Never Again: Mark 13:14-23

Focus Passage: Mark 13:14-23 (GW)

14 “When you see the disgusting thing that will cause destruction standing where it should not (let the reader take note), those of you in Judea should flee to the mountains. 15 Those who are on the roof should not come down to get anything out of their houses. 16 Those who are in the field should not turn back to get their coats.

17 “How horrible it will be for the women who are pregnant or who are nursing babies in those days. 18 Pray that it will not be in winter. 19 It will be a time of misery that has not happened from the beginning of God’s creation until now, and will certainly never happen again. 20 If the Lord does not reduce that time, no one will be saved. But those days will be reduced because of those whom God has chosen.

21 “At that time don’t believe anyone who tells you, ‘Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ 22 False messiahs and false prophets will appear. They will work miraculous signs and do wonderful things to deceive, if possible, those whom God has chosen. 23 Be on your guard! I have told you everything before it happens.

Read Mark 13:14-23 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

If we ever wondered or worried about a time when we are persecuted, or singled out for our faith, understanding this passage may give some hope to this worry. In this passage, we jump into the middle of a larger message Jesus is sharing with His disciples, warning them of challenges that will come their way, and challenging them to keep their faith and belief in Him.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include this warning, but Matthew and Mark focus on a different “hinge event” to trigger this event than Luke does. The hinge event in Matthew and Mark have to do with a “disgusting thing that will cause destruction standing where it should not” (v. 14) while Luke is a little less cryptic when He directs our attention to “When you see armies camped around Jerusalem . . .” (Luke 21:20)

However, while these are the key events that start this event, that is not the promise. The promise is found at the end of a few verses later. After Jesus describes what His followers should do and what they should pray for, He summarizes this time period by saying: “It will be a time of misery that has not happened from the beginning of God’s creation until now, and will certainly never happen again.” (v. 19)

The first part of this summary is pretty depressing, but it ends with a promise: This horrible time of misery “will certainly never happen again”.

There are some Bible commentators who believe that this horrible event was the persecution of the Jesus’ followers in the last portion of the first century, leading up to/through the dark ages. Other commentators believe that while there is reason to believe the start point being the destruction of Jerusalem, so much history and persecution has happened that perhaps this prophecy was not fulfilled at that point in time, and instead, it is still a future event that can hold significance for God’s chosen people.

In the same way, there are those who are expecting and looking for an upcoming horrible “time of trouble” that meets this description, while others look to Jesus’ return being described as “a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2) which most likely means that He will return when we least expect it – meaning it may not be in a period of time where there is persecution, because that might prompt some to expect it.

All this is to draw our attention to Jesus’ promise: He will return, and no matter what comes our way, God has promised to protect His people through anything and everything that Satan throws at us. God’s protection might not be the protection we expect, but His protection is from His “eternity perspective”, which means that even if our life on earth ends, we will be given a new life that lasts for eternity!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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