“Be on the Alert for the Master’s Coming”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Mark 13 Part 3
Mark 13. This will be our last message in Mark 13. However, next week I may preach an entire message on the application of eschatology. We’ll see. I need to prepare that anyway for the eschatology class I’m teaching at Foundation Baptist College in Edmonton, so we’ll see.
Verses 1-4: Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in verse 2 and the disciples ask about that prediction in verse 4, Mark 13:4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
We pointed out the phrase “these things” in verse four: when will these things be; when will all these things be fulfilled.
In verses 5-13, Jesus answers the second part of the disciples question from verse four, “what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?” In those verses, Jesus gives the signs that would lead up to the destruction of the Temple.
In these verses, Jesus also gives instructions for that generation that’s living previous to the destruction of the Temple. And in verse eight, when he talked about “these things” that tells us that he is talking about the same thing that the disciples want to know about, and that is the signs of the destruction of the Temple.
As well we saw last week that these verses are primarily if not exclusively fulfilled previous to A.D. 70. In A.D. 70, the Romans destroyed the Temple. And we saw last week, each one of these things in these verses was fulfilled: the false Messiah-like individuals that mislead many, the wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, and famines.
We noted last week and how these things are not an indication of the end, but they are just the beginning. As verse seven at the end says, that these things are “not yet the end.”
Jesus says at the end of verse eight, that “these things” are merely the beginning of birth pains. Since these things do not mark out the end of when Jesus comes back, therefore, we can conclude that these must have some fulfillment to the past, namely AD 70.
So last time the fulfillment of verses 5 to 13 is found in the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. We prove this, we argued that …
The same phrase “these things” in v.4 that the disciples used, Jesus himself uses at the end of verse 8. It’s most natural that the same terms are being used in a discussion concerning a particular concept. Since the disciples wanted to know about the destruction of the Temple, Jesus addresses the destruction of the Temple.
The focus of verse 9 of being flogged in the synagogues gives the verses a very Jewish flavor.
And each predicted event: wars and famines as well as persecution we saw last week can easily be seen in the history books to have occurred previous to the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70.
And to conclude the message last week, we argued that if Jesus can predict with precision not only the signs of the structure of the Temple in A.D. 70 from verses 5 to 13, but also Jesus can predict the destruction of the Temple itself … if Jesus can predict these with precision, then his predictions concerning the future tribulation period as described in verses 14 and following also will be fulfilled precisely as he says.
That leads us then to verses 14 to 27. Because the previous verses in verses 5 to 13 were fulfilled literally in A.D. 70, we would fully expect verses 14 to 27 also to be fulfilled literally.
What we’ll do this morning is concern ourselves with what is commonly referred to as the Great Tribulation from vv. 14-27; then we’ll apply like Jesus does in vv. 33-37. The Tribulation is that time in the future, a seven-year period of time during which there is great difficulty and distress upon the earth as described in detail in Revelation 6-19. This time is also known as the 70th week of Daniel. We’ll look at that in Daniel 9:27 in a minute.
But if you would glance all the way down to verse 33, where Jesus is exhorting us to “keep on the alert” and v. 35, we are to “be on the alert” and v. 37 at the end, Jesus again says to all “be on the alert” therefore, the title of the message is “Be on the Alert for the Master’s Coming.”
***First, let’s see how these verses, verses 14-27 are yet future from our standpoint and will be fulfilled literally.***
None of the things mentioned in these verses has ever happened. There are many who are teaching that these things were all fulfilled by A.D. 70; they are called preterists. But Jesus’ language here clearly indicates that fulfillment in AD 70 is not possible.
What Jesus is talking about in these verses must account for the serious alarm as found in verses 15-18. The language of not going down from the house top or turning back from the field to get your coat and the alarm to those who are pregnant or nursing babies verse 18 praying that it is not happen in the winter, this is all language to relate serious alarm and urgency. Whatever Jesus is talking about must account for this serious alarm in people’s lives.
Also, whatever Jesus is talking about, has to account for the unprecedented language of this tribulation as it’s found in verse 19. Jesus says that those days are a time of tribulation. He describes the tribulation as such that has not occurred since the beginning of the creation until now and never will. In other words, the terribleness of this tribulation will be unprecedented. There’ll be no other time period upon earth that you will be able to compare it to. AD 70 could easily be compared to another time period.
Likewise in verse 20 Jesus says concerning those days of the tribulation, unless the Lord had shortened those days, “no life would have been saved, or preserved.” In other words, unless the Lord had shortened those days, everyone would have died, no life would have been saved.
