My dear friends, this Lord’s Day we are seven days closer to Jesus returning than when we were together last week. That means that we are seven days closer to the restoration of this world. Seven days closer to far-reaching effects of sin being undone.
It’s hard to imagine.
This life is full of Injuries. Things breaking. Failure. Offenses. Fear. Hardship. Pain. Delays. Romans says that creation groans for the return of Christ to bring restoration.
If you are a Christian, you love Jesus and you want to see him. Right now you only see him dimly. Paul said like a smoky mirror. We get Jesus. We see him to a degree. But nothing like we will see him one day. It’s shadowy for us right now.
That day is coming with the utmost certainty. The certainty that Jesus promised it makes it irrevocable. Take it to the bank. Hope in it. Look forward to it.
The day when everything that is wrong and messed up in the world begins to be reversed.
One of the things that makes me eager for that day is to be free from sinning. I get weary of my sin. It grieves me to think of how much my savior loves me and the worship he is worthy of, and how frequently I still sin against him. Oh, that day when free from sinning. But right now, it’s what we know. We are born to sinners. We give birth to sinners. It’s a daily problem.
You were born to sinners and have been sinning since before you could walk.
And we get to be with Jesus.
Christians are to think about and long for the kingdom of God. Remember how Jesus taught the disciples to pray in Matthew 6?
Matthew 6:10—Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
I spent decades praying that line and not even comprehending what I was praying for. That I am asking the Father to establish Jesus on the throne over all creation in the glory of his coming kingdom.
Paul prayed for it. He was eager for Jesus to come back.
1 Corinthians 16:22—If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha.
Maranatha=Come, Lord Jesus.
It’s a problem today. An article on desiringgod.org appeared two years ago entitled, “Come, Lord Jesus, The Simple Prayer Our Songs Forgot.” The author compared in detail a list of common congregational songs sung in the United States since the year 2000 with a list of the most common congregational songs sung between 1730-1850. He notes his conclusion:
Among many similarities, one difference was striking: Our churches no longer sing about Christ’s second coming as much as we used to.
Perhaps this is why I resonated so deeply with Christian music album that came out last year that was filled with singing about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen while I read the lyrics of one song in particular entitled, “How Long, Oh Lord” listen to the references to prophecies through Isaiah as the return of Jesus and the establishment of his kingdom is anticipated.
Every valley will be lifted high
And the weak will be the strong
When You come like lightning in the sky
How long, O Lord, how long?
Kings on earth will scatter when they hear
Thundering sounds of angel songs
Hearts will tremble, filled with holy fear
How long, O Lord, how long?
You will conquer every evil thing
Every sorrow, pain, and wrong
They will cease with Your return, our King
How long, O Lord, how long?
All our hopes are fixed on You
That Your promises are true
And one day You will return
All our treasures here will fade
So, we long to see Your face
Until then our hearts will burn
How long, O Lord?
How long, O Lord? (How long, O Lord?)
That is the question. That is the question of a Christian. And I would say a Christian who thinks rightly about Jesus and loves him deeply.
The question isn’t wrapped up in this life, but the life to come. And so, the longing is—when do I get to be with you in your kingdom? How much longer do I have to wait?
That is exactly what is on the minds of the disciples as we come to our passage this morning. This is their focus. This is their concern. They are unable to put all the pieces together right now, but they know big changes are on the horizon, but they can’t put it all together.
Perhaps you don’t think about the coming kingdom very often. Perhaps you haven’t studied this issue. Listen, my desire for you and me is that through this study in Mark 13 we will be more frequently be crying out, come, Lord Jesus, come… how long, oh Lord, how long?
As we saw last week, the words of Jesus are certain, but his words require some effort on our part to understand. The disciples were challenged in comprehending this and so are we. So, this week we are going to continue setting this thing up.
Last week we began the process of…
Properly Setting Up a Long Lesson on Future Events (13:1-4)
We covered the first half of the outline last week as we saw that Jesus has just scheduled demo day at the temple. This week, we are going to look closely at the question asked by a handful of disciples as we work to understanding the significance of this question.
We’re going to briefly review what we learned last week and then work through verses 3-4. Two verses last week, two verses this week. It’s just so rich we are going to take it slow and mine out the profound events that are taking place here.
