The Book of Mark #80 chapter 13:14-23
The Book of Mark
The Future Tribulation
Mark 13:14-23
 
We return tonight to the thirteenth chapter of Mark where we find the Lord and His disciples sitting on the Mount of Olives. They’ve have asked Him about the coming fo the Kingdom and how they’ll know it is time for it to be established. 
 
That question receives the longest answer to any question asked of Jesus in the gospels.  In fact, with His answer, the Lord gives them history lesson by looking forward.  And while He didn’t tell them when it would all happen, He did tell them what to expect. 
 
He begins immediately where they were at and talks about the coming destruction of the temple.  He then looks into the future and talks about the church age and what they should expect to happen in a time marked by deception.      
 
And then, at our point of study tonight, beginning in verse 14 and continuing down to verse 23, He talks about what will happen after the removal of the church from the earth.  So what we are studying tonight and what they heard Him say is still in the future.  It is at least 2,000 years after the original setting and only God knows how much farther in the future it actually occurs. Let’s listen to hwat He says: 
 
verses 14-23
 
Now in these verses we find a very important, specific event being referred to.  It is identified in verse 19 as “tribulation”.
And notice , it is described as a time unlike any other time that has ever occurred.  That means it is worse than anything that has ever happened, and is marked by events that are unique to this time, including even the time of the destruction of the earth with water in the time of Noah. 
 
And remember, leading up to this time, as the labor pains begin, Jesus has already told them to expect wars and rumors of wars and natural disasters and false teachers and people being deceived. 
 
But as time goes on, things will become even worse.  The labor pains will increase and things will grow more and more extreme and nothing like this time has ever been experienced on the earth.  And all of that will be in a period identified in verse 19 as a time of Tribulation.
 
In other places in Scripture we learn that it is a seven-year period of time and the good news is we won’t be here to see it happen.  The New Testament teaches the church will be raptured before that time and we will be protected from the wrath of God that is poured out on the earth at that tme. 
 
But the world will experience it and that time is what Jesus is addressing here in these verses. 
 
He says three things in particular about this time.
 
First is
 
1. The Event
 
Verse 14a
The logical question for the disciples to ask, I think, is “So how do we know when it comes? If all of history is going to be full of deception, false prophets, false teachers and deceivers, all of history full of disasters, wars, famines, earthquakes, all of history is going to be filled with persecution of believers, how do we know this time has come? 
 
Jesus says you’ll know “When you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be, then you’ll know”.  So that is the event that will trigger the Tribulation
 
And please notice the very important distinction made in verse 14.  “Let the reader understand”.  This is not for the disciples, but for the reader in general.  And you need to know, that phrase was not added later by some editor, that is what Mark wrote.
 
So immediately we know this isn’t going to happen until this is written down in Scripture and read.  This is for a future generation of readers of the New Testament, not for those who are listening on the Mount of Olives.
 
And those who read this should look for the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. They must have wondered and we might ask, “What is that?”
 
Well Jesus said Daniel could help us with that because he spoke about it.  In fact, Daniel mentioned it three times.  We won’t take the time to look at those, but you can look them up for yourself.  But I will take the time to explain the title. 
 
 
First let’s understand the word “abomination”.  It refers to something blasphemous or detestable to God and at the same time, it desolates, or destroys, or devastates. It’s frequently used in Scripture to refer to something that was absolutely devastating.
 
So Jesus says, “One of these days, there will come along an act of blasphemy that will devastate, or desecrate.”
 
And notice, it will occur in a location where it shouldn’t.  This “abomination of desolation will be standing where it ought not”.   So something is standing where it shouldn’t be.
 
Daniel helps us to know that Jesus is referencing the city of Jerusalem and in particular the temple located there.  During the Tribulation, the Antichrist will make a seven-year covenant with the Jews and they will be allowed to reconstruct a temple. 
 
Some who are in the know tell us that temple is ready to be constructed right now.  Temple priests are being trained in preparation for that time. 
 
