Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mark 13:14-23 comments: in the time of the third temple

14 ¶  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: 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: 16  And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17  But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18  And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. 19  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. 20  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. 21  And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22  For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23  But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

Read Matthew 24:15-25.  Verse 20 in Matthew by reference to the Sabbath is more evidence that this is to the Jews in the Tribulation who believe on Christ. Here’s a very serious problem for the modernist who doesn’t believe in prophecy. Most of those kind of people see Daniel as being written about one of the Greek kings who ruled Palestine and prefer to date Daniel until that time or after so that they can eliminate its prophetic importance. But Jesus declares here that Daniel is written about a time much future to not only Daniel but Jesus.

Daniel 8:13  Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

Daniel 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Daniel 11:31  And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Daniel 12:11  And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

So, rather than viewing Daniel in terms of events prior to Jesus’ time it’s important to see them as Jesus described, a prophecy of events future to the first century AD. But, what is an abomination? And what is the abomination of desolation?

Deuteronomy 7:25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. 26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

In the context of naming something, a thing, to be presented in the temple, this would not refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD because the temple was destroyed. An abomination in this context would be an idol. To be desolate is to be empty, devoid of life or value. The gods of the pagan world were called vanities, shown that they were nothing, a vain thing. Clearly the abomination of desolation is a false god set up in the temple of God that is to be rebuilt at the end time, for it doesn’t exist today.

2Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

This is a reference to the Beast of Revelation, who is popularly called Anti-Christ.

Revelation 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

The image of a pagan god-man, the Beast, the Anti-Christ, will be set up in a temple that has yet to be built. It is an image, a statue that speaks. Many Jews are waiting to rebuild the temple now.

From their website; “The goal of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement is the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in our lifetime in accordance with the Word of G-d and all the Hebrew prophets and the liberation of the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation so that it may be consecrated to the Name of G-d.”
The future Roman emperor, Titus, in 70AD did not set himself up in Herod’s Temple to be worshipped. He destroyed the temple. This is a future prophecy about the end time. Jesus tells the Jews in the Tribulation as they read the King James Bible (let him that readeth understand) that when this happens run as fast as you can.

And there has been no time in history like the time that is coming in the Tribulation. There is nothing to compare it to. Not World War Two, not the Black Death of the 14th century, not the Spanish Flu, nothing. And if that time wasn’t shortened no flesh would be left alive. Think of the time of the Great Flood.

Genesis 7:21 ¶  And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22  All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23  And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

But, Jesus promises the time will be shortened. Notice that He also talks about the signs and wonders that the false Christs and false prophets will use to deceive, and even the very elect of God could be fooled.

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

Revelation 13:11 ¶  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13  And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

The end of history will be a terrible and dreadful thing.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mark 13:9-13 comments: hated for his name's sake

9  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. 10  And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11  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. 12  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. 13  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.


Read Matthew 24:9-14. Jesus warns his Jewish disciples of what they are going to come up against both in the immediate time to come and in the future. They will be hauled before religious councils, beaten in the synagogues, and brought forcibly before national leaders and kings for His sake.


As the context is clearly the Tribulation to come based on previous statements we can surmise that these warnings would extend to the 144,000 Jews in the Tribulation, “the servants of our God.”(Revelation 7:3). Clearly, many Christians have suffered under these conditions, first under the hand of the Jews, then the Romans, then the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox state-churches at Rome and Constantinople, under the Protestant state-churches of Europe, and even now in parts of the world under Islam.




Peter later relays this message;


1 Peter 4:12 ¶  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.


Jesus says that the gospel will be preached to every nation. Could it be that the 144,000 Jewish servants of God are evangelists in the Tribulation? Remember how Jesus sent out His disciples to the Jews? Read Matthew 10:1-42.  In the verses in Matthew Jesus also tells them not to think about what to say but that the Holy Spirit will give them what they should speak. The direction taken here is that these Tribulation verses in Mark and Matthew can be linked to the Jewish servants of God in Revelation.


