"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Olivet Discourse - I (13:1-23) INTRODUCTION 1. A challenging passage in the Bible is Jesus’ discourse on the Mount of Olives... a. Given shortly after He left the temple with His disciples b. Recorded in Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21 c. Commonly referred to as "The Olivet Discourse" -- Our focus in this study will be primarily on Mark’s account 2. It’s difficulty becomes apparent as one considers the diversity of interpretations... a. Some maintain it is entirely about events preceding the Lord’s second and final coming b. Others that it is entirely about events related to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. c. Yet others believe it contains reference to both events 3. Even those who say it refers to both events differ as to when a particular event is described... a. Some say that vs. 5-23 refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, and vs. 24 begins the discussion about the Lord’s second coming - cf. J.W. McGarvey b. Others contend that vs. 32 begins talking about the second coming c. Others say Jesus switches back and forth throughout the discourse [At this time, I view "The Olivet Discourse" in Mk 13 as depicting the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D., though it foreshadows His second coming. To see why, let’s start with...] I. THE SETTING OF THE OLIVET DISCOURSE A. THE WORDS OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE... 1. His parables depicting Israel’s rejection of Him, and its consequence a. The parable of the wicked vinedressers
- Mk 12:1-12; cf. Mt 21:33-46 b. Matthew includes the parable of two sons - cf. Mt 21:28-32 c. Also the parable of the wedding feast - cf. Mt 22:1-14 2. His condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees a. The warning against the pretentious scribes - Mk 12:38-40 b. Matthew records a more elaborate condemnation
- cf. Mt 23:1-28 c. Who would fill up the measure of their fathers’ guilt
- Mt 23:29-32 d. Who kill, crucify, scourge, and persecute the prophets, wise men, and scribes He would send to them - Mt 23:33-34 e. Upon whom the blood of all the righteous would come, upon that very generation - Mt 23:35-36 3. His lamentation over Jerusalem, recorded by Matthew a. The city who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her - cf. Mt 23:37 b. The city unwilling to accept the love shown to her
- cf. Mt 23:37 c. Whose house would be left desolate - Mt 23:38-39 B. THE PROPHECY OF JESUS ABOUT THE TEMPLE... 1. After his disciples were showing Him the buildings of temple - Mk 13:1 2. Declaring that not one stone would be left upon another - Mk13:2 C. THE QUESTIONS OF THE DISCIPLES... 1. In Mark’s gospel, two questions are asked - Mk 13:4 a. "When will these things be?" b. "What will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?" 2. In Luke’s gospel, the two questions are similar - Lk 21:7 a. "When will these things be?" b. "What sign will there be when these things are about to take place?" 3. In Matthew’s gospel, the second question is worded differently - Mt 24:3 a. "When will these things be?" b. "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" 4. Observations regarding these questions: a. Only Matthew makes reference to a "coming" and "end of the age" a. Matthew wrote his gospel for a Jewish audience 1) Who would likely view the destruction of temple as a judgment against Jerusalem and the complete end of the Jewish age (as evidently His disciples did) 2) Re: the end of the Jewish age - the end began with the death of Jesus making the OT covenant obsolete
(He 9:15-16); it ended in fullness with the destruction of the temple and cessation of its OT covenantal sacrifices (cf. He 8:13) b. Mark and Luke wrote their gospels to Gentiles 1) To avoid misunderstanding by non-Jewish readers, the disciples’ questions are worded to reflect what the Olivet discourse is about 2) I.e., the destruction of the temple (i.e., "these things") and the sign when its destruction would be imminent [When the setting leading up to "The Olivet Discourse" is carefully considered, the subject becomes clear. The destruction of the temple is under consideration, not the second coming of Christ. Now let’s proceed to examine more closely...] II. THE OLIVET DISCOURSE A. WHAT WILL NOT BE THE SIGN... 1. Be careful that none deceive you, claiming to be the Christ - Mk 13:5-6 2. Don’t be troubled by wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilence - Mk 13:7-8 a. Such things will come, but the end (destruction of the temple) is not yet b. They are only the beginning of sorrows (not the sign of the end) 3. Anticipate persecution and hard times - Mk 13:9-13 a. You will be killed and hated for His name’s sake b. Many will be offended, betray one another, and hate one another c. False prophets will deceive many d. The love of many will grow cold because of lawlessness e. But he who endures to "the end" will be saved -- "the end" refers here: 1) Not to the second coming (implying one must live until Christ comes again) 2) Nor to the destruction of Jerusalem (implying once one has survived that event, one’s salvation is secured) 3) But to the end of one’s life - cf. Re 2:10 4. The gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all nations
- Mk 13:10 a. As a witness to all the nations - cf. Mt 24:14 b. Then the end (the destruction of the temple) will come - cf. Mt 24:14 1) This would end the Jewish sacrifices, and other remnants of OT worship 2) That which was nailed to the cross, abolished by Jesus’ death, would pass away
- cf. Col 2:14-17; Ep 2:14-16; He 8:13 c. Was the gospel preached to all nations prior to the destruction of the temple? 1) Note what Paul wrote prior to 70 A.D.
