Lesson 71

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

13:12 "Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 13:13 You will be hated by all men for my name's sake, but he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. 13:14 But when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, 13:15 and let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter in, to take anything out of his house. 13:16 Let him who is in the field not return back to take his cloak. 13:17 But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babies in those days! 13:18 Pray that your flight won't be in the winter. 13:19 For in those days there will be oppression, such as there has not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be. 13:20 Unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved; but for the elect's sake, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 13:21 Then if anyone tells you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there!' don't believe it. 13:22 For there will arise false christs and false prophets, and will show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, also the elect. 13:23 But you watch.  

Today's Lesson

Jesus continued His Olivet discourse. He had been speaking to the disciples about the time when the temple would be torn down and the city destroyed. There is a matter of debate, but most scholars believe that at some point this discourse shifts from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem to what other parts of the New Testament call the Day of Judgment or the last days. Jesus seeks to prepare the disciples, and those that would come after them, for the most difficult of times.


In Yesterday's Scripture Jesus had told the disciples that some of them would be handed over to kings and rulers. They would be persecuted for the name of the gospel. Today He tells them that even brothers would turn against brother and a child against their parents. This would describe many situations that the early church had to endure. When the Romans persecuted the early church, there were many times when members of families would be torn in opposite directions. Some families abandoned their believing brothers and sisters. Some children turned their parents over to the government because their parents had come to believe in Christ.


Then Jesus tells of a particular time of warning. When they see "abomination of desolation … standing where it ought not," it is time to flee. This event is traditionally interpreted to mean the time when the temple was destroyed in AD 70. The Romans desecrated the temple and made sure that it was never rebuilt for as long as they were in control of the territory. There are mixed reports as to whether Christians fled Jerusalem before this event.


In any case, Jesus is trying to tell the disciples that when the event about which He speaks occurs, they must flee without looking back. He tells them to not return to their homes when they see this take place. They are to flee immediately. "For in those days there will be oppression, such as there has not been the like from  the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be."


There would even be false christs and false prophets. They would show signs and wonders. People would be led astray. But, Jesus tells the disciples that they are to be watchful and not fall into these traps. Christians should be prepared for the future. We do not need to know everything that will happen. But, we can know that the God of our present is already in the future. We need fear nothing that will happen to us. With God's help we can persevere. With God's help we can endure. With God's help, we have complete victory!


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