Noble stones of the Temple (Lk 21:5-21:5)

“Some were speaking

About the Temple.

It was adorned

With beautiful stones.

These were gifts

Dedicated to God.”

 

Καί τινων λεγόντων περὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ, ὅτι λίθοις καλοῖς καὶ ἀναθήμασιν κεκόσμηται,

 

Luke said that some people were speaking about the Temple (Καί τινων λεγόντων περὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ), since it was adorned with beautiful stones (ὅτι λίθοις καλοῖς), gifts dedicated to God (καὶ ἀναθήμασιν κεκόσμηται).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the word ἀναθήμασιν that means a gift or offering dedicated in a temple by a worshipper or a gift or offering consecrated to God.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:1, and Mark, chapter 13:1.  Mark said that Jesus was leaving the Temple (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  Then one of his disciples (λέγει αὐτῷ εἷς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ) pointed out to him the beautiful Temple buildings.  This unnamed disciple called him teacher (Διδάσκαλε).  He wanted Jesus to see and look at the wonderful or great stones and buildings (ἴδε ποταποὶ λίθοι καὶ ποταπαὶ οἰκοδομαί).  Matthew, like Mark, indicated that Jesus came out of the Temple (Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  As he was going away (ἐπορεύετο), his disciples came up to him to point out the beautiful Temple buildings (καὶ προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτῷ τὰς οἰκοδομὰς τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  The Jerusalem Temple had been under reconstruction since the time of Herod the Great in 19 BCE, but would not have been completed at the time of Jesus, since it was only finished in 63 CE.  However, most of the work would have been done by the time of Jesus.  Just like many churches, this Temple was not completed in a few years.  Do you know of any churches that took a long time to build or rebuild?

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The Temple will be thrown down (Mk 13:2-13:2)

“Then Jesus

Asked him.

‘Do you see

These great buildings?

Not one stone here

Will be left

Upon another.

All will be thrown down.’”

 

καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Βλέπεις ταύτας τὰς μεγάλας οἰκοδομάς; οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον ὃς οὐ μὴ καταλυθῇ.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:2, almost word for word, and in Luke, chapter 21:6, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus asked this disciple (καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) if he saw all these great buildings (Βλέπεις ταύτας τὰς μεγάλας οἰκοδομάς)?  There is no solemn proclamation here, as in Matthew.  However, Jesus told him that not one stone would be left on another stone at the Temple (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down, thrown down, or destroyed (ὃς οὐ μὴ καταλυθῇ).  In fact, in 70 CE, less than 40 years after the time of Jesus, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in their war with Israel.  However, threats against the original Jerusalem Temple had been common among the prophets in the Old Testament, especially before the Exile in the 7th and 6th century BCE.

The destruction of the Temple (Mt 24:2-24:2)

“Then Jesus asked them.

‘Do you not

See all these buildings?

Truly!

I say to you!

Not one stone

Will be left here

Upon another.

All will be thrown down.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα; ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:2, almost word for word, and in Luke, chapter 21:6, but slightly different.  Then Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς).  He asked them if they had not seen all these buildings (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα).  Then in a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) he told them that not one stone would be left on another stone here at the Temple (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down or thrown down (ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται).  In fact, in 70 CE, about 40 years after the time of Jesus, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in their war with Israel.  Threats against the Jerusalem Temple had been common among the prophets in the Old Testament, especially before the Exile in the 6th century BCE.

The city land around the Temple (Ezek 48:15-48:16)

“The remainder,

Five thousand cubits

In width,

Twenty-five thousand

In length,

Shall be

For ordinary use

For the city.

Dwellings

With open country

Shall be

In the middle

Of the city.

These shall be

Its dimensions.

The north side shall be

Four thousand five hundred cubits.

The south side shall be

Four thousand five hundred cubits.

The east side shall be

Four thousand five hundred cubits.

The west side shall be

Four thousand five hundred cubits.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel wanted 5,000 by 25,000 cubits made available for the ordinary use of the city, for its buildings and open spaces. This would be all around the holy portion of this land, on the east, west, north, and south sides. Each side area would be an area of 4,500 cubits, about 7,500 feet set aside for city itself.

Against Kedar (Jer 49:28-49:29)

“Concerning Kedar

With the kingdoms of Hazor

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Defeated.

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Rise up!

Advance against Kedar!

Destroy the people of the east!

Take their tents!

Take their flocks!

Take their curtains!

Take all their goods!

Carry off their camels

For yourselves!

A cry shall go up.

‘Terror is all around!’”

Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the step brother of Isaac. However, this biblical term was applied to a group of nomadic tribes in the northwest Arabian desert, east of the Jordan River and Ammon, in what is today Saudi Arabia. They were considered to be the people of the east, the Arabs. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to defeat them. He was going to take their possessions since they had no buildings to burn. They were going to lose their tents, flocks, curtains, and most importantly their camels. They would cry out that terror was all around them. They had no fortresses to defend themselves. Both Kedar and Hazor were not restored, but left as wastelands.

The restoration of fortunes (Jer 30:18-30:21)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I going to restore the fortunes

Of the tents of Jacob.

I have compassion

On their dwellings.

The city shall be rebuilt

Upon its mound.

The citadel shall set on

Its rightful site.

Out of them shall come

Songs of thanksgiving,

With the sound of merrymakers.

I will multiply them.

They shall not be few.

I will make them honored.

They shall not be disdained.

Their children shall be as of old.

Their congregation

Shall be established before me.

I will punish all

Who oppress them.

Their prince

Shall be one of their own.

Their ruler

Shall come from their own midst.

I will make him draw near.

They shall approach me.

Who would otherwise dare

To approach me?’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that he will restore the fortunes of the Israelites, the tents of Jacob. He was going to have compassion on their buildings and their cities. Thus, they would rebuild over the original rubble, which was the custom at that time. Then they would be able to come with songs of thanksgiving and voices of merrymakers. The Israelites would flourish. They would become numerous and honored, not disdained. Their children would be like in the good old days. Their congregation would hold Yahweh as special. Thus, anyone who oppressed them, Yahweh would punish. They would have their own princes and rulers from their own groups, not outsiders or foreigners telling them what to do. They would be near and approach Yahweh. Let the good times roll!