Mark Chapter 13  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Mark 13
Mar 13:1(top)
Mar 13:2(top)
Mar 13:3(top)
Mar 13:4(top)
Mar 13:5(top)
Mar 13:6

“come in my name, saying, ‘I am he.’” See commentary on Matthew 24:5, where the text specifies that the “he” is the Messiah, the Christ. This is a great example of using the common phrase “I am” as a simple identifier, basically “I am he,” or “I am the one in question.” (See commentary on John 8:58).

Mar 13:7

“wars nearby and reports of wars far away.” See commentary on Matthew 24:6.

Mar 13:8

“group.” See commentary on Matthew 24:7.

Mar 13:9

“courts.” “Courts” is a good translation of the generic use of “Sanhedrin,” which was not the “great Sanhedrin” that convened in Jerusalem and made up of 70 members, but the concept of “lesser Sanhedrin” that were the Jewish courts that met wherever Jews would be tried by other Jews.

Mar 13:10(top)
Mar 13:11

“the holy spirit.” Here in Mark 13:11, “the holy spirit” is the gift of God’s nature that God put upon people to empower them with spiritual power. We can see that Mark 13:11 and Luke 12:12 use “holy spirit” as the gift of God from the parallel verse in Matthew 10:20. In the Old Testament and Gospels, when God wanted to empower someone with spiritual power so they could prophesy or do great feats, He placed His gift of holy spirit upon them (cp. Num. 11:17-29; Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 1 Sam. 10:6, 10; 16:13; 1 Chron. 12:18; 2 Chron. 15:1; Micah 3:8). God placed His gift of holy spirit on Jesus Christ for the same reason; so that he could be spiritually empowered (Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 61:6; Luke 4:18).

It is easy to see how there could be some debate about the meaning of “holy spirit” in this verse. The original Greek text was written in all capital letters, so the text always said “HOLY SPIRIT no matter if the reference was to God, the Holy Spirit, or to His gift, the holy spirit. Besides that, God generates the messages He wants to give to people (which He now gives to Jesus to give to people), so before Jesus was glorified, revelation from God generally came from the Holy Spirit through the holy spirit to the believer, so in the context of the message coming from God through His gift, which is the case here, from a practical standpoint the way the message got to the believer did not need to be debated—both God and His gift were involved.

On the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), Jesus Christ poured out the gift of holy spirit on everyone who believed (Acts 2:33, 38), and that gave them spiritual power (Acts 1:8).

[For more information on the uses of “spirit,” see Appendix 6: “Usages of ‘Spirit.’” For more on the difference between Holy Spirit and holy spirit, see Appendix 11, “What is the Holy Spirit?”]

Mar 13:12(top)
Mar 13:13(top)
Mar 13:14

“standing where he should not be.” The translations differ as to whether the text should read, where “he” should not be, or where “it” should not be. Some translations support “he” (ASV; ESV; NAB; NLT), while others support “it” (CJB; HCSB; NASB; NET; RSV). The grammar can be argued either way, as anyone who reads a few commentaries on the verse will discover.a Blass and Debrunner point out that a masculine participle referring to a neuter noun can designate a person.b

Since the grammar can legitimately be “he” or “it,” the meaning of the verse must be interpreted from the scope of Scripture. The “abomination of desolation,” which is referring to an abomination that causes desolation, is not a statue, but a person. Furthermore, not a historical person such as Antiochus Epiphanes (although he may have been a type for the Antichrist), but a person who will be manifested in the last days, whom we know as the Antichrist or Man of Lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3ff), who goes into the Temple of God to show that he is a god.

Cp. Lenski; The Interpretation of St. Mark’s Gospel vs. Lane, The New International Commentary on the New Testament.
Blass and Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, ⁣⁋ 34.
Mar 13:15

“not come down.” People could generally travel from roof to roof. See commentary on Matthew 24:17.

