Mark Chapter 13
Mark 13:1 (TPT) As Jesus was leaving the temple courts, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! And what tremendous stones were used to build all this!”
Benson: See what manner of stones, &c. — Our Lord, in the conclusion of his lamentation over Jerusalem, (Mat_23:38-39,) had declared that the temple should never be favoured with his presence any more; a declaration which, doubtless, appeared very strange to the disciples, and affected them much. For which reason they stopped him as he was going away, and desired him to see what a fine, sumptuous building the temple was: insinuating, probably, that they were surprised to hear him talk of leaving it desolate, for that so rich and glorious a fabric ought not to be deserted rashly.
Guzik: Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
- This temple was originally rebuilt by Zerubbabel and Ezra (Ezr_6:15), but greatly expanded and improved by Herod. It was the center of Jewish life for almost a thousand years - so much so, that it was customary to swear by the temple (Mat_23:16), and speaking against the temple could be considered blasphemy (Act_6:13).
ii. After Herod’s work, the temple was huge - nearly 500 yards long and 400 yards wide. Herod’s rebuilding started in 19 B.C., and was not completed until 63 A.D., taking more than eighty years. The magnificent temple compound was finished only seven years before it was destroyed. (https://www.bible-history.com/jewishtemple/jewish_templeherods_temple00000006.htm)
iii. The beauty of the ancient temple is well documented. The Jewish historian Josephus says that the temple was covered on the outside with gold plates that were so brilliant that when the sun shone on them it blinded any observer. Where there wasn’t gold, there were blocks of marble of such a pure white that strangers, from a distance, thought there was snow on the temple.
iv. The comment of the disciples - see what manner of stones and what buildings are here - is especially appropriate given the massive stones Herod used in building the temple. Today, tourists can see some of these massive stones, at least the ones used to build merely the retaining wall for the temple compound. These cut, quarried blocks of limestone are so big - some are 50 feet wide, 25 feet high, and 15 feet deep - that modern construction cranes could not life them. Archaeologists are still not completely certain how these stones were cut, transported, and placed with such precision that they don’t even need mortar.
v. As great as the temple was, Jesus never hesitated to claim that He was greater than the temple (Mat_12:5). For man Jews of that day, the temple had become an idol - it subtly began to mean more to the people than God Himself meant. The temple was a good thing, but good things can become the worst idols; and sometimes God sours even good things that we allow to become our idols. God is in the habit of destroying our idols.
Mark 13:2 (TPT) Jesus turned to them and said, “Take a good look at all these enormous buildings, for I’m telling you, there will not be one stone left upon another. It will all be leveled!”
Matthew 23:37-39 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! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Guzik: Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down: Some 40 years after Jesus said this, there was a widespread Jewish revolution against the Romans in Palestine, and the rebels enjoyed many early successes. But ultimately, Rome crushed the Jews. Jerusalem was leveled, including the temple - just as Jesus said.
- 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.
- “Now, as soon as the army had no more people to kill or plunder . . . Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple . . . this was the end which Jerusalem came to.” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 7.1.1) Interestingly, Josephus tells us that the Romans never intended to destroy the temple, but were driven to it by the fierceness of Jewish opposition and by accident. (Wars of the Jews, 6.4)
c. The literal fulfillment of this prophecy establishes the tone for the rest of the prophecies in the chapter. We should expect a literal fulfillment for these other prophecies also.
VWS: Thrown down (καταλυθῇ) Rather, loosened down. A very graphic word, implying gradual demolition.
Mark 13:3 (Will) As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew, in a private group, were asking Him,
Guzik: (Mar_13:3-4) Jesus’ prediction brings up two questions in the minds of His disciples.
As He sat on the Mount of Olives: The Mount of Olives is a hill that rises above the temple mount. In between the temple mount and the Mount of Olives there is a small valley, the Kidron Valley. You can stand on the Mount of Olives and have see a dramatic view of the temple mount.
JFB: And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, over against the temple — On their way from Jerusalem to Bethany they would cross Mount Olivet; on its summit He seats Himself, over against the temple, having the city all spread out under His eye. How graphically is this set before us by our Evangelist!
Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately — The other Evangelists tell us merely that “the disciples” did so. But Mark not only says that it was four of them, but names them; and they were the first quarternion of the Twelve.
Mark 13:4 (Wey) "Tell us, When will these things be? and what will be the sign when all these predictions are on the point of being fulfilled?"
Gill: and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? And what is the sign of his coming, and of the end of the world, as Matthew relates; See Gill on Mat_24:3.
Guzik: Tell us, when will these things be? As Jesus sat with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, they could see the majestic structure of the temple. With this view, the first question in the mind of the disciples was about the destruction of the temple. Jesus said it would be destroyed, and they wanted to know when. Mark does not record Jesus’ answer to this first question, but Luke does in Luk_21:8-23.
What will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled? The second question is answered in the remainder of Mark 13.
This question was asked perhaps as they remembered the events surrounding the last temple’s destruction: the temple was destroyed in the context of national judgment and exile. If the temple will be destroyed, then what will become of Israel and the Jews?
Darby: It will be observed, that the disciples' question takes only a general view of the subject which pre-occupied them. They ask when the judgment upon the temple and all these things shall be fulfilled. And from Verses 9-13 (Mar_13:9-13), although some circumstances found in Matthew 24 are included, the passage relates even more to that which is said in Matthew 10. It speaks of the service which the disciples would accomplish in the midst of Israel, and in testimony against persecuting authorities, the gospel being preached in all nations before the end came. They were, as preachers, to fill the place which Jesus had occupied among the people, only that the testimony was to extend much farther. It would be in the face of all possible suffering and most trying persecutions.
But there would be a moment when this service should end. The well-known sign of the abomination that maketh desolate would point it out. They were then to flee. These would be the days of unparalleled distress, and of signs and wonders, which, if it were possible, would deceive the very elect. But they were forewarned. Everything should be shaken after that time, and the Son of man should come. Power should take the place of testimony, and the Son of man should gather together His elect (of Israel) from all parts of the earth.
