Jesus' Prophecy About the Temple
Updated: Aug 29, 2018
The Temple in Jerusalem was more than a place of worship for Israel. It was a symbol of the nation and the center of its culture and identity. The 2nd Temple in Jerusalem was completed in 516 B.C. and was greatly expanded and improved by Herod the Great with construction beginning around 20 B.C. By all eyewitness accounts, it was a beautiful and impressive building, and considered one of the wonders of the world of that time. Constructed of white marble with large amounts of gold inside and out, it could be seen for miles and appeared to glow when the sun shone on it.
As Jesus was leaving the Temple one day, his disciples were admiring it and pointing out the beautiful detailing. Jesus heard them talking and said something shocking:
“As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” -- Luke 21:6 (ESV)
Imagine hearing that a structure that had been the focus of the entire nation for generations would be torn down. But less than 40 years later, it happened just as Jesus described.
In 65 A.D., the Roman governor Florus stole ¾ tons of gold from the Temple. This touched off a riot and series of events that lead to an all-out war with the Jews. By 70 A.D., Rome had had enough and sent a general named Titus to finish off the city of Jerusalem.
The Romans laid siege to the city for 7 months and many of the Jews starved and resorted to cannibalism. When the city finally fell, Titus wanted to spare the Temple because it was such a beautiful building. He ordered that no one was to touch the Temple. Unfortunately, a fire erupted and burned over the Temple mount. As the gold began to melt, the Roman soldiers began dismantling the Temple to get the molten gold from between the stones. They then threw the blocks off of the Temple platform. This fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy that not one stone would be left on another and would be thrown down. The detail of his description can not be missed because it is exactly what happened.
(All of the details of the siege are recounted by a first century historian named Flavius Josephus in his book “The Jewish War”.)