Chapter 40

The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Part A)
Mark 13:1-23 (NKJV)

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1 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” 2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”

5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 “But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 “Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16 “And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17 “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18 “And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 “For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20 “And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. 21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 “But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.

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Mark 13:1-4
The timetable

Jesus tells one disciple, awestruck by the temple building, that earthly things will pass away. Every temple stone will be thrown down. On the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew ask Jesus about the timing of this, and the sign that it will happen. They want a miracle as an alarm.

Mark 13:5-23
The tribulation

Ignoring their specific questions, Jesus puts them on guard, He wants them to discern about the coming tribulation. He stresses that His gospel must be preached. He encourages their witness, forewarns about family division and betrayal, underlines God’s sovereignty, and encourages perseverance.

Partial local fulfilment of prophecy has occurred already, such as Jerusalem’s destruction and the temple’s desecration. Greater global future fulfilment will follow. In fulfilling short term prophecies God assures us that long term prophecies will come to pass too.

Jesus warns about the intense period of tribulation, pressure and opposition. Even today, 200,000 Christians are estimated murdered or executed each year. The tribulation cauldron will increasingly bubble up in clusters until the whole troubled world boils furiously. The Christian church will be the main target. Despite this, eternal blessing awaits those trusting Christ to save them from sin’s penalty and power.

Jesus states what is to come. Deceivers will come in His name. Increasingly, wars and rumours of wars, widespread earthquakes, and famines and troubles will signal the start of the sorrows. Christians will face serious, violent opposition from officialdom and organised religion. In all nations gospel preachers will be arrested, but God will enable them to testify.

In deteriorating family relationships, family members will betray each other to death. Christ’s followers, hated for bearing His name, will endure to the end and be saved by God. The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel[1] probably prefigures Jerusalem’s temple’s desecration in AD 70. Jerusalem’s fall foreshadows the final great trouble for God’s people before Christ’s return. The need to flee will be urgent. Jesus’ said the huge turmoil will be such as has not been since the beginning of creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. False christs promoted by false prophets will use signs and wonders that even test God’s elect.

But Christ will come again in power and glory to rule and to wrap up history![2] How vital and how wonderful to know Him as your Saviour and Lord now!

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[1]  .  Daniel 9 gives the background to this, especially verse 27. A detailed examination of that chapter is outside the scope of this book, and probably outside the ability of its author!
[2]  .  Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

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Questions on Chapter 40
Mark 13:1-23 The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Part A).

A. What is the main thrust of Jesus’ answer when the disciples ask Him for the timetable of His second coming?   Mark 13:1-4   Mark 13:5   Mark 13:21-23

B. Why should opposition and persecution increase our confidence that Christ will come again?   Mark 13: 9-10   Mark 13: 11-13   Luke 21:8-19

C. With increasing tribulation, what comfort is it to know that Christ will return?  Mark 13:23   Mark 13:20   Mark 13:19