Our first point in properly setting up a long lesson on future events was:
A stunning prediction by Jesus about the temple (1-2)
(1) As He was going out of the temple,
As we noted last week. Mark records Jesus going into the temple, but this is the first time that he has ever explicitly recorded Jesus leaving the temple. This leaving is a sign of the end of an era and is so much more than a mere change in location.
Jesus spent most of his ministry away from Jerusalem in less populated areas of Israel. Whenever he is here in Jerusalem over the past three years the social and religious elites are trying to kill him. Having arrived during this visit on a Sunday morning, it’s been one confrontation after another this week at the temple.
Matthew gives us the final words Jesus says this afternoon as he is leaving the temple. We read them from the end of Matthew 23 and Jesus spoke of his desire to gather to gather the city to him like a mama hen does with her chicks.
So, we are wrapping up a very long, sober and difficult day of conflict and now sobriety and rejection.
As the group of thirteen men leave the holy city on the east side and go down the Kidron Valley they are looking back, and Mark records that…
one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”
The temple is 46 years into a massive renovation process. It’s getting an extreme makeover financed by Herod the Great and Jews abroad, built by a workforce of priests. And it is a sight to be seen, which rivaled the ancient wonders of the world.
The size of the massive stones and the gleaming white marble with portions overlaid by gold were a magnificent sight as the sun was setting.
But for how good it looks, there’s no spiritual life there. Jesus judged the temple on Monday morning calling it a den of robbers so there was already a foreshadowing of what he was about to say next. But he just drops this highly concerning statement, verse 2:
(2) And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”
Jesus says what is going to happen. Not a warning, but a prophecy. It is going to take place. This was clearly not merely a prophecy that a big building was going to fall over.
The week before on the way into the city Jesus said you are going to be hemmed in, surrounded by your enemies, and Jerusalem will be leveled to the ground, even your children.
Pause here. This was the topic less than a week ago as they were leaving Jericho to go to Jerusalem. They get there and it is apparent that Jesus is against the false worship taking place there. Now they hear the same basic comments again.
Properly Setting Up a Long Lesson on Future Events (13:1-4)
A stunning prediction by Jesus about the temple (1-2)
A subsequent question to Jesus about the future (3-4)
(3) As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,
The question that sets up the longest sermon recorded in Mark. Part of why we are taking this so seriously. Each week we study the Word of God, but this was clearly important in Mark’s mind that he would devote more coverage to Jesus’ prophecy here than his other teachings.
Technically this wasn’t really a sermon—it was a small group lesson.
There are four guys plus Jesus having a small group Q&A on the Mountainside. Man, that’s picturesque. You talk about a spiritual atmosphere. Sunset, outside of Jerusalem perched above on the Mount of Olives. All of you who like aesthetics, this is right up your alley.
But the location is more significant than just being a sweet place to have an intimate meeting together. Hundreds of years earlier, the Mount of Olives is described in Zechariah 14 as the very place that God will plant his feet as he judges Jerusalem. We’ve got historical references to the significance of this physical location and it is now the location from which Jesus is foretelling additional insights into the future.
The four attendees to this meeting were the first four disciples to be called in Mark chapter 1. All four were fisherman. Two sets of brothers. Simon and Andrew were the first two brothers called as fishers of men. Then the Zebedee boys, James and John.
They are the four that get this final message. In accounting you have to figure out how you will account for inventory. One approach is the last in and the first out. The most recent you bought and the most recent you sold. Last in, first out is called LIFO.
This is FILO… the first four in are the last four to receive this special message.
If you are Andrew, frankly it’s just nice to be invited, and not left out for once. Usually it’s your two friends who are brothers and your brother and you are left out.
When Jesus went into the house to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, the text says:
Mark 5:37—And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
Three guys get the invite. Andrew’s the first guy on the bubble. He almost made it, but he was a bubble guy and was just outside the inner circle. Why? This was a tremendous display of the glory of Jesus as God as he powerfully raised a little girl from death into life.
Later in his ministry when Jesus revealed his glory on the mountaintop, remember who he took? His top three guys. Peter, James and John, and Mark is explicit that it was by themselves.
So again, Andrew got left out, while his brother got the invite. Soon Jesus will be going to the Garden of Gethsemane where he will experience great distress in prayer to the Father, and he is going to take the three with him.
Mark 14:33—And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled.
