Mark 13 Questions and Answers
By Mary Kroeger
1. As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, "Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!" 2 And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down." 3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4 "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?"
Question: When will all these things be fulfilled?
Answer: We now know that many of these things that Jesus talked about were fulfilled in 70 AD. Others were not. The question of 'when' the unfulfilled ones will be fulfilled is still being asked. The disciples were just as curious as Christians are today. Why do we search for 'when', when we should focus on our readiness? Are we faithful and ready at all times?
5. And Jesus began to say to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. 6 Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He!' and will mislead many.
Question: What do we have to be concerned about?
Answer: Not the time but the deceitfulness of false prophets! We are not to be misled by false prophets - the counterfeits. The counterfeit is made to look like the reality, but it has its source in lies - not in truth. It is made to look like the truth in order to deceive us. To recognize the counterfeit, it has to be examined under the light that Jesus Christ is!
7. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. 8 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
Question: What are our instructions?
Answer: We are not to be afraid! What could cause us to fear? Wars and rumors of war; nation rising against nation; earthquakes and famine (the lack of physical food). Fear will take our mind off spiritual realities and there will be a famine for true spiritual food. This gives the false prophets the opportunity to make their lies believable! When lies are preached, a famine for truth is produced.
9. "But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them.”
Question: What is the result when lies are preached and believed?
Answer: Persecution for those who proclaim the truth. But that too is not the end.
10. The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. 12 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13 You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
Question: How do we know the difference between persecution and the result of sinful behavior?
Answer: Persecution has its source in others because they cannot control our thinking. Sinful things have their source in our carnal thinking.
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. 15 The one who is on the housetop must not go down, or go in to get anything out of his house; 16 and the one who is in the field must not turn back to get his coat. 17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18 But pray that it may not happen in the winter. 19 For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.
Question: What is the abomination of desolation?
Answer: In the English language, the biblical meaning of abomination according to Wikipedia is "that which is exceptionally loathsome, hateful, sinful, wicked, or vile." Desolation means a state of complete emptiness or destruction. The abomination of desolation can thus apply to the extreme wickedness of destroying the good and replacing it with emptiness!
The term, the abomination of desolation, is steeped in Jewish thought and history. So the people would have been familiar with the meaning. It is first mentioned in Daniel 9&11. It is a detestable act and appears several times throughout history. Most theologians believe Daniel is referring to Antiochus Epiphanies (meaning god manifest. He named himself this.) He was a Syrian king of the Hellenic Seleucid Empire. He reigned between 175 BC and 164 BC, about 400 years after Daniel's time. Antiochus built an altar to the Greek god Zeus in the middle of the Jewish temple and sacrificed pigs on it. Pigs, of course, were unclean and forbidden to Jews. He identified himself with Zeus and wanted the Jews to worship him. He also forbade circumcision. He set up brothels in the temple, killed many Jews and enslaved many others. He forced them to sacrifice to Greek gods. It was a terrible time for them.
By using this term, I believe Jesus was prophesying about AD 70. At that time, the Roman army under Titus took Jerusalem. By reminding his listeners of their history, He was informing them of what was to come.
In AD 70 many horrors took place - Josephus says 97,000 were taken captive and over a million people starved to death. The city and the temple were destroyed and a pagan temple was built on the ruins. It was a time of desecration and great suffering. Apparently it came so suddenly that people had to flee without taking any of their possessions. Those that fled, as Jesus had told them to, were spared.
Many theologians see this as an event that will have another fulfillment in the future. We know John says many antichrists have come. (1 John 2:18). An antichrist comes as a wolf in sheep's clothing. He comes as though he is for Christ, while actually he is against Christ. Like Herod, who said he wanted to know where Jesus was because he wanted to worship Him, while actually he wanted to kill Him. We know that our carnal nature is against Christ, even when it tells us to please Him by going to church and doing things for Him. Our battle today is against the carnal religious ideas that look like truth, but actually are lies. They are against Christ; they are anti Christ.
