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A Heart For God: Last Week - Part 3 (Mark 13:1-37)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Last Week - Part 3 (Mark 13:1-37)

(This is supplement 12 to the #mkbiblechat study taking place every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, 6:30 Pacific USA. Pastor Mike is teaching the Gospel of Mark on Twitter. Click here for class schedule and links to the notes. Click here to follow Pastor Mike on Twitter.)


This is Christ's last week of life prior to His trial and crucifixion. He was born to die. (Selah~pause to reflect) The Gospel of Mark can be outlined as follows: 1st 8 chapters ~ "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve"; 2nd 8 chapters ~ "and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

Regarding prophecy: Those who leave little room for mystery leave a lot of room for mistakes. (Chuck Swindoll)


"And Jesus said to him (Peter?), 'Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another which will not be torn down.'" (Mark 13:2)

Herod has been reconstructing the temple prior to Jesus' birth into quite an ornate and elaborate edifice. Jesus predicts the temple destruction which will take place in 70 A.D. when the Romans invade the Jewish land.


Four disciples ask a question. (Mark 13:3-4) (One commentary suggests all twelve are there to hear the answer.) The question both points back to the temple destruction prediction ("When will these things be?") and forward to end times events prior to and including Christ's second coming ("What will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?) Matthew clarifies the latter. (Matthew 24:3b) (Luke 21:7 is the same as Mark 13:4.)


The time period leading up to 70 A.D. (approximately 40 years) will be typified by / the dynamics at work will include:

Deception. (Mark 13:5-6)

Wars and rumors of wars. (Mark 13: 7)

Nation against nation; Kingdom against kingdom. Earthquakes. Famines. Beginning of birth pangs / pains. (Mark 13:8)

Christian persecution. (Mark 13:9, 11) (See Acts 8:1ff)

Gospel preached. (Mark 13:10) (See Acts)

Conflict of humanity. Even at the level of family. (Mark 13:12-13) (See Acts)

Each particular challenge typifies any age (to a greater or lesser extent). The issue for us always is: How will we respond?


The "sacrilegious object that causes desecration" is the way the New Living Bible translation puts it. It is the key anchor point in our Lord's discussion of the end times in the Gospel of Mark. (Mark 13:14)

Antichrist himself is believed to be a future fulfillment of this prophecy as He will declare himself as God according to at least one prophetic system. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Daniel 11:32-35)

(To read my blog post: "Abomination of Desolation," click here.) 


"'For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created, until now, and never shall.'" (Mark 13:19)

There are at least two ways of seeing Mark 13:19-20 (in my mind). Christ is using the literary device of hyperbole, but isn't really talking about an event years in the future aside from the Romans' destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. -OR- He is talking about an event years in the future and isn't "exaggerating" to make a point.


Islam is an example. (Mark 13:21-23)


"'And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.'" (Mark 13:26)

The Old Testament has 1,845 references to the return of Christ and 17 books give it prominence ("a jutting out"). The New Testament has 318 references to the return of Christ out of 260 chapters; 1 out of every 30 verses; referred to in 23 of 27 books (excluded in 3 single chapter letters and Galatians ~ though implied there).


Israel reborn?! (Mark 13:28-29; Matthew 24:32-33) Or the dynamic of the events described in Mark 13? (Mark 13:29)


A generation is approximately 40 years. (Deuteronomy 1:35; 2:14) The destruction of the temple (by the Romans) takes place approximately that many years in the future (37 or so after Jesus' prediction in Mark 13:2). But there's a second dynamic and event to speak to of the chapter: The "race of men" (generation) won't pass away until Christ appears.

If the Fig Tree parable is about Israel's rebirth, then the "generation" would have to do with the re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. One generation would then have been around 1988. (The Arab-Israeli 6-day war in 1967 as the date would push it to 2007-ish.)


How can the Son of God, whose been predicting many future events in this very chapter, not know the date of history's culmination? (Mark 13:32) Can one member of the Trinity know something that another member of the Trinity doesn't know? One answer is found in Philippians: Christ limited Himself when He became a Man. (Philippians 2:6-8)


"So keep a sharp lookout!" (Mark 13:35a; NLT) We are more apt to want to know about the end time than to prepare for it (as if it were happening right now).

The opposite of alert is asleep. We need to be awake in our faith at all times. We need to be giving ourselves wholly and completely to Christ's service. We need to make sure our inner life before God (that secret place where no one sees) is intact and holy. We need to make sure our lamps are trimmed with oil. (Matthew 25:7)


1. Ask someone you know: "What do you think will be happening at the end of the world?" (Mark 13:4)

2. The conflict of humanity will reach even to the level of family in the end times. (Mark 13:12) Have you ever had a family member/relative react with hostility to your faith?

3. What does Jesus mean when He says, "Be on the alert!" (Mark 13:37)

4. An anchor point in Christ's discourse is what's referred to as "the Abomination of Desolation." (Mark 13:14) Do your own research to find out about it.

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