What does Matthew 24:2 mean?
ESV: But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."
NIV: "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
NASB: But He responded and said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.'
CSB: He replied to them, "Do you see all these things? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down."
NLT: But he responded, 'Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!'
KJV: 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.
NKJV: And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Verse Commentary:
Jesus and His disciples have left the temple after an extensive time of teaching. That included a severe rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:13, 15, 16). It ended with Jesus mourning over Jerusalem's refusal to recognize and receive Him. As a result, He is abandoning the city, removing Himself from the role of its protector (Matthew 23:37–38).

For some reason, the disciples pointed out some of the buildings of the temple. They might have been commenting on their beauty, since at that time the temple complex was newly renovated and impressive. They might simply have been making small talk as they traveled. Either way, Jesus takes advantage of the moment to reveal more detail about the coming judgment of God on Jerusalem and Israel.

First, Christ makes it clear he's referring to the temple buildings they are all looking at. He is not speaking in parable, or symbolism, or talking about some other location. The prediction He gives is dire: the entire structure will be obliterated, down to the foundations. Jesus is predicting the utter destruction of the historic and beautiful temple of Israel (Mark 13:2).

This prophecy of judgment was completely and fully fulfilled when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. In response to a Jewish revolt, the Roman Empire laid siege to Jerusalem for five months. At the end of this time, the city was invaded and ransacked, bringing the Jewish death toll into the hundreds of thousands. Romans burned the temple, causing leftover gold to melt into the cracks of the masonry. To remove it, soldiers literally tore the structure apart brick-to-brick, leaving nothing but the level foundation. At that point, Jesus' prophecy was fulfilled, and the Old Testament system of sacrifices had entirely ceased to be (Hebrews 8:13).
Verse Context:
Matthew 24:1–14 follows Jesus and the disciples out of the temple. This comes after His devastating criticism of the scribes and Pharisees in chapter 23. Christ predicts a moment when the temple will be destroyed without one stone left on another. Later, His disciples ask for more information about these future events. Jesus describes a season in which the world will be in turmoil but that alone will not be proof that the end has come. His disciples will be persecuted, killed, and hated for His name's sake. False prophets will rise and some with them will fall away from the faith.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus makes a dire prediction about the destruction of the temple. Immediately after this, while seated on the Mount of Olives, Jesus responds to a question from the disciples. They ask when judgment will come and what signs will signal His return. Christ describes a season of unimaginable world turmoil and persecution. He points to a specific moment of defilement of the temple, at which point people should run for their lives. Jesus speaks of world-threatening tribulation which will be cut short right before He returns as King and Judge. Since nobody can possibly know when He will return, His followers must live in readiness.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has just left the temple area, after delivering a blistering criticism of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23). After predicting that the temple would be destroyed, He answers their questions about the end times. He speaks of a period when He will be gone from earth and they will be persecuted and killed. The world will be in turmoil, but the gospel will be preached everywhere. Nobody knows exactly when Jesus' return will be completed, so his followers should constantly be prepared. Jesus continues to teach on these themes in the next chapter.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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