“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.” (Matthew 24:2)
The first time I visited Jerualem’s Temple Mount (known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif), I noticed something that I believe to be relatively uncommon.
Of course, the Dome of the Rock dominates the 35-acre site, holy to three faiths. The Al-Aksa mosque also occupies ground there, as do two underground mosques. There are a few trees and a couple smaller buildings; the whole area, especially when one is a solitary visitor, has the feel of a serene garden.
The site is also where the two Jewish temples stood in antiquity. The first, Solomon’s Temple, was destroyed by the Babylonians in the sixth century B.C., and Herod’s Temple was obliterated by the 10th Roman Legion in A.D. 70.
And that is what I noticed in this park-like setting, those many years ago when my faith was cemented by a trip to the Holy Land.
The glistening golden dome of the shrine to Muhammad and Allah is known the world over. The Al-Aksa is known as much for its political firepower as anything else (beginning with King Abdullah I and his 1951 assassination in front of the mosque). The adjoining Western Wall is a place of awe for the Jews (although an often-overlooked truth in this region—nay, globally—is that the Temple Mount itself is the holiest site for the Jewish people).
Yet it is with the mind’s-eye that one can truly appreciate a remarkable prophecy, fulfilled later in such exact detail, I wonder how so many miss it. I wonder too how the Bible’s critics can claim it is myth, and do it with a straight face.
In their frenzy to stamp-out any connections the land had to the Jews (a fatal spiritual virus that unfortunately affects certain groups in our world today), the Romans demolished Herod’s Temple. They slaughtered scores of Jews. The searing observations of Josephus are particularly illuminating for us today.
So that you’ll fully get my point today, let me say this:
The Roman legionnaires scraped the Temple Mount clean as a table top.
Do you get it?
Jesus told His disciples 40 years prior that that day would come. He said not one stone would be left upon another.
Today, if you were to visit this site, this international flashpoint of controversy, and you used your mind’s-eye, you would be transported back to that awful day in A.D. 70. Fires raging, screams, rivers and trenches of blood.
At the end of the day you would see a barren, desolate place. The Romans dumped foundation stones from the Temple over the side—you can see them today in an archaeological park there in the Old City.
So, if you get the chance to visit this hallowed ground, imagine just for a moment the scene before the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa mosque were there. There was nothing. Only a plaza, from which one could look out over the hills of a cursed land.
Jesus said it would be so.