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The Destruction of the Temple Foretold

13

As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” 2Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

3 When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4“Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 6Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

Persecution Foretold

9 “As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them. 10And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 13and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.


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Mr 13:1-37. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mt 24:1-51; Lu 21:5-36).

Jesus had uttered all His mind against the Jewish ecclesiastics, exposing their character with withering plainness, and denouncing, in language of awful severity, the judgments of God against them for that unfaithfulness to their trust which was bringing ruin upon the nation. He had closed this His last public discourse (Mt 23:1-39) by a passionate lamentation over Jerusalem, and a solemn farewell to the temple. "And," says Matthew (Mt 24:1), "Jesus went out and departed from the temple"—never more to re-enter its precincts, or open His mouth in public teaching. With this act ended His public ministry. As He withdrew, says Olshausen, the gracious presence of God left the sanctuary; and the temple, with all its service, and the whole theocratic constitution, was given over to destruction. What immediately followed is, as usual, most minutely and graphically described by our Evangelist.

1. And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him—The other Evangelists are less definite. "As some spake," says Luke (Lu 21:5); "His disciples came to Him," says Matthew (Mt 24:2). Doubtless it was the speech of one, the mouthpiece, likely, of others.

Master—Teacher.

see what manner of stones and what buildings are here—wondering probably, how so massive a pile could be overthrown, as seemed implied in our Lord's last words regarding it. Josephus, who gives a minute account of the wonderful structure, speaks of stones forty cubits long [Wars of the Jews, 5.5.1.] and says the pillars supporting the porches were twenty-five cubits high, all of one stone, and that of the whitest marble [Wars of the Jews, 5.5.2]. Six days' battering at the walls, during the siege, made no impression upon them [Wars of the Jews, 6.4.1]. Some of the under-building, yet remaining, and other works, are probably as old as the first temple.

2. And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings?—"Ye call My attention to these things? I have seen them. Ye point to their massive and durable appearance: now listen to their fate."

there shall not be left—"left here" (Mt 24:2).

one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down—Titus ordered the whole city and temple to be demolished [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 7.1.1]; Eleazar wished they had all died before seeing that holy city destroyed by enemies' hands, and before the temple was so profanely dug up [Wars of the Jews, 7.8.7].

3. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, over against the temple—On their way from Jerusalem to Bethany they would cross Mount Olivet; on its summit He seats Himself, over against the temple, having the city all spread out under His eye. How graphically is this set before us by our Evangelist!

Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately—The other Evangelists tell us merely that "the disciples" did so. But Mark not only says that it was four of them, but names them; and they were the first quarternion of the Twelve.

4. Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?—"and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" They no doubt looked upon the date of all these things as one and the same, and their notions of the things themselves were as confused as of the times of them. Our Lord takes His own way of meeting their questions.

Prophecies of the Destruction of Jerusalem (Mr 13:5-31).

5. And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:

6. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ—(see Mt 24:5)—"and the time draweth nigh" (Lu 21:8); that is, the time of the kingdom in its full splendor.

and shall deceive many—"Go ye not therefore after them" (Lu 21:8). The reference here seems not to be to pretended Messiahs, deceiving those who rejected the claims of Jesus, of whom indeed there were plenty—for our Lord is addressing His own genuine disciples—but to persons pretending to be Jesus Himself, returned in glory to take possession of His kingdom. This gives peculiar force to the words, "Go ye not therefore after them."

7. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled—(See on Mr 13:13, and compare Isa 8:11-14).

for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet—In Luke (Lu 21:9), "the end is not by and by," or "immediately." Worse must come before all is over.

8. These are the beginnings of sorrows—"of travail-pangs," to which heavy calamities are compared. (See Jer 4:31, &c.). The annals of Tacitus tell us how the Roman world was convulsed, before the destruction of Jerusalem, by rival claimants of the imperial purple.

9. But take heed to yourselves: for—"before all these things" (Lu 21:12); that is, before these public calamities come.

they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten—These refer to ecclesiastical proceedings against them.

and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings—before civil tribunals next.

for my sake, for a testimony against them—rather "unto them"—to give you an opportunity of bearing testimony to Me before them. In the Acts of the Apostles we have the best commentary on this announcement. (Compare Mt 10:17, 18).

10. And the gospel must first be published among all nations—"for a witness, and then shall the end come" (Mt 24:14). God never sends judgment without previous warning; and there can be no doubt that the Jews, already dispersed over most known countries, had nearly all heard the Gospel "as a witness," before the end of the Jewish state. The same principle was repeated and will repeat itself to "the end."

11. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand—"Be not anxious beforehand."

what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate—"Be not filled with apprehension, in the prospect of such public appearances for Me, lest ye should bring discredit upon My name, nor think it necessary to prepare beforehand what ye are to say."

but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost—(See on Mt 10:19, 20.)

13. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake—Matthew (Mt 24:12) adds this important intimation: "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many"—"of the many," or "of the most," that is, of the generality of professed disciples—"shall wax cold." Sad illustrations of the effect of abounding iniquity in cooling the love even of faithful disciples we have in the Epistle of James, written about the period here referred to, and too frequently ever since.

but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved—See on Mt 10:21, 22; and compare Heb 10:38, 39, which is a manifest allusion to these words of Christ; also Re 2:10. Luke (Lu 21:18) adds these reassuring words: "But there shall not an hair of your heads perish." Our Lord had just said (Lu 21:16) that they should be put to death; showing that this precious promise is far above immunity from mere bodily harm, and furnishing a key to the right interpretation of Ps 91:1-18 and such like.




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