Mark 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!

Mark 13:2 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.

Mark 13:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,

Mark 13:4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

 

“And” – continuing the narrative from the previous chapter…

 

This is Mark’s version of end time events, better known as The Olivet Discourse, also recorded in Matthew 24 and Luke 21.  The commentary on these accounts in my journal on Matthew notes the comparisons and differences in greater detail than I will in this journal.

 

As Jesus and His disciples left the temple, they pointed out to Him the great stones used in the buildings.  Jesus’ answer must have shocked them.  He answered that the time would come when not one stone would be left standing on top of another.  In other words, the temple complex would be completely destroyed.

 

They evidently stopped to rest on the Mount of Olives directly across from the temple.  Peter, James, John and Andrew went to talk with Him privately and asked Him when that would happen.  They also asked Him to identify the sign that would signal His prophecy would be fulfilled.

 

We know from history that the legions of Titus fulfilled this prophecy of the temple’s destruction in 70 AD.

 

David Guzik gives a good summary of events:  “It is said that at the fall of Jerusalem, the last surviving Jews of the city fled to the temple, because it was the strongest, most secure building in the city. Roman soldiers surrounded it, and one drunken soldier started a fire that soon engulfed the whole building. Ornate gold detail work in the roof melted down in the cracks between the stone walls of the temple, and to retrieve the gold, the Roman commander ordered that the temple be dismantled stone by stone. The destruction was so complete that today, they have true difficulty learning exactly where the temple was.”

 

Mark 13:5 ¶ And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:

Mark 13:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

 

We know from Matthew’s account that the disciples had also asked Him about the signs of His return to establish the kingdom; they seemed to think that the destruction of the temple and the coming of Jesus to establish the kingdom were directly related.  It seems that Jesus begins to address His coming to establish the kingdom at this point.  He first warns the disciples to be aware and watch out for deceivers and impostors.  He told them that many would come in His name claiming to be the Messiah, and they would be successful in deceiving many.

 

Mark 13:7 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.

Mark 13:8 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 next tells the disciples that they will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  This should not trouble them, however, because that is to be expected; that is not a sign of the end (of man’s rule and the establishment of Messiah’s according to their expectation).  In fact, nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  The Greek indicates “nation” is a reference to ethnicity and Gentile people.  “Kingdom” is a reference to people subject to the same ruling authority.  So it should not surprise them to see wars among those of different races as well as wars between different countries and/or kingdoms.

 

Jesus also declared that there would be earthquakes in various places, as well as famines and troubles (disturbances and sedition).  Sedition describes when people are incited to rebel against the governing authority.   He then compared these things as “the beginnings of sorrows,” a reference to the labor pains associated with childbirth.  This seems to indicate that these events will occur with more intensity and frequency as the time for His return approaches.

 

I think, considering the news of the last decade in particular, one can’t help but recognize that to be an apt description of the state of nations that began with the uprising in Tunisia in 2007 and that continues to this present day.  And consider this quote from “The Extinction Protocol” website dated 4-17-16:  “The average rate of big earthquakes — those larger than magnitude 7 — has been 10 per year since 1979, the study reports. That rate rose to 12.5 per year starting in 1992, and then jumped to 16.7 per year starting in 2010 — a 65 percent increase compared to the rate since 1979. This increase accelerated in the first three months of 2014 to more than double the average since 1979, the researchers went on to report.”

 

It’s also interesting to note the comparison to seals 1-4 in chapter six of Revelation, emphasizing that the birth pains will culminate in the judgment to come.

 

Revelation 6:1–8 “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.  [My note:  This is Satan coming to take control of the world eventually by indwelling the person of the final Antichrist—the ultimate false Christ.]  And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.  [My note:  represents famine]  And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

 

Mark 13:9 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.

 

Jesus next warns His followers that they will be delivered up before the courts (the Greek makes specific reference to the Sanhedrin).  They will also be beaten by the leaders of the synagogues and brought before Gentile ruling authorities because they have chosen to follow Him.  These actions will actually backfire in that they will serve as testimony against them come judgment day. 