Mar 13:16(top)
Mar 13:17

“But how terrible.” This warning is also in Matthew 24:19.

“how terrible.” The Greek word is ouai (#3759 οὐαί; pronounced ooh-'eye). For an explanation of the meaning of “how terrible,” see commentary on Matthew 11:21.In this context, ouai is an expression of grief because of the distress, hardship, and divine retribution that is coming in the future (1 Cor. 9:16; Rev. 9:12). People who cannot easily travel or who have to take care of others will have a very hard time in the Great Tribulation.

Mar 13:18(top)
Mar 13:19

“such tribulation.” This is the time of “great tribulation” Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:21. Jesus would have learned a lot about the Tribulation period from the Old Testament. This great tribulation is the subject of much of the Book of Revelation, with its seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders, and seven bowls of judgment.

[For more on the prophecies of the Great Tribulation, see commentary on Isa. 13:9.]

Mar 13:20(top)
Mar 13:21

“Messiah.” See commentary on Matthew 24:5.

Mar 13:22

“Messiahs.” See commentary on Matthew 24:5.

Mar 13:23

“But be on guard.” The Greek text would be more literally translated as “Watch!” or as “Watch out.” But we typically say “Watch out” when there is immediate danger right then and there, which is not the case here. A number of English versions read “be on guard” (ESV; GWN; NIV; NJB).

Mar 13:24(top)
Mar 13:25(top)
Mar 13:26(top)
Mar 13:27

“gather together his chosen ones.” This is the first resurrection, and includes both the elect on earth (cp. Matt. 25:32) and the dead who are righteous and who will live with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom (cp. Ezek. 37:12-14; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:4-6).

Mar 13:28(top)
Mar 13:29

“door.” See commentary on Matthew 24:33.

Mar 13:30(top)
Mar 13:31

“Heaven and earth will pass away.” This sentence is almost exactly the same in Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, and Luke 21:33.

Mar 13:32

“nor the Son.” This is also stated in Matthew 24:36. This phrase is omitted in many Greek texts of Matthew 24:36 and so some people assert that it was added to the original text of Matthew even though the textual evidence is stronger that it was not added in Matthew. However, the textual evidence is extremely clear that the phrase “nor the Son” is original here in Mark 13:32. For the impact of this phrase on Christian theology, see commentary on Matthew 24:36.

Mar 13:33

“Stay alert! Some Greek texts add “pray” to this verse and read, “Stay alert and pray,” but “pray” is omitted in some early and important manuscripts and therefore is much more likely added to the text than omitted from it. The scribes who copied the text sometimes added things that they themselves did, such as pray or fast.

Mar 13:34(top)
Mar 13:35

“during the evening watch.” At the time of Christ, in both Jewish and Roman reckoning of time, the “day” was divided into 12 hours (John 11:9, “Are there not 12 hours in the day?). Also, both the Jews and Romans divided the night into four “watches,” each being three hours long. This was true even though the Jews started their new day at sunset, at the start of the first watch of the night, and the Romans reckoned their new day at midnight, at the start of the third watch of the night (our day beginning at midnight comes from the Romans). In New Testament times, the day was divided into 12 “hours” (John 11:9) and the night into four “watches”: 1st: 6-9 p.m.; 2nd: 9 p.m. -midnight; 3rd: midnight -3 a.m.; 4th: 3-6 a.m. (Mark 13:35).

The names of the four watches are named in the commentary on Mark 6:48, and were “evening watch,” “midnight watch,” “cockcrowing watch,” and “morning watch.” Sometimes, however, the watches were just called by “first watch,” “second watch,” “third watch,” and “fourth watch.”

[For more on time in the Bible, and the four watches of the night, see commentary on Mark 6:48.]

Mar 13:36

“when he comes unexpectedly.” The Lord comes “unexpectedly.” The Greek word can also mean “suddenly,” and that can be part of the meaning here.

Mar 13:37(top)

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