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Saturday, August 7, 2010

8/7/10- Mark 13:1-7, 14-18 Destruction of the temple predicted

1 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!" 2 "Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 "Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?" 5 Jesus said to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come...14 "When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.

(My 5'4" daughter at a temple stone; rt. stones from temple still torn down from Romans 70 AD- walls above and beyond more modern)

Thoughts: This is one of the most remarkable passages.  This passage is one reason many Jews consider Jesus a prophet- he prophesied the destruction of the Temple- which was destroyed in 70 AD.  Mark in particular is said by most scholars the earliest gospel written 55-65 AD (Eusebius dates Mark 43 AD  during the reign of Claudius- when Peter came to Rome).  There are many liberal scholars who do not believe in predictive prophecy who therefore automatically place the date after the Temple's destruction (but such reasoning is circular- "Jesus can't predict so despite other evidence Mark must be later"- supporting their assumptions by their own dating).  It is said vss. 14-18 caused the early Christians to flee Jerusalem and escape harm- for they saw the Romans in Jerusalem with the insignia of a pig.  So even though the church was small, every indication is that the church escaped the terrible seige of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  Today you can go to Jerusalem and see the huge temple stones literally torn down (see picture above) in fulfillment of the prediction of Jesus.  There was a sense of some at the time that the Church had died- as the temple was destroyed.  Yet when the Temple was destroyed the gospel spread more quickly throughout the world as the apostles were scattered.  Most Christians can learn to trust in scripture and above all in God from this passage.  The temple was burned by the Babylonians on August 10 586 and by the Romans on August 10 70 AD.

Prayer: Lord, kingdoms come and go, but the gates of hell will not prevail against you. 
John Calvin abridged: The disciples thought that Christ was paying his last adieu to the temple.  Christ was going to erect a new temple far more magnificent- that would produce a more flourishing state of the kingdom.  But the disciples could not believe that the magnificent splendor of the temple would give way to Christ.  Because the temple was so prodigious and costly their eyes were dazzled by the mass of stones which would have to be removed in order for Christ to reign.  This threatening doubtless kept the apostles from taking part in the rebellion against Rome.  This is a warning not to follow pomp, luxury, pleasure or false Christs.  This is a warning to remove every obstacle that hinders us from a right faith. 
For fuller detail on the temple's destruction (including Josephus' first-hand recording of it) see:

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