 

Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

 

Again, history confirms that this was true of the disciples and has continued to be true of the followers of Jesus throughout history and including current times.

 

Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

 

Jesus goes on to declare that the gospel must first be published among all nations.  I personally believe this to be a reference to an event recorded in Revelation.

 

Revelation 14:6 “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people….”

 

This verse seems to be out of place, but it actually ties the verses before and after it together.  The disciples would face persecution because of their declaration of the gospel, so Jesus assures them that the gospel will be preached throughout the world despite how people respond to them. 

 

Mark 13:11 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.

 

Jesus goes on to tell them not to worry about how to answer their accusers.  He promised that the Holy Spirit would give them the words to speak to accomplish God’s purpose. 

 

In Luke’s record Jesus makes it clear that He is the one that will give them what to say, yet another declaration that He is one with the Spirit of God.

 

Luke 21:15 “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.”

 

Mark 13:12 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.

Mark 13:13 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.

 

These verses are some of the saddest verses describing the times that will lead to the return of Jesus as King.  Followers of Jesus can expect to be betrayed by parents, siblings, kinfolk, and friends—some even to the point to death.  In fact, those who do not accept Jesus will show hatred toward true followers of Jesus.  Those who endure (in their faith is implied) to the end (either their death or Jesus’ return) will be saved. 

 

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

            “temptation” – putting to proof

 

One would like to think that you could always count on the support of family, but the reality is that you can’t.  The family as established by God is becoming a relic of the past, and the bonds that bind becoming weaker and weaker.  Divorce is widespread, respect for life is continuing a downward spiral, abortion is rampant, cultural morals are rapidly being replaced by evil practices, etc.  Tolerance toward all is supposed to be the standard; however, it is obvious that those of us who hold fast to the truth of the word of God are not included in the “all.”  I truly never thought the day would come that I would see immorality embraced and Christians persecuted in America.  Well, acceptance of immorality is here, and the persecution of Christians has begun in the court system and the public forum.  I pray that the LORD will strengthen me, as well as those I love, in our faith so that we choose to glorify Him whatever the cost.

 

Mark 13:14a ¶ 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,)

 

The student of prophecy will recognize this sign as one that occurs in the midst of the 70th week of Daniel, the last 7 years on planet earth before the return of Jesus.  Jesus states that the Prophet Daniel foretold this event—the abomination of desolation. 

 

Daniel 12:11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”

 

This makes obvious reference to a desecration of the temple, the place of sacrifice, which means that there will be a functioning temple prior to the occurrence of the event being referenced.  This abomination would be a thing or person standing where it ought not.  “The holy place” and “where it ought not” could reference any part of the temple, the whole of which is considered holy, but more likely refers to the inner sanctum, the holy of holies.  There is no indication in history that such an abomination was perpetrated when Titus and his armies came through in 70AD; they were intent on total destruction.

 

Paul makes it fairly clear in his second letter to the Thessalonians what this abomination will be.  It will be when the Antichrist makes the declaration that he is “God” from the temple, probably from the most holy place.

 

2Thessalonians 2:3-4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

 

“let him that readeth understand” - The gospel narratives were written to be read by others.  It also indicates to me that the writers were aware that they might not be around at the time this event occurred.  The word for readeth was quite interesting:  “ajnaginw an-ag-in-oceę-ko; to know again, i.e. (by extension) to read….”

 

This implies that this message should serve as a reminder of something of which you already have knowledge.  The Greek for understand means to exercise the mind in order to comprehend.  The statement implies that one should be able to comprehend and take action when the event comes about.

 

Mark 13:14b …then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

Mark 13:15 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:

Mark 13:16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.

Mark 13:17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Mark 13:18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

 

This part of the message is directed mainly to the Jewish people, but I think would be pertinent to all believers in the area.  The immediate danger is to those in Judea, a reference to the southernmost part of Israel.  This would make sense, since the sign to flee is the abomination of desolation taking place in the temple in Jerusalem; it marks the point in time when the Antichrist will begin to show his true colors as the agent of Satan.  I believe it is the time that Satan is thrown out of heaven and indwells the Antichrist then sets out to persecute Israel.

