Jesus moves their thinking from the wonder of the present to consider the future. Initially he is saying the temple will not last, it is doomed for a day of destruction. Sadly it was to be destroyed in AD70 when Titus ransacked and destroyed the temple leaving very little standing.
Peter, James, John and Andrew are inquisitive and keen to know more. As they sit on the temple side of the mount of Olives, no doubting continuing to gaze at the Temple structure, they ask Jesus - when will it happen and will there be any warning signs that it is about to happen? A good question! Before I summarise Jesus' answer it would be worth reading the reply recorded in verses 5 - 37! I've added it at the end of this blog for your convenience.
If you have just read these verses you will hopefully notice that the Lord Jesus bridges the times in which he lived with end times. He starts with the temple as it was in his day but infers that the biggest issue they need to think about will not be the destruction of the temple in AD70 but the desolation and defiling of a future temple (v14).
This is a big topic and we would need to refer to many passages in the Bible to get a real grasp of it. However Jesus points us to one passage indicating that Daniel the prophet also spoke about the same event (see Daniel 9). When you read Daniel and other relevant scriptures, 2 Thess 2, Matt 24, Luke 21, you could only come to one conclusion: A new Temple will be built in Jerusalem before Jesus comes again (v36) and the long stopped practice of animal sacrifice will be reintroduced. Then a non-Jewish world leader will rise on the world stage (Rev 13). He will stop the animal sacrifices and break a seven year deal that he has negotiated with Israel. At this stage he will place some form of image of himself (2 Thess 2, Rev 13) in the 'holiest of all', the most holy place of Jewish worship, and sacrilegiously defile their temple once again. This has already happened once in their history in the period following Alexander the Great but this future event will usher in another period of 'holocaust' treatment of God's chosen people!
There are many predictions made in Mark 13. As with all bible prophecy they usually have two points of fulfilment (see one example above). The predictions about wars, earthquakes, famines and troubled times have happened to some extent but will also reoccur as we approach end times. The predictions about persecution and the spread of the gospel equally have an application to the start of Christianity, as was very relevant to the disciples, and will see fulfilment as Jewish evangelists (see Revelation 7, Matthew 24. 14) preach about the coming Messiah and His coming kingdom after the church has been raptured to heaven. The heart of man never changes. What drives man to hate has always been the the same. Whether in the holocaust of WW2 or the current day! The hatred of the world for the Jews has always been the same. The origin of the hated comes from another source, the arch enemy of God, the Devil.
God chose the nation of Israel to be the means by which he will bless the world and despite the horrific treatment of this nation by most civilisations God will see to it that this comes true in His own time. The future return of Jesus to rescue the nation of Israel from future anti-semitism is assured in the bible, Zechariah 14, Matthew 24. 29,30, Luke 21. 25-28. He will also come to judge the nations of the world in respect of their treatment of Israel at that stage, Matthew 25. This is a separate issue from the day when God will judge all of mankind, Revelation 20. 11-15.
Today, God is blessing people in the world today through a Jew - his name is Jesus. He is the Son of God and the scripture states 'when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a women, made under the law,' Gal. 4. 4. Jesus was born when the time was exactly right, he was born in a human family by the miracle of the virgin conception, a Jewish family to be precise. All this being the fulfilment of the ancient predictions of scripture.
As we reflect today on National Holocaust Day and mourn the wicked treatment of a race do not suppose for a moment that it couldn't happen again. Indeed it will happen again! Your choice should be to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Psalm 122. 6, and to trust their greatest Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour, Acts 16.31.
For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk