Jesus Introduces Coming Events: Mark 13:5-10
“5) And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 6) Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many. 7) When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. 8) For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” 9) “But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. 10) The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” Mark‬ ‭13‬:‭5‬-‭10
These six verses serve as an introduction by Jesus on the subject of future prophesy. As we shall soon discover, these verses can be broken into three parts, No matter which view you adopt related to Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13 about events leading up to the literal return of Christ, we are slapped in the face with a startling realization.
After nearly 2,000 years of the gospel being preached, believers being filled with the Holy Spirit and the presence of the body of Christ on earth, human civilization has not changed. In fact, it has declined and grown worse.
Think about this, the Law as given through Moses reigned for approximately 2,000 years and it failed to change the human heart. It did not prevent the need for the first coming of Christ or His Redemptive work on the cross. The Law failed to create a utopia on earth.
Tragically, the gospel and the church has now also had nearly 2,000 years to impact human civilization. It has also failed to create a utopia on earth. It has not resulted in a spiritual kingdom of God ruling on planet earth and making things better. Let me state the obvious, the church has not supplanted the need for the literal future return of the Messiah to rule planet earth!
If you adopt a macro view of the teaching of Jesus spanning the past 2,000 years, something amazing comes into focus. We discover the rise of many false religions trying to deceive the world and displace the gospel. To name a few, this includes the rise of Islam, Communism, Humanism and a dead and apostate Christian Church including many cult groups that I do not have time to mention. This fulfills Mark 13:6.
If you adopt the micro view of the teaching of Jesus that Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13 all apply to the last days of the church age, the culminated failure of the church to create the kingdom of God on earth is even greater. Let’s be honest, things are not getting better.
The gospel and the ministry of the Holy Spirit has radically changed some people, but human civilization continues to decline. If anything, during the last century, the slide down the destructive slope of human depravity has accelerated.
Now, let’s briefly look at the next two verses. Wars and rumors of wars have greatly increased. Since WWI, more people have died in wars than all of history combined. The trend continues. The potential for mass destruction has never been greater than today with the development of multiple weapons of mass destruction. These include nuclear and biological warfare. The hope for an earthly utopia is becoming much more evasive. (Review Mark 13:7-8)
Now let’s look at the last part of the introduction Jesus gave on this subject as recorded in Mark 13:9-10. As the surge to bring the gospel world wide has gained huge momentum, so has the opposition. Persecution has increased and Martyrdom has greatly compounded. Did you know that more Christians have been Martyred for their faith in the past 100 years than in all of church history combined? It’s true!
You might ask; “What on earth is happening?” It looks like spiritual warfare is a reality. The kingdom of darkness is in all-out war against the kingdom of light. The god of this world is trying to destroy both Israel and the church and prepare an assault against the return of the King of Kings. The history of this present church age is rushing toward a climax.
I do not have much hope for human civilization or planet earth apart from the literal return of the Messiah to set up His earthly kingdom. Just as the Law as given through Moses did not prevent the need for the coming of the Savior, neither has the church age prevented the need for the literal return of Christ to rule on earth. (See Revelation 20)
For the doom and gloomers out there, this teaching by Jesus in Mark 13 and Matthew 24-25 are very exciting! So is all future prophesy including the book of Revelation. They scream that Jesus wins! His literal return thwarts the plans of Satan to destroy humanity and planet earth. God is in control!
When I read these verses and the book of Revelation, I get so excited I can barely contain myself. The King is coming!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
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