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Bible Commentaries

Derickson's Notes on Selected Books

Mark 13

Verses 1-4

MARK CHAPTER THIRTEEN

We now move into a short section on prophecy that will give the apostles some insight into the future, but at their vantage point probably little more than encouragement that the future is known to the Lord.

This also should have given those knowing of the discourse that He was God or else a huge phony that was playing them. He was telling them of coming events that would happen with quite a little detail so that they could understand it if they happened to live long enough.

Prophecy is nice for us at this end of the spectrum, but not so helpful to those that received it. One must wonder of the Old Testament teachers that studied the prophecies of old and wondered at their meaning much as teachers/pastors of our own time struggle with them.

We can read, study and guess but until the events are unfolding no one will know for sure what they mean. We can know much about the future and the events/personalities though we do not know of the detail.

Dr. Jeremiah recently in his television message told of many of the traits of the antichrist, but made no attempt to name who it might be - we have no idea who but only a lot of his character and coming activities.

13.1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! 2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

THE GREAT QUESTION:

The disciple was commenting on architecture and he gets the whole gang into a prophecy lesson.

Now I do not know of the disciples travel activities prior to meeting the Lord but this account makes me think that they might not have been to Jerusalem before. They were marveling at the buildings of the temple as though they had not seen them before. Luke 21:5 "And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and offerings,"

When I was in the Navy, fresh out of small town America where the biggest and fanciest building I had seen was the county courthouse, I was sent to San Francisco. What a feast to the mind of one that loves ornate big buildings. I was in awe for weeks as I walked around that city looking at its wonders of architecture.

The Lord mentions that all these nice stones will be removed from one another - that not one stone would be left standing on another. The usual historical account related for this prophecywhen it did happen is that the temple was burned and all the gold in the building ran down into the cracks between the stones and the soldiers in their quest for plunder moved stones from each other to dig out the gold.

We might marvel at the building of these grand buildings and the great workmanship but it only takes a little greed to destroy such grandeur.

We will not take time here to discuss the idea of the outward pomp and grandeur of the temple as it relates to the grand buildings churches are erecting across the nation. We will not talk now of the great status that many people gain by attending some of these grandiose edifices. Christians today as the Jews of old focus on the edifice rather than the edifying all too often.

As with the temple there is little good to the grandness of a building, but that inner grandness is that which the Lord seeks.

Later, four of the disciples come to Him asking when this would happen and what the signs or precursors to the events might be.

The Bible is loaded with the thought of signs of things to come and signs of things that have happened. Just pick up a concordance and peruse the use of the term. The apostles were not out of line to seek a sign, they were only being who they were - Jews that looked for signs.

We are not much different from these of old for when we pray for guidance we often look for some sign from God as to what direction to go. God does not always give these signs but if He does be attuned to his indicators.

When between ministries I felt that the Lord would have me continue with some education. I had narrowed it down to two schools and had spent a lot of time praying about the selection. I was having difficulty in making a choice since both were equally good situations.

I had kind of set a certain date to make the decision so that we could start making proper plans to move the family. That date had arrived and that evening I was praying especially long at the topic and asked the Lord to give me some indication of what He wanted me to do. As I finished those words the phone rang. I answered and the man on the other end said, "I am Dr. _________ the head of the theology department at school X. Jaw dropping sufficiently I asked how I could help him. He had simply called to see if there were any questions he could answer and I informed him "No, you just answered the one question I had."

I had never been called by a school in my life and was shocked that one would call at that point in time. God used the simple act of another believer wanting to give me assistance to answer a long asked question. Some might say that this is not the way God leads and I would concur most of the time that God does not always answer prayer with signs, though at times He does and we ought to be wise enough to take note.

Verses 5-8

THE GREAT WARNING:

5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

The Lord answers the request for information about the end and He replies with a warning of those that would deceive them about the future. He then mentions some signs that must come before the things that He has mentioned.

