Mark 13 is an important chapter in the bible. Here we find most comprehensive teaching that Jesus gave on end-time events during his earthly ministry. He gives us important details regarding the tribulation, the antichrist, his glorious return, and the gathering of his elect, which are the saints.
The discussion he has with his disciples is known as “The Olivet Discourse,” which is just a fancy way of saying, “The discussion on Mount Olives.” The parallel passages are found in Mat. 24, Luke 21.
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! 2 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.
Just beforehand, the chief priests and Pharisees were scheming to eliminate Jesus. Meanwhile, Jesus was rebuking them for their godlessness informing them that “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you.” He also told them “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” These were highly offensive sayings for these pompous men. The temple was the epicenter of their culture for nearly 1000 years and they were eager for the Messiah to come and restore the glorious kingdom Solomon once ruled. According to the historian Josephus, the temple was granite and had solid gold plates built onto the exterior and was a marvelous sight to behold.
Jesus would soon become the final sacrifice putting an end to the ritual sacrifices that took place in the temple. The Romans destroyed the temple about 40 years later fulfilling this prophecy. The popular “any moment” doctrine is refuted since this prophecy would have to be fulfilled before the 2nd coming of Christ.
13:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
It is interesting John was present because this discourse is not found in the gospel of John as it is in the other three gospels. This is probably because John would later write the book of Revelation which deals with the same subject matter in astonishing detail.
13:4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? 5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
The disciples were interested in the very same things that we are today. We all want to know when Jesus will return and when end-time biblical events will happen. The very first thing Jesus does is give them a warning not to be deceived. It is noteworthy that Paul gives very same warning to the Thessalonians saying “Let no man deceive you” when also discussing the return of Christ. Let us acknowledge that the bible is warning us that there will be deception associated with his return and the end-times. One of the motivations I had to study much on these events was to defend against deception.
13:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Find Revelation chapter 6. We’ll be flipping back and forth to Mark 13.
Mark 13:6 parallels the first seal in Revelation: Rev. 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
When the first seal is opened, the antichrist arrives on the world scene to conquer. This is not Jesus Christ on this white horse. Jesus doesn’t need a crown to be given to him. He is the King of kings already. Jesus doesn’t come on a white horse until Revelation chapter 19 and after all 7 seals, the 7 trumpets, and the 7 vials are completed. This man is imitating Christ, yet he is the antichrist. He will come in Christ’s name and deceive many.
Conjecture: It is interesting that Mark 13 says “many shall come in my name.” It is possible that Satan will use a modern technology such as a hologram or some type of animation which would allow the antichrist to appear at different locations concurrently or in rapid succession. Also, there are researchers that believe that a cloning technology could be used to assist the deception.
Throughout history there have been false Christs misleading many but not all. The final deceiving Christ will appear to be the real Christ by everyone but he will be an exceedingly deceptive impostor. He will probably look similar to the long-haired Catholic or Mormon Jesus depicted in artwork seen everywhere (That long-haired Jesus is not the real Jesus). The antichrist will be widely known and accepted by his powerfully persuasive speeches (Daniel 7:8, Revelation 13:5). He will destroy many be peace (Daniel 8:25). He will be practice witchcraft (Daniel 8:23, 11:38). Yet he will appear to the world to be Jesus even deceiving the elect if it were possible.
Mark 13:7 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.
This parallels the second seal in Revelation: Revelation 6:4 “… power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth.”
Mark 13:7 describes the events of the second seal which announce the antichrist having power to make war. Once the antichrist appears, his conquering power will be great. He will ascend in power by forming alliances using cunning diplomacy and his ability to generate prosperity (Dan. 8:25). He will bring a radical change of philosophy to the world but not all nations are going to accept this new world order. So there will be wars and rumors of wars most likely culminating in a complete world war situation. His kingdom will be globally powerful but it won’t be a true one-world government because there will be a noteworthy resistance. Notice in Daniel:
Daniel 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
Side note: Satan has been preaching his message through Hollywood preparing mankind for the coming new world order by fictionalizing an all-powerful global government ruling over helpless citizens.
13:8 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.
