The Gospel of Mark

Mark - Lesson 13B

Chapter 13:9-14

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  • Tonight, we pick back up in what is known as the Olivet Discourse here in Mark’s Gospel, and we will begin with our outline of questions Jesus was answering.

    • Here is also an extended chart of the outline of the Chapter regarding how Jesus addressed each question.

    • Last week, we saw that the disciples were distraught regarding Jesus’ words of the temple’s coming destruction.

      • Their understanding of Jewish eschatology was that the destruction of that magnitude was the indication of the end of the present age and the arrival of the New Age.

    • So, in an effort to correct and clarify their understanding of the true sign of the end of the present age, He responds by telling them what are NOT signs of the end.

      • It was after that, that Jesus answered for them their question regarding what signs they should look for regarding the coming of the end of the age.

    • We learned last week that an age was a finite period of history that has a beginning and an end.

      • And according to Daniel, our current age began in 605 BC which was when Babylon conquered Jerusalem. (Due to Israel’s rebellion)

      • This age, known as “the age of the Gentiles”, continues to this very day and will last until the arrival of the Messianic Kingdom (under Jewish Rule).

    • So, the Lord Jesus explains to the apostles that there will be significant signs that will indicate that this present age is beginning to conclude.

      • Those signs were World Wars, Famines, Plagues (Luke’s Gospel), and Earthquakes.

      • And although these events were like that of what “were not signs”, Jesus mentions that these cycles will be of greater frequency and severity.

      • He describes these events as being like birth pangs.

      • That over time, these events will grow in frequency and severity in a fashion resembling the birth of New Life.

      • And indeed, the new life that will come from these cataclysmic events will be the dawning of the New Age (The Messianic Age)

    • I mentioned last week that if the events that are not signs are like Braxton Hicks, then the indication of what is to come (birth pangs) will only get worse.

      • And we saw that what will occur in the first half of the tribulation period will be just that (The Beginning).

      • That throughout the duration of the tribulation period it will only get worse.

      • This is why the first 3.5 years is called “Tribulation” and the last 3.5 years is called “The Great Tribulation.”

      • And as we look at our world today, we are only seeing an increase in these (Braxton Hicks) signs (2/3 trimester) which indicates the worst is still to come.

      • And lastly, as reassurance, because the Church is still here, we know that the tribulation has not started, because we won’t be here for that.

    •   We now arrive to question 3 regarding matters of the destruction of the temple and what will be the signs of its destruction.

      • So, with that in mind, I invite you to open a copy of the scriptures and meet me at Mark 13:9-13.

Mark 13:9 “But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. 
Mark 13:10 The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 
Mark 13:11 When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. 
Mark 13:12 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 
Mark 13:13 You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
  • As we arrive to verses 9-13, we find ourselves in a bit of a transitioning section of the text.

    • It seems that Jesus has now moved from providing signs of the beginning of the coming of the end of the age (future moment) to now coming back to the present.

      • And in doing so, He will now address their question regarding what will be the sign of the coming destruction of the temple, which was their first question.

    • And as we make this transition back, we notice that within Matthew’s gospel He doesn’t address this matter, but rather speaks to the coming of the Kingdom.

      • Whereas, in Mark and Luke’s gospel, they both address the Apostles’ opposition as a sign of the coming destruction of the temple.

      • However, Luke’s Gospel provides specificity to the signs of the coming destruction itself.

      • For example, here is a side-by-side comparison to see the diverge that Matthew takes from Mark and Luke.

    • Notice the word “then” that Matthew uses versus the word “But” that Mark and Luke use.

      • The word “then” can also be phrased as “at that time” which speaks to a continuation from the previous verse which was speaking to matters regarding the tribulation period.

      • So clearly, Matthew is continuing with understanding the unfolding events of the tribulation period.

      • Whereas Mark and Luke are shifting to a different focus (i.e addressing the disciples’ first question).

      • When will the destruction of the temple happen and what will be the sign of the destruction of the temple?

    • Here is a side-by-side comparison of Mark and Luke to see how both are speaking to this Apostolic opposition which will lead to the coming destruction of the temple.

      • Once again, Luke’s gospel is the only gospel that provides the sign by which is to be recognized as the coming destruction of the temple.

