Mark chapter 13 is one of the great prophetic chapters of the Bible. The first few verses of this chapter set the stage for the great teachings that Jesus was about to give concerning things to come. If you do not understand the teachings of Jesus on this subject of future events, then you will not understand prophecy. The Bible says in Mark 13:1-2, And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, Do you see these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
The disciples were amazed as they stood and gazed at the majestic
and magnificent temple in
Jesus reminded the disciples of something that everyone needs to
be reminded of from time to time. This life is temporary and everything in it
is temporary. A wise person will become prepared for that which is eternal.
When that which is eternal comes, then that which is temporary will be done
away. The next logical question was exactly what the disciples asked: when
would the permanent situation come and replace the temporary? When that
which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be taken away. That is, when
would be the end of the world as we know it? The disciples knew that Jesus was
speaking of end-time events. It says in Mark 13:3-4, And as he sat
Notice that the disciples asked two separate questions. The first question that they asked was, When shall these things be? Everyone wants to know when. Everyone wants to know the date and the time when the end will come and Jesus will return to the earth; but the answer to that question will not be given to those who ask it or seek it. Evidently, the fact that Jesus did not answer the first question kept bothering the disciples, because they asked it again in Acts chapter one. In Acts 1:6 when the very same question was asked again after the resurrection, Jesus said, It is not for you to know the times nor the seasons which the Father has put in His own power. If anyone ever tries to tell you that they know when Jesus will return to the earth, you will know right away that they do not know what they are talking about. No one knows the times nor the seasons which the Father has put in his own power.
The second question that the disciples asked Jesus concerning the end times was, What shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? This question Jesus did answer in the following verses, but not right away. Before Jesus gave them the sign of the end-times, He wanted them to know very clearly what are not the signs of the end-times. Jesus gave the disciples the characteristics of the age in which we now live: the age that started at the time of Christs first appearance on the earth and continues to this day. Dont make the mistake of confusing the signs of the times with the signs of the end-times. There is a difference.
The Bible says in Mark 13:5-13 concerning the current age in which we live, And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And when you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be you not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues you shall be beaten: and you shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what you shall speak, neither do you premeditate; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak you: for it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And you shall be hated of all men for my names sake: but he that shall endure until the end, the same shall be saved.
The first thing that Jesus said to His believers concerning this age in which we live was, Take heed. He said it in verse five, and He said in verse nine, Take heed to yourselves. Watch out. Be careful. Bad things happen to good people, but some of those bad things you can be protected from by taking heed. The first thing that Jesus said to take heed against are false Christs. The teaching that Jesus Christ will return to the earth one day has been spread far and wide. It is a wonderful teaching that holds great promise for those that believe in Him. The return of Christ will be the end of all our sufferings and the beginning of our greatest happiness. Because the return of Christ is so welcome to the faithful, humble souls of the earth; there will be some who will attempt to deceive and to take advantage of whomever they can. Not only do we have false Christs, but we have false teachers of every kind all around us. There are those who are legalistic. There are those who teach a false gospel, a gospel of good works. There are those who teach confusion and who frustrate the grace of God. Some of these false teachers will claim to be Christ. As soon as they do so, you know right away that they are false. But you should be able to tell even before they make such a claim. You should be able to know, because they will not understand nor teach the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of speaking of Jesus, they will speak of themselves. That is the human reason that they claim to be Christ anyway: their huge ego. Instead of being humble, they are proud. That is why they wish to bring attention to themselves: pride. They do not understand the gospel. They are spiritually blind, and if the blind lead the blind; both shall fall into the ditch. Beware. Take heed to yourselves, because in the last days perilous times shall come when some shall depart from the faith. Jesus said it would happen, and its happening all around us.
The second thing that Jesus said would be a characteristic of the
age in which we live is wars and rumors of wars. The first thing that Jesus
said about all of the wars is be you not troubled. The history of the human race is a
history of wars and mans inhumanity to man. Do not ever think that the
What a terrible scourge all the wars have been to the people of the earth and these wars will continue until the return of Christ. So many young men who have been slaughtered in every century! So much potential has been wasted and lost forever because of the destruction of so many young lives! Jesus makes it clear that wars will characterize the age in which we live. Do not be surprised and do not be troubled. Wars and the rumors of wars will continue until Christ returns for the last battle, the mother of all battles: Armageddon.
