Tabletalk Devotions with R C Sproul: Jesus Leaves The Temple


Jesus Leaves the Temple

Matthew 24:1–2 “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’” (v. 2).

We have two concluding comments on Matthew 23:37–39before we study chapter 24. First, verse 38 is in the present tense in the original Greek, which is a way biblical authors often make statements of certainty. The desolation of Jerusalem’s house — the temple — is sure to come. Secondly, verse 39might indicate that this event is not God’s final word on the nation that has rejected His Son. On the one hand, Jesus’ promise that the city will not see Him again until it says, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” may mean that the Jews who have rejected Him will bow to Him as King of kings when He returns, just like every other person who has denied Him (Phil. 2:5–11). Of course, only those who have received Him before His return will be saved, Jew and Gentile alike. On the other hand, the “Blessed is he” of Matthew 23:39could be Jerusalem’s future confession of faith in Jesus. This would imply that a great many Jews will trust Christ right before His return in glory (see Rom. 11).

Matthew 23 ends with our Lord’s lament over Jerusalem due to the judgment it will soon feel. Chapter 24 depicts this judgment, beginning with a description of Jesus’ travels. Jesus has been teaching in the temple (21:23–23:39), when He then heads for the Mount of Olives (24:1–3). This is significant because the prophet Ezekiel saw the glory of God leave the temple and go east to a mountain — the Mount of Olives (11:22–12:28) — right before the Babylonians decimated Jerusalem in 586 b.c. Yahweh’s glory, John MacArthur writes, took “exactly the same route Christ follows” in Matthew 24:1–3 (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 1,170). Before Babylon destroyed the first Jewish temple, God’s glory left. Now Jesus, the glory of God (James 2:1), leaves the second Jewish temple, revealing to those with eyes to see that its grandeur will soon end.

The disciples again prove that even they do not understand all that Jesus has said and done, pointing out the beauty and size of the temple to our Lord (Matt. 24:1). But this physical structure will soon be replaced by Christ as the center of true religion (Rev. 21:22), a fact He brings to light when He predicts the end of the temple (Matt. 24:2), something unthinkable to the Jews of His day.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

It is a terrible thing to think that the Lord can become so fed up with those who claim to be His servants that He departs from their presence. God sometimes seems absent to us because we have grieved Him (Zech. 1:3). If you feel as if the Lord is far from you this day, consider whether there is unconfessed sin in your life. If we feel as though God is absent, this does not necessarily mean we are being disciplined, but it is a possibility we should consider.

For further study:

Psalm 51:11

The Bible in a year:

Isaiah 65–66

For the weekend:

Jeremiah 1–5

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That’s only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

Tabletalk Devotions with R C Sproul: Jesus Laments Over Jerusalem



Jesus Laments Over Jerusalem

Matthew 23:37–39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (v. 37).

Today we return to Matthew’s gospel and resume our study of the last week of Jesus’ life, during which the Jerusalem authorities will crucify the Lord (chap. 27). Passion week, however, is not the first time Jesus’ countrymen reject Him as the Christ. Herod would not tolerate any rival and tried to kill the newborn king (2:16–18). Many Pharisees said He was of the Devil (9:32–34), and the towns of Chorazin, Tyre, and Nazareth did not repent when Jesus preached the Gospel to them (11:20–2413:53–58). Both Sadducee and Pharisee have asked trick questions of Jesus (22:15–40), falsely believing themselves pious when they denied Jesus’ messianic office. Yet those who reject Christ reject God Himself, and they will suffer for their impudence (23:1–36; see Luke 10:16).

Matthew 23:37–39 records Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem after declaring woes on the city’s leaders (vv. 1–36). He expresses sorrow that Israel has continually rejected God’s call for repentance in a metaphor that likens the Godhead to a mother hen, a rare biblical use of a feminine image for deity (see Isa. 42:14). Such imagery reminds us that our Creator is not male, though neither is He female — He is spirit (John 4:24). Nevertheless, we call God “Father,” not “mother,” for that is how He has told us to address Him (Matt. 6:9Rom. 8:15). God is our head and initiates salvation when He pours out His grace; male images for Him remind us of this fact, for men are given headship in the church and the family and thus, the right and duty to initiate (1 Cor. 11:31 Tim. 2:12–15).

Jesus’ lament shows us that human suffering, considered in itself, does not please the Almighty. Although God has ordained Jerusalem’s destruction, His revealed will in Scripture proves He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11). But, as John Calvin writes, “the will of God is exhibited to us in two ways,” and there is a sovereign will, unrevealed to us, that governs all that ever occurs (Deut. 29:29). By this hidden will God may ordain events that by themselves do not please Him but nonetheless contribute to His glory, which is supremely pleasing to Him (Isa. 48:9–11). God finds pleasure not in the suffering, but in the good He works for His glory through the suffering.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

We are not perfectly holy and have no inherent right to execute wrath. How then can we take pleasure in the death of the sinner if God finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked? Our hearts should be broken, not gleeful, when we see someone destroy himself on account of his evil. As you lament the moral degeneracy of our culture, can others hear sadness in your voice? Are you grieved when the unrighteous remain impenitent?

