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Ipoh Garden Baptist Church, English Section, 17February2008

Deception and Destruction.

Mark 13: 1 - 8

Introduction

The Temple at Jerusalem:

(a)  The first Temple was built by King Solomon beginning in the fourth year of his reign over Israel, in 975 BC and completed seven years later in 968 BC.  It was a magnificient building, its walls panelled with cedar wood and carved with flowers, palm trees and cherubim, then overlaid with gold.  As a result anyone who looks at the temple will not see any stone work, but instead a building overlaid with gold!  During those times, the temple served as a treasury of the King.  It symbolised the wealth and power of the kingdom.  However, those treasures were later raided by King Shishak of Egypt during the reign of his son, Rehoboam. Subsequent Kings, including Hezekiah, used its treasures to pay tributes to invading  forces.  Some kings, like Manasseh son of Hexekiah, who turned away from God to worship idols even added Canaanite shrines, while King Ahaz introduced a foreign altar into the temple. (2 Kings 21)  By the time the Godly King Josiah came to power, the temple was about 300 years old and offerings money collected from the  worshippers were used to pay for  repairs to the temple.  But the temple did not stand very long after that: eighty years later, in 587BC, after having stood in Jerusalem for about 380 years Solomon's Temple was looted and destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar.

(b)  The second temple was built in about 537BC, fifty years after the destruction of the first temple, by the exiles returning from Babylonia led by Zerubabbel, who brought back with them the golden vessels looted by King Nebuchadnezzar, authorised by King Cyrus to rebuild the temple. Thus this the second temple is sometimes called the temple of Zerubabbel.  Although it was not as magnificient as the first temple, it would stand for the next 500 years in Jerusalem.  Sadly, the Ark of the covenant has disappeared over the years of Exile in Babylon and was never recovered.  Also, instead of Solomon's ten lampstands, a single seven-branched lampstand stood in the holy place with the table for showbread and the incense altar.  However, on 15 December 167 BC, the temple was desecrated by the Seleucid King Antiochus IV who called himself "Theo Epiphanes"  or "God Manifest". Antiochus Epiphanes wanted to Hellenize the Jews.  He took away all the sacred items from the holy place, banned circumcision among the Jews, destroyed all the OT Books he could find and sacrificed a pig at the altar of the temple.  (Called the "abomination of desolation", used by the Lord Jesus in Mark13: 14 in his prophecy of yet another abominable sacrilege to be committed in the future temple of God.)

(c)  Three years later, under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus, the Jews cleansed the temple, replaced its furnishings and reinforced the walls around it, making it look like a fortress.  Eventually, in about 19BC, Herod the Great, an Idumean King who was appointed the first procurator of Galiliee by Caesar, who also called himself King of the Jews, in trying to reconcile with the Jews, decided to rebuild and expand the second temple.  Great care was taken by Herod to respect the sacred work-site. Even the 1000 masons were selected from the Jewish priests and trained to do masonry work.  The main structure was finished after about ten years, in 9 BC, but the rest of the work continued throughout the time of  Christ's ministry.  All in all, the temple was a magnificient structure of cream-coloured stone and gold.  By the time the account of Mark 13: 1-8 took place, this refurbished "Herod's Temple" was probably an awesome building complex, as ongoing work continues.

(d)  Finally, the restoration and expansion work on Herod's Temple was completed in AD64, taking more than eight decades in all to finish.   All these years of hard work appeared in vain, because a few years later, in AD70,  Herod's Temple was completely destroyed by the invading army of the Roman General Titus, who, like Antiochus Epiphanes in 167BC, looted the temple once again of its sacred objects, and carried them to Rome.  An account is told of a soldier who accidentally toppled a lampstand while looting the temple, causing a huge fire which raged out of control.  In trying to put out the fire, the water which was thrown at the burning temple caused the stones to crack and crumble.  In the end, the entire temple of Herod the Great completely collapsed, and, as foretold by the Lord Jesus in Mark 13: 2, "not one stone was left on another . . ."



Notes 

Introduction: outline the historical background of the Temple at Jerusalem, and its final destruction in AD70

(1) v1. "What wonderful stones and buildings!"  "Not a single stone will be left on top of another.  Every one of them will be thrown down" [Illustrate with tall buildings in Hong Kong and Singapore]  The destruction of Herod's Temple is not the end.  v.7b " . . . but the end shall not yet be."  and v.8b " . . . these are the beginnings of sorrows"

(2)  Many sorrowful events will come to pass first:  v.7 " wars and rumours of wars", v8 "nations against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms"  [Get recent statistics of the state of the world: WW1, WW2, vietnam war, civil wars, terrorism, etc],  also earthquakes in many places, famines and troubles.

(3)  Great deception will take place.  "Many shall come in my Name", " saying I am the Christ",  " shall deceive many". [Similar verse in Revelation?]

(4) "When shall these things be?"  "What shall be the sign when these things will be fulfilled?" v3. [Notice the place where this question was asked: on the Mount of Olives, across from the temple. Probably the magnificient building was the backdrop.] [Also, notice the time when this question was posed: PJJA came to the Lord in private]