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Mark Chapter Thirteen


I. Content of the Chapter


The Prophecy of the Bondman the Savior

A.   The prophecy that the temple would be thrown down (v.1-2).

B.   The prophecies before the coming of the end of the age (v.3-13).

C.  The prophecy concerning the Tribulation (v.14-23).

D.  The prophecy concerning the coming of the Son of Man (v.24-37).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Mark. 13:1 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, "Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!"

YLT: “And as he is going forth out of the temple, one of his disciples saith to him, `Teacher, see! what stones! and what buildings!'”

The Background: “what manner of stones and what buildings are here”, it referred to the temple that was rebuilt by the Herod who wanted to please the Jews, around B.C. 20, after the temple which was rebuilt by Zerubbabel (see Ezra. 3:8) was thrown down. When the Lord Jesus began to serve on the earth, the temple had already been built for forty-six years (see John. 2:20) and had not been finished yet. According to the records of the Jewish historian Joseph, the whole temple was finished in A.D. 64. This temple was magnificent and grand ---- some of the marble extended more than 3 meters and there were colossal golden decorations in it. How enormous and glittering it was!

   Literal Meaning: “Jesus went out of the temple”, it happened after He declared that “your house is left to you desolate” (see Matt. 23:38). He showed that He had rejected this temple with action just like the glory of God departed from the Holy Temple (see Ezek. 9:3, 10:4, 11:23). “The temple” here referred to the whole sacred place.

  “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” ---- The disciples might want the Lord to appreciate the magnificence and beautifulness of the temple with them together.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “Jesus went out of the temple.” ---- When the people of God reject the Lord, the Lord will go out of and He will not be with them.

2)    Today many so-called “churches” have only magnificent, tall and grand appearance (see Mark. 13:1), but the Lord is not in them (“Jesus went out of the temple”).

3)    “See what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” ---- What they care about are the temporary things that are seen, not the eternal glory which are not seen (see 2Cor. 4:17-18).

4)    What do boast on earth? Our “temple” ---- such as numerous people, thriving work, and beautiful buildings? Or “the Lord” in the temple?


Mark. 13:2 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you see these Great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down."

YLT: “and Jesus answering said to him, `Seest thou these Great buildings? there may not be left a stone upon a stone, that may not be thrown down.'”

Literal Meaning: “do you not see these Great buildings?” ---- What the disciples saw was the appearance of the temple.

  “…shall be…shall not be…”, here it referred to what would be fulfilled in A.D. 70.

  “Not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.” ---- It was fully fulfilled in A.D.70 literally. At that time, the Romans, under Titus’s leadership, completely destroyed Jerusalem and the buildings of the temple. Even the stones were unclenched by them to obtain the gold foil melted into the stones from the roof of the temple when it was burnt up. Others said that there were also some stones that had not been moved at that time. Till the dynasty of the Empire Julian, he attempted to rebuild the temple, so he moved the stones being left (thus the Lord’s prophesy were completely fulfilled). However, his plan of rebuilding the temple was given up halfway.

   Spiritual Meaning: “the temple” typifies the church; “stones” typify believers (see Eph. 2:20-22, 1Pet. 2:5).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Today, no matter how beautiful and civilized the world is in men’s physical eyes, all the elements shall melt with fervent heat in the spiritual eyes (see 2Pet. 3:12).

2)    The glory of the temple does not lie in gold, silver, or gem but in the presence of the Lord. Since the church is God’s temple, we should value God’s presence more than the outward large scale.

3)    The “big-scale” appearance is of no use. If there lacks the spiritual reality within, the building will be torn down sooner or later. May the Lord makes us pay attention to the spiritual reality more than the outward extension ---- the numerous men, the expansion of works and spiritual high statuses and etc.

4)    The church that has thriving appearance but has no presence of the Lord will be fallen apart sooner or later. And its members will not be able to get along with each other (“not one stone shall be left here upon another”), for the Lord allows such churches to be “destroyed” by the demolishing hands.

5)    The natural men (stones) cannot accompany with each other and be built together. Therefore if our natural lives have not been destructed, we can neither let the Lord have position in us nor partake in the true building.


Mark. 13:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately,

YLT: “And as he is sitting at the mount of the Olives, over-against the”

Literal Meaning: “He sat on the Mount of Olives”, “the Mount of Olives” was located in the outside of the Brook Cedron in the east of Jerusalem. It was a ridge about two kilometers and was at higher altitude than Jerusalem.


Mark. 13:4 "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?"

YLT: “`Tell us when these things shall be? and what the sign when all these may be about to be fulfilled?'”

