The Jerusalem Temple was the true treasure of Israel. Recognized as one of the most beautiful structures in the world. It was a symbol of pride and nationalism for the Jews. It was the one and only Temple of Judaism. It was the only location where the priests carried out the daily offerings and the sacrifices. It was the only location of the Holy of Holies, the Ark of the Covenant, and the altar of sacrifices. Other religions had their magnificent temples in various cities around the world, but Judaism had only the one in Jerusalem. Here all the great festivals were performed and commemorated. Every Jew strived to reach the Temple in his lifetime.
Though Jesus and his disciples frequented the Temple in Jerusalem, its beauty and grandeur were not lost on them. The construction was truly massive. One building stone discovered in modern times measures 45 feet long by 15 feet high and weighs an estimated 300 tons. Not all the stones were that large, but even at half that size, think of the monumental task of what Jesus said, “the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another.”
Jesus was teaching his disciples that the time of Jerusalem’s destruction was coming. God’s judgment on his people for rejecting Jesus the Messiah would be complete. The day came on September 8, 70 AD when Roman legions under the command of General Titus sacked and burned Jerusalem and its Temple. Jesus’ prophecy of the Temple’s destruction held true to every detail.
Jesus was also teaching another, broader truth. Yes, the day would soon come when Jerusalem and the holy Temple would be utterly destroyed, but there is also another day coming when all things on earth will be destroyed.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness” -2 Peter 3:10,11.
Knowing that all the things of earth are only temporary should significantly affect how we value them. Yet because of sin, we fall into the trap of valuing the temporary while discounting the eternal. Peter asks, “what kind of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness?” Indeed, we ought to people who have learned what will last eternally so that we can hold on to such things. Faith, hope, love, forgiveness, justification, salvation, heaven- these come to mind.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. –1 John 2:15-17
God, grant us grace to hold on to Christ, His Gospel, His cross, knowing that these shall never pass away. Help us to utilize the things of the world toward the accomplishment of our Christian goals, but guard our hearts so that we do not foolishly treasure that which will soon pass away.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33