Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 13:1-37 the Lord prepares His disciples for His death by telling them of things to come. Here He speaks concerning five matters: the destruction of the temple (vv. 1-2), the plagues at the beginning of birth pangs (vv. 3-8), the preaching of the gospel and persecutions (vv. 9-13), the great tribulation and the coming of the Slave-Savior (vv. 14-27), and watching, praying, and awaiting the Slave-Savior (vv. 28-37). We covered the destruction of the temple and the beginning of birth pangs in the previous message. In this message we shall go on to consider the other matters concerning which the Lord spoke to His disciples on the Mount of Olives.
In 13:9-13 the Lord speaks concerning the preaching of the gospel and persecutions. In verse 9 the Lord says, “But you yourselves beware; they will deliver you to sanhedrins, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.” In particular, the “you” here refers to Jewish disciples. The first martyrs were Jews.
Verse 9 indicates that the persecutions will come from both Jews and Gentiles. The sanhedrins and synagogues are related to the Jews, but the governors and the kings refer to the rulers of the Gentiles. Therefore, the persecutions described in verse 9 will come from two sources, from both Jews and Gentiles.
In verse 10 the Lord goes on to say, “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” According to Matthew 24:14, the gospel preached to all the nations will be the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom includes the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24). However, the gospel of the kingdom brings people not only into God’s salvation but also into God’s kingdom (Rev. 1:9). The emphasis of the gospel of grace is on forgiveness of sin, God’s redemption, and eternal life; the emphasis of the gospel of the kingdom is on the ruling of God and the authority of the Lord. The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole earth for a testimony to all nations before the end of the age comes. This testimony must spread throughout the earth before the end of this age, before the time of the great tribulation.
In verse 11 the Lord tells His disciples not to be anxious about what they will speak when they are delivered up, for the Holy Spirit will speak in them. Then the Lord continues, “And brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children shall rise up against their parents and put them to death; and you will be hated by all on account of My name; but he who has endured to the end, he shall be saved” (vv. 12-13). This word is brief, yet all-inclusive. The persecution will come from Jews, from Gentiles, and even from the members of one’s own family. This kind of persecution has been carried out and still is happening today.
It is important to understand the meaning of the word “saved” in verse 13. Here “saved” may mean to be saved from those who hate and persecute. But eventually this word means to be saved into the manifestation of the kingdom in the coming age, a manifestation that will be a reward to the overcoming believers. This differs from eternal salvation as revealed in Ephesians 2:8.
In 13:14-27 the Lord speaks concerning the great tribulation and the coming of the Slave-Savior. Verse 14 says, “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not (let the reader understand), then let those in Judea flee to the mountains.” How long the period of time will be for verses 1 through 13 we do not know. But the prophecy in verses 14 through 27 will definitely be fulfilled in the last three and a half years of this age, the time of the great tribulation, the second half of the last week prophesied in Daniel 9:27. This period of time will begin with the setting up of Antichrist’s image (an idol) in the temple (Mark 13:14) and will end with Christ’s open coming (v. 26).
In verse 14 the Lord speaks of the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be. “Abomination” means an idol (Deut. 29:17). Here it refers to the image of Antichrist set up in the temple of God as an idol (Rev. 13:14-15; 2 Thes. 2:4) at the beginning of the great tribulation (Matt. 24:21).
The Greek word translated “desolation” means causing desolation, desolating. The abomination, the idol of Antichrist, will cause desolation. Antichrist is called the destroyer (Apollyