Kefa Learns About the Destruction of the Temple

In my last post, Kefa learned the Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree. We continue in our chronological journey of Kefa in this post, Kefa Learns About the Destruction of the Temple.

This lesson taken from Mark was taught on Tuesday afternoon of Passion week as Yeshua and His talmidim were leaving Yerushalayim.

Mark may have risked severe trouble with the Roman authorities for writing this chapter. Jewish underground tracts about the time of the end usually included Isra’el’s exaltation, and Rome distrusted any threat to its power. Prophecies favoring Rome’s greatness were welcome, but not those implying its demise. But this chapter before Yeshua’s arrest climaxes Yeshua’s warnings to His talmidim. [1]

1 As Yeshua came out of the Temple, one of the talmidim said to Him, “Look, Rabbi! What huge stones! What magnificent buildings!”

The First Temple, built by King Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, was a building of great magnificence. The Second Temple, built under Z‘rubavel in 516 BCE, could not compare with it. King Herod, the Great, to ingratiate himself with the Jewish people, undertook its renovation and expansion. According to Yochanan 2:20, it took forty-six years, but it was successful, and the remodeled Second Temple dominated all Yerushalayim.

The Temple complex consisted of many buildings and was perhaps the most massive, most magnificent structure in the ancient world; it was twice the size of Solomon’s Temple. Construction had begun before Yeshua’s birth and was still continuing at this time.

Although unnamed, based upon what we have learned so far in our study in this series, the talmid that said, “Look, Rabbi! What huge stones! What magnificent buildings!” was in all likelihood Kefa.

2 “You see all these great buildings?” Yeshua said to him, “They will be totally destroyed – not a single stone will be left standing!”

This prophecy was fulfilled literally in 70 CE when Rome overwhelmed the First Jewish Rebellion by capturing Yerushalayim and sacking the Temple. Excavations made after the Six-Day War revealed enormous stones from the Western Wall of the Temple Court (of which the still-standing “Wailing Wall” is part) lying helter-skelter, not one left on another.

3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Kefa, Ya’akov, Yochanan, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what sign will show when all these things are about to be accomplished?” ~ Mark 13:1-4 (CJB)

The Mount of Olives rose 300 feet above Yerushalayim, across the Kidron Valley. It provided a panoramic view of the temple complex and Yerushalayim. As Yeshua and his talmidim sat on the Mount of Olives, they asked him when these events would happen and about the sign of their accomplishment. They connected the events with the end of the age and the beginning of the Messianic kingdom (see Matt. 24:3).

Since we are only focusing on Kefa in this series, I am not going to address Yeshua’s complete response.

In my next post, Kefa is instructed to Make Preparations for the Pesach.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Bible Background Commentary – New Testament.

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