-As Jesus continues His passion week, one of His disciples notices the wonderful edifices of stones and buildings in the Temple area and remarks this to the Lord. The Christ prophecies, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down (Mark 13:1-2).” This occurred in about 70 A.D. when the Romans came in with destruction of the Temple and tore down the place stone by stone to possibly scrape up some of the Temple’s gold. Ruins of this Temple in ancient sections of the Holy City can still be seen today as a testimony of the accuracy of Jesus’ Words. This is a picture I took several years ago of these ruins of the Herodian Temple:
-Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, just to the east of the Holy City opposite the Temple with a beautiful view of it, Peter, James, John, and Andrew of the twelve questioned Him privately of these things wanting some signs for the end of times. Jesus gave some of the most insightful and deliberate teaching here in this context of His second coming. His first point was to avoid deception, “See to it that no one misleads you.” Many, He said, would in His Name falsely claiming to be the messiah, and many would be led astray by these counterfeits. He informed them of future wars and rumors of wars that would occur as the beginning birth pangs of His coming. He added to this earthquakes in various places around the world along with famines and food shortages. He told His audience not to be afraid, or frightened, when these early stages happen. Then He let them know that believers would certainly be persecuted before His return. They would be delivered over to courts, flogged with whips in the synagogues, and set before kings of the earth for the King’s sake as a testimony to them. The gospel would be advanced and proclaimed to all the nations. God, by His Holy Spirit, would give His followers the words to say in that given hour. In that time, brother would betray brother, a father his child, and children will rise up against their parents and have them killed. The disciples of Jesus would be hated by all because they adore the Name of Christ Jesus, “but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” The Anti-Christ, called here the “Abomination of Desolation,” will stand in the Temple where he should not be, and then the Jewish people and all believers in Judea would need to vacate to the mountains immediately without packing up at all. The Lord pronounces woe on those who may be pregnant or have nursing babies in those days. He also warns that people should pray that this doesn’t happen in winter, when the weather is more harsh and cold. Those days will be a time of trial and tribulation without parallel in world history. “Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” Jesus also warned them not to believe those who say that the Christ has appeared here or there “for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” Jesus then gives a pertinent word to prepare, “But take heed; behold, I have told you EVERYTHING (emphasis mine) in advance (Mark 13:3-23).”
-Now He goes into His return. After the tribulation, “the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” The Christ will send forth His angels to gather His elect from all over the earth. Jesus says to pay attention again to the fig tree parable. “When its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Even so, you (disciples) too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation (race, age) will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away (Mark 13:24-31).” Christ, in His human element, did not know the day or hour that these things would transpire. No one would know, not even the angels in Heaven. So, He simply said for His disciples to “take heed” and “keep on the alert.” The end will be like a man on a journey who is away putting all of His servants in charge of His house, each one with a charged task. Alertness is reiterated over and over again (Mark 13:32-37).
-*Application* Taking heed to the things that Christ reveals and being alert to them will keep us awake and ready for His return. Summer is here, are we ready to receive the King in all His power and glory today? Don’t get weary as we work and wait (Galatians 6:9). Don’t be deceived by false teachings or mockers (2 Peter 3:3-9). Jesus will come in His appointed time and in the prophesied way. The victory is assured!
Verses to Memorize: Mark 13:10, 23