For this reason Paul states that the antichrist, the man of lawlessness, has to be revealed. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12) He is not born - he has to be revealed. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God and even sets himself up in God's temple proclaiming himself to be God. This is spiritually similar to the 2 events I've mentioned. Can you see how the spirit of religiosity gains easy access to our carnal mind? It focuses on self-effort and self-worth. Instead of Christ being pre-eminent, we focus on how we perform. This is evident on a large scale in our world. This religious spirit who is antichrist, has to be revealed to us personally. It desecrates the Holy Place in the temple that we are in Christ, by presenting itself as God and worshipping itself and other gods which are not God. We are to spot this abomination of desolation, this man of lawlessness, in ourselves and flee. We are not to hold on to the things of this world and our love of self which will trap us. If we love the Truth we will be saved. Verses 16 and 17 say, "May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God the Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." We do not conquer by ourselves. The religious spirit that presents itself as truth, has to be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit! We do not conquer by fighting the antichrist spirit, but by having Christ be our victory! When Christ is our truth, the lie is revealed and it no longer has any power over us!
Carnal religion would like to destroy truth, but truth always IS! So it tries to destroy it by making the lie look like truth. It tries to replace truth with the emptiness of lies. Can you see how wicked religiosity is? To walk in truth we have to love truth, and truth will keep us from being deceived! “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
20. 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.
Question: To what time frame does this apply?
Answer: To a time of great false teaching and persecution! Jesus does not mention a time on the calendar. We are to recognize the time by the degree of false teaching that is believed by those who call themselves Christians! "No life" refers to no true spiritual life.
21. And then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ'; or, 'Behold, He is there'; do not believe him; 22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.
Question: For whom is this admonition? For the disciples only, or also for those who will live whenever there are a lot of false prophets, false Christs and fake teachers?
Answer: Without truth, the lie cannot be identified! The truth judges the lie. Those who are entrenched in the traditional belief system will not hear the truth. The absence of truth breeds more lies. False signs and wonders can be produced by false prophets. To those who wanted to be known because of their self-effort, Jesus said, "I never knew you." The true disciples of Christ are known by their love - not by their signs and wonders!
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 that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
Question: 1. Can life on earth survive if the sun is darkened, etc.? Then everything would freeze.
2. Does this refer to what people call the second coming?
Answer: 1.This does not refer to the natural sun, moon and stars. Instead, it refers to natural knowledge and to those who are stars because of the natural understanding they possess. When natural light, that is natural knowledge, is no longer the key pursuit, the true light will be sought for!
2. This does not refer to what is popularly known as the second coming. The scriptures do not speak of a “second” coming. They only speak of His coming and coming again. Here Jesus said that He is coming as the Son of Man. They will see the Son of Man coming with clouds and great glory! Notice, this is not the Son of God. This is the Christ, the corporate Son of Man in whom all are made alive! He comes in clouds of great glory!
These are clouds of witnesses. (Heb. 12:1) In Matt. 24 they are called His elect. Then He will send forth His messengers to gather His elect from the four winds of the earth. In Eph. 4:14 we read about every wind of doctrine.
So we see that He will gather His elect out of the various doctrines and wrong teachings! What a glorious sight! He comes with all the elect - the first fruit of the past and present! God always moves progressively in the revelation of Himself and of His Christ!
28. Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
Question: Those things have not yet all taken place, but that generation has already passed away. How can that be explained?
Answer: The word 'generation' can be used in different ways. There is a generation of godless people, and a people who have been regenerated. I believe it is referring to a people who have not yet been regenerated!
31. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
Question: How can heaven and earth pass away?
Answer: Our understanding of what heaven and earth are, can pass away! Do we think of heaven as an idyllic place to live, or do we agree with Jesus when He said, "Heaven is MY throne" (Matt. 5:34; Is.66:1) The throne symbolizes the government of God. So heaven is the rule or the government in the kingdom of God! All our wrong ideas of spiritual realities have to go and be replaced by truth!
32. But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Question: Since that time is only known by the Father, why do Christians waste so much time speculating about His coming?
Answer: It is the ignorance of the truth that breeds lies! It also shows the deceitfulness of the lie!
Wanting to attract attention by pretending that they have a special "in" with God, some Christians claim to know the date. This is being deceitful! They even find that by sharing their wrong ideas they can make some money.
33. "Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. 34 It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. So when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning - 36 in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 What I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!'"
Question: How does this parable relate to us?
Answer: Today, even as at that time, Christians want to focus on the time of Christ's coming instead of the necessity to be prepared for His coming. Even though we are told that only the Father knows the time of Christ's coming again, yet people spend their time speculating instead of preparing! If we are prepared, the timing is unimportant. All will be in readiness!