Mark 13:1-5

Mark 13:1 (KJB)
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!

Jesus now departs out of the temple after His latest confrontation with the religious leaders. As they were leaving the temple area, the disciples had come to Jesus to show Him the buildings of the temple. Jesus had seen them but this conversation began as the disciples seemed to be reveling in the temple edifice. (Luke 21:6) And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said  The word “goodly” comes from the Old English word “godlic” which carries with it the meaning of “handsome, well-favored, or admirable.” They were basically adoring the beautiful stones which adorned the temple making it look like it was an impregnable fortress. According to the above verse, the disciples were looking at the buildings in a manner of exclamation. It was like they were seeing these stones for the first time and were extolling the beauty of them. I understand what their excitement was about. I personally have stood in the entrance to the Empire State Building in New York City and you walk through a big lobby and that lobby is all made of fine marble and it is a beautiful area. The disciples were lauding the temple edifice as a very beautiful area.

Mark 13:2 (KJB)
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.

Then Jesus tells them in response to their exclamation that the temple will be thrown down and not one of those beautiful stones will be left upon another.

(Luke 21:6 KJV) As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

(Mat 24:2 KJV) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

Matthew 24:2 and Luke 21:6 both confirm that what is in view is the actual, physical temple. If you notice the words that Jesus used. He said, “there shall not be left here…” and in Luke 21:6, “As for these things which ye behold…” The key words being “here” and “which ye behold.” The disciples were looking at the physical temple and that is what Jesus has in view in responding to them. Jesus is prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D and that includes the temple itself. Now many will contradict this and say that the all of the temple was not thrown down and then tend to spiritualize these stones as believers being commanded to leave the local church. They will say this based upon the fact that the temple mount is still visible today in Israel. It is called the “Wailing Wall” and is not part of the temple itself but was just a support for it. The actual temple was on top of the mount and if you go to Israel today, you will see there is nothing on top of the mount. So therefore, this prophecy came to pass in its totality in 70 A.D.

Mark 13:3 (KJB)
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,

Then as Jesus resided on the Mount of Olives, the disciples had come unto Him in a private session and had asked Him two questions. Jesus now had their attention as to the fact that the temple will be destroyed and they wanted to inquire as to when that would happen. Jesus now spoke to His disciples privately about it. Some would be alive when it would happen and some would not.

Mark 13:4 (KJB)
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

Matthew 24:3 places a further understanding of this question. (Mat 24:3 KJV) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? It is very important to understand that the two questions are the dividing line in the chapter between the 70 A.D. events and the last days events. The first question they ask is concerning when shall these things be or when will the temple be thrown down? Then the second question they ask is in two parts yet they are one question because the Lord’s return is going to be on the last day of recorded history. (John 11:24 KJV) Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. They wanted to know what is the sign of His coming and the end of the world? The word “fulfilled” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “to complete entirely.” So the disciples are wanting to know when all of this prophecy will be completed. They were probably under the impression that when the physical temple would be destroyed, then that would usher in the New Heavens and New Earth. They did not understand the implications of Matthew 23:37-39 concerning Israel being left desolate when the Roman army would lay a six year siege on Jerusalem.

Mark 13:5 (KJB)
And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:

Mark 13, like the Book of Revelation, is not a chronological chapter and instead of Jesus answering the questions in a chronological order, He answers them in a topical method. (Luke 21:8 KJV) And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. The word “take heed” in the Greek in both verses carries with it the meaning of “watch out.” The disciples are to be on the lookout and must be very discerning. They had wanted a time when Jesus was going to restore the Kingdom of Israel. (Acts 1:6-7 KJV) When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? {7} And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. For Jesus the important thing is for the disciples to remain faithful because of upcoming events. The dates when things will be restored are in God’s hands and we leave them there. Our responsibility is to remain faithful till the Lord returns.