Meaning of Words: “sign”: miracle, token, wonder;

Literal Meaning: “when will these things be?” ---- “These things” referred to the prophecies by the Lord concerning Jerusalem and the Holy Temple (see v.2; Matt. 23:32-24:2).

  “And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” ---- Obviously, the disciples put all that will happen in “all these things”, but there were three matters in the answer of the Lord: (a) the sign before the scared place being destroyed; (b) the Tribulation; (3) the second coming of the Lord. That the Lord’s mentioned the three things together might suggest that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple and the coming disasters in the scared land were the beginning and typifications of the things that would take place in the last day when the Lord came back.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If believers want to receive the vision of the last day from the Lord, they have to climb up the high mountain and come to Him.

2)    Every time we come to hidden places (“asked Him privately”), draw near to Christ who had been risen and ascended into the heaven and now sits on the throne (“Jesus sat on the Mountain of Olive”) and have imitate fellowship with Him, we will receive full words and revelations of the Lord (“tell us”).


Mark. 13:5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: "Take heed that no one deceives you.

YLT: “And Jesus answering them, began to say, `Take heed lest any one may lead you astray,”

Meaning of Words: “take heed”, look out, see carefully; “deceive”: be out of the way, cheat.

Literal Meaning: “take heed that no one deceives you.” ---- In the Lord’s prophecy in this chapter, He mentioned four times “take heed” (v.9, 23, 33), showing that we should take heed of all the situations that we are confronted with, lest we make mistakes. “Deceive”, it means making it difficult to discern true or false with deceitful means, so we should “take heed of” it.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is good for us to hold on the cautious attitude towards the speeches of others concerning Christ.

2)    All the prophecies in the Bible, as a lamp that shines in a dark place (2Pet. 1:19), provide us light and keep us from being deceived. Therefore if we do not want to be deceived, we should pay attention to prophecies and discern cautiously to prevent us from confusing right and wrong.


Mark. 13:6 For many will come in My name, saying, "I am He,' and will deceive many.

YLT: “for many shall come in my name, saying -- I am , and many they shall lead astray;”

Literal Meaning: “many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ.’” ---- It refers to those who call themselves Christ. The Lord’s words show that the appearance of the false christ is the first sign of the destruction of the temple. The Jewish historian Joseph recorded that during forty years after the Lord’s resurrection until Jerusalem was destructed, several false christs came forth and they assembled a group of henchmen.

Note that the phenomenon of false Christ has emerged in endlessly throughout the past two thousand years and becomes increasingly intense. Because it is the necessary situation that must appear in last days (see v.21-22).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    One of the signs of the last day is that men like to boast themselves with Christ. However, Christ is spiritual reality instead of a flag.

2)    Anyone who calls himself Christ is actually false. Some deceivers do not declare openly that he is Christ but mislead others to regard him as Christ unconsciously.


Mark. 13:7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.

YLT: “and when ye may hear of wars and reports of wars, be not troubled, for these behove to be, but the end not yet;”

Meaning of Words: “end”: final, conclusion;

Literal Meaning: “but when you hear of wars and rumors of wars”, this was the second sign before the temple was destructed. After the Lord was dead, the rumor that wars were going to take place made men scared and jittery.

“Do not be troubled”, it is of no help for men to be troubled once they have heard wars. What they should do is to be prepared for them calmly.

“For such things must happen”, It is the reason for “being not troubled”. Since wars are unavoidable, “being troubled” is of no help.

“But the end is not yet.” ---- “End” refers to “the end of the age” (see Matt.24:3), i.e. the Tribulation of the three and a half years (see Rev. 11:2).


Mark. 13:8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.

YLT: “for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles; beginnings of sorrows these.”

Meaning of Words: “sorrows”: travails; 

   The Background: when a woman gives birth to a child, she will have intermittent travails. When the intermission between travails becomes increasingly shorter, the woman’s travails will become more and more acute.

Literal Meaning: “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” ---- “Nation will rise against nation”, it refers to the wars between nations and tribes and even villages; “kingdom against kingdom”, it speaks of the international wars. From the Lord’s ascension till now, wars had been taken place incessantly from ages and from generations.

“There will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” ---- Wars always bring about “famines”. In all the ages, “earthquakes” has increased unceasingly and will become more serious in last days (see Rev. 6:12, 8:5, 11:13, 19; 16:18).

“These are the beginnings of sorrows.” ---- It showed that after the Lord’s death the tribulations which Israel suffered in the sacred place were only the beginning of sorrows, just like a woman went through the travail. The truly fearful “Tribulation” will come later. Moreover, before the coming of the Tribulation, the sorrows they suffer will become more and more serious.

   Spiritual Meaning: “nation will rise against nation”, it symbolizes that the earthly people would rise against the heavenly people.

