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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 13)

13:1 {Master, behold, what manner of stones and what manner of
(\didaskale, ide potapoi lithoi kai potapai
. Mt 24:1 and Lu 21:5 tell of the fact of the
comment, but Mark alone gives the precise words. Perhaps Peter
himself (Swete) was the one who sought thus by a pleasant
platitude to divert the Teacher's attention from the serious
topics of recent hours in the temple. It was not a new
observation, but the merest commonplace might serve at this
crisis. Josephus (_Ant_. xv. II, 3) speaks of the great size of
these stones and the beauty of the buildings. Some of these
stones at the southeastern and southwestern angles survive today
and measure from twenty to forty feet long and weigh a hundred
tons. Jesus had, of course, often observed them.

13:2 {These great buildings} (\tautas tas oikodomas\). Jesus
fully recognizes their greatness and beauty. The more remarkable
will be their complete demolition (\kataluthēi\), {loosened
. Only the foundation stones remain.

13:3 {Over against the temple} (\katenanti tou hierou\). In full
view of the temple about which they had been speaking.
{Privately} (\kat' idian\). Peter and James and John and Andrew
(named only in Mark) had evidently been discussing the strange
comment of Jesus as they were coming out of the temple. In their
bewilderment they ask Jesus a bit to one side, though probably
all the rest drew up as Jesus began to speak this great
eschatological discourse.

13:4 {Tell us, when shall these things be?} (\Eipon hēmin pote
tauta estai;\)
. The Revised Version punctuates it as a direct
question, but Westcott and Hort as an indirect inquiry. They
asked about the {when} (\pote\) and the {what sign} (\ti
. Mt 24:3 includes "the sign of thy coming and the end
of the world," showing that these tragic events are brought
before Jesus by the disciples. See discussion of the
interpretation of this discourse on ¯Mt 24:3. This chapter in
Mark is often called "The Little Apocalypse" with the notion that
a Jewish apocalypse has been here adapted by Mark and attributed
to Jesus. Many of the theories attribute grave error to Jesus or
to the Gospels on this subject. The view adopted in the
discussion in Matthew is the one suggested here, that Jesus
blended in one picture his death, the destruction of Jerusalem
within that generation, the second coming and end of the world
typified by the destruction of the city. The lines between these
topics are not sharply drawn in the report and it is not possible
for us to separate the topics clearly. This great discourse is
the longest preserved in Mark and may be due to Peter. Mark may
have given it in order "to forewarn and forearm" (Bruce) the
readers against the coming catastrophe of the destruction of
Jerusalem. Both Matthew (Mt 24) and Luke (Lu 21:5-36) follow
the general line of Mark 13 though Mt 24:43-25:46 presents new
material (parables).

13:5 {Take need that no man lead you astray} (\Blepete mē tis
h–mās planēsēi\)
. Same words in Mt 24:4. Lu 21:8 has it "that
ye be not led astray" (\mē planēthēte\). This word \planaō\ (our
is a bold one. This warning runs through the whole
discussion. It is pertinent today after so many centuries. About
the false Christs then and now see on ¯Mt 24:5. It is amazing
the success that these charlatans have through the ages in
winning the empty-pated to their hare-brained views. Only this
morning as I am writing a prominent English psychologist has
challenged the world to a radio communication with Mars asserting
that he has made frequent trips to Mars and communicated with its
alleged inhabitants. And the daily papers put his ebullitions on
the front page. For discussion of the details in verses 6-8 see
on ¯Mt 24:5-8. All through the ages in spite of the words of
Jesus men have sought to apply the picture here drawn to the
particular calamity in their time.

13:7 {Must needs come to pass} (\dei genesthai\). Already there
were outbreaks against the Jews in Alexandria, at Seleucia with
the slaughter of more than fifty thousand, at Jamnia, and
elsewhere. Caligula, Claudius, Nero will threaten war before it
finally comes with the destruction of the city and temple by
Titus in A.D. 70. Vincent notes that between this prophecy by
Jesus in A.D. 30 (or 29) and the destruction of Jerusalem there
was an earthquake in Crete (A.D. 46 or 47), at Rome (A.D. 51), at
Apamaia in Phrygia (A.D. 60), at Campania (A.D. 63). He notes
also four famines during the reign of Claudius A.D. 41-54. One of
them was in Judea in A.D. 44 and is alluded to in Ac 11:28.
Tacitus (_Annals_ xvi. 10-13) describes the hurricanes and storms
in Campania in A.D. 65.

13:9 {But take heed to yourselves} (\Blepete de humeis
. Only in Mark, but dominant note of warning all
through the discourse. Note \humeis\ here, very emphatic.
{Councils} (\sunedria\). Same word as the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.
These local councils (\sun, hedra\, sitting together) were
modelled after that in Jerusalem. {Shall ye be beaten}
(\darēsesthe\). Second future passive indicative second person
plural. The word \derō\ means to flay or skin and here has been
softened into {beat} like our tan or skin in the vernacular.
Aristophanes has it in this colloquial sense as have the papyri
in the _Koinē_. Before governors and kings (\epi hēgemonōn kai
. Gentile rulers as well as before Jewish councils.
{Shall stand} (\stathēsesthe\). First aorist passive indicative
second person plural of \histēmi\.