Family members will betray them and they will be roundly hated by all men because of Jesus Christ’s name. Then comes that curious verse that says that he that endures to the end shall be saved. Revelation repeats in 2:11, 26; 3:5; and 21:7 “he that overcometh” which is defined in
1 John 5:5. These are not church age doctrines. Christians, whether they be of Jew or Gentile extraction, are saved by grace through faith and sealed by God, unable to lose their salvation. It is a doctrine of grace not of works but in the Tribulation works again come to the forefront. The Jews must “endure” and “overcome”.  Their individual salvation is not assured. Hebrews is a good transitional book on this subject where Hebrews 6:1-6 shows they can’t get saved again if they lose their salvation. See also Revelation 14:9-12. The Gentile and Jewish church of this age has been translated previous to this time, or raptured if you will. Once again God is dealing with His chosen people, the Jews.

A Bible thought for the day

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him..." Job (Joe-b) of Uz in Job 13:15a

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mark 13:7-8 comments: wars and rumors of wars

7 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. 8 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 celebrated expert on War from the early nineteenth century, Von Clausewitz, is reported to have said that war is the attempt to compel an enemy to do one’s will. I have read that in the last 4,000 years there have only been 300 without war and the person jokingly said that those 300 years must have been needed to reload. Since 1945, when the U.N. was created to end global conflict there have been nearly 200 wars, civil wars, genocides, terrorism, humanitarian interventions, inter-ethnic wars, and even drug wars. The 20th century was the bloodiest century in history and the 14th century ran a close second. One hundred million people were murdered in war, millions were displaced from their homes, and countless numbers suffered horribly in the 20th. Plague alone killed 35 million in Europe in the 14th century while nearly 20 million died of the Spanish flu alone in the early 20th.

Every week my email inbox receives notifications of earthquakes from the USGS. There are and have been earthquakes around the world, some in history killing hundreds of thousands of people as in Lisbon, Portugal in the 1700’s and in China in the 1500’s.

Historical famines, such as the one in the Deccan Plateau of India in the late 1800’s due to British Imperial policy (see Mike Davis' Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World) and the one recently in Ethiopia, have killed millions of people. (see 1 Timothy 6:10 for the reason.)

These are not new things. They are the nature and condition of humanity. Books like Catastrophe: An Investigation into the Origins of Modern Civilization by David Keys shows how the ancient world was destroyed by climate change, famine, and plague beginning in the early 500’s. Books like James Reston, Jr.’s The Last Apocalypse: Europe at the Year 1000 AD show that the European world feared that the end was near as the first millennium was coming to an end and Vikings, Magyars, and Muslims seemed poised to tear their world apart.

Satan is the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4.) It is under his operative control. Mankind is essentially wicked. Even born-again Christians are so consumed by the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16) that they are for the most part useless to God if they are truly born-again.

Jesus tells you that this is only the beginning. What is coming will make World War II look like a skirmish. We act foolishly when we look at the conditions we see around us and say, well, this must be the end. You can’t even imagine what the end will be like. Read Revelation. Jesus is about to say that if those days weren’t shortened “no flesh should be saved.”

The time of God’s wrath is coming on the earth that will be unlike anything since the Great Flood of Noah that wiped out all humanity save eight people.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mark 13:5, 6 comments: believe no imposter

5 ¶ And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Abba Hillel Silver, writing in his 1927 book, The History of Messianic Speculation in Israel, points out that in the first century before the destruction of the temple an expectant enthusiasm burst out hoping for the Messiah to come, probably more due to the Roman occupation than anything along with their understanding of the prophecies in Daniel.

Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

Theudas is mentioned in Acts 5:36 as being someone who garnered followers as did Judas of Galilee in the next verse.

Acts 5:36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. 37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

The Jewish general, turncoat, and questionable historian, Josephus, reports in his Antiquities of the Jews, in book XX, chapter 5, which you can read free online at openlibrary.org or gutenberg.org, that Theudas told people he was a prophet, took on many followers, and promised to part the Jordan. The Romans didn’t let it get that far but cut off his head and carried it back to Jerusalem.

Silver goes into much detail about the many people throughout history who claimed to be the Messiah and the consequences not only they suffered but their followers as well. He also goes into a great amount of detail about Jews trying to predict when the Messiah was to come.

We know this is not an uncommon thing among so-called Christians in history. People from the nineteenth century’s John Nichols Thorn, a Cornish tax rebel, shot by the British government, Arnold Potter, a Mormon, who died while attempting to ascend into heaven by jumping off a cliff in 1872, to recently David Shayler and Alan Miller, Ann Lee of Shaker fame in the 1700’s, Sung Yung Moon, David Koresh, and David Icke all claimed or claim to be Jesus Christ or the Christ.