    • What I want us to see at this point in Mark’s gospel, considering the synoptics altogether, is that the language is very similar.

      • They are similar in the sense that both the coming persecution of the apostles, with the destruction of the temple and the tribulation saints, are comparable in dealing with persecution.

    • So, considering these two different periods of history, persecution becomes a common theme.

      • Persecution will happen shortly before the temple is destroyed in the first century and will be greatly present after, during the tribulation period.

    • So with this in mind, we will see this present and future reality of growing persecution amongst that of the apostles and the coming persecution of the tribulation saints.

      • Now, because Mark’s gospel does not provide us with the signs of the coming destruction of the temple, we need to hop over to Luke’s Gospel.

      • So, let’s begin now by jumping to Luke’s gospel (Luke 21:20).

      • Due to time, I will summarize for us what Luke’s gospel documents regarding the sign of the destruction of the temple.

  • Jesus mentions that before the destruction of the temple commences, the church and its leaders would see persecution. (Luke 21:12-19)

    • He mentions that the Apostles would be dragged before the governors and leadership of Rome.

      • We see this reality splattered throughout the book of Acts which describes the history of the early church unfolding. (Acts 8:3; 12:4; 21:11; 22:4; 27:1; 28:17)

    • It was the persecution of the early church in the first century that was an early indication of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

      • It is then that we find in Luke 21:20 the key sign for believers in the first century, to know of the coming destruction of the temple.

      • Hopefully, you can see why Jesus providing distinctions of what are signs of current, versus future, tribulation is so key.

      • What could have been confusing for the early church then becomes a means of clarity now.

      • So, here is the sign that Jesus provides regarding the coming destruction of the temple.

Luke 21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.
  • This sign occurred in AD 66 where General Cestius Gallus brought legions of soldiers out of Caesarea to surround the city.

    • The legion of soldiers was sent by Rome to end a Jewish rebellion in Jerusalem.

    • According to Historian Josephus, it is documented that Cestius was a civil administrator with no battlefield experience who was appointed by Nero.

      • With this lack of skillset, there were multiple instances of military errors along the way.

      • It would then be discovered that the general mistakenly assumed he was facing regional uprise from Jerusalem, but realized it was simply Jewish guerilla forces.

      • In light of that information, he was eventually forced to lift the siege.

      • Historian Josephus mentions that this retreat was “without any reason in the world.”

      • To potentially explain this retreat, Josephus mentions the following, which speaks to God’s Sovereignty and the reality that History belongs to Him.

 "It was, I suppose, owing to the aversion God had already toward the city and the sanctuary that He delayed from putting an end to the war that very day." [2.19.6 539]
  • So when the siege was lifted, what Luke documented according to Jesus’ sign of Jerusalem’s coming destruction was adhered to by the Messianic community.

    • Therefore, because of their obedience to Jesus’ instructions, the believing Jews escaped the city by the thousands.

    • And with this exodus came believing Jews being dispersed to various parts of the land, such as Judea, the Galilee and Pella.

    • Josephus documents this exodus of believing Jews in this way:

"After this catastrophe had befallen Cestius, many of the distinguished Jews abandoned the city like swimmers from a sinking ship." [2.20.1 556]
  • It was soon after, in AD 70, that the judgement Jesus said would befall Jerusalem and the Temple came about by Titus of Rome.

    • It is recorded by Josephus that over 1,100,000 Jews were killed in the first revolt and 97,000 were taken into slavery .

    • Not one of the believing Jews that responded obediently to Jesus’ command to leave Jerusalem at the surrounding of its walls, lost their lives.

    • Talk about obedience to the word of God and the significance of biblical prophecy.

    • I mentioned, in last week’s teaching, that the benefit of studying biblical prophecy is it provides immense hope for the believer.

      • We won’t be blind-sided by struggles and pains of this life, but rather, we can stand firm on the very words of Jesus.

      • Most importantly, we recognize as the Church that we are blessed to escape this coming period of judgement.

    • Contextually, I can just imagine for Mark’s audience reading Mark 13 and maybe with some fear and trepidation, having incredible hope.

      • Their hope is in knowing that whether Nero burns them at the stake or they’re dragged by horses, Christ alone is theirs.