Mark 13:5 (TPT) Jesus answered, “At that time deception will run rampant. So beware that you’re not fooled!
Guzik: Take heed that no one deceives you: Jesus points out the trial that can come to His followers from false messiahs, who come in His name. They will pretend to be Jesus, or representatives of Jesus, but will not be true representatives of Jesus at all.
Russell: Take heed -- Appears four times in this chapter: lest any one deceive you (verse 5); to yourselves, what ye say and do (verse 9); to what I have told you (verse 23) and, watch and pray (verse 33).
Gill: And Jesus answered and said unto them,.... Not to indulge their curiosity, but to instruct them in things useful to be known, and which might be cautions to them and others, against deceivers; confirm them in the faith of himself, when they should see his predictions accomplished; and be directions to them, of what might shortly be expected.
Take heed that no man deceive you: by pretending to come from God with a new revelation, setting himself up for the Messiah, after my departure; suggesting himself to be the person designed by God to be the deliverer of Israel, and to be sent by him, to set up a temporal kingdom, in great worldly splendour and glory; promising great names, and high places of honour and trust in it; things which Christ knew his disciples were fond of, and were in danger of being ensnared by; and therefore gives them this suitable and seasonable advice, and caution.
Do you take heed?
How do you do make sure you are not fooled?
Mark 13:6 (TPT) For many will appear on the scene claiming my authority or saying about themselves, ‘I am God’s Anointed,’ and they will lead many astray.
Russell: Saying, I am Christ -- Not the fanatics who from time to time have claimed to be Christ and have deceived but few, but the great church systems of men which have so counterfeited the genuine Messiah (Head and Body) as to partially deceive many.
JFB: and shall deceive many — “Go ye not therefore after them” (Luk_21:8). The reference here seems not to be to pretended Messiahs, deceiving those who rejected the claims of Jesus, of whom indeed there were plenty - for our Lord is addressing His own genuine disciples - but to persons pretending to be Jesus Himself, returned in glory to take possession of His kingdom. This gives peculiar force to the words, “Go ye not therefore after them.”
Mark 13:7 (TPT) You will hear rumors of wars nearby, with more rumors of wars to come. Make sure that you are not thrown into a panic or give in to your fears, for these things are destined to happen. Prepare for it, but still the end is not yet.
Russell: Ye shall hear of wars -- Thus briefly did our Lord summarize secular history and teach the disciples not to expect very soon his second coming and glorious kingdom.
Gill: be not troubled; keep your place, abide by your work, go on preaching the Gospel, without distressing yourselves about the event of things: for such things must needs be: being decreed by God, foretold by Christ, and made necessary by the sins of the people:
Isaiah 8:11-13 For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
Are you afraid? Are you too afraid to preach the Word?
Mark 13:8 (TPT) For nations will go to war against each other and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be terrible earthquakes in place after place—seismic events of epic proportion. And there will be famines and riots. This is how the first contractions and birth pains of the new age will begin.”
JFB: These are the beginnings of sorrows — “of travail-pangs,” to which heavy calamities are compared. (See Jer_4:31, etc.). The annals of Tacitus tell us how the Roman world was convulsed, before the destruction of Jerusalem, by rival claimants of the imperial purple.
Guzik: Wars and rumors of wars: Jesus reminds us that before He returns, there will be many wars and threats of war on the earth. In troubled times, many people assume that the end of the age is near but Jesus said that wars and rumors of wars are not signs of the end.
- “Our Lord’s outlook upon this age was not that of one in which there should be a gradual cessation of strife between the nations, by the victory of the preaching of His Gospel, until the whole earth should be reduced by that preaching to a condition of peace.” (Morgan)
Such things must happen, but the end is not yet: Things such as false messiahs, wars, famines and earthquakes have certainly marked man’s history since the time of Jesus’ Ascension. In effect, Jesus is saying, “Catastrophes will happen, but these do not signal the end.”
- Man has often thought that such things would mean the end, but Jesus will point out a more specific sign to look for.
ii. It’s plain that Jesus intended His followers to endure through such times. Could they shake your faith? Would a war, a famine, a earthquake, or some other catastrophe shake your faith?
d. These are the beginning of sorrows: Jesus said these calamites were not specific signs of the end, but that they were the beginning of sorrows, which is literally the beginning of labor pains. The idea is both of giving birth to a new age, and perhaps implying an increase of intensity and frequency in these calamities.
Benson: All these are the beginning of sorrows — Greek, ωδινων. The expression properly signifies the pains of child-bearing, which at the beginning are but light in comparison of what they become afterward. Therefore our Lord’s meaning was, that the evils which he mentioned were but small in comparison of those which were yet to fall upon the nation.
Russell: Kingdom against kingdom -- It will be the thorough transition from the reign of sin and death to the reign of righteousness and life which will cause the great time of trouble Marking the closing of the Gospel age.
And troubles -- The great time of trouble.
Mark 13:9 (TPT) “Be on your guard! For they will repeatedly hand you over to the ruling councils, and you will be beaten in public gatherings. And you will stand trial before kings and high-ranking governmental leaders as an opportunity to testify to them on my behalf.
Russell: But take heed -- Thus Jesus forewarned how we would be treated.
Deliver you up -- During that same period, the Gospel age.
Guzik: Watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils: Jesus tells His disciples to be prepared for the persecution that will come against them before the end comes. This persecution is not the sign of the end, but simply should be expected.
Benson: Take heed to yourselves — Walk circumspectly, and arm yourselves both with patience and fortitude, that you may be able to perform your duty amid all the opposition and persecution which you shall meet with. For they shall deliver you up to councils, &c. — See note on Mat_10:17; Mat_24:9.