He mentions that many false Christs will come on the scene attempting to deceive the believer. We have had these come now and then through history. I have heard of many personally, two of which come to mind. The first of note was Sun Myong Moon claiming to be the Messiah come - uupppps not so, He came a couple thousand years ago. There is another today that first claimed to be God, then Christ come and the last time I heard he was claiming to be the Devil - guess he is trying to cover all the bases or else he has multiple personalities along with his god complex.

These would have us believe that they are the Christ and that they have come to save us. Not so they are only shams and lies looking for an ear to deceive. Refuse these false Christs and cling to the one that can and did save you. No matter how eloquent, no matter how smooth, and no matter how powerful a man presents himself to be, he IS no Messiah. Do not be duped by the false when you can serve the real thing.

The items that are coming which might be a precursor to the time the Lord was speaking of are "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows."

Anyone today reading this verse must wonder at our own time. There are wars and possibilities of wars all over the world along with major earthquakes and famine. Troubles are everywhere and an outbreak of some of the possible diseases would only add to the troubles.

Add to all this the persecution that believers are facing around the world and you have really got troubles. Even in our own country we have precursors to outright persecution mostly due to the Political Correctness that has labeled preaching against homosexuality as a hate crime elsewhere in the world and most likely here in a congress coming soon.

I have never been one to say that the Lord is coming soon, preferring to say He can come at any time, but today I suspect He is coming soon as I gaze upon the world scene. Christians are dying in the world at the hands of Muslims and we call it war, we call them refuges and we call them everything under the sun but murdered. And what is worse is that our country allows it to go unnoticed due to a media that is focused on their darling politicos that are fleecing our nation and the politicos are too interested in lining their own pockets with Americas wealth to take note of the murdering of people for their faith.The time is right for the Lord’s return, though all the problems of the world could go away and it might be another thousand years before He returns so it is wise to stick to "He can come at any moment."

Verses 9-11

THE GREAT PERSECUTION:

9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

We need to understand the context and times that we are looking at. The Lord was speaking of things that related to the Jews/apostles, though a time frame was not in mind. These things were to happen to the Jewish people rather than to the church. If these things happened in 70 A.D. all of it is over, and if it is still future the church will be gone before these persecutions and troubles take place. This relates to Jewish people only and God’s dealing with them.

Now, as to when all this takes place is the question. Some say that it happened in 70 A.D. when the temple was destroyed. Others believe it is all future. The truth might well seem to be somewhere in between. The no stone left unturned was truly fulfilled in 70 A.D. but there is a truth in Scripture/prophecy that prophetic items can have a partial and complete fulfillment at two entirely separate times.

The prophecy of Joel mentioned in Acts was partially fulfilled at the beginning of the Church however there are parts of that prophecy that are yet to be fulfilled.

As one reads Mark it would seem that Christ was speaking of the temple that was in existence back then rather than some future temple. The later portions do not seem to have been fulfilled thus a partial then complete fulfillment scenario seems to be most appropriate for this text.

Verses 12-13

THE GREAT CONFLICT:

12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Now when I read this I see Hitler’s day and time stamped all over it, however I do not know if that was a partial fulfillment or not. Most of the giving up of relatives was amongst the Germans themselves and not the Jewish people that were being persecuted thus a partial fulfillment does not seem to be in view.

Verse thirteen mentions "and ye" speaking to Jewish men that were apostles. This sentence certainly related to the apostles and their end, though the previous verse does not seem to fit theirsituation. I am unaware of any time in history when verse twelve would have been fulfilled amongst the Jewish people though I am not a historian of any stature whatsoever.

It seems best if you see this passage as a combining of different prophecies into one block of information. Whether the apostles understood this or if they knew what went where in prophecy we are not told. I rather suspect that they did not know the details any more than we do from our vantage point.

Verses 14-18

THE GREAT ABOMINATION:

14 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: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

Again, we have a text that had a partial fulfillment under Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiochus IV) in 70 A.D. when he sacrificed in the temple which he had re-dedicated to Zeus. It also looks forward yet to the time when the Antichrist will do similar in the rebuilt temple. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia has a section on this time in Jewish life.