However, 3½ years into that seven years, the treaty will be broken by the anti-Christ and Israel will be attacked, the temple will be destroyed and the anit-Christ will establish his throne int hat place, declaring himself to be God.
 
And you may remember if you were here, in Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi, the Islamic Antichrist who comes, will set up his throne and establish world Islamic rule in Jerusalem on the temple mount. That’s their eschatology.
And of course, in their theology, he will be aided by the prophet Jesus.  That’s what they say. Jesus will return to earth to convince Christians and Jews they were all wrong about him and they need to follow Allah.  And Jesus will be a part of the destruction of the temple and the establishment of world-wide Islamic following.  And anyone who doesn’t conform will be killed.  
 
Their eschatology is very consistent with Scripture. 
Their Messiah is the Bible’s Antichrist.  The false prophet is their Jesus and our Jesus is their anti-Christ.  It is a complete reversal of the truth, but a consistent presentation of what we believe will happen with a false Christ.
 
So when the Antichrist comes, he’s going to establish his rule in Jerusalem, in the temple, and he’s going to place himself where he ought not to stand...in the temple devoted to God.
 
So you can know you are in the time of Tribulation because of this event.  And anyone who reads the Bible can understand that. You can know the Time of Tribulation has begun because of this event.
 
Next, notice
 
2.  The Reaction to the Event
 
verses 14-16
 
In other words, there is this tremendous urgency and panic.  And once again, we see that life will be much different than it was during the church age. 
 
Normally our Lord would say, “When that hour comes, don’t worry about what’s going to happen to you.” We just read that, right? Don’t worry about what you’re going to say, the Holy Spirit will give you words. Be bold!  Preach the gospel! Proclaim the cross. But He doesn’t say that anymore.
 
Now He says, “if you happen to be around when this happens, aget out of town as quickly as you can!  Run for your life because by your fleeing, I’m going to preserve you for My Kingdom.”  
 
There is no more take your cross, be bold, stand up, give witness, whatever. Just run.  And the urgency is also indicated by the statements in
 
verses 17-19
 
The reaction is simply to get out because what’s triggered by this is unlike anything the world has ever experienced as the slaughter by the Anti-Christ begins.  
 
Then we see
 
3.  The Protection
 
verse 20
 
This is such a horrible time that the Lord shortens it and He does it for the sake of the elect.  You might say, “But I thought we weren’t going to be here.”  The church won’t be here.  Anyone who is alive and saved will be taken at the Rapture along with the dead in Christ. 
 
But “the elect” is a reference to more than the church and here we have a reference to those who will be saved during the tribulation.  There are some, both Jews and Gentiles, who will not follow the anti-Christ and will be saved through the preaching, either of the Two Witnesses or the 144,000 Jewish evangelists sent by God or some other means. 
 
And they will enter the Millennial Kingdom in earthly bodies and populate that Kingdom as Jesus rules and reigns for a 1,000 years.  And the Lord shortens the time of the Tribulation to protect them or else the anti0Christ would hunt them down and kill them and there wouldn’t be anybody left for the Kingdom.
 
And notice what Jesus says in
 
Verse 21
 
That’s exactly what Muslim eschatology says. They’ve got two men claiming to be Jesus at the end. Don’t believe that. False “christs” will be everywhere. It will be a perfect time for false prophets to arise because people are going to be so desperate for an understanding of what ois going on.  Why is this happening? What  do we do?  Where do we go? And all the lying, satanic deceivers will lead them away from the truth.
 
And it will be fairly convincing.
 
Verse 22-23
 
So is it possible to lead the elect astray? No. That’s the whole point of the sentence.  God is going to protect His own.
 
He ends with a warning in verse 23.
 
Well, He is returning to earth and He will establish a Kingdom.  But before He does, and before all this unleashes itself on the world, the Lord is going to call His church out of here and as the end draws near, we need to be ready. 
 
That’s why verse 23 is there.  The Lord says, “I told you all these things in advance. Get saved while you have time and opportunity and warn those who aren’t as you preach the gospel.”
 
Let’s pray
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