Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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MARK - Chapter 13

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Mark 13

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those words and passages which have no parallel in the First Gospel are commented upon here.  For the rest the reader should consult the Commentary on the parallel passages in Matthew.


6.  Last Ministry in Jerusalem  11-13 (continued)

13, 1-13:  Destruction of Jerusalem and End of the World.  All of Chapter 13 is given to this so-called "Eschatological Discourse," by far the longest discourse of Christ that is recorded in the Second Gospel.    1-10.  Parallels in Matt. 24, 1-14 and Luke 21, 5-13; cf. also Matt. 10, 17 f.    11-13.  Parallel in Luke 21, 14-18.  Substantially the same words but in a different context are given in Matt. 10, 19-22; cf. also Luke 12, 11 f.

13, 14-20:  Destruction of Jerusalem.  Parallels in Matt. 24, 15-22 and Luke 21, 20-24.

13, 21-17:  The Signs of the Last Day.    21-23.  Parallel in Matt. 24, 23-25; cf. also Luke 17, 23.    24-27.  Parallels in Matt. 24, 29-31 and Luke 21, 25-28.

13, 28-31:  Jerusalem's Impending Destruction.  Parallels in Matt. 24, 32-35 and Luke 21, 29-33.

13, 32-37:  The Need of Watchfulness.    32.  Parallel in Matt. 24, 36.    33.  Parallels in Matt. 24, 42 and Luke 21, 36a.    34-37.  Peculiar to Mark, at least in this context.  But there are very similar little parables in Matt. 24, 45-51 and Luke 12, 36-38.  With Luke's corresponding parable of the Watchful Servants there is combined the picture of a wedding feast; here the master merely returns from a journey abroad at an unexpected hour.  Under the image of the man who leaves home to journey abroad is meant Christ who departs from the earth to go to His heavenly Father.    35 f.  Just as the servants do not  know the hour of their master's return, so we also do not know the time of Christ's coming at the end of the world or to each soul at death.  He will come suddenly, i.e., at an unexpected time.  The important thing is that we always remain awake, i.e., spiritually prepared for His coming.  Our Lord refers to the four divisions or "watches" of the night, which were used throughout the whole Roman Empire at that time.

Confraternity Bible:

End of the World  1 And as he was going out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Master, look, what wonderful stones and buildings!"  2* And Jesus answered and said to him, Dost thou see all these great buildings?  There will not be left one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."

3* And as he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4* "Tell us, when are these things to happen, and what will be the sign when all these things will begin to come to pass?"

5* And in answer Jesus began to say to them, "Take care that no one leads you astray.  6* For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he'; and they will lead many astray.  7* But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; for they must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  8* For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be earthquakes in various places, and famines.  These things are the beginning of sorrows.

9* "But be on your guard.  For they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them. 10* And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  11* And when they lead you away to deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to speak; but speak whatever is given you in that hour.  For it is not you who are speaking, but the Holy Spirit.  12* And brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and put them to death.  13* And you will be hated by all for my name's sake; but he who has persevered to the end will be saved.

Destruction of Jerusalem  14* "And when you see the abomination of desolation, standing where it ought not---let him who reads understand---then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; 15* and let him who is on the housetop not go down and enter to take anything from his house; 16* and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.  17* But woe to those who are with child, or have infants at the breast in those days!  18* But pray that these things may not happen in winter.  19* For in those days will be tribulations, such as have not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, nor will be.  20* And unless the Lord had shortened the days, no living creature would be saved.  But for the sake of the elect whom he has chosen, he has shortened the days.

The Signs of the Last Day  21* "And then, if anyone say to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ; behold, there he is,' do not believe it.  22* For false christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.  23* Be on your guard, therefore; behold, I have told you all things beforehand.

24* "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, 25* and the stars of heaven will be falling, and the powers that are in heaven will be shaken.  26* And then they will see the Son of Man coming upon clouds with great power and majesty.  27* And then he will send forth his angels, and will gather his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost parts of the earth to the uttermost parts of heaven.

Jerusalem's Impending Destruction  28* "Now from the fig tree learn this parable.  When its branch is now tender, and the leaves break forth, you know that summer is near.  29* Even so, when you see these things coming to pass, know that it is near, even at the door.  30* Amen I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things have been accomplished.  31* Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

The Need of Watchfulness  32* "But of that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  33* Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time is: 34* just as a man, when he leaves home to journey abroad, puts his servants in charge, to each his work, and gives orders to the porter to keep watch.  35* Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or early in the morning; 36* lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  37* And what I say to you, I say to all, 'Watch.'"


2-37: This long prophecy deals with both the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world.  The elements of the prophecy are so intermingled that it is difficult at times to determine to which cataclysm Jesus refers.