Mark 13:8 parallels the the third seal in Revelation: Rev 6:5-6 describes conditions of famine. Rev. 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
A quart of wheat will cost $100 is basically what this verse is saying. A penny was the equivalent to a full days’ wage (Mat. 20) and that ranges from $75 to $150 for unskilled labor today. The measure in this verse equates to 1/8 of a modius. This is 67.2 cubic inches US dry volume, which equates to .96 modern quarts. So for a days’ wage, you’ll receive about a quart of wheat.
13:9 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.
“Take heed…” This is a warning. We can ascertain that these are Christians being rounded up and brought before kings as Jesus says they’re delivered up “for my sake.” Look at Mark 13:13 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”
Even with the clarity of these verses indicating these people are Christians being persecuted for the name of Jesus, there is a deception being taught that Mark 13 is written specifically to the Jews and not intended for Christians. By believing this, pastors are not inclined to warn their flock to “Take heed” of the greatest coming persecution of believers the world has ever seen.
This “Jews only” idea has been contrived to support the pretrib rapture theory. Jesus deals with this view in the last verse of Mark 13 by declaring he is speaking to all. Mark 13:37 “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” That verse alone should end the incorrect “Jew only” stance stubbornly maintained by pretrib supporters.
Consider also that two days later, Jesus is in the upper room during Passover, speaking to the same disciples about the same event! Let’s read:
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
With the pretrib “Jews only” reasoning applied, John 14:3 would also be to Jews only since Jesus was telling the same people “I will come again.” We’ve all heard preachers quote John 14 as being applicable to the church and we know this is true. So how can God’s men in honesty claim that the tribulation and the 2nd coming occurring in Mark 13 is only for the Jews? This is a forced and illogical conclusion. Mark 13 is a “take heed” for the church just as John 14 is a “Let not your heart be troubled” for the church.
Back to verse 9: “they shall deliver you up to councils…” There will be a law requiring those that refuse the mark of the beast to be delivered up to the court system of the antichrist. Surveillance technology such as cameras, smart phones, RFID tags, and drones will make it extremely difficult avoid arrest for refusing the mark. For years as I drove by thousands of miles of telephone wires and countless cell phone towers, I realized that I was looking at the forerunner of the mark of the beast system. Now with fast computers and wireless technology, we can see how a tyrannical police state will have power that’s never been available to world dictators in the past.
Notice: “and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten…” Here we see that the end-time Jews will be a part of the antichrist’s authority system (Luke 21:12) which is not a fitting the description of the “elect.” The Jews here aren’t being delivered up for the name of Jesus, but rather the “elect” are being delivered up to them.
As we briefly address the subject of modern day Judaism, please pray right now and ask God for discernment. The average fundamental Christian has a completely unfitting perception of the modern day Jew. The religion of Rabbinical Judaism plays a significant role in the end-times deception. Modern Jews adamantly reject the Lord Jesus Christ and thus are antichrists according to 1 John 2:22-23. Furthermore, modern Judaism does not worship Jehovah God of the Old Testament any more than Catholics worship Jesus Christ (John 8:19). Modern Judaism is based on the Babylonian Talmud and the ritual magick of the Kabbalah, not the Old Testament. Modern Jews have nothing in common with ancient Israel. In fact they are not the Semitic descendants of the seed of Abraham that many mistakenly believe them to be. Gentile races from the bloodline of Japheth make up the Ashkenazi and Sephardic sects of Judaism which represent more than 95% of “Jews” worldwide including Israel according to encyclopedic resources. Indeed we are living in times of deception.
13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
Here is another verse that proves that the pretrib version of “imminence” is erroneous. This is one of many things that must be fulfilled before the 2nd coming of Christ.
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.
Through this persecution it is comforting to see that the Holy Spirit will be right there with believers in the midst of Daniels 70th week.
Contrary to this verse, pretribbers teach that the Holy Spirit will be removed prior to the rapture, and only then the antichrist can be revealed. This is a serious error. The scripture they use to support this view is:
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
So you see they put a lot of weight on a passage that is somewhat obscure to support their view. The antecedent for the pronoun “he” is not the Holy Spirit. We see in verse 11 that the Holy Spirit is still working in the lives of believers in the midst of Daniels 70th week and has not been taken out of the way.
