“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” Mark 13:32-33 NKJV
Today’s reading is one of the MOST speculated passages in the Bible. There are a few and they all have to do with prophecy. Let us try, as always, to keep the word pure and avoid speculation. I will have to talk about some of these theories – but let’s put them down the best we can and read it for what it says.
I also want to give this an alternative (and better title): ‘All the Temples’. As we will be discussing the temples throughout todays discussion – but also the words ‘Take heed, Watch and Pray’ are so important that I titled it this (and use them a few times) to make sure they get in our heads. We shall need them.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Mark chapter 13 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple
13 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”
2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines [a]and troubles. These are the beginnings of [b]sorrows.
9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will [c]be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, [d]or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who [e]endures to the end shall be saved.
The Great Tribulation
14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ [f]spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the [g]elect. 23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.
The Coming of the Son of Man
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His [h]elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
28 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that [i]it is near—at the doors! 30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
No One Knows the Day or Hour
32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
- Mark 13:8 NU omits and troubles
- Mark 13:8 Lit. birth pangs
- Mark 13:9 NU, M stand
- Mark 13:11 NU omits or premeditate
- Mark 13:13 bears patiently
- Mark 13:14 NU omits spoken of by Daniel the prophet
- Mark 13:22 chosen ones
- Mark 13:27 chosen ones
- Mark 13:29 Or He
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
I will admit – It is difficult to read this chapter without all the speculation I have been taught about what all this means in the future (especially in this day and age, where people are talking about it more and trying to make applications). Jesus knew He was going to die, and that He was living in Passion Week (as we now call it). He also knew when He rose from the dead, He wouldn’t have time to teach a lot of things. SO this week, the things He teaches, are the things He thought were the most important to leave His disciples with. He also explained these thing this way, with no further explanation. It is a good enough of an explanation on its own for His disciples and the Holy Spirit revealed more as they matured more and were filled with the Spirit. (If you are not filled with the Spirit, pray that he fills you, so that you may further understand.)
One more thing to keep in mind whenever we have read prophecy: True prophecy is outside of time and space. Prophecy always has something in it for the current situation in which it was given. Then it has pieces for future people. And finally it always touches on the great day of the Lord. Because it never tells you what is for what, or which applies to which, or even how they overlap and apply to a few things, it gets all sorts of confusing to linear thinkers. The Spirit realm has no time and is NOT linear. Think back on Ezekiel and the angels preparing the temple. It was happening then and it is happening now – as the temple is not yet manifested in our physical world. SO to read today’s passage looking for linear time or a step action chart, you will not understand what Jesus is saying to them or to you today. I wish Jesus started with: “In no particular order”. Then people would stop trying to follow an order that was never there to begin with – but Jesus expected us to be familiar with the prophets of old and they always prophesied in no particular order.
First up: that temple. First there was a tabernacle, then Solomon built the temple – that was the first. Then when the people came back from the Babylonian captivity they were to rebuild the temple. They had a few false starts and took years to get the project really rolling. But they eventually built a temple, not as grand as Solomon’s. This was the second temple and the temple that Jesus taught in daily during Passion Week. It was the Temple that the Disciples saw – it is the primary temple that Jesus speaks of, when he says the temple will be destroyed. But atonement law is fulfilled on the cross and the temple is no longer needed for sacrifice. AND God no longer dwells in a building, but through the Holy Spirit, he dwells in each of us. So the third Temple is our bodies. AND Jesus’s body – as he said, if they tear it down He will rebuild it in 3 days. The forth temple is the one built at the end, some say it will be a new planet (a new heaven and new earth). It is the temple in Ezekiel – fully restored and larger. It will be the Garden of Eden, the place where heaven and earth overlap, where God can come back and take walks with man, like he did with Adam and Eve.
So any prophecy of the Temple – refers to all the Temples, past, present and future (as Spirit is outside of time).
