Not One Stone Left On Another

Today’s musing begins Chapter 2 of “Studies In Revelation,” which is called “Signs of the Times: Olivet Discourse,” Jesus’ famous discussion of future events.

NOT ONE STONE LEFT ON ANOTHERJesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2)

Impressed by the magnificence of Herod’s temple (actually the restoration of Zerubbabel’s Temple), the disciples were likely startled to hear Jesus prophesy the destruction of such a massive structure, or that God would permit it. Yet Jesus was emphatic: “not one stone would be left on top of another.” (1)

The First Temple – The first temple, conceived by King David, was built by his son Solomon around 960 BC. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

The Second Temple – The Persians (under Cyrus) allowed the Jews (under Zerubbabel) to return to Jerusalem to rebuild a second temple. Considerably smaller than Solomon’s, King Herod later enlarged it and adorned it with marble and gold. This was the temple that Jesus and His disciples saw. (2) Herod’s building projects were masterpieces that were designed to last “forever,” and some still stand to this day. Yet the temple, which was his proudest accomplishment and the most magnificent and massive of his structures (the project took 84 years to complete – from 20 BC to 64 AD), was destroyed just a few years after its completion. In 70 AD, Jesus’ prophecy was literally fulfilled when the Roman general Titus and his legions, did exactly what Jesus had predicted. While a portion (the wailing-wall) still stands today, it is merely a remnant of the retaining wall of the temple courtyard and not part of the temple proper. (3) Not one stone was left on another.

A Third Temple – Ezekiel had a vision (Ezekiel 40:5 – 43:17) of what appears to be a third temple. It could not be Solomon’s temple, because that one had already been destroyed. The second temple rebuilt under Zerubbabel and expanded by Herod does not appear to match the description given by Ezekiel. Interpretations concerning this as yet unbuilt temple have generally fallen along one of three lines.

Millennial View – This view anticipates a literal fulfillment, with a physical temple and a real earthly King in Jerusalem for an intermediate era before the final consummation of all things.

Spiritual View – In this view, the vision is assumed to refer to the Christian age with the Church seen as a figurative “temple” and Christ as the Church’s Lord.

Eternal View – The prophecy is fulfilled in the eternal state. (4)

Next Up – The Questions that prompted the Olivet Discourse.

  1. Mills, M. S. (1999). The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Mt 24:1–Lk 21:6). Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries.
  2. Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (pp. 633–634). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.
  3. Mills, M. S. (1999). The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Mt 24:1–Lk 21:6). Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries.
  4. Easley, K. H. (2002). Holman QuickSource guide to understanding the Bible (p. 164). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s