Mark 13:14-31 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.
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Many of the prophecies in the Old Testament contain a description of both the first coming and the second coming of Jesus Christ which could naturally lead to a misinterpretation of the meaning of the prophecies. The Jews all thought that when the Christ would come, He would defeat the enemies of Israel and Israel would rule the nations. This was the general belief as to how the Kingdom of God would be established. But this was never God’s plan of salvation. As the very Son of God entered into creation to save us from our sins He would establish a new spiritual Kingdom that would transcend the nations as the Church was formed. Instead of Israel being exalted they would be rejected because of their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ. There will yet be a great harvest among the Jews before the Lord returns but when Jesus spoke these words to His disciples He was revealing to them in greater detail the darkness that was associated with His coming. There was intense darkness as Jesus died upon cross and there would be intense darkness in Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and there will be intense darkness in the present world before Jesus Christ returns someday soon in the future.
In A.D. 70, about 40 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, Roman general Titus invaded Jerusalem to crush a Jewish revolt. He entered the temple, destroyed the building, and carried off the lampstand and other temple artifacts to Rome. This was all new and unexpected teaching. It did not fit what the disciples had been taught previously.
The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 was a judgment from God for the rejection of Jesus as the Christ. The Christians who were in Jerusalem at the time were to flee for their safety. Right up until the last moments they were to declare the Good News of Jesus Christ to the lost souls that had no idea of their impending destruction. The same is true in our day. There is an impending destruction of the entire world when God not only judges one nation but all the nations for their rejection of Jesus as the Christ. We, who are born again Christians, are called to continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to lost souls right up until the last moments before the Lord returns coming in the clouds with great power.
Nobody likes to hear a negative message and yet Jesus declares that heaven and earth will pass away (verse 31). We all recognize that there is evil in this world and just like the disciples we should recognize that God must ultimately deal with the problem of sin and the enemies of God but we tend to have an idealistic view as to how this will be accomplished. We dislike the idea of great challenges and difficulties in order for God’s plan of salvation to be fulfilled. Jesus reveals there will be many false Christ’s and false prophets. Jesus reveals that the antichrist will reign. Jesus reveals that there will be great darkness throughout the entire world.
There is going to be a time of separation and God has always done this throughout all history. He separates those that are His true children from those who are not. But there are particular times when this separation is intensified as God completes a purifying work in relation to His judgment. When Jesus died upon the cross He allowed His enemies to defeat Him. There are many times throughout the history of the true Church and in the nation of Israel when the enemies of God appear to be triumphant. We all as born again Christians will go through such times as our faith is tried. We will be led by the Holy Spirit to discern the true from the false. We will not be led astray by the false Christ’s and the false prophets. We will not be overcome by the darkness in this world but at times it may appear so. The disciples were soon going to learn this. God allows His enemies to have their day revealing their wickedness. He gives them time to repent but their guilt still remains upon them if they are not willing to surrender to Jesus Christ. But when God does finally judge the wicked He will separate His true children from the false. He will gather the elect from the four winds. They will be safe in the arms of Jesus.
When He does this His children will recognize the signs that precede His judgment and they will be spared from His wrath. They will be separated from those whom God judges. Jesus uses the picture of the fig tree’s branches becoming tender and leaves forming to recognize the coming of summer in Israel. Likewise the disciples would know when to leave Jerusalem when the judgment came in A.D. 70. But at this point the disciples did not understand any of this. At this point they were blind to all that was to come. Jesus reveals these truths beforehand to once again prove that He is indeed the Christ. Truly His Words will not pass away. He alone knows the end from the beginning. He alone can help us to understand the deep truths of God.
Are you among those who are in the Kingdom of God and who will be spared from His wrath or you among those who have rejected Jesus Christ and His free gift of salvation?
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 13:1-13 1 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.
