Part 7. The return of Jesus.
Mark 13 and Matthew 24 provide us with similar information about the second coming of Christ. Here, the disciples ask questions that prompt Jesus to foretell information about the final days and events. This prophecy is interwoven with a tragedy that was soon to befall Jerusalem. Jesus provided predictions and safety strategies that protected the church, so the fledgling church would survive.
“Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 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” (Mark 13:1b-2 ESV).
This prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled around 70 A.D. when Titus sacked Jerusalem, and the entire temple was torn down stone by stone. The Christian church recognized the signs and escaped beforehand.
“And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?‘” (Mark 13:3-4 ESV).
Trials and calamities have occurred throughout history as we move through this time of tribulation before Christ’s return. Jesus started with future deceivers.
“And Jesus began to say to them, ‘See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray“ (Mark 13:5-6 ESV).
“And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 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“ (Mark 13:7-8 ESV).
Human history since Christ’s time recounts numerous bloody and devastating wars and atrocities, but none of those events meant that the end was near yet. Nations still rise against other nations, as may soon occur between Russia and Ukraine today, but Christ hasn’t returned yet. There are earthquakes all over the planet, and there is always a famine or a catastrophe.
This is a time of tribulation. We are in it right now.
Jesus wants us to know that these bad things will continue to occur. These remind us that Jesus’ return is imminent. It is coming. It may not happen immediately, but it will occur. It could be at any moment.
“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. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations,“ (Mark 13:9-10 ESV).
These harmful wrongs happened to the early church and apostles. Today, still, the worldwide church is always under attack somewhere. However, the world has now been reached with the Gospel via the apostles, the Irish monks who had copied the ancient scrolls, the missionaries, the radio broadcasts, television, and word of mouth. This has been the commission of the church since Jesus ascended.
Jesus’ disciples took the Gospel far and wide, and most of them were martyred.
Christians will always be in peril, as we often have been throughout history. Violent regimes, prejudice, hatred, mockery, all of these make for continual persecution. The antichrist will be a future instigator as he seeks control.
“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. 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. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved“ (Mark 13:11-13 ESV)."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" (Mark 13:11). #bgbg2 #faith Click To Tweet
“Amid these troubles, including family divisions (v. 12; cf. Luke 12:50-53), the disciples are to be worldwide (Mark 7:27; 8:35; 10:29; 13:27), Spirit-led witnesses before both Jewish and Gentile authorities (v.9)”1. And, as Jesus predicted, the church is now worldwide.
Then we will arrive at the worst of all times, when the tribulation intensifies.
“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. 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. And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand“ (Mark 13:19-23 ESV).The Lord will take care of those who have entrusted themselves to him, no matter how intense the persecution, no matter how difficult the tribulation. #Faith #EndTimes #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
The Lord will take care of those who have entrusted themselves to him, no matter how intense the persecution, no matter how difficult the tribulation. False christs and false prophets will still attempt to confuse, as they did also in the first century, but Jesus advises us so that we will be on our guard. He has told us.
- Study note for Mark 13:9-13, ESV Study Bible, Crossway Bibles, Wheaton, Illinois, 2008.