13:12 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.
Verse 12 parallels the fourth and fifth seal in Revelation: Revelation 6:7-11 announces death followed by martyrdom. These seals correlate with the events in Mark 8-13. So you see all of the seals from Revelation 6 continue to line up chronologically with the events described thus far in Mark 13.
The beast system will pit the lost world against believers. Not even family ties will protect Christians from martyrdom. How could family turn against each other? The fact that so many children receive more training from daycares, public schools, and the media than from their own parents could be a factor. There may also be a substantial financial incentive to turn in “extremist” Christians during this time. Or perhaps those who’ve received the mark of the beast will have an unnatural spiritual hatred for those not having the mark (transhumanism at work?). Whatever the case, loyalty to the new world order will be stronger than family ties.
13:13 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.
Here again we have a warning to that is clearly for Christians as no one else in the world is hated for the name of Jesus. Christians are be the only ones with a desire that read Mark 13 and receive this warning adding to the illogicality that this passage is intended for Jews. This passage is also used by Calvinists who say you can lose your salvation unless you “endure unto the end” Many heresies are developed by taking a verse like this one out of context. This verse makes sense from the post-trib, pre-wrath perspective as some believers will endure to the end of the tribulation and their flesh will be saved by Jesus when he comes again.
13:14 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:
This is the mid-point or 3.5 years into Daniels 70th week prophecy. Jesus is warning us to read and understand this event. This is the event that allows everyone to know we’ve entered into “great tribulation.” In my quest to understand the end-time events, I asked God to allow me to claim this verse and to help me to understand the many facets of bible prophecy.
This pivotal event is recorded by Daniel (Dan. 9:27), mentioned here in verse 14 by Jesus, and Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. We should be familiar with this event if we’re going to understand a chronology of the end times. It key to overcoming false teachings of our day.
We know that Satan is now thrown out of heaven. Rev. 12:9 “…he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
Israel will be epicenter of the antichrist’s activity. The temple will have been rebuilt and the daily sacrifices will have been reinstituted. The antichrist under Satan’s control then props himself up as God. His moment of false glory is short.
Verse 14 says “…Let them that be in Judaea…” of course this implies it was written to more than just those in Judea. Proponents of the Jewish only interpretation of this passage cite this verse frequently. Those that are in Judaea are just facing a particularly harsh time to come.
13:15 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: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
Judea will be surrounded by gentile armies and be trodden down (Luke 21:24, Zechariah 14:2).
13:17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
Travelling is more difficult with babies and during the winter time. The Sabbath day is also mentioned in Matthew 24 which also would present traveling difficulties since commerce and public transit will likely be shut down on the Sabbath in Judea. This mention of the Sabbath in Matthew is also used to prop up a Jewish only application for this discourse but we know this passage is addressed to all.
13:19 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.
This period the bible calls “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21) which starts 3.5 years in to Daniels 70th week. The commonly used phrase “7 year tribulation” is not a scriptural phrase. The tribulation does not last 7 years because it is “cut short for the elect’s sake” and starts at the mid-point of the 7 year period. It is possible that the tribulation starts before the mid-point but the bible doesn’t explicitly say so. Jesus’ imminent return is subsequent to this mid-point event. No one knows the time of his return once the abomination of desolation takes place.
The word affliction here is used interchangeably with the words tribulation and persecution throughout scripture. The word wrath means vengeance and does not mean tribulation. Wrath is not a synonym for tribulation, persecution, or affliction. Many bible teachers have equated the tribulation to the wrath of God which is a mistake. Men killing other men in the tribulation, does not equate to God’s wrath.
13:20 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.
Satan’s power is now so great that if given more time, “no flesh should be saved.” The return of Jesus Christ interrupts Satan’s success of overcoming the saints using the beast system (see Rev. 13:7 Daniel 7:21).
The very words of Jesus used during his Olivet discourse have long been under attack. One such example is on the word “elect” in this verse. This word applies to people saved by faith in the Old and New Testament. In the 17 times the bible uses the term “elect,” it refers only to Jesus Christ or those that are saved by faith. The teaching that the elect in verse 20 are “Jews” is a deduction made from Isaiah 45:4. This passage refers to a person not the collective term “Jews.” Jacob’s name being changed to Israel by God is mentioned. Israel is the person that is being referred to as “mine elect.” To say that this passage has application to “those in Judaea” during the antichrist’s reign is a serious error and an attack on the plain teaching of scripture.
