Matthew 24:2
And Jesus said to them, See you not all these things? truly I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone on another, that shall not be thrown down.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) There shall not be left here one stone upon another.—So Josephus relates that Titus ordered the whole city and the Temple to be dug up, leaving only two or three of the chief towers, so that those who visited it could hardly believe that it had ever been inhabited (Wars, vii. 1). The remains which recent explorations have disinterred belong, all of them, to the substructures of the Temple—its drains, foundations, underground passages, and the like. The words fell on the ears of the disciples, and awed them into silence. It was not till they had crossed the Mount of Olives that even the foremost and most favoured ventured to break it.

Matthew 24:2. Jesus said — There shall not be left one stone upon another — A proverbial and figurative expression to denote an utter destruction; and the prophecy would have been amply fulfilled, if the city and temple had been utterly ruined, though every single stone had not been overturned. But it happened that the words were almost literally fulfilled: for after the temple was burned, Titus, the Roman general, ordered the very foundations of it to be dug up; after which the ground on which it stood was ploughed up by Turnus Rufus. It is true, Titus was very desirous of preserving it, and the city too, and sent Josephus and other Jews again and again to persuade them to a surrender, but one greater than Titus had determined it otherwise. The Jews themselves first set fire to the porticoes of the temple, and then the Romans. One of the soldiers, neither waiting for any command, nor trembling at such an attempt, but urged by a certain divine impulse, says Josephus, mounted the shoulder of his companion, thrust a burning brand in at the golden window, and thereby set fire to the building of the temple itself. Titus ran immediately to the temple, and commanded the soldiers to extinguish the flame; but neither exhortations nor threatenings could restrain their violence; they either could not, or would not hear, those behind encouraging those before to set fire to the temple. Titus was still for preserving the holy place, and commanded his soldiers to be beaten for disobeying him. But their anger and hatred of the Jews, and a certain warlike and vehement fury, overcame their reverence for their general, and their dread of his commands. A soldier, in the dark, set fire to the doors; and thus, as Josephus says, the temple was burned against the will of Cesar. The city also shared the same fate, and was burned and destroyed, as well as the temple. The Romans burned the extremest parts of the city, and demolished the walls; three towers only and some part of the wall were left standing, for the better encampment of the soldiers, and to show to posterity what a city, and how fortified, the valour of the Romans had taken. All the rest of the city was so demolished and levelled with the ground, that they who came to see it could not believe it had ever been inhabited.24:1-3 Christ foretells the utter ruin and destruction coming upon the temple. A believing foresight of the defacing of all worldly glory, will help to keep us from admiring it, and overvaluing it. The most beautiful body soon will be food for worms, and the most magnificent building a ruinous heap. See ye not all these things? It will do us good so to see them as to see through them, and see to the end of them. Our Lord having gone with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, he set before them the order of the times concerning the Jews, till the destruction of Jerusalem; and as to men in general till the end of the world.There shall not be left here one stone upon another - At the time this was spoken, no event was more improbable than this. The temple was vast, rich, splendid. It was the pride of the nation, and the nation was at peace. Yet in the short space of 40 years all this was accomplished exactly. Jerusalem was taken by the Roman armies, under the command of Titus, 70 a.d. The account of the siege and destruction of the city is left us by Josephus, a historian of undoubted veracity and singular fidelity. He was a Jewish priest. In the wars of which he gives an account, he fell into the hands of the Romans, and remained with them during the siege and destruction of the city. Being a Jew, he would of course say nothing designed to confirm the prophecies of Jesus Christ; yet his whole history appears almost like a running commentary on these predictions respecting the destruction of the temple. The following particulars are given on his authority:

After the city was taken, Josephus says that Titus "gave orders that they should now "demolish the whole city and temple," except three towers, which he reserved standing. But for the rest of the wall, it was laid so completely even with the ground by those who "dug it up from the foundation," that there was nothing left to make those believe who came hither that it had ever been inhabited." Maimonides, a Jewish writer, has also recorded that "Terentius Rufus, an officer in the army of Titus, with a plowshare tore up the foundations of the temple, that the prophecy might be fulfilled, 'Zion shall be plowed as a field,'" Micah 3:12. This was all done by the direction of divine Providence. Titus was desirous of preserving the temple, and frequently sent Josephus to the Jews to induce them to surrender and save the temple and city. But the prediction of the Saviour had gone forth, and, notwithstanding the wish of the Roman general, the temple was to be destroyed. The Jews themselves first set fire to the porticoes of the temple. One of the Roman soldiers, without any command, threw a burning firebrand into the golden window, and soon the temple was in flames. Titus gave orders to extinguish the fire; but, amid the tumult, none of the orders were obeyed. The soldiers pressed to the temple, and neither fear nor entreaties, nor stripes could restrain them. Their hatred of the Jews urged them on to the work of destruction, and thus, says Josephus, the temple was burned against the will of Caesar. - Jewish Wars, b. 6 chapter 4, section 5-7.