    • These Roman believers knew suffering well, they knew what it was like to be betrayed, and many put to death, yet their hope was secured.

      • And what a great day it will be when we all stand together in the Kingdom with the King, the Lord Jesus. It will all be worth it!

      • Friends, there is always grace before judgement!

    • Salvation is available, but if you do not respond, know that great judgement is on the horizon.

      • Now that we have answered question 3, let’s now move to the content of verses 9-13.

    • By now, you should be noticing this movement of present to future related struggles.

      • And as I mentioned earlier, these patterns of persecution and frequency of trial continue to grow.

      • So, as we examine these verses, we must identify: In what time period is Jesus referring to in Mark 13:9-13?

      • So, let’s re-read this passage together again.

Mark 13:9 “But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. 
Mark 13:10 The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 
Mark 13:11 When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. 
Mark 13:12 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 
Mark 13:13 You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
  • Notice, Jesus begins verse 9 of Mark 13 with the word “But” (blepo), which is another issued warning to be observant and watchful of the times around you.

    • And at this present moment, Jesus is addressing the apostles regarding some events that will lead up to the destruction of the Temple.

    • He mentions that these believers will:

      • 1. Be delivered (handed over) to the courts (paradidomi)

      • 2. Flogged in the synagogues

      • 3. Will stand before governors and kings for His sake, as a testimony to them.

    • Verse 10 continues in mentioning that these growing persecutions the apostles will face will be due to their proclamation of the Gospel.

      • However, keep context in mind: Although Jesus is speaking to the Apostles’ coming (present) conditions, the context points to future circumstances during the Tribulation period.

      • That where the present demarcation of coming circumstances would lead to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple –

      • A future time would come where greater persecution and circumstance would befall the believers during the tribulation.

    • Ultimately, this growing drama is centered upon the Gospel being made known and being preached to all the nations.

      • Friends, this confirms that evangelism and the proclamation of the Gospel will continue to go forth even in the tribulation period.

    • It becomes clear that these indicators of persecution and the proclamation of the Gospel both precede the start of the tribulation and continue into it in an intense way.

      • Remember, that Braxton Hicks contractions eventually transition into birth pangs.

      • So, what the Apostles will experience is nothing in comparison to what the believers during Daniel’s seventieth week (Tribulation) will encounter.

    • Jesus then mentions in verse 11-12 that when they are arrested and handed over, that “they should not worry about what they should say before the council and the leadership of the day.”

      • For in that hour, they will be given what to say.

      • The question of How is answered at the end of verse 11:

      • Because the Holy Spirit will provide them wisdom and words to speak.

    • The means to accomplish the work of the spreading of the Gospel was regarded as a Divine necessity despite the persecution that would come.

      • And therefore, the helper (parakletos), the Holy Spirit, will both guide and give instructions when and where needed.

      • We see the evidence of this reality in the Book of Acts. (Ref. Acts 2-4) as well as within the tribulation period.

    • Jesus then makes the point here that this rise in evangelism will eventually lead to martyrdom on many levels because of the impact that the message of the Gospel will have.

      • This plays out beautifully, historically, because 10 of the 11 faithful Apostles of Jesus were killed for the sake of the Gospel.

      • And in the same way there will be martyrs in the tribulation. (Revelation 6:9-11)

    • What becomes even more interesting is that in verse 12 the familial relationships, because of the proclamation of the Gospel, will cause:

      • Brother to betray brother

      • Turn Fathers against their sons

      • Children rising up against parents

      • All of this even to the point of death

      • There are many instances where new believers because of their faith in Jesus have been excommunicated from their families.

    • What a cost that comes with following Jesus!

      • Following Jesus is not for the weak or the faint of heart now or even in the days to come!

    • Friends, we are beginning to see that the results of this coming persecution will steadily grow in the Church Age, but intensify even more throughout the tribulation period.

      • Again, the birth pangs only intensify and on top of that, we have only discussed the first half of the tribulation period.

      • Lastly, Jesus brings a means of exhortation and encouragement despite the coming devastation and persecution in verse 13.

    • He concludes this section of growing persecution by stating that though they will be hated because of Him, “He who endures to the end will be saved”

      • Now, this section of scripture is often misinterpreted and not understood because of two words that are mentioned and they are “endure” and “saved”.