For further study:

Ezekiel 18:31–32

The Bible in a year:

Isaiah 62–64

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That’s only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

Thoughts of encouragement

Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“The just shall live by faith.”

Hebrews 10: 38, K.J.V.

“Believe God’s Word and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your Rock is Christ, and it is not the Rock which ebbs and flows, but your sea.”

Samuel Rutherford

Today’s Study Text:

“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping Him. And some Levites of the Kohathites and Korahites stood up to Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”  II Chronicles 20: 18, 19, Amplified Bible


“Worship Him”

“True worship exalts God to His rightful place in our lives.”


As I look at what God has done for me in my life, what should my worshipful response be?

What does “worshiping” God mean to me in practical, everyday life?

“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, the nourishment of the mind with His truth, the purifying of imagination by His beauty, the opening of the heart of His love, the surrender of the will to His purpose.”

William Temple


“Worship is that to which we give our interest, our enthusiasm and our devotion.”

Clarence E. Mac Cartney

            King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah had been given a tremendous message of encouragement from Jahaziel, the Levite. Telling all the people that they did not have to fight a battle against the “triple threat” of the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites, great rejoicing filled the hearts of the king and all of Judah.

No longer dismayed or despairing, fear drifted away like an early morning fog – for the sun had come out which was the brightness of God’s glorious majesty and protective strength.

As the message of assurance of victory came to King Jehoshaphat, he was so overcome with gratitude that the Bible tells us he, “bowed his head with his face to the ground…worshiping God.”

As I read about the response of the king and the people of Judah, it got me to thinking about the response in my own life to the times God has intervened on my behalf – and believe me, there have been many times I recognize that my Father has “stepped-in.” But I also know full well, that there are so many more incidents, when my Father has delivered me and I haven’t taken note or even been aware of His precious hand as it has shielded me or guided me. This made me begin to contemplate my own personal call to worship my heavenly Father with greater devotion.

We can learn a lot from Jehoshaphat’s behavior and response to God’s glorious intervention. After hearing of God’s overwhelming deliverance, he fell on his face and worshipped, or as the Hebrew says: “paid homage and reverence to royalty.” Author Frank Gabelein states “reverence is essential to worship.” And in the case of the people of Judah, they were showing the type of reverence in their worship which is defined as awe, respect, veneration and love.

And let’s not forget, this worshipful behavior took place before the defeat of the Moabites, Ammonites, and the Meunites. If you read II Chronicles 20: 20, you’ll notice that the defeat of the enemy wasn’t until the next day. But even before victory had been seen with the eyes, the people were worshipping a God who promised to keep His word and who had guaranteed a victorious outcome.

How often, in my own life, I want to see God do something, then I’ll thank Him. But the lesson that Jehoshaphat teaches us is that the worship of our Father doesn’t come with strings attached. I don’t worship Him only if He does something for me.

Instead, as Herbert M. Carson so correctly points out, “Worship is the declaration by a creature of the greatness of his (or her) Creator.” In other words, I worship God because of who He is. And my pure worship of my Father comes from a heart and a life, which as J. A. Motyer discovered is, “so angled towards God that whatever strikes upon us, whether sorrow or joy, should be deflected upwards at once into His presence.”

What will be the result in my life and yours as our lives are filled daily with the worship and reverence of our heavenly Father?

Roswell C. Long gives us insight into the affect worship has in our everyday living: “Worship liberates the personality by giving a new perspective to life, by integrating life…by bringing into the life the values of humility, loyalty, devotion and rightness of attitude, thus refreshing and reviving the spirit.” And I ask you, “Who wouldn’t want a life that is refreshed with a heavenly attitude?” This is what happens naturally when we put the worship of our Father at the core of our being. As one of my favorites, A. W. Tozer correctly penned: “There is more healing joy in five minutes of worship than there is in five nights of revelry.”

Before the battle was fought, before the overwhelming deliverance, and before the victory was won – the king and the people of Judah, fell on their faces and worshipped the Lord!


O Worship the King

“O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His wonderful love;
Our shield and defender, the Ancient of days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail,
Thy mercies, how tender! How firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.”

Robert Grant
(Based on Psalm 104)

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus

P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional will be posted everyday, on Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.

My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at, and, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619.

For more from Dorothy, please visit

About the Church of God, Cleveland TN


“Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” (Song of Solomon 6:10).

In a world of religious confusion and chaos, it is often difficult to find absolute truth and genuine Christian love. Nevertheless, the Word of God promises a haven of safety from the erroneous teachings of the world and a beacon of light to shine in the darkness. Christ spoke concerning His Church, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14).

Who is She?

