Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, “These things which you see–the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.” (Luke 21:5-6)
The End Of The Temples
The Temple in Jerusalem must have been a spectacular thing to see gleaming atop Mount Zion as you approached the city. Jesus had seen the beauty of Solomon’s temple and walking in the portico’s of Herod’s temple the disciples boasted of its splendor. Being a master teacher the Lord used the moment to teach a valuable lesson about what men see and what God sees.
Looking at the Temple from man’s viewpoint they admired the architecture that had taken forty-six years to build. Expert masons had carved the marble and stone into a work of art. Beautiful stones gleamed in the sun as the people revered the holy place of the Lord. The Temple was a great comfort for the Jews as the oppression of multiple empires enslaved them. It was a symbol of their hope the days of glory under David and Solomon would return. Sadly their trust was misplaced in the expectation the Temple would always be there.
Jesus saw a different picture. He could see the beauty of the Temple in its ornate tapestry of mortar and stone. The Lord was not suggesting the place of worship was not a thing of beauty but He saw beyond the glistening jewels to a day when the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Temple demolished. His word came to pass in the year 70 A.D. when the Roman general Titus laid siege to the city and destroyed it. Today the Temple is not to be found. It will never be rebuilt. The word of the Lord came to pass.
There are two temples that man adores today that will go the way of the Jerusalem temple. The beauty of the world surpasses anything man can build. Nothing in the architecture of man can match the magnificence of God’s creation. The heavens above proclaim His name. The majesty of the mountains, plains and seas declare the glory of God. Earth is a living wonder of the powerful hand of a master Creator. We can look upon all its beauty and know that one day it will all come to an end. It is easy to become enraptured with the feeling that life is about this third rock from the sun. The one who created it has also told us He will destroy it. Not one stone will be left on top of one another.
Another temple that men worship is the fleshly body. It is a temple that declares the glory of its maker. The body is a wonderful creation that is marvelous in its function. Thousands of dollars are spent to care for the body, make the body beautiful and retain youth as long as possible. But like the temple of this world it too is fading into destruction. No matter how hard we try to extend life it will come to an end. Death is certain. Life is but a short vale of mist and then it goes away.
Jesus’ words should remind us the grandeur of the Temple was temporary. This world is doomed to destruction and the fleshly body is fading away. Hope is not in this life. Hope is in the life to come. God has given us the testimony of these temples to show the glory not of this life but the precious hope of a life eternal. The temple of God in the heavenly will never be destroyed. There will be no need of light. God will be that light. It will be a wonderful place of beauty because it is everlasting.
To rest in God eternally is the supreme joy of Heaven. Indeed, Heaven has no meaning but that. (Bede Jarrett, Meditations for Layfolk, 1915)