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Mark Thirteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Mark 13:1 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!

Mark 13:2 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.

Mark 13:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,

Mark 13:4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

the sign. The great prophetic discourse given by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives is recorded in all three synoptic gospels. However, each account contains some material not included in the other two. Consequently, one must carefully study all three accounts (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21) simultaneously to get the entire discourse. The account in Matthew is the most complete, and most of the study notes have therefore been placed there.

Mark 13:5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:

Take heed. Note the fourfold warning in Christ's prophetic discourse here to “Take heed!” In the context of the last days especially it is important not to: (1) be a victim of religious deception (Mark 13:5); (2) be discouraged because of persecution (Mark 13:9); (3) be impressed with “signs and wonders” (Mark 13:23); and (4) attempt to “set dates” for Christ's return (Mark 13:33).

Mark 13:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Mark 13:7 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.

Mark 13:8 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.

and troubles. The parallel verse in Matthew 24:7 speaks of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes.” Mark adds “troubles” instead of “pestilences.” The Greek word for “troubles” is used only this once, and probably refers to human riotings.

Mark 13:9 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.

Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

the gospel. See note on Matthew 24:14.

Mark 13:11 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.

Mark 13:12 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.

Mark 13:13 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.

Mark 13:14 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:

spoken of by Daniel. See Daniel 9:27.

Mark 13:15 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:

Mark 13:16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.

Mark 13:17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Mark 13:18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

Mark 13:19 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.

beginning of the creation. In Matthew's parallel account, he translated the Aramaic of Jesus' discourse simply by “the beginning of the world” (Matthew 24:21), whereas Mark rendered it by “the beginning of the creation which God created.” Evidently the two phrases are synonymous, both expressing accurately the intent of Jesus' words. Since “world” is kosmos in the Greek, the beginning of the creation refers not just to the human creation but to the earth as a whole, including its atmospheric heavens (compare 2 Peter 3:3-6). Thus when Mark used the same phrase, “beginning of the creation,” in reporting Christ's words about the making of Adam and Eve (Mark 10:6), it is obvious that the human creation took place at essentially the same time as the earth's creation, not more than four billion years later, as evolutionists claim. This claim is on the authority of Jesus Christ Himself—the Creator (Colossians 1:16).

Mark 13:20 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.

shortened those days. As described in Revelation 6, 8, 9, 13 and 16, both the persecutions of the Antichrist against believers and the plagues unleashed by God against unbelievers in the coming tribulation period would result in depopulating the entire world if they continued indefinitely. But God has ordained that the whole period will only last seven years (see on Daniel 9:25), with the most intense destruction in the last half of that period (Daniel 9:26; Revelation 11:2; 13:5).

elect's. The “elect” are the same as the ones “whom He hath chosen” in this passage. Even during the awful tribulation period, God will preserve a remnant of believers alive to enter the great millennial kingdom age following the tribulation. Matthew used only the single word “elect” in reporting this promise of Christ, but Mark indicated further that, in the context of the tribulation, “elect” and “chosen of God” are synonymous terms.

Mark 13:21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

Mark 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

Mark 13:25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

Mark 13:27 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.

Mark 13:28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:

Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.

Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

neither the Son. This limitation obviously must apply only to Christ in His humanity. When He became a man, leaving His outward attributes of deity in heaven, “in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17), except, of course, for sin. As a babe, He “increased in wisdom and stature” like any other human (Luke 2:52). Though, as a man, He acquired great wisdom in the Scriptures and the plan of God, the time of the end depends in some degree on human activity (e.g., Matthew 24:14), and only God in His omniscience can foresee this. In no way, however, does this compromise the deity of Christ. The problem is that we, in our finite understanding, can never comprehend fully the mystery of the divine/human nature of Christ, nor of the tri-unity of the Godhead. On some occasions, Christ clearly manifested His deity, on others His humanity.

Mark 13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

Mark 13:34 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.

Mark 13:35 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:

Watch ye therefore. See note on Matthew 25:13.

Mark 13:36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

Mark 13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Watch. The frequent injunction of Christ “unto all” to “watch” for His return seems to make it clear that it could come at any time. We do not need to watch first for certain other events to take place, but only to watch continuously for Him. This is a great incentive to godly living and evangelism.