 

Revelation 12:12-14Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.  And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”

 

The danger is imminent and the response should be immediate and without hesitation.  No thought should be given to material possessions.  Obviously, being with child would slow a person down and winter weather can make travel more hazardous.  Matthew makes the obvious inclusion to his targeted audience (the Jews) regarding the hardship of having to flee on the Sabbath.  It would do them well to remember at that time that the law was made for man’s benefit, as David did when he and his men took the shewbread from the temple to eat because they were hungry (an example Jesus used in teaching this truth).  (CF Matthew 12, Mark 2, Luke 6)

 

Mark 2:27 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath….”

 

Mark 13:19 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.

 

“in those days” = the time of the desecration of the temple. 

 

Notice again that it is not just one day, but days, which is an indefinite period of time.  My study of prophecy indicates that this will happen at the midpoint of the 70th week and is describing the beginning of the time we call the great tribulation, the last half of the 70th week.

 

The prophet Daniel pinpoints the timing of the breaking of the covenant and the beginning of trouble for Israel—the middle of the week, after the first 3.5 years; and Revelation declares that the remnant of Israel will be protected for the last 3.5 years—1,260 days.  I believe this is referencing the protection provided those that are being told to flee.

 

Daniel 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

 

Revelation 12:6 “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days….”

 

Jesus declared that this time of tribulation the worst that has or will ever impact planet earth.  This cannot be said of the destruction caused by Titus and his armies in 70AD. 

 

These verses echo the prophecy given to Daniel:  "There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time" (12:1).

 

Mark 13:20 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.

 

“shortened” = koloboo, kol-ob-oę-o; from a derivative of the base of 2849…abridge:—shorten.       2849. (dwarf); properly, to curtail… (or reserve for infliction)

 

As I meditated on the word shortened, the indication is that it means to curtail—that it references a specific amount of time reserved for infliction.  In other words, if God in His omniscience had not determined the specific timeframe with a predetermined end point, the result would have been the elimination of “flesh” on planet earth.  This has not really been a possibility until more recent times with the advent of nuclear technology and the development of biological and chemical warfare.

 

God is specifically safeguarding the existence of the remnant of Israel, His chosen people; but I think it also includes the whole body of believers on earth at that time, those who were saved as a result of the preaching and testimony of the two prophets/witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish witnesses sealed at the beginning of that period of time.  (cf Revelation 7)

 

Mark 13:21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

 

“then” – During the timeframe after the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation.

 

This statement is very appropriate at this time, since people are most susceptible to deceit when their need is great and things look hopeless.  Anyone who claims to be able to provide deliverance and can back up that claim with signs and wonders will find people eager to follow him.  Jesus is emphasizing that they are not to believe anyone claiming to be the Messiah. 

 

Jesus is warning in advance that these false Christs and prophets will be able to do great signs and wonders.  The Greek for the word “signs” implies miracles, the supernatural.  These signs and wonders will be so convincing that even the “elect,” those that are set apart as belong to God, would be deceived—if that were possible.  The obvious implication here is that it will not be possible.  I believe that is because the Lord protects His sheep (“...no one can take them out of His hand” John 10:28-29).  Still, the Lord reminds them that they are to expect these powerful impostors; they are not to be deceived just because someone can work “miracles.” 

 

Revelation 13:13 “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men….” [my note: speaking of the false prophet]

 

2 Thessalonians 2:9 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders….” [my note: speaking of the Antichrist]

 

Mark 13:24 ¶ But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

Mark 13:25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

 

“Son of man” = Jesus

 

Context is clear that this is referencing events after the abomination of desolation during the subsequent great tribulation period, so I think this has to be associated with the vial judgments just preceding the Lord’s visible return as described in Revelation.

 

Revelation 1:5–7 “And from Jesus Christ….Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”

 

Revelation 19:11–16 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

 

Other places in the Old Testament that could tie in to these verses are:

 

Joel 3:15-16 “The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.  The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake….”

This section of Joel is a reference to the battle of Armageddon.