And in the synagogues ye shall be beaten — “It is certain,” says Whitby, “both from Scripture and the Jewish writers, that whipping and beating were punishments used in the synagogues of the Jews. Thus Paul says, he punished the Christians oft in every synagogue, Act_26:11; and that he did beat in the synagogue those that believed, Act_22:19 : and that it was usual to whip both their wise men and their disciples, when they had acted perversely, in their synagogues, is fully proved by Campegius Vitringa de Synag. Ver.”
And ye shall be brought before rulers and kings — Thus Peter and John were called before the sanhedrim; James and Peter before Herod; and Paul before Nero the emperor, as well as before the Roman governors, Gallio, Felix, and Festus; and some were beaten, as Peter and John, (Act_5:40,) Paul and Silas.
For a testimony against them — The persecutions which you shall suffer shall become a glorious proof, both of your innocence, and of their guilt in rejecting the gospel. See note on Mat_10:18.
VWS: Shall ye be beaten (δαρήσεσθε)
The verb literally means to skin or flay, and by a slang usage, like our phrase to tan or hide, comes to mean to cudgel or beat.
Are you preparing for what is coming?
Does this make you afraid to stand for Christ?
Mark 13:10 (TPT) But prior to the end of the age, the hope of the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
Guzik: The gospel must first be preached to all the nations: But Jesus also promises that before the end, the gospel must go out to the whole world. The presence of persecution does not relieve the Church of this responsibility.
Russell: Among all nations -- The commission given at the beginning of the age: "Go ye and teach all nations." (Mat_28:19)
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations." (Mat_24:12)
Does not imply the conversion of the world. He says nothing about how the testimony will be received. This witness has already been given.
JFB: And the gospel must first be published among all nations — “for a witness, and then shall the end come” (Mat_24:14). God never sends judgment without previous warning; and there can be no doubt that the Jews, already dispersed over most known countries, had nearly all heard the Gospel “as a witness,” before the end of the Jewish state. The same principle was repeated and will repeat itself to “the end.”
Do you think the Gospel has been preached to all nations?
Mark 13:11 (TPT) “So when they put you under arrest and hand you over for trial, don’t even give one thought about what you will say. Simply speak what the Holy Spirit gives you at that very moment. And realize that it won’t be you speaking but the Holy Spirit repeatedly speaking through you.
Guzik: When they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak: Jesus tells His followers to not worry about what to say when they are “put on the spot” for being a follower of Jesus. At that moment, the Holy Spirit will give them words to say.
i. A powerful example of this principle is found in Act_4:1-22, where Peter and the other disciples make a dramatic proclamation of Jesus before the hostile Sanhedrin.
ii. Jesus speaks here of the inspiration that comes at a moment of persecution, not teaching in the church. “There is no excuse for the lazy preacher who fails to prepare his sermon out of the mistaken reliance upon the Holy Spirit.” (Robertson)
Barnes: Neither do ye premeditate - Do not think beforehand, or “prepare” an answer. You know not what the accusations will be, and God will furnish you with a reply that shall be adapted to the occasion.
Not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit - This is a full promise that they should be inspired, and consequently their defenses recorded in the Acts of the Apostles are the words of the Holy Spirit. … They were illiterate, unknown, without power. They were unfit of themselves to make the important statements of religion which were requisite, but God gave them power, and they spake with a wisdom, fearlessness, pungency, and ability which no other men have ever manifested - full proof that these illiterate fishermen were under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Benson: Take no thought what ye shall speak — Be not solicitous beforehand what ye shall say in your defence, to vindicate yourselves and your religion from the unrighteous charges and aspersions of your enemies.
Gill: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour; whatever shall be immediately suggested to your thoughts, be put into your minds, and laid upon your hearts:
that speak ye; freely and boldly without the fear of men:
Mark 13:12 (TPT) Brothers will betray each other unto death—even a father his child. Children will rise up to take a stand against their parents and have them put to death.
Guzik: Knowing how Christians have stood for Jesus during the centuries, and how our brothers and sisters are being persecuted all over the world, what kind of a stand to we make for Jesus? Do we advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ with our “leftovers”?
Gill: And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death,.... Christ having fortified the minds of his disciples by the foregoing promises of divine influence and assistance, proceeds to open more largely and particularly the sorrows, troubles, and afflictions they must expect would attend the faithful ministration of his Gospel; as, that the true followers of Christ should not only be persecuted and betrayed, and delivered up into the hands of the civil magistrate, by persons that were strangers to them; but even by their nearest relations, brethren, whom the nearness of blood, should oblige to the tenderest regards to each other, to the securing of property and preserving of life: these should deliver up those that were so nearly related to them in the bonds of consanguinity, into the hands persecuting men in power, in order to be put to death; than which scarce anything can be more barbarous and unnatural, though the next instances exceed it:
and the father the child, and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. The father laying aside his natural affection for his child, whom he has begotten, and brought up, and has took so much care of, and delight in, and perhaps his only one, his son aud heir; and yet, professing a faith different from his, such is his blind zeal and bigotry, that, breaking through all the ties of parental relation and affection, he delivers him up into the hands of wicked magistrates, to put him to death: and, on the other hand, children, forgetting the bonds they are in, and the obligations they lie under to their aged parents, rise up against them, and either with their own hands murder them, or appear as witnesses against them, and give their hearty consent to the taking away of their lives; even of them who have been the means and instruments of bringing them into the world, and of bringing them up in it. This shows the sad corruption of human nature, its enmity to the Gospel of Christ, and the inveterate malice and hatred of Satan against Christ, and his interest.