    “Kingdom against kingdom”, it indicates that the kingdom of Satan will rebel against the kingdom of God.

“There will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” ---- “Earthquakes”, it symbolizes that all things beyond God shall be removed (see Heb. 12:27). “Famines”, it indicates that the lack of spiritual food everywhere makes God’s people be hungry;   

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    God allows tribulations to come to us for the sake of production instead of destruction, thus giving us hope, not frustrating us.

2)    Wars, famines and earthquakes all bring men tribulations in the flesh. However, these tribulations are travails of giving birth to a child for the purpose of bringing men joy finally (see John. 16:21).

3)    God’s will is to have many sons (see Gal. 3:26, Heb. 2:10) to manifest the glory of His son Christ. Therefore all the tribulations are used by God to build the church of His Son.


Mark. 13:9 "But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.

YLT:`And take ye heed to yourselves, for they shall deliver you up to sanhedrims, and to synagogues, ye shall be beaten, and before governors and kings ye shall be set for my sake, for a testimony to them;”

Meaning of Words: “rulers”: dominator (including governors and magistrates);

Literal Meaning: “synagogue”, it was the highest council of the Jews comprised of 70 councilmen who had the right of trying civil cases and religious cases. They had the authority to whip those who had committed sins, but could not sentence one to death (John 18:31).

Spiritual Meaning: “council” symbolized the religious power.

  “Synagogue” represented the religious circumstance.

  “Rulers and kings” stood for the power of the world.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    A true believer of the Lord may usually give rise to religionists’ envy, opposition and persecution. Therefore, we have to watch out for them.

2)    The organized system (synagogue) of God’s elect even became the organization of persecuting those who were really of God. Today, there are also some organizations in Christianity who are willing to help the tyrant to do evil ---- to help the evil political power to persecute true Christians.

3)    Since we are not of the world, the world hates us. They have persecuted the Lord, they will also persecute us (John 15:19-20).

4)    The church does not lack men who give sermons, but lacks men who can stand for the sake of the Lord and bear witness of the Lord.

5)    The Lord gives us all the afflicted circumstances for the sake of love. If there is no trouble pressing us, we cannot learn to look on and rely on Him closely.


Mark. 13:10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.

YLT: “and to all the nations it behoveth first that the good news be proclaimed.”

Literal Meaning: “the gospel must first be preached to all the nations”, “all the nations” refer to all those who do not believe the Lord (especially the gentiles who do not believe the Lord). It is the prerequisite for the end of this age that the glad tidings shall be preached in the whole habitable earth (see Matt. 24:14). In other words, preaching the glad tidings to every corner of the world will speed up the coming of the end.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If the children of God do not work with Him to bear witness to the kingdom and fight against this world, God would rather delay in ending this age.

2)    The Lord wants believers to work with Him to promote the ending of this age and the second coming of Him. Therefore the Lord appointed we believers to go and preach everywhere to the end of the earth (see Matt. 28:19; Mark. 16:20; Acts. 1:8).

3)    The preachment of the glad tidings is first and then judgments come. God gives men enough chance to receive grace and then look into one’s attitude towards grace. Anyone who is unable to sympathize or care about others is unworthy of condemning others.


Mark. 13:11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

YLT:`And when they may lead you, delivering up, be not anxious beforehand what ye may speak, nor premeditate, but whatever may be given to you in that hour, that speak ye, for it is not ye who are speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”

Literal Meaning: the situation in this verse may follow closely the preachment of the glad tidings (v.10). Obviously, to preach the glad tidings is not an easy thing, for it may bring about such situations:

1.    Being persecuted by nominal religious groups of God (v.9);

2.    Being persecuted by the power of the world (v.9b, 11);

3.    Being persecuted by the family members and relatives that do not believe (v.12);

4.    Being hated by all the people (v.13);

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If we are persecuted for the sake of the Lord, the Holy Spirit will not only be with us but also give us words to enable us to answer those who persecute us. The Lord’s attendance is so careful that we need not be frightened.

2)    When we are confronted with persecutions and oppositions, we shall not answer by ourselves.

3)    When we believers are faced with persecutions and oppositions, we shall not deal with them by ourselves, but commit ourselves to the Lord in faith. He who believes the Lord shall not be ashamed (Rom. 9:33).

4)    We shall learn to face persecutions not through ourselves, but retreat to the spirit to rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit of God abides in our spirit (Rom 8:9).

5)    The Holy Spirit is our helper and comforter, when we are suffered from persecutions in the service of the Lord.

6)    If men insist on speaking by themselves, the Holy Spirit will have no status to speak. If men are not willing to say by themselves, the Holy Spirit will manifest His words.

