Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
9. Jesus’ Departure from the Temple. His Retirement to the Mount of Olives; and His Address concerning the Last Things. MARK 13:1–37
(Parallels: Matt. 24 and 25; Luke 21:5–38; Revelation)
1 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! 2And Jesus answering,1 said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, over against the temple, Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, asked him privately, 4Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? 5And Jesus answering them, began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 7And 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. 8For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles:2 these are the beginnings of sorrows. 9But 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. 10And the Gospel must first be published among all nations. 11But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate;3 but whatsoever shall be given you12 in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 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. 13And 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. 14But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,4 standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains: 15And let him that is on the house-top not go down into the house,5 neither enter therein, to take anything out of his house: 16And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! 18, 19 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. 20And 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 shortened21 the days. And then, if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22For false Christs6 and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. 24But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. 25And the stars of heaven shall fall,7 and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory. 27And 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. 28Now learn a parable of the fig-tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know8 that29 [the] 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. 30Verily I say unto you, That this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32But of that day, and that hour, knoweth no man, 33 no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray:9 for ye know not when the time is. 34For 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. 35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the36 cock-crowing, or in the morning: Lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
See Matthew.—In our Gospel, the time and situation in which Christ delivered His great eschatological address present themselves, as is the case with Matthew. Upon Tuesday evening, immediately after His departure from the temple, the first introductory words were exchanged between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus declared Jerusalem’s destruction. Thereupon He seats Himself in the circle of His most trusted followers upon the Mount of Olives, and reveals the eschatological import of Jerusalem’s being destroyed. Hence it is exceedingly probable that this revelation by Jesus is a night-speech, or rather midnight address, succeeding the night-conversation which He had held upon His evening walk to Bethany, on the summit of Olivet, sitting opposite to the temple.
The three chief divisions of the address are, by all the Evangelists, distinctly enough marked: 1. The universal eschatological world-course to the end; 2. the destruction of Jerusalem, with its succeeding days of trouble and contest, or the succeeding period of the Church of the Cross (the Christian Church), which period may be regarded also as a distinct division; 3. the indication and commencement of the world-end. The beginning of the first part is marked by Jesus’ warning against being seduced by the pseudo-Christs (Mark, Mark 13:5); the end by the promise, “He who endureth,” etc. (Mark 13:13). The beginning of the second part is indicated in Mark and Matthew by the reference to the abomination of desolation; in Luke by the investing of the city (Luke 21:20): the close is here shown by the words, “For in those days shall be,” etc. (Mark, Mark 13:19); in Luke, Mark 13:23, the statement is—a time of wrath upon Israel. The interval between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, distinguished as the period of mitigated judgment, is brought forward in the words, “Except the Lord had shortened those days” (Mark, Mark 13:20): the close, according to Mark, is given in the exclamation, “Behold, I have foretold you all things;” according to Matthew, in the words, “Where the body is,” etc. The chief point in this statement regarding the interval, in Mark and Matthew, is the warning against the false Christs; in Luke, the sufferings of the Jews, the treading under foot of Jerusalem, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. The beginning of the section upon the world-end is brought most prominently forward by Mark—“In those days” (Mark 13:24); Matthew similarly; Luke, with a short καὶ ἔσται, a Future, which is connected with the Preterite of the fulfilment of the times of the Gentiles. All three Evangelists mark the end of this period as the deliverance of the faithful. The Son of Man, according to Matthew and Mark, appears and sends forth His angels to gather in His chosen. Luke makes this known in the words, Lift up your heads, for your salvation draweth nigh. To this succeeds the practical application of the speech in the parable of the fig-tree. The eschatological discourse of Mark’s Gospel agrees most with Matthew; yet it is on the whole shorter, in particular points more circumstantial, and picturesque. Particularly strong is the call in Mark to foresight, to attention, and watchfulness, Mark 13:5, 9, 23, 33, 35, 37. The comparative characterization, however, will be most appropriately added to the consideration of the various sections. For the literature upon this portion, see Matthew. Worthy of special notice is EBRARD’S tract: Adversus erroneam nonnullorum opinionem, qua Christi discipuli existimasse perhibentur, fore, ut universale judicium ipsorum œtate superveniret, Erlangen, 1842.
Mark 13:2.—’Αποκριθείς is wanting in B., L., Versions, Tischendorf, Meyer; found in A., K., Lachmann, Fritzsche; ὦδε before λιθος supported by B., D.; received by Griesbach, Lachmann; omitted in A. and Tischendorf.]
Mark 13:8.—Lachmann and Tischendorf, on the authority of B., D., L., have omitted καὶ ταραχαί. Meyer would retain the words, and says, they have been left out by mistake; the scribe’s eye running forward to the αρχαί following.
Mark 13:11.—Μηδέ μελετᾶτε, omitted by B., D., L., Tischendorf; Meyer would retain them.
Mark 13:14.—Τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου, wanting in B., D., L., Coptic, &c. It is easy to see how they might be interpolated from Matthew; but their omission would be difficult to explain.
[Mark 13:15.—B., L. omit εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν. Lachmann brackets it.]
Mark 13:22.—Tischendorf omits, improperly, ψευδόχριστοι καί. So D.
Mark 13:25.—A., B., C., &c., read, ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες. Lachmann, Tischendorf.
Mark 13:28.—A., B., D., L., Δ.: γινώσκεται.