Barnes: And the brother shall deliver up the brother ... - Were there no evidence that this had been done, it would scarcely be “credible.” The ties which bind brothers and sisters, and parents and children together, are so strong that it could scarcely be believed that division of sentiment on religious subjects would cause them to forget these tender relations. Yet history assures us that this has been often done. If this be so, then how inexpressibly awful must be the malignity of the human heart by nature against religion! Nothing else but this dreadful opposition to God and his gospel ever has induced or ever can induce people to violate the most tender relations, and consign the best friends to torture, racks, and flames. It adds to the horrors of this, that those who were put to death in persecution were tormented in the most awful modes that human ingenuity could devise. They were crucified; were thrown into boiling oil; were burned at the stake; were roasted slowly over coals; were compelled to drink melted lead; were torn in pieces by beasts of prey; were covered with pitch and set on fire. Yet, dreadful as this prediction was, it was fulfilled; and, incredible as it seems, parents and children, husbands and wives, were found wicked enough to deliver up each other to these cruel modes of death on account of attachment to the gospel. Such is the opposition of the heart of man to the gospel! That hostility which will overcome the strong ties of natural affection, and which will be satisfied with nothing else to show its power, can be no slight opposition to the gospel of God.
Mark 13:13 (TPT) Expect to be hated by all because of your allegiance to the cause that bears my name. But determine to be faithful to the end and you will be saved.”
Guzik: He who endures to the end shall be saved: Endures translates the ancient Greek word hupomeno, which literally means to “remain under.” When trials and persecution are swirling about, we can’t be so desperate for an escape that we will compromise. Instead, we must remain under.
PNT: Endureth. In the confession of Christ (‘for my name’s sake’). Confessor once meant martyr! When Mark wrote, martyrdom was common. Suffering for Christ’s sake has not ceased.
Gill: And ye shall be hated of all men,.... Not only of your friends and relations of your countrymen the Jews; but of all men, the generality of men, in, all nations of the world, wherever they came:
for my name's sake; for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, they professed and preached:
but he that shall endure; reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions, patiently; or persevere in the faith of Christ, in the profession of his name, and in preaching his Gospel:
to the end; of such troubles, and of life:
the same shall be saved; if not with a temporal, yet with an everlasting salvation;
JFB: And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake — Matthew (Mat_24:12) adds this important intimation: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many” - “of the many,” or “of the most,” that is, of the generality of professed disciples - “shall wax cold.” Sad illustrations of the effect of abounding iniquity in cooling the love even of faithful disciples we have in the Epistle of James, written about the period here referred to, and too frequently ever since.
but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved — See on Mat_10:21, Mat_10:22; and compare Heb_10:38, Heb_10:39, which is a manifest allusion to these words of Christ; also Rev_2:10. Luke (Luk_21:18) adds these reassuring words: “But there shall not an hair of your heads perish.” Our Lord had just said (Luk_21:16) that they should be put to death; showing that this precious promise is far above immunity from mere bodily harm, and furnishing a key to the right interpretation of Psa_91:1 -18 and such like.
Matthew 24:10-13 KJV And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Mark 13:14 (TLV) “But when you see ‘the abomination of desolation’ standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Guzik: The mention of the abomination of desolation is taken from Dan_11:31 : They shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. This describes a complete desecration of the temple, prefigured by Antiochus Epiphanies in the time between the Old and New Testaments.
- This Antiochus desecrated the temple in Jerusalem in a horrible way. “He desecrated the Temple by offering swine’s flesh on the great altar and by setting up public brothels in the sacred courts. Before the very Holy Place itself he set up a great statue of the Olympian Zeus and ordered the Jews to worship it.” (Barclay) As bad is this was, it did not fulfill the abomination of desolation, because Jesus said these words long after Antiochus did this.
- The Hebrew word translated abomination in Dan_11:31 is shikkoots. It appears in the Old Testament 29 times, and it has the idea of a filthy, disgusting idol. However, this is more than just an idol. First, it is an idol set in the holy place of the temple in Jerusalem - standing where it ought not, and as Matthew puts it, standing in the holy place (Mat_24:15). Second, this is a filthy, disgusting idol that brings desolation - the complete and devastating judgment of God.
- It is important to point out that this is not merely an idol in set in the Jewish temple. Passages like Jer_7:30, Jer_32:34, and Eze_5:11 describe abominable idols in the temple - but they are not the abomination that brings desolation.
iv. Something nearly like this happened in 40 A.D. when Caligula was the Emperor of Rome. He was a madman and decided to set up a statute of himself in the holy place of the temple in Jerusalem. He sent the statue by ship on its way down to Jerusalem, but he died before it arrived and they never set it up.
b. Essentially, the abomination of desolation speaks of the ultimate desecration of a Jewish temple, an idolatrous image in the holy place itself, which will inevitably result in the judgment of God. It is the abomination that brings desolation.
i. The abomination of desolation is “the object of religious nausea and loathing who has to do with desolation.” (Wuest) “The Semetic expression used in Daniel describes an abomination so detestable it causes the Temple to be abandoned by the people of God and provokes desolation . . . Jesus use of this distinctive expression, however, indicates that the prophecy was not ultimately fulfilled by the events of the Maccabean period.” (Lane)
ii. Paul elaborates on the future fulfillment of this in 2Th_2:3-4 : That day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
iii. Dan_12:11 gives additional insight: And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days (until the end). When this sign is set up, the end may be determined - almost three and one-half years to go before the triumphant return of Jesus to this earth.
Revelation 18:1-4 KJV And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
This is not a past event. Daniel gives us all the clues on who the abomination of desolation is. Understanding Daniel we find it having to do with the feet of the image—Rome.
All through the period of the Reformation and even before, our pillars in the church the Fathers of the Reformation identified Catholicism and the Pope as the Antichrist and man of sin.
What does it mean to “stand in the holy place”?
Stand means to set up. When Michael stands up in Daniel 12 it is to reign. When God rises up it is to reign. This standing up is the hour of power of the Beast in Revelation. Zechariah 5 talks about the woman (Catholic Church) in the ephah being brought to Shinar and set up (stand) on her own base.
Mark 13:15 On that day, if you happen to be outside, don’t go back inside to gather your belongings.
Mark 13:16 And if you’re working out in the field, don’t run back home to get a coat.
Mark 13:17 It will be especially hard for pregnant women and for those nursing their babies when those days come.