Verse 1 – the disciples were impressed. The Temple they saw was an impressive structure that by its very existence, gave glory to God. Our present Temples, should ALSO be treated and cared for in such a way, that by our very existence, we give glory to God. We are caretakers of these Temples.
Verse 2 – very specifically refers to when Rome destroyed the temple and surrounding building in about the year 70. It was a life changing event for the world and the first century church. The Roman soldiers looted the temple and brought the spoils back to Rome – where they used the loot to build the colosseum. However, even in this very specific verse, we see a pattern we can learn from. We know the first Temple was destroyed and so was the second. The enemy is trying to destroy ANY place the Lord dwells here on Earth. The enemy is trying to destroy us for being the temple. We must watch and pray and stand firm against the enemy – but if we fall, He rebuilds the temple!! The cornerstone is the Blood of the Lamb – is Jesus Himself, as we humbly repent and ask Him to come back and be the foundation of our lives.
Let me insert a funny thought process my mind has every time I read “Mount of Olives” – I picture the crystal bowls my grandmother used to put the olives in at holiday time and put on the table. We never had olives except at holidays. As a child peaking up at these dishes they seemed huge and the mound of olives was enormous. As an adult, I was surprised to learn those dishes were tiny and only half a jar could fit in them. And I leaned that no one liked olives, so that was why we didn’t have them regularly. I love them and would be thrilled to have them with every meal. Anyway- I always picture Jesus sitting on a hill of actually olives in a crystal dish.
Peter and his brother Andrew, James and John, the sons of thunder, asked when these things will be (and it is important to note these things means the temple being destroyed, because that is what they are speaking of). And what will be the sign of this time.
Peter died in about the year 64, during the reign of Nero. His brother Andrew was crucified in the year 60. James was the first of these to be killed in the year 44. And John was the only one of these to see the temple destroyed. John dies in his 90’s in the year 100. So this question was completely irrelevant for most of them, except John who saw the temple destroyed. But let us apply it to all the temples we have spoken of (except Solomon’s).
Here first are the signs that the temple will be destroyed:
Deception, false teachers/prophets, wars and rumors of wars, nations against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms, earthquakes, famines, and troubles.
But these are just the first signs – the end is not yet and this begins sorrow.
Well, that describes Jesus’s time. And when Jesus died there were earthquakes is various places. Jesus as the Temple (the dwelling of God as he was fully God and fully man) was destroyed and it was the beginning of sorrow and persecution and it was not the end – He rose from the grave and is alive!
This also describes the Temple’s destruction by the Romans in the year 70. Paul told us of false teachers and prophets saying they came in Jesus’s name as well as saying they were Jesus. There were still wars and rumors of wars etc. and so on. I saw a documentary where scientist drilled deep into the earth to the layers during the time of Rome. They said the earth showed signs of many earthquakes and Lots of tectonic activity. The scientist attributed this to the global expansion of Rome and the construction, roads and aqueducts being built. I attribute it to the verse that said the whole earth shook when Jesus died and the verse about the earthquake that rolled the stone from the empty grave. Both science and the Bible say it was a time of earthquakes. But the end was not then. It began a time of new sorrows as the colosseum became a new place and method for persecuting and killing Christians.
Us, as the temple, we see all these things in our world. None of this is new. Still have to be careful of who you follow, as there are many false teachers. Test them, pray about it, and see what God says. There are conflicts and rumors of wars. Nation against nation reminds me of the racial tensions. Kingdom against kingdom is reflected in the LGBTQIA+ kingdom against God’s Kingdom. There are other kingdoms trying to rise up as well, like the liberals (in the USA we call them democrats but other countries have other names for them – the woke kingdom) and other kingdoms like globalist kingdom – and they are all merging to show who they really are – the beast kingdom. Now, about those earthquakes. I was surprised when a pastor friend showed me an earthquake app he has. Every day, somewhere in this world, there is a quake. And the app shows how the number has increased over the years and the locations vary more – we are entering a very active tectonic period again. (And like with Rome, scientist attribute it to the level of human building activity on the planet.) But this isn’t the end. This is time for more persecution and the beginning of sorrows. Now, us as the temple of the Holy Spirit will be ‘destroyed’ on earth – but not as much a destruction as a transformation. The rapture will remove us – our temples. Maybe not ‘us’ specifically – maybe like Peter, Andrew and James, we will not live to see it (but our bodies will still rise again to meet Jesus in the sky)!
