Luke 21:5-6 Mark 13:13
Buildings are built with the expectation that they will last an extended period of time. In their lifetime a wide variety of persons will occupy the buildings. An array of activities and occupations may achieve their purpose in a single building. More than just a few generations may gain use of that single building. Seemingly, that building will endure forever.
But, if you have seen any news reports over the past week you know, without a doubt, all buildings do not last forever. A part of the condos in the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida suddenly collapsed. The building was completely destroyed. And, sadly, along with the destruction of the building which was expected to stand much longer, untold numbers of human lives were lost as well.
Hundreds of people lived in those condos. They put their trust in the Towers, expecting this to be a safe home. They trusted that the builders took every precaution to assure that the building was safe and secure.
While one-half of the building did not fall, it eventually was deemed necessary to take that half down as well. So, after assuring that no one was left in the remaining half of the building, preparations were begun to destroy it as well. Again, here is a building in a pile of rubble. In time, if you visited the site, you would never know that building ever occupied that space.
In the Scriptures, Jesus and His Apostles talk about a building. We can see at least three views of a building from their conversation. We can see that a building can be admired. We can know that a building can be destroyed. But, we can also see the there is a permanent building.
In Luke 21:5-6 we find Jesus and the Apostles touring the city and they are viewing the Temple. “And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, ‘As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.’”
This is Herod’s Temple sitting on top of Mt. Moriah. Its construction began in 19 B.C. and covered 20 acres. The foundation stones measured 40’ long x 18’wide x 12’ high. I cannot even imagine how they moved those stones and laid them in place. Some of them weighed as much as100 tons.
It was said that he who never saw Herod’s Temple never saw a fine building. It seemed to be the ultimate in human art and achievement. The Temple seemed so secure and solid that it would stand forever.
The Apostles were awestruck by its magnificence. These men, the Apostles, you might recall, were mostly “country boys” touring the big city. Also awestruck were the Jews. After all, they were expecting an earthly kingdom and this temple seemed to them to be a fitting place for an earthly king to dwell.
But, there is the rest of the story ……. This is the destructible building. In 70 A.D., less than 50 years after the building was completed and after Jesus had spoken the prophecy: “the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.” Titus, a Roman officer, ordered the building destroyed. There was no stone unturned.
And, today, as we have seen multiple times, our buildings are just as vulnerable to destruction. That destruction may be the result of war, or storms, or fire, or simply inferior construction. Yet, we admire those buildings (dare I say, we worship them?) above Christ. Some will stand back in admiration and boast, “Look what we have created.”
Our physical bodies are sometimes referred to as temples or buildings. And, like the buildings built by the hands of man, our physical bodies are subject to that same destruction. Look at Job 4:18-20 – “He puts no trust even in His servants; And against His angels He charges error. How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth! Between morning and evening, they are broken into pieces. Unobserved, they perish forever.” Our physical bodies’ origin is dust – they will return to dust; the duration of our physical bodies is short, and our importance is small; failure is obvious.
But, there is Good News! In Luke 21:33 Jesus says, “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but My Words will not pass away.” Now, there is something to cling to! Jesus’ words will remain forever! They are indestructible! And, here is what we must understand and practice: Those who endure will be saved – Mark 13:13 – Jesus speaks again, “You will be hated by all because of My Name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
Look at all the magnificent buildings. They will be destroyed.
Look at your life. Will your temple be destroyed? Or, will you endure and be saved?
----- Gary K. Fair Wednesday Word Princeton Christian Church