guidelines on how God reveals himself. We don't want to go outside of what the Scriptures teach, but clearly the religious leaders of Jesus' day were too rigid. They couldn't imagine the fact that God would leave the Holy of Holies and come in the person and the form of the Messiah, Jesus. Because of that, because of their rigidness, they rejected Jesus, but I think there's an understanding of how sometimes even in our own rigidness, we can neglect how God is working in our lives or how God is revealing himself to us. Again, always within the confines of what Scripture teaches. We could never go outside of that, only stay within that, but being also open to how God is speaking to us and using us so that we can better serve other people as well.
Steve Conover: We can expect God to sign our bottom line of our plans instead of being willing to bend to what He might be doing.
Chris Katulka: Exactly.
Steve Conover: Israel on the verge of becoming a state, a teenage Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collective writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: During the recent election campaign here in Israel, various candidates battled for the office of prime minister. One candidate in particular, a rabbi running on an ultra orthodox party ticket, placed an ad in the newspaper stating, "God will judge those who do not give their votes to our political party." A few days later, he ran another, stating, "If you vote for our party, you will earn a place in the Garden of Eden. It'll be your passport to paradise." These claims upset me and the Lord gave me the courage to go to the party's headquarters to discuss them. As soon as people there saw I was not wearing a hat or beard, they became suspicious and asked, "Who are you and what do you want here?" I replied, "Your newspaper ad states you have the power to send people to paradise if they vote for your party. As far as I know, God is the only one who has this authority. Has He given you power to act on his behalf?"
They thought I was crazy and called over one of their so-called fighters to set me straight. He asked why I was attacking them. I responded, "I have not come here to attack you. I would like to know why you are using God's name in your advertising. The 10 Commandments state you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7." They ask what political party I represented. "I do not represent any party, but as a believer in God according to the scriptures, I consider your statements blasphemous. I know what the Lord expects of us as his chosen people and I could not rest until I came here and told you. If I had not come, I would have been guilty before God. He has instructed us to go to all nations and preach the gospel of the Lord."
The man then asked, "Do you know the Talmud?" I answered, "I try my best to keep the law of the Lord, but I do not follow your false beliefs." He then asked, "Do you know about the 613 oral laws?" I replied, "It is impossible to keep the 10 Commandments. So how do you expect a person to keep 613 laws?" By now, he was frustrated and said, "Let us go down to the bottom line. What is your faith?" "I believe in the Lord, not according to your false traditions, but according to the scriptures. You are trying to draw others into your trap and it is my duty before God to try and stop you. I did not come here to threaten you as your rabbi has done by telling people if they do not vote for your party, God will judge them." He then changed the subject and asked what I thought about the coming of the messiah. I opened my Bible and I read Isaiah 53 and asked, "Do you think we should be looking for the messiah to come or to return?" "What do you think," he asked in return.
I replied, "I do not have to think. I know because it is written here in the Bible which was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Messiah as already once come and one day soon, He will come again." Before I left, I gave my testimony about how I came to believe in the Lord Jesus as my Savior and Israel's Messiah. I pray I will have further opportunities to speak with him and that they will see the danger of taking the Lord's name in vain.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us today. This has been a fascinating series, Chris. Where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: Yeah, so as I said earlier, the message that Jesus gave the disciples from the Mount of Olives is a very encouraging one, one that actually matters to this concept of shakan, God's dwelling. I think it's going to be important for us to understand what that means for our lives today. So it's going to be an interesting continuation of our series.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. One last quick reminder as we part ways. Visit foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Jerusalem in Prophecy
Apples of Gold: Only God Can Send a Person to Paradise
During an election campaign in Israel, various candidates battled for the office of prime minister. One candidate in particular — a rabbi running on an ultra-Orthodox party ticket — placed an ad in the newspaper stating that God would judge those who did not give their votes to his political party. This bothered Zvi, and the Lord gave him the courage to go to the party’s headquarters to have a discussion about it. Listen to this week’s edition of Apples of Gold to find out what happened next!
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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