Mark 13:1-13

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 29, 2005


It’s Tuesday of Jesus’ last week on earth. He had been in the Temple teaching and answering questions. But the questions have ended and Jesus is making His way out of the Temple. Matthew records Jesus’ last words before getting up to leave:

(Mt 23:37-39 NKJV) 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate;

:1-4 Temple will be destroyed

:1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

The history of the Temple:

Before the Israelites began to conquer the land of Canaan, God told them that when they entered the land, that He would designate a single place for worship to take place (Deut. 12).

The first Temple was built by David’s son, Solomon.  The Temple was completed in the year 959 BC.

For almost four hundred years, the Temple was that single place where God was worshipped by the Jews. But after hundreds of years of disobedience, God finally allowed the Jews to be taken into captivity to Babylon and the Temple was destroyed in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar.

After seventy years in exile, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem, where Zerubbabel oversaw the reconstruction of the second Temple, completed in 516 BC.

Herod the Great was appointed king over Palestine by the Romans in 37 BC. He began a series of huge building projects, including the complete rebuilding of the Temple. He didn’t build the Temple because he was religious; he built it for political reasons, to get the Jews to like him. Construction began on the Temple in 20 BC. Herod would greatly enlarge the courtyard area. The main sanctuary was completed after ten years, but the complete project, including the courtyards, walls, gates, and various other buildings, was not complete until 64 AD. In other words, the Temple was still under construction when Jesus was walking through it commenting to the disciples. The Temple would be destroyed in 70 AD by the Roman armies, and all that remains intact is a small portion of a retaining wall that supported the courtyard area – that wall is known as the “Wailing wall”.

The ancient Jewish historian Josephus (Antiquities, 15:11:3) described the stones that were used in the building of the Temple as being 37 feet long, 12 feet high, and 18 feet wide (25x8x12 cubits). Some of the stones you can still see in Jerusalem. Some of the stones have been calculated as weighing 70 to 100 tons each.

:2 …there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

This is actually quite an amazing prophecy.

When the Roman general Titus took Jerusalem in A.D. 70, he intended that the temple be left in tact. After getting into the city, the battle headed toward the temple where 6,000 Jews were holed up. On August 30, in the attack in the inner court, a soldier tossed a firebrand through a window into one of the side chambers. Titus rushed up shouting commands for the fire to be extinguished, but wasn't obeyed. Another soldier tossed a burning brand into the Holy Place that set the sanctuary itself on fire. The 6,000 people in the temple complex died. The fire was so intense that all the gold in the temple melted, flowing into all the cracks between the stones. The Roman soldiers pried all the stones apart, tearing down the temple, to get at the gold.

And so Jesus' prophecy came true.

:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple…

Jesus crosses the Kidron Valley and sits down on the Mount of Olives where they can all see the Temple

:5-13 Initial signs

:5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:

Take heedblepo – to see, to discern mentally, understand. Keep your eyes open. Understand what’s going on around you.

One of the ways that people will be deceived or led astray is by …

:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

I am Christ – The word “Christ” is not in the original Greek. It has been added by the translators in order to help you understand the passage.

The original text is “ego eimi” or, “I am”. This could be taken in a couple of ways:

1)     These people who are going to come are going to claim to be Jesus. Jesus said they would be coming “in my name” saying, “I am”.
2)     These people could be claiming to be God. The name of God, Yahweh, is derived from the Hebrew words “I am”. When Moses asked God what His name was, God replied, “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3:14). The Greek translation of that passage uses the words “ego eimi”. This was the same Greek phrase that Jesus is quoted as using throughout the Gospel of John. Jesus was claiming to be God, these false prophets may also be claiming to be God.

For example, the fellow in India, Sai Baba, claims to be God.

“He defines himself as an Avatar, that is to say a divine incarnation; moreover, he would be a Purnavatar, or an incarnation of God with all his complete powers. In this aspect he defines himself to be superior to Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.; in one discourse, for instance, Sai Baba said that Jesus in reality was not even an Avatar, but just a man who became aware of his own divinity; in another passage he states to be the one who sent Christ into the world.”

3)     They will come in Jesus’ name, they will claim to be followers of Jesus and simply say, “I am the one”, perhaps simply the idea that “I am the one you should follow”.