Guzik: (Mar_13:14-18) Jesus warns what should be done when the abomination of desolation appears: get out of there!
Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains: Jesus directs this warning to the Jewish people. This is evident in His specific mention of
Judea and of the housetop (a common feature of architecture in both ancient and modern Judea). To the citizens of Judea, Jesus says: “When you see the abomination of desolation established, flee because trouble is coming.”
- These words of Jesus have led some to believe that everything Jesus speaks of here was fulfilled in the first century, in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. It is true that this exhortation by Jesus was taken literally by Christians in 66 A.D. when Roman armies first came to Jerusalem. At that time, Christians fled to the mountains and were spared the great destruction of 70 A.D. However, Jesus also said that these events would bring in the Great Tribulation (Mar_13:19) and that those days would culminate in the triumphant return of Jesus (Mar_13:26-27). Since we’re still here 2,000 years later, we know that the abomination of desolation wasn’t fulfilled in the first century.
ii. These words of Jesus have led some to believe that all Christians - the church as a whole - will go through this time known as the Great Tribulation, and that this warning must be for us. However, Jesus promised to catch His people up from the earth and meet them in the air (1Th_4:16-18), and told us to pray that would be counted worthy to escape this time (Luk_21:36) and promised to keep His faithful from the time of judgment that would come upon the earth (Rev_3:10).
Comment: The Little Flock (Church) are spared the Great Time of Trouble—because they are put to death during this “hour of power” of the Beast—which stands in the Holy Place (not the Jewish Temple, but the Church itself—claims to be Christ’s Kingdom). The Great Multitude in Revelation 7, will have to go through the Great Tribulation to wash their robes.
What scriptures show that there are two classes of real Christians?
What can we discern by these scriptures of the differences between the Little Flock and Great Multitude?
Genesis 19:15-17 ISV As dawn was breaking, the angels pressured Lot. "Get going!" they told him. "Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be engulfed by the devastation that's coming to this city." 16 But Lot kept lingering in the city, so the men grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters (because of the LORD's compassion for him!), brought them out of the city, and left them outside. 17 Then one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back or stop anywhere on the plain. Escape to the hills, or you'll be swept away!"
Mark 13:18 So pray that your escape will not be during the winter months.
Mat 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
The Wheat Class of one Parable, the Wise Virgins of another parable, the Little Flock, the Elect, the Bride of Christ are taken in the Harvest.
When Jesus is saying “pray that your flight be not in the winter” he is in essence saying pray that your flight be in the harvest. Pray that you are worthy to escape. (Luke 21:36)
The times Jesus is describing up to this verse are not the Great Tribulation—but the Harvest. The Winter and the Sabbath day are the Great Tribulation. Revelation tells us that the Great Multitude goes through the Great Tribulation to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb.
The Great Multitude miss out on being the Bride of Christ who are Kings and Priests, but end up being like the Levites—servants of those that sit on the throne. (Rev. 7)
They did not come out in time, they did not have enough oil, they took the mark or number of the Beast, they were deceived for a time by Satan—they missed out.
Russell: Not in the winter -- The winter-time of Babylon's trouble--the burning of the tares in a great time of trouble. It is still the custom in country places to leave the burning off of refuse until the winter.
"The harvest is past, the summer is ended (winter has come), and we are not saved. (Jer_8:20)
Mark 13:19 For this will be a time of great misery beyond the magnitude of anything the world has ever seen from the beginning of time or ever will see.
Guzik: (Mar_13:19-23) Coming on the heels of the abomination of desolation: great tribulation.
Tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation . . . nor ever shall be: Jesus said that this will be the most awful time in all of human history. When we consider the massive calamities humanity has suffered through the centuries, this is a terribly sobering statement. The Book of Revelation describes this terrible time when God pours out His wrath on a God-rejecting world.
- In 1343 bubonic plague started to sweep across Europe. Over eight years, two-thirds of the population of Europe was afflicted with the plague, and half of those afflicted died - an almost incredible total of 25 million people. This time of tribulation will be worse.
ii. Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-first Century (1993) sets the number of “Lives deliberately extinguished by politically motivated carnage” at between 167 million and 175 million. Most other statisticians are in the same ballpark. Yet, Jesus said that this time of tribulation will be worse.
Comment: Daniel also talks about this Great Tribulation. Daniel talks about the end of the Great Tribulation which is Jacob’s Trouble. The days are shortened else no flesh would be saved, and in Daniel we see some of who are saved. The Holy Remnant.
Dan 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Isa 4:2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. 3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
Mark 13:20 Unless God limits those days, no one would escape. But because of his love for those chosen to be his, he will shorten that time of trouble.
Guzik: Unless the Lord had shortened those days: If the terrors of the great tribulation were to continue indefinitely, mankind could not survive - so, for the elect’s sake, the days will be limited.
Russell: Except that the Lord -- So great will this trouble be that without some intervening power to cut it short the entire race would eventually be exterminated.
Those days -- The anarchy of the world.
For the elect's sake -- Through or by the elect, who will intervene at the proper time.
His kingdom, Christ and his Church, will intervene at the proper time and bring order out of earth's confusion.
Shortened the days -- The work of destruction will be "a short work." (Rom_9:28)
Mark 13:21 “And if you hear reports from people, saying, ‘Look, the Messiah is over here,’ or, ‘The Messiah is over there!’ don’t believe it.
Guzik: Then if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Christ!” or, “Look, He is there!” do not believe it: No one should be deceived about the nature of Jesus’ coming. It will not be secret or private, and it won’t be a “different” Jesus. In the midst of such tribulation, men will be tempted to fall for false messiahs.
Russell: Believe him not -- Our Lord's revelation at his second presence will not be in a room, nor to a community in a wilderness or desert place, nor even to one nation, as at the first advent, but it will be a general world-wide manifestation.
Have you studied the Lord’s return so as not to be deceived?