Mark 13:33.—B., D. omit καί προσεύχεσθε; Lachmann and Tischendorf follow.
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!A. The Occasion. MARK 13:1–4
(Parallels: Matt. 14:1–3; Luke 21:5–7)
Mark brings before us a single speaker, who pointed out to the Lord the splendor of the temple; while Luke speaks of several, Matthew of the disciples in general. One might imagine it was Andrew who furnished in this manner the occasion, entering as he did this time into the circle of the intimate few. If it were not he, then it was most probably Peter. What the disciples bring before the Lord—interceding, so to speak, for the temple—is, according to Matthew, the building itself (the structure being perhaps, in some part, in process of reconstruction); according to Luke, the beautiful stones and the gifts; according to Mark, the greatness of the stones and structures. Braune: According to Josephus, the stones were, in part, twenty-five ells long, twelve broad, eight high. The thought that such a building should be destroyed, was too sad for them; and the precious stones alluded to by Luke, the consecration-presents of piety, upon the walls and in the courts, testified to a continued respect for the temple. The reply of the Lord is here very lively, Dost thou see these buildings? The seat upon the Mount of Olives is marked as a position over against the temple. Of the circle of the disciples who interrogate the Lord, we learn this only, that they are His trusted friends, and that Andrew was on this occasion present, in addition to Peter, James, and John. The two questions, regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, and the sign of the end of the world, given by Matthew, are likewise given by Mark, yet in a different form.
Mark 13:2. One stone upon the other—Meyer: “There would not be one stone left upon another, which should escape, in the further prosecution of the work of destruction, being torn down.” But this is the depicting of a regular breaking down of a house, in which the chief thing is to separate one stone from another, down to the very last. Here, on the contrary, we have the picture of a violent destruction, in which many stones, as all know, remain lying upon one another, yet is each torn from his place and broken. In other words, καταλύεσθαι refers not merely to the mass of the temple, but also to the single stones: the temple should be so thoroughly destroyed, that each stone should be destroyed. Of course this strong expression is not to be pressed literally.
Mark 13:3. Over against the temple.—The summit of Olivet made a vis-à-vis to the temple’s pinnacle. See books of travel.—And Andrew.—See Matthew.
Mark 13:4. When shall these things be, and what, etc.—The subject of the two distinct questions is here indicated in a twofold manner: ταῦτα and ταῦτα πάντα; ἔσται and μέλλῃ συντελεῖσθαι.—When all these.—Not once more the destruction of Jerusalem (Meyer). By Grotius and Bengel, πάντα ταῦτα is referred to the whole world. We understand it of all things which formed part of the Jewish regime, and which, according to the view of the disciples, were connected with the destruction of Jerusalem.
B. The World’s Course to the World’s End in general. The Last Things of the Christian, or the Christian Signature of the End of the World.
(Parallels: Matt. 14:4–14; Luke 21:8–19.)
Mark begins again with an ἤρξατο λέγειν. The warning against the pseudo-Christs is common to all the Synoptics. Luke alone has the addition, that the time draws near: the indication of the chiliastic (millenarian) element. The representation of the wars of the nations is in Mark the shortest. The signs of the world’s development are given by Luke most complete: earthquakes, famines, pestilences, terrors, and signs in the heavens. Mark, with Matthew, omits the terrific things and signs in heaven, also the pestilences, and has instead ταραχαί, pointing out (from the Roman stand-point) chiefly the political condition of the world. After Mark has with Matthew denoted this as the beginning of sorrows, we have a second, Take heed unto yourselves, introduced. And now he depicts more fully than Matthew the persecutions of the Christians, giving, as does Luke, a view of these which had been already given by Matthew in the instructions to the Apostles, Mark 10:17, 18. These were very weighty words for the Roman Christians, at a time when the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, in Rome, was about to take place. Then, as early as the 10th verse, he gives the concluding statement of Matthew regarding the preaching of the Gospel in all the world; and appends the rules of conduct for the persecuted, which we find in Matt. 10:19. To this succeeds the presaging of fraternal hatred, and the detestation of the Christians, occurring Matt. 10:21. None the less does the concluding portion of that statement form here the conclusion: He who endureth, etc. Matthew has this final word once again in this passage; and this circumstance, as well as the connection between Mark and Luke, speaks for Mark’s accuracy, and proves that all the various portions recorded by him have their proper place in this address. The words, Matt. 24:10–12, are omitted by Mark, probably because they are implied in the statements already made.
Mark 13:5. Take heed lest, etc.; for many shall come.—This warning against pseudo-Christs, pseudo-Christianities, false prophets, and false prophecies, being placed at the head, denotes that it is an essential point of view from which to contemplate Christian eschatology.
Mark 13:7. But the end shall not be yet.—Meyer: “The end of the calamities, not of the world.” But the end of the calamities is really the end of the world.
Mark 13:8. Troubles (terrifying confusions), ταραχαί,—Mark alone gives this. The word denotes primarily a shock, or commotion (John 5:4); then a commotion of mind, overwhelming, a fright; and hence, with respect to political circumstances, public terrifying confusion, anarchical conditions of states, tumults, etc.