7)    Many times, men can say what they cannot say and what they have not expected to say, for it is the Holy Spirit, not they, that gives them the words therein.


Mark. 13:12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

YLT:`And brother shall deliver up brother to death, and father child, and children shall rise up against parents, and shall put them to death,”

Literal Meaning: the family division resulted from conflicts over belief has been very common and will be increasingly severe in the future.

Spiritual Meaning: “brother” symbolizes the brothers in the church.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Many believers even betray brothers and sisters in order to preserve themselves because of being unwilling to be suffered.

2)    Believers should love one another. However, since they have hold distinct views and stand in different statuses, they will be at enmity toward each other and kill one another.


Mark. 13:13 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

YLT: “and ye shall be hated by all because of my name, but he who hath endured to the end -- he shall be saved.”

Literal Meaning: “you will be…for My name's sake”, “you” referred to the disciples, for they were both the Jews and the disciples. Therefore, the troubles mentioned here are both related with the Jews and believers in the New Testament.

  “And you will be hated by all”, “all” referred to the unbelieving gentiles. No matter Jewish believers or gentile believers, they shall both be hated and persecuted and killed the unbelievers (Matt. 5:11) for the sake of the Lord.

“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” ---- “Be saved” does not refer to the redemption but the deliverance from tribulations and the entry into the kingdom (see Acts. 27:20, 44; Ps. 80:3, 7, 19; Jer. 23:6, 30:7). In the last period of the Tribulation, the Lord Jesus will save those who are of Him out of the tribulations. The only way of being saved is to “endure to the end”, meaning that to hold fast the Lord’s words and name (see Rev. 3:8-11) in the lawless environment.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Through many tribulations, we must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). However, since we have the hope of kingdom, we should endure in tribulations.

2)    Believers are fellow-partakers in the tribulations and kingdom and patience of Jesus (Rev. 1:9).


Mark. 13:14 "So when you see the "abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not" (let the reader understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

YLT: “`And when ye may see the abomination of the desolation, that was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (whoever is reading let him understand), then those in Judea, let them flee to the mountains;”

Meaning of Words: “desolation”: make it desolate, make it waste; “abomination”: the abominable things, disgusting things

Literal Meaning: “See the ‘abomination of desolation’, standing in the holy place.” ---- “Desolation” refers to the antichrist (see Dan. 9:27); “abomination” refers to idols (see Deut. 29:17); “standing where it ought not”, it is the sanctuary in the temple (see Ps. 68:35, Ezek. 7:24; 21:2). It on one hand typified the presumptuous things the heathens had done in the Holy Temple when the Holy City was occupied in A.D.70. On the other, it also typified the “apostasy” and antichrist at the last day (see 2Thess. 2:3-12). According to the prophecies in the scriptures, in the three and a half years of the Tribulation, the image of antichrist (see Rev. 13:14-15) will be set up in the Holy Temple and it will become a sign of ending this age.

    It is quoted from the Book of Daniel (11:31). It referred to the Greek King Antiochus IV (namely Epiphanes) who invaded Palestine and overturned Jerusalem in the time between two testaments. He set up the altar of heresy in the Holy Temple in B.C.168. The Lord here purposely used this to predict that: a) what would take place in A.D.70; b) the conditions that will come forth at the last day.

“Whoever reads, let him understand.” ---- Possibly, the circumstances at that time did not allow the author mention who the “abomination of desolation” was, so he added this sentence in parenthesis in order to remind readers to notice its hidden meaning when reading this prophecy.

  “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” ---- When suffering persecutions, God’s people are supposed to “flee” instead of resisting (see Matt. 10:23, Rev. 12:6). “The mountains” are easy to hide for men. According to the report of the early church, before Jerusalem was occupied, the disciples fled to the city of Piera at the foot of mountains and on the east of Jordan River.

Spiritual Meaning: “flee to the mountains”, it refers to paying price to live in spiritual realm.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Before the Lord comes back, the “abominable” things will be manifested in the church such as adultery, apostasy, antichrist and etc.

2)    God is a jealousy God (Exod. 20:5). Where there are idols, there would cause the wrath of God. He would rather let the Holy Temple (the church) be destructed than let it be profaned.

3)    This verse especially notes that “whoever reads, let him understand” in order to remind believers that it is still possible that the throne of Satan dwells in the church (see Rev. 2:13).

4)    Once the worship of idols (including the worship of spiritual Giants) appears in the church, believers should flee and come out from among them quickly (see 2Cor. 6:17).

5)    If believers want to escape the Tribulation at the last day, the best way is to pay price to seek to reach high spiritual realm (“flee to the mountains”) and then enjoy the rapture (see v.40-41).


