Today: [Mark 13] Jesus Describes and Times the End Times: In chapter 13 Jesus describes for His disciples the character and timing of His coming. He gives a very detailed description while at the same time making clear that no man can no the day or the hour. How much can we know of the coming of Christ and how much does the day we live in fit the description Jesus gives?
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1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! 2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? 5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
Chapter 12 concludes with Jesus remarking on the woman with the two mites, casting in of all her living. Jesus then (v. 1) departs out of the temple and the disciples begin gushing to Him about the magnificence of the temple of Herod. Jesus dismisses their wide eyed wonder, declaring that not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down. I have a question: what about the Wailing Wall, or the Western Wall as the Jews prefer to call it? It is reckoned by many to be a surviving retaining wall of Herod’s temple. If that is so, then Jesus’ prophecy that not one stone will be left not thrown down is either false or not yet come to pass. Is this true? The fact of the matter is, that what we call the Western Wall is actually a structure more connected with Herod’s palace, and a raised manner of egress he erected in order that he may access the temple without walking among the unwashed masses.
Nonetheless the disciples are astonished at Jesus’ remarks and ask Him when these things will come to pass. Bear in mind that the temple of Herod was an enormous complex built upon a man-made enlargement of the original landscape it was built on. It was of ponderous dimensions and the thought of its destruction even today would not be a simple matter. The disciples inquire therefore and Jesus’ answer is not as direct perhaps as they might hope. He tells them not to be deceived because many will come and say that they are Christ. Has this happened? Surely it has, but more to the point is the fact that the word “Christ” means “anointed”. Jesus’ warning is more than just against some larger than life pretender to the office of Messiah, but toward those who would say “follow me! I have the anointing!!!” We are not to allow ourselves to be manipulated in this way.
Jesus goes on to speak of a time of wars and rumors of wars but that we should not be troubled. Conflict among nations is not an indication that the end of humanity has come. War will not end the time of man upon the earth – GOD WILL. So you don’t need to worry about an atom bomb or a 1000 atom bombs destroying the planet, it isn’t going to happen. Nations will rise against nation, and even natural disasters will come and even be on the increase but these are only preliminary echoes of the end that only God and not man or cataclysm in nature will bring.
If we aren’t going to be worried about the apocalypse what are we to be concerned about? Jesus wants us to get our mind of some global disaster and be more concerned with challenges closer to home, that of being hauled before councils and challenged for our faith. That is happening in the very nation we are a part of. In the land of the free and home of the brave, Christians are being forced out of business and into re-education programs because they will not bow to the homosexual, sodomite political agenda. Jesus’ words therefore are very relevant to our time. Brother will betray brother and even children with be the enemies of the cross under our very own household. We have lived to see the time that freedom of religion has become freedom from religion and nowhere in evidence as much as our schools where the very young question God’s existence because they have been indoctrinated by a secularist, atheistic agenda reflected in the curricula that our tax dollars are paying for.
Isn’t modern education a wonder! Jesus makes it plain to us that these things are part of the human condition and will be the experience of those who choose the path of faith – but our trust is this: Whatever lies ahead for us, if we live to experience the events of Mark 13, that God is looking out for His elect’s sake and will shorten the days, or do whatever else is necessary to preserve you and protect you and keep you safe in the midst of the upheaval around us.
20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. 24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. 28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: 29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. 30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
The important thing for us to keep in mind is what is stated in v. 21: Do not follow those who say “lo here, or lo there is Christ” (or the anointing). Our dependency is not to be outward upon a man, not even a man or woman of God, nor is our trust in the institutions of religion that are erected in His name. Our trust is inward. The kingdom of God is within you before it is anywhere else and the case could be made that as far as Jesus is concerned the only kingdom of His Father that should matter to us is the one that dwells on the inside of you in the person of Jesus who lives in your heart by faith. Outward dependencies are idolatry even when they come in the garb of necessary and religious influence and infrastructure. Our trust is in HIM who lives on the inside of our hearts and everything takes a back seat to that. Anyone who teaches you otherwise is either false, or misguided.
In all these things Jesus tells us to take heed that these things have been foretold and goes on in v. 24 to speak of a tribulation that shall come followed by the stars of heaven which shall fall, the sun shall be darkened and the moon will not give her light. Now there are those who insist that all of these things (in Mark 13 and Matthew 24) have all come to pass and that we are misguided and mistaken to think that any of this applies to now or to a future day. To that I would ask the question, have the stars of heaven fallen? Has the moon refused to give her light or the sun been darkened in any unusal way? Most importantly have we seen the son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory?
Thinking of this description of the coming of the Lord with great power and glory, ask yourself what this might mean? Are we speaking about literal clouds? Does that mean that as long as the sky is clear we know that the Lord will not come that day? Or do the clouds represent something else? Heb. 12:1 refers to the company of the redeemed as a “great cloud of witnesses…” Zech. 10:1 speaks of the time of the latter rain when the Lord will make great clouds (speaking of the empowered people of God) in the end time. So the Lord coming in the clouds may indeed speak of the Lord coming IN us before He comes FOR US as 1 Thess. 1:10 suggests. Nonetheless, the promise of God is that this generation will not pass until all these things that Jesus is speaking of come to pass.
How long is a generation? The generation spoken of is the generation alive when the “fig tree” puts forth leaves which speaks of Israel becoming a nation once again. Now, how long is a generation? Gen. 15:13-16 confirms that God Himself identifies a generation as being exactly 100 years, thus telling us that within the lifespan of those born in 1948, these things could very likely come to pass, perhaps no later than 2048 – how sobering! Nonetheless the tantalizing follow up is that no man can no the day nor the hour that Jesus is delineating so clearly in the verse.
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