Mark 13:1-23 – Signs of the End of the Age

Christian MölkMark Leave a Comment

Mark 13:1

  1. The first temple was built by King Solomon and was grand and magnificent (1 Kings 7-8) but was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC (2 Kings 25:8-9).
  2. The second temple was built by Zerubbabel in 516 BC, but it was nowhere near the temple of Solomon (Hag 2:3).
  3. In 19 BC, Herod the Great began to renovate and refurbish the Second Temple (John 2:20) so that it would once again be as grand as it had been in Solomon’s time. By 64, the restoration was complete and the result was one of the most impressive buildings of antiquity.
  4. The temple was built with white marble stones weighing 100 tons and, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, was partially covered with gold plates that reflected the sun, which must have made a “radiant” impression on most people, including Jesus’ disciples. From a distance, the temple looked like a snow-covered mountaintop because of the white stone.
  5. But however grand the temple may have been, Jesus claimed that he was “greater than the temple” (Matthew 12:6).

Mark 13:2

  1. 40 years after Jesus prophesied this, the Jews rebelled against Rome, which led to the Romans razing Jerusalem and the Temple to the ground in 70, just 6 years after the renovation was completed.
  2. The destruction of the temple by the Romans was so total that it is still not known exactly where the temple stood. All that remains of the temple is part of the western wall, also known as the Wailing Wall.

Mark 13:3-4

  1. The Mount of Olives is a hill just outside the Jerusalem of the past, overlooking the Temple.
  2. Probably the disciples are a bit dismayed by Jesus’ prophecy and ask two questions about it.

Mark 13:6-8

  1. Since Jesus repeatedly warns us to be “on our guard” and make sure that no one deceives us, it must be possible to be deceived if we are not on our guard.
  2. The basic text does not include the word “Messiah” so an alternative understanding of this warning is that Jesus is warning that many will come in Jesus’ name and use God’s name “I Am” about themselves (Exodus 3:14), in other words; make divine claims.
  3. When wars and earthquakes are raging all around, it is natural to think that the end times have come, but Jesus explicitly says that this does not mean that the end has come.
  4. Jesus describes these catastrophes as “the beginning of the birth pangs”, suggesting that they will increase in force and become more frequent the closer we get to the “redemption”, the end.

Mark 13:9-11

  1. Jesus prepares his disciples that they will have to endure much suffering if they confess him, but that they should not worry about this because the Holy Spirit will assist them.
    1. An example of this is found in Acts 4:1-22 where Peter and John are arrested and made to answer for their faith in Jesus before the Jewish leadership.  Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and delivers a very bold response!
  2. Before Jesus returns, “the gospel must be preached to all nations.This mission persists even under persecution and suffering, and nevertheless under calmer conditions.

Mark 13:12-13

  1. Jesus prepares his disciples for the fact that persecution will come not only from the authorities but also from close relatives.
  2. It only takes a quick search on the internet to understand that death and persecution have been and still are a constant ingredient in Christian discipleship.
  3. It is said that more Christians have died for their faith in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined.

Mark 13:14

  1. So far, Jesus has been teaching about what it will be like for Christians before the end times. Now Jesus begins to go into what it will be like in the end times.
  2. Is it Jesus who says “the one who reads this” or is it Mark the evangelist who added this afterwards?
    1. If it is Mark who has written to this, it is a reference to those who live in the last days and read the Gospel of Mark.
    1. If it is Jesus who says this, it is probably a reference to the listeners to read Daniel, a book of the Bible from which Jesus quotes.
  3. The expression “abomination of desolation” comes from Daniel 11:31 and refers to such a devastating defilement of the temple that it is abandoned.
    1. In the book of Daniel, this refers first of all to when the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BC erected an altar inside the temple of Jerusalem and on it sacrificed a pig to the Greek god Zeus. Not only that, but he also turned God’s temple into a brothel.
      1. This event led to a Jewish uprising that ended with the Jews reclaiming their land and cleansing the Temple. This is still celebrated today as Hanukkah or the Feast of Lights.
    1. The “abomination of desolation” that Jesus speaks of is the Antichrist who will sit in the temple of God and claim to be God.
      1. Paul writes: “Let no one deceive you in any way. For first the apostasy must come, and the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, must appear openly, the adversary who exalts himself above all that is called God or holy, so that he sits in the temple of God, claiming to be God.” (2 Thess 2:3-4).
      1. Since there is currently no temple in Jerusalem, either it must first be built or the temple means the church (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1, Ephesians 2:21). 
    1. According to my simple interpretation, the temple symbolizes the body of Christ, i.e. the church. So I don’t think that this text necessarily means that the temple of Jerusalem will be physically rebuilt. I also believe that a so-called “Christian” leader will make himself the head of the church and call himself “God” or some kind of new “Messiah” (Jesus is God, after all). I also think he will introduce some kind of “brothel” in the church and hold some kind of fornication in the church.
      1. Some believe that this Antichrist is the Pope because he is the “head” of the Roman Catholic Church and uses the expression “Vicar of Christ” and also “Vicar of God” about himself. In 2012, the title officially became the Pope’s number two title, second only to the Pope’s first title, which is “Bishop of Rome”. The problem with this theory is that the Pope has used this title frequently at least since the 13th century and since according to Jesus the “abomination of desolation” would be the beginning of the end times, then the end times should have begun long ago.
  4. In 66, when the Roman armies began to fight against Jewish insurgents, many Christians remembered these words of Jesus and fled to the mountains of Jordan, escaping the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70. 

Mark 13:22

  1. Once Jesus comes back, no one, absolutely no one, will be able to miss that it is Jesus! So if someone else claims to be the Messiah, we shouldn’t listen to him, even if he does miracles and signs.
    1. It is quite possible for a Christian to be deceived into believing in a false Messiah if he is not careful, otherwise Jesus would not have warned about it repeatedly.
    1. It is easy to be seduced by a person who does signs and wonders, but one must always be on guard and critically examine what the person is teaching.
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