"Under these conditions it is not surprising that Antiochus should have had both the inclination and the courage to undertake the total eradication of the Jewish religion and the establishment of Greek polytheism in its stead. The observance of all Jewish laws, especially those relating to the Sabbath and to circumcision, were forbidden under pain of death. The Jewish cult was set aside and in all cities of Judea, sacrifices must be brought to the pagan deities. Representatives of the crown everywhere enforced the edict. Once a month a search was instituted, and whoever had secreted a copy of the Law or had observed the rite of circumcision was condemned to death. In Jerusalem on the 15th of Chislev of the year 145 aet Sel, i.e. in December 168 bc, a pagan altar was built on the Great Altar of Burnt Sacrifices, and on the 25th of Chislev, sacrifice was brought on this altar for the first time (1 Maccabees 1:54; 1 Maccabees 1:59). This evidently was the "abomination of desolation." The sacrifice, according to 2 Macc was brought to the Olympian Zeus, to whom the temple of Jerusalem had been dedicated. At the feast of Dionysus, the Jews were obliged to march in the Bacchanalian procession, crowned with laurel leaves. Christ applies the phrase to what was to take place at the advance of the Romans against Jerusalem. They who would behold the "abomination of desolation" standing in the holy place, He bids flee to the mountains, which probably refers to the advance of the Roman army into the city and temple, carrying standards which bore images of the Roman gods and were the objects of pagan worship."

This was a day in which the Jewish nation had turned its back on their Messiah and had plotted for His death. It was a day when the nation turned their back on the God that had called them out from amongst the world from a position within the world. While the passage is still speaking of the Jews this well fits the church today as well. We use the Lord’s name in all we do but we have cheapened that name by using it to justify our worldly activities and our worldly lifestyle. Today we as a nation elected a man that approves of killing babies, a man who lies at the drop of a hat, and a man who would foist upon us the curse of socialism. This man rejects half of his heritage and clings to the other half as if it were his whole for political advantage. This man argued that a child aborted that lives is an inconvenience to the doctor. His argument was that for the doctor to be sure the child was dead was an “inconvenience." Small wonder since the child was only an inconvenience to the mother.

America has in practice done what the Jews had done, we as believers have accepted the world standard as our own. You cannot tell Christian music from the world’s, you cannot tell Christian literature from the world’s, you cannot tell much of anything of the church from the world except the title "church" as the Jews accepted the title of "Jew."

Yes, there are vestiges of true Christianity as there were vestiges of Judaism in the Lord’s time but the whole brought judgment upon Israel, and I fear the Church has assisted in calling judgment upon America.

Verses 19-23

THE GREAT AFFLICTION:

19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. 20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

First, we see the terrible affliction to come. These afflictions will be worse than any since the creation. Now that leaves us with a large question. What affliction was there in the "beginning of the creation?"

Some believe that in Genesis between verse one and two there was a whole creation that we do not know about; a creation that went terribly wrong in some manner resulting in the total destruction of that creation and the fall of the angels.

Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

This passage in Mark might lend some support to that theory. The other gospels do not cover this information so this is all we have to go on. Just what was this tribulation at the beginning of creation? Was it another civilization? Was there a time of tribulation or was it just the turmoil of the whole creation.

To answer these questions let us consider. God is perfection, thus why would He create a heaven and earth that was full of turmoil and trouble? It does not fit with His character so let us set thatpossibility aside.

Is it possible that His first creation was good and that the Angelic host was the beneficiaries of this good universe, but their desire to be God overwhelmed them and their society to the point of all out rebellion against God and quite possibly outward warfare with the angels that remained loyal to the Lord? This would fit well the theory and the texts though we have no other indication that this theory is true.

Note "neither shall be" which keys us to the fact that Christ is speaking of the great tribulation since there will never be another time like it. This might well figure into the "gap theory" as well, since if the Angels fell and destroyed the earth, the tribulation would probably have been from God as His judgment against this terrible and complete rebellion against Him.

