MARK: DIVISION VIII
THE SON OF GOD'S OLIVET MINISTRY: JESUS' PROPHECY OF HIS RETURN AND THE END TIME, 13:1-37
Front Matter Book Intro
Detailed Outline Index
A. The Signs of the End Time, 13:1-13
(13:1-37) DIVISION OVERVIEW: End Time: noting the exact words of Jesus will help in understanding this chapter.
1. Jesus said "These are the beginnings of sorrows" (Mark 13:8). The words "the beginnings of sorrows" indicate that Jesus was dealing with the beginning of a terrible period of trial for the believer ("you," Mark 13:9). He was not just referring to the normal trials that occur upon earth or the regular persecutions that are launched against believers over the centuries (see Deeper Study #2 Matthew 24:1-31). World trouble and persecutions against God's people have always existed, even from the beginning of time. The great sorrow He spoke about refers to some period of time which is to be terrible, so terrible that it can be said to be "the beginnings of sorrows" or woes. It is to be a period that is to be distinguished from all the other trouble the world and believers will suffer throughout history.
2. Jesus said, "When ye shall see the abomination of desolation...standing where it ought not...then let them that be in Judea flee" (Mark 13:14). Matthew words the warning this way: "Then...flee...for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world" (Matthew 24:15-16, 21). There is no question about this sign. It launches the worst period of tribulation the world has ever seen. This sign definitely points to a specific period of human history. As to what the period should be called, it is probably best to title it as Matthew does: "great tribulation" (Matthew 5:24).
3. Now, note what Jesus has said in the above verses.
"These are the beginnings of sorrows" (Mark 13:8).
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation...standing where it ought not...then let them...flee" (Mark 13:14); or as Matthew says, "then...flee...for then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world" (Matthew 24:15-16, 21).
Jesus seemed to be giving a list of signs, one of which was the abomination of desolation. In Mark 13:6-13, He gave eight signs, the eighth saying "He that shall endure to the end shall be saved" (Mark 13:13). But note in Mark 13:14, how He seemed to pick up the signs again, giving what seems to be the most visible and terrible sign for which to watch. Note His words, reading Mark 13:13-14, "He that shall endure to the end shall be saved. But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation...standing where it ought not...then let them...flee."
Jesus was saying there will be a difference between the signs that precede the abomination and the unparalleled trials that follow. When the abomination of desolation stands where it ought not (in the holy place), the trials that follow are much, much worseunparalleled in human history.
The abomination of desolation will be the sign that launches the worst tribulations the world has ever known. Just when this abomination would appear Jesus did not say, but His appearance would be one of the nine signs Jesus gave; and His appearance would signal the worst devastation ever known by the world.
A chart diagramming Jesus' own words will perhaps help in understanding what He said.
1. His words were: "These [signs] are the beginnings of sorrows" (Mark 13:8).
2. "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation...then let them...flee" (Mark 13:14); or as Matthew says, "then shall be great tribulation" (Matthew 24:15, 21).
3. "But in those days, after that tribulation...shall they see the Son of Man coming" (Mark 13:24-27).
THE END OF THE WORLD
Seeing the Sign of the
3 1/2 years
(13:1-13) Introduction End Time: in understanding what Jesus was saying, we have to be very careful not to add to or take away from what He said. Both mistakes were made by religionists concerning Jesus' first coming (Matthew 2:4-6).
A major fact to keep in mind is this. The disciples did think that all three events (Jerusalem's destruction, the Lord's return, and the world's end) would happen at about the same time. They did think in terms of the Messianic Kingdom of God (Acts 1:6 compared with the Jewish concept of the Messiah show this). (See note Matthew 1:1; Deeper Study #2 Matthew 1:18; Deeper Study #2 Matthew 3:11; notes Matthew 11:1-6; note Matthew 11:2-3; Deeper Study #1 Matthew 11:5; Deeper Study #2 Matthew 11:6; Deeper Study #1 Matthew 12:16; note Matthew 22:42; note Luke 7:21-23.) When Jesus said that the temple would be destroyed, the disciples assumed it would happen at the same time that He returned and ended the world, thereby restoring the kingdom to Israel.
