"Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (Matthew 24:2)

Many ecclesiastic interpreters and translators, beginning from the official Nicene council of the Fourth Century - organized and controlled by the Roman empire - have taken this statement by Jesus to be some kind of prophesy about the temple and/or church.

This is short-sighted, and entirely misses the point Jesus was trying to make.

The key to the meaning of Jesus' statement is the last phrase, "thrown down," which has been incorrectly translated from the Greek word καταλύω (katalyō). While καταλύω (katalyō) can be translated to 'overthrown' when used metaphorically, the clear meaning of the word is 'to dissolve, disunite, destroy, demolish' according to the lexicon.

Because the translators have been fixated upon the institutional aspect of organized Christianity, they have failed to grasp what Jesus was trying to teach.

The previous verse (Matt. 24:1) describes the context of the statement:

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. (Matt. 24:1)

Jesus had been teaching within the temple, and as he was walking away, his disciples began talking about the buildings of the temple. The phrase "to call his attention to its buildings" obviously refers to some redeeming aspect of the temple buildings - their architecture, height or something of that nature.

To this Jesus describes the destruction of the buildings, saying not only will there not be one stone on top of another at some point in the future, but its very stones will dissolve, be destroyed or otherwise be demolished.

In other words, the building and its stones are not permanent. They will eventually decompose and dissolve into the surrounding environment.

Is Jesus talking about a particular event that will tear down this particular temple, or the nature of buildings in general?

Again, the last word indicates something done by nature. Could men dissolve stones during those times? What about fire? There certainly were fires when the Romans burnt down many Jewish temples during Roman-Jewish wars that followed Jesus' departure. But did the fires dissolve the stones?

Today, archaeologists like to dig up the remains of old temples and other buildings that existed in ancient times. What do they find? Primarily, they find broken up and partially dissolved stones and other structural elements that were once tall buildings. They find that the stones have degraded into rubble and the remains of these buildings are merging into the surrounding soils. Only by archeological technical analysis can it be determined that the remains were once part of buildings.

So what happened to those temples that Jesus was discussing? Yes, they also since collapsed and nature has all but dissolved the stones, while other buildings have been built on top of that ground. Within another thousand years, the stones further dissolve, turning into soil.

In other words, Jesus was trying to teach his disciples, which were so impressed with the temple buildings, that these buildings - along with everything else in the physical world - are temporary.

This also goes for those churches and temples of today - organized around ecclesiastical institutions around the world. These buildings are also temporary. They will also will become rubble and their building materials will dissolve into the soil.

All the forms and structures of the physical world are temporary. This goes for our physical bodies as well. There is no permanence here. Everything decomposes with time - including our physical bodies. As soon as we leave our body at the time of death, the body begins to decompose, and our membership within a particular church sect or denomination dissolves with it.

On the other hand, the spiritual dimension, our spiritual selves - and our relationship with God - are all permanent. They never go away. They never dissolve.

This was confirmed as Jesus spoke about the effect of his teachings upon his students:
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish" (John 10:28)
Jesus confirmed the mechanism that produces eternal life:
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" (Matt. 6:33)


 (For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus  - translated from the original Greek texts.)