Mark 13:9. Ye shall be beaten.—The question is, whether the construction be, Ye shall be delivered up to councils and synagogues, shall be beaten, etc. (Luther, Meyer), or as in the English text, with Bengel and others. Against this latter construction, Meyer says, the idea of motion lies not in δαρήσεσθε, but it does in εἰς. Meyer says, further, the scourging took place regularly in the synagogues. Then it is certainly a striking picture of fanatic maltreatment, if it had been already inflicted upon the way to the synagogues (Acts 6:12; 21:30, 31). According to Meyer’s construction, in councils and synagogues, we have a tautology. The view, however, is this: The trial and condemnation took place in the councils or ecclesiastical courts, which were annexed to the synagogues; and the condemned were then led into the synagogues, or congregations, to be beaten: fanaticism could not, however, restrain itself: they were scourged even on their way thither.—For a testimony against them.—See Matthew.
Mark 13:10. Among all nations.—A result of the above-mentioned martyrdom. Through sufferings the Gospel was to be spread among all peoples. This is, accordingly, the end of their trials. Not till this be fulfilled does the end of the woes come, as distinguished from the ἄρχαι.
Mark 13:11. When they shall lead you.—Rules for conduct. Above, it was Take heed; here, Take no thought.—Be on your guard against the seductions of the pseudo-Christs; be not anxious because of the threats of open foes. “Μελετᾶτε, the regular word for the committing to memory of a speech; see WETSTEIN; the opposite of extempore.” Meyer. Comp. Matthew. Take no thought, how or what, as the more objective mode of Matthew puts it. Here equally a double prohibition in a more subjective form: Take no thought beforehand; do not trouble yourselves on account of it.—For it is not ye that speak.—See Matthew.
Mark 13:13. He that shall endure.—Meyer explains by the context: In confessing My name. Compare the διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου. Nevertheless, the endurance refers to the entire state of trial, which they should pass through faithfully; of course, confessing Christ. It is from sufferings that confession receives its name, as the Confession.
C. D. The Destruction of Jerusalem, and the interval between this and the End of the World; or, the World’s Course to the End from the predominating point of view of the Jewish Theocracy. MARK 13:14–20; MARK 13:21–23
(Parallels: Matt. 14:15–21; 22–28; Luke 21:20–23; 24.)
The presage of the destruction of Jerusalem is given more briefly than by Matthew, still in biblical form; not as in Luke, who declares plainly the besieging and destruction of the city. The direction to flee is the same as in Matthew, only more exact. From the command, Pray that your flight be not in winter, he leaves out the additional statement of Matthew, Nor yet upon the Sabbath, as it was less easy to be comprehended by the Roman Christians. The description of this one great tribulation is expressed in a richer dress than by Matthew. In describing the appearance of the false Christs and prophets, he omits the details: If they say, Lo, he is in the wilderness, etc.; also the picture of the last judgment, the lightning, and the eagles. On the other hand, his conclusion is in the highest degree impressive: ὑμεῖς δὲ βλέπετε, Mark 13:23.
Mark 13:14. Where it ought not.—See Matthew.
Mark 13:19. Shall be affliction.—The very days themselves. Stronger expression: It will be the characteristic of those days that they are tribulation itself.—From the beginning of the creation, which God created.—This not a merely stronger emphasizing of the conception, Creation. The κτίσις which God created, forms an opposition to the κτίσις of men, the city Jerusalem and her hierarchy, which was now falling, while the former should endure. Similar is the expression regarding the elect: Whom God hath chosen,—who are, and shall remain, chosen. And just so we have a twofold reference to the shortening of the days: Although they are the days of vengeance, He has shortened them as such, and made them endurable. See Matthew.
Mark 13:23. But take ye heed.—Ever-repeated emphasizing of the greatness of the temptation.
E. The End of the Cosmos. MARK 13:24–27.
(Parallels: Matt. 24:29–31; Luke 21:25–28.)
Mark, as well as Matthew, draws a very sharply defined distinction between the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the time when the sign of the end of the world shall appear. Mark: After that tribulation (the destruction of Jerusalem), in the period of the shortened days. Here he has omitted the εὐθέως of Matthew. The fall of the stars he expresses differently from Matthew. He passes over the picture of men’s consternation at the appearance of the Son of Man, which Matthew gives; also the summons of the great trumpets. And the expression, “From one end of heaven to the other,” runs, in his narrative, “From the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”
Mark 13:24. After that tribulation.—Meyer holds that, according to Mark, the appearing of the Son of Man should occur immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem. According to the text, however, after the destruction, follow only “those days,” and these endurable. Between those days and that day is a great difference, which Meyer’s exegesis has not noticed.
F. The Parable of the sudden irruption of the Catastrophe, and the Exhortation to Watchfulness. MARK 13:28–37.
(Parallels: Matt. 24:33–50; Luke 21:29–36.)
To the end of Mark 13:32, Mark writes to quite the same import as Matthew; then, however, a different statement comes in: Of that day and that hour know not the angels, neither the Son. At this point the three Synoptics separate and take different ways. Matthew represents the Lord as here pointing back to the days of Noah, as being symbols of the days of the world’s end. The surprise of that day is depicted by him in a particular way. The parable of the midnight has its characteristic point in the coming thief; and, succeeding this, is another parable of the lord who, in coming home, surprises his servants. Mark has the exhortation, Watch, for ye know not, etc., which is found in Matthew. But then he adds a parable, peculiar to himself, of the lord going away upon a journey, appointing special duties to his trusted servants: and in this parable the chief person is the lowest servant, the porter, who must keep watch; while Matthew makes him the steward, who had charge of the house. It is evident that the parables are distinct. Matthew selected the steward, because watchful honesty seemed to him the chief thing; Mark selected the porter, because honest watchfulness seemed to him the chief thing. Matthew may have had before him, in his selection, the picture of the Jewish high-priest; and Mark, the picture of a porter attached to some noble Roman house. Mark notices the different hours in which the master may return, marking them out sharply by the statement of the divisions of the night. Luke brings prominently forward the common danger to man,—the heart must not be overcharged, etc.; the momentous day is compared by him to a snare (παγίς). Mark concludes with the word, Watch!