We all like to have the ideology that there must be good in this world. And there is. In spite of being born into a world cursed because of the original sin of Adam and Eve the goodness of God can still be seen in His kindness to all people- even to those who hate Him. But there is much darkness. There is much evil. The devil is real and the corruption of the human heart is real. There is death, sickness, disease, abuse, famines, wars, etc. As the disciples marveled at the Temple building in Jerusalem, days after Jesus had publicly revealed that He is indeed the Christ- the Savior of Israel as He entered into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, they were still under the impression that they would soon rule with Him. After all, Jesus had just defeated all those who opposed Him in a war of words in the Temple. Jesus had shown that He had a greater understanding of the Scriptures than the Pharisees, the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the scribes. It was only a matter of time in the eyes of His disciples when Jesus would rule from Jerusalem over Israel and they along with Him. They were afraid to be in Jerusalem as they knew that the religious leaders desired to kill Jesus and in turn themselves, but their fear still was overcome by the hope that, as they continued to follow Jesus, He would soon formally establish His Kingdom. And as Jesus began to rule, in the minds of His disciples, all His enemies would be defeated. All evil would be overthrown. Everything would be made perfect. Their ideology was the same as most people in our day- some day soon everything will be as it should be. We just need to hope beyond hope for the best. But this was not God’s plan of salvation. Jesus must die in order that we may be saved. He had to suffer the punishment that our sins deserve as the wrath of God the Father was to be poured out upon Him upon the cross. Without His suffering for me and for you, none of us could be saved from sin and know the forgiveness and fellowship of God. Without His death the darkness could not be overcome.
And so as the disciples were meditating on the greatness to come and how wonderful it would soon be too rule in the Temple alongside Jesus, they would have been shocked and confused by the declaration of Jesus that it would all be destroyed (which occurred in A.D. 70 when the Romans utterly destroyed all of Jerusalem in a silencing of the nuisance that the Jews had become to the Roman empire). Jesus had already declared to His disciples three times that He must die and rise again which they could not comprehend and now Jesus was also saying that the Temple itself would be destroyed. How confusing for the disciples.
As the disciples asked Jesus to explain further what He means by the destruction of the Temple, Jesus challenges them personally to beware of the opposition that they would yet face. Up to this point their walk with Jesus had been relatively easy. They had ultimately been protected and shielded by Jesus Himself. But soon it would become much more difficult. As Jesus would return to heaven following His resurrection in order to send the Holy Spirit to speak to them intimately through their inner man, they would have to face all the opposition in the world directly and without Him as their shield. There would be those who would rise up and try to deceive Christians to turn away from following Jesus Christ. There would be much evil in the world and opposition to the message that they would preach. There would be divisions in families and many people would hate them for being associated with Jesus Christ. And so Jesus calls them to endure to the end. It would all be worth it but much difficulty and struggle was yet to come.
How often do we look at the Christian life in the same way that the disciples did at this point? We like the idea that following Jesus is easy. We like the idea of the benefits of being in His Kingdom and the comforts and pleasures that may come from following Him. At the same time we block out the reality that there is a cross that we all are called to carry. We block out the reality that Jesus was led to a cross in His ministry as the consummation of His love to God the Father. We block out the truth that it will cost us dearly to follow Jesus. There is an evil in this world that is absolutely opposed to God. There is an enemy, the devil, who will do all that he can to destroy you and to destroy me as a follower of Jesus Christ. If you have come to a true place of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ you will have to endure to the end. It will not be easy to follow Jesus. There will be many people who will come against you. Many people whom you love will oppose you. They will not understand. They will hate you for being a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in verse 13, “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” There is no easy road to heaven for the Christian. Sadly for many they are not willing to endure to the end. Sadly there are many who are not willing to suffer for His Name. But if you have truly tasted the love of Jesus Christ and have come to be consumed with Him, you will endure. You will carry on no matter how difficult the journey may be. The Holy Spirit within you will be your guide and give you the power and the strength to keep on getting up when you stumble and to stand up for Jesus even when it costs you dearly. You will prove that you love Him and He will be glorified in you and you will be made ready to receive your eternal reward!
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 12:38-44 38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
This passage in Mark is Jesus’ final rebuttal against all the different religious leaders who came against Him during the days leading up to His crucifixion. No one could deny that He was indeed the Christ as He had publicly revealed and declared on Palm Sunday as He entered into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt surrounded by people worshipping Him. Jesus revealed that He is indeed the Son of God who walked on this earth in order to provide for our salvation. The words and actions of Jesus Christ over two thousand years ago are still significant today as it is only through His perfect life and obedience to God that we may be justified in the sight of God. All of us fail to love God as we should and none of us live up to the standard of God that He requires. As all of mankind is created in the image of God we are responsible to God to reflect His glory- to honor and obey Him. Only Jesus Christ has done so. Only Jesus Christ has defeated sin and the devil upon the cross. It is through the cross of Jesus Christ that our salvation is provided for as we surrender to Him and turn from our wicked ways. We receive His righteousness as He took our sins upon His body and as they were destroyed in Him.
