Goodly stones - Or, costly stones. It has been thought by some that this relates not so much to the stones of which the temple was built, as to the precious stones with which it was decorated. For an account of the stones of the temple, see on Mark 13:1; (note).
And gifts - Or, consecrated things, αναθημασι . Αναθημα properly signifies a thing consecrated to sacred uses: Αναθεμα signifies a thing devoted to a curse, or to destruction. They both come from the same root, ανατιθημι, I lay up, separate; and though two meanings cannot be more opposite than those assigned to these words, yet in the words themselves a short vowel (ε ) in the place of a long one (η ) makes all the difference between blessing and cursing.
Goodly stones - Beautiful stones. Either referring to the large, square, and well-finished stones of which the eastern wall was built, or to the precious stones which might have been used in decorating the temple itself. See the notes at Mark 13:1.
Gifts - This word properly denotes anything devoted or dedicated to God. Anciently warriors dedicated to their gods the spoils of war - the shields, and helmets, and armor, and garments of those slain in battle. These were suspended in the temples. It would seem that something of this kind had occurred in the temple of Jerusalem, and that the people, to express their gratitude to God, had suspended on the pillars and perches of the temple gifts and offerings. Josephus mentions particularly a golden “vine” with which Herod the Great had adorned the columns of the temple (“Antiq.” xiii. 8). See also 2 Maccabees 5:16; 9:16.
Christ's words to the priests and rulers, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:38), had struck terror to their hearts. They affected indifference, but the question kept rising in their minds as to the import of these words. An unseen danger seemed to threaten them. Could it be that the magnificent temple, which was the nation's glory, was soon to be a heap of ruins? The foreboding of evil was shared by the disciples, and they anxiously waited for some more definite statement from Jesus. As they passed with Him out of the temple, they called His attention to its strength and beauty. The stones of the temple were of the purest marble, of perfect whiteness, and some of them of almost fabulous size. A portion of the wall had withstood the siege by Nebuchadnezzar's army. In its perfect masonry it appeared like one solid stone dug entire from the quarry. How those mighty walls could be overthrown the disciples could not comprehend. DA 627.1Read in context »
In these scriptures two parties are brought to view. One party permitted themselves to be deceived and took sides with those with whom the Lord has a controversy. They misinterpreted the messages sent them and clothed themselves in robes of self-righteousness. Sin was not sinful in their eyes. They taught falsehood as truth, and by them many souls were led astray. 9T 268.1
We need now to take heed to ourselves. Warnings have been given. Can we not see the fulfillment of the predictions made by Christ and recorded in the twenty-first chapter of Luke? How many are studying the words of Christ? How many are deceiving their own souls and cheating themselves out of the blessings that others might secure if they would believe and obey? Probation still lingers, and it is our privilege to lay hold of the hope set before us in the gospel. Let us repent and be converted and forsake our sins, that they may be blotted out. “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:33-36. 9T 268.2
Shall the warnings given by Christ be passed by unheeded? Shall we not make diligent work for repentance now, while Mercy's gracious voice is still heard? 9T 269.1Read in context »