Mark 13:28. That the summer.—“Τὸ θέρος, also in Test. xii. Patr., is the symbol of the Messianic time.” Meyer.
Mark 13:30. This generation.—According to Meyer, the (then) present generation. See Note on Matthew. The generation which has these signs under observation. Had the generation of that time been meant, then the end of the time at least could have been specified; while Christ says, on the contrary, the day and the hour knoweth no man.
Mark 13:32. Neither the Son.—An admission, which Meyer, in considering the human limitations in which the Son of Man moved on earth, places in its due position. Athanasius says, Jesus did not know as a human being; Augustine, He did not know it to impart to His disciples. For other interpretations, consult Meyer. Respecting our own in pretation, Meyer judges falsely or inaccurately. We assume that the Son, as God-man, knew not that day in His present daily consciousness, because He willea not to pass beyond the horizon of His daily task to reflect upon that day (see LANGE’S Leben Jesu, ii. 3, p. 1280); because He preferred, accordingly, the limiting horizon of His holy, human observation and knowledge, which widened from day to day, to a discursive pedantic polyhistory, or preternatural pretension of knowing everything, the dim opposite of dynamic omniscience. Self-limitation in the knowledge of all chronological, geographical, and similar matters, is quite different from an absolute “limitation” of the theanthropic omniscience of Jesus. See Matthew.
Mark 13:34. As a man taking a far journey.—According to Meyer, a part of a speech, “made up of the different rôles which formed the links between the several heads of the speech.” Why not a special parable? Or, is a porter or a guard of a house formed by uniting the roles of a house-proprietor and a house-steward? and out of a thief and a master of a house do we get, again, a master of a house? We assume, simply, a distinct, though connected, parable. In Matthew, the householder himself is first, then the steward, summoned to watch; in Mark, the house-watch or porter, to guard the house.—As a man taking, etc.—The anantapodoton [i.e., the apodosis to be supplied] is found simply in the omitted ἐστί. It is as with a man who took a journey. The whole emphasis falls then upon the finite verb, in accordance with the participles following, viz., upon the injunction which the lord gave the porter to watch.—Authority to his servants.—A proof that we have here to do with another parable. The parable of the servant, to whom the highest authority was entrusted, is recorded by Matthew.—And commanded the porter to watch.—After he had given all the orders concerning the internal affairs, he gives finally, at the door, to the porter, the additional command to watch: this is the point of the parable. Contemplating them with reference to the Church this side of eternity, the porters are, of course, the Apostles of Christ, together with the body of Christians,—a different aspect from that in which the servant of Christ may be preëminently considered a steward.
Mark 13:35. At even, or at midnight.—The four night-watches. See WINER, Nachtwache (Night-watch); the author’s Commentary on Matthew; WIESELER, Chronol. Synopse, p. 406. The uniform thought is, The Lord comes in the night-season, in a dark, sad time; and it is not known in what stadium or moment of this time. He comes quite unexpected. From different stand-points, these periods (ὀψέ=9 o’clock; μεσονύκτιον=12; ἀλεκτοροφωνία=3; πρωί̈=6) may denote the same unexpectedness:—the evening, the evening of the old world (Matt. 20:8); the midnight, the frame of mind of the slumbering Church (Matt. 25:6); the cock-crow, the voice of the watchers (Isa. 21:11); the morning, the dawn of Christ’s appearing, the breaking into day of the new world (Mal. 4:2).
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. Comp. the parallel in Matthew.—It is significant that Mark gives prominence to the size and strength, Luke the beauty, Matthew the restoration and apparent theocratic rebuilding, of the temple. All this could not save it.
2. The eschatological speech of the Lord, the germ of John’s Apocalypse; the New Testament exposition and form of the Old Testament ideas and symbols; the opposite and corrective of all apocryphal Apocalypsism (Comp. LUCKE, Versuch einer vollständiger Einleitung in die Offenbarung des Johannes und in die apokalyptische Literatur überhaupt, Bonn, 1848; AUBERLEN, Der Prophet Daniel und die Offenbarung Johannes, 2d ed. Basel, 1857.10) The eschatological hymns. Eschatology in dogmatic theology.
3. Neither the Son.—Comp. the topic Agnoetism in the History of Doctrine. Dogmatic theology has not reached the point of being able to do perfect justice to the œconomic and dynamic import of the Son’s not knowing. In order to succeed in this, we must not carry the old human finiteness into the Logos, which men have deemed to be a further development of dogmatic theology; but we must do justice to the fact, that His divine nature transforms His human finiteness into the theanthropic condition and mode. Leo the Great says, “Humana augens, divina non minuens.” No safety can lie in the “minuere divina.” Not to know, and ignorance, are two entirely distinct things.