 

Isaiah 13:9-13 “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine….Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”

            This chapter in Isaiah is a prophecy concerning the destruction of Babylon, the kingdom of the Antichrist.

 

Though there are many direct connections in the prophecies given in the scripture, there is no reason to assume that we have been given every piece of the puzzle—just every piece of the puzzle we need to stay strong in the faith and live victoriously as we await His coming.

 

Mark 13:27 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.

 

“he” = the Son of Man, Jesus

“his elect” = primarily a reference to the people of Israel as God’s chosen people,

 

Trumpets have many uses in the scripture that are distinguished by how trumpet is blown.

 

1Corinthians 14:7-8 “And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”

 

This “sound” of a trumpet could also reference the voice of God as described in Revelation.

 

Revelation 1:10-11 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last….”

 

It has always been God’s intent to regather all of Israel and that all of Israel should be saved.

 

Ezekiel 37:11 & 13-14a “Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel….And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land….”

 

Romans 11:26 “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob….”

 

I believe this promise, this regathering of all Jewish people, will be completely fulfilled when the Lord returns as King and places Israel in the position of prominence among the nations.  This is what is being pictured here.

 

Mark 13:28 ¶ Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:

Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.

Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

 

I know that many prophecy scholars equate the fig tree with Israel; but I personally don’t see this as the primary point being made here, although I do believe that the truth of Israel’s rebirth is the most significant sign regarding the nearness of the second coming of Jesus.  The Lord is drawing a word picture here.  According to Eerdman’s Dictionary, the first fruit of the fig tree appears in February before the leaves appear in April/June; when the leaves appear, the fruit is usually ripe.  When you see the leaves shooting forth on the fig tree, you know that summer is right around the corner.  Luke even adds the phrase “and all the trees” since the sprouting of the leaves on the trees in spring are the harbinger of summer soon to come.  So, just as the sprouting of leaves is a sign that summer is coming, the emergence of the signs previously discussed are announcing that the kingdom of God is at hand—the return of Jesus to rule as King on planet earth.

 

Which generation?  The one that sees the signs.  Once hard labor sets in, the baby is soon to follow.  These signs include events that are a part of the 70th week of Daniel, the tribulation period, which is seven years long.  The generation that sees these last labor pains will see the fulfillment of the prophecy.

 

Note:  False labor sometimes precedes onset of actual labor.  It is similar to actual birth pains, but is premature.  Events could happen similar to the birth pains before actual labor begins—but even false labor is a signal of labor soon to commence.  Labor pains that produce birth continue to increase in intensity and frequency until birth occurs.

 

One of the older writers offers another opinion.  In his book The Last Times, Joseph Seiss defines as generation as “a race, a class, a family of people,” and the Greek supports his definition.  His conclusion:  “The plain meaning of the Savior is that the family of Abraham, the Israelitish people, should not pass out of existence as a distinct class or race before all these predictions should be verified.”  

 

I think both opinions are valid.

 

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

 

This verse is self-explanatory.  There will be a new heaven and earth, but God’s word is sure and everlasting.

 

Isaiah 51:6 “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”

 

Isaiah 65:17 “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”

 

2Peter 3:13 “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

 

Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

 

However, this seems to contradict other verses in scripture.

 

Isaiah 45:17 “But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.”

Ephesians 3:21 “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

 

When you look at the Greek for the word “world,” it makes reference to perpetuity and the Messianic period.  Peter helps us to understand.

 

2 Peter 3:12-13 “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

 

The word “new” in the last verse from Peter quoted above states, “new (especially in freshness).  I think that because of the decay and wasting away of the heavens and earth caused by the curse of sin, God will destroy the old one by fire and create a new one from its ashes.  (At least, that is how I rectify these ideas.)  Maybe this will be similar to creation as recorded in Genesis after the time of Satan’s fall and the creation of earth for mankind.  (See notes on Genesis 1.)

 

There is a verse in Colossians that tells us that God is the glue that holds everything together.

 

Colossians 1:17 “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

 

Maybe this is a reference to His letting go for a moment only to speak the word to bring it back together as a “new” creation. 