Indeed this gap theory has some possibilities but it is also based on something that is not said in Genesis and one verse in Mark. To base such a theory on so little evidence is bothersome to most, yet everything seems to fit what we know thus far. It is also of note that there is nothing in the verse in Mark to indicate anything further.

Gill views this statement not to say that there was a tribulation in the beginning, but that there hasn’t been this type of tribulation since the beginning. "such as was not from the beginning of the creation, which God created, unto this time, neither shall be; of which there never was the like in any age, and cannot be paralleled in any history, since the beginning of time, or the world was made, or any thing in it, down to that period; nor ever will the like befall any one particular nation under the heavens, to the end of the world;"

This seems to have been fulfilled in the 70A.D. destruction of Jerusalem, but it is possible it looks forward to the destruction in the tribulation as well.

The Gap Theory? Not valid in my view but many believe it and there really seems to be no doctrine that is affected by holding it other than the problem of building a teaching on the two spaces between two sentences of Scripture. This is a real problem when you realize how many gaps between sentences there are in the Word.

Secondly, we see the severity of the affliction to come. These times were to be of horrible proportions. There will be great problems for those living through these times. We in our day have not seen this sort of tribulation unless it might have been during World War II when the Jews were slaughtered by the millions. There were also times of slaughter during the crusades when Muslims were fighting Christians.

Thirdly, we see that God will shorten the affliction. This affliction will be so terrible that if it were to be allowed to continue the decimation of the Jews would have been complete within the land. There would not have been a complete annihilation of the entire Jewish people in the world for many were scattered around the world, but those in Jerusalem and surrounding area would have been completely eradicated.God in His mercy shortened the persecution so as to save some of His people.

A side note to this destruction of Jerusalem is the love God has for Jerusalem and His temple. Though He loved Jerusalem and His people, because of their sin and corruption, God unleashed terrible destruction upon both.

This ought to be a fair warning to American believers. We ought to mend our ways before God brings destruction upon this great country and our families. Many see the American church in total decline with judgment as the coming result. We have no prophecy as such against America but we know from the Old Testament that hard times always followed a falling away of the Jews. Application might be a wise decision for us as well.

The love that God had for Jerusalem is also very special. If you do a word search of Jerusalem/Salem in the Word you will find a number of verses that show this love. He chose the spot for His temples, He chose this spot for the birthplace of Christ, and I personally believe that it is the site of the Garden of Eden. There is a study on my website relating to this. This may be the exact reason for the Lord’s birth, death, burial and resurrection there.

After throwing the first couple from the garden, He established this as His meeting place with man. Angels were stationed to keep man from the garden.

It is also of note that this city is the place for many activities in the end time. Indeed Christ will set His Millennial throne in Jerusalem and rule the world from there for 1000 years.

This was a city so special to Him yet He allowed it to be destroyed as part of His judgment upon Israel. This was also the case in the Old Testament time when the Jewish leadership was offering to idols in God’s temple.

The fool might think that because God loves us that He would not judge us. The wise man understands the relationship of sin and judgment. One follows the other and foolishness will make no change in that equation.

Fourth we see that there shall be false Christs and false prophets. Note that they are not the same things, thus indicating a match to the prophecy of John in Revelation of the Antichrist and the False Prophet.

Fifth, they will show signs and wonders. Even though a person shows signs and wonders there is nothing to indicate that a believer should follow their false miracles. One must wonder at the signs that come today from the false teachers that are deceiving even the elect in our churches today. Signs and wonders have been the stuff of a number of movements in our modern day, yet Christ Himself labels them as false christs and false prophets.

Surely some in these churches wonder at the Lord’s comments about signs and wonders. Why do they continue to follow the false teaching that produces that which Christ Himself condemned?

Most likely they follow because they feel good when they leave church.And finally we see that He encourages them so that they will not be surprised. He had foretold of things to come so they would not be overwhelmed by them when they arrived.