Mark. 13:15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house.

YLT: “and he upon the house-top, let him not come down to the house, nor come in to take anything out of his house;”

The Background: the houses of the ancient Jews were terraces and there were ladders to climb up to the housetop.

   Literal Meaning: “on the housetop”, the “housetop” refers to the roof ---- it is outside part of the house.

  “Not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house.” ---- It means that one shall not go down from the ladder to come into the house to take things.

   Spiritual Meaning: “on the housetop”, it refers to those who have reached the heavenly realm; “anything out of his house”, it symbolizes the worldly and corporeal things.

   Enlightenment in the Word: all those believers who have already got some spiritual attainments (“on the housetop”) should still watch their steps to prevent himself from being entangled in and being dragged by earthly things (“not go down to take anything out of his house”).


Mark. 13:16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.

YLT: “and he who is in the field, let him not turn to the things behind, to take up his garment.”

Meaning of Words: “clothes”: robe;

Spiritual Meaning: “in the field”, it refers to the bondmen who serve the Lord (see Luke. 17:7); “clothes” means estimation before men.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The true servants of the Lord (“in the field”) shall regard the will of God as the most important in every circumstance, and not merely be concern with others’ feelings towards us (“go back to get his clothes”).

2)    Those who love the Lord with pure hearts (“in the field”) should not go back to his life in the past (“go back to get his clothes”).


Mark. 13:17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!

YLT: “`And wo to those with child, and to those giving suck, in those days;”

Literal Meaning: “woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies”, because they are tied by the leg and there’s not enough time for them to flee.

   Spiritual Meaning: “who are pregnant”, it refers to those who have conceived various lusts; “who are nursing babies”, it symbolizes those who have fleshly entanglements.


Mark. 13:18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter.

YLT: “and pray ye that your flight may not be in winter,”

Literal Meaning: “your flight may not be in winter”, “winter” is the season of rain and snow, so the road may either be blocked by snow or be muddy.

Spiritual Meaning: “winter” indicates abnormal spiritual state that is dried-up and dead. Believers in such situation are unable to flee and even have not realized that they should flee.


Mark. 13:19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.

YLT: “for those days shall be tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the creation that God created, till now, and may not be;”

Literal Meaning: this verse predicts that the severity of the Tribulation was without parallel in history (see Joel. 2:2; Dan. 12:1). Men will not know its rigorousness through imagination.

According to the records of the Jewish history, about a million Jews had been killed in the case in A.D.70, and most of them were crucified. About two millions Jews were sold into slavery and seriously suffered from the bitterness and had been dead finally. However, this situation could not catch up with the severity of the Tribulation at the last day.


Mark. 13:20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.

YLT: “and if the Lord did not shorten the days, no flesh had been saved; but because of the chosen, whom He did choose to Himself, He did shorten the days.”

Literal Meaning: “the elect” refers to the Jews who are elected by God. This verse predicts the days of the Tribulation were reduced to a fixed period of days, for unless they were not shortened, no one would be saved. God sets a period of time for the Tribulation about three and a half years, i.e. forty-two months or one thousand two hundred and sixty days (see Dan. 9:27; Rev. 13:5; 12:6).

Enlightenment in the Word: God is still merciful in His severity (see Rom. 11:22).


Mark. 13:21 "Then if anyone says to you, "Look, here is the Christ!' or, "Look, He is there!' do not believe it.

YLT: “`And then, if any may say to you, Lo, here the Christ, or, Lo, there, ye may not believe;”

Literal Meaning: “then”, it refers to the three and a half years at the end of the age, i.e. the time of the Tribulation.

  “Here is the Christ…there.” ---- “Here” and “there” both refer to a certain place, showing that the Christ they spoke of will rise on earth (characters of the earth) instead of appearing in heaven (see v.26).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Today all those who call himself Christ who was born in the world must be the false christ.

2)    The Lord does not want us to listen to or trust men’s words because He is near us, even in our mouth and in our hearts (see Rom. 10:8).

3)    The coming of the Lord Christ is not shown to a small part of people, but to be seen by all the people (see v.30).

4)    Christ is exceeding and He fills all in all and He will never be limited by fleshly factors.


Mark. 13:22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

YLT: “for there shall rise false Christs and false prophets, and they shall give signs and wonders, to seduce, if possible, also the chosen;”

Literal Meaning: “because false christs and false prophets” The plural shows that the number is more than one.

    “Show great signs and wonders” The lawless ones, after the working of evil spirits, can therefore do various kinds of powerful words and signs and lying wonders (see 2Thess. 2:9).