 

In contrast to the creation as we know it decaying and perishing and needing to be renewed, the word of God will never pass away.  Its truth will stand for all eternity.

 

Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

 

What day and hour?  The day that Christ will return to earth as King has been the subject.  This is a little bit confusing in that once the 70th week of Daniel starts, a specific timeline is given regarding its duration.  I think the key is that no one before those who experience the tribulation will have a clue regarding the day or hour.  Even those who live through the tribulation will not be able to be specific as to the hour.

 

The other hard thing to understand is that the Father has information that the Son does not have.  Again, I think the answer is found in the fact that the Son at the time of this prophecy is functioning in the human realm through the leadership and revelation of the Spirit.  Until He was resurrected to His glorified state, He was just as dependent on revelation through the Spirit as we are now.  It is also thought-provoking to know that neither do the angels in heaven know the appointed time.  They know the plan and they helped reveal it to John.  They just don’t know the exact timing.

 

I found a helpful explanation by Dr. George Madray regarding his commentary on the parallel passage in Matthew:

 

“The above passage (Matt. 24:36) was certainly true while Christ appeared in human flesh, but it did not pertain to Christ in His post-resurrection/glorified state…nor does it pertain to all people future to the time that it was stated.  It is axiomatic, that all will know when it is all over. The words translated there as "no one knows" do not mean "no one will know." Actually, the word in the Greek is eido, which is used in the perfect tense and describes an action which is viewed as past tense. Accordingly, it should be translated as it is in the YLT  (Young’s Literal Translation) as "no one hath known." No one having known before Christ’s resurrection in any way precludes everyone from knowing later.  Therefore, let us not stumble over one passage, but continue to seek from the prophetic word of God.”

 

From the perspective of the Old Testament saints, the coming of the Messiah would end up being a two-part process—first as the Suffering Servant and next as Victorious King.   That could lend credence to the same type of perspective in the eyes of the New Testament saints—first as Deliverer of the church and next as Victorious King.

 

Although the Greek for the words day and hour allow for more general time references, it would seem that their use as a unit is significant to a specific day and hour which would include the thought of a specific year. 

 

Mark 13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

 

“take heed” = behold, beware, perceive

“watch” = to be sleepless; the root word defined sleep as “spiritual torpor” “torpor” = inactivity, insensibility, numbness

“pray” = to God, to supplicate, to entreat, to ask for humbly and earnestly

 

This is addressing spiritual readiness.  We are to be perceptive of what is happening around us—able to recognize the signs given by the Lord.  We are to be spiritually alert and not affected by the world’s outlook.

 

2Peter 3:4 “And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

 

We are to be approaching God with earnestness and eagerness for Jesus to return, even though we don’t know when that will be.  We can rest assured that He will return at the perfect time in accordance with the will of the Father. 

 

In context, I know this is talking about Jesus coming to set up His kingdom.  But I believe the same truth applies to the rapture.  God has appointed a certain time unknown to us. No one will be left out because the timing was off.  I always take comfort in this verse from John when thinking about lost loved ones as I yearn for Him to come and take us home to heaven.

 

John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

 

Mark 13:34 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.

Mark 13:35 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:

Mark 13:36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

Mark 13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

 

Jesus explains that the time between His first and second comings can be illustrated by a man who is taking a journey; there is no indication of how long he will be gone.  Knowing that he will be gone for an indefinite period time, he delegates duties to each of his servants and commands the porter to watch/be vigilant.  The porter is the one that controls entrance to his property.

 

Jesus then makes the application to his audience.  You are supposed to stay vigilant and busy at your assigned duties, because you don’t know when I am coming back.  It could be at any time of the day or night.  Obviously, He is not saying that we are not supposed to sleep; we are to stay diligent with our responsibilities—not being negligent—motivated by the fact that He will return.  That constant awareness should make us want to be found doing His will when He returns.

 

The NIV Commentary provides this insight:  “Evening, midnight, rooster crowing, and dawn are the names of the four watches of the night the Romans used.”

 

Verse 37 is a statement that what is being said to this small group of Jewish believers is applicable to all believers.