Mark 13:22 For there will be imposters falsely claiming to be God’s ‘Anointed One.’ And false prophets will arise to perform miracle signs, and if it were possible, they would cause God’s chosen ones to wander off the right track.
Russell: For false Christ's -- Deceptions.
False prophets -- False teachers.
And shall shew -- Lead into confusion and error.
Signs and wonders -- Through the assistance of the fallen angels, more than even Spiritists have dreamed of.
If it were possible -- The "strong delusions" upon Christendom will not be permitted to deceive "the very elect." But so close will they be in sympathetic fellowship with the great Shepherd that they will discern his voice and not be deceived. To those who abide in Christ, grace, wisdom, and aid sufficient will be granted for their time of need. If the Lord did not protect them by the "armor of God." (Eph_6:11-18)
Even the elect --" those who "make their calling and election sure." (2Pe_1:10)
The "very elect" will be shielded by the Truth and its holy Spirit.
Again, are you studying the manner and object of our Lord’s return so as not to be deceived?
Are you putting on the Armour of God to protect against Satan?
Mark 13:23 (ISV) So be on your guard! I've told you everything before it happens."
Guzik: But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand: Jesus told this to all His followers as a warning, so they would take heed. It isn’t just for those who come to faith in Jesus during the Great Tribulation. It isn’t just for those who live at the end of the age. It is for everyone to take heed.
i. We live in a cynical age, when people are naturally distrustful and pessimistic when it comes to promises. In the 1970’s there was great emphasis on the return of Jesus and being ready for His return. It is easy in our cynical age to think, “I’ve been waiting for 30 years and Jesus still hasn’t come. I don’t need to be so ready, and so worked up over something that might not happen for another 30 or 300 years.”
ii. It is easy to sympathize with that way of thinking - but Jesus told us take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. He has reasons why He wants you to take heed, anticipating and being ready for His soon return:
• It has a purifying effect in our lives
• It gives us a sense of urgency
• It makes us bold in speaking to the lost
• It helps us keep a light touch on the things of this world
Think of it this way: if a person woke every morning and said, “Jesus is coming soon and I have to live like He is coming soon” would it make their life better or worse?
JFB: But take ye heed; behold, I have foretold you all things — He had just told them that the seduction of the elect would prove impossible; but since this would be all but accomplished, He bids them be on their guard, as the proper means of averting that catastrophe. In Matthew (Mat_24:26-28) we have some additional particulars: “Wherefore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” See on Luk_17:23, Luk_17:24. “For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” See on Luk_17:37.
Gill: But take ye heed,.... The Persic version adds, "of them"; of the false Christs, and false prophets:
How are you staying on your guard?
Mark 13:24 “This is what will take place after that suffering: The sun will be darkened and the moon will reflect no light.
Mark 13:25 The stars will be falling from the sky and all the cosmic powers will be shaken.
Guzik: (Mar_13:24-27) On the heels of great tribulation: the return of Jesus Christ.
In those days, after that tribulation: Jesus says that the cosmic catastrophes He describes here happen in those days, the days connected with that tribulation.
This kind of cosmic calamity is described in many Old Testament passages: Isa_13:9-11, Eze_32:7-9, Joe_2:30-31, Amo_8:9-10, Zep_1:14-15.
Mark 13:26 “Then they will see the Son of Man appearing in the midst of clouds and revealed with mighty power and great glory.
Russell: Coming in the clouds -- Clouds of trouble. The tribes of earth will see the clouds of trouble and confusion incident to the shaking of the "heavens" and realize it to be a storm which shall shake the "earth" also. (Heb_12:26, 27)
The judgment of Babylon, Christendom, social and ecclesiastical, is another sign that the Judge has come.
Power and glory -- The glory of power and justice. In his glorious body, (Phi_3:21) a spiritual body. (1Co_15:44-49)
PNT: And then. So Luke; Matthew being less definite. All three Evangelists give the thought of this verse with precisely the same details, and yet each varies from the other two in words. A striking proof of independence, Mark alone has: in clouds; Matthew: ‘on the clouds of heaven,’ Luke: ‘in a cloud.’
JFB: And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory — In Mat_24:30, this is given most fully: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man,” etc. That this language finds its highest interpretation in the Second Personal Coming of Christ, is most certain. But the question is, whether that be the primary sense of it as it stands here?
Now if the reader will turn to Dan_7:13, Dan_7:14, and connect with it the preceding verses, he will find, we think, the true key to our Lord’s meaning here. There the powers that oppressed the Church - symbolized by rapacious wild beasts - are summoned to the bar of the Great God, who as the Ancient of days seats Himself, with His assessors, on a burning Throne: thousand thousands ministering to Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before Him. “The judgment is set, and the books are opened.” Who that is guided by the mere words would doubt that this is a description of the Final Judgment?
… Well, after the doom of these has been pronounced and executed, and room thus prepared for the unobstructed development of the kingdom of God over the earth, what follows? “I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like THE SON OF MAN came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they [the angelic attendants] brought Him near before Him.” For what purpose? To receive investiture in the kingdom, which, as Messiah, of right belonged to Him.
Accordingly, it is added, “And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Comparing this with our Lord’s words, He seems to us, by “the Son of man [on which phrase, see on Joh_1:51] coming in the clouds with great power and glory,” to mean, that when judicial vengeance shall once have been executed upon Jerusalem, and the ground thus cleared for the unobstructed establishment of His own kingdom, His true regal claims and rights would be visibly and gloriously asserted and manifested. See on Luk_9:28 (with its parallels in Mat_17:1; Mar_9:2), in which nearly the same language is employed, and where it can hardly be understood of anything else than the full and free establishment of the kingdom of Christ on the destruction of Jerusalem. [Jacob’s Trouble which the Lord will save the “tents of Judah” Jer. 30, Zech 12, 14]
Daniel 7:11-14 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
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.