  “Even the elect”, “the elect” refers to the Jews (see Is. 65:9; Rom. 10:21; 11:28).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The false christs and false prophets not only deceive the Gentile unbelievers, and even we believers may also be deceived.

2)    Satan and its subordinators can also do signs and miracles. Therefore Christians should not believe those who can do Great signs are sent by God.

3)    The Lord’s words always reveal us that many people will be deceived. Therefore, we can see that being deceived is a common fact in the history of the church (see1Tim. 4:1; 2Tim 3:13; 2Pet. 2:1).

4)    The false prophets deceive others by making them think what they have said are the words of God. Even though we can not despise prophecies, what is really important is we shall prove everything (see 1Thess. 5:20-21).


Mark. 13:23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.

YLT: “and ye, take heed; lo, I have foretold you all things.”

Literal Meaning: the Lord here tells us beforehand for the purpose of reminding us to take heed when encountering this kind of things. We should not judge whether they are from God through the Great signs and wonders they have done.


Mark. 13:24 "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;

YLT: “`But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,”

Literal Meaning: we can know from verse 24 to 26 that the Lord’s second coming happens at the end of the Tribulation. Moreover, when He comes, the signs of the heaven will change greatly (see Zech. 14:5-6; Joel. 2:31; 2Pet. 3:10).

   Spiritual Meaning: the change of the signs of the heaven sometimes also symbolizes the upheaval of social condition and the rise and fall of dynasties and nations (see Ezek. 32:7-8; Amos. 8:9). It also indicates the shake-up of nature.

   Enlightenment in the Word: the sun, the moon and stars all typify Christ; when the body comes, the shadow is not essential (see Col. 2:16-17). The moment Christ appears, all light bearers will be overshadowed. 


Mark. 13:25 “the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

YLT: “and the stars of the heaven shall be falling, and the powers that are in the heavens shall be shaken.”

Literal Meaning: “the stars of heaven will fall”, it may also indicate that there will be many groups of falling stars in the heaven (see Rev. 6:13).

Enlightenment in the Word: Satan and its followers will be cast down from the heaven (see Rev. 12:9).


Mark. 13:26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with Great power and glory.

YLT: “`And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in clouds with much power and glory,”

Literal Meaning: “then”, it refers to the time “after that tribulation” (v.24).

    “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and Great glory.” “The Son of Man” is the title for the Lord when He became flesh and suffered pain. When the Lord comes, He will show the two conditions of “power” and “Great glory”, because the Lord the Lord shall consume the antichrist with the spirit of his mouth (power), and shall destroy it with the brightness (Great glory) of his coming (see 2Thess. 2:8).

  “Coming on the clouds of heaven” At that time, He will not be hidden in the clouds of air, but will come on the clouds of heaven.


Mark. 13:27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.

YLT: “and then he shall send his messengers, and gather together his chosen from the four winds, from the end of the earth unto the end of heaven.”

Literal Meaning: “His elect” refers to the gentile (countries all over the world) Jews (see Is. 45:4; 65:9; 49:22; Deut. 7:6).

  The Lord comes with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God (see 1Thess. 4:16) and He will gather those who are of Him on earth together before Him.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The moment the glorious Christ manifests, He will draw all the nations unto Him. The best way of preaching the glad tidings is to manifest Christ before men.

2)    Only those who are of Christ can belong to Him. Today how much of our being and deeds are of Him and will belong to Him in the eternal age?


Mark. 13:28 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.

YLT: “`And from the fig-tree learn ye the simile: when the branch may already become tender, and may put forth the leaves, ye know that nigh is the summer;”

Literal Meaning: “when its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves”, it refers to the time when the tree flourishes, showing that it has already been spring and therefore summer is not far away.

   Spiritual Meaning: “the fig tree” typifies the kingdom of Israel. It was cursed because it did not bear fruits (see Matt. 21:19) and therefore its withering typifies the fall of Israel. Today its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, indicating the restoration of Israel.

  “Summer” is in contrast with winter and winter symbolizes the time of the Tribulation (see v.18-19). Summer symbolizes the age of the restoration in the kingdom (see Luke. 21:30-31) and this age will start from the Lord’s second coming.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “Learn this parable from the fig tree.” ---- Christ is the one who fills all in all (see Eph. 1:23). All things all manifest Christ and therefore we should learn to know Christ from all things.

2)    Christ reigns in life (see Rom. 5:17) and His kingdom must be full of abundant life. The more abundant life believers have (see John. 10:10), the more part will they have in the kingdom of God.


Mark. 13:29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near--at the doors!

YLT: “so ye, also, when these ye may see coming to pass, ye know that it is nigh, at the doors.”