Look at the exclusive nature of that language “no life” would have been saved; no one remain alive. Would anyone have survived those days if the Lord had not shortened the days? No, “no life” no one would have survived those days unless the Lord shortened the days. That’s most naturally understood universally and therefore, worldwide. Jesus is talking about the possibility of the complete extinction of the human race, unless the Lord did something about it.
Also, to prove that this passage is yet future and that it was not all fulfilled in A.D. 70, a proper interpretation of this passage must also explain the seeming repetition of verses 6 and 21. These verses sound very similar. How do you explain Jesus’ seeming repetition? The premillennial and pretribulation understanding of end time events explains it as referring to different time periods. Those who believe that both are fulfilled in AD 70 must be able to explain why Jesus seem to have repeated himself.
Let’s read Mark 13:21 “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him;
Now, back up in verse six. We interpreted this to have reference to the destruction of the temple in AD 70. Notice the similarities. Mark 13:6 “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.
For those who hold that v.21 was all fulfilled in A.D. 70, they must be able to explain why there is such similarity between these two verses.
And the way we handled these verses, we noticed that verse six was in the context of fulfillment in AD 70. And in verse 21, we see that those verses are in the context of the future tribulation. So they are in different historical contexts. One in AD 70; the other in the tribulation. That explains the similarities.
But if you are saying that both verses were fulfilled in A.D. 70 as some do, is Jesus merely repeating himself in verse 21 from verse 6? If so, why? Why is He repeating himself?
Another reason that verses 14-27 are yet future are the details found in verse 24. Has it ever occurred on this planet that the sun was darkened and the moon did not give its light while verse 25, the stars were falling? This is meant to be catastrophic. And if you’re going to this spiritualize this in some way, I must see other clear passages from the Old Testament that were fulfilled similarly.
The same with verse 26, where the Son of Man comes with clouds. Has that ever happened in the history of the world? Has it ever happened verse 27 where there was an angelic gathering of humanity from all around the globe? Notice the detail of verse 27 from the four winds that is, North, South, East, West … And from the …farthest… end of the Earth to the ….farthest…. End of the heaven …
That’s pretty all inclusive language to describe the entire universe were ever there is humanity.
Proof from Daniel/Jeremiah
Of course, this hasn’t happened yet. But just to demonstrate once again, if you have any doubts about whether or not we should be taking prophecy literally first, if you ever get into a conversation with anyone about this, you can use the following argument as a go to verse.
Keep your bible marker here and go to Daniel 9:1-2. We’ll be looking at some verses here this morning. At this time, Daniel and Israel are held captive by the Babylonians. Daniel is reading the book of Jeremiah to determine what Jeremiah prophesied concerning how long the Babylonian captivity would last. How long would they be in captivity for? Daniel reads the Bible, he literally interprets prophecy, and He finds out.
Daniel 9:1-2 1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. That’s found in Jeremiah 25:11.
Verse three, Daniel recognizes that the 70 years are completed. It has been 70 years since they were first captured. Daniel believes. Daniel believes that the prediction is literal. The prophet Jeremiah had prophesied that it would be 70 years and Daniel believes prophecy is fulfilled literally. So in Daniel 9:1-2 the argument is that Daniel believes in a literal fulfillment of prophecy, even concerning the number of years.
This is a clear precedent-setting the example of how to understand prophecy: take it literally. Daniel did. Daniel took Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jeremiah 25:11 literally; so, we too should take prophecy literally.
Jesus predicted the events leading up to AD 70 and the destruction of the Temple itself. And we saw how those were all fulfilled literally. Now, concerning the tribulation period, Jesus’ predictions here will also prove to be literal.
So, first Jesus’ predictions in Mark 13:14-27 will also prove to be literal because of past precedence.
***Second, let’s discuss what part in the Tribulation Jesus is referring.***
What I’m going to argue is that when Jesus is speaking in Mark 13:14, He’s talking about the middle of the tribulation.
We are refer again to Daniel 9, but before we do let’s first read Mark 13:14 “But when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
As you can see in the New American Standard, that phrase “abomination of desolation” is in all capital letters. That’s telling us that it is a quotation from the Old Testament.
Matthew 24, the same Olivet discourse in Mark tells us that this “abomination of desolation” was spoken of in Daniel the prophet.
Matthew 24:15 “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
We’ll refer now to the end of Daniel 9, verse 27. The book of Daniel was written in 6th century BC, during the 500s BC. The oldest copies of Daniel that we have in our possession date from the 2nd century BC, well before the time of Christ.