4. The strong emphasizing of Christ’s exhortation, Watch!—According to this Petrine gospel, Christ’s servants, above all Peter, should be the doorkeepers not so much of heaven as of the Church on earth, and should keep her awake, watching for the day of judgment.
5. Three is the number of the Spirit, four the number of the world. At the revelations of His personal spirit, Christ was attended by three trusted friends; at the unveiling of the world’s fate He has four.
6. JOSEPHUS, De Bello Jud., should be used with this passage; particularly the history of the destructon of Jerusalem. See VON RAUMER’S Palästina; also BRAUNE, p. 353.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See Matthew.—General thoughts upon the entire passage.—Homily upon the Lord’s speech concerning the end of the world, according to the preceding division.—The Judge has already announced Himself.—The last judgment in its presages: 1. The one great presage: the destruction of Jerusalem; 2. the continuous presages: the days of less terror in the New Testament seasons of trial; 3. the last presage, as signal.—The world’s state and course between two great judgments, the destruction of Jerusalem (the symbolical end of the world), and the real end of the world in a place of judgment: 1. The picture of the state itself; 2. the misapprehension of the state. The world does not observe the forbearance, the administration, the approach of justice-dispensing righteousness.—The coming of Christ in our time with the baptism of the Spirit and of fire: 1. A true coming; 2. reminds us of His first coming; 3. an indication of His last coming.—The final words of Christ in His speech upon the end of the world: 1. Take heed unto yourselves; 2. Beware; 3. Watch.—The last day, a day which makes all things clear.—The day of the great revelation and the great appearance: 1. The great revelation of the old appearance (the phenomenal and visionary world); 2. the great appearance of the old revelation.
Upon A. Mark 13:1–4.
See Matthew.—The exit of Jesus from the temple of His people: 1. A decisive step; 2. a melancholy farewell; 3. a decisive token; 4. the certain pledge of the rebuilding.—The prospect from the Mount of Olives of the temple and the city; or, the great difference between the sensuous (æsthetic) and a spiritual prospect from the Mount.—The Lord’s repeated survey of the city from the Mount of Olives: 1. A look of a compassionate heart, during which the tears fall, Luke 19:41; 2. a look of the solemnly earnest spirit in which the tears must disappear (here).—Jesus sitting in the circle of His four disciples upon the Mount of Olives; or, the night-conversation on the end of the world and the judgment, ever sad, yet solemnly joyous, because of its anticipations.—The great mystic discourse upon the last time: 1. Much overlooked; 2. much falsified; 3. ever of force; 4. ever efficacious; or, 1. in the world ever falsified and darkened; 2. in the Church continually illuminated and deepened.
STARKE:—Bibl. Wirt.:—Men’s degeneracy, to be bewitched with the seeming reality of this world, and to forget, what they should necessarily consider, the statements of God’s word.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—If the wind of God’s judgments storm around, there is nothing so firm, nothing so magnificent, as not to be torn down and destroyed. How many thousands of the fairest cities, of the most gorgeous palaces, of the most impregnable castles, have experienced this, lying now, because of their sins, in heaps!—Is this the city of which men say, It is the all-beauteous, on account of which the whole land rejoices, etc.? Lam. 2:15 and 17.—CANSTEIN:—When we gaze upon great and glorious structures of this world, let us ever remember that a time will come when these shall be no more, and that nought is abiding but that which is not seen, 2 Cor. 4:18.—At the house of God judgment must take its beginning, 1 Pet. 4:17.—It is edifying to speak of the divine judgments, of the destruction of all that is splendid, yea, of the end, even, of this present world.
RIEGER:—In the minds of the disciples these two things [rather, these three, the destruction of the temple, Christ’s future, and the world’s end,] must have become confused, or they must at least not have been able to distinguish between them accurately [still in some measure. See above.] Just as now, in our belief of the future coming of the Lord to judge the quick and dead, many things also are united into one, which, nevertheless, the result itself might separate into distinguishable representations and periods.—The Lord Jesus, in His answer, has not explained it so fully, etc., because Jerusalem’s judgment was such a famous symbol and earnest of the end of the world.
BRAUNE:—Comp., regarding the speedy coming of the Lord, Isa. 13:6; Ezek. 30:3; Joel 2:1; Matt. 16:27; Phil. 4:5; 1 Pet. 4:7; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 1:3; 3:11. Quotation from Hamann’s writings: “The death of every man is the time when the revelation of the Lord’s coming is partly fulfilled to the soul. In this sense, it is literally true that the time of fulfilment is near.” In the fragments of Jerusalem the last judgment is reflected.
SCHLEIERMACHER:—It was His object to represent all the institutions of the old covenant as something dedicated to destruction, in order to direct their attention by so much the more to the spiritual.—Hence we have to mark, that everything external in the Christian community is nothing else, and can and should be nothing else, than a shell, a covering in which the spiritual presents itself and works.—We find that the striving after externalism was soon renewed in the Christian Church.
BRIEGER:—The temple was the pride of the blinded people.—The destruction of Jerusalem is in a certain measure to be understood as a world-judgment. It befalls that people, namely, who for two thousand years had represented the human race. In the downfall of Jerusalem is depicted the downfall of the whole world (as in the exit of the Christians from Jerusalem is depicted the great deliverance of the believers in the last time).
Upon B. Mark 13:5–13.
