I decided to look deeper at the teachings of Jesus on end times events. The great thing about the BIble is we are told what is coming. We are also told what to do and what to look for. Jesus gives specific details on what to look for as the end draws near. However, we must remember who he is speaking to. We start our lesson at the temple in Jerusalem.
Let’s break down the passages from Matthew 24 and 25. This will help us get a better grip on this teaching. We want to understand the context of the passages. Honestly, it’s a hard chapter to understand because Jesus gives the disciples so much information. We will break it down bit by bit. My Bible calls these chapters the Olivet Discourse because they were on the Mount of Olives at the time.
We’ll start in Matthew 24.
Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple
“1- Jesus left the temple and was going away when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you; there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
Two thousand plus years later, we know there is no temple in Israel today. There has been lots of talk about building a third temple soon. I heard they have everything they need. However, I am not sure what the trigger will be for starting construction. But I believe once they start, it will go fast, unlike temples built 2,500 years ago.
So, what temple is Jesus talking about? Is he talking about the present temple the disciples are drooling over or a future temple?
For the answer, I went to a few Bible commentaries. I want to see what they have to say.
First up: My NIV Study Bible
The NIV Study Bible says, “Fulfilled literally in AD 70 when the Romans under Titus completely destroyed Jerusalem and the temple buildings. Stones were even pried apart to collect the gold leaf that melted from the roof when the temple was set on fire.
Excavations in 1968 uncovered large numbers of these stones, toppled from the walls by the invaders.”
Next commentary resource
The Moody Bible Commentary says, “Not one stone here will be left upon another may refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70, but the events described by Jesus in verses 4-28 do not fit what is known of those days. If Matthew’s gospel was written before AD 70, and the evidence indicates that it was, then a reasonable understanding of verse 2 is that He is referring to the trauma that would be incurred by the Holy City during the future tribulation period.
This well-known end-times event would have been readily familiar to Matthew’s readers and Jesus’ disciples, but the same cannot be said for AD 70 as it had not yet occurred.”
Matthew Henry Commentary says, “His disciples came up to him to call his attention to the buildings of the temple. It was a stately and beautiful structure. It was richly furnished with gifts and offerings. They showed Christ these things and desired him to take notice of them, either,
- As being most pleased with them themselves and expecting he should be too. They had lived in Galilee, at a distance from the temple, had seldom seen it, and therefore were the more struck with admiration at it and thought he should admire it as much as they did all this glory. The temple was indeed glorious, but (1) its glory was sullied and stained with the sin of the priests and people. (2) Its glory was eclipsed and outdone by the presence of Christ in it.
2. As grieving that this house should be left desolate, they showed him the buildings as if they would move him to reverse the sentence. Christ had lately looked on the precious souls and wept for them. The disciples look on the pompous buildings and are ready to weep for them. In this, as in other things, his thoughts are not like ours.
Christ, instead of reversing the decree, ratifies it; “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another.” He speaks of it as a certain ruin: “I tell you the truth.” I, who know what I say. He speaks of it as an utter ruin. The temple shall not only be stripped, and plundered, and defaced, but utterly demolished and laid waste; “Not one stone will be left on another.”
Though Titus, when he took the city, did all he could to preserve the temple, yet he could not restrain the enraged soldiers from destroying it utterly, and it was done to that degree that Turnus Rufus ploughed up the ground on which it stood.”
Important to note
The temple was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans. There is no temple in Jerusalem today. The Jewish people are planning on building a third temple, but it is anyone’s guess at this point when construction starts.
According to some, “there were still two more stages in the progressive fulfillment of the predictions in Daniel and Matthew: (1) the Roman destruction of the temple in AD 70, and (2) a still future setting up of an image of the antichrist in Jerusalem.”
More on this later as we make our way through these passages. We have a lot of ground to cover, holy ground that is.
Until next time, keep looking up, seeking the Lord, reading your Bible, and praying for people everywhere to come to the Lord Jesus while there is still time.
The Teaching Lady