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Mark 13:1-23

Author: Kent Berghuis

Watch Out for Trouble
Mark 13:1-23

Intro:  Masada provides a glimpse into the pain inflicted on the Jewish nation after the time of 
Christ.  This has continued through history, from the Inquisitions to the holocausts of this 
century in Germany and the USSR.  But trouble has not been limited to the Jewish people.  We 
read even this week about  hurricane Georges killing hundreds in the Caribbean.  We look 
around and see societal decay and the breakdown of the family.  We see the proliferation of false 
religions.  Did these things catch the Lord by surprise?

Main idea:  Jesus taught that before his return as king there would be difficult times on the earth.

I.  The Jewish temple would be destroyed (1-2).
	--The beauty of the temple and its stones was marvelous.
	--The Romans came and destroyed it during a Jewish rebellion in AD 70.
	--This appears to have been God's judgment on the religious system that rejected Christ.

II.  General troubles will come upon the earth (3-13).
	A.  False messiahs will lead people astray (5-6).
	B.  Fierce wars will take place (7-8a).
	C.  Natural disasters will occur (8b).
	D.  Christians will be persecuted for their testimony (9-13).
	--This list follows the same progression as that of Rev 6.

III.  A Great Tribulation will come upon the earth (14-23).
	A.  The "abomination of desolation" will appear in the temple (14).
		--This refers back to Dan 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11.  The prophecy of Dan 11:31 
came true in the person of Antiochus Epiphanies, a wicked Greek warlord who ruled the region 
around Syria before the Romans took control.  When he invaded Jerusalem, he set up an image 
of Zeus in the temple and offered a pig on the altar in the holy of holies.  But in Daniel this also 
seems to point to a future day as well, which in the NT refers to the yet future time of the "Great 
Tribulation."  A future Antichrist will establish himself as supreme ruler and demand worship 
(Rev 13, esp. vv. 14-15).
	B.  It will be a period of extreme difficulty (15-19).
		--Fleeing will be in order (15-18).
		--This is clearly unfulfilled (19).
	C.  The Lord will still be in control (20-23).
		--He will shorten the days (probably by his return to earth to set up his kingdom)
		--False Christs will appear, but don't be deceived.  When Christ returns, there won't be any doubt about it (see v. 26).
		--He has told us these things so that we would trust him in difficult times (23).

	  	1.  Difficult times face each of us.  Are we willing to trust the Lord through them?
		2.  A Great Tribulation is coming.  Are we willing to testify for Christ in the midst 
			of persecution in order to help others to be saved from God's wrath?


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