Mark 13

Destruction of the Temple Predicted

1 As He was going out of the temple complex, one of His disciples said to Him, "Teacher, look! What massive stones! What impressive buildings!"
2 Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down!"

Signs of the End of the Age

3 While He was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple complex, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately,
4 "Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to take place?"
5 Then Jesus began by telling them: "Watch out that no one deceives you.
6 Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and they will deceive many.
7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don't be alarmed; these things must take place, but the end is not yet.
8 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. [a] These are the beginning of birth pains.

Persecutions Predicted

9 "But you, be on your guard! They will hand you over to sanhedrins, [b] and you will be flogged in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them.
10 And the good news [c] must first be proclaimed to all nations.
11 So when they arrest you and hand you over, don't worry beforehand what you will say. On the contrary, whatever is given to you in that hour-say it. For it isn't you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12 Then brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and put them to death.
13 And you will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. [d]

The Great Tribulation

14 "When you see the abomination that causes desolation [e] standing where it should not" (let the reader understand),[f] "then those in Judea must flee to the mountains!
15 A man on the housetop must not come down or go in to get anything out of his house.
16 And a man in the field must not go back to get his clothes.
17 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days!
18 Pray it [g] won't happen in winter.
19 For those will be days of tribulation, the kind that hasn't been from the beginning of the world, [h] which God created, until now and never will be again!
20 Unless the Lord limited those days, no one would survive. [i] But He limited those days because of the elect, whom He chose.
21 "Then if anyone tells you, 'Look, here is the Messiah! Look-there!' do not believe it!
22 For false messiahs [j] and false prophets will rise up and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
23 And you must watch! I have told you everything in advance.

The Coming of the Son of Man

24 "But in those days, after that tribulation: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light;
25 the stars will be falling from the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken. [k]
26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds [l] with great power and glory.
27 He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

The Parable of the Fig Tree

28 "Learn this parable from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.
29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, know [m] that He [n] is near-at the door!
30 I assure you: This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place.
31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

No One Knows the Day or Hour

32 "Now concerning that day or hour no one knows-neither the angels in heaven nor the Son-except the Father.
33 Watch! Be alert! [o] For you don't know when the time is [coming].
34 It is like a man on a journey, who left his house, gave authority to his slaves, gave each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to be alert.
35 Therefore be alert, since you don't know when the master of the house is coming-whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning.
36 Otherwise, he might come suddenly and find you sleeping.
37 And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be alert!"

Mark 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The destruction of the temple foretold. (1-4) Christ's prophetic declaration. (5-13) Christ's prophecy. (14-23) His prophetic declarations. (24-27) Watchfulness urged. (28-37)

Verses 1-4 See how little Christ values outward pomp, where there is not real purity of heart. He looks with pity upon the ruin of precious souls, and weeps over them, but we do not find him look with pity upon the ruin of a fine house. Let us then be reminded how needful it is for us to have a more lasting abode in heaven, and to be prepared for it by the influences of the Holy Spirit, sought in the earnest use of all the means of grace.

Verses 5-13 Our Lord Jesus, in reply to the disciples' question, does not so much satisfy their curiosity as direct their consciences. When many are deceived, we should thereby be awakened to look to ourselves. And the disciples of Christ, if it be not their own fault, may enjoy holy security and peace of mind, when all around is in disorder. But they must take heed that they are not drawn away from Christ and their duty to him, by the sufferings they will meet with for his sake. They shall be hated of all men: trouble enough! Yet the work they were called to should be carried on and prosper. Though they may be crushed and borne down, the gospel cannot be. The salvation promised is more than deliverance from evil, it is everlasting blessedness.

Verses 14-23 The Jews in rebelling against the Romans, and in persecuting the Christians, hastened their own ruin apace. Here we have a prediction of that ruin which came upon them within less than forty years after this. Such destruction and desolation, that the like cannot be found in any history. Promises of power to persevere, and cautions against falling away, well agree with each other. But the more we consider these things, the more we shall see abundant cause to flee without delay for refuge to Christ, and to renounce every earthly object, for the salvation of our souls.

Verses 24-27 The disciples had confounded the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. This mistake Christ set right, and showed that the day of Christ's coming, and the day of judgment, shall be after that tribulation. Here he foretells the final dissolution of the present frame and fabric of the world. Also, the visible appearance of the Lord Jesus coming in the clouds, and the gathering together of all the elect to him.

Verses 28-37 We have the application of this prophetic sermon. As to the destruction of Jerusalem, expect it to come very shortly. As to the end of the world, do not inquire when it will come, for of that day and that hour knoweth no man. Christ, as God, could not be ignorant of anything; but the Divine wisdom which dwelt in our Saviour, communicated itself to his human soul according to the Divine pleasure. As to both, our duty is to watch and pray. Our Lord Jesus, when he ascended on high, left something for all his servants to do. We ought to be always upon our watch, in expectation of his return. This applies to Christ's coming to us at our death, as well as to the general judgment. We know not whether our Master will come in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age; but, as soon as we are born, we begin to die, and therefore we must expect death. Our great care must be, that, whenever our Lord comes, he may not find us secure, indulging in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty. He says to all, Watch, that you may be found in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Footnotes 15

Mark 13 Commentaries