“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 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.”
Herod’s magnificent Temple expansion project began around 19BC. By the time the Lord began His public ministry, the Temple had been under construction for 46 years (John 2:20). How magnificent must that Temple have been! Christ’s disciples were justifiably impressed. The enormous Temple and its precincts looked solid and immovable, designed and built to last forever. The Lord bluntly disabused His disciples of this wrong thinking. Things are not always as they appear; looks can be deceiving. Whether it be colossal mountains stretching thousands of feet into the sky or the vault of heaven itself with its magnificent starry host, many things in the created order give the appearance of permanence. The first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, however, cuts against this idea. Here we read the Father’s powerful declarations to His Beloved Son: “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12). The great apostle, Peter, reminds us that it is the heretics and scoffers who see permanence in the created order. “Where is the promise of his coming?” they will say, “for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4). Peter reminds us that these people are willingly ignorant of the creation and the flood (2 Peter 3:5-6). He goes on to tell us that the coming worldwide judgment will be comparable to the judgment that occurred in the days of Noah (2 Peter 3:7). “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;” wrote Peter, “in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). Seeing the impermanence of it all, the Christian would do well to fix his heart on that which he cannot see, knowing there is great reward for walking by faith and not by sight (John 20:31). Peter asks us who believe such things to consider seriously our conduct (2 Peter 3:11). The world is passing away, dear saints (1 John 2:17), but you and I are promised permanent glorification(1 John 3:2). Let us who have this hope purify ourselves, just as our Lord is pure (1 John 3:3). May the joy of our Lord be our strength today.