America is famous for its cults. Groups like the Mormons, led by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, fit this description. I’m sorry if this offends you, but they have led many astray.

:7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.

troubledthroeo – to cry aloud, make a noise by outcry; in the NT, to trouble, frighten; to be troubled in mind, to be frightened, alarmed

How many wars are going on today?

We may only be aware of war in Iraq or Afghanistan, but in reality, there are currently close to two dozen “significant armed conflicts” going on around the world today.

We live in scary times.

Since 1947, a magazine called “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has published what it calls it’s “Doomsday Clock”. The idea came about as a way of letting the world know how close we are to nuclear annihilation. Over the years the clock has gone back and forth depending on the condition of world affairs. For these scientists, they believe that we’re very close to annihilating ourselves.

If North Korea has indeed developed nuclear weapons, that would make them the ninth nation to have them.

On the front page of the “Nation and World” section of the Orange County Register, there was an article about how the parliament of Iran has just passed a law requiring the nation to develop its atomic capabilities.


End Times Anxiety

Don’t be “troubled” about the end times. These things need to take place.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be for promoting peace in the world. I’m not saying that we should promote war so we can hurry things along.
I’m must saying that we need to realize that these things are all a part of the process that will end with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ back to the earth.
We aren’t looking forward to more wars, we’re looking forward to Jesus Christ.
(Isa 25:8-9 KJV) He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. {9} And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Jesus said,
(Luke 21:28 KJV) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
With each new day that passes, we’re closer to the coming of Jesus to the earth.
When we hear bad news, we need to learn to say to ourselves, “Jesus is coming back”.  Turn to the person next to you and tell them that Jesus is coming back.  When we hear about false religions, know that “Jesus is coming back”.  When we hear about wars, know that “Jesus is coming back”.

:8 … and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles:

nationethnos – a tribe; people group; the emphasis seems to be on ethnic ties, not politics.

kingdombasileia – a kingdom, here the emphasis is a political territory.

earthquakesseismos – a shaking, a commotion; an earthquake

Did you hear about the great earthquake and tsunami that happened last December? This bit of news from a few weeks ago, May 19, 2005:

Headline: Tsunami Quake Shook Earth's Total Surface
WASHINGTON — December's great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake — the most powerful in more than 40 years and the trigger of a devastating tsunami— shook the ground everywhere on Earth's surface. Weeks later the planet was still trembling. The quake resulted from the longest fault rupture ever observed — 720 miles to 780 miles, which spread for 10 minutes, also a record. A typical earthquake's duration would be 30 seconds.

:8 these are the beginnings of sorrows.

sorrowsodin – the pain of childbirth; it’s a process that has to happen for the baby to be delivered.  The pains are getting closer together…

When you hear about wars, earthquakes, famines, and trouble, know that “Jesus is coming back”.

:9 … for they shall deliver you up to councils …for a testimony against them.

councilssunedrion – any assembly (esp. of magistrates, judges, ambassadors), whether convened to deliberate or pass judgment; this is the word for the “Sanhedrin”, the ruling council in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day.

It’s interesting that last January an interesting thing took place in Tiberias in Israel, a new Jewish high council was started, a new Sanhedrin. 71 Jewish rabbis were “ordained” in a special ceremony. The idea is to create an authority, the “highest Jewish-legal tribunal” in Israel. It is not without controversy, some say that it is not a legitimate Sanhedrin. Others say they will have to see how things turn out.

testimonymarturion (“martyr”) – testimony

We really don’t know much about persecution here in America.  Yes, things are getting worse in terms of religious freedom, but compared to what goes on in other places around the world, we know nothing.

Open Doors says that more than 200 million Christians around the world are facing persecution.  Just in Indonesia, over 600 churches have been destroyed and 20,000 believers have been killed in clashes between Christians and Muslims.  In Turkmenistan, since 2001, almost every church has been forced to close it’s doors.  In Sudan, 2 million have died due to the civil war, much of it centering around religion – an estimated 60-200,000 have been forced to be slaves.

When you hear of people being persecuted for being a Christian, know that “Jesus is coming back”.

:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

nationsethnos – a tribe, nation, people group

be publishedkerusso – to be a herald, to deliver a message with gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed; we might say “preach”.

There are 6,800 known languages in the world, only 2,261 of them have writing systems, the other languages are only spoken.

