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Mark 13:2

ESV And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."
NIV "Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
NASB And Jesus said to him, 'Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.'
CSB Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another—all will be thrown down."
NLT Jesus replied, 'Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!'
KJV And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
NKJV And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

What does Mark 13:2 mean?

Jesus and the disciples are leaving the temple courtyard for the last time before the crucifixion. While in Jerusalem, Jesus had reinstated His public teaching ministry. Starting with Jesus' comments on the generous widow (Mark 12:41–44), the rest of Jesus' teaching as recorded by Mark will be dedicated solely to His disciples. In this chapter, Jesus prophesies what will happen to the Jews, both in the near future and the end times.

The Jews who returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon rebuilt the temple around 550 BC. About fifteen years before Jesus was born, Herod the Great started a massive renovation of not only the temple but the plateau it sits on. The major work is finished, but the details won't be completed until AD 67. That is some three decades after Jesus speaks these words. A year before the temple is finished, tension between Jews and Romans will reach a critical mass. That conflict will move beyond minor skirmishes which have plagued the Roman leaders since they came into power. The Jews will fully revolt, driving the Romans out of Jerusalem. Nero will respond. He will send General Vespasian, who will sweep through Judea and herd the rebels into Jerusalem. Vespasian will return to Rome to become emperor, leaving General Titus to finish his work.

In AD 70, Titus and his army will allow Jews to enter Jerusalem for the Passover, only to turn and guard the gates and prevent travelers from leaving. Despite efforts by the Jewish historian Josephus to broker a truce, the Romans will maintain their siege. In August, they'll storm the city and massacre the weakened residents.

In the course of their looting, the Romans take the implements used in the temple. The temple itself burns, melting the gold that covers the east wall into the cracks of the stones in the pavement. In order to get at the precious metal, the Romans will tear the temple and the paving apart, stone by stone. When Jesus says that not a single stone will be left stacked, this is not an exaggeration. The destruction of the temple will be so complete that modern researchers, to this day, aren't exactly sure where it sat. the general location is known, but unlike other ruins, there is nothing left to precisely define the building.

Even worse, the loss of life in AD 70 will be staggering. During the battles, as many as 500 Jews will be crucified each day. Over 100,000 will die during the siege. Nearly 100,000 will be taken prisoner, thousands of whom would be conscripted as gladiators.

This destruction of the temple is like the collapse of the dusty shell of a long-dead beetle. What was to be a place to worship God has been replaced by commercialism (Mark 11:15–19), politics, and grand-standing (Luke 18:10–14; Mark 12:38–41). The temple is no longer where God dwells. As Jesus definitively broke with the religious leaders in Mark 12, He now breaks with the temple, itself (Ezekiel 10:18–19).

Because of prior history, and a military sense of the coming Messiah, the disciples expect Jesus to destroy the Romans and usher in a golden age for Israel. Jesus warns that it is Jerusalem that will be destroyed by the Romans.
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