MARK - CHAPTER 13 - THE OLIVET PROPHECY
MARK – CHAPTER 13 – “THE OLIVET PROPHECY”
Tuesday Morning Bible Study
March 28, 2023, the Year of Our Lord
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
“We think of Christ as true to His promises, do we think of Him, also, as true to His threatenings. Judgment, indeed, is His strange work (Isa. 28:21).
It is now Tuesday evening of the days before Passover. The same day which had witnessed in the early morning the withering of the fig-tree. During the day, Jesus’ ministry in the Temple pronounced denunciation on the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders.
On his return from Jerusalem,
Mark 13:1-2: As Jesus went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” 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.”
On previous occasions, He had casually referenced the overthrow of the Temple. The disciples were curious about the “When” and the “What will be the signs” of such an event.
Josephus in his history of “The Decline and Fall of Jerusalem” vividly describes the magnificent Temple which took forty-six years to complete. Actually, it had not been completed that long before Jesus prophesied of its destruction. “The towers were 35 feet broad, and 35 feet high. There were 164 towers. The wall circled the city for more than four miles. The most magnificent tower was that of Psephina. It was 115 feet high. From the top one could see both the Mediterranean Sea and the Mountains of Arabia. From a distance, the whole Temple looked literally like a mount of snow, fretted with golden pinnacles.”
Such was Jerusalem as Jesus and the disciples gazed from the Mount of Olives on the white marble now reddened with the last fires of sunset. The emperor had ordered many blocks of white marble, of fabulous size. It is these colossal stones, to which the disciples especially called to the attention of Christ.
Mark 13: 3-4: As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, “tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
Matthew 24:3: As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
A. M. Hunter: “Mark 13 is the biggest problem in the Gospel.”
As with all prophecy including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc., prophecy has a dualistic meaning. The Word of God has a dualistic meant. What it meant then, what it means now and what it means for the future. Thus, it is with this prophecy. It has partially been fulfilled, being fulfilled, and will be fulfilled.
The words of Christ are not idle threats. “Did I not say to you?” He means what he says! He does not, nor ever did He speak idle words. He is “the Faithful and True witness (Rev. 3:14);” and though mercy and truth shall go before His face, justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne (Ps. 89:14).
Mark 13:5-6: Jesus answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no man deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am he, and will deceive many.”
The spirit of deception and its companion the lying spirit are unrestrained over our nation and even the earth. We know the media, government, financial institutions, medical profession, and industry are all lying to the American public. However, Jesus has given us authority over deception in that we are to take heed. We are given by the Holy Spirit the grace to pay careful attention and use wisdom in our decisions and life choices. If situations are not in alignment with God, we should not be in alignment with the situation.
Mark 13: 7-8: When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and trouble. These are the beginnings of sorrows.
This prophecy has been continual and is ongoing. The nations of the earth will continue to war to obtain supremacy over the earth and mankind. The battle between the spirit of the antichrist and the Kingdom of God will continue until Christ returns the second time “when before him will be gathered all nations (Mt. 25:32); when he shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds; from one end of heaven to the other (Mt. 24:31).
Mark 13:9-13: Watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. When they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, 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. Brother will betray brother to death, and father his child, and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
There was and has been outward persecution of the Church. Affliction, martyrdom, persecution, and death have been the high price paid by the early church as well as the church through the centuries in pagan cultures. This persecution continues just as it is here described. Muslim nations will kill family members who become Christians. Middle Eastern, African, and Far East nations imprison Christians. Within Christian communities, there is persecution for those who have opposing interpretation of scripture. These are religious spirits within Christian churches.
THE GREAT TRIBULATION
Mark. 13: 14-20: When you see the “abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, do not enter to take anything out of his house. Let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter. 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.
THE FIRST ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION:
“If the time of the trouble (Dan. 12:1), is to be dated, from the taking away of the daily sacrifice by Antiochus, and the setting up of the image of Jupiter upon the altar, which was an” abomination of desolation.”
Daniel 11: 24-35 describes the wickedness of the Reign of Antiochus Ephiphanes. (215 BC-164 BC). Rome turned him back. On his way home, he stopped and took out his vengeance on Jerusalem. He destroyed the temple, violating the former covenant. He suspended the daily sacrifice. He set up an altar to Zeus, Jupiter Olympus, the pagan god he worshiped. Worst of all he ordered a sow to be sacrificed under the abominable winged image. This occurred around 168/167BC.
This was before the time of Jesus.