CHAPTER 24

Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).

For the exposition, see on [1355]Mr 13:1-37.

Ver. 1,2. Mark saith, Mark 13:1,2, one of his disciples. Luke saith, Luke 21:5, some. Mark saith, the disciple said, Master, what manner of stones and what buildings are here! Luke saith, they spake how the temple was adorned with goodly stones and gifts. All three evangelists agree in the substance of our Saviour’s reply. Christ had now done his work in the temple, where he never came more, and was going toward the Mount of Olives, where we shall find him in the next verse. His disciples, either one of them or more, probably one in the presence of the rest, either doubting (considering the structure of the temple) whether it could be destroyed, or at least thinking it pity that so famous a structure should come to ruin, come to him, admiring the stones and buildings. Most think this was the temple builded by Zerubbabel, almost six hundred years before, though it received great additions by Herod (for we have no record that that temple was ever destroyed). Incredible stories are related about the dimensions of the stones, and the ornaments of it. Our Saviour saith unto them,

Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another; that is, this brave, goodly temple shall be utterly ruined. Nor (if we may believe other histories) did this prophecy fail as to the letter of it. Titus, the Roman emperor, taking Jerusalem, about forty years after this, commanded his soldiers to spare the temple when they entered the city, but they in their rage burnt of it what was of a combustible nature; and Turnus Rufus, left general of his army when he went away, drew a plough over it, as God had said. Jeremiah 26:18 Micah 3:12, Zion shall be ploughed like a field. And when after this Alippius, by the command of Julian the apostate, attempted the rebuilding of it, with the help of the Jews, it is reported by divers, that balls or globes of fire rose up from the foundations, destroyed many of the workmen, and made the place inaccessible for any further such attempts. So justly are the Divine threatenings to be feared, whatever improbability of the contrary appeareth to us. We are very apt to be taken with the glistering prosperity of sinners, but we ought to measure the duration of it from the revelations of the Divine will, not from our own reason or fancy; to remember the temple of Jerusalem. There are no places so strong but an almighty God is able to destroy, and sin is enough to blow up. We may also observe how little God values splendid houses of prayer when they are made dens of thieves. And Jesus said unto them, see ye not all these things?.... "These great buildings", as in Mark; all these goodly stones, so beautiful and large, and so firmly put together:

verily, I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down; or broken, as Munster's Hebrew Gospel reads it: which prediction had a full and remarkable accomplishment; and which is not only attested by Josephus (y), who relates, that both the city and temple were dug up, and laid level with the ground; but also by other Jewish writers; who tell us (z) that

"on the ninth of Ab, a day prepared for punishments, Turnus Rufus the wicked, , "ploughed up the temple", and all round about it, to fulfil what is said, "Zion shall be ploughed as a field".''

Yes, and to fulfil what Christ here says too, that not one stone should be left upon another, which a plough would not admit of.

(y) De Bello Jud. l. 7. c. 7. (z) Maimon. Hilch. Taaniot, c. 5. sect. 3. T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 23. 1. & Gloss. in ib.