Recently I watched a series on the end times presented by Dr. Jeremiah. Though I don’t buy into all that he said, I was convinced of his genuine desire to do three things through the series. First he wanted to communicate God’s message to his listener, then he obviously wanted to touch the hearts of sinners that were not prepared for this time of trouble, and finally I was impressed with his desire to encourage the saints by assuring them of the Sovereignty of God in all the end times activities to come.

A number of times the excitement of the believers relationship to these prophecies seemed to totally excite Dr. Jeremiah and you could tell by the look on the congregations faces that they knew there was encouragement in these messages from God relating to the end times.

Christ left the apostles with encouragement even in light of coming terrible times.

THE GREAT CONTRAST:

We have in this passage the greatest catastrophe and yet the greatest happening of all time. We see the sun darkened and the stars falling yet the coming of Christ and His angels to gather the saints.

Driving through Kansas City years ago the sky was dark as night when there was a crack in the sky that was sun bright. The crack gradually opened letting the sun stream into the darkness. The brightness of the sun was hurtful to the eye until it had time to adjust. The crack started rolling open and the clouds were split asunder revealing the brightest blue sky and sun I had ever seen.

I was near pulling to the side of the interstate to get out of the car and await the appearance of the Lord it was so gorgeous and so right a moment for His return. However not seeing Him I trudged on down the long road ahead of me to Oregon remembering the glorious sights of the moment, yet that sight will falter completely in light of the glory of His coming.

Verses 24-27

24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Mark is the only gospel that mentions this portion of the Lord’s words. The passage definitely adds a future aspect to the prophecy as well as the local limited aspect of 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem.

This passage must have been quite an encouragement to the apostles after the tribulation portion of the message. There would be the question of just when in the future this will occur. There is no indication that the rapture is accompanied by signs in the heavens, but rather as a thief in the night. There is also the aspect that we will be gone in a flash - not a time of appearing armies of angels in the heavens. The following text also adds credence to this being the 2nd Coming of the Lord in His final gathering of His Jewish people from the earth just prior to the judgment. It could also relate to the coming at the end of the tribulation to set aside the armies of the world and the setting up of the Millennial Kingdom.

Which? I think I would opt for the end of the tribulation but would not be able to prove it conclusively.

THE GREAT HOPE:

We now see another shift in the time back to the 70 AD aspect of the prophecy in that the Lord tells them that some of "this generation" will see these things come to pass. Or on the other hand the Lord may have meant the generation that sees the signs of the coming that He has just laid out for them. This would be the generation of the tribulation.

Since He is speaking to Jewish apostles, and knowing that they would be teaching primarily Jewish people of this prophecy, it would fit best if He were speaking of a Jewish generation - one that would see the signs and be present at the coming of the Lord.

Now, this to me fits best, but I must also wonder if the apostles did not see this as speaking to them. Did they not feel that the coming was going to be in their generation especially when tribulation started to come to the early church.

Just what their expectation was we do not know, but it would seem logical that they would see it as for them and their generation.

Verses 28-30

28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: 29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass know that it is nigh, even at the doors. 30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

Gill holds that it was the Lord’s own generation. "Not the generation of men, in general, or Jews in particular, nor of Christians; but that present generation of men, they should not all go off the stage of life,"

THE GREAT APPLICATION

I have mentioned an overlay that I used years ago to encourage believers to consider how they use their spare time. The overlay showed a man reclined in a recliner watching a ballgame on television on his way up in the rapture. Now we all know that our furniture and television will not be going up with us but it illustrates the idea that when the Lord comes how do you want Him to find you, working for Him or enjoying self. This is a question all of us ought to consideras we go about our daily lives. When He comes how will we be serving Him or ourselves? Will we find egg on our face or joy on His?

Verses 31-37

31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Eternality of the Word

This was a simple phrase, maybe even an off-handed phrase in the context "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." He has just been speaking of the coming end of all things, but contrasts that to the fact that His words to them will not pass away; they will not pass from history, they will not pass from memory, nor will they pass from eternity future.

