New International Version (NIV)
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.
20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
24 “But in those days, following that distress,
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
In Mark 13, the Bible headlines the following: Things to Come and The Return of Christ. For some of you, as you read this chapter, it maybe scary, because of the destruction and possible persecution mentioned. While for others, it may sound as a time of celebration of our coming Christ. Whichever one of these you feel or sense could be an indication of what you value - the attachment to this dying world or what is precious to our Heavenly Father, the souls of His people.
As I read this scripture, I can see God’s grace in the midst of all this deception, destruction and persecution; the warning of what to expect about wars among nations and kingdoms. We wont have to think about what we will say to our rulers at the time of our trials, instead Holy Spirit will teach us what to say in those moments. Brothers will betray each other unto death. Fathers will hand over their children; children will rise up against their parents and have them put to death. Many would agree that we are witnessing these things right now. I understand seeing and hearing these things can cause us to run from our faith or even bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich. But as you read further, you will realize that these things are merely signs of the coming of our Lord.
If you think about Mark 13, you will realize that God has not left us in the dark. Even though we may not know when Jesus is coming, He gives us signs and clues. In His coming we have a part to play. Mark 13:33 says, “Take ye heed, watch and Pray: for ye know not when the time is.” I just love God’s grace and mercy. He never leaves us out of what He is doing. He always wants to partner with us and warns us of what to watch out for.
As I think about these three words - “watch and pray”, I feel like God is inviting us into an amazing journey. Do you sense it too? I wonder what is it He wants to show us and for us to pray about. What mysteries would He like to reveal to us to protect us? There is a sense of expectancy here. Jesus wants us to be a part of something He values - His people. He wants us to hear and see the way He does; to be alert and attentive.
I believe that watching and praying are the greatest secrets to being ready for the imminent return of the lover of our soul. We are His elect.
Describe how you feel when you read Mark 13?
What do you hear God inviting you into as you read this scripture?
What will you do about what He has invited you into?
We want heaven’s unique strategies and ideas for building His kingdom.