Mark 13:1-13 The disciples pointed out to Jesus how beautiful Jerusalem’s buildings looked as they left the temple. Jesus reminded them that the temple and the buildings would be torn down stone by stone (when Titus from Rome entered Jerusalem in A.D. 70). While they sat at the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Jesus in private when these things would occur and what sign would be given that they are about to occur. Instead of answering directly to the time of the destroying of the temple, Jesus predicts the end times. Jesus first warns not to listen to anyone who claimed to be Jesus come back (After Jesus has died and ascended to heaven) from the dead to lead them astray. Coming wars, rumors of wars, increase in earthquakes and famines would happen, but that doesn’t necessarily mean His return is imminent. It is just the beginning. Jesus told the disciples their main focus should be on the here and now, like how to be witness for Him before that time comes, as they will be delivered up to the leaders to be persecuted. The good news of Jesus must be spread to all the nations before time of the end. Jesus told them that when they are questioned before their persecutors, the Holy Spirit would give them words to answer to their questions. Family members will betray family members of those who are Christians and those who are not. Followers of Jesus will be hated, but they are not to lose hope and are to endure until the very end, even unto death.
Notes: Since Jesus it the final sacrifice, the old testament temple for cleansing people’s sins by the blood of animals would be null and void. The disciples assumed that the destruction of the temple would be the end of time. Jesus focuses on the second part of the question which is what would be the signs that accompanied His return, not the destroying of the temple. The “elect” could refer to the nation of Israel, or those who become Christians during the tribulation. In either case, God cuts short the days for their benefit.
Mark 13:14-27 Jesus now moves to the future when He talks about the antichrist and how the antichrist will set up an image of himself in the temple to worship (apparently a rebuilt temple). When this occurs, Jesus tells the Jews living in Israel at the time to flee to the mountains for then will they experience their greatest tribulation or persecution (Second half of the 7 years tribulation). At this point in time, God will have removed the believers and the Holy Spirit from the earth, a time when God will return His attention to his chosen people. Jesus said His coming will be quick, for if He did not come quickly, the world in essence will have annihilated itself. Jesus warned of false christ’s and false prophets, even though they may be given power by Satan to perform all sorts of miracles. Even some of the elect will be deceived if they are not careful. Jesus’ return will be unmistakable. The sun will be darkened, the moon will not reflect the sun’s light, the stars will fall and the heavens will shake, and Jesus will will come with clouds with great power and glory. Jesus will appear in the sky for the whole world to see which is something no false christ or prophet can pull off. Jesus will send out his angels to gather up the believers before destroying all the non believers.
Notes: Jesus will return to the earth in the same manner in which He left it, from the Mount of Olives. None of the elect on earth or in heaven will miss entering the Kingdom.
Mark 13:28-37 Jesus returns the disciples attention back to the fig tree. When a fig tree’s leaves appear, so does the beginning of Summer. When the signs of His coming appear, Jesus will come quickly afterward. The generation living at the time of the tribulation will be the same generation to see Jesus’ return to the earth. Jesus said that His word on the matter was true, and it can be counted on to happen for His word is more enduring than creation itself. Of that exact day and hour of His return, only the Father knew. Jesus warns His disciples to be on the lookout, to keep awake, to be faithful, so the Lord will finds us living right when He returns.
Notes: Anyone living in the tribulation period when antichrist reveals himself according to the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel (Old Testament which existed before Jesus) both tell that Jesus’ return will happen at the end of a seven year period. Instead of speculating about the specific timing of end-time events, all disciples instead are instructed and should be concerned with doing His will and are to be vigilant.