Mark 13:1-37 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. Jesus acknowledges the greatness of the temple complex; but then He announces that this entire massive structure shall be totally destroyed (verse 2). What are the circumstances and events leading up to that day of the temple’s destruction? See Mark 13:5-9 (printed below)

Then Jesus began to teach them by saying, Be careful that no one leads you astray. (6) Many shall come in my name, saying, I am he; but they shall lead many astray. (7) When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. It is necessary for these things to happen; but the end has not yet come—(8) for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there shall be earthquakes in various places; there shall be famines—these things are the beginning of birth pains. (9) But watch out for yourselves; because they will hand you over to councils; and in synagogues you shall be beaten; and you shall stand before governors and kings for my sake, to be a testimony to them. (Mark 13:5-9)

This period of time would be characterized by the appearance of many false Christs (verses 5-6). These false Messiahs would be political and revolutionary figures, as such they would incur the opposition of Rome and, consequently, embroil Palestine in numerous armed conflicts (verses 7-8). The church will be persecuted at the hands of the Jews (verse 9), see Acts 4:1-3, 5:40 and 8:1.

2. What counsel and assurance does Jesus give His disciples in Mark 13:11 (printed below?)

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what you will say; rather, speak whatever words are given to you in that hour; for it is not you who are speaking, but the Holy Spirit. (Mark 13:11)

When His disciples are arrested and made to stand trial, they need not worry about what they will say in their defense: the Holy Spirit will give them the words to speak and will Himself speak through them.

3. What warning does Jesus give in verses 12-13 (printed below?)

Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father will betray his child; and children will stand up against parents and cause them to be put to death. (13) You shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake; but whoever endures to the end, he shall be saved. (Mark 13:12-13)

Believers can expect to be betrayed by members of their own family and be caused by them to be put to death. Christians will be hated by all men for Jesus’ sake. Those who endure to the end shall be saved.

4. What is Jesus speaking about in Mark 13:14-23 (printed below?) Note His reference to fleeing from Judea (verse 14).

But when you see “the abomination that causes desolation” standing where it ought not (let him who reads understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (15) Let him who is on the housetop not go down nor enter his house to retrieve anything from his house. (16) Let him who is in the field not return home to get his cloak. (17) How dreadful will it be for those women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing in those days! (18) Pray that these things will not occur in the winter. (19) Those shall be days of tribulation, such as has not occurred from the beginning, when God created the world, until now, and never shall occur again. (20) If the Lord had not shortened those days, no one would survive; but for the elect’s sake, whom he chose, he has shortened those days. (21) At that time if anyone shall say to you, Look, here is the Christ! Or, Look, there he is! Do not believe him; (22) because false Christs and false prophets shall appear, and shall perform signs and wonders, in order that they might, if possible, lead the elect astray. (23) So beware. Listen, I have told you all these things in advance. (Mark 13:14-23)

In Mark 14:14-23 Jesus is speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem that would take place within a generation after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. In A.D. 70 the Roman armies conquered the city of Jerusalem and desecrated the temple by erecting a statue of Zeus. This is what Jesus is referring to when He speaks about “the abomination that causes desolation.”

5. What cataclysmic events will occur at the time of Christ’s Second Coming? See Mark 13:24-27 (printed below).

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, (25) and the stars shall fall from the heavens, and the heavenly bodies shall be shaken. (26) Then they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. (27) And then he shall send out the angels, and he shall gather together his elect from the four winds—from the most distant part of the earth to the most distant part of heaven. (Mark 13:24-27)

Not only the earth, but the entire universe, will be in upheaval at the time of our Lord’s return (verses 24-25). All mankind will witness the Lord Jesus coming on the clouds with power and great glory (verse 26). At that time the Lord Jesus will send out His angels to gather unto Himself all of His elect (verse 27).