Daniel 9:27 is in a passage in which the Angel Gabriel is giving predictions concerning the future to Daniel. As we have said on a number of occasions and I won’t go into detail here, verses 24-27 give the precise year when the Messiah would die. And without going into any of the details on that, if you do the math, you come out to exactly A.D. 33.
For right now, we are in Daniel 9:27 to prove one point. The point is that when Jesus speaks in Mark 13:14 about the Abomination of Desolation, Jesus is clearly at the middle of the tribulation. Mark 13:14 along with Daniel 9:27 demonstrate that Jesus is predicting the future concerning the middle of the tribulation period.
Let’s read Daniel 9:27 and see how Jesus’ reference to this proves that in Mark He is talking about the middle of the tribulation period.
Daniel 9:27 “And he […that is the prince that will come from v. 26 … ] will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
For those of us who were not with us when we discussed vv.24-26, the word “week” there is literally the word “sevens.” It refers to one set of seven years since Daniel 9:1-2 is talking about years.
Let’s read that again in verse 27, “and he will make a firm covenant with the many for one sevens, or one set of seven years.” “He will make a firm covenant with the many for seven years” is the idea.
And so we have to ask the question, “who will make the covenant?” “He” a pronoun, always refers back to someone. And so here, the answer to that question is found in the previous verse, Daniel 9:26.
Daniel 9:26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
The nearest reference is clearly the prince who is to come. This prince it says in verse 26 will come and “will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
This prince that is to come … the Antichrist now … in verse 26 will… in verse 27 now… “will make a firm covenant with the many for one week.”
So the prince that is to come will make a covenant for seven years with “the many.” “The many” here refers to the nation of Israel. Now keep going in v. 27 … The prince that is to come will make a firm covenant with the many for 7 years “but in the middle of the week … in the middle of those 7 years” he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
Look at it there again in verse 27 … “In the middle of the those seven years he will put a stop to sacrifices … And then on the wing of abominations, the one who makes desolate will come” … So the abomination that makes desolation … And we will discuss what that means in a minute … But this abomination of desolation that Jesus refers to in Mark 13:14 occurs, it says here, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the seven year covenant.
So, because Daniel 9:27 says that the abomination of desolation occurs at the middle of that seven year period of time, that proves then that Jesus, when he mentions in Mark 13:14 the abomination of desolation, Jesus is also talking about the middle of the seven year covenant that the “prince who is to come” makes with the nation of Israel. Jesus in Mark 13:14 is talking about what will happen in the middle of the Tribulation period. The rest of that passage in Mark, Jesus proceeds from the middle of the tribulation to His Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation.
Just a note here now: Jesus therefore does not mention the rapture of the church because he’s focused in on the middle of the tribulation. However, the rapture occurs immediately before the tribulation.
Mark 13:14-27 concerns the middle to the end of this 7-year period of time, so the last 3.5 years. This 3.5 years is commonly referred to as the Great Tribulation.
***So, that is where we are in the Tribulation, the last 3.5 years of the tribulation.***
Thus far then, we’ve shown that …
Jesus is speaking about the future from our standpoint and we have every reason to believe that Jesus predictions here will all be fulfilled literally.
Jesus is talking about the events in the middle of the tribulation.
Now, we’re going to explain the passage, vv. 14-27 but before we do, let’s note Jesus is proceeding chronologically. He’s saying things like “this will happen, and then, after this, etc.”
Just so that we are aware that Jesus himself is giving a timeline, let us note the words in the passage. Jesus is proceeding down a timeline and is giving it a general picture of the events in the future.
Let’s look at verse 14. Jesus says “but when you see the abomination of desolation.” The word “when” causes us to think of a timeline.
Verse 24, Jesus says “but in those days, after that tribulation.” You can see Jesus is continuing to proceed now to the end of the tribulation. Verse 26 after these things happen, verse 26 now “then they will see the Son of Man coming.” And verse 27 “and then he will send forth the angels.”
So you can see Jesus is proceeding chronologically. And you remember that the disciples had this very question, Mark 13:4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”
Jesus is answering their question. We’ll now explain the passage briefly, fill in some details along the way, and apply at the end.
First, from verse 14 …
***What is the Abomination of Desolation?***
We’ve noted how Jesus reference to it places us in the middle of the tribulation. Now, we need to determine what it is. This will take up a good chunk of this message this morning. In case anyone grow weary in well doing this morning, let Jesus himself encourage you. Did you know that Jesus really wants you to understand this from the book of Daniel?