“My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her” (Song of Solomon 6:9)

In the midst of the great apostasy of the last days, God has a true Bride. She is “called, chosen, and faithful.” The Church of God is the worldwide, divine institution of believers committed to accepting the whole Bible rightly divided as their rule of faith, practice, government, and discipline, as the Holy Ghost has revealed it in the Scripture. Established by Christ in 28 A.D. and arising from the Dark Ages in 1903, The Church of God is committed to fulfilling the four-fold purpose of Her divine creation.

To Keep and Guard the Truth

Amidst a world that does not believe in absolute truth, The Church of God has been given the responsibility to keep and guard the pure truth of the Word of God. “Beloved…ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). In his writing to Timothy, Paul reminded him that the Church which Christ established was to be “…the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth…” (1 Timothy 3:15).

In his letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul acknowledged that it was never the intention of God’s plan for humanity to be “…tossed to and fro, ad carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”, but the Church is to “…[speak] the truth in love…” (Ephesians 4:14, 15).

Holiness is one of the Church’s distinguishing marks. Those who are determined to serve the flesh have corrupted true holiness in the last days. God’s Church will faithfully demonstrate the truth of true holiness to the world, both in spirit and in lifestyle. “Thus said the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain” (Zechariah 8:3).

To Evangelize the World with the Full Gospel

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19, 20).

The expression “full gospel” is in common use today. Many church organizations refer to themselves as “full gospel” churches; however, what most mean by this terminology is that they not only preach salvation, but also, a doctrine of Holy Spirit baptism. By definition, the word “full” means “complete or entire; to the utmost extent.” In order to preach the full gospel, the Body of Christ must teach the “all things” which Christ commanded. Among these teachings are repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, resulting in the born again experience, sanctification as the second definite work of grace, providing deliverance from the sinful Adamic nature, baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, biblical holiness without which no man shall see God, restitution, water baptism, the Lord’s Supper and feet washing, the gathering of God’s people into one fold, perfection of the saints, and all of the other Bible truths.

The world must receive the complete message and only the Church is commissioned to provide the full Word of God. God’s Church cannot focus on a few popular teachings, but rather, she is responsible to teach and preach God’s Word — complete, entire, to the utmost extent. Only then can it be said that the “full” gospel has been given to the world.

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

To Gather God’s Sheep into One Body

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him”(Ephesians 1:10).

To be “in Christ” is to be saved. Evangelism is the Church’s primary commission; however, Christ never intended for His sheep to be divided among man-made institutions. The same Christ who brings salvation established His Church (Mark 3:13-19) and“purchased [Her] with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16). This fold is provided for the protection and direction of Christians, for they are His sheep.

“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be]” (Genesis 49:10). This passage is the first recorded prophetic word concerning the gathering together of all God’s people. As the coming of the Lord draws nearer, the great inflow of all the other sheep into the fold will continue to increase rapidly. Prophecy states that “They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, [saying], Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant [that] shall not be forgotten” (Jeremiah 50:5).

To Provide Ministry for the Perfection of the Saints

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28).

The Church has been commissioned to continue the work which Jesus began. His analogy in the Gospel of Mark reveals this truth and responsibility. “[For the Son of man is] as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch” (Mark 13:34). He projects the same role in the Gospel of Luke. “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:12, 13). To occupy is more than to fill up space. It also means to fulfill the duties of an office or position. For the Church to occupy until Christ comes, She must do the work which has been assigned to Her.

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12).

Perfection has been the goal of The Church of God from the beginning. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Even the children of Israel were commanded to be perfect. “Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God” (Deut. 18:13). God requires no impossibilities. Perfection carries not only the attribute of holiness, but also, the connotation of maturity and completeness. In his letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul admonished the Church to lay aside immaturity (Ephesians 4:15), and in the epistle to the Hebrews, the readers were instructed to “…go on unto perfection…” (Hebrews 6:1).

The Church has been given the responsibility to preach and teach until all Christians obtain Christian perfection. There can be no perfection outside of the Church, but only greater and increasing confusion, because there is no government to ensure unity of faith and doctrine outside of God’s organized theocracy.

A Divine Call for the Divinely Established Church

There are many churches in the world today, all of them man-made except one. “My dove, my undefiled…” (Song of Solomon 6:9) is the one that Jesus came to build and purchase with His own blood. She is now on course to finish Her earthly work and prepare for the rapture, after which She will enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb.

With over twenty-one thousand members, worshipping in over five hundred seventy churches in forty seven nations of the world, The Church of God is committed to fulfilling the divine call which is set before Her. Although, human reasoning may deem the task too great, by the guidance of the Spirit, She will endure and fulfill the commission which He has given to Her.

The Church’s greatest days are just ahead as God fills Her with divine glory. She is gradually moving from glory to glory until She reaches the “…the fulness of Christ…”(Ephesians 4:13). He will grant an anointing and power to take the whole Gospel to the whole world. As His sheepfold, She will serve as the nucleus for the gathering of all of God’s sheep. As His building, She will grow into a holy temple and become the habitation of God through His Spirit. As the Bride of Christ, She will put on robes of pure white and be presented to the Lord without spot or wrinkle. She will be holy and without blemiImageImage