But this evening, Andrew gets the nod. I bet he was thankful. These men were the first four to commit everything and put it on the line for the Jesus who they believed to be the Christ. These four said goodbye to what they had known as fishermen by trade for the opportunity to become fishers of men.
And yet for all the aesthetics of this Spring evening, in this picturesque location and intimate moment, these men are deeply concerned.
Jesus has just given them distressing news.
Imagine the dread that would fill your heart. Imagine the uncertainty. When they ask:
(4) “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”
This isn’t some theoretical question that these men don’t have a great deal invested in. They are asking this with cracking voices and burdened hearts.
We are carefully considering this question because this is the question that launches us into a discussion not only on the destruction of the temple, but also on the second coming of Christ.
Very important to understand this question and the backdrop behind it. First of all, as we look at this it is a question that is multi-faceted. I’m convinced as I read and study differing views on this chapter, that one of the key problems is not carefully recognizing what is going on in this question.
Look at what they say…
Speak to us. Teach us. Explain to us our two-fold question.
The first half of the question refers back to the destruction of the temple in v. 2, where “‘no stone will be left on another.’” The second half of the question about the “‘sign that they are all about to be fulfilled’” has an eschatological ring to it…
See when Daniel was speaking of the last days in Daniel 12:7 he refers to when these things will be fulfilled, and it is the same language used here.
As Edwards puts it, based upon this fulfillment language:
… the destruction of the temple is a paradigm of something greater. A connection between the fall of Jerusalem and the arrival of the kingdom of God was thus apparent to Jesus’ disciples, and certainly to Mark’s audience, who lived in close proximity to the momentous events here predicted. The connection between the two events was not unique to Jesus and the disciples, but widely accepted by the Zealots and undoubtedly others up to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem.
Think of it this way. When the temple is destroyed, that means multiple other things are going to be happening. It is a significant even in the history of God’s people, Israel. And the disciples’ question demonstrates that is how they are understanding this prophecy.
But there is language here that indicates that they are asking about more than just when the building is going down. They have more on their minds.
The words all things indicates further events. And then the word fulfilled here specifically indicates the fulfillment of prophecy.
In this instance the disciples asked a single question expressed in two parallel clauses. Both clauses relate to the prophecy of verse 2. In Semitic parallelism the second clause may expand or explain the first. In the Marcan formulation of the question, the second clause resembles Dan. 12:7. When Daniel asked how long it would be to the end the divine messenger replied, “when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things will be accomplished.”
What is envisioned is a judgment that will be of ultimate significance to Israel. It is assumed by the disciples that the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of its sanctuary is the prelude to consummation. The question provides evidence of implicit faith in Jesus’ word and deep concern.
This is the language of fulfilment… gives us an indication that although they are limited in this moment concerning their comprehension of events, they know that they are on the brink of a something momentous.
And so, they ask…
(4) “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”
So, we pick this up from the language the disciples used which implies that they have more in mind than just the temple. But it would be tough to base a view on what appears to be an indication.
Thankfully if we look over at Matthew’s record, we gain additional insight. We are accustomed to Mark shortening things up. Let’s consider how Matthew records this same question in greater detail. We find it in:
Matthew 24:3—As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
So, Matthew gives us a little bit more meat on the bones. It’s still the same conversation, the same question, but what Mark compresses, Matthew details.
There are three things that are being asked.
When will these things happen? That’s when will the temple be destroyed.
What will be the sign of your coming? What’s the relationship to you coming back?
What is the sign of the end of the age? When is this age going to be completed?
When is this terrifying event of the temple getting destroyed going to take place? When are you coming back? When is all this over?
Not exactly three separate questions, but rather three-fold grouped together describing expectations that were all sandwiched together.
The bottom-line is that the air is thick with expectation, but the details are foggy. Picture excitement and expectation, but little clarity. Allow me to demonstrate for a few minutes the expectations that we are dealing with right now. We’ve been over these passages before in our study of Mark, but if you are anything like me, you need to hear it frequently for it to stick.
Consider the Messianic expectations in Israel before Jesus came on the scene. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, a faithful prophesied in Luke 1 he said:
Luke 1:68–75—68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant— 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old— 71 Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US; 72 To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, 74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
Gives you a window into expectations. Redemption, salvation, deliverance from our enemies and the hand of all who hates us. Not long after Zacharias’ prophesy, Jesus was born and eight days after his birth Joseph and Mary took him to be circumcised.
