Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” — Matthew 24:1-2.

We remember this incident at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. – John 2:19-22.

Now, at the close of his earthly ministry, Jesus does indeed speak of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem that had taken Herod the Great 46 years to build!

“the temple” (v.1) This was the Greek word for the whole temple area (hieron, cf. Mark 13:1). Jesus had been teaching there since Matt. 21:23. This building itself (naos, cf. Mark 15:38) had become the great Jewish hope (cf. Jeremiah 7), a symbol of God’s exclusive love for the Jews.

“buildings” They were white polished limestone with gold trim. This building project took Herod the Great more than 46 years to complete (cf. John. 2:20). This project was meant to placate the Jews, who were upset because an Idumean (of Edom) was ruling over them.

“stone” (v.2) Josephus tells us that Herod the Great used polished limestone or mezzeh, which were native to this area. These foundation stones and wall stones were huge, 25x8x12 cubits (a cubit was 18-21 inches; thus, the total volume of one of these stones would have been approximately 3600 cubic feet).

“not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” This is the strong grammatical structure of two double negatives. This speaks of total destruction. This must have amazed the disciples! Josephus tells us that in A.D. 70 the Roman army destroyed this site so completely that one could plow the ground on the Mount where the temple stood.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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