    • The word “endure” in Greek is hypomeno which speaks to resisting and standing one’s ground or waiting on another.

      • And the Greek word for “saved” here is sazo which means to be delivered or rescued from sin, or consequential judgement.

    • The biggest mistake some make is to see endurance and immediately assume “perseverance of the saints” without seeing context and the Greek language.

      • Because if we assume this is dealing with “perseverance of faith”, it reads as if to say:

      • “If you do not persevere one cannot be saved”

        • This is not the case!

    • In other cases, it would suggest that to maintain salvation one must endure to the end – well now we enter into an equally incorrect works-based salvation situation.

      • So, what is Jesus saying here and how do we resolve this matter biblically regarding this well-known verse, “But he who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

    • Well, when we look at the Greek words in context (knowing how salvation works) and we carefully observe the overall subject matter in context, we see a few things:

      • 1. The subject matter is dealing with the coming time of tribulation for the Jewish people in that future day.

      • 2. We know that the Gospel will go forth during the tribulation and that individuals will come to faith which means that they will also enter the coming Kingdom whether by death or walking in.

      • 3. With the increase of great persecution of believers in that day, we know that towards the end of the seven-year period of tribulation, that the arrival of the Kingdom and its King will soon arrive.

    • So, with the tribulation intensifying, as the signs become more evident of the arrival of the King and His Kingdom, those who make it to the end (hypomeno) will be delivered physically from their surrounding judgement.

      • The question becomes, How?!

    • Well, we see the how in verse 26-27 of Mark 13. Check out the text with me quickly:

Mark 13:26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 
Mark 13:27 And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
  • It will be because the King will come and gather together (episynago) His elect (those who have believed) from all over.

    • Well, how is it that believers are being gathered from all over?

    • Because the Gospel has gone forth and people have responded to their Messiah!

    • Here is the beautiful thing: That whether you die now or later, as we suffer for the sake of Christ, our eternal rewards and glory in the Son await us. (Revelation 2:10)

      • Or as Paul says, to live is Christ and to die is gain!

      • So, when verse 13 says, “for the one who endures to the end will be saved”, he is speaking about the physical deliverance of the remaining tribulation saints.

    • So, what we are seeing both in the sense of the Tribulation as well as this inter-advental period is that persecution is a reoccurring theme for the Christian.

      • From the increase of persecution from the government against Christians and sound doctrine, to the vitriol that is spewed about believers across the world.

      • Verse 13 mentions, we will be hated by all, not because of who we are, but who we live for and represent – Jesus Christ.

      • Jesus mentions these very words in John’s Gospel where He says:

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth by which the world seeks to hide and shun, yet it is the service of believers to share this news with the world.

    • For this is the only means by which men and women can be saved!

    • The Gospel brings truth to light which means that one is only left with either responding to it or rejecting it.

      • I believe Paul paints for us a beautiful picture on the necessity of suffering for the Gospel because it aids as a catalyst for evangelism.

      • Check out what Paul says in Philippians 1:12-14.

Philippians 1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,
Philippians 1:13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,
Philippians 1:14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
  • Repeatedly, the New Testament speaks greatly about suffering and in the same breath connects our present suffering to the hope of things to come.

    • Why? Because as we suffer in this life, we even more are able to identify and draw nearer to Christ.

    • Lastly, Paul in Philippians 3:8-11 and 20-21 tells us the treasure and the grace gift of our suffering:

Philippians 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
Philippians 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
Philippians 3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Philippians 3:21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
  • I wanted to end with this tonight because the reality is, the Church will not see this period, because we will have been raptured to be with the Lord.

    • The grace for the church is that our present suffering and trials are the means, through sanctification, by which we are conformed to Christ.

    • That because of trusting in the Lord now in the Church Age, we escape these coming and terrifying days of judgement.

      • But there will be a day when the Lord takes up His Church and the coming chaos will soon begin.

    • Therefore, the mission of the church becomes quite simple:

      • Evangelize the Loss,

      • Grow in understanding of the word for the edification of the body

      • Live to the Glory of God

    • And it will be in doing this, that through our living we too become witnesses to a dying word, pointing to a Living Hope found in the One True Living God.

      • Let’s Pray.