Consider Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it…” Here we see that Israel is not the elect.
The believing Greek gentiles in Thessalonians are also the elect: 1 Thess. 1:4 “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” Over and over again, the elect never refer to Israel as a nation, especially unbelieving Jews. The final verse in Mark 13 should put to silence the teaching that this chapter is only for Jews. Mark 13:37 “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
13:21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
Since Satan has been kicked out of heaven he will initiate his endgame. The antichrist will have incredibly persuasive abilities unlike the world has ever seen. If it weren’t for the discernment that comes from God’s word and from being born again, even God’s elect would be seduced by his cunning wonders. Again we see the word elect. We know that Jews have been some of the most deceived people in history. Teaching that the elect in this verse are Jews is a clear
13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
The sixth seal in Revelation: We see this same cosmic event recorded in Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
This sixth seal lines up chronologically with Mark 13 exactly as all the other seals have.
The tribulation is over. The sun, moon, and stars are darkened. This is THE quintessential event preceding Christ’s return and mentioned over and over in scripture. This prophecy must be fulfilled before the return of Christ. Again this refutes the imminent pretrib teaching. Man’s proud and haughty looks are changed to dreadful fear. The antichrist’s murdering of the saints is over. Everyone on the planet will be aware of this day as the powers of heaven are shaken. This is no secret “rapture” where those “left behind” will find a note explaining that they’ve been caught up in the clouds with Jesus. The people that received the mark are the ones that are left behind. Up until this point, God’s supernatural wrath has been withheld. Now the Trumpets and Vials of God’s wrath are to be poured out on the world.
13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 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.
This is Jesus’ second coming! Praise the LORD! Jesus comes and believers are gathered to meet him in the clouds.
The pre-tribulation rapture view should to be addressed here. The pretrib view teaches that Jesus already came for Christians at some previous unknown time and “raptured” away the church. So what coming takes place in verse 26? Pretribbers are forced maintain that verse 26 is Jesus coming for the battle of Armageddon. The pretrib Armageddon has Jesus coming in the clouds again and even has a second “rapture” supposedly for those saved during the tribulation. This is a twisting of the word of God to make it fit a doctrine rather than accepting what it says at face value. Revelation’s Armageddon has no gathering of saints, no trumpet, no resurrection, no clouds, no angels, but rather has Jesus coming on a white horse to defeat his enemies with his saints.
The more one studies Revelation, the more this assertion is becomes ridiculous. The battle of Armageddon does not take place until Revelation 16:16, after all 7 seals, all 7 trumpet judgments, and follows the 7th and last vial of the wrath of God. Chronologically, verse 26 only makes it to 6th seal found in Revelation 6 when the sun and moon go dark and then we see Jesus coming in the clouds.
Later in Revelation 8:1 the 7th seal initiates the seven trumpets and seven vials which is God’s wrath. Study this and you’ll never accept the numerous absurd pretrib errors, because they just don’t line up chronologically with scripture. The battle of Armageddon is the culmination of God’s wrath at the very end of Daniel’s 70th week which ushers in the millennial reign of Christ.
13:28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
The fig tree likewise is mentioned in Rev. 6:13 just after the 6th seal is opened, not after the battle of Armageddon.
13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
There is some debate as to what this verse means.
Psalms 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years.
If this passage in Psalms applies to a generation, then we’ll see these events initiated within the next decade.
13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Preservation: By using the plural “words,” we can ascertain that all “words” are indeed preserved.
13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
“That day” is referring to a day that we know comes after the tribulation (Mark 13:24) but we don’t know when. This passage is oft used to support the pretrib rapture view. It is contradictory because they claim the rapture doesn’t take place in this chapter.
13:34 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. 35 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: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
Again you see in the final verse in Mark 13 that this chapter is written to all, eliminating the possibility that Jesus was addressing Jews only. God perhaps in his foreknowledge proactively deals with the “Jews only” heresy by contradicting the popular teaching.