Matthew 24:1-2

1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.

2 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.”

At the end of the previous chapter, Jesus had said to the Pharisees: “See! Your house is left to you desolate.” As He leaves the temple, His disciples point out to Him that Herod’s temple is anything but desolate (v.1).

Many of my commentaries point to the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 as the fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecy in v.2. That didn’t make total sense to me, so I wrote to Pastor Kurth and asked, “Does the Lord’s prediction regarding the destruction of the temple in Matthew 24:2 refer to it’s destruction in A.D.70 or a coming destruction at the (end of?) the Tribulation, or both? And why?”

His response:

After the Lord talked about the destruction of the temple in Matthew 24:1-2 and the apostles asked Him “when shall these things be?” (v.3), everything He said in the rest of the chapter is future, so I believe the destruction He was describing is future as well. I don’t know how it could be past and everything else be future. I personally don’t think that what happened in 70 AD was any fulfillment of it, other than something the devil did to make people think it won’t happen again. Kind of the way people think Antiochus Epiphanes was the fulfillment of the prophecies about the Antichrist. I think Satan just made sure someone looked like he fulfilled those prophecies so people would think there isn’t another Antichrist coming. In my mind, the destruction of the temple is the same thing. Since it happened, people think it won’t happen again. But I’m not positive, so I copied Dave in on this reply.

Dave’s response:

I agree. Verses 33 and 34 say to look for “all these things” and indicate that they will all happen together. This is in answer to their question, when shall “these things” be, referring to the temple’s destruction. So vs.2 cannot be separated from the rest of the events described in Matthew 24. Also, in vs.15 the abomination of desolation stands “in the holy place” which indicates that the temple’s destruction described in vs.2 must occur some time after vs.15 and the events leading up to it.

Antiochus Epiphanes is a good comparison. He’s a pseudo-fulfillment which the Lord clearly refutes in vs.15 when He says that the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27 was yet to come in His day. 70 AD falls into the same camp, and for the same reasons. The rest of Daniel’s prophesy, like the coming and cutting off of Messiah, had to occur first. But those elements of the prophesy are ignored in favor of an “antichrist has already come and gone” interpretation of vs.27. It’s the same with Matthew 24. The [people who take this view think the] rest of the prophesy doesn’t matter as long as we understand that antichrist is past already. 70 AD is merely a back-up plan. If we don’t buy Antiochus Epiphanes, they’ll give us Titus.

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