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Mark - Who is Christ?
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to MARK
PART 7 - Jesus' Olivet Discourse About the Future of Jerusalem and the end of the World (Mark 13:1-37)

1. Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple (Mark 13:1-4)

MARK 13:1-4
1 As he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, see what kind of stones and what kind of buildings!” 2 Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down.” 3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are all about to be fulfilled?”

Jesus went with his apostles to the holy temple, the house of God, the symbol of his presence in the midst of his people, the guarantee of his protection, and the continuity of the nation. The temple was the center of culture, the place of reconciliation to God, the aim of pilgrimage, and the summary of all blessings.

The stately building surrounded by a courtyard was the third construction of the temple, which was built twice before in the past, and ruined in the course of time. This temple as it existed after the captivity was not such as would satisfy a man as vain and fond of display as Herod the Great, who embraced the Jewish religion, and accordingly undertook the task of rebuilding it on a greater scale to conciliate the Jewish nation, but he did not receive love from the nation in return.

In the midst of the construction of this new temple, rites, sacrifices, and prayers were performed. The temple court became a market place until Jesus cleansed some of its halls as a symbol of the judgment of God on that people, saying: “My house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”

Having completed his teaching ministry, seeing that the people of the old covenant did not repent and turn wholly to God, and that the leaders of the people conferred to kill him, the Lord Jesus departed from the temple. By leaving the temple, he accomplished the prophecy of Ezekiel about the removing of the glory of the Lord from the temple to the Mount of Olives. Consequently God’s protection of this nation through his presence ended, and he delivered them to divine judgment, through the sudden attack of their enemies against them.

When the Lord had departed from the temple, his disciples did not observe the beginning of the new stage of Jesus’ life in the history of the Old Testament. They stood spellbound before the stately structure with its golden adornments, and felt reverence for this respected house.

And when one of the disciples asked Jesus about this shining center of their nation, he got a decisive answer. This was a profound sermon from Christ, which Mark considered of such importance that he mentioned it as the only sermon of Jesus Christ in his gospel, while the other evangelists gathered together many sayings of Jesus Christ. Mark felt that the following words were among the most important of all the Lord’s words, which every Christian should keep, understand, and live accordingly.

He who studies Jesus’ first brief answer, thinks that there are many words which Jesus did not say, but he accompanied his answer with a bitter smile, as if he were about to weep over his disobedient nation and his poor disciples. As if he said: “Ignorant brother, are you still looking at the dead stones, and destructible buildings, without understanding that I am the Temple of God, and in the temple of my body dwells all the fullness of the Godhead? The stones and buildings are not important. I am the center of the new covenant.

Then he spoke clearly: “Not a single stone here will be left in its place; every one of them will be thrown down.” This statement came like a thunderbolt on the disciples’ minds, in the midst of the dark night, and with an awful silence they gradually recognized that the destruction of this temple meant the end, the imminent judgment, the falling of Jerusalem, and the end of the world. They began to tremble with fear, and their false security founded on the thoughts of the old covenant was soon crushed.

When he had walked with his disciples across the Kedron valley, up to the Mount of Olives, Jesus sat there facing the city. What a beautiful scene! The temple court lay before him, and all were silent. Then four of his disciples, who formed the inner ring, dared to come to him, and one of them asked him about the details of this great mystery of the future: When will the judgment of God come on our nation, now or afterwards? Sooner or later? In our time or in future times? What are the signs of this imminent religious and political change? They probably asked how to escape the judgment of God, and how to be saved from the anger of the Most High.

Would that the words of Jesus could also create in us deep fear, that we might avert our eyes from money, ease, science, and earthly pomp, and turn to the holy God with broken hearts, and humble minds.

The nuclear bombs stored in the arsenals of the great powers are capable of firing and poisoning our globe several times over. The end is nearer than we know. Are you prepared to escape God’s anger, or are you like Lot’s wife, who turned back to look at the lustful places on fire, and became a symbol of all those who hesitate over their choice between repentance and their old life.

PRAYER: O holy Lord, you have revealed to us the imminent end of the world, and God’s anger against men’s dissoluteness and sin. Forgive our false sense of security, and superficial negligence. Grant us active faith in love, and certain hope. Give us divine insight that we may understand the hidden truths of the future, and give men the last chance to repent before your coming. Amen.


  1. What is the significance of Jesus’ discourse about the destruction of the temple?


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