Literal Meaning: “when you see all these things”, “all these things” indicate the Lord’s prophecies that had been fulfilled in the past two thousand years.

    “Know that it is near”, “it” refers to summer, i.e. the kingdom.

Spiritual Meaning: the Lord’s words remind us that as long as we see that the kingdom of Israel has restored, we should know that the Lord’s second coming and the realization of the kingdom are near.


Mark. 13:30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

YLT: “Verily I say to you, that this generation may not pass away till all these things may come to pass;”

Literal Meaning: “this generation will by no means pass away,” “this generation” means “many generations” in the original. Generation in the Bible usually does not mean men’s physical years in the world, but men’s moral state before God (see Deut. 32:5, Matt. 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 23:36). In other words, the situation of evil, adultery and wickedness in the world determines the length of the generation. Therefore “this generation” shall be the whole age until the Lord’s second coming.

  “All these tings take place.” ---- “All these things” include all the things before the Lord comes back.

  What the Lord has said must be fulfilled. The Restoration of Israel was fulfilled in A.D. 1948. Therefore we can hear indistinctly the steps of His second coming. Saints should never ignore the Lord’s words.


Mark. 13:31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

YLT: “the heaven and the earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Literal Meaning: “heaven and earth will pass away”, the singular form of the word “heaven” shows that it is the heaven in contrast with the earth. One day, the old heaven and earth will perish (see 2Pet. 3:10; Heb. 1:11-12).

  “My words will by no means pass away.” ---- The Lord’s word is settled in the heaven (Ps. 119:89) and must be fulfilled.

Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord’s words are more stable and permanent than the heaven and the earth. However, men often make a fetish of the permanent heaven and earth, but have doubt in the Lord’s words.


Mark. 13:32 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

YLT: “`And concerning that day and the hour no one hath known -- not even the messengers who are in the heaven, not even the Son -- except the Father.”

Literal Meaning: “that day and hour” indicates the Lord’s second coming and the Day of Judgment at the last day.

“No one knows”, if someone declares that he knows the day and the exact time when the Lord comes, we could judge that he must be the false prophet according to words here.

  “Neither the son”, it shows that He stands on the position of humbling Himself and obeying God the Father (see John. 10:30; 14:28), He is willing to let the day be unknown to Him.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though all sorts of signs show that the end of this generation is near and the Lord is coming again, no one knows the day and hour of the Lord’s coming, but God the Father.

2)    Calculating the day and hour is not pious and is destined to fail.

3)    The Lord, standing on the position of the Son of Man, is willing to not know something. Sometimes, we should not manage with an effort to know the things that God does not let us know (for example: the day of the Lord’s coming, the meaning of the seven thunders in Revelation 10:4 and etc.), lest we fall into the trap of Satan and think that we shall be as God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5) and eat “the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.


Mark. 13:33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.

YLT: “Take heed, watch and pray, for ye have not known when the time is;”

Meaning of Words: “watch”: be alert, be sleepless, keep awake;

Literal Meaning: “take heed, watch and pray”, there are four times mentioning the word “watch” (v.34, 35, 37). “Watch” means “keeping awake and being on the alert continually”. “Watch and pray”, it means on one hand keeping in the state of guard and praying in order to keep watching.

  “For you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” ---- If we know what hour the Lord is coming, we do not need to watch everyday and only need to watch at the last day. However, since we do not know what hour the Lord is coming, we have to watch everyday.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    As to the Lord’s second coming, it is better for us to pay attention to our real spiritual condition inside than to spare much time to research the problems such as time, signs and prophecies and etc. It makes no difference to those whose spiritual conditions are normal, no matter when the Lord comes again. Moreover, they have early tasted the real meaning of the Lord’s second coming in spiritual reality.

2)    The most important thing of welcoming the kingdom is “watching”. All those who do not care about the Lord’s second coming are not watchful enough.

3)    Jessie Penn-Lewis said, “Christians should watch from the first day of their Christian life”. We should be watchful of the enemy, the world and ourselves.

4)    Believers should not be careless (watch), but live and work with the attitude of waiting for the Lord everyday and all our walking and thoughts should also be prepared to see the Lord and please Him.

5)    Satan always weakens the need of prayer, or robs the desire and burden of prayer and making our prayers remain of form. Therefore, we should watch and pray.

6)    Dr. Miguel said, “a watchful state in one’s spirit guarantees right prayers, and lifeless and depressed thought may hold back the effect of prayers”.


Mark. 13:34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.

YLT: “as a man who is gone abroad, having left his house, and given to his servants the authority, and to each one his work, did command also the porter that he may watch;”

Spiritual Meaning: “a man” refers to the owner of a family, who typifies the Lord Jesus; “his house” typifies the earth, the church on the earth; “a far country” typifies the heaven; “servants” typifies are believers; and “doorkeeper” refers to the watchman in the church.

