Friday, January 25, 2013

Lesson 15~Mark 13 January 3, 2012

Lesson 15: Mark 13 (“The End of the Age”)
Jesus tells His disciples to be prepared for coming tribulation.
 “Be on your guard.”
We have arrived at a fascinating and controversial portion of Mark’s Gospel.  When I did my lesson the T-chart (which normally are easy for me)presented a problem.  I couldn't decide where all the events should go. Many seemed to fit both categories.
Warren Wiersbe and Tim LaHaye will be the major resources used for this lesson.
Chapter 13 Mark called Olivet Discourse because Jesus talked to His disciples on the Mount of Olives. This is the most important single passage of prophesies in the entire Bible because it was spoken by Jesus. He outlined the end-time events.  Found in all three synoptic Gospels, Matthew 24-25 gives the most complete version. The Rapture is not covered in these verses. It was not a major teaching of our LORD except in John 14:1-3.

I.            Precursor of the Tribulation v.1-13
1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings?
King Cyrus of Persia when he allowed the children of Israel to return after 70 years of captivity and rebuild the Solomon’s temple.Under the decree of Persian King Darius the Great the temple was completed around 517-518 BC (Ezra)

“The work of rebuilding the Second Temple began in 19 BC which was the 18th year of King Herod’s reign. There were 10,000 skilled laborers and according to Josephus the laity could not enter certain parts of the building, therefore 1000 Levites were specially trained as builders and masons, and carried out their work so efficiently and carefully that at no time was there any interruption in the sacrifices and other services.
King Herod complained Second Temple was built like a fortress and was shorter than Solomon’s Temple by about 90 feet. The work was started by leveling larger portions of the Temple Mount, so that the new building might be erected on a broader base. It was also made much taller, so that the white stone gleamed in the bright Palestinian sun and could be seen from miles away. King Herod no doubt wanted to be forever remembered as the builder of the greatest temple of the Jews.  Bible

The comment of the disciples in v.1 is especially appropriate given the massive stones Herod used in building the temple. Today, tourists can see some of these massive stones, at least the ones used to build merely the retaining wall for the temple compound. These cut, quarried blocks of limestone are so big—some are 50 feet wide, 25 feet high, and 15 feet deep—that modern construction cranes could not lift them.
Archaeologists are still not completely certain how these stones were cut, transported, and placed with such precision that they don’t even need mortar. The Jews were proud of their temple. It was a magnificent structure.
 Given those facts, imagine what the disciples thought when they heard Jesus say, 2)“There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 
And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
Jesus begins by warning them not to be led astray, adding that many others will be led astray by false prophets and false Messiahs. The arrival of such counterfeits would be among the events pointing to the coming of the time of tribulation.
Our Lord wanted His disciples—and us—to know about the end times is that there will be many deceivers and false messiahs who lead people astray. Historically the church age has seen many false religious teachers, but they will be even more pronounced just before the Tribulation and increasingly throughout it.
The first sign Jesus pointed to was war of which the world has never seen. A special war started by two nations and joined by many other nations on either side until the entire world is involved. That occurred with World War I in 1914 to 1918.
Since then there have been a “parade of signs,” the most significant one being the re-gathering of the Jewish people back into the land of Israel and the recognition of Israel as a nation in 1948.
Then Jesus adds, v.7 “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. V.8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains in the way a woman, before the birth of her child, as birth pangs that increase in frequency and intensity Isaiah 66:7 –8.
In other words, the events listed here are not tribulation events; they are events that will proceed the time of tribulation.
9“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them.  
11And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
*All of these events happened to the disciples, again during 70 AD and continue to take place today.
Verse 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. At that time all nations had not been reached.
Are you studying God’s Word so that you can discern the times?
 “Be on your guard.”
II.            Events of the tribulation (13:14-23)
Abomination of Desolation
·       The idolatry is an abomination. The Jewish temple was defiled in 167 BC by the Syrian King Antiochus IV when he poured swine’s blood on the altar as prophesied in the book of Daniel 11:31.
The rebuilding of the Temple and the Holy City was in God plan so that the His Son Jesus could return to Jerusalem as the Messiah.
·       Jewish leaders earlier this week had defiled the Temple with their money changers and sellers of animals. Jesus would depart from it and leave it desolate.
·       In 70 AD, the Roman prince Titus brought armies and completely destroyed the city of Jerusalem, defiled the temple and left it utterly desolate, just as Jesus had prophesied.
·       The desolation was the Roman armies for their wickedness in persecuting and crucifying Jesus Christ.
14“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
This message was for readers of a future time not the disciples.
Mark 13:15-18 parallels Luke 21:20“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.
23Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people.
My belief, coincide with Wiersbe and LaHaye, is that the Church will be taken up before the Second Half of Tribulation.
Mark 13: 19-27 is called the “Wrath of God”
The Abomination of Desolation prophesied in Daniel 9:27 and 12:11. Known as the “time of Jacob’s trouble” Jeremiah 30:7, “a time of your wrath” Zephaniah 1: 15 - 18 will last seven years.
What signals the beginning of this awful seven years?
One thing to watch is the SIGNING of a covenant between the Nation of Israel and the Antichrist Daniel 9:26. “the prince that shall come” A world dictator looking to unite the nations of the world is called the Antichrist.
In Revelations 13-14 he is known as the beast. He will agree to protect Israel, allow the Jews to rebuild the temple and permit sacrifices. Three and a half years later he will break the covenant, invade the temple, and set up his own image, and force everyone to worship Satan.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
19For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.
This will be worse than the two world wars that killed over 20 million people as well as the Jewish Holocaust. The worst time in human history is has yet to come to pass. Revelation 6-19
 20And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.
The elect refers to Israel and Gentiles that come to believe during the Tribulation. This scripture is to give them hope.
Whatever you beliefs about the Tribulation, it will be a horrifying time.
“Be on your guard.”
III.            Timing of the tribulation (13:24-37)
The Coming of the Son of Man
1 Thessalonians 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
24“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
Most of the tree is Palestine are evergreen and do not change dramatically with the seasons. The fig tree is one of the latest to leaf out in the spring.
28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that He is near, at the very gates.
31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
32“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
The decision whether to accept Christ as a resurrected Messiah must be made before he comes in power to set up his kingdom, for that decision alone determines who will go into the millennial kingdom and he will be cast into everlasting punishment.
Everyone will be judged.
“Be on your guard.”
Final Application: Paul told the church in Corinth, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Will you choose to be constantly on guard?