THE SECOND ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
The siege of Jerusalem of 70AD was the decisive event of the first Jewish-Roman War in which the roman army led by future emperor Titus besieged Jerusalem, the center of Jewish resistance was in the roman province of Judaea. Following a brutal five-month siege, the Romans destroyed the city and the second Jewish Temple. In April 70 A.D., three days before Passover, the Roman army started besieging Jerusalem. According to Josephus, the city was ravaged by murder, famine, and cannibalism.
The second fulfillment of the abomination of desolation occurred in A.D. 70. The prophecy given by Micah 3:12 Therefore shall Zion, for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest was fulfilled by Titus’ general, Terentius Rufus, and Edomite by birth who drug the plowshare over the ruins of Jerusalem.
Josephus (AD 37-AD 100) a Jewish priest, was personally antagonistic to Christianity; but He records in his history the terrible fulfillment of these prophecies. I have read portions of his history and it is terror upon terror of famine, death, and destruction.
There is one portion I find interesting, not as gospel, but of interest: “He records the appearance of a comet, resembling a sword, which for a year hung over the city; an unnatural halo or light which hovered by night round the temple and altar; chariots mustering for battle in the clouds; mysterious voices in the temple-courts, uttering the warning sound, “Let us depart hence.” “The eastern gate,” says he, “of the Inner court, which was of brass, and vastly heavy---being with difficulty shut by twenty men, and having bolts fastened deep into the firm pavement---was seen, at the sixth hour of the night, to be open of its own accord.”
FALSE PROPHETS/FALSE CHRISTS
Mark 13: 21-23: If any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not. For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, event he elect. Take heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
For Christians, false Christs are easy to spot. If anyone seeks to be worshiped, and call themselves a God, they are nailed. However, false prophets, are another matter.
In Jeremiah, chapter 23, God’s prophet gives us a clear description of false prophets and false shepherds. In Jeremiah 23 and 28, the prophet speaks judgment on the religious leaders. His judgment is based on a right conception both of God’s holiness and the false prophets’ failure. The false prophet is explained as a corruption of life with its consequent anarchy affecting the law and the land. Verses 16-40 are a crucial passage for understanding the nature of true and false prophecy. Outwardly little distinguishes them. But the false prophet (1) bends his message to what the people want to hear and makes no moral demands; with unfounded optimism, he promises peace to those who despise God’s Word. He promises deliverance from divine wrath to those who insist on their own path and resist His revelation.
“The false shepherds were (1-2) were the civil authorities, particularly the Kings of the house of David who were primarily responsible for the state of the nation because of their failure to heed the Word of the Lord.
These prophets claim divine authority. (17) “They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord has said, you shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walks after the imagination of his own heart, no evil shall come upon you.” These prophets have no first-hand commission or experience of that commission. Their lives do not produce the fruit of repentance which match the message and the source of his inspiration was himself and not God.
THE RETURN OF CHRIST
Mark 13: 24-27: In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not giver her light. The stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. Then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 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.
In Matthew 24, Jesus gave the disciples twenty-four (24) signs of the Second Coming.
Mark 13:30: No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
In this latter day, those who behold His sign know the time of His appearing draws near. The wise shall understand (Daniel 12:10). Like the Magi, we shall rejoice with great joy and follow it over a lonely, hazardous way, through hardship, heartaches, and delays until at last, we too shall come to a “house” a greater house built of “living stones.”
PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE
As this day begin with the withering of the fig tree (judgment of Israel), Jesus now gives us a parable of the restoration of Israel.
Mark 13:28-30: Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when her branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So in like manner, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you that this generation shall not pass, until all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
If the withering of the fig tree was a prophetic act revealing the destruction of the Jewish nation because of their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah, then this parable is the restoration of the Jewish nation when they will be saved.
Rom. 11:25-27: I would not brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so, all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, “there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
The Jews are to have an all-important part in the evolution of the great drama of the future.
Mark 13: 32-37: Of that day and that hour no man knows, no, not the angels, which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take heed, watch and pray for you know not when the time is. 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 therefore, for you know not when the master of the house comes, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. What I say unto you. I say unto all, Watch.
Matthew 24:27: As the lightning comes out of the east, shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Carolyn Sissom, Pastor
Eastgate Ministries Church
Scripture from K.J.V. I don’t know whose labors I entered into for this teaching. I was all over the place. Mostly from multiple sermons which I have preached in year’s past and also Memories of Olivet by John Ross MacDuff (1818-1895).