The foresight and fearlessness which the Lord enjoins upon His people in looking for His coming (or the end of the world): 1. Foresight in respect to the deceptive delusions of false Christs (spiritual delusions); fearlessness as to the threatening terrors of war and all the world-plagues (temporal terrors). 2. Foresight as to the enemies of the gospel, and as to their treachery; fearlessness as to the gift of tongues, and the power to reply. 3. Foresight as to temptations thrown in our way by our nearest relatives and the world; fearlessness as to the certain deliverance of the enduring Christians.—Take heed that no man deceive you; or, Antichrist comes before Christ comes, 2 Thess. 2—The succession of signs: 1. False signs, and yet signs [false Christs, Mark 13:6]. 2. Weak signs, and yet sad signs [the wars; the end not yet, Mark 13:7]. 3. Stronger signs: national, political, terrestrial, physiological revolutions [the beginning of the woes, Mark 13:8]. 4. Striking signs [persecutions of Christians, Mark 13:9]. 5. The decisive sign [the gospel is preached among all people throughout the world].—The contradictory nature of the signs: 1. Signs which do not appear terrible, but enticing, and yet are to the utmost terrible; signs which appear to the utmost terrible, and yet are not so. 2. Saddening signs. 3. The great, joyful signs, Mark 13:10.—The great rules for our conduct, in looking forward to the last time, and in the midst of its signs: 1. Foresight; 2. fearlessness; 3. simplicity and a spiritual walk; 4. steadfastness.—The Lord’s faithful admonitions.—There is an overcoming of these troubles.
STARKE:—In His teaching, Christ has regard not so much to what He knows, as to what is useful to, and necessary for, His hearers.—It does not behove us to know time and hour, but to observe the signs antecedent to the judgments of God.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Alas! how many good men has the pretence of Christ’s name,—viz.: false hopes, outward show, seeming representations, fleshly accessories, etc.,—already misled, that they have fallen away into sad by-paths, and have been ruined!—The doctrine of the Last Things no useless doctrine.—QUESNEL:—He who properly understands this present world, how it is disposed and what end it shall meet, is always self-possessed regarding it, and is terrified by nothing.—Wilt thou save thyself from the awful judgments of God, then be not anxious regarding the judgments and wrath of man.—The gospel-trumpet must be blown before the archangel’s trumpet is heard.—CRAMER:—God will not forsake His own people in the time of persecution.—In the defence of the truth, we must not look at our own weakness, nor the foes’ might and strength, but we must consider the power of the truth and God’s promise.—OSIANDER:—Imagine not thou art not bound to learn aught, etc—QUESNEL:—Faith gives us as many fathers, brothers, and sisters, as there are Christians; unbelief changes those friends whom nature has given us into enemies, betrayers, and executioners.—The most dangerous temptation is that which comes from parents.—OSIANDER:—It is a mark of false religion that it is blood-thirsty.—The end crowns.—GERLACH:—No man can reckon more certainly upon the assistance of the Holy Spirit than those who confess Jesus’ name in the time of their utmost peril.—STIER:—The end is patience, the saints’ weapon (Rev. 13:10; 14:12), as the beginning is foresight (Matt. 4).—BRAUNE: 2 Tim. 4:16, 17.—The end comes not before the Gospel has finished its course. The nearer this completion approaches, the more certainly is the Lord’s coming near.—SCHLEIERMACHER:—We should expect no other than Christ.—All may perish; we are sure that He and His kingdom will remain.—BRIEGER:—The Lord’s communication includes in itself the nearest and the most remote; hence He speaks to those nearest, and to those farthest from Him.—As the hate of the world witnessed for Him, so does He witness for His own people.—The final winding-up is to be introduced by means of the Gospel.—The being saved is of the same import as being received to glory.—GOSSNER:—He who possesses the rights of a citizen of heaven, can remain unterrified though it should storm beneath heaven.
Upon C. D. Mark 13:14–20, 21–23.