In short He seems to be saying, mark my words, I have spoken to you and these things will come to pass. Actually more words of encouragement - there is a certainty to what He has been telling them. Have no doubt, just be ready and watch for them to come to pass.

Unknowableness of his coming

No man, no angel and not even the Son of God know of the time of the coming, only the Father knows. Now some raise the obvious question of why the Father would know the time and not the Son. One might note the Spirit is not mentioned as knowing or not knowing, thus it might be inferred He also knows though that would be an assumption. The text does say "but the father" indicating that He alone is the one that knows.

So, why would the Son not know, He is totally God thus if the Father knows, why would not the Son, do they keep secrets? No, secrets in the Godhead are not possible.

The obvious answer is that the Son while on earth is limited in some manner as to His relation to his Godly attributes. It has been covered numerous times in my studies that I believe that Christ limited some of His attributes, limited the use of some of His attributes, or was in some way limited in some of His attributes by the Father. There is no indication other than the passage that mentions (Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.") the humbling of the Lord but this is the logical conclusion after viewing the Scriptures. It would seem that the Son, while on earth did not have that knowledge, but there is no indication that before or after the incarnation that He did notknow the time of His coming.

Whether the time had been set prior to the incarnation is not known either. It might be assumed that the time was set amongst the decree/decrees before the foundation of the world and this would probably be a safe assumption.

Our command to watch:

The Lord gave a very clear illustration of His command to watch. The illustration puts it in a very clear understandable manner - watch lest you be sleeping when He comes. Our command is not to rest till He comes; it is not take a break till He comes, but watch and why are we to watch?

We are to watch so that we will be sure that we are active when He returns.

Now if I could just schedule His return for early in the morning when I am busy in Bible study over coffee I would be in good shape, but I just know He is going to come when I am napping in the mid-day. No, I doubt this is speaking of our literal sleeping, but certainly speaks to our activity or non-activity for Him and His work. We are to be about our heavenly father’s business not enjoying this life with all the leisure that we can find and buy.

A little further application:

As the apostles, we often focus on the future rather than upon the day that God has given us. We all too often focus on what we will one day do for Christ, but as the days go by we do little or nothing and one day we awake to the fact that we have done nothing and the future is here.

My father-in-law became terminally ill - one day a vibrant hard worker and in a day or two flat on his back for the majority of his last days. Cancer tends to wake people up to what they have not done.

His regret was all the people that he had not witnessed to through his life, but that was immediately corrected. Every person who came into his room was confronted in one way or another with Christ. Even in his funeral several came to the Lord through the service.

Do not put off doing for God today, for you probably will tomorrow as well - even the next day and the next and - correct that error in your life now, before it is the future.

It is our individual responsibility to wait while watching. It is not up to the pastor to tell us when, what and where to watch, it is up to us as believers. It is our Lord that is coming back, it is our Savior that died for our sins, and it is our Christ that will judge us as individuals. We will have no excuse when He returns if we are not active and serving Him.

I can just envision the finger pointing and the stream of excuses as the Lord calls each of us before the court and asks us why we were so lax, so lazy, and so intentionally cool toward His service. Last evening I happened upon Judge Judy and was caught by her high level of animation toward the pair before her. I stopped (not a usual habit) to watch for a few moments. The couple had lived together for a couple of years and had split up leaving them with some financial difficulties between them. Judge Judy was attempting to get to the facts but she in her short stature was having trouble wading through all the excuses, discrepancies and finger pointing.

Had Judge Judy had a two hour show it would be doubtful that she would have dug through the mess that this pair was weaving before her very eyes. Oh that we as believers would just step to the Lord’s judgment in honesty and forthrightness admitting to our many failings.

May we be waiting while laboring with a watchful eye to the heavens. It truly could be that His coming could be at any time but we know not when.

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Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Mark 13". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sdn/mark-13.html.