Russell: Gather together –
"Gather my saints together unto me." (Psa_50:5)
"Make up my jewels." (Mal_3:17)
Gathering of the good fish into baskets. (Mat_13:47-49)
Gathering of the wheat from the tares into the barn (Mat_13:30)
From the four winds -- From every quarter.
JFB: And then shall he send his angels — “with a great sound of a trumpet” (Mat_24:31).
and shall gather together his elect, etc. — As the tribes of Israel were anciently gathered together by sound of trumpet (Exo_19:13, Exo_19:16, Exo_19:19; Lev_23:24; Psa_81:3-5), so any mighty gathering of God’s people, by divine command, is represented as collected by sound of trumpet (Isa_27:13; compare Rev_11:15); and the ministry of angels, employed in all the great operations of Providence, is here held forth as the agency by which the present assembling of the elect is to be accomplished.
But though something like this appears to be the primary sense of the verse, in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem, no one can fail to see that the language swells beyond any gathering of a human family into a Church upon earth, and forces the thoughts onward to that gathering of the Church “at the last trump,” to meet the Lord in the air, which is to wind up the present scene. …
Mark 13:28 “Now, learn the lesson from the parable of the fig tree. When spring arrives, and it sends out its tender branches and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is soon to appear.
Guzik: (Mar_13:28-31) Jesus speaks more regarding the timing of these events.
Now learn this parable from the fig tree: The fig tree has a regular pattern - the leaves appear, then summer follows. When you see the leaves, you know summer is near. In the same way, when these signs - particularly the abomination of desolation - appear, the world can know that the triumphant return of Jesus is near; at the doors.
- This is just as Daniel prophesied in Dan_12:11 : the end will come 1,290 days after the abomination of desolation. In this, Jesus assures that the agonies of the great tribulation will not continue indefinitely; they will have an end. Song of Son_2:11-13 makes mention of this: the blossoming of the fig tree shows winter is past and summer is near.
- “In contrast to most of the trees of Palestine . . . the fig loses its leaves in the winter, and in contrast to the almond, which blossoms very early in the spring, the fig tree shows signs of life only later.” (Lane)
iii. This was the perfect illustration at this time and place. Jesus taught this on the Mount of Olives, and “The Mount of Olives was famous for its fig trees, which sometimes attained a height of 20 or 30 feet.” (Lane) It was also the perfect time, because Jesus taught this right before Passover, when fig trees were in the condition described in the parable - branches tender, leaves sprouting.
Russell: Of the fig tree -- The incident of the Lord cursing the fig tree (Mat_21:19-20) inclines us to believe that the fig tree in this prophecy may be understood to signify the Jewish nation.
Putteth forth leaves -- One of the signs of a new dispensation would be the sprouting, or indication of life, hope, promise, amongst the Jews. Looking forward to the re-establishment of the Jewish nation.
Summer is near -- The Hebrews divided their year into two seasons, summer and winter.
Mark 13:29 So also, when you observe all these things progressively taking place, you will know that he is coming near, even at the door!
Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Mark 13:31 The earth and sky will wear out and fade away before one word I speak loses its power or fails to accomplish its purpose.”
Guzik: This generation will be no means pass away till all these things take place: What generation does Jesus refer to? It cannot be the generation of the disciples, because they did not see the triumphant return of Jesus. It is undoubtedly the generation that sees these signs - especially the abomination of desolation. These events and Jesus’ return won’t be on some 1,000-year timetable, but will happen in succession.
Russell: This generation -- Greek, genea, not used with the significance of race, but in reference to people living contemporaneously who will witness the signs enumerated.
Mark 13:32 “Concerning that day and exact hour, no one knows when it will arrive, not the angels of heaven, not even the Son—only the Father knows.
Guzik: That day and hour no one knows: This means that we must take heed, because we face the danger of being unprepared.
Russell: That hour -- When the heavenly Kingdom should be set up. Of his second coming.
Knoweth no man -- Our Lord gave quite a detailed account of events which must intervene, indicating a lapse of a considerable period between, yet giving no clear idea of its length. The time was unknown then and was to so continue until God's due time for making it known.
"The wise shall understand." (Dan_12:10)
Neither the Son -- Times and seasons for the full accomplishment of the restitution of all things were wisely hidden from his view, as they were also wisely hidden from the Church's view until the realization of it was near at hand.
Mark 13:33 (BBE) Take care, keep watch with prayer: for you are not certain when the time will be.
Russell: Take ye heed -- The times and seasons will be very important some time, so do not become indifferent.
Watch and pray -- Watching unto prayer, thus keeping their hearts in a humble and teachable attitude. Watch yourselves and also the word of prophecy.
"Watch ye, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape." (Luk_21:36)
PNT: Watch, or, ‘be awake;’ not the word usually thus translated. The words and pray are omitted by some ancient authorities.
For ye know not when the time is. Because of this uncertainty, be awake. See on Mat_24:42.
Guzik: Take heed, watch: We must watch. Anyone who watches is not caught by surprise. People are not ready because they fail to watch. The emphasis couldn’t be more clear:
• Of that day and hour no one knows (Mar_13:32)
• You do not know when the time is (Mar_13:33)
• You do not know when the master of the house is coming (Mar_13:35)
- Some people have the idea, “We don’t know when Jesus is coming, so it doesn’t really matter.” Others have the idea, “We don’t know when Jesus is coming, so we have to find out and set a date.” The right response is, “I don’t know when Jesus is coming so I have to be alert, eager, and ready for His coming.”
iii. “The more the master is expected, the more diligent ought the servants to be in working, watching, and keeping themselves in readiness. Can one who has received the sentence of death, and has no right to live a moment, need any admonition to prepare to die? Does not a prisoner who expects his deliverance hold himself in continual readiness to leave his dungeon?” (Clarke)
c. Take heed . . . pray: We must pray, that we may be found worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass (Luk_21:36). The good news in Jesus is that we don’t have to go through this calamity that will come. He will take from the earth as many as are ready to go before this calamity begins.
i. When Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. those who listened to and obeyed Jesus escaped the horrible destruction that came upon the city. When it comes to the far greater destruction that will come upon the whole earth, those who listen to and obey Jesus can escape the horrible destruction that will come.
