Things to Come
As He was coming out of the temple [grounds], one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look what [a]wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” Jesus replied to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left on another which will not be [b]torn down!”
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be fulfilled?” Jesus began to say to them, “Be careful and see to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in My name [misusing My name or claiming to be the Messiah], saying, ‘I am He!’ and will deceive and mislead many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed (frightened, troubled); these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These things are the beginning of the [c]birth pangs [the intolerable anguish and suffering].
“But be on your guard; they will turn you over to courts, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand [as accused] before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. The gospel [that is, the good news regarding the way of salvation] must first be preached to all the [Gentile] nations. When they take you and turn you over [to the court], do not worry beforehand about what to say, but say whatever is given to you [by God] in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit [who will speak through you]. Brother will betray brother to [be put to] death, and a father [will hand over] his child; and children will rise up and take a stand against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of [your association with] My name, but the one who [patiently perseveres empowered by the Holy Spirit and] endures to the end, he will be saved.
“But when you see the [d]abomination of desolation standing [in the temple sanctuary] where it ought not to be (let the [e]reader understand) then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down [to enter the house], or go inside to take anything out of his house; whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his coat. And woe to those women who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! Pray that it will not occur in winter, for at that time there will be such tribulation as has not occurred, from the beginning of the creation which God made, until now—and never will [be again]. And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose [for Himself], He shortened the days. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will provide signs and wonders in order to deceive, if [such a thing were] possible, even the elect [those God has chosen for Himself]. But be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance.
The Return of Christ
“But in those days, after [the suffering and distress of] that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, 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 [in royal majesty and splendor]. And then He will send out the angels, and will gather together His elect [those He has chosen for Himself] from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: as soon as its branch becomes tender and it puts out its leaves, you recognize that summer is near. Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, know [for certain] that He is near, right at the door. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this generation [the people living when these signs and events begin] will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth [as now known] will [f]pass away, but My words will not pass away.
- Mark 13:1 The massive size and polished surfaces of the fitted stones that formed the temple structure created a magnificent sight (cf Luke 21:5). The refurbishing of the temple was begun by Herod the Great in 20 b.c. and was completed in a.d. 64 by Herod Agrippa II. The rabbis had a saying: “Whoever has not seen the temple of Herod has never seen a beautiful building” (as quoted from the Talmud). They also said that Herod built it of yellow, white, and perhaps blue marble; and that he intended to cover it with gold, but the rabbis advised him not to because it was beautiful just as it was, looking like the waves of the sea.
- Mark 13:2 In a.d. 70, just six years after the temple complex was completed, it was destroyed by the Roman general Titus and his army, who thoroughly devastated Jerusalem.
- Mark 13:8 The Jews used this phrase to describe the unprecedented trouble that would occur prior to Messiah’s advent (as recorded in the Talmud).
- Mark 13:14 I.e. the detestable one who desecrates the temple. See note Matt 24:15.
- Mark 13:14 I.e. the reader of the book of Daniel (cf Matt 24:15). Jesus is indicating that the final fulfillment of this prophecy is yet to come.
- Mark 13:31 See Rev 21:1, “...the first heaven and the first earth passed away....”