Mark 13 - Part 2

Ok… Back to Mark 13

We left off last time as Jesus warned the disciples of the persecutions that lie in wait for them. The next things that Jesus said were this:

  1. The appearance of “Abomination of desolation” standing where he shouldn’t be (14)
  2. Run to the mountains when that happens, immediately (14-16)
  3. Pray that it will not happen in bad timing (17-18)
  4. The tribulation will be like nothing ever seen before (19)
  5. If the Lord does not cut it short, all will perish (20)
  6. Appearance of false prophets, christs, and signs (21-22)
  7. Be on guard since He has said that beforehand (23)

If Jesus was referring to the end of times, then most likely He is talking about the tribulation (and hence, pre-millennialism view). Verses 14-18 will means that someone can do something to avoid (or at least, lessen) the effect of the tribulation, and it would be detrimental if someone have his or her focus on something else, as they will most likely fall on the tribulations. The tribulations will be the worse the world has ever seen (worse than the signs in Signs 1) but God will make it short for the sake of the elect. Hence we, as those elect, must be on guard.

It is also possible, however, if Jesus was referring to the historical destruction of the temple. The “Abomination of desolation” refers to Daniel 9:27 and 11:31. The words “let the readers understand” (verse 14) is not a remark from Mark but a remark from Jesus, saying to the disciple to recognize what Daniel meant. If it is so, then Jesus is telling the disciple to be on guard and flee from Jerusalem when the “Abomination of desolation” is standing where he shouldn’t be, as the tribulation will be great on them if they stay.

In actual, this is what happened back before the temple was destroyed by Titus. In 67-68 A.D. Jewish fanatics occupied the temple, and they allowed people who had committed crimes to roam freely in the holy of holies, even those who had committed murder. They even committed sins inside the holy of holies. The apex of the monstrosity was when they elected Phanni as a high priest – and it was said that he was a clown. Jesus is giving them an escape plan: They are to flee to the hills as the Romans will pillage Jerusalem, they are to flee hastily (the rooftop in that time was flat, and it is such a way that you can run to the city wall from the rooftop), pray that it will not be in winter as the roads will not be passable, and not on Sabbath as the gates will be closed. The Christians actually follow these instructions under the leadership of Symeon (a cousin of Jesus) where they flee to Pella in Pyrea, in the hills east of Sea of Galilee. It was said by Josephus that no Christian died on the holocaust.

(In fact, there is another event which is regarded as an appearance of “Abomination of desolation” by the Jews. It happens before the times of Jesus in 168 BC when Antiochus Ephipanes slaughtered 40000 Jews in the temple, sacrificed a pig on the altar, sprinkling the blood on the holy ground deliberately and put a statue of Zeus in the altar. At the times of Jesus, all Jews knew about this and they can be really scared when Jesus said that the next will be worse)

Again, we can’t determine the context of the text, whether it is only on the end of times or end of the temple, or both. Let us just say these points as “Signs 3: Tribulations”

Jesus continues by saying:

  1. About how the Son of Man will return after the tribulations (24-26)
  2. The elect shall be gathered from everywhere (27)
  3. Again, to be ready as they know what will happen when it is near (28-29)
  4. This generation will not pass away until all these things pass away (30)
  5. Jesus’ words will ever be true (31)
  6. Regarding the time of the second coming, only the Father knows (32)
  7. Again, be on guard (33-37)

Let us say that these signs are “Signs 4: Second Coming”. Now, we all know that Jesus did not come when the temple was destroyed. However it does not mean that Jesus is not talking about the destruction of the temple. On the contrary, if Jesus is talking about the end of times all the while, the saying of verse 30 will not make sense. The statement will be “This generation will not pass away until the end of times and the tribulations pass away”! So this last part is, in my opinion, in favor of either “end of the temple” or composite context. The “end of the times” context is not able to stand alone without making the whole arguments confusing.

What is clear however, is that when the times of tribulation is over (depending on how you see it, we can conclude two different ways, that the tribulation has started and we are still there, or that it is still in the future) the Son of Man will return. And He will return in His full glory such that we can’t miss it. All of His elect will be gathered from everywhere, further supports that the second coming will not come until the Gospel is told to all nations. For that we must be ready.

I have not been able to reach into any conclusions, even though I have written all these. I’ll try to wrap it up in the next post.



There was a time when I lost my desire to write and to share. There was a time when I didn't see the point of doing a blog to express my thought. I am who I am though, inconsistent as I am in doing this blog, but I do want to share and I do long to write. Today I'm giving it another go. Fingers crossed. But I still wish that "Let there be light" is the message that I convey.
  • January 1st 2012, Kristo