Mark 13:34 “For those days can be compared to a man who was about to leave on a journey, but before leaving he placed his servants in charge and gave each one work to do while he was away. Then he commanded the watchman (Porter) to be on guard at all times.
Mark 13:35 So I say to you, keep awake and alert—for you have no idea when the master of the house will return; in the evening, at midnight, at four o’clock in the morning, or at dawn.
Russell: Watch -- The signs of the times in light of God's Word, for the second advent of the Lord, the establishment of the kingdom, and the transformation of the Church to the divine likeness.
Our watching is to be for the second coming of him who redeemed us. Watch intently, earnestly, interestedly, because we know of the good things God has in reservation. (1Co_2:9-13; 1Pe_1:4)
Watching implies hoping, and it also implies waiting. We are to watch the signs of the times in the light of the Lord's Word, our lamp. R2973:3
The watchers are those who are in harmony with the King and who have respect to his promise, and they, therefore, do not neglect the words which he speaks.
Therefore -- Implies that the manner of the second advent might be contrary to general expectation.
Cometh -- This cannot refer to our Lord coming at death, as often taught, because death is an enemy.
Guzik: It is like a man going to a far country: Jesus speaks now to His followers about how they should live until He comes. Jesus is like the man going to a far country, who left three things to his servants: his house, his authority, and his work. The traveling man also appoints a doorkeeper to keep watch. He may return at any time, and does not want to find his servants sleeping. The point of it all: Watch!
Think of what Jesus has left you:
• His house: The church belongs to Jesus, but He entrusts it to each one of us
• His authority: We are to live and serve in the authority of Jesus, and responsibility is always coupled with authority
• His work: Each servant has his work to do. We aren’t responsible for someone else’s work, but we certainly are responsible for ours
iii. “There is some evidence to show that the simile of the porter, or door-keeper, is peculiarly apt and indeed a chosen simile for the Christian ministry.” (Cole) We must listen to the warning of the doorkeeper - watch and be ready. Until Jesus returns, it is time to be about our Father’s business.
iv. “The porter represents the ministers of his Gospel, who should continually watch for the safety and welfare of the whole flock.” (Clarke)
PNT: It is as when a man. The whole matter of watchfulness is as in the following parable.
Away from his country, sojourning in a foreign land.
Having left his house and given authority (i.e., the delegated power necessary for their duty) to his servants, to each one his work (the authority being joined with duty), commanded also the porter (as it were at the door, just as he went away) to watch. This injunction is the main point of the parable.
Mark 13:36 Be alert, for he’s coming suddenly and may find you sleeping!
Benson: lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping — In a state of lukewarmness and sloth.
Our great care must be that, whenever our Lord comes, he do not find us sleeping secure in ourselves, off our guard, indulging ourselves in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty, and thoughtless of our Lord’s coming; ready to say, He will not come, and so being unprepared to meet him.
His coming will indeed be a sudden coming; it will be a great surprise and terror to those that are careless and asleep: it will come upon them as a thief in the night. It is therefore, the indispensable duty of all Christ’s disciples to watch, to be awake, and keep awake.
Barnes: Find you sleeping - Inattentive to your post, neglecting your duty, and unprepared for his coming.
Gill: Lest coming suddenly,.... Unthought of, and unexpected, at an unawares:
he find you sleeping; inactive in the exercise of grace, and negligent in the performance of duty; unprepared for his coming, and unfit for service.
Clarke: He find you sleeping - A porter asleep exposes the house to be robbed, and well deserves punishment. No wonder that the man is constantly suffering loss who is frequently off his guard.
Our Lord shows us in this parable:
- That himself, ascended to heaven, is the man gone from home.
2. That believers collectively are his family.
- That his servants are those who are employed in the work of faith and labor of love.
4. That the porter represents the ministers of his Gospel, who should continually watch for the safety and welfare of the whole flock.
5. That every one has his own work - that which belongs to himself and to none other, and for the accomplishment of which he receives sufficient strength from his Lord.
6. That these servants and porters shall give an account to their Lord, how they have exercised themselves in their respective departments.
7. And that as the master of the family will certainly come to require this account at a time when men are not aware, therefore they should be always watchful and faithful. And,
8. That this is a duty incumbent on every soul of man, What I say unto you, I say unto All, Watch! If, after all these warnings, the followers of God be found careless, their misery and condemnation must be great.
Mark 13:37 And what I say to the four of you, I say to everyone—be awake at all times!”
Benson: What I say unto you twelve, I say unto all — My disciples and followers; what I say to you of this generation, I say to all that shall believe in me through your word: Watch — Expect my second coming, and prepare for it, that you may be found in peace, without spot and blameless.
Gill: watch, and be upon their guard, and cast off all sloth and negligence; since they knew not soon the son of man would come, and all these evil things would be brought upon the Jewish nation, city, and temple: and the same exhortation is suitable to saints in all ages, times, and places, on account of the various snares, temptations, and evils, that they are liable to, the suddenness of death, and the uncertainty of the second coming of Christ.
Darby: The disciples are commanded to watch, for they know not the hour. It is the conduct of the disciples in this respect which is here especially before the eyes of the Lord. It is of this great day, and the hour of its arrival, that the angels and even the Son, as Prophet, know not. For Jesus must sit at the right hand of God until His enemies are made His footstool, and the time of His rising up is not revealed. The Father has kept it, says Jesus, in His own power. See Acts 3, where Peter proposes to the Jews the Lord's return. They rejected his testimony; and now they wait for the full accomplishment of all that has been spoken. Meantime the servants are left to serve during the Master's absence. He commanded the porter in particular to watch. They knew not at what hour the Master would come. This applies to the disciples in their connection with Israel, but at the same time it is a general principle. The Lord addresses it to all.