About a couple of years ago there was a church fire here in Indianapolis. It was determined to be an arsonist that has struck several different places. The tragic part of that story, about a church family losing their meeting place, ended up being the most inspiring part. On the news report the pastor and several church members were interviewed. Each spoke of the same thing. That they would not stop meeting, because the building they were in was not the church. The people were. They realized that the presence of God with them made them a church family, and that’s all they needed. We see this same thing represented in Matthew 24:1-2.
Matthew 24: 1 - Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.
1. Besides Scripture, the Temple was the most iconic symbol to the Jewish community of that day.
History of Temple: Originally built by Solomon. Later destroyed by the Babylonians. Rebuilt by Ezra in the 6th Century. Destroyed by the Saleucids in the 2nd Century. Reconstructed by Maccabees soon after. Herod started the construction/expansion of the about 19 BC and took about 46 years. However, the Temple was not completely finished until 63AD.
1st Century Jewish historian, Josephus described the Temple, “Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes, for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for, as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white.”
The disciples’ reaction to the “magnificence” of the temple was understandable. (FROG IN BOILING WATER)
2. Just like the disciples, today’s culture is also trapped in the admiration of iconic symbols of the day.
This Friday I will be heading to the Human Trap that was set by a mouse.
Just like the Jerusalem temple, this mouse temple will someday fall as well.
Matthew 24:2 - 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.”
Jesus gives here a prophecy after leaving the temple for the final time.
Spurgeon wrote – “His ministry there was ended. As His disciples moved away with Him towards the Mount of Olives, they called His attention to the great stones of which the temple was constructed, and the costly adornments of the beautiful building. To them the appearance was glorious; but to their Lord it was a sad sight. His Father’s house, which ought to have been a house of prayer for all nations, had become a den of thieves, and soon would be utterly destroyed.”
In about 70 AD, because the Jewish Revolts starting in 66 AD, Caesar ordered the destruction of the temple.
Josephus wrote – “Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the whole city and temple, except the three towers Phaselus, Hippicus, and Mariamne, and a part of the western wall; but all the rest was laid so completely even with the ground, by those who dug it up from the foundation, that there was nothing left to make those who came thither believe it had ever been inhabited.”
In the verse, the phrase “thrown down” is translated from the Greek word kataluo. This is a very strong verb in the Greek language that means to destroy. The prophecy came mostly true when the Romans violently tore down the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I say mostly because there is still some of the temple that still exists to this day. Jesus said that there would not be ONE STONE left on another. Some believe that there Jesus’ prophecy came true with their…