If these are the beginning of sorrows (verse 8) then it is the end of sorrows that the final temple is built and that one will not be destroyed.
Verse 9 starts a new paragraph. This is significant as a new paragraph indicates a new thought if it is not referencing back to the same thought. The new thought is to elaborate on persecution. Peter was crucified, upside down – this was because he said he was not worthy to die as Jesus did. He was not beaten as badly as Jesus and lived longer n the cross, slowly dying while birds plucked at him. However being upside down, did speed up the process, mercifully. His brother was crucified right side up. Poor Andrew lingered longer on the cross before he gave up the ghost.
“Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” Acts 12:2 NKJV
John, was boiled alive in oil and survived! So they sent him to Patmos prison Island, where he had the visions of the Book of Revelations and wrote it. Paul was beheaded. Stephen was stoned.
These men and woman were in for some serious persecution and Jesus was trying to prepare them.
Brought before courts – beaten – arrested – betrayed by family and friends – isolated and hated… this list reminds me of the Book of Acts and Paul’s ministry.
Is this paragraph (verses 9-13) also prophetic? Every time there was and is persecution of Christians they all look to this paragraph. NOT to see what they will endure, but they look to this paragraph for the instructions of how to endure:
Do not plan what you will say, Let the Holy Spirit speak through you.
Endure – focus on standing and living through it. He who endures is saved. Yes, Peter endured and was killed – but he was saved. You and I will meet him in heaven. As well as all the martyrs.
So does it mean you and I will be persecuted and suffer and be martyred? Some of us will. Some will suffer less and other suffer more – but do not judge those who suffer less, God is permitting what they were made for. Esther, endured the death of most of her family and was raised by her uncle and was made by God with the bravery to approach an unapproachable king – ready to die for the cause. While Naomi, was broken by the death of her family – and was not made by God with bravery and ambition to save a nation. Each suffered different degrees, but it was what God made them for – they were made for such a time as they lived in. You and I are made for our jobs in this time. So do not worry about the sufferings – instead learn to bless, speak life and endure.
New paragraph starts at verse 14. The new thought references the original thought – the temple.
The ‘abomination of desolation,’ was when the king of the Greek Seleucid dynasty put an end to the twice a day sacrifices at the temple and the destruction of the temple – Solomon’s temple.
Here in this paragraph Jesus teaches them that the sacrifices will end again – He fulfills the law as the final sacrifice – Jesus as the temple. However, even after Jesus completed the work, the ignorant priest continued to kill animals in sacrifice until the second temple was destroyed by Rome.
That destruction of the temple – was a huge ordeal. Giant war machines had to be brought in to tear down those stone walls. Wagons were needed to take the spoils. No one was going to let the temple fall without a fight – so the Roman army, having taken censuses knew how to early out number and out machine the Jews. Many died. The Roman army assumed all men, women and children were potential warriors for the Jewish people – so they were merciless. Many women and children fled to the mountains – those who hesitated or tried to grab supplies, did not make it. Rome surprised them and if their first reaction wasn’t to run – they probably did not survive. Oh the pregnant women and those nursing… babies would have slowed them down! They could only survive if God himself reached down in mercy. Have you ever studied Roman war tactics? Bloody terrible wars! The Jews initially surrendered in order to avoid the blood bath. But the Jews never fully conformed to be pagan Romans. That Temple collected money Rome wanted and that Jewish God set the Jews apart – it could only be tolerated for so long until it became a threat to the Roman way. If it could not be assimilated into their culture – Rome destroyed it. That was the bloodiest day ever in Jerusalem. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
Tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning – that it was. But verse 19 continues with “…nor ever shall be.”