Mark 13:14 “But when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Now that phrase in parentheses “let the reader understand.” If you have a red letter edition, I would make that phrase in parentheses red. Every time this word for “reader” occurs in the book of Mark, it is in the mouth of Jesus. And each time Jesus is questioning or exhorting his listeners to understand that the Old Testament.
So Jesus really wants us to understand. Let the reader understand that these things. And Jesus is talking about the reader of Daniel understanding. Jesus specifically calls upon us here to understand the book of Daniel where this phrase the abomination of desolation occurs.
So by God’s grace, we will endeavor to understand. Jesus knows it takes a bit of work.
How are we going to understand what is the abomination of desolation like our Lord desires us to do?
–First, we have to deal with our present context —
Jesus says here that it “stands where it should not be.” If we look at the cross reference in Matthew 24:15 we find out that the abomination of desolation was spoken of by Daniel and that it stands in the holy place.
The holy place is a reference to the Temple. At some point in the future, the abomination of desolation stands in the Temple.
It is a cause for great alarm as we saw from verses 14 to 18 and during this time will be unprecedented tribulation, as we have it there in verse 19.
First then, we see from the context that it refers to it standing in the Temple.
Secondly, we must also look at the words themselves. What is the meaning of the word abomination what is the meaning of the word desolation and how the two relate.
The word abomination is a word that has reference to pagan idolatry as well as the detestable practices associated with idolatry. For example this word abomination is used in Kings 16:3-4 to refer to human sacrifices. This is an abomination to God. What is? The idolatry as well as the detestable practice of that idolatry.
And the word desolation often is used to describe the desert. In a desert, there is a lack of production from the land and there is nothing there. It has been deserted.
So the phrase “the abomination of desolation” refers to some idolatrous person or object so detestable that causes the temple to be deserted. It is the abomination that causes desolation. It’s an abomination in the Temple that so heinous it causes the Temple to be desolated or deserted. “The abomination that causes desolation.”
Now, Jesus tells us that this phrase occurs in the book of Daniel. Matthew 24:15 informs us that Daniel is our cross-reference. This phrase “abomination of desolation” occurs in Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. We looked at 9:27. Let’s turn over to Daniel 11:31.
As we turn, let’s ask this question … from Daniel’s standpoint, what is the fulfillment? You have Jesus speaking of the abomination of desolation and it is clearly future, for certain. However, is there anything else that Daniel might be referring to in history that would be a fulfillment of this abomination that causes the desertion of the Temple? And would it give us a picture?
And sure enough, we know of an individual after the time of Daniel that reflects precisely Daniel’s description of this abomination that causes the desolation of Temple. So, Daniel’s prophecy of an abomination of desolation has been partially fulfilled. But Jesus also predicts a future abomination that causes the desertion of the Temple.
We are in Daniel 11. Verses 30 and 31 there is this prophesy of this abomination that causes the desertion of the Temple. Back up in verse 21, he is also referred to as a “despicable person.” This is the one who sets up the abomination that causes desolation in Daniel.
Let’s read Daniel 11:31 “Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.
Verse 31 teaches that this individual will send forth his forces and they will desecrate the sanctuary and do away with the temple sacrifices. And then, he sets up the abomination of desolation. The abomination that causes the desertion of the Temple. Daniel 12:11 seems to refer to the abomination of desolation of into the future, like Christ does, but was Daniel 11 fulfilled before Christ?
Antiochus IV ruled over the Syrian Empire from 175–164 BC. This is 300 to 400 years after Daniel. Daniel predicts his life throughout his book with such precise detail that unbelieving scholars have attempted to explain that Daniel was actually written after the events it supposedly attempts to predict. They can’t conclude the miraculous; they must conclude it’s a forgery.
The name “Antiochus” means “the one who opposes.” Anti-ochus, the one who opposes. He also took on an additional name “Epiphanes.” That name he gave to himself to indicate that he was the manifestation of a god.
He required his people to worship him as Zeus. His Syrian Empire included the Jews of Palestine. His famous act for which he is well known is his establishing pagan worship in the Jerusalem Temple. He established pagan worship in God’s Temple. This is an abomination to God. Daniel chapters 8 and chapter 11 prophetically detail his relations with the Jews.
In those chapters, it is predicted that this individual would rise to power and grow in power and conquer Israel and the land to the self, Egypt. And Antiochus Epiphanes did exactly that.