Jesus, however, gave no time-table. He did not say when the three events would occur. What He did was give signs that would occur before the events, signs that pointed toward His return and toward the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world.
It is important to keep in mind that most of the signs happen throughout history, but there is this difference: the signs increase and intensify right before the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world. There will be a period known as "the beginnings of sorrows" (Mark 13:8), and a period launched by the abomination of desolation known as the great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world" (Matthew 24:21).
1. Events that led to the great prophecies (v.1-5).
2. Sign 1: spiritual deception and false messiahs (v.6).
3. Sign 2: wars and rumors of war, international disturbances (v.7-8).
4. Sign 3: natural disasters (v.8).
5. Sign 4: persecution by civil and religious authorities (v.9).
6. Sign 5: world-wide evangelization (v.10).
7. Sign 6: a supernatural witness (v.11).
8. Sign 7: divided families (v.12-13).
9. Sign 8: some enduring and being saved (v.13).
DEEPER STUDY #1 (13:1-37) End Time Daniel
DEEPER STUDY #2 (13:1-37) End Time
DEEPER STUDY #3 (13:1-37) End Time
1. (13:1-5) End Time: a quick glance at the first four verses will show the events that led Jesus to deal with great prophecies covered by these chapters.
1. The disciples admired the temple's magnificence and drew Jesus' attention to its beauty. The temple was magnificent. It sat upon the towering summit of Mount Sion, and it was built of white marble plated with gold. The temple had several porches that were supported by huge, towering pillars, each one so large that it took three to four men reaching arm to arm to reach around it. The disciples apparently stood someplace where the temple in all its magnificent beauty struck them with awe, and they wanted Jesus to see the beautiful sight.
2. Jesus used the occasion to arouse the disciples' interest in coming events. He predicted the temple's utter destruction.
3. The disciples were aroused to ask two questions of the Lord: When will the temple be destroyed and what will be the sign of destruction? By these questions, Mark clearly shows that the disciples were thinking about the signs of Jesus' return and of the end of the world (Matthew 24:3. See note Luke 21:5-8.)
4. Jesus warned His disciples: they must guard against being deceived. This can mean one or two things. A person can be easily deceived when dealing with end-time prophecies, or a person can be easily deceived when facing the end-time events. He can be deceived into thinking that certain cataclysmic events are infallible signs that the end is at hand (Mark 13:7). Such too often results...
in wild guesses about the end time.
in universal predictions.
in the deceiving of others.
in discouragement of a person's faith when the end does not come.
2. (13:6) Messiah, False Deception: the first sign of the end time is spiritual deception by false messiahs. Note three facts stated.
1. Many false messiahs shall come. There will not be just a few, but many.
2. They shall claim to be the Christ, the Messiah; that is, each one will claim to the one who can lead men into the utopian state. They will claim that they can solve man's problems and see to it that man has plenty of everything. He will claim that he is the one who can fulfill the dreams of people, delivering them from conflict and war into a state of peace and freedom, plenty and comfort, equality or supremacy. The false messiahs are sometimes politicians and sometimes religionists, but in either case, they wield power and proclaim themselves to be the hope of mankind.
Thought 1. Think of the promises so often made by some politicians and religionists, promises that point toward them as the personal answer to man's hopes, dreams, and problems.
3. They "deceive many." They are deceivers, imposters, seducers, pretenders. They are not able to fulfill the dreams and hopes of men nor to solve the problems of men. They are not able to bring about the utopian state for men, for they do not have such power. They are mere men. They are not the true Messiah, not the Messiah of God. But despite this, many will follow them, believing their false promises and entrusting their lives and welfare into their keeping. Many will follow them as though they are the true deliverer of mankind.
"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:18).
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ" (2 Cor. 11:13).
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephes. 4:14).
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13).
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2 John 7).
3. (13:7-8) War World, Violence: the second sign of the end time is national and international disturbances, wars and rumors of war.
1. Believers will hear of upheavals, nationally and internationally. Some, as citizens of a warring nation, will even be caught up in the conflict. The news will be bad and bleak, always filled with wars and rumors of waralways plural, always referring to many.
