Mark 13:1-4 (NIV) — “As He 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.’ As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to be fulfilled?’”
I find these four verses puzzling here in the midst of our modern 2020-2021.
Are you familiar with the Jewish historian Josephus? Josephus is our primary source of information about the Fall of Jerusalem.
Josephus began as a rebel leader, but midway through the Jewish revolt, 66-70 AD, he switches to the Roman side of the conflict. He was with General Titus during the siege, and basically an eyewitness with a pen.
Biblically speaking, what Jesus had said to His disciple came true not long after He had made the prediction. The Temple would be destroyed in 70 AD.
Jerusalem was destroyed. The stones of the Temple were especially dismantled. As I understand, the inner walls had a great deal of gold upon them. As the fires raged, the gold melted. So, as the Romans sought to gain all the gold that had melted and seeped through the cracks, the stones were dismantled for the gold, not leaving one stone upon another.
I remember this from one of the earliest Bible studies I attended as a new believer.
How come I remember such an early lesson? Perhaps it’s my interest in history or perhaps my fascination with prophecy. Especially prophecy fulfilled.
After the fall of Jerusalem, sacked by the Roman General Titus and his troops, to honor the general, Rome built a massive monument called the Arch of Titus.
Naturally, there is significant Roman style architecture. It’s huge. It is meant for people to pass through as a gate to the southeast of the Roman Forum.
Inside this famous arch are carved pictures in the stone of the actual conquering troops carrying off the plunder from the Temple in Jerusalem. In light of our current modern sensitivities regarding statues and monuments, I would imagine this to be a constant dark overshadowing for Jewish people, as I have seen multiple images of this whether on paintings, models or almost any form of replication.
When my wife and I traveled through Greece and Turkey, we had the chance to see a handful of those types of arches. I’m just curious why there was no voice from the social warriors regarding their sensitivities.
The one I remember the clearest was the Arch of Hadrian. I think the reason I remember it was because we could see the Acropolis of Athens upon the hill behind it.
So, back to the Arch of Titus. With all the recent sensitivity about historical monuments in our nation, I couldn’t help but think of all these types of monuments that have been in place for centuries, sharing in detail the effects of war.
Did you know that January 27, 2021, was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz?
As I understand it, the Jewish people didn’t want the death camp destroyed but left as a reminder that such things should never happen again to any people.
There was an article in Time magazine which said, “In a world of fake news, people believe museums. They don’t always believe a lot of the other things they read online, but museums have an authenticity to them.” The marks of history are often ugly, painful reminders.
“The past is seldom as we would have it. The future unknown — embrace the present and strike all else from concern.” — “Spartacus”
“What we do in life echoes in eternity.” — “Gladiator”
I think those are my two favorite movie quotes.
Not recommended to base your doctrine on, but they’re useful as reminders for me.