And the history books are clear that in 167 BC, Antiochus sent his army of 22,000 men against Jerusalem. They attacked on the Sabbath day and killed most of the male population and led the women away captive. This is all happening between our Old and New Testaments.
Jerusalem’s walls were demolished, all biblical sacrifices were outlawed, and worship of Zeus was instituted in the Temple. Antiochus claimed to be Zeus incarnate and so he really set himself up as a god in the Temple of God and monthly sacrifices were offered to him.
This is all in fulfillment of Daniel 8:11 [It] that is the little horn, this despicable person, this abomination … even magnified himself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down.
And to top it all off, Antiochus sacrifices what was for the Jews, an unclean animal, a pig, on the altar. So this was in direct fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of an abomination that causes desolation. Antiochus marched into Jerusalem with his army destroyed the place and killed the men and led the women and children into captivity. There is desertion of the place. This abomination has come and he has set himself up as God in the Temple.
This is in direct fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. Within the 300 to 400 years of Daniel’s writing, this would all come to pass.
So first, we understand and know that this abomination of desolation from the book of Daniel refers to Antiochus when he marched into Jerusalem and caused the desertion of Jerusalem by killing the men and leading the women and children off into captivity. He is the abomination to God in that he brings pagan idolatrous worship into the Temple and thereby desecrates the Temple. He also sets himself up as God. Those three things, the desertion, the abomination, and setting himself up as God are all predicted in Daniel.
Now, when Jesus mentions the abomination of desolation in Mark 13:14 Jesus is thinking of the yet future time when this will happen. Antiochus is a foretaste of the ultimate fulfillment of this individual. The ultimate fulfillment of this individual is the Antichrist. He too will set himself up as God in the Temple, as predicted by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
Paul, also discussing the timing of these events exhorts the Thessalonians, 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for [it, Jesus Second Coming] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
So you can see then that there will be a future individual called the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction and verse four of 2 Thessalonians 2 says that he exalts himself above every so-called God or object of worship and he takes his seat in the Temple of God, even displaying himself as being God.
Daniel predicted it hundreds of years before Antiochus came. And once again Jesus is predicting this again in Mark 13:14 and it will happen just as he said. The first fulfilment of this oppose was literal; so also will be the second fulfillment.
To sum up how this relates then to Mark 13: At the middle of the tribulation then, Jesus is predicting that there will be an abomination that causes desolation. There will be an abomination in the Temple of God. The Antichrist will exalt himself as God in the Temple of God.
Now, this demands a rebuilt Temple doesn’t it? Jesus just predicted the destruction of the Temple in verse 2 of Mark 13. Now in verse 14 Jesus is talking about an abomination of desolation, clearly referring to what happens in the Temple. How can there be an abomination of desolation in a Temple, if there is no Temple to abominate?
Therefore, Jesus’ teaching is prediction from our standpoint off into the future when there will be a rebuilt Temple and the Antichrist will set himself up there.
So we conclude then that at the midpoint of the tribulation as Daniel 9:27 indicated, the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and set himself up as God in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
Jesus instruction for those who witness the abomination of desolation
What ought the people to do during that time?
Jesus gives certain exhortations. In that future time Jesus commands, that those who are in Judea in verse 14 must flee to the mountains. Verses 15 and 16 are similar exhortations to these folks. Verses 17 and 18 give additional urgency to the situation.
The people of God in the Tribulation period are to desert the Temple. And the situation will be so dire that they should immediately flee. Do not look back. Those who are pregnant and have babies in those days will be greatly hindered. Verse 18 that happens in the winter, that means it’s the rainy season there in that part of the world in the rivers and tributaries will all be overflowing and will make it most difficult cross.
At that three and half year mark after the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation begins verse 19. It will be unlike anything that has ever occurred in the history of the world.
There’ll be the trumpet judgments and revelation eight and nine. There’ll be hail and fire mixed with blood thrown to the earth. And a third of the Earth will be burned up as well as a third of the trees and all the green grass.
The second angel the book of Revelation tells us will sound and a great mountain burning with fire is thrown into the sea and the third the sea becomes blood and a third of the sea creatures die.
So you can see then that in verse 20, that unless the Lord had shortened those days all of life on earth would be destroyed. But for the sake of the elect God has chosen to shortened those days.
During these days as well there will be those who arise and proclaim that they are the Messiah. False christs and prophets will arise the show signs and wonders attempting to lead astray everyone. In these signs and wonders will be so captivating, that it seems like it could even lead astray the elect. But of course that’s not possible in the verse 22. There’ll be these signs and wonders from these false prophets to lead astray if possible the elect. And of course that is not, in the end, possible.
