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Mark 13:1

ESV And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”
NIV As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, 'Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!'
NASB As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, 'Teacher, look! What wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!'
CSB As he was going out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Teacher, look! What massive stones! What impressive buildings! "
NLT As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, 'Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.'
KJV And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

What does Mark 13:1 mean?

Over five hundred years before Jesus was born, Jewish exiles in Babylon returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple (Ezra 3). About 160 years before Jesus was born, Antiochus IV Epiphanes defiled the temple by dedicating it to Zeus and sacrificing a pig on the altar. The Maccabean family led a revolt, taking back the temple and rededicating it. In 39 BC, Herod the Great overran the temple and killed many of the priests. About twenty years later, he tried to placate the Jewish populace by renovating the temple to surpass the standards God gave Solomon. Although major construction was completed in only a few years, it wasn't entirely finished until AD 67—long after this passage in Mark occurred. Three years later, the Romans besieged Jerusalem and fulfilled Jesus' prophecy that every stone would be taken, one from another (Mark 13:2).

At this time, the temple and surrounding courtyard are indeed "wonderful." The temple is massive, made of great white stones. The eastern side is covered in gold. Herod not only expanded the temple, he expanded the top of the temple Mount. He built great walls to roughly square off the plateau, and back-filled them to flatten the top. Porticoes—open-air porches— line the top edges. The largest, Solomon's portico, borders the southern edge. On the northwest corner is Antonia Fortress, home to the garrison that guards the temple Mount against riots. It is this garrison that will save Paul when he is wrongly accused of bringing Gentiles into the temple (Acts 21:27–36).

Throughout the week, Jesus and the disciples have probably entered the temple courtyard through the east gate, where the morning sun shines through and onto the temple. Although built by an evil, quasi-Jewish king, the temple is architecturally a magnificent emblem, representing both the worship of God and the nationalism of the Jews. Unfortunately, it has become more of the latter and less of the former. The building that should be the centerpiece of God-worship is now a symbol of corruption (Mark 11:15–19).
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