What does it mean to lose the temple? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We’re going to be looking at the Olivet Discourse. The first verse is very basic and I am tying it in with the second. If you don’t have your Bible there with you and don’t want to look it up online, I will post the verses here.
“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
We really need to think about what this means. The temple was not just a nice place to go and worship. For many of us, if our church buildings burnt down, that would be a tragedy, but we could eventually build new ones. No. The temple was the place that symbolized the covenant between God and Israel. If the temple was standing, then all was good between God and Israel. When the exiles returned from Babylon, the first thing they started building was the temple. They had to be encouraged to return to that building, but building it was essential.
The closest parallel I can name for us today that we can relate to is 9-11. It is possible to rebuild and make even better than before, but when those towers were hit, it was as if our country was hit as the towers were a symbol of the success of our country especially on an economic level. Those were towering bastions that reminded New Yorkers and any tourists coming through of the success of America.
You can picture what other catastrophes would be like. What if England lost Big Ben? What if France lost the Eiffel Tower? What if Egypt lost the Sphinx and/or Pyramids? What if India lost the Taj Mahal? Each of these would represent a great loss to the people.
Yet none of those could compare to the temple being lost. Losing the temple is not just losing a great tourist site or a pretty building. Losing the temple is losing the presence and the favor of God Himself.
Why am I stressing this so much? Because if we want to get into what is going on in the Olivet Discourse, we need to have it stated clearly what is going on in the culture. This would be a massive loss to the people. It would mean a massive upheaval has taken place. This temple was destroyed in 70 AD and Judaism hasn’t been the same since. Even many dispensationalists recognize the importance of the temple since they want to do all they can to build a temple.
So when the disciples hear this, they know something big is happening. To use another example, it would be like if we heard the White House would be destroyed and we believed it. Even without knowing the cause, we would know something drastic had happened.
So as we prepare to go into the Discourse, I want you to really try to put yourself in the mindset of the disciples. For the time being also, please try to remember you do not understand the resurrection or anything like that. All you know is Jesus going to Jerusalem. They are guys who know about the Old Testament and the prophecies of Messiah and still have hopes this guy they have been following is Him.
What they ask and what Jesus says will start to be covered next time.