Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Mark 13


The Destruction Of Jerusalem

- Mark Thirteen -

Through inspiration we have been allowed to walk with Jesus though the Temple area and hear Him as He taught the people. Much of what He said had to do with God"s judgment against the Jewish nation because of their unfaithfulness. God had committed to their trust the work of preparation for His coming kingdom. They had failed miserably in this task. As they are leaving the Temple one of his disciples said to Him, "Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!" Jesus told them that it would all be destroyed. Later, in private, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?" These two questions form the basis for some sobering teaching by Jesus about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world.

Mark chapter 13 should be studied along with Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Jesus closed His last public teaching with a lamentation over Jerusalem and with a solemn farewell to the Temple. Mark 13 begins with the words, "And as he went out of the Temple." Jesus" public ministry here comes to an end. He left the Temple never to enter it again. This scripture has been the breeding ground for much false teaching. Let us observe carefully what Jesus taught.

Verses 1-4

The question that was answered - Mark 13:1-4 : Jesus knew that the Jews were about to kill Him. Yet they were hypocritically saying, "If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets." (Matthew 23:30) He lamented over the terrible calamities that would come upon Jerusalem. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Matthew 23:37-38) As they left the Temple for the last time the disciples asked Him to look at the beautiful stones and building. (Mark 13:1) How surprised the disciples must have been when Jesus replied, "There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Mark 13:2)

Jesus clearly meant that the Temple would be destroyed. Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?" (Mark 13:4) Jesus understood their questions to be about the Temple. He described what would happened and then said, "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done." (Mark 13:30) The disciples were not thinking about a second coming of Christ or the end of the world when they asked their question. They were thinking about the stones and the Temple!

Verses 5-13

False signs that might deceive - Mark 13:5-13 : Jesus warned the disciples that it was easy to be misled by false teachers. (Mark 13:5) Jesus did not say that these were things to look for to predict the coming of the destruction of Jerusalem. He said these are false signs that should not deceive people. False christs would come and they would deceive many. (Mark 13:6) There would be wars and rumors of war. They were not to be troubled by those things. (Mark 13:7-8) Earthquakes would happen at various places and famines would come. But they were not to be misled by these. (Mark 13:8) There would be severe persecution against Christians and some would even fall away. (Mark 13:9) All of these were false and misleading signs.

The Lord also showed the apostles that before the destruction of Jerusalem they would be delivered up to the councils and beaten. This would provide them opportunities to bear testimony to the Messiah. A large part of their work was to warn the Jews. God never sends judgment without first sending a warning. The Lord promised to be with His apostles even to the point of telling them what to say when they faced such trials for His cause. If people remain faithful to God they can depend on His blessings regardless of what circumstances might come. "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust." (Psalms 91:2)

Verses 14-31

The true sign to watch for - Mark 13:14-31 :, Mark 13:14 described the true sign in these words, "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains." Daniel spoke of the abomination of desolation in Daniel 9:26-27. The Romans were the abomination standing where it ought not to be. They would desolate the city and Temple. Luke wrote, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." (Luke 21:20)

Jesus provided some pointed information about what to do when the real sign was observed. (1) Flee to the mountains, (2) If you are on the flat housetop do not even go back into the house, (3) Those in the fields should flee from there, (4) The destruction of Jerusalem will be worse for those that are pregnant or those that have small children, and (5) The desolation will be much more difficult if it is in winter. All of this fits perfectly with the destruction the Roman army brought against Jerusalem. The destruction would be a great tribulation when "the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken." (Mark 13:24-25) Such language was common in the Old Testament to refer to the fall of nations. (Isaiah 13:10, Isaiah 34:4-5) Just as seeing the sprouting of leaves on the fig tree lets you know that summer is near, so also the army surrounding Jerusalem let them know the certainty of coming destruction.

Verses 32-37

But of that day and hour - Mark 13:32-37 : There is an obvious change that takes place here. "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." (Mark 13:32) He no longer talks about "those days" but instead about "that day." "That day" is used in scripture to refer to the final day or the end of the world. (Matthew 7:22) No one know when that day will transpire.

Preparation is the key for facing "that day." "And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." (Mark 13:37) The great message of the Bible is watch, be ready, and be faithful! We must be in a constant state of readiness for the Lord"s return.

Are you ready for "that day" to come?

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Mark 13". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". 2014.