In 1990, the Bible had been translated into 1,946 languages. As of Dec. 31, 2002, The Bible had been translated into 2,287 languages.

Wycliffe Bible Translators says that of the 3,000 languages that still need the Bible translated into their language, 1,000 languages are in the area of India, 940 languages are in Africa, and 700 languages are in Asia. Though at the present rate, the Bible won’t be translated into these languages until the year 2150, their goal is to make it by the year 2025.

The Jesus Film has been translated into 896 languages. More than 58 million people have seen the film in the U.S., more than 6 billion have seen or listened to it around the world since it’s creation in 1979.

When you hear about the gospel being taken to the nations, know that “Jesus is coming back”.

What is the “gospel”?

It’s the good news about what Jesus has done for us.

The Bible says that we are all sinners.  We have all fallen short of what is required to get into heaven.

Yet the Bible teaches us that God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to come to earth and save us.  How did He save us?  He saved us by paying for our sins, by being a sacrifice and dying in our place.  That’s good news.

The Bible teaches that if a person will turn from their sins and receive God’s free gift of forgiveness, that they will receive eternal life.  That’s good news.

As believers, we are asked by Jesus to take this message to our friends, our neighbors, and even around the world.

:11 … take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak …but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

take no thought beforehandpromerimnao – to be anxious beforehand.  It seems that often times we worry about things long before we need to.

There are lots of occurrences of the word “speak” – don’t worry ahead of time what you should speak, but whatever is given you, you shall speak (command) because it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit’s gifts

Some preachers have used this verse as an excuse not to study and prepare for their messages on Sundays.  But Jesus isn’t talking about the ministry of preaching and teaching, He’s talking about what you do when you’re suddenly in trouble.
The idea is that we don’t need to worry about what to do because the Holy Spirit will “give” you something at the time you need it.  All you have to do is to speak what has been “given” to you.
So often we get trapped into thinking that when we’re in trouble, the answer is simple, we need more money.
Money isn’t the answer. Jesus is. We think that if we just had a little more money that everything would be fine. It’s an illusion. Money brings great temptations and great problems. Jesus is the answer to your emptiness.
Cultivate your relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Slow down.  Quiet down.
Elijah was in trouble.  He had been doing God’s work, challenging the people to abandon their idols and follow God.  In the process he offended Queen Jezebel and he ended up running for his life.  He ran over three hundred miles and ended up hiding out in a cave.
(1 Ki 19:11-13 KJV)  And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: {12} And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. {13} And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

From this point, Elijah received guidance and help from the Lord.

But you don’t necessarily need to run away and hide in a cave for God to speak.  Though maybe at times that’s just what we need to do. 

Perhaps we need to simply quiet down.  Turn off the TV from time to time.  Spend time with God.  Listen for His voice.  A still, small voice.  If your life is too noisy, you just might not hear it.

He has the answers.

:12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death …

The previous verse was about being betrayed (“delivered”). Now Jesus tells us who some of the people will be that betray us, those closest to us.

:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake:

hatedmiseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest; Not hated because you’re a mean or obnoxious person, but because you’re a Christian.


Being hated

While God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, Satan hates you and wants to ruin your life.
Satan will do whatever he can to hurt you, stop you, or make you ineffective.
One of the things that catches us off guard is when we face the hatred of Satan, usually expressed through people.
(John 15:17-20 KJV) These things I command you, that ye love one another. {18} If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. {19} If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. {20} Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
We are to find “love” with other Christians, with the church.  We should expect to find “hate” in the world.
Satan would love to turn this around.  He’d love to make us hate one another at church and cause us to find “love” out in the world.

:13 but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

shall endurehupomeno – to remain; to tarry behind; to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee; to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments



Norwegian wharf rats
I remember hearing about tests done with laboratory wharf rats.  These are the rats that live under the piers along the waterfront.   One group of rats was placed in a large container of water, in the dark, with no place to stand on, they had to keep swimming.  They all drowned within fifteen minutes. The second group was placed in a similar container, yet every ten minutes the lab technician would open the container, take the rats out, stroke them a few seconds, and put them back in the water.  They didn't have time to rest, they just got a little encouragement.  These rats went on swimming for over 12 hours (or something like that...).
How can we keep going?  How can we endure?
We keep going because Jesus is coming back.