Providing the people with signs of the times, Jesus prepared them for coming persecution. Jesus taught on the coming end times, not to increase our anxiety in the future, but to increase our activity in the present.
13 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray.6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet.8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them.10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death.13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out,16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!18 Pray that it may not happen in winter.19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it.22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.
Do Not Be Alarmed (Mark 13:1-8)
- Once the presence of the Lord departed from the temple, the countdown for the end times began (13:1).
- As consistent with much of the Bible, Jesus spoke of both an imminent event and a future fulfillment.
- Disagreements come while trying to determine when Jesus is speaking either of the temple’s destruction or the end times.
- As history progresses, more people will claim to speak as Christ yet they are actually anti-Christ (13:6).
- Cultural conflicts and natural disasters will intensify until the time of Christ’s return (13:7-8).
- Any end times doctrine should be able to be accepted by any culture in any nation at any time.
Do Not Be Anxious (Mark 13:9-13)
- As global challenges increase, personal opposition for believers will also escalate (13:9).
- Shame on the church when we have prioritized debating about Christ’s second coming more than sharing about His first coming (13:10).
- Cultural forces and close relationships will seek to vilify those who are doing the good work of Jesus (13:11-13).
- Those who truly belong to Jesus will still be standing for Him at the end (13:13).
Do Not Be Astray (Mark 13:14-23)
- The abomination of desolation is an act in which some vile figure desecrates the holy place and provokes Christ’s return (13:14; cf. Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11).
- God’s fury will be unleashed on creation yet limited for the sake of His elect (13:19-20).
- Be on guard for those who exhibit spiritual power yet seek to lead astray (13:22-23).
Have you been led astray regarding the return of Jesus?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.