Monday, June 7, 2010

The Sure Word

Scholars call the 24th chapter of Matthew the Olivet Discourse. It is also called the Little Apocalypse because of the prophecies Jesus makes in it about what will happen after he dies and in the last days.

One of the astounding things to me and to the people who heard him speak is that he told of the destruction of the temple. He said, “There shall not be left here, one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). In just reading the verse, this destruction might not seem too strange to a modern reader. We might even wonder why the disciples and others were so stunned. But when we understand some things about the temple it is easy to see why they were astonished.

Many of the stones of the temple were not simply what we would imagine as “brick” size. Instead huge pieces of stone had been brought in some measuring 67 1/2 feet long by 7 1/2 feet high and 9 feet wide The pillars supporting the porches were 37 1/2 feet high and were all one stone. Later, when the Romans destroyed the temple as Jesus prophesied, six days of battering failed to dislodge them. Eventually Titus destroyed the temple in AD 70 and the 40 acre plot was leveled and the rubble pushed away. After that the ground was plowed and salted so nothing would grow there. The wall of the temple that we now see in pictures, called the Western Wall, was actually a retaining wall on the west side of the temple ground. It was not part of the temple proper.

From this I learn that when the Lord speaks, I should listen despite how strange or unreal it seems. What the Lord predicts happens. I can count on that!

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