  After the Lord’s crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, He was no longer with believers in the physical body, but gave us the Holy Spirit and the spiritual authority so that we could serve Him on the earth and had our own duty of service. What is the most important is to watch and wait for the Lord’s second coming.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    All the believers on the earth are the Lord’s “servants” and have “their own work that they should do”. Serving the Lord is our “regular occupation”, and the occupation in the world is only the “side occupation” that makes us live.

2)    We should be “watchful” to guard the door of our spirit ---- on one hand, we shall guard against the attacks of Satan and the temptations of the world and sins, and on the other hand prepare ourselves to meet the Lord’s second coming.


Mark. 13:35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning--

YLT: “watch ye, therefore, for ye have not known when the lord of the house doth come, at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or at the morning;”

The Background: according to Roman timing method, there are four hours at night: (a) the first hour starts from six o’clock to nine o’clock in the evening; (b) the second hour is from nine o’clock to the midnight in the evening; (c) the third hour begins from the midnight to three o’clock early in the morning; (d) the fourth hour starts from three o’clock early in the morning to six o’clock.

Literal Meaning: “in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning”, they are the four hours according to Roman timing method. “In the evening” refers to the first hour; “at midnight” indicates the second hour; “at the crowing of the rooster” speaks of the third hour; “in the morning” was the fourth hour.

Spiritual Meaning: “you do not know when the master of the house is coming”, “master” refers to the Lord Jesus; “when…is coming” refers to the day of the Lord’s second coming. No one knows the day when the Lord comes again (v.32).

Enlightenment in the Word: the night is far spent, and the day is near (Rom. 13:12), and the Lord is near (Phil. 4:5). Therefore, it is already time that we should be aroused out of sleep (Rom. 13:11) ---- “watch”!


Mark. 13:36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.

YLT: “lest, having come suddenly, he may find you sleeping;”

Literal Meaning: “he find you sleeping”, it means that he does not see us watching.


Mark. 13:37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"

YLT: “and what I say to you, I say to all, Watch.'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    All the words of God in the Scriptures are all spoken to every believer of us.

2)    May the Lord give us spiritual ear that can hear His words (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Signs Before the Holy Temple Was Destroyed

A.   There will be men deceiving the elect by assuming the name of Christ (v.5-6).

B.   There will be wars and rumors of wars (v.7-8a).

C.   There will be earthquakes and famines (v.8b).


The Dangers of Preaching the Glad Tidings for Saints and the Resolutions

A.   Dangers:

1.    Be given to councils and be beaten in the synagogues (v.9b) ---- be persecuted by the nominal groups in Christianity or by te nominal Christians in the church;

2.    Be brought before rulers and kings for a testimony to them (v.9c, 11a) ---- be persecuted and judged by the political power in the world;

3.    Be betrayed by brothers, parents and daughters (v.12) ---- be hated by family members in the flesh;

4.    Be hated by all the people (v.13a) ---- be hated and despised by men in the world;

B.   The Resolutions:

1.    Watch (v.9a);

2.    And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations (v.10).

3.    One shall not deal with it by himself, but obey the Holy Spirit (v.11b).

4.    But he who endures to the end shall be saved (v.13b).


The Prophecies Concerning the Tribulation in Last Days and the Admonishments

A.   Prophecies:

1.    There will be the “abomination of desolation” standing on the holy land (v.14a).

2.    The tribulation is so severe that there is no one that can be equaled before or after (v.19).

3.    God had shortened those days (v.20).

4.    There will be false christs and false prophets deceiving the elect (v.21-22).

B.   Admonishments:

1.    Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains (v.14b).

2.    Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house (v.15).

3.    And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes (v.16).

4.    But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days (v.17)!

5.    And pray that your flight may not be in winter (v.18).

6.    Neither believe false christs nor false prophets, but watch (v.21-23).


Prophecies Concerning the Lord’s Second Coming and the Admonishments

A.   Prophecies:

1.    The Lord comes after the tribulations (v.24a).

2.    There will be great changes in the heaven when the Lord comes again (v.24b-25).

3.    The Lord will come in the clouds from the heaven (v.26).

4.    He will gather together His elect from the four winds (v.27).

B.   Admonishments:

1.    When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves (the restoration of the Israel), you know that the day is near (v.28-29).

2.    The prophetic words of the Lord must be fulfilled (v.30-31).

3.    Of that day and hour no one knows (v.32) ---- do not believe men’s words.

4.    Take heed, watch and pray (v.33-37).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou