Mark 13: Signs of the Times

The Bible doesn’t tell us which disciple was admiring the Temple construction. If Peter asked that question, how might his feeling have differed from Judas asking?

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Mark 13:1 As Jesus left the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at the impressive stone work and the beauty of these buildings.”
King James
Mark 13:1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

After Jesus predicted the Temple’s destruction, what kind of conversation with the disciples might have followed?

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Mark 13:2–4 “Do you see all these buildings as something great?” Jesus said. “Their destruction will be so great, one stone will not be left standing on the other.”
Across the valley from the Temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew came privately to Jesus while he sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. “Tell us,” they said, “when will all these things happen? How will we know when the time is at hand?”
King James
Mark 13:2–4 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

How could the disciples be in danger of being deceived?

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Mark 13:5–6 “Be careful,” Jesus said. “Do not let anyone deceive you. Many will claim to be the Messiah and will fool a multitude.”
King James
Mark 13:5–6 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.

If wars, famines, and earthquakes are not a sign of the last days, what is?

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Mark 13:7–10 “Do not panic when you hear about wars or battle threats. Such things must happen, but the end is not yet. “Nation will war against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. This is only the beginning of tragedies. Watch out for yourselves, because people will take you to court and have you flogged in the synagogues. You will stand before kings and magistrates and testify about me. The good news must be preached to people around the world.”
13:24–26 “After those days of suffering, darkness will blanket the sky. The sun will hide and the moon will give no light. All the stars will disappear, and the powers of the universe will be shaken. The people will see the Son of Man arrive in the clouds, with power and great glory.”
Acts 2:17–21 Speaking of what would come to pass in the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your children will prophesy, your elders will have revelations in dreams, and your youth will see visions. Even upon slaves and servants, I will pour out my Spirit in that day, and they will prophesy too. I will do wonders in the sky above and the earth below. Blood, fire, and columns of smoke will darken the sun and redden the moon in that great and fearful day of the Lord. Those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
King James
Mark 13:7–10 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye 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 ye shall be beaten: and ye 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.
13:24–26 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
Acts 2:17–21 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

When we face danger, situations we can’t control, how do we avoid worry?

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13:11Author’s Paraphrase
Mark 13:11 “When you are arrested and taken to trial, do not worry about how you will answer the charges brought against you. When the time comes, you will speak the words that come from the Holy Spirit.”
King James
Mark 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

How can we identify “words that come from the Holy Spirit”?

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13:11Author’s Paraphrase
Mark 13:11 “When you are arrested and taken to trial, do not worry about how you will answer the charges brought against you. When the time comes, you will speak the words that come from the Holy Spirit.”
King James
Mark 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Those who stand firm until the end will be saved”?

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13:13Author’s Paraphrase
Mark 13:12–13 “Brothers will turn against one another, fathers against their children, and children against their parents to have them executed. Because of me, all men will hate you, but those who stand firm until the end will be saved.”
King James
Mark 13:12–13 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 ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

What was Jesus describing when he referred to the “abomination of desolation”?

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Mark 13:14–20 (Readers, understand and pay attention.) When you see the abominations as predicted by the prophet Daniel, and desecration standing where it ought not to be, those in Judea should flee to the mountains. People on their housetops should not take time to gather belongings from their houses. A man in the field should not go back for his coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Pray that you will not have to flee in winter, because this will be the worst time of suffering that has ever been or ever will be. Except those days be few, no one would survive, but the time will be shortened for the sake of God’s people.”
King James
Mark 13:14–20 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

How can false messiahs and ministers deceive people? Why can’t God’s people be deceived?

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Mark 13:22 “False messiahs and ministers will perform such great signs and wonders that even God’s people would be deceived if that were possible.”
King James
Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

What does a warning do for us?

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Mark 13:23 “Pay attention, because I’ve warned you ahead of time.”
King James
Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

When Jesus returns to Earth, will it be too late for people to repent? Why?

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Mark 13:26–27 “The people will see the Son of Man arrive in the clouds, with power and great glory. He will send his angels to gather his people from everywhere on Earth.”
King James
Mark 13:26–27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

What does a fig tree have to do with the last days?

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Mark 13:28–30 “From the fig tree, you can understand how it will be. When the branches bud and start to put on leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things come to pass, you will know the time is near, right at the door. You can be sure, when all these things have been fulfilled, this age will come to its close.”
King James
Mark 13:28–30 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

Why is God’s Word so certain?

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Mark 13:31 “The skies above and the earth below will pass away, but my words will stand forever.”
King James
Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

If Jesus said no one knows when the end will be, why do some people try so hard to figure it out?

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Mark 13:32–33 “No one knows the exact date and time, not even the Son or the angels in Heaven. Only the Father knows. Always be watching, because you do not know when your Lord will come.”
King James
Mark 13:32–33 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

What makes watching and waiting difficult?

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Mark 13:34–37 “My coming will be like a man who took a long journey. When he left home, he instructed his servants about the work they were to do and told the doorman to keep watch. Always be watching, because you do not know when the master of the house will come, whether at midnight, before dawn, or after the sun comes up. Do not let him catch you sleeping when he arrives unexpectedly. I am warning everyone to always be alert.”
King James
Mark 13:34–37 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.