It was there that Simeon blessed them and said,
Luke 2:34–35— 34…Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
This child is going to bring some level of redemption and judgment the rise and fall of many. He is going to have something happen to him that causes you to experience intense heartache.
Immediately after that, Anna an 84-year-old widow and prophetess gave thanks to God and the text says she continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
John the Baptist came as a forerunner to prepare the way for Jesus, which is exactly what he did. Luke 3:15 records that as the result his preaching…
Luke 3:15 …the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ…
John of course answered, negative. But there is one mightier than I who is right on my heels. He will be here soon.
Before Peter was a disciple of Jesus, his brother Andrew came to him and said to him, in John 1:41:
John 1:41—…We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ).
From the birth of John the Baptist, to the birth of Jesus, to his circumcision, to the official ministry of John the Baptist to the official ministry of Jesus the buzz is that this is the promised anointed one, the Christ and God has finally visited salvation and redemption and vindication to his people.
So, they expect the Messiah. At the same time, they have heard some conflicting news from Jesus. Right after Peter affirms in behalf of the twelve that they believe that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus says in:
Mark 8:31–32—31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
How are you God’s anointed who is the promised Son of David, our King, and you’re gonna get killed by our leaders? They don’t get it yet.
Roughly one week before this moment in time:
Luke 18:31–34—31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 “For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” 34 But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.
They didn’t comprehend it. Actually, if you want to know what they are thinking Luke gives us insight as to what these men are expecting just a few days before this conversation:
Luke 19:11—While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.
So these guys are heading into Jerusalem convinced that this week is the week, or this month is the month. We are near Jerusalem. Jesus is the Christ. Bring on the kingdom! Oh, yes! We’ve waited our lives for this, our grandparents looked forward to this, and hoped in it, but we actually get to enjoy it.
Jeremiah 23:5–6—5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. 6 “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’
But they know Jesus has also said he’s gonna die. And he also said that the temple is going to be besieged and destroyed.
This is hard for them to get their minds around. And lest we be too quick to think that they need to get there act together, there is a humbling watchword for us here as well.
I want to show you how plainly this bears out in the Scriptures themselves. Let’s consider how carefully Jesus himself threaded the needle when he spoke concerning his ministry. He was very specific as he begin to separate and distinguish that which was not clearly separated or distinguished in the Old Testament prophecies concerning his arrival` :
Luke 4:14–21—14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. 16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, 19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” 20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
That’s wonderful. Jesus is telling everyone that he is the fulfillment of the promise to the nation of Israel, given through the prophet Isaiah. But here’s the catch. He didn’t finish reading the rest of the verse.
See, the rest of the verse says not only to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, but then it continues and the day of vengeance of our God. That’s the day that Messiah comes and not only sets captives free but punishes evil. Do you see what’s happening?
Isaiah sandwiches two concepts together that sound like a single event. What separates the Lord’s anointed, the Lord’s Messiah coming and proclaiming the Gospel and coming in judgment? Well the clocks currently at 2,000 years and counting.
See this should humble us in our confident assertions about understanding prophecy. It isn’t that we can’t come to conclusions, but that we have to recognize that the way that prophecy has unfolded historically isn’t always clearly seen until you are in it or it’s in the rearview mirror.
The believed God was sending an anointed one. They believed God’s Messiah was going to bring freedom and liberty. And they also believe he was bringing judgment. What was hidden? It would actually be two separate comings, separated by at least 2,000 thousand years.
Face value I could hear us reading Isaiah 61:1 and saying it’s simple. The Messiah comes and knocks out this entire project in one fell swoop. No. It came in phases.
Here was why Jews had a hard time understanding the suffering servant prophecies in Isaiah. How is it that this Messiah is going to be a Prince of Peace, and have the government resting on his shoulders, and then at the same time he is going to be stricken and afflicted and smitten unto death?
Theologians have various names for this situation. It’s known variously as prophetic telescoping, near and far fulfillment, partial and complete. The idea is that in one prophecy part of it occurs at one point in time and part of it in another with no clear indication in the prophecy itself.
In other words, it’s just given without saying, “here’s part A and here’s part B.” Another famous example of this that you know well is when Peter is speaking in Acts 2. The Spirit descends upon God’s people at Pentecost. The church is born. People are speaking truth in languages that they have never learned as God supernaturally and temporarily breaks down the barriers of language established at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.
