A Shocking Prediction

It was in the context of His disciples pointing out the grandeur of the temple especially the quality and beauty of the of the stones with which it had been constructed that Jesus predicted its utter destruction (Mat 24:1-3). Of the stones with which the disciples were so impressed Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, the temple was “built of hard white stones, each of which was about 25 cubits (35 feet) in length, 8 in height (11 feet) and 12 in width (17 feet).”
Jesus’ prediction probably shocked the disciples, and yet if they had paid close attention to the things Jesus had said earlier, they may not have been surprised (See 21:12-13, 18-22, 33-45, 22:1-14, 22:37-38). Because Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah, and later crucified Him, judgment came upon that generation of Jews (23:36-37). One of those judgments was the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (23:37-38; cf. Luke 19:41-44). “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” (Matthew 23:38)
Later in this discourse, Jesus spoke of when the destruction of the temple would be fulfilled (vv.15-22, 34). In verses 15-16, Jesus said in essence, “When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the temple, head for the hills!” The abomination of desolation is “the abomination that causes desolation.” The Jews and Romans committed abominations at the temple which led to its desolation or destruction at the hands of the Roman armies in A.D. 70.
After Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple, the disciples asked Him when it would take place (Mat 24:3; cf. Mark 13:4; Luke 21:7). They also asked for the sign of His coming and end of the age which probably indicated that they believed that these three events would happen concurrently. Jesus disabused them of this error in thinking, and indicated that the destruction of the temple would happen within a generation (vs. 34, A.D. 70), and that His coming and end of the age would happen sometime after that on a day that was only known to His Father (vv. 32-33, 36). We are still awaiting that day!