2. The believer is not to be troubled. The word "troubled" (throeo) means to be terrified, frightened, disturbed, alarmed, crying out within one's inner being. Three things can happen to the believer in looking at world-wide trouble.
a. The believer can become overly affected by the news of world affairs and turmoil. Such news can become so interesting and captivating that it can dominate the believer's life. He begins to live and thrive on the news.
b. The believer can become overly apprehensive about the personal safety of himself and his family. He can begin to fear so much that he forgets that his security is in God, not in this world. Fear over world affairs tends to emphasize the importance of the earth over the importance of God; it tends to emphasize the worldly over the spiritual. The world, of course, is important; but what needs to be stressed is the spiritual. And it is the believer's responsibility to stress the spiritual, the security and peace of heart that is found in Christ.
c. The believer can become so troubled over world affairs that he neglects his spiritual duties. The believer is naturally concerned over the world, as all men should be. But he is not to allow world affairs to interfere with his witnessing for Christ. He is to be at peace and to be secure with God, and he is to demonstrate the peace and security of God, going about his daily duties as much as possible within a turbulent world. The point is, the believer is to be witnessing for Christ no matter the turbulence of the world.
3. Jesus said that world disturbance and upheavals "must needs be." They exist because of selfishness and greed, the sinful and depraved nature of man. The dark side of man is and always will be revealed and exposed by...
unbelief (Phil. 4:6-7)
negative thinking (Phil. 4:8)
4. World disturbance does not mean the end is at hand. Note that Christ was specific about this fact: "The end is not yet." He had just said, "Take heed lest any man deceive you" (Mark 13:5).
"And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded" (2 Chron. 15:6-7).
"My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD. And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumor that shall be heard in the land; a rumor shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumor, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler" (Jeremiah 51:45-46).
"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" (Luke 21:34).
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Phil. 4:6).
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
4. (13:8) Earthquake Famine: the fourth sign of the end time is natural disasters. Two disasters of nature are mentioned in particular.
1. Earthquakes in many places. Unbelievable destruction and death are sometimes caused by earthquakes. Josephus records the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy. He even hints that the natural disasters which happened were a sign of coming destruction.
"...there broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, and continual lightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this disorder; and any one would guess that these wonders forshowed some grand calamities that were coming" (Flavius Josephus. Wars. 4. 4:5. Josephus Complete Works, translated by William Whiston. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1960).
Earthquakes will occur in many places during the last days of the earth (Rev. 6:12; Rev. 11:12-13, 19; Rev. 16:17-19).
2. Famines. Scripture speaks of a "great famine" throughout all the world "which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar" (Acts 11:28-30). Josephus describes the famine as being so terrible that when flour "was brought into the temple...not one of the priests was so hardy as to eat one crumb of it...while so great a distress was upon the land" (Josephus, Ant. 3. 15:3). He says in another place, "A famine did oppress them [Jerusalem]...and many people died for want of what was necessary to procure food" (Josephus, Ant. 20. 2:5).
In the very last days before Jerusalem's fall, Josephus speaks of another terrible famine:
"It was now a miserable case, and a sight that would justly bring tears into our eyes, how men stood to their food, while the more powerful had more than enough, and the weaker were lamenting (for want of it)" (Josephus, Wars. 5. 10:3).
"Then did the famine widen its progress, and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine; and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also and the young men wandered about the marketplaces like shadows, all swelled with famine, and fell down dead wheresoever their misery seized them" (Josephus, Wars. 5. 12:3).
There is evidently to be terrible famine in the last days. The black horse of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse indicates terrible famine (see note Rev. 6:5-6). The unbearable pain and terrible evil that hunger can cause is graphically described by Scripture.
"They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field. The hands of the pitiful women have sodden [boiled] their own children: they were their meat [food] in the destruction of the daughter of my people" (Lament. 4:9-10).
Matthew adds a third disaster of nature: pestilence. Earthquakes and famines, of course, cause disease and pestilence (see note Matthew 24:7).
DEEPER STUDY #4 (13:8) Sorrows (odinon)
5. (13:9) Persecution: the fourth sign of the end time is persecution by civil and religious authorities. Jesus said several significant things about this sign.