No one has ever seen anything like this. They think it’s crazy. And they decide that people are drunk. Peter says, no way. His first reason is kind of funny, he says because it’s only nine o’clock in the morning, the third hour of the day.
But then he goes on to say:
Acts 2:14–21— 16…but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.
Boom. Direct quote of Joel. Perfect explanation of exactly what’s happening. But then Peter keeps talking and says…
19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD,
Some people say that has to be taken figuratively. But there’s no indication that this is figurative, unless the previous language is all figurative. There weren’t cosmic changes taking place as the planets were disrupted. Listen to the timing Peter gives:
BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. 21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’
Amazing isn’t it? We could keep going, but the example of Joel and Peter in Acts 2 along with Isaiah and Jesus in Luke 4 demonstrate the point. You say, why are you giving us so much set up?
Because we learn how to interpret the Bible by studying the Bible. You can’t parachute into Mark 13 not understanding how biblical prophecy works as it pertains to timing and fulfillment.
Pentecost fulfilled the first part of Joel’s prophecy. We are waiting on the rest. Jesus fulfilled the first part Isaiah 61:1 in his first coming. The rest will be fulfilled in his second coming, which couldn’t be clearly understood from merely reading Isaiah.
So, here’s what we can expect from Jesus in this next section. If he treats prophecy in a manner consistent with what we would understanding from seeing how Old Testament prophecy is given and fulfilled, we would expect that Jesus is going to sandwich time frames together as he unfolds events that have a near and far referent.
Now with all of that said, let’s go spend a few minutes hitting the main sections of Mark 13 and then we will call it a day. Next week we will get into the actual lesson Jesus teaches, picking up in v. 5.
Mark 13:7—When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.
You are going to have many events take place that are going to cause you to think that it is the end or that the end is coming or that it is near, that it is right around the corner. But don’t get taken by those seemingly obvious indicators of his return.
Mark 13:8—For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
The warm up contractions before the painful labor. They are a little foretaste, but as any woman who has birthed a child will tell you… the little contractions that come here and there the weeks leading up to labor are not to be compared with the intensity of labor itself. Perfect imagery to explain difficult days that will precede much more difficult days.
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.
So, a reference to enduring to the end. And then a transition to another topic:
Mark 13:14—But when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
And then Jesus marks off the time span as on that leads up to his return:
Mark 13:23–24—23 “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance. 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation,
Now a separate season that is marked out from the previous one. This is so clear right in the text. After this Abomination of Desolation then…
THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, 25 AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory.
Remember the consistency with what Peter said? Cosmic changes taking place before Jesus returns. And then we come to verse 30. This is the verse that is the hang-up many times because it almost sounds like Jesus is saying that everyone who is standing there is his earshot won’t pass way until these things are complete.
Mark 13:30—Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
We will demonstrate in detail that this is not only theologically impossible (it would mean that the second coming has already taken place) but it isn’t the point Jesus is making at all. This generation is the one he is speaking about in his prophecy. The generation who sees the Abomination of Desolation won’t pass away before Jesus comes back. In other words, when the Abomination of Desolation takes place they know they are right near the end, it is upon them.
Well you have a broad overview now of how we’re going to approach this thing. Each week moving forward, Lord willing, we will take one portion of this teaching and unpack it section by section.
These men were eager to see the kingdom come.
Acts 1:3—To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Acts 1:6—So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
They are awaiting the kingdom being restored to Israel. It will come one day, but it isn’t going to come as soon as they are thinking. And this is the key message that will begin to give them the categories to be thinking in concerning the future.
Jesus loves these men and he loves you and me. Jesus is loving these men by preparing them for his departure. He is preparing them for difficult days. In his perfect wisdom he wants them to go through these challenges. He has promised to be with them.
But it is a sign of his kindness.
Jesus didn’t need to give any indication of what was going to happen in the future. He was under no compulsion to explain what was coming. He could have just said, “yeah some amazing craftsmanship, huh?” Why tell his disciples what to expect?
Jesus is warning them. Jesus is preparing them. Jesus is equipping them. And he is assuring them that he has everything under control. He is assuring them that he will come back for them.
My desire is that as we progress through this lesson we will more and more be asking, how long, oh Lord?