We began looking at the Wednesday of Passion Week back in chapter 11, and now after a full day of dealing with the religious leaders, Jesus has turned His focus to His disciples. They had been anticipating the Kingdom, after all Jesus was the Messiah, and they were in this glorious temple, so what could stop the Son of God from establishing His Kingdom? But what Jesus was about to describe was not what they expected at all, and in Mark 13:1-13 Jesus explains 5 realities of the future.
- The Destruction of the Temple (vs 2). The temple had become a monument of apostate religions. The structure glistened with gold on the outside, but the stench from all the apostate activities arose from the inside. Think of the Pharisees with their pompous showmanship of legalistic, and often man-made, laws. God used the Romans to fulfill His divine wrath to destroy the temple in 70 AD, leaving nothing but the footings on the western wall.
- The Deception of Many (vs 5-6). Jesus warns against being mislead. There were and still are many false teachers, and even false Christs, making false prophesies. There are countless false religions, many with no connection to Christianity at all, and still others that are connected because Satan wants to deceive us by getting as close to the truth as he can. The Muslim religion professes one god, and even actually believes in Jesus. However, they only regard him as a great prophet, and definitely only a man. They believe Jesus did not die, but went to Heaven, like Elijah, and will return when Allah sends him for the purpose of correcting all Christians that have misinterpreted who he is. The Koran and the Sunnah describe the Muslim Jesus and their end time theology. According to these sources there are three main signs of end times, each of which are actually men. 1)The Mahdi, or twelfth Imam, is the guided one, the long-awaited savior. He comes with a massive army to slaughter all who do not convert to Islam. He will first slaughter all the Jews, then establish his rule on the temple mount. The Mahdi will arrive riding a white horse, and take control of the world. Making peace for 7 years, and establishing Islam as the only religion, he will be loved by all the people. He is the precise description of the Antichrist of Revelation. The Antichrist is Islam’s savior! 2)The second person is Jesus. The Muslims believe Jesus will return with the purpose of assisting the Mahdi. He will be a radical Muslim, praying to the Mahdi and becoming the greatest Muslim evangelist ever, converting Christians everywhere. He will kill the Islamic Antichrist, then die himself. Compare this Jesus to Revelation’s false prophet who aids the Antichrist. 3)The Muslim Antichrist, or Dajjal. He is the great deceiver and comes to earth on a mule and is blind in one eye. He claims to be Jesus the Son of God and attempts to stop the Mahdi and the Islamic Jesus, but the Islamic Jesus will kill him. The Muslim Antichrist is actually the true Jesus, and everything is totally opposite from the Biblical view. Our Antichrist is their redeemer, their Antichrist is the true redeemer. Do not be deceived.
- The Devastation of the World (vs 7-8). Both human conflicts and natural disasters will become more and more severe and plentiful the closer to the end. Human history is full of wars for countless reasons, and there have always been disasters, whether from earthquakes, floods, drought, disease, or whatever. These will all increase immensely as the end comes nearer.
- The Disaster of the Persecution (vs 9-12). The persecution of Christians will also increase and escalate. But in spite of the persecution, the gospel will be preached to every nation with the help of the Holy Spirit.
- The Deliverance of Believers (vs 13). Jesus’ final statement in verse 13, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” He is not saying here that you can earn your salvation by enduring all the pain and suffering. He is saying that you will be able to endure because true believers have the Holy Spirit to provide the strength necessary to endure. False Christians won’t be able to handle it, and will fall away. He is saying we demonstrate our salvation by enduring.