Vincent's Word Studies
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!
The spring-stones of the arches of the bridge which spanned the valley of Tyropoeon (the cheese-makers), and connected the ancient city of David with the royal porch of the temple, measured twenty-four feet in length by six in thickness. Yet these were by no means the largest in the masonry of the temple. Both at the southeastern and southwestern angles stones have been found measuring from twenty to forty feet long, and weighing above one hundred tons (Edersheim, "Temple").
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.
Thrown down (καταλυθῇ)
Rather, loosened down. A very graphic word, implying gradual demolition.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Note the particularity of detail in Mark. He adds, over against the temple, and the names of the four who asked the question. With the following discourse compare Matthew 24.
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.
In my name (ἐπί)
Lit., upon. Basing their claims on the use of my name.
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.
Rumors of wars
Wyc., opinions of battles. Such as would be a cause of terror to the Hebrew Christians; as the three threats of war against the Jews by Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. There were serious disturbances at Alexandria, a.d. 38, in which the Jews were the especial objects of persecution; at Seleucia about the same time, in which more than fifty thousand Jews were killed; and at Jamnia, near Joppa.
Θροέω is, literally, to cry aloud.
Between the prophecy and the destruction of Jerusalem (a.d. 70) occurred: A great earthquake in Crete, a.d. 46 or 47: at Rome, on the day on which Nero entered his majority, a.d. 51: at Apameia, in Phrygia, a.d. 53; "on account of which," says Tacitus, "they were exempted from tribute for five years:" at Laodicea, in Phrygia, a.d. 60: in Campania, a.d. 63, by which, according to Tacitus, the city of Pompeii was largely destroyed.
During the reign of Claudius, a.d. 41-54:, four famines are recorded: One at Rome, a.d. 41, 42; one in Judaea, a.d. 44; one in Greece, a.d. 50; and again at Rome, a.d. 52, when the people rose in rebellion and threatened the life of the emperor. Tacitus says that it was accompanied by frequent earthquakes, which levelled houses. The famine in Judaea was probably the one prophesied by Agabus, Acts 11:28. Of the year 65 a.d., Tacitus says: "This year, disgraced by so many deeds of horror, was further distinguished by the gods with storms and sicknesses. Campania was devastated by a hurricane which overthrew buildings, trees, and the fruits of the soil in every direction, even to the gates of the city, within which a pestilence thinned all ranks of the population, with no atmospheric disturbance that the eye could trace. The houses were choked with dead, the roads with funerals: neither sex nor age escaped. Slaves and freemen perished equally amid the wailings of their wives and children, who were often hurried to the pyre by which they had sat in tears, and consumed together with them. The deaths of knights and senators, promiscuous as they were, deserved the less to be lamented, inasmuch as, falling by the common lot of mortality, they seemed to anticipate the prince's cruelty" ("Annals," xvi., 10-13).
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.
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.
Rev., rightly, travail; for the word is used especially of birth-throes.
Shall ye be beaten (δαρήσεσθε)
The verb literally means to skin or flay, and by a slang usage, like our phrase to tan or hide, comes to mean to cudgel or beat.
And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
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.
They lead (ἄγωσιν)
Present subjunctive; better perhaps, may be leading. While you are going along in custody to the judgment-seat, do not be worrying about your defences.
Take no thought beforehand (μὴ προμεριμνᾶτε)
See on Matthew 6:25.
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:
See on Matthew 24:15.
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:
See on Matthew 24:17.
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.
The creation which God created
Note the peculiar amplification, and compare Mark 13:20, the elect or chosen whom he chose.
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.
See on 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.
Shall shew (δώσουσιν)
Lit., shall give. A few editors, however, read ποιήσουσιν, shall make or do.
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.
The stars of heaven shall fall
A rendering which falls very far short of the graphic original: οἱ ἀστέρες ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες: the stars shall be falling from heaven. So Rev., thus giving the sense of continuousness, as of a shower of falling stars.
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.
From the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven (ἀπ' ἄκρου γῆς ἕως ἄκρου οὐρανοῦ)
From the outermost border of the earth, conceived as a fiat surface, to where the outermost border of the heaven sets a limit to the earth. Compare Matthew 24:31. Mark's expression is more poetical.
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.
Come to pass (γινόμενα)
The present participle, and therefore better as Rev., coming to pass; in process of fulfilment.
Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
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.
Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
The word is derived from ἀγρεύω, do hunt, and ὕπνος, sleep. The picture is of one in pursuit of sleep, and therefore wakeful, restless. Wyc.'s rendering of the whole passage is striking: See! wake ye and pray ye!
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.
A man taking a far journey (ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος)
The A. V. is incorrect, since the idea is not that of a man about to go, as Matthew 25:14; but of one already gone. So Wyc., gone far in pilgrimage; and Tynd., which is gone into a strange country. The two words form one notion - a man abroad. Rev., sojourning in another country.
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:
A different word from that in Mark 13:33. See also Mark 13:34. The picture in this word is that of a sleeping man rousing himself. While the other word conveys the idea of simple wakefulness, this adds the idea of alertness. Compare Mark 14:38; Luke 12:37; 1 Peter 5:8. The apostles are thus compared with the doorkeepers, Mark 13:34; and the night season is in keeping with the figure. In the temple, during the night, the captain of the temple made his rounds, and the guards had to rise at his approach and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire. Compare Revelation 16:15 : "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments." The preparations for the morning service required all to be early astir. The superintending priest might knock at the door at any moment. The Rabbis use almost the very words in which scripture describes the unexpected coming of the Master. "Sometimes he came at the cockcrowing, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. He came and knocked and they opened to him" (Edersheim, "The Temple").
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
The closing and summary word is the stronger word of Mark 13:35 : Be awake and on guard.