Prediction of the Destruction of the Temple
Text: Matthew 24 : 1 - 51
Like many others, the disciples were enamoured of the Temple buildings. There was almost a sense of pride and joy because these buildings were built at great expense. They may indeed be described as beautiful. Jesus, however, was not in the least impressed. When the leaders of the nation, represented by the scribes and the Pharisees were corrupt, divine discipline could be expected. Jerusalem and its temple had been destroyed before, yet Israel did not appear to have learned the lessons it was supposed to have.
“Then Jesus went and departed from the temple, and His disciples
came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 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
These were solemn words indeed. They were not to be taken lightly! The destruction of the temple was the subject of a number of psalms. The historic destruction of the temple in 586BC by Nebuchadnezzar was an event the Jews never allowed themselves to forget.
LAMENT PSALMS WRITTEN IN MEMORY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE
Two lament prayers from the Asaphic collection of Psalms may be cited to provide insight as to the significance of the prediction Jesus made concerning the destruction of the temple.
“O God, why have You cast us off forever?
Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary.
Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place.
And now they break down its carved work, all at once,
With axes and hammers,
They have set fire to Your sanctuary;
They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground.”
PSALM 74:1, 3-4, 6-7
“O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance;
Your holy temple they have defiled;
They have laid Jerusalem in heaps.
The dead bodies of Your servants
They have given ass food for the birds of the heavens,
The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth.”
A PROPHET’S WARNING
Jeremiah was one of the most outstanding prophets that Israel ever had. He too prophesied the destruction of the temple in his time.
” ‘But go now to My place which was in Shiloh,
where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it
because of the wickedness of My people Israel.
And now, because you have done all these works,’ says the Lord,
‘and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you
did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer,
therefore I will do to the house which is called by My Name,
in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you
and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out
of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren…”
Jeremiah lived to see his prophecy fulfilled before his very eyes. Painfully he recorded the fall of Jerusalem.
“In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month,
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against
Jerusalem, and besieged it. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah,
in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the city
Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before
his eyes in Riblah; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles
of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him
with bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon.
And the Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the houses
of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem.”
JEREMIAH 39:1-2, 6-8
Another account explicitly described the destruction of the temple.
“Then they burned the house of God, broke down
the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire,
and destroyed all its precious possessions.”
2 CHRONICLES 36:19
The words of Jesus were ominous. He had predicted the fall of the temple. That must also mean that Jerusalem would be destroyed! What awesome words to speak!