Well, the fall of the temple was not the worst ever… it was just part of 800 years of the Romans killing and persecuting Christians – and although it slowly lessened and Christianity was more and more accepted right up to Charlemagne’s initiation and rise of the Holy Roman Empire (and a 30 year war) – all sorts of terrible, bloody, persecution and martyrdom.
I think about the holocaust and in my mind, it was the worst or at least as bad as the early church suffered. The end of verse 19 implies that there is still something worse coming. We saw this when we studied Matthew. To me, I cannot imagine.
So Daniel’s prophecy applied to the destruction of us as the temple as well (or as explained above – the rapture). We are not doing a linear thought process here. So this doesn’t say if the rapture happens before or after the great tribulation (or during). It merely describes it and our minds cannot understand it.
Verse 21 starts a new paragraph and it says it refers back to false prophets. And when we read Acts we recall Paul dealing with them. And with the internet and social media – everyone is a prophet! I do not know why their prophecies are linear and inside of time? I do not know why they do not reference Old Testament prophecy AND current events AND the Great Day of the Lord? Because ALL biblical Prophecy does those things. And ALL true prophets speak all those things at once. There is no other way set as an example even through the early church. Even in other historic and Christian books not included as scripture.
And the pattern of Mark’s writing is emerging. First is the overview and then paragraph after paragraph discussing the various things Jesus mentioned at the beginning in the overview! That is why it isn’t linear – it is point driven.
So take heed – watch and pray. Heeding, watching and praying will become a theme from here until Jesus resurrects. We will see Jesus tell them often to watch and pray and to listen to his words. We too must watch and pray until Jesus returns, be it in our rapture, or be it in our death (to die is Christ, as Paul said, showing us we will be immediately with our Lord) or be it when Jesus returns on a war horse ready for battle. Yes we must watch and pray until the end of all time and into the void of time (as the spirit is without time).
In Thessalonians we read how the rapture would happen in a twinkling of an eye. So in this next new paragraph about the coming of the Son of Man, we see events happening that happen slower than an eye twinkle therefore people speculate that it is not the Rapture but the Second Coming of Christ. – It is highly believed that these are two separate events and that the great tribulation happened in between (in part or in whole). There are literally verses that support that idea as well as verses that support it being one event.
Everyone must decide for themselves to choose what they believe. I believe that I will die, or be raptured – it will be when it is and may or may not happen with the Second Coming. I want to escape before the tribulation, don’t we all! But we must be prepared for going through it. Otherwise we will not make it through.
AND – it is very possible in God for the sun to darken, moon to not shine, stars to fall, earthquakes, Jesus to appear in the sky for second coming, the gathering of the elect, and the rapture to all happen in the twinkling of an eye! Boom!
New paragraph and just to confuse us all – let us introduce a fig tree to these well-organized points. This refers back to the temple again and let me show you – the other day we read how Jesus was staying outside of Jerusalem in a camp and they walked into Jerusalem daily and on the first day, Jesus cursed the fig tree – then went and cleaned the temple. The fig tree was supposed to show signs of the time – even though it was not the season for the fruit. But now – Jesus says it is in season that the tree bears fruit. This is not a contradiction. This is reinforcing that we must bear fruit, being ready all the time for these things to happen. Do not grow tired of people saying it is the end – Here Jesus says this generation shall not pass away till all these things take place! Yet, they are gone, and we have not missed it. You see – we forget that the reference to the fig tree reconnects us to which temple Jesus is speaking of.
That generation lived to see these things fulfilled with the fall of the second temple. That generation, but only one of those men to whom he spoke.
Let us conclude today with rereading verses 32-37. It is the past paragraph in this chapter. I titled today’s blog: ‘Take Heed, Watch and Pray’ because of this paragraph. As I ready said, this will become more important as the book concludes – especially the phrase watch and pray in conjunction with sleeping. Just take note and keep it in your head – we’ll get to it soon enough.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!