Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple, Mark 13:1, Mark 13:2. His disciples inquire when this shall be, and what previous sign there shall be of this calamity, Mark 13:3, Mark 13:4; which questions he answers very solemnly and minutely, vv. 5-27; illustrates the whole by a parable, Mark 13:28, Mark 13:29; asserts the absolute certainty of the events, Mark 13:30, Mark 13:31; shows that the precise minute cannot be known by man, Mark 13:32; and inculcates the necessity of watchfulness and prayer, Mark 13:33-37.
And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!See what manner of stones - Josephus says, Ant. b. xv. chap. 11: "That these stones were white and strong, Fifty feet long, Twenty-Four broad, and Sixteen in thickness." If this account can be relied on, well might the disciples be struck with wonder at such a superb edifice, and formed by such immense stones! The principal contents of this chapter are largely explained in the notes on Matthew 24, and to these the reader is requested to refer.
And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.Saying, I am - The Christ, is added by eight MSS., Coptic, Armenian, Saxon, and four of the Itala.
And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
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: these are the beginnings of sorrows.The beginnings - For αρχαι, many MSS. and versions have αρχη, the beginning, singular.
But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.Councils - Συνεδρια, Sanhedrins. The grand Sanhedrin consisted of seventy-two elders; six chosen out of each tribe; this was the national council of state; and the small Sanhedrins, which were composed of twenty-three counsellors.
Synagogues - Courts of justice for villages, etc., consisting of three magistrates, chosen out of the principal directors of the synagogue in that place.
Rulers - Or governors. The Roman deputies, such as Pontius Pilate, etc.
Kings - The tetrarchs of Judea and Galilee, who bore this name. See Mark 6:27.
And the gospel must first be published among all nations.And the Gospel must first be published among all nations. - Many of the Evangelistaria omit this verse. Its proper place seems to be after verse the thirteenth.
But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.Neither - premeditate - This is wanting in BDL, five others, Coptic, Ethiopic, Vulgate, Itala. Griesbach leaves it doubtful. On this verse see Matthew 10:19 (note).
Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:Let him that readeth understand - What he readeth, is added by D, and three of the Itala, perhaps needlessly.
And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:House-top - See on Matthew 24:17 (note).
And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.Had shortened those days - Because of his chosen, added by D, Armenian, and five of the Itala. See Matthew 24:22.
And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.This generation - Ἡ γενεα αὑτη, This very race of men. It is certain that this word has two meanings in the Scriptures; that given in the text, and that above. Generation signifies a period of a certain number of years, sometimes more, sometimes less. In Deuteronomy 1:35; Deuteronomy 2:14, Moses uses the word to point out a term of thirty-eight years, which was precisely the number in the present case; for Jerusalem was destroyed about thirty-eight years after our Lord delivered this prediction. But as there are other events in this chapter, which certainly look beyond the destruction of Jerusalem, and which were to take place before the Jews should cease to be a distinct people, I should therefore prefer the translation given above. See on Matthew 24:34 (note).
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.Neither the Son - This clause is not found either in Matthew or Luke; and Ambrose says it was wanting in some Greek copies in his time. To me it is utterly unaccountable, how Jesus, who knew so correctly all the particulars which he here lays down, and which were to a jot and tittle verified by the event - how he who knew that not one stone should be left on another, should be ignorant of the day and hour when this should be done, though Daniel, Daniel 9:24, etc., could fix the very year, not less than five hundred years before it happened: how he in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, should not know this small matter, I cannot comprehend, but on this ground, that the Deity which dwelt in the man Christ Jesus might, at one time, communicate less of the knowledge of futurity to him than at another. However, I strongly suspect that the clause was not originally in this Gospel. Its not being found in the parallel places in the other evangelists is, in my opinion, a strong presumption against it. But Dr. Macknight, and others, solve this difficulty in the following manner. They suppose the verb οιδεν to have the force of the Hebrew conjugation Hiphel, in which verbs are taken in a causative, declarative, or permissive sense; and that it means here, make known, or promulge, as it is to be understood in 1 Corinthians 2:2. This intimates that this secret was not to be made known, either by men or angels, no, not even by the Son of man himself; but it should be made known by the Father only, in the execution of the purposes of his justice. I am afraid this only cuts the knot, but does not untie it.
Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.Left his house - Οικιαν, family. Our blessed Lord and Master, when he ascended to heaven, commanded his servants to be faithful and watchful. This fidelity to which he exhorts his servants consists in doing every thing well which is to be done, in the heart or in the family, according to the full extent of the duty. The watchfulness consists in suffering no stranger nor enemy to enter in by the senses, which are the gates of the soul; in permitting nothing which belongs to the Master to go out without his consent; and in carefully observing all commerce and correspondence which the heart may have abroad in the world, to the prejudice of the Master's service. See Quesnel.
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:Watch ye therefore - The more the master is expected, the more diligent ought the servants to be in working, watching, and keeping themselves in readiness. Can one who has received the sentence of his death, and has no right to live a moment, need any admonition to prepare to die? Does not a prisoner who expects his deliverance, hold himself in continual readiness to leave his dungeon?
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.He find you sleeping - A porter asleep exposes the house to be robbed, and well deserves punishment. No wonder that the man is constantly suffering loss who is frequently off his guard.
Our Lord shows us in this parable:
1. That himself, ascended to heaven, is the man gone from home.
2. That believers collectively are his family.
3. That his servants are those who are employed in the work of faith and labor of love.
4. That the porter represents the ministers of his Gospel, who should continually watch for the safety and welfare of the whole flock.
5. That every one has his own work - that which belongs to himself and to none other, and for the accomplishment of which he receives sufficient strength from his Lord.
6. That these servants and porters shall give an account to their Lord, how they have exercised themselves in their respective departments.
7. And that as the master of the family will certainly come to require this account at a time when men are not aware, therefore they should be always watchful and faithful. And,
8. That this is a duty incumbent on every soul of man, What I say unto you, I say unto All, Watch! If, after all these warnings, the followers of God be found careless, their misery and condemnation must be great.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.