Luke 21:5-6 Not One Stone Upon Another 11/11/2001
#1. The Physical Temple (Luke 21:5-6, 19:45-48)
#2. The Spiritual Temple (John 14:23, Eph 2:19-22)
#3. Jesus Cleansed the Temple (II Cor 6:14-16)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke, chapter 19, verses 41-44. (2X) We have looked at this passage last week, and we have seen how it was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Shiloh, which God stated in Gen 49:10. Last week I spoke about the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, as it was prophesied by Jesus in this passage of Luke 19:41-44. And Jerusalem was destroyed for two reasons: The first reason: because Shiloh had come, and the second reason was:
Luke 19:41 ¶ And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
Luke 19:42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
Luke 19:43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
Luke 19:44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
The second reason why the city of Jerusalem was going to be destroyed was: "Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." Because you did not recognize the Messiah when He came, and because you do not have any use for the Messiah after He came, you did not see that you were just an empty shell and full of sin, and you did not see that the temple in Jerusalem also was just an empty shell, full of sin. The One who could have filled the emptiness within you, you have crucified on a cruel cross. The One who was qualified to take up residence in the Holy of Holies, you have cast Him out. The One who could have been your mediator from the wrath of God, you have rejected as a worthless stone. But that precious stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. Therefore you are no longer the people that are called by His Name, and you came under the Judgment of God. Therefore Jerusalem had to be destroyed and the temple had to be destroyed.
The literal fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy in Luke 19:44 came when in 70 AD Jerusalem was destroyed and in 134 AD even the foundations were destroyed. But in the Bible God speaks about the city of Jerusalem as a picture of the visible church, the external N.T. church, which will come under God's Judgment near the end of time. Now this hits closer to home. Now we should be worried.
Last week I preached only about the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, which was prophesied in Gen 49:10. But if Jerusalem had to be destroyed, then the temple in Jerusalem also had to be destroyed. If Jerusalem is a representation of the N.T. church, then what does the temple represent? And what does it mean when God speaks about the destruction of the temple to such an extent that there shall not be left one stone upon another? A:We have to see the temple from two vantage points:
#1. First we must look at: The Physical Temple (Luke 21:5-6, Matt 24:1-2, Luke 19:45-48)
Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 21:5-6. The time is now Tuesday afternoon, two days before the disciples are going to prepare for the last Passover meal with Jesus. They r standing outside t temple:
Luk 21:5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
Luke 21:6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
The words in Matt 24 and in Mark 13 are almost identical to what we read here in Luke. Just listen as I read to you from Matt 24:1-2,
Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
Matthew 24:2 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.
If we are comparing Scripture with Scripture, then we must tie the interpretation of these passages to Luke 19:44, where Jesus used the same words: there shall not be left one stone upon another. Therefore, the physical destruction of the temple was the same event that caused the city of Jerusalem to be destroyed, so that there shall not be left one stone upon another. Historically that did happen, and the temple was destroyed on the same day the city was destroyed.
But God did not put that in the Bible just to teach us some history. Jesus indicated that these buildings of brick and mortar were a representation of something. What did the temple represent? Please turn one page to your left and read again from Luke 19, now beginning at verse 45,
Luke 19:45-46 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house (2X) is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Luke 19:47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
Luke 19:48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
In verse 46 the Lord Jesus called the temple "My House". But this temple was a product of king Herod the Great, the same who was the murderer of the babies in Bethlehem. Herod was definitely an unsaved man. Since when did this temple begin to be "God's House"? You see, Herod was placed in authority by God. This temple was a gift from king Herod to the Jews, and the religious rulers of the Jews dedicated this temple to God. That is how this became "God's House", even though the Holy of Holies in the temple was empty. There was no Ark of the Covenant there, because the Ark of the Covenant disappeared 600 years earlier when Jerusalem was destroyed by the nation of Babylon.
But just like Jerusalem, the temple was polluted by false gospels. Spiritually, the temple typified the external church, just like Jerusalem was. That is why the Lord Jesus had to cleanse the temple. But the physical temple was put in service as an O.T. edifice, to serve as a place where animal sacrifices were made. After Christ went to the cross, the physical temple had ceased to point people to the Messiah. Actually, when did the physical temple serve her last service to God?
After Pentecost the Jewish Christians were reluctant to stop worshipping in the temple. They continued to adhere to the O.T. ceremonial laws, and they continued to worship together with the Jews in the temple. Therefore God had to destroy the temple to make them understand His purpose for the N.T. church. God could have destroyed the temple shortly after Christ went to the cross; but He did not. God waited until Jerusalem had ceased to be the center of spiritual activities of the N.T. church. The center shifted from Jerusalem to Antioch, in Syria. It was from Antioch that the first missionaries Paul and Barnabas were sent out into the world.
Then, after three missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul, God sent Paul to Jerusalem, to the temple, where the Judaizers caused an uproar, from which as the final result Paul was sent to Rome, and Paul became a missionary to Rome. Let me read to you from Acts of the Apostles 23:11,
Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
This was the last purpose of the temple in the plan of God. Shortly after Paul was sent to Rome, Jerusalem and the temple were totally destroyed.
