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Mark 13:3-23

Context
Signs of the End of the Age

13:3 So 1  while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, 2  and Andrew asked him privately, 13:4 “Tell us, when will these things 3  happen? And what will be the sign that all these things are about to take place?” 13:5 Jesus began to say to them, “Watch out 4  that no one misleads you. 13:6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ 5  and they will mislead many. 13:7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come. 6  13:8 For nation will rise up in arms 7  against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. 8  These are but the beginning of birth pains.

Persecution of Disciples

13:9 “You must watch out for yourselves. You will be handed over 9  to councils 10  and beaten in the synagogues. 11  You will stand before governors and kings 12  because of me, as a witness to them. 13:10 First the gospel must be preached to all nations. 13:11 When they arrest you and hand you over for trial, do not worry about what to speak. But say whatever is given you at that time, 13  for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 13:12 Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against 14  parents and have them put to death. 13:13 You will be hated by everyone because of my name. 15  But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 16 

The Abomination of Desolation

13:14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation 17  standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee 18  to the mountains. 13:15 The one on the roof 19  must not come down or go inside to take anything out of his house. 20  13:16 The one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 13:17 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! 13:18 Pray that it may not be in winter. 13:19 For in those days there will be suffering 21  unlike anything that has happened 22  from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, or ever will happen. 13:20 And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved. But because of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut them 23  short. 13:21 Then 24  if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ 25  or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe him. 13:22 For false messiahs 26  and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, the elect. 13:23 Be careful! I have told you everything ahead of time.

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.

2 tn Grk “and James and John,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

3 sn Both references to these things are plural, so more than the temple’s destruction is in view. The question may presuppose that such a catastrophe signals the end.

4 tn Or “Be on guard.”

5 tn That is, “I am the Messiah.”

6 tn Grk “it is not yet the end.”

7 tn For the translation “rise up in arms” see L&N 55.2.

8 sn See Isa 5:13-14; 13:6-16; Hag 2:6-7; Zech 14:4.

9 tn Grk “They will hand you over.” “They” is an indefinite plural, referring to people in general. The parallel in Matt 10:17 makes this explicit.

10 sn Councils in this context refers to local judicial bodies attached to the Jewish synagogue. This group would be responsible for meting out justice and discipline within the Jewish community.

11 sn See the note on synagogue in 1:21.

12 sn These statements look at persecution both from a Jewish context as the mention of councils and synagogues suggests, and from a Gentile one as the reference to governors and kings suggests. Some fulfillment of Jewish persecution can be seen in Acts.

13 tn Grk “in that hour.”

14 tn Or “will rebel against.”

15 sn See 1 Cor 1:25-31.

16 sn But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Jesus was not claiming here that salvation is by works, because he had already taught that it is by grace (cf. 10:15). He was simply arguing that genuine faith evidences itself in persistence through even the worst of trials.

17 sn The reference to the abomination of desolation is an allusion to Dan 9:27. Though some have seen the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in the actions of Antiochus IV (or a representative of his) in 167 b.c., the words of Jesus seem to indicate that Antiochus was not the final fulfillment, but that there was (from Jesus’ perspective) still another fulfillment yet to come. Some argue that this was realized in a.d. 70, while others claim that it refers specifically to Antichrist and will not be fully realized until the period of the great tribulation at the end of the age (cf. Mark 13:19, 24; Matt 24:21; Rev 3:10).

18 sn Fleeing to the mountains is a key OT image: Gen 19:17; Judg 6:2; Isa 15:5; Jer 16:16; Zech 14:5.

19 sn Most of the roofs in the NT were flat roofs made of pounded dirt, sometimes mixed with lime or stones, supported by heavy wooden beams. They generally had an easy means of access, either a sturdy wooden ladder or stone stairway, sometimes on the outside of the house.

20 sn The nature of the judgment coming upon them will be so quick and devastating that one will not have time to come down or go inside to take anything out of his house. It is best just to escape as quickly as possible.

21 tn Traditionally, “tribulation.”

22 sn Suffering unlike anything that has happened. Some refer this event to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. While the events of a.d. 70 may reflect somewhat the comments Jesus makes here, the reference to the scope and severity of this judgment strongly suggest that much more is in view. Most likely Jesus is referring to the great end-time judgment on Jerusalem in the great tribulation.

23 tn Grk “the days.”

24 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

25 tn Or “the Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 8:29.

26 tn Or “false christs”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”



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