Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “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.” (Matthew 24:1-2, NIV)

In this verse Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple. So how do we know what we have been calling the Temple is really the proper location? Matt 24:2 says all thrown down so what about the Wailing Wall? Why was that left standing? Do we have the incorrect location of the Temple?

  • From what I remember, there are three proposed locations, all pretty close to each other. – fгedsbend Nov 19 '14 at 20:18
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    Wouldn't a more constructive approach to this verse be to ask "What did Jesus mean?" The current question presupposes a specific (although not necissarily unreasonable) interpretation of the scripture, which not everyone will necissarily hold. – Flimzy Nov 20 '14 at 3:56
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    @Flimzy Or that the wall is actually not part of any building is a good answer. – fгedsbend Nov 20 '14 at 18:30

Refer to..

“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Mark 13:2


“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.”

Matthew 24:3

As well as,

“As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

Luke 21

The reference is to the buildings, those that are "seen". Specifically and only, this prophecy refers to "seen" "buildings".

The Western Wall (also referred to as the 'Wailing Wall') is actually the retaining wall built as part of Herod's expansion of the temple. It is...

  1. Not in view from while in the temple area (it's over the wall, and over the cliff)
  2. Not a building.

The prophecy is literally and specifically fulfilled (if you consider the past a fulfillment, not taking into account futurist eschatologies which claim it must be "rebuilt" and "re-torn-down" yet again).

ADDENDUM: There are two parts to the current wall. Going from bottom to top, there are the large blocks that make up the lower section of this wall, which is the retaining wall dating to the Second Temple Period. This was not part of the prophecy, and not destroyed, as there would have been no need for the Romans to destroy this. The smaller stones on the top were rebuilt in the years after the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem. The original wall, visible from the Temple mount, was fully destroyed as foretold.

  • The Western Wall, on Wikipedia: [O]ver half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period... The remaining layers were added from the Umayyad era onwards, especially during Ottoman rule. – user16825 Nov 22 '14 at 9:00

The Wailing Wall was not part of the Temple - it was part of the Temple Mount - and a giant retaining wall for the courtyard on which the Temple sat. Here is a model of what we think it would have all looked like:

enter image description here

Basically, when Herod restored the Second Temple, he couldn't expand the building itself, since it's dimensions were fixed by Scripture. He wanted something grand, however, so he built a giant retaining wall around the top of Mount Moriah. The Temple itself sat atop the mount - the courtyard stuck out from the hilltop.

When the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, the building was levelled, but the mount itself remained. What you see today is the Dome of the Rock (would be to the right of the Temple in that picture) and the El-Aska Mosque to the Left. The Courtyard remains.

When you visit today (and I have!), you are at the base of the retaining wall, on the side you can't see from the reconstruction. (This model is at the Holyland hotel, and well worth the visit itself!) enter image description here

Finally, you will note the "wall" perpendicular to the mount. That is the remains of Wilson's Arch the road that would take the worshipper up to the Temple. It seems to empty out right between the current structures.

enter image description here

  • If you are only talking about the Kotel, I might have to concede the point on a technicality. But, If you compare it to the verse, well, quite a bit is still standing - a large number of stones have been left upon another. The entrance where Jesus would have gone in is there for everyone to see - but if you want to argue that a door is not part of a house I have nothing more to say. – gideon marx Nov 20 '14 at 18:45
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    I'm arguing the fence around the house isn't part of the house. Furthermore, Benjamin has already done a very good job of pointing out that Jesus was specifically referring to the buildings - not the platform on which they stood – Affable Geek Nov 20 '14 at 18:48
  • Semantics as a defense for a poor answer? I would have expected more from you. – gideon marx Nov 22 '14 at 8:41

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