God was done with the physical temple in Jerusalem. God clearly declared that in Matt 27:51. Please turn to the Gospel According to Matthew, chapter 27. The moment Christ died on the cross, a number of miracles occurred, which indicated God's plan for the N.T. church. We read in Matt 27:51,
Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
The heavy veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple was torn from top to bottom, as if the finger of God tore that veil from top to bottom. For the past 1500 years the Holy of Holies could not be seen, nor was it accessible to the people of God. This was the place where the Ark of the Covenant was stored. This was the place where God dwelt. Only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, was the High Priest allowed to come behind the veil, with the blood of a bullock and with the blood of a goat, and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Hereby God indicated that the only access people had to God was through the High Priest as the mediator between God and His people. But all this was done away when Christ came as our great High Priest.
When God tore the veil in the temple from top to bottom, God indicated thereby that direct access to God was now available to all people. We no longer need a human mediator, like a priest, to mediate between God and us. Now each one of us can come directly to God, through Christ's body, which was torn to give us a direct access to God.
Therefore, God rent the veil in the temple so that the Holy of Holies was no longer the holy place. Therefore, from that moment the temple was no longer the temple of God. Therefore the city of Jerusalem was no longer the holy city. Therefore the nation of Israel was no longer God's favorite nation. From that time forward all the people of the world have the same standing before God. God Himself will draw a remnant to Christ from all tribes, and nations, and people, and tongues.
The physical temple was good looking on the outside. The physical temple came with all kinds of external activities: gifts and sacrifices and offerings. But the physical temple was polluted with all kinds of works gospels promoted by the religious leaders of that day. God showed us that picture of the O.T. temple, because God wants to show us a picture of the external church in the Last Days. We need to take stock, and ask ourselves how faithful we are to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Or have we let ourselves be deceived and are we following a works gospel?
After Christ died and rose again from the grave, the physical temple had ceased to be the center of spiritual activities for God. It was just an empty shell. But it was all along God's plan to end the O.T. congregation, and to end the O.T. Ceremonial Law, and to end the worship tied to the temple. That is why the temple had to be destroyed.
When we consider the spiritual meaning of the temple, we have to make a separation between the temple before the cross, and the temple after the cross. Before the cross the temple typified the visible external church, where both saved and unsaved people are gathered together to worship their God. Just like there are unsaved people in the church today, so there were unsaved people worshipping in the temple, like Judas Iscariot, who were paying lip service to their god.
Let us remember that, if it were not for the grace of God, we all would be like Judas Iscariot, and we all would be like Adolph Hitler, and we all would be like Osama Bin Laden. God says that at one time "we all were by nature the children of wrath, even as others".
Before the cross we see a physical temple, and the corrupt religious establishment of that temple. We also see that this temple is a spiritual representation of the church in the Last days.
But after the cross the temple building is replaced by the reality of:
#2. The Spiritual Temple (John 14:23, Eph 2:19-22)
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 2. After the cross the Bible speaks about the invisible temple, which consists of the body of believers. In the N.T. period of time God does not dwell in temples made by hands. A spiritual temple of individual believers now replaces the physical temple. The Lord Jesus told this to His disciples very plainly in John 14:23,
John 14:23 If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Jesus says here: When someone loves Jesus, which is equivalent to being saved, that person has an ongoing desire to do the will of God, and God Himself, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, will make their dwelling place in that person. In this way each individual believer has become a dwelling place of God. Each individual believer has become literally a temple of God. And all the believers together form a glorious spiritual temple, which is also called the temple of God. We read in Eph 2:19 Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
When we Gentiles in the flesh became saved, we are no longer strangers and enemies of God, but we have entered into the same citizenship as the saints in heaven, and have become a part of the household of God, which means that we have become of the family of God. Our name "Christian" testifies to it that we have become of the family of Christ. God bestowed this honor to us entirely as a free gift. God made us His sons entirely by His grace. It was not earned or deserved for letting ourselves be baptized in water. It was not earned or deserved for accepting the Lord Jesus. It was not earned or deserved for believing in Jesus. It was totally free; totally free as free can be. Then we read
Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Ephesians 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
This is the spiritual temple, which only God can build. Together we form a spiritual building which is called "an holy temple in the Lord" and "an habitation of God through the Spirit", but individually we also are tiny temples of God. This was God's plan all along from before the foundation of the world. From the beginning God planned to send His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world to pay dearly for our sins, and to give us all that He owns free of charge. But it was not free for the Lord Jesus Christ. For Him we were:
Please turn in your Bibles to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 6. The background is here that we are to flee sin. As a warning in verses 9 and 10 God gave a list of people who shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. But then God continued, now speaking to His children, and God said: "And such were some of you" (past tense). If Christ indeed has paid for your sins, and if the Holy Spirit indeed has given you a new soul, then glorify God in your body and turn away from sin.
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
God reminds us that our body is the temple of God. Therefore, do not sin against your body. We do not own ourselves. Christ owns us. He bought us, and He bought us for a very high price.
