The Little Apocalypse

by Andrew Forrest

In Mark 13, Jesus is not talking about the end of the world, but an end of the world: the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. In the generation after Jesus (who died circa 33 AD), the Jews staged a revolt against Rome which was cruelly put down, culminating with the destruction of the Temple. The Temple remains in ruins until this day. (The well-known Wailing Wall is a still-standing wall of that Temple.)

Jesus is here foretelling the destruction of the Temple, using apocalyptic language, which is appropriate, because in the time of Jesus, the idea that the Temple would be thrown down, stone upon stone, would have seemed to require the end of the world.

13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
“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 13:1-2

I’ve been to the Temple Mount and seen the great stones that were brought from the quarry into Jerusalem. Even today, their size and scale is astounding. Add to this the fact that, as with the Pyramids, we still don’t know how the Temple was built and couldn’t build it today, and you can see why Jesus uses the language he does.

Today’s Scripture:

Mark 13:1-23

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