Sadly the religious leaders in Jerusalem who should have recognized the Christ when He came, rejected Jesus of Nazareth and the same is true in our day. Although we may not walk physically with Jesus as the Israelites were able to do so, we have the Word of God as found in the Bible which gives us all the knowledge that we need for salvation. We can read about these events in history through which a person like you or me not only lived a good life but a perfect life and also brought the solution to all that is wrong in this world. Everyone should be looking for a way out of this darkness. In spite of the goodness of God still seen in creation, we all know that there is much evil and corruption in this world as a result of the fall. And as the underlying root problem is found within the very heart of mankind, without the inner man being transformed and healed, any other attempt to correct evil and to end darkness will ultimately fail. Jesus Christ can and will transform the heart of anyone who will repent and believe in Him and one day He will return to this world to complete the plan of salvation. He will establish His perfect eternal Kingdom and all sin and evil will be removed forever. There will be a new creation and the curse of sin will be ultimately removed and righteousness will reign forever. As Jesus silenced His critics here in the Temple you could say that He was laying claim to His throne. He alone is worthy and able to rule over all of mankind. He will rule His Kingdom perfectly with only those subjects that are loyal to Him and who love Him. Those who reject Him and hate Him will be cast away forever. And so, even in our day, these events in history carry great weight and significance.
Jesus teaches the people to beware of the Scribes who were the experts in the Old Testament Scriptures. Not only did they not recognize Jesus as the Christ in spite of all that the Son of God had made known about Himself in the Old Testament but they loved the limelight that their positions had brought them. They presented a false glory. The glory of God could not be seen in them in spite of their long robes and the special status they had among the people. All the knowledge they had acquired about God by their intense study of the Word of God had not led them to see Jesus Christ. They received many blessings for their efforts and yet they were still outside the Kingdom of God. How many people in our day have managed to gain recognition among others in society and the glory that they hold to will all one day fade away?
What a contrast with the poor widow who put a penny into the offering box. Jesus Christ could see everything clearly. He knew the motives of every action taken by anyone He saw. He knows the motives of every action you take. On the surface the widow had given very little and what she had given would not contribute significantly to the work in the Temple. But her actions showed her love to God in a manner of which the Scribes did not understand. It was not that she was poor or specifically the amount out of her total remaining money that she gave that made Jesus draw attention to her but rather the manner in which she gave. She gave out of a transformed heart. She gave out of her love to God. The glory of God was seen in her actions. She reflected the glory of God in her humility in what appeared to be an insignificant event.
Do you feel that your actions are insignificant at times? Do you feel that you may not ever be significant to God? Don’t forget the widow with the penny. He sees all. He doesn’t love one person more than another. He loves all of His children equally. If you are born again by the Spirit of God, you are precious to Him. He loves you with an infinite love. He loves to see you glorify God with your life in whatever manner that may be.
But He does despise those who reveal a false glory. The scribes were among the enemies of God. They would receive the greater condemnation. Why? Because they knew the Word of God and yet still would not repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Because they were leading others away from the way of salvation. It is truly sad to be among those who reject the love of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for all. There is not a sinner who cannot come to Jesus for salvation if they will only truly repent and believe. Those who reject Him will be eternally condemned and it is truly sad as they did not have to go to destruction. They will one day be finally condemned in the final judgment. But there are those like the scribes that will receive a greater condemnation. It is a scary thing to be in a place of leadership within the Church and yet be eternally lost and yet there are many such people. They will receive the greater condemnation as they, of all people, should have recognized Jesus as the Christ and yet they did not do so. Do not think that every church leader is of God. The devil can be in the midst of the Church. Remember how Jesus condemned the scribes and all the religious leaders who were about to crucify Him.
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 12:28-37 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.