{1} And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

(1) The destruction of the city, and especially of the temple is foretold.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 24:2. Οὐ[16] βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα (see critical notes) does not mean: “do not gaze so much at all this” (Paulus), in which case μή, at least, would be required; nor: “are you not astonished at all this magnificence” (de Wette, following Chrysostom)? which would be to import a different meaning into the simple βλέπετε; but: ye see not all this, by which, of course, Jesus does not intend the mere temple-buildings in themselves considered, but the doom which awaits all those splendid edifices,—a doom which He at once proceeds to reveal. Instead of having an eye to perceive all this, to them everything looked so magnificent; they were βλέποντες οὐ βλέποντες (Matthew 13:13), so that they were incapable of seeing the true state of matters as regarded the temple; it was hid from their eyes. The more vividly Jesus Himself foresaw the coming ruin; the more distinct the terms in which He had just been pointing to it, Matthew 23:38; the deeper the emotion with which He had taken that touching farewell of the temple; the fuller, moreover, the acquaintance which the disciples must have had with the prophecy in Daniel 9; and the greater the perplexity with which, as the Lord was aware, they continued to regard His utterance about the temple, Matthew 23:38; so much the more intelligible is this introductory passage, in which Jesus seeks to withdraw their attention from what presents itself to the mere outward vision, and open their eyes in order that as μὴ βλέποντες βλέπωσι (John 9:39). Further, it is better to take this pregnant utterance in an affirmative rather than in an interrogative sense, as is usually done, because there is no preceding assertion on the part of the disciples to which the question of surprise might be said to correspond. Grulich (de loci Matth. xxiv. 1, 2, interpret., 1839) places the emphasis on πάντα: “videtis quidem ταῦτα, sed non videtis ταῦτα πάντα (nimirum templi desolationem, etc.).” So also Hoelemann. This is improbable, if for no other reason than the ordinary usage as regards ταῦτα πάντα, which has no such refinement of meaning anywhere else. Jesus would simply have said: οὐ πάντα βλέπετε. Bornemann, as above, after other attempts at explanation, finds it simplest to interpret as follows: ye see not; of all this, believe me, not one stone will remain upon another, etc. He thinks that what Jesus meant to say was: ταῦτα πάντα καταλυθήσεται, but that He interrupts Himself in order to introduce the asseveration ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, and so breaks the construction. That Jesus, however, would not merely have broken the construction, but still more would have used the words οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ without any logical reference to ταῦτα πάντα, is clearly indicated by ὧδε, which therefore contradicts the explanation just given.

ὃς οὐ καταλυθ.] For οὐ, see Winer, p. 448 [E. T. 604]; Buttmann, p. 305 [E. T. 355]. Not a stone will be left upon another without being thrown down. Occurring as it does in a prophetical utterance, this hyperbolical language should not be strained in the least, and certainly it ought not to be made use of for the purpose of disproving the genuineness of the passage; see, as against this abuse, Keim, III. p. 190 ff.; Weissenbach, p. 162 ff. And on account of Revelation 11:1 ff., comp. also Weizsäcker, p. 548 f.

[16] Among modern critics, Kuinoel, Fritzsche, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald, Bleek, have decided in favour of omitting οὐ, as approved by Griesbach and Schulz. Among those belonging to an earlier date, Casaubon says distinctly, with regard to the negative: “hic locum non potest habere.”Matthew 24:2. ὁ δὲ ἀποκ., but, adversatively. He answered, in a mood entirely different from theirs.—οὐ βλέπετε; do you not see all these things? = you ask me to look at them, let me ask you in turn to take a good look at them.—ταῦτα: these things, not buildings, implying indifference to the splendours admired by the disciples.—οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ, etc.: not an exact description ex eventu, but a strong statement of coming destruction (by fire) in prophetically coloured language (Micah 3:12; Jeremiah 26:18). So Holtz., H.C.2. There shall not be left here one stone upon another] Compare with the complete ruin of the Temple at Jerusalem, the still magnificent remains of temples at Karnak and Luxor, Baalbec, and Athens. The Temple was destroyed by fire, notwithstanding every effort made to save it by Titus. For a vivid description of this last awful scene in the history of the Temple, see Milman, History of the Jews, ii. Bk. xvi.

the disciples] St Mark names the four, Peter and James and John and Andrew.Matthew 24:2. Πάντα ταῦτα, all these things) as they are standing.—οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῆ, κ.τ.λ., there shall not be left, etc.) Jesus makes the curious thoughts of His disciples give place to more serious considerations.—λίθος, κ.τ.λ., a stone, etc.) A proverbial expression implying the utmost devastation. Even the very soil on which it stood was ploughed up.Verse 2. - And Jesus said. The best manuscripts and the Revised Version give, but he answered and said. See ye not all these things? Vulgate, Videtis haec omnia? Our Lord, in turn, calls attention to the glorious structure in order to give added emphasis to his weighty denunciation. Not be left here one stone upon another. This prophecy was most literally fulfilled. Recent explorations have shown that not a stone of Herod's temple remains in situ. The orders of Titus, given with regret, for the total demolition of the walls of temple and city, were carried out with cruel exactness, so that, as Josephus testifies ('Bell. Jud.,' 7:01. 1), passers by would not have supposed that the place had ever been inhabited. When the apostate Julian, in the fourth Christian century, endeavoured to cast a slur upon prophecy by rebuilding the city and temple, his design proved to be an ignominious failure, and the sacred shrine has continued to this day a monument of Divine vengeance.
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