The Lord desires that we take heed to these things verse 23 behold them and know them he is saying to us that he has told us these things in advance.
There will be a total of seven trumpets all the way in to Revelation chapter 11 and then the bowl judgments that bring forth similar destruction. And then …. Christ returns!
He returns to the Mount of Olives. This is predicted in the Zechariah 14:4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
So here is Jesus talking with his disciples about the distraction of that Temple in Mark 13. And where are they right now as they discuss these things? What does Mark 13:3 say?
He is relating to them also future events that will happen. All the while he knows verse 24 that after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light stars of the following from heaven and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken and then in verse 26 of Mark 13, then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives as he speaks, discussing these things with his disciples and telling of his coming with the clouds with great power and glory. He is sitting on the Mount of Olives now with his disciples, but in that day when he comes again to the Mount of Olives, he will split it in two with his great power and glory.
And then Mark 13:27 Son of Man will send forth his angels gathering together his elect from all over the globe. What is this describing? This is describing a resurrection. After the tribulation there is a resurrection were Old Testament and tribulation believers are raised from the dead and rewarded. And then ushers in the thousand year reign of Christ.
And we applied verses 28 and following last week to the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. And this week we will retain that interpretation but also add an additional interpretation. Not only does it apply to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, but it also applies to the tribulation.
We know that because of this chapter and how it uses our two phrases “these things” and “those days.” And both of those phrases occur in verses 28 to 32. When Jesus is talking about “these things” he is referring to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. When Jesus is talking about “those days” he is talking about the tribulation.
Now, look at verse 29 we have the phrase “these things.” As well at the end of verse 30. But now for the first time we also have a discussion of “those days” in verse 32. Same wording in verse 32 but of “that day” or hour no one knows.
So Jesus is using this principle in verses 28 to 32 to apply to both time periods. Verse 28, just like a tree gives you an indication as to when summer is near because it puts forth leaves, so also you two verse 29 when you see the signs that I have described to you Jesus says, you should recognize that the event that comes after those signs is near, right at the door.
If you saw wars and rumors of wars and famines and earthquakes in verses 5 to 13, you would know that the destruction of the Temple was near, right at the door.
If you saw the abomination that causes the desertion from the Temple and you saw signs and wonders in the sky false Messiah’s doing miracles, then you would know that He is near, right at the door. You would know that you would be in the tribulation and that Jesus coming in the clouds with great power and glory was soon to take place.
Whatever generation verse 30 sees their particular signs, that generation will not pass away until all of these things take place. A.D. 70 and you see those signs, your generation will not pass away until the Temple is destroyed.
If you are living during the tribulation period and you see false Messiah’s who are literally doing miracles and you see the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light, you can rest assured that you are part of the generation that will not pass away until the Son of Man comes in clouds down to the Mount of Olives.
And so these things being the case … We must take Jesus exhortations in verses 33 to 37 and that is to take heed and to keep on the alert because we do not know when this will all take place.
It’s like a man verse 34 away on a journey and when he leaves his house he puts his servants in charge. He assigns each one a task in the doorkeeper stays on the alert.
In verse 35 you be on the alert because you don’t know when the Lord of this house will be coming. This is his world and he does with it as he pleases. He may come in the evening or at midnight or when the rooster crows are in the morning …
So you be on the alert in case he should, and find you asleep. And Jesus verse 37 is saying this to everyone … he’s saying it to the disciples and he’s saying it “to all” … exhortation to all is “be on the alert!”
And why the exhortation to be alert if we knew the timing of it all? If the abomination of desolation occurs in the middle of the tribulation, then I know that I have 3 1/2 years to get prepared for the coming of Jesus to earth. I could squander those 3 1/2 years.
But Jesus says here you don’t know when the master of the house is coming. This of course would allow for then a coming of Jesus before the tribulation period begins when he snatches up his people from the earth in rapture.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Mark 13 Part 3
And if you believe these things, your alertness and readiness will show it! 2 Peter 3:10-12 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
Your new house will be gone, your possessions will be burned up, only what’s done for Christ will last! What are you doing for Christ as He has commanded you to do? When you look at Christ’s Great Commission when you appear before the judgment seat of Christ, will you be ashamed at his coming? Will He find you sleeping? “Be on the alert!” You don’t know when the Lord of this house is coming. He could come in the evening or at midnight or in the morning.” 187.