See Matthew.—Even in His great judgments is God’s mercy revealed: 1. It warns of the judgments, and indicates the signs of their coming; 2. it opens a way of escape, and exhorts to use that way in flight; 3. it points to prayer as the means to mitigate that judgment; 4. it has its eye fixed upon innocent sufferers; 5. it breaks the judgment off, and puts bounds to it, for the sake of the elect; 6. it warns against falling away to Antichrist, as the falling beneath the heaviest, the most fearful judgment.—The abomination of desolation, or the judgment inflicted on the holy place, a great admonitory sign: 1. The sign of the end of a now hoary period (and form of belief; or of a long series of judgments, which point forward to the last judgment); 2. the sign of a decisive separation between an old and new period; 3. the prognostic of a new period.—The prophet Daniel; or, the eternal spirit of the Lord in the old covenant, has foretold the end of the old covenant. (See Isa. 66:3; Jer. 31:31; Ezek. 36:26; comp. 2 Cor. 3:13; Heb. 8:7, 8).—The Spirit of the Permanent in the Church is the prophet of the downfall of her transitory forms (especially in the Middle Ages).—Whoso readeth, etc.: The old Scripture-word shows to all time the signs of the present and the future.—The flight to the mountains: The entire life of the Christians is a fleeing to the mountains.—In a season of distress, the saving of the trifling and the unessential (the clothes) has as its result the loss of the great and the essential (the life and soul): 1. The fact (in conflagrations, in times of war, in political convulsions, in times of religious crises). 2. The reason: because the small and trifling is the net which keeps men entangled in the old system and its judgment (Lot’s wife, the Jews, the Middle Ages).—Woe to those with child, etc.: The Lord’s compassion towards the special sufferers among mankind in the judgments inflicted on the specially sinful part of mankind.—The alleviations of the divine judgments which God has given to men: 1. Compassion (Mark 13:17); 2. prayer (Mark 13:18); 3. the steadfastness of the elect (Mark 13:20).—For the sake of the elect, whom God has chosen, God endures the world in sparing patience (see Rom. 9:22).—The surest signs of the judgment which runs through the New Testament period of grace are the false Christs, the signs of the false Christs, and the hopes placed in them: 1. Among the Jews; 2. among Christians themselves.—The tendency to believe in false Christs is the most awful result of the rejection of Christ that is to be seen in the life of Israel, John 5:43.—The great temptations of the period which is hastening to its end: 1. Perceived beforehand; 2. declared beforehand; 3. overcome beforehand.—Foresight regarding the lying pseudo-Christian system, the salvation of Christianity in the last days.—Foresight the first and last means in preserving faithfulness during the last days.—Caution: 1. Regarding excited preachers who pretend to make Christ visible in themselves or in others, in this or that person or thing (See here or there); 2. regarding persons who will attest themselves as new saviours by means of deceptive signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:10, 11; Rev. 13:13).—The end of the world’s history: unceasing self-confusion, self-blinding, and self-separation of the great majority from Christianity, and self-abandonment to pseudo-Christian systems.
STARKE:—CRAMER:—If we see even the greatest distress awaiting us, we should not allow ourselves by this to be turned aside from God and His love.—In public, national calamities, the majority think only of saving their goods and lives; few are anxious to make sure of their souls and salvation.—QUESNEL:—By far the most useful flight in the day of divine wrath is to flee the fleeting pleasures of the world, and escape from conformity to it, Ps. 90:11.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—God spares even this wicked world for the sake of His elect.
RIEGER:—Sad periods in the world’s course are turned to their own benefit by false prophets.—LISCO: Take heed unto yourselves;—an exhortation applicable to much more than the external danger of temptation, seduction, and falling away.—BRAUNE:—Luke, Mark 13:22, 23; Deut. 28:15; Mal. 4:1. Lo, here is Christ,—a voice which allures to itself; or there,—a voice which, unpartisan-like, points to others, and is accordingly still more dangerous—these voices are not to lead disciples astray.—Signs and troubles are no certain marks of Christ and His prophets: they are only indications of the connection of the individual with the spiritual world; they may be indications either of light and truth, or of darkness and lies.—Prove the spirits, whether they be of God.
SCHLEIERMACHER:—When we see how many imperfections have appeared in the Christian Church, one might be easily tempted to say, The light is not yet the right light. The true believer is, however, assured that the Christian faith has no share in all these imperfections; that it is the natural ruin of mankind alone which is the fountain of these, and this cannot all at once be removed.—God’s kingdom is the spiritual temple of God, which needs not the external, and is raised above all external accidents, and which, where it has been once built, must endure to the end of days.
BRIEGER:—Not in the winter. It is well known that Jerusalem was destroyed in August.—The same sin, rejection of the Holy One, which brought Israel to its downfall, will cause the world’s overthrow, so soon as its measure is filled.—The urging of precaution appears so much the less needful, inasmuch as He Himself says, it is impossible to deceive them. We may explain this in the following manner: God’s acts do not exclude men’s action, but include it (and that, too, not in the form of natural compulsion, but of the bond of love).—GOSSNER:—How must we ever fear to give our adherence to a false Christ!
Upon E. Mark 13:24–27
See Matthew.—The last day according to the Lord’s announcement: 1. The great day of death, when the lights of heaven grow pale; 2. the judgment-day, when the Crucified appears in the glory of the world’s Judge; 3. the great feast-day, when the Lord gathers His chosen by His angels from all ends of this and the other world.—Man’s calamity completes itself at the end in the world’s calamity.—As the sun was darkened at Christ’s death, so will the entire starry world belonging to this earth grow dark in the death-hour of aged humanity.—The stars will fall from heaven. With mankind, not merely the earth, but also the planetary system which belongs to earth according to its old form, shall be dissolved, and assume a new shape.—When sun, moon, and stars shine no more, will Christ appear, and illuminate with His brightness the last day.—The last day the grand day of festival for perfected Christianity: 1. The creature-lights grow pale; the Lord appears as the festive light of His own day; 2. the impersonal being of the world disappears;11 the glorified personality of Christ appears, and manifests His personal kingdom; 3. the wicked are shut out, and have vanished; and all pure spirits are united; 4. Heaven’s angels are the servants at the feast: all the elect shall be assembled who are upon the earth and in heaven.—The last day is, for the chosen of the Lord, the dawn of their blessed immortality, Job 19:25.
STARKE:—QUESNEL:—O wished-for day of the elect! O long-desired purification, through which they shall be gathered by Jesus into the union of His body, His Spirit, and His glory!—OSIANDER:—Should we die in a strange land, yet shall we be assuredly gathered to Christ, our Head, at the last day, 2 Cor. 5:10.