1. "Take heed to yourselves." The believer is to take heed, to guard himself. The emphasis is upon the pronoun "yourselves," in order to stress the need to guard oneself. The believer must guard himself; he himself must take heed. He will face not only the deceptions and normal conflicts of a selfish world, not only the terrible disasters of nature, but he will face persecution by his fellow men.
2. "They [civil and religious men] shall deliver you up." Believers shall be abused, neglected, ignored, arrested, and tried before the courts of the world and of religion. Why? "For my sake, for a testimony [to] them." (In the Greek the word is "to," not "against." It is a simple dative case in the Greek.) Believers will stand before all for the purpose of demonstrating loyalty to Christ. Standing fast through the persecution is a way of witnessing. A believer shows that Christ and eternity are real when he suffers for Christ.
"But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues" (Matthew 10:17).
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake" (Matthew 24:9; cp. Luke 21:12-13).
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also" (John 15:20).
"These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me" (John 16:1-3).
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12).
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
"O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me" (Psalm 7:1).
"My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me" (Psalm 31:15).
"All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me" (Psalm 119:86).
"For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead" (Psalm 143:3).
6. (13:10) Evangelism: the fifth sign of the end time is world evangelization. Note the exact words of Christ: "The gospel must first be published among all nations" before the end can come. Note three things.
1. The word "must" assures the fact. The fact is set in God's plan for the world. It cannot be changed. The gospel will be preached among all nations before the end of the world.
2. The promise was fulfilled in the first century. The gospel was carried to all the known world at that time (Romans 10:18; Col. 1:23. See note Matthew 24:14 for detailed discussion.)
3. The promise of world evangelization is to be fulfilled in the end time. All nations of the world will hear the gospel before the end comes. Christ's promise was unrestricted. He said "among all nations." There is to be a proclamation of the gospel to the whole world before time ceases.
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14).
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:19-20).
"And he said unto them, Go ye into the all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47).
"Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession" (Psalm 2:8).
"All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee" (Psalm 22:27).
"Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people" (Psalm 96:3).
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it" (Isaiah 2:2).
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
"He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law" (Isaiah 42:4).
"For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 1:11).
7. (13:11) Persecution Holy Spirit Witnessing: the sixth sign of the end time is a supernatural witness (see note Matthew 10:19-20). There is going to be a strong surge of Spirit-led witnessing in the end time. Multitudes of believers are going to be called upon to give an answer for the hope that is within them. Note two things.
1. The words "take no thought" mean to worry not, be not anxious. The believer is not to be overly concerned about what he is to say, either in defense of himself or as a testimony to his persecutors.
2. The Holy Spirit will speak through the believer. The believer will not be left alone in defending himself in persecution. God will speak through the believer, standing right with him (cp. Acts 4:8f; 2 Tim. 4:16-18).
"At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever" (2 Tim. 4:16-18).
"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Hebrews 13:6).
"Fear thou not; For I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10).
"Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up" (Isaiah 50:9).
8. (13:12-13) Persecution Family: the seventh sign of the end time is divided families (see note Matthew 10:21). Two characteristics will be especially evident.
1. There will be betrayalbetrayal that leads to death (Mark 13:12). The practice will seep into the family and be widely practiced, so much so that Christ says it will be a common trait of the end time.
2. There will be intense hatred among all (the emphasis is, even among the family). Note why: it is because the believer stands for the name of Christ. His own family, as well as the world, will hate, persecute, and betray him because of his testimony for the Lord.
"And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death" (Matthew 10:21).
9. (13:13) Endurance Salvation: the eighth sign of the end time is the scene of some enduring and being saved despite the terrible persecution. Note two points.
1. The word "endure" (upomeinas PWS: 1279) means to bear up under suffering, to be courageous in suffering, to persevere and endure patientlybut actively, not passively. It is enduring, actively bearing intense suffering. The believer is now called upon and will be called upon to stand firm through all forms of persecution and abuse, even if it leads to inhuman torture and death.
2. Jesus was talking to His disciples. Therefore, His promise of being saved was bound to mean the soul's salvation in the last days. It could not mean the safety of human life. He had just said some (many) would be killed (Mark 13:12; cp. Matthew 24:9). Thus, the believer who stands firm is the one who proves that he is a genuine believer.
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
"To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile" (Romans 2:7-9).