The days just before Jesus’ crucifixion He was challenged in the Temple. On Palm Sunday He had entered Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt and Jesus allowed the crowds to worship Him as the coming Christ- the Saviour of Israel. Nobody understood that He would be the Saviour of all mankind for whoever will repent and believe. Nobody understood that He would take our sins upon His body and suffer the punishment that we all deserve for our rebellion against God. To this day, the salvation of the human soul is dependent upon a proper understanding of these events and genuine faith in Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ alone is the wisdom of God and we see His wisdom on full display as He faces the questioning of the scribes. The scribes prepared the copies of the Old Testament Scriptures and would teach the Jewish law to the people. They attempted to stump Jesus by asking Him which of the 613 laws that had been given to Moses was the greatest. Jesus quotes to them Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18. He sums up the Law perfectly as He fulfilled the Law perfectly. Jesus, as the Son of God, is the only person ever to walk upon this earth to fulfill all that God has required. He reflected the glory of God.
But what is fascinating about Jesus’ dialogue with the scribes is that they end in agreement. The scribes confirm that what Jesus states is correct. Jesus doesn’t flaunt His wisdom and authority over them in how He responds but challenges them to go further but they refused to do so. Jesus was leading them on and yet there was no response. What did He say that silenced them? He simply said in verse 34, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” Why didn’t they say, “What do you mean? How can I come into the Kingdom of God?” It is because they knew exactly what He meant. Jesus, in this statement, confirms that He is the Christ- that He is the one sent from God to save them. But because He did not fit their image of what they had expected of the Christ, because they did not ultimately think that they needed salvation, they remained quiet. Jesus had silenced them in unbelief.
How foolish can someone be to be so close to the Savior and yet still reject Him? How crazy is it to be so unwilling to see what is so obvious and clear? And yet this was the case with the scribes and it can so easily be the case with anyone in our day. They were unwilling to believe that Jesus could be the Christ. They did not want to be saved. Even now, when many are presented with the truth of the Gospel they do not run to Jesus and embrace Him as their Saviour but they remain silent. They don’t want to know any more. They would prefer not to know. What a terrible reflection of the depravity of mankind. What a form of condemnation against the Son of God who came to this earth to show His love for them. Truly if anyone rejects the Christ, Jesus will reject them in the final judgment.
Jesus then shows the people in the Temple what the scribes had not taught them in regards to the coming Christ. The scribes had taught the people that the coming Christ would be the son of David meaning that He would be a descendant of David (which of course He was). As Jesus teaches those in the Temple about Psalm 110:1 which was written by King David, He asks why David, when speaking about the Christ, doesn’t address the Christ as a descendant of his own flesh but rather as Lord? By stating that the Christ was Lord, David recognized that his descendant would be greater than him. How could this be? It could only be if the Christ was God in the flesh. It could only be if the Christ was eternal and wasn’t just sent from God but was actually God in the flesh. Jesus claimed to be the Christ in what He declares and He also claims to be equal with God which of course was true as He is the Son of God.
Do you understand the significance of what Jesus declares here? Do you see the wisdom and authority in every word that Jesus speaks? Are you moved to draw nearer to Him? Are you in awe as the crowd was? If you were present to hear these words spoken would you be among those who heard Him gladly? Or would you be silenced in fear and step back from His midst?
The words of Jesus are powerful. They will either draw us to Himself or we will be repulsed by them. No one can truly hear the words of Jesus without one of these two responses. Why? Because they are the very words of God. So many people today question the existence of God and are looking for supernatural responses. But when they are confronted with the very Words of God as revealed in the Bible they are silent. They don’t draw near. They don’t care or understand their significance and don’t recognize the voice of God speaking to them directly. They look at the words in the Bible as the scribes did, words on paper to be studied like any other book rather than a living person. The scribes were speaking to the Word in the flesh (John 1:14)! The scribes were speaking to the Christ who has always been, the Son of God, who spoke through the men of God who were chosen to write the books in the Old Testament. It was through these Old Testament saints in their union to the coming Christ by faith that Jesus brought the very words that they spoke of His coming into existence. The scribes were looking in the face of the very author of the writings that they so carefully studied and yet did not recognize Him. They saw David but they could not see Jesus. They saw Moses but could not see the Son of God. Do you see Jesus everywhere as you read the Word of God as revealed in the Bible? Do you rejoice in Him and the salvation that He has provided for all who will believe?
Pastor Murray Hack
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.