BRAUNE:—Rev. 1:1; Mark 22:6 [“Shortly, quickly”]; Hagg. 2:6–8 [“Yet once, it is a little while”]; Eccles. 12:2; Isa. 14:12 [“How art thou fallen”]; Isa. 34:4 [“All the host of heaven shall be dissolved”].—The destruction of the creature will be an exodus into eternity.—STIER:—To the end of heaven. “Because earth and heaven now incline wonderfully to one another.”
BRIEGER:—Ezek. 32:7, 8; Joel 2:3, 4; Dan. 7:13; Acts 1:11; Heb. 1:14; Matt. 13:41, 42.—BAUER:—These violent things are only the heralds in the Lord’s service.
Upon F. Mark 13:28–37
See Matthew.—The fig-tree with its late leaves is also a picture of the onward-hurrying judgment, upon the guilty Church (Mark 11:12), upon the unrepentant Church (Luke 13:6), upon the fickle Israel (Hosea 9:10).—The fig-tree according to its varied signification: 1. The early figs, the formation of fruit before the leaves shot forth: the early conversion of Israel and the elect. 2. The fig-tree unfruitful in the rich vineyard: a dying professing Church (and this is true of individuals) in the midst of the ever-living kingdom of God. 3. The fig-tree unfruitful, and yet pretentious with its leaves on the roadside; or, a church (congregation) without spiritual fruit, in the hypocritical covering of pious forms, fallen under judgment. 4. The blooming fig-tree, a prognostic of the summer’s harvest; or, the theocratic, ecclesiastical, and cosmical indications of judgment as presages of the approach of the final judgment.—The holy certainty of believers respecting the day of the Lord strengthened and elevated through their ignorance of the time and hour: 1. The certainty, a. as to signs, b. as to His speedy coming, c. as to His unexpected coming, d. His coming during the life of a living Christian generation, e. in order to the destruction of the world, f. in order to fulfil His declaration respecting the necessity of watching. 2. Strengthened and increased through their ignorance: a. an ignorance regarding the day and the hour, to which He had voluntarily subjected Himself for their sakes; b. an ignorance regarding the time, to which He had subjected them for His own sake.—Christ’s not knowing rests upon His knowing rightly [in a natural manner], or upon the holy extension of His range of vision12.—What Christ may not know, what angels cannot know, Christians should not wish to know.—The last day, the deep secret of the Father: Of the Father in His Creator-fulness, and in His gracious design; 2. of the Father in His preparing grace, and in His commands to the Son; 3. of the Father in the greatness of His patience, and the majesty of wrath.—The knowledge of Christ in itself exalted above the knowledge of men and of angels, is, on our behalf, a circle of holy self-limitation within the Father’s omniscience.—Because He cannot deny anything to His own, He has denied Himself a knowledge of this.—The holy and useful uncertainty of the Church regarding the last day is to be compared with the holy useful uncertainty of individual men regarding the day of their death.—Through this holy uncertainty, we should be certain of our own salvation. Every day should for the Christian bear something like the appearance of the last day.—Christianity is a door-keeper’s office, as regards the future coming of the Lord.—Christ’s alarm-call, or summons to all Christians for all time to watch!—Slumbering, in respect to the Lord’s coming, is a danger fraught with death; while watchfulness is a fundamental condition of life.—Christianity is a constant living in the experience of judgment and redemption: 1. Judgment: a. a coming from judgment [Lange alludes, apparently, to the rise of Christianity at the time Judaism was subjected to judgment. Translator], b. an acting under judgment, c. a preparing for judgment. 2. Redemption: a. from the time onward, that the work of redemption was ended, b. proceeding under the cheering hope of redemption, c. looking forward to redemption.
STARKE:—Spring is a beautiful image: in the shrubs bursting into life, we are reminded of the coming of Christ, of the glorious judgment day, and the joyful resurrection from the dead.—QUESNEL:—Who is certain that he is not sooner to appear before God, his Judge, than summer is to come? If he meet not God to be condemned, the joyful everlasting summer will follow.—We have seen many things in our lives pass away: is that not a proof that all things fade away?—God has concealed from all creatures the time of His judgments; hence is many a one ruined in his calculation.—Beware of security! watch and pray!
BRAUNE:—Heaven and earth pass as leaves upon the world-stem in the harvest of the world-season: God’s people are the sap, and God’s word the power, which carries new life to all.—Jas. 5:7, 8: “I do not know.” Will it be too hard for thee to say this? If so, Christ is not thy Lord.—The watching of the Christian must be also prayer (and active watchfulness will be at the same time prayer).—BRIEGER:—The kingdom of God, which will at last appear in power and glory, is to be compared with the joy-fraught summer.
“Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation of St. John, viewed in their mutual relationships,” Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark.
[Does this mean: The kingdom of materialism, or that “flesh and blood” which cannot inherit the kingdom of God?—Ed.]
[Lange’s thought seems to be, that the voluntary ignorance of Christ, which was a part of the voluntary humiliation to which the divine nature was subjected in its onion with the human, was for the purpose of making possible a gradual growth in His theanthropic consciousness. For, had there been from the instant of the miraculous conception (the punctum temporis when the union of the two natures began) onward through infancy, childhood, and youth, the omniscient consciousness of the eternal Logos, of course it would have been contradictory to say that Christ, the God-man, “increased in wisdom” (Luke 2:52), or that He did not know the time of the last judgment.—Ed.]