- Ro 10:16-18; Col 1:23 2) Whether we take Jesus’ and Paul’s words as literal or accommodative, according to Paul it had! B. WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN... 1. The "abomination of desolation" - Mk 13:14 a. Standing where it ought not (the holy city Jerusalem) b. As foretold by Daniel - cf. Dan 9:26-27 2. When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies - cf. Lk 21:20 a. Luke therefore explains the "abomination of desolation" b. In 70 A.D., Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem prior to destroying it and the temple 3. Thus Jesus answers the disciples’ question: "What sign will there be when these things are about to take place?" C. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SEE THE SIGN... 1. Those in Judea are to flee to the mountains - Mk 13:14-20 a. Don’t delay by going to your homes and getting your clothes b. It will be a difficult time for pregnant and nursing mothers c. Pray that your flight be not in winter (when travel is difficult) or on the Sabbath (when city gates are closed to travel) d. For there will be "great tribulation", though shortened for the elect’s sake 1) Luke specifies the nature of this tribulation
- Lk 21:23b-24 2) A Jewish general taking captive by the Romans just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 offered this summary: a) All the calamities which had befallen any nation from the beginning of the world were but small in comparison with those of the Jews b) In the siege of Jerusalem, no fewer than 1,100,000 perished (it was during the time of the Passover, when more than 3,000,000 Jews were assembled) c) In surrounding provinces 250,000 were slain d) 97,000 were taken captive, some killed by beasts in Roman theaters, some sent to work in Egypt, others sold as slaves -- Flavius Josephus, Jewish Wars, quoted by Barnes on Matthew 3) The "elect" were Christians, spared by a shortened siege a) The Jews in the city engaged the Romans in battle b) Titus, the Roman general, being called to return to Rome, proceeded to end the siege and stormed the city - Barnes Commentary on Matthew 2. Don’t be misled by false christs and false prophets
- Mk 13:21-23 a. Even those who show great signs and wonders to deceive b. For the coming (judgment) of the Son of Man will be like lightning across the sky 1) Do not expect to find Him in the desert or in inner rooms 2) When He comes in judgment, it will be swift
- cf. Lk 17:22-24 CONCLUSION (Part One) 1. So far, all this depicts a local, escapable judgment... a. Where Jesus warned those in Judea of what is to come - Mk 13:23 b. Where they are given a sign to let them know when to flee
- Mk 13:14 2. It does not fit a worldwide, inescapable judgment... a. As will characterize the second coming of Christ - 2Pe 3:10-12 b. As Paul taught the Christians in Thessalonica
- cf. 1Th 5:2-3; 2Th 1:7-10 3. Our next study will continue to examine "The Olivet Discourse", starting with verse 24... a. Which certainly sounds like the second coming of Christ, but is it? b. Or was Jesus still describing events pertaining to the destruction of Jerusalem? Eusebius (ca. 300 A.D.) in his "Ecclesiastical History" wrote that Christians heeded the warnings of Jesus in Matthew 24, and fled Jerusalem when it was surrounded by the Roman army. May we likewise heed the words of Jesus: * not be misled by false prophets and false christs * not be troubled by wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, or even persecution * enduring to the end by remaining faithful to Him ...looking forward to His final coming at the Last Day!