13:10 {Must first be preached} (\prōton dei kēruchthēnai\). This
only in Mark. It is interesting to note that Paul in Col 1:6,23
claims that the gospel has spread all over the world. All this
was before the destruction of Jerusalem.

13:11 {Be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak} (\mē
promerimnāte ti lalēsēte\)
. Negative with present imperative to
make a general prohibition or habit. Jesus is not here referring
to preaching, but to defences made before these councils and
governors. A typical example is seen in the courage and skill of
Peter and John before the Sanhedrin in Acts. The verb \merimnaō\
is from \merizō\ (\meris\), to be drawn in opposite directions,
to be distracted. See on ¯Mt 6:25. They are not to be stricken
with fright beforehand, but to face fearlessly those in high
places who are seeking to overthrow the preaching of the gospel.
There is no excuse here for the lazy preacher who fails to
prepare his sermon out of the mistaken reliance upon the Holy
Spirit. They will need and will receive the special help of the
Holy Spirit (cf. Joh 14-16).

13:13 {But he that endureth to the end} (\ho de hupomeinas eis
. Note this aorist participle with the future verb. The
idea here is true to the etymology of the word, remaining under
(\hupomenō\) until the end. The divisions in families Jesus had
predicted before (Lu 12:52f.; 14:25f.). {Be saved}
(\sōthēsetai\). Here Jesus means final salvation (effective
aorist future passive)
, not initial salvation.

13:14 {Standing where he ought not} (\hestēkota hopou ou dei\).
Mt 24:15 has "standing in the holy place" (\hestos en topoi
, neuter and agreeing with \bdelugma\ (abomination), the
very phrase applied in 1Macc. 1:54 to the altar to Zeus erected
by Antiochus Epiphanes where the altar to Jehovah was. Mark
personifies the abomination as personal (masculine), while Lu
21:20 defines it by reference to the armies (of Rome, as it
turned out)
. So the words of Daniel find a second fulfilment,
Rome taking the place of Syria (Swete). See on ¯Mt 24:15 for
this phrase and the parenthesis inserted in the words of Jesus
("Let him that readeth understand"). See also on ¯Mt 24:16-25
for discussion of details in Mr 13:14-22.

13:16 {In the field} (\eis ton agron\). Here Mt 24:18 has \en
tōi agrōi\, showing identical use of \eis\ with accusative and
\en\ with the locative.

13:19 {Which God created} (\hēn ektisen ho theos\). Note this
amplification to the quotation from Da 12:1.

13:20 {Whom he chose} (\hous exelexato\). Indirect aorist middle
indicative. In Mark alone. Explains the sovereign choice of God
in the end by and for himself.

13:22 {That they may lead astray} (\pros to apoplanāin\). With a
view to leading off (\pros\ and the infinitive). Mt 24:24 has
\hōste apoplāsthai\, so as to lead off.

13:23 {But take ye heed} (\Humeis de blepete\). Gullibility is no
mark of a saint or of piety. Note emphatic position of you
(\humeis\). Credulity ranks no higher than scepticism. God gave
us our wits for self-protection. Christ has warned us beforehand.

13:24 {The sun shall be darkened} (\ho helios skotisthēsetai\).
Future passive indicative. These figures come from the prophets
(Isa 13:9f.; Eze 32:7f.; Joe 2:1f.,10f.; Am 8:9; Zep 1:14-16;
Zec 12:12)
. One should not forget that prophetic imagery was not
always meant to be taken literally, especially apocalyptic
symbols. Peter in Ac 2:15-21 applies the prophecy of Joel about
the sun and moon to the events on the day of Pentecost. See on
¯Mt 24:29-31 for details of verses 24-27.

13:25 {The stars shall be falling} (\hoi asteres esontai
. Periphrastic future indicative, \esontai\, future
middle indicative and \piptontes\, present active participle.

13:27 {Shall gather together his elect} (\episunaxei tous
eklektous autou\)
. This is the purpose of God through the ages.
{From the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of
(\ap' akrou gēs heōs akrou ouranou\). The Greek is very
brief, "from the tip of earth to the tip of heaven." This precise
phrase occurs nowhere else.

13:28 {Coming to pass} (\ginomena\). Present middle participle,
linear action. See on ¯Mt 24:32-36 for details of verses 28-32
(the Parable of the Fig Tree).

13:32 {Not even the Son} (\oude ho huios\). There is no doubt as
to the genuineness of these words here such as exists in Mt
24:36. This disclaimer of knowledge naturally interpreted
applies to the second coming, not to the destruction of Jerusalem
which had been definitely limited to that generation as it
happened in A.D. 70.

13:34 {Commanded also the porter to watch} (\kai tōi thurōrōi
eneteilato hina grēgorēi\)
. The porter or door-keeper
(\thurōros\), as well as all the rest, to keep a watch (present
subjunctive, \grēgorēi\)
. This Parable of the Porter is only in
Mark. Our ignorance of the time of the Master's return is an
argument not for indifference nor for fanaticism, but for
alertness and eager readiness for his coming.

13:35 The four watches of the night are named here: evening
(\opse\), midnight (\mesonuktion\), cock-crowing
(\alektorophōnias\), morning (\prōi\).

13:37 {Watch} (\grēgoreite\). Be on the watch. Present imperative
of a verb made on the second perfect, \egrēgora\, to be awake.
Stay awake till the Lord comes.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 13)