We came into the world as rebels against God. We were owned by Satan. But at the cross Christ plundered the house of Satan. Since Jesus was a man, He was qualified to substitute for another man's sins. Before the Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross, He took upon Himself the sins of all those whom God intended to save, which were all those whom God chose from before the foundation of the world. Laden with our sins, the Lord Jesus stood before the Judgment throne of God and was declared guilty of all those sins. Therefore He had to satisfy the full payment that was due for those sins, which was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. He became accursed of God in our place, because it is written: "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree". In order to pay the full payment, the Lord Jesus had to suffer the penalty for our sins in His body and in His soul. But since Christ was also God, He was able to endure such great suffering without being consumed in the process. Just before He died, He cried out victoriously: "It is finished!" That was the moment when Christ completed paying for our sins. We became His purchased possession, body and soul.
Therefore, when we read in Luke 21:6 that "the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down", we know that this cannot refer to the N.T. temple of God, because:
Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, chapter 10. The Lord Jesus promised that those for whom He has laid down His life will have eternal life, and they shall never be cast out. Those who have become the individual stones in N.T. temple of God are not in view when Jesus speaks about "there shall not be left one stone upon another". The Lord Jesus said in John 10:27,
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
This is not an option. Those who are the sheep of Christ shall hear His voice calling them with an effectual call. And they shall follow Christ. This is not an option. God implants a new spirit within us so that we will be drawn irresistibly to the Lord Jesus and we will follow Him, wherever He leads us.
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
Again, there is not any reason to doubt the words of the Lord Jesus. He will not abandon those whom He has saved. No one is able to pluck us out of His hand. We too are unable to wrestle ourselves out of His hand. Since He has saved us, we are unable to unsave ourselves. No one is able to frustrate God in any of His plans. Therefore the spiritual temple of God, the temple consisting of the body of believers, for whom Christ has suffered and died, they are not in view when the Lord Jesus prophesied "there shall not be left one stone upon another". The believers individually are the stones of the spiritual temple of God. But God will not throw them down like bricks and mortar.
What then does God have in view? Perhaps I can explain it with some analogies. The first example is our body and our soul. Our earthly body will be destroyed, but within that body lives a born again soul, which God will take to be with Him into heaven. The second example is the local church. There is an externally visible church body consisting of a mixture of people who come together to worship God. Not all those within the external church are saved people. But within this visible church body is an invisible nucleus of truly saved people. The external church will go apostate near the end of time, because "It was given unto the beast to make war with the saints and to overcome them". But God will take the invisible nucleus of saved people with Him into heaven. The third example is the temple. There was an externally visible O.T. temple, which continues into the N.T. as the external church. But within the O.T. congregation, and within the N.T. church there is an invisible nucleus of truly saved people who are the spiritual temple of God, because God dwells within their souls. This spiritual temple of God shall never be thrown down. But the externally visible O.T. temple was thrown down, and the external church will go apostate and will be thrown down like the temple was thrown down so that there was not left one stone upon another. And God will take the spiritual temple of God with Him into heaven, where it is called the New Jerusalem.
Let us focus now on the earthly temple. One thing that we have observed in that O.T. temple was:
#3. Jesus Cleansed the Temple (II Cor 6:14-16)
Please turn in your Bibles the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 6. Jesus cleansed the physical temple because it was polluted. It was a necessary cleansing. We observe the same in the externally visible N.T. church. One of the most effective ways of Satan to destroy the church is through mixed marriages. Especially in these days when 85% of the population of the US calls themselves Christians, it becomes increasingly difficult to convince our teenagers that not all those who call themselves Christians are saved people. Just like Jesus cleansed the temple, so we must enforce on our children that they do not date those who we parents consider to be unbelievers.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
God destroyed the O.T. temple, but:
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 10, and I promise that this is the last time in this sermon that you have to turn to another chapter. Why was it necessary for God to destroy the physical O.T. temple, so that not one stone is left upon another?
Hebrews 10:1 ¶ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Hebrews 10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
We know that this destruction of the temple could not pertain to destruction of the spiritual temple of God, because the spiritual temple of God is safe and secure. O yes, local churches are going apostate at an alarming rate, but we have learned from God's letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor, in Rev 2 and 3, that God will take the candlestick away from each church one at a time. As long as a church remains faithful to the Scriptures, God will not take the candlestick away, because Christ will not abandon His faithful ones.
Therefore we have a:
Look to your right in this same chapter, Heb 10:19,
Hebrews 10:19 ¶ Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Hebrews 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Remember the veil that was torn from top to bottom)
Hebrews 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God; (Christ is our High Priest)
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
The assurance we have does not rest in us, but in Christ. Our blessed assurance is so beautifully reflected in Hymn # 463 we are going to sing.
The last two stanzas of Hymn # 463 read as follows:
Lord, I would clasp Thy hand in mine, Nor ever murmur nor repine,
Content whatever lot I see, Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.
And when at last my race is run, The Savior's work in me is done,
E'en death's cold wave I will not flee, Since God through Jordan leadeth me.