Our Lord's Prediction by Edersheim
With what reverence the Rabbis guarded their Temple will be described in the sequel. The readers of the New Testament know how readily any supposed infringement of its sanctity led to summary popular vengeance. To the disciples of Jesus it seemed difficult to realise that such utter ruin as their Master foretold could so soon come over that beautiful and glorious house. It was the evening of the day in which He had predicted the utter desolation of Jerusalem. All that day He had taught in the Temple, and what He had said, not only there, but when, on beholding the city, He wept over it, seems to have filled their minds alike with awe and with doubt. And now He, with His disciples, had 'departed from the Temple.' Once more they lingered in sweet retirement 'on the Mount of Olives' (Matthew 24:1,3). 'The purple light on the mountains of Moab was fast fading out. Across the city the sinking sun cast a rich glow over the pillared cloisters of the Temple, and over the silent courts as they rose terrace upon terrace. From where they stood they could see over the closed Beautiful Gate, and right to the entrance to the Holy Place, which now glittered with gold; while the eastern walls and the deep valley below were thrown into a solemn shadow, creeping, as the orb sunk lower, further and further towards the summit of Olivet, irradiated with one parting gleam of roseate light, after all below was sunk in obscurity' (Bartlett, Jerusalem Revisited, p. 115).
Then it was and there that the disciples, looking down upon the Temple, pointed out to the Master: 'What manner of stones and what buildings are here.' The view from that site must have rendered belief in the Master's prediction even more difficult and more sad. A few years more, and it was all literally fulfilled! It may be, as Jewish tradition has it, that ever since the Babylonish captivity the 'Ark of the Covenant' lies buried and concealed underneath the wood-court at the north-eastern angle of the Court of the Women. And it may be that some at least of the spoils which Titus carried with him from Jerusalem--the seven-branched candlestick, the table of shewbread, the priests' trumpets, and the identical golden mitre which Aaron had worn on his forehead--are hidden somewhere in the vaults beneath the site of the Temple, after having successively gone to Rome, to Carthage, to Byzantium, to Ravenna, and thence to Jerusalem. But of 'those great buildings' that once stood there, there is 'not left one stone upon another' that has not been 'thrown down.'