Until that last battle comes, there will be war after war on this earth. Unfortunately some wars are necessary in this age because aggressors must be put down. Responsible governments must protect their citizens against aggressors. The Hitlers of the world cannot be appeased: they must be opposed. Patriotic citizens must be willing to give themselves in service as soldiers to their country in order to save lives. Someone must be willing to save the lives of the defenseless and the innocent who will be crushed by the aggressors. Millions and millions of people would have been saved, if only Hitler had been stopped much sooner when he was in his quest for power and control.
Do not be troubled. There will be wars and rumors of wars. Jesus said that there will also be earthquakes in many places. Perhaps the most devastating of all natural disasters is a great earthquake. If the earth shakes violently enough beneath us, no building will be able to stand. One of the evidences of the unstable nature of life on this earth is the fact that earthquakes can happen at any time and in any place. We know the reasons for earthquakes through the scientific study of the earths plates. It is called plate tectonics. We know that under the surface of the earth there are recurring stresses that build up between these plates. Two thousand years ago Jesus knew more than we know today, because He took part in the creation of the earth. Jesus knew better than anyone that there will be earthquakes in many places. Do not get too settled on this earth. It is all temporary. In the house that you live, the earth may begin to shake and the house may fall down; to the destruction of everyone that is in it. Earthquakes are one of the characteristics of the age in which we live.
Another sign, according to Jesus, are famines. There will be famines. There will continue to be famines in the age in which we live. In the beautiful garden of the earth in which we live, there should be enough food for everyone. One would think that man would have come up with a system by which no one would ever have to go hungry. But all over the world and even in our own country there are children, women, and men who go to bed with the pangs of hunger gnawing at them. This ought not to be, but Jesus said it would happen this way. What a terrible judgment some will face because they could have helped, but did not. They could have done something with their abundance, and yet they did nothing as millions starved.
Jesus said that the signs of the times in which we live are wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in divers places, and famines. But that is not all. He said there would be famines and troubles in Mark 13:8. The word that is translated troubles means disturbances, tumults, and disquieting events. There will be diseases, murders, and horrific accidents. Men will be greedy deceivers, without natural affection, fornicators, pornographers, child molesters, and kidnappers. These will be troubling times, Jesus said. But Jesus said it in order to prepare the disciples and to prepare you and me so that we would not be troubled. If your only hope is in this life and what this life can give you, then you will be troubled by troubled times. However, if your hope is in the teachings of Jesus, then you can be comforted by what He said. Let not your heart be troubled: neither let it be afraid. God is in control. He has told us what is going to happen so that we will not fear when it does happen.
Jesus gave us the signs of the times in which we live. He described things very well. No one should be surprised at what they see going on around them. Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars, there would be earthquakes in divers places, there would be famines and other troubles. And then Jesus said, These are the beginnings of sorrows. The age in which we live has its sorrows, but there is a time of much greater sorrow and much greater trouble that will one day come upon the earth. Enjoy life while you can by the grace of God. Look on the positive side. A time of such great trouble will one day come to the earth that the current troubles are simply the beginning of sorrows. This future time of great sorrow the Bible calls the Great Tribulation. Much of the book of Revelation talks about this future time of sorrow.
Lets make sure that we understand the timeline that Jesus is talking about. We start with His first coming to the earth almost 2,000 years ago. This whole period of time we call the age of grace or the age of the church. The characteristics of this age have been the same since Jesus was here. This age will end with the return of Christ; but just before He returns there will a time of Great Tribulation for seven years, such as the world has never seen. Death and destruction and calamity and sorrow will come upon the earth as never before seen. After seven years of such tribulation Jesus shall return to the earth to rule as King of Kings. Hopefully, you are ready for the return of the King. If not, you can turn to Him and come to know Him as your Savior today.
Copyright; 2003 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved