Studies in the Gospel of Mark- Chapter 13
I. The End of the Temple
A. And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 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.” And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:1-23)
B. The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” (John 2:20) They are speaking of Herod’s temple. The temple that Herod’s family built to curry favor with the Jewish people and political/religious powers. However history tells us that they had only finished it a few years before A.D. 70, which was the year that Titus destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, and according to history well over 1 million Jews died in the siege. Some of the stones in that building were massive.
C. David Pawson often relates prophecy as to when someone is describing two mountains. From a horizontal view they appear to be very close or even together, but when you see them from a vertical view they may have a very lengthy valley separating them. Thus it is in prophecy. The speaker is relaying what he sees and many times it sounds as if what he is describing is happening simultaneously or immediately following the first described events. Therefore a person may expect to see the fulfillment of the entire prophecy quickly if they do not understand this principle. In addition, prophecy seems to have near applications and far fulfillments. In other words, many times what happens first is used by God to give us a grid for what will be.
D. The disciples ask Jesus when this will happen and what are the signs when this will take place. In Matthew 24 it appears that they ask him either 2 or 3 questions concerning the same event recorded in Mark 13. This Gospel writer only records this one two-part question.
E. Jesus begins to tell them the events that will lead up to the destruction of the temple. He does it with great accuracy. As a matter of fact, Jewish historical author Flavius Josephus records the events of the first century with great detail. It confirms Jesus’ prophecy.
1. Many came even in the first century claiming to be the Messiah as well as Jesus in His Second coming.
2. There were many skirmishes throughout the Roman World after this time and the actual destruction of the Temple was preceded with a war with the Jews.
3. There were earthquakes; Sardis and other Asia Minor areas were and are prone to earthquakes.
4. Famines created by governmental seizes or control, as well as climatological events were recorded.
5. Delivering them over to councils and being persecuted in the synagogues was a common occurrence to the NT Apostles.
6. You will be hated for my name’s’ sake.
7. Abomination of Desolation standing where it ought not…Daniel 11 and 12 give us some indication that the Abomination is like an idol or something that is placed there for worship other than God. Methodist theologian Adam Clarke and Anglican bishop Thomas Newton interpret the abomination of desolation as a proverbial phrase that could include multiple events “substituted in the place of, or set up in opposition to, the ordinances of God, his worship, his truth, etc.” This allows for some or all of the examples in the following (incomplete) list to be viewed as partial fulfillments of this prophecy simultaneously:
the re-dedication of the Temple to Zeus by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 BC,
the worship of the Roman Standards on the Temple Mount under Titus in 70 AD and
the “Man of Lawlessness” at the end of the age.
Nonetheless when that happens flee Jerusalem was Jesus’ warning. For taht will spell it’s destruction. In 70 AD that happened.
II. The End of the Age
A.”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” (Mark 13:24-37)
B. Now Jesus turns his discussion to what seems to be a mountain that is behind the mountain of the destruction of the temple to something that is even greater, the end of the age. It is accompanied with many signs in the heavens and then He gloriously returns to the earth. It is caught in the word “Those” in contrast to the words “These”.
C. Many of the things that will happen preceding the coming of the Son of Man will look exactly like what happened before the destruction of the temple. Therefore be looking, don’t slumber, but be AWAKE!
D. Many have questioned the Omniscience of the Son if he did not know when He was returning, but only the Father, thereby questioning His Divine Nature or God-ness. However, if we realize that as in any relationship roles require responsibilities to be defined; we see that Father has placed this aspect of timing in His own hand just as the Son was the one responsible for working redemption for all of mankind. As a result, all judgment has been entrusted to the Son. However, the season of His return can be discerned by those Awake and alive in Christ to understand the signs of the times.