Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 17 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Mark 13 today, and our focus is on the signs of the last days, according to Jesus. Thank you for joining us for Bible 2021! We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome! Thanks for listening! Our focus this year is on DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan!
Fun topic today, at least for me, as I love eschatology, or the study of the end-times. The biggest trouble with the end-times is that people have so very many opinions and viewpoints on the last days – especially as to the timing of the return of Jesus, but Jesus is quite explicit that we will NOT know the day or the hour of His return. He also says that HE HIMSELF did not know the day or the hour of His return, but only His Father did, which leads me to believe that the Bible does not contain any sort of hidden codes or clues that would reveal the time of the return. So – we won’t know the timing of His return, and allow me to encourage you to run away from any Bible teacher or author that confidently claims to know the day and the hour – especially those who claim to have calculated the timing from the Bible. That said, I am happy to report that Jesus did indeed give us some signs to look for that will indicate that His return – the Second Coming – is drawing closer, and that is our focus today. Let’s read Mark 13 and see how many of those signs we can pick up!
Wonderful chapter! I need to tell you that there are many, many views as to how we should interpret the last days teaching of the Bible, and people have very strong opinions on them. I do NOT believe that this is anything to divide over in the church, nor to passionately argue about…it seems the last-days teaching of the Bible is intentionally veiled, so we should be humble as we approach it. There is not enough time in ten minutes to give all of the views that people have about the signs of Jesus’ return, but I can tell you that I am a futurist, and I believe in a literal second coming of Jesus to earth that has NOT occured yet. Here are some of the signs we see in Mark that Jesus says will precede His return:
- Many will attempt to deceive and come in the name of Jesus (vs. 6)
- There will be wars and rumors of wars starting (vs. 7)
- There will be natural disasters like earthquakes and famines (vs. 8)
- Christians will be arrested, families will be divided, Christians will be hated (vs. 12-13)
- There will be an Abomination of Desolation (vs. 14) This is very debatable, but seems to refer to a blasphemous thing, or action set up in the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem…and such a thing (or something very similar) has already happened in the past, in the 2nd century BC when Antiochus Epiphanes IV sacked the temple.
- There will be times of trouble and great tribulation – worse than the world has ever seen (vs. 19-20)
- False prophets and false messiahs will come on the scene and be very deceptive, and will be able to perform miracles and signs that will attempt to lead away true followers of Jesus. (vs. 22)
- After the tribulation, There will be many signs in the Heavens – sun and moon darkened, stars falling, 24
And these are the signs mentioned in Mark 13 – not all of the signs in the Bible, but just those mentioned here. After these signs take place, after the tribulation, the return of Jesus happens, as Mark 13:26 tells us: “26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”
How long will it take these signs to be fulfilled, and how long after their fulfillment will Jesus come? We don’t know the answer to that, but Jesus does seem to indicate His return will be quick on the heels of these signs:
28 “Learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that he is near—at the door. Mark 13:28-29
How should Christians live in light of this information, and how should we live between now and then? That brings us to our verse of the day, in which Jesus highlights His most important and repeated message about the last days and His return: 33 “Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming. This is our verse for the day, so let me read it twice – it is crucial for us to be watching and alert!
Let me close with some wisdom from Charles Spurgeon, encouraging us to keep watch:
Keep you at the foot of the cross, and you will maintain—nay, you will increase—your joy in the Lord.
At the same time, dear friends, practise great watchfulness. Many a child of God has to weep for months because he did not watch for minutes. He closed his eye a little while, and said, “It is all right with me”; and in that little while the enemy came and sowed tares among his wheat, and great mischief came of a little nap. We ought to have the eyes of a lynx, and they ought never to be closed. We know not which way the next temptation will come. We need to be guarded on all sides, and remember the words of our Master, “What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.” You will not keep your joy and grow in grace unless you watch.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Hope for Your Future,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 36 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1890), 47–48.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for January: Mark 1:15 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
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