By Nathan Jones
Did Jesus' prophecy concerning the destruction of the Temple come true?
I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll marvel at Jesus' prophecy concerning the destruction of the Temple.
Not One Stone
Nathan: It's very important to understand the background of the Temple because the Temple in the Old Testament was the place where God dwelled on earth. At that time, because sin separates mankind from God, man couldn't be in His presence. So, God placed His Shekinah glory — His Holy Spirit — in the Holy of Holies deep within the Temple. Once a year the high priest could go in and make a sacrifice by sprinkling blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. He would also burn incense. That was the one and only time where man got to stand before God. The priest represented those who were in God's covenant relationship with Him. Imagine the Jews utter dismay when the Temple was later destroyed in 70 AD.
Today we now have the Holy Spirit living in believers in Christ. During the Millennial Kingdom we'll get to stand before Jesus Christ. I look forward to the Eternal State when we will get to stand before the Father face-to-face. That face-to-face relationship that existed between God and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden will finally be restored.
Vic: I, too, am looking forward to that day.Nathan, the stones of the Temple were huge. They weighed something like ten tons, right?
Nathan: Yes, and that in part is what makes this prophecy I'm going to read to you so amazing. In Matthew 24:2 it reads, "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.'"
Just think, here are Jesus' disciples standing there just amazed at all the wealth and the size of the Temple. They're thinking about how this building is God's home on earth. Then Jesus says to them essentially, "Do you know what? This place isn't going to exist anymore." Can you even imagine? That'd be like someone walking up to you today and saying, "The White House won't exist tomorrow." Or, "The Taj Mahal won't exist tomorrow."
Vic: Yes, I'd be shocked.
Nathan: Because the Temple was God's home, the Israelites had always thought God would never abandon His home. And yet, Jesus said basically, "Do you not see these things? I promise you that none of these things will be here."
Vic: Right, and that's what blew the disciples away. They were like, "What did you just say?"
Nathan: I bet it was like one of those old movies when all of the sudden the telephones stop ringing and you don't hear people typing anymore and everything gets freakishly silent. I bet they we're all just sitting there with their mouths hanging wide open, their eyes bugging out, and they just looked dumbfounded at Jesus like Gary Coleman, "What you talking about, Willis? This is your father's home. This is the center of religious worship in Jerusalem. How can you say that this won't be here anymore?"
We also know the Pharisees were listening in to Jesus' prophecy about the destruction of the Temple, because later they used this prophecy against Jesus when they were trying Him to be crucified.
Discerning False Prophets
Vic: This prophecy is just so incredible! Here's Jesus in a sense going out on a limb, because if this prophecy didn't come true, He would be labeled as just another false prophet.
Nathan: Right. Jesus had to fulfill 100% of the prophesies that He made both in the Old Testament and also the New Testament, otherwise you're right, He'd be a fraud. That's why in Deuteronomy 18:22 we're told how we can discern who is a false prophet. "If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed." So, it's saying that if not all 100% of their prophesies come true, then they're a false prophet and we don't have be afraid of them.
Vic: We see many false prophets in this age. Today we have prophecies like Nostradamus and many others who claimed to have been prophets, but we have seen that not all their prophesies have come true, so we know for sure that they are a false prophet.
Nathan: Exactly! But we can trust Jesus, because every single prophesy He foretold has come true. In the Old Testament, there were 300 general prophesies and 109 distinct prophesies that prove Jesus is the Messiah. He fulfilled all 109 of those distinct prophesies. The odds of that happening have even been calculated by a mathematician, Peter Stoner, and the results are astronomical. It's statistically impossible for one man to accidentally fulfill just eight of those prophecies, much less all 109. But, nothing is impossible with God.
Because Jesus fulfilled all those prophesies about His First Coming, we can know that those 500 prophesies in the Old Testament and one in every 20 verses in the New Testament which prophesy about His Second Coming, we can be 100% sure that Jesus will return just as He promised.
Vic: Amen. That's why we say the Bible is so trustworthy. I want to really encourage everyone to read Matthew 24 to see all the incredible prophesies there.So, Nathan, again this is great information regarding the Temple and how Jesus makes this astounding prophesy in Matthew 24. Jesus is not like Nostradamus or any modern day "prophet" where some general statement they say comes true and sometimes not, right?
Nathan: Exactly. We cannot trust the prophesies of man if they are not 100% true all the time, just as Deuteronomy 18:22 advised.
In the third part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the prophesied destruction of the Temple, Jesus' disciples will ask Him three prophetic questions.