There were literally dozens of people in history who would claim to be the Messiah or Christ or the Second Coming of Jesus. There will be one final one; the Beast of Revelation whom we know of as the Antichrist, although that title is not found in the Book of Revelation. He is mentioned prominently, not only by the Apostle John, the writer of Revelation, but by Paul.

2Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

The foundation of Christianity is the belief and assurance that Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, was and is God in the flesh. It is impossible to honestly call yourself a Christian if you do not believe that with all your heart, Bill O’Reilly’s nonsensical views notwithstanding.

Christ has warned His disciples not to believe anyone who says they are Him. Christ is returning to earth to take control, not to lead people into the desert or to jump off a cliff.

2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Of course, who his mighty angels are is revealed in the parallel verse in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 but that is not for this study.

Believe no one who says he or she is the Christ, the Messiah, or Jesus returning. You’ve been warned.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mark 13:1-4 comments: The End is coming

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! 2 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. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

Jesus is literally talking about the temple that was finished under Herod the Great’s leadership. Four disciples then later ask Jesus what the signs will be of this great destruction predicted. It has been understood throughout the history of Christianity that prophecies had double-meanings, at least. There is an immediate context and a context of a more distant prophetic import.

When Isaac, carrying what could have been the fuel for his own sacrificial fire, asked his father, Abraham, where the sacrifice was, Abraham replied;

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

But, it was a ram, not a lamb, in verse 13, that was provided. Clearly, then this statement had a double-meaning, even if Abraham himself didn’t know what that meaning was. God was revealing His sacrifice of Himself, as the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).

In Exodus 12:3-5 the Lord speaks to Moses and Aaron. In each successive verse while describing the Passover Lamb the progression also indicates Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who is “a lamb” (v.3), “the lamb” (v. 4), and “your lamb” (v.5) which is indicative of Christ as a Saviour (Isaiah 45:21), the Saviour of the world (John 4:42), and then yours and my Saviour specifically (Titus 1:4; 2:13).

In this chapter there will be prophecies that have already been fulfilled in one sense but in another, Jesus links them to future events. Surely, history does repeat itself for a purpose. Remember, the temple at Jerusalem has already been twice destroyed, first by Nebuchadnezzar and then by the Romans.

For instance, at the end of 2 Chronicles, the last part of the Hebrew Bible’s order of books, Cyrus, king of Persia orders the Jews back to the land. This is an immediate command but also reflects prophetically what began in the twentieth century with the return of the Jews to Palestine and to the creation of Israel in 1948.

2Chronicles 36:23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.

Jesus then delivers a prophecy that is applicable to the destruction of the temple in 70AD and the events surrounding it. It is also, by the words and phrases used, clearly applicable to the end of the Tribulation and the end of human-centered history. I will attempt to show both of these applications as this amazing chapter unfolds.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mark 12:41-44 comments: out of your abundance or out of your poverty?

41 ¶ And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Rather than telling you to give your entire paycheck to Christ’s work and destroy your testimony before your creditors and your family I believe this is a lesson of proportions. A person can give much but it is a small thing in consideration of what they have and another person may give what seems like little and it is all they have.

I am reminded of recent news stories that suggested that statistically poor people give far larger proportions of their incomes to charity than rich people although the rich give substantially more in terms of overall dollars.


When you think of gifts of not only money but time and energy you can see people who devote a huge amount of time to serving the Lord. A person working two jobs who manages to take time to witness, hand out tracts, or even street preach has certainly given more of his or her time than a retiree who devotes the same amount of time in actual minutes and seconds although both get blessed.

Here, as I said, is a lesson in proportions. This should keep us from judging each other’s contributions. This widow’s small amount of money represented a much larger gift than all of the abundance the wealthy were putting in. We should be careful when we presume to make judgments on another person’s work for Christ. This scene also makes one realize how much effort a pastor who runs a business, is head of a family and has a home to take care of, and still maintains the responsibilities of a pastor makes. He provides an example for all of us.

Another thought this scene brings to mind is the example of one person’s total trust in and dependence on God for their survival. Very few of us are willing to surrender all to Christ even though that is the rule set. God will bless abundantly those who trust in Him completely. It may not be in the world’s way but it will certainly draw them closer to Him and the grace He freely bestows on His children. Once again, you can’t outgive God.

To the Jews under the Law He said;

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

To the Christians under the doctrines of Grace this bears repeating from Paul;

2 Corinthians 9:6 ¶ But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.