Mark 13: Future Shock! The Apocalypse of Jesus Happening Now! Be Alert!

Spoiler Alert! Usually that means that a key pivotal point in a story will be revealed. If you don’t want to know, don’t listen. Jesus, however, in His Mercy, gives us a clue as to what’s going to happen in the future, the end times, the last days. The word “Apocalypse” comes from the Greek apokalupsis, which means to “uncover” or “reveal”. Hence, God gave us the Book of Revelation. Mark 13 actually ties Revelation with the Old Testament prophecies. Let’s dig in…

Mark 13 – Jesus Speaks about the Future

As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”

Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”

Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

“When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 10 For the Good News (Gospel) must first be preached to all nations. 11 But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

12 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

14 “The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object (abomination) that causes desecration (desolation) standing where he should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 15 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. 16 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. 17 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. 18 And pray that your flight will not be in winter. 19 For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. 20 In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.

21 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 23 Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!

24 “At that time, after the anguish of those days,

the sun will be darkened,
    the moon will give no light,
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. (Joel)

26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones (His elect) from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

28 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert and pray!

34 “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”

Mark 13 NLT

Making Sense of Bible Prophecy

It’s almost 2000 years since this scene took place on the Mount of Olives overlooking the temple. It’s called the “Olivet Discourse”. Keep in mind that this is a sermon, not a chronology of the end times. Let’s unpack each section one by one…

The Destruction of the Temple – Fulfilled!

This happened in 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed the temple and Jerusalem. Jesus fulfills the purpose of the temple. When you become a born-again believer, and you receive the Holy Spirit in your heart, you become a temple of the Holy Spirit and can worship Jesus at any time and anywhere.

What SIGN will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?

Jesus really doesn’t answer this question directly. Nevertheless, He does prepare us for what’s coming. It’s a fair WARNING!

  • Don’t be mislead. This is a major problem right now as you really don’t know WHO to believe regarding just about anything going on in the world. How can you know? How can you discern what’s the truth and what are lies (cleverly disguised as truth)? That’s one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit. That’s how I knew to run from the Progressive Church over 17 years ago. Be wary. Study the Bible for yourself. Which is why I have this page of Bible Prophecy Teachers that I’ve vetted for you.
  • Wars and threats or rumors of wars. Check — happening now. We have an all-out war in Ukraine. As of this writing, China is threatening to invade Taiwan and Iran is threatening to nuke Israel (little Satan) and the U.S. (big Satan). Notice then, Jesus says, “Don’t Panic“. All this horror must happen, but the end isn’t yet. In other words, there’s really nothing we can do about it, except TRUST JESUS.
  • Nation against nation. The Greek word for “nation” is ethnos. That’s where we get our word for ethnicity or ethnic. So, it’s more like culture group against culture group. Check – happening now.
  • There will be many earthquakes. The Greek word for earthquake is seismos, from which we get “seismic” — which can be any sort of weather, solar or atmospheric events. Check – happening now.
Check out this video from the Two Preachers

Then Jesus mentions famines. The parallel chapters to this in Luke and Matthew add pestilences. I saw a headline this morning — which I take with a grain of salt — that the world only has a 3-months supply of food. It actually says that “If production stops, humanity has nothing to eat in 90 days.”

Also, in case you haven’t noticed, Corona isn’t going away. There’s a new variant every few weeks. Then there’s the bird flu that threatens our poultry and egg industries.

Yet…

This is Only the First of the Birth Pains

I’ve never given birth, but I know how it works. Sometimes the baby comes quickly, sometimes it take a while. The idea being, in natural childbirth, you don’t know exactly when the baby’s going to be born. One thing’s for sure, the pains get stronger and more frequent as the birthing proceeds.

You can’t deny that hurricanes and tornadoes have gotten stronger and more frequent. Then you have earthquakes and volcanoes all over the world.

We don’t know when it will stop. It will probably get way worse before Jesus comes back.

The Good News will be Shared All Over the World

Which is why I do what I do! Last month this blog was read in over 200 countries! Also, there are several organizations I support whose mission is to take the Gospel to unreached people groups, to translate the Bible into heart language and fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission.

Christian Persecution

In America, there is a form of Christian persecution in that we get kicked out of social media for speaking the truth. In Canada, however, pastors are arrested and beaten. In other countries killed. Sometimes the killers of a believer are the person’s own family! Here are some tweets that prove that…

One of the amazing things that I read over and over again in the stories from these organizations is how even in prison, Christians are sharing the Gospel — the Good News — with fellow prisoners, jailers, officers, judges, officials — everyone! Nothing can stop the Word of God!

The abomination that causes desolation

This is the “sign” or event that will trigger or start the Great Tribulation time clock. The “beast” or the Antichrist will sacrifice an unclean animal in the 3rd temple and desecrate it, making it desolate (See Daniel 9). The Antichrist rises to power only after the Rapture of the born-again believers. It’s the Rapture that will trigger the Antichrist, who’ll make a peace treaty with Israel. In 3 and a half years, he’ll break it. That’s the start of the Great Tribulation.

This is when the Jews need to flee to Petra immediately. He says that God will “shorten” those days. How long is that? God only knows.

The Warnings Continue…

  • Beware of false prophets and people who claim to be the Messiah.
  • Dark skies – a huge volcanic eruption can cause that easily.
  • Check out Isaiah 13, 34 and Joel.

Jesus’ Second Coming

For a long time, I thought this was referring to the Rapture. It’s not. It’s the 2nd coming. There’s a difference. For the Rapture of the believers, Jesus will approach earth and we’ll meet Him in the clouds. In the 2nd coming, we’ll be with Him as He comes down from Heaven to conquer.

The “chosen ones”, or the “elect” here, are the Jews. See Ezekiel 37 and Revelation 19. Now, we born-again believers are also considered “chosen“, but by the time this happens, we are long gone!

The Fig Tree

Some say this represents Israel again, but it also could be simply it’s a tree and when you see the leaves come out, you know it’s spring and summer is near. In other words, pay attention to what’s going on. His return is very near.

“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.”

Jesus

Who’s the Generation?

Guess what! You don’t need to get out your calculators to figure out which generation Jesus is referring to here. The Greek word for “generation” is genea, which means a group of people. More than likely Jesus was referring to the Jews. They will not pass or disappear from the world.

When? No one knows!

God only knows. If an earthly human predicts the day and the hour of either the Rapture or the second coming, they are one of those false prophets. If God is supposed to be omniscient — He knows EVERYTHING — why doesn’t Jesus know?

In human flesh, Jesus was limited in knowing when. More than likely, now that He’s in Heaven, He knows. He tells us to be on guard and stay alert!

Most Importantly — Get Right With God!

Isaiah wrote…

Seek the Lord while you can find him.
    Call on him now while he is near.
Let the wicked change their ways
    and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
    Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

Isaiah 55:6-7 NLT

Furthermore, Jesus told us…

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”

John 14: 1-4 NLT

The disciples had no clue where Jesus was going. We have the privilege of knowing where He is right now and because of Bible Prophecy, we can be assured that He is coming back for us believers and we can have a Confident Hope in a Paradise yet to come.

Peter wrote…

Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”

They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.

14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.

2 Peter 3:3-15 NLT

What are you waiting for?

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