Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Friday, November 4, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Nov 5, Mk 13

Today's reading is Mk 13. Tomorrow's is Mt 24.

Mk 13 has prophecies indicating trials for the church. The verses in Mk 13:14-20 are a graphic description of what will happen in Jerusalem in 70 AD. By most estimates, nearly a million Jews were brutally slaughtered and the temple was completely destroyed. The Roman general Titus stood on the spot where the Holy of Holies was and sacrificed a pig. To the Jews who survived to witness this act, it was the "abomination of desolation." The abomination was the sacrifice of an unclean animal by a Gentile on the spot once dedicated to the ark of the covenant and the presence of God. The desolation was the ruined temple, the remains of which were pushed off the temple mount and were left lying in heaps of rubble surrounding the mount.  

Some of the ruble remains in heaps at the base of the temple mount
The roadway at the base of the mount shows the crushing impact of the falling stones as they were pushed off the temple mount

Mk 13:21 begins with "And then" indicating a prophecy of events that will follow the destruction of the temple. At some point after Jerusalem is raised, false Christs will arise and people will begin flocking to them. We know they are false because Christ is in us, not in the next town or country. There will be false prophets as well. They will perform signs and wonders. This should make us cautious about how we view miracles.  While it is apparent that God can and does perform miracles at times, there are those who believe the Holy Spirit is present only when signs and wonders are, or that the absence of signs and wonders indicates the absence of the Holy Spirit. This passage tells us that the presence of miracles can also be a sign of false prophets and false Christs. Our familiarity with our God and our in-depth knowledge of His word will help us discern which is which. 

Mk 13:32-37 brings it all into focus. Instead of being preoccupied with all the end time events, Christians are to be awake, alert and " charge, each with his work." We are to do what we are called to do -- be witnesses for the gospel. The prophecies concerning the end times are given to us to let us know that there is indeed an end and it will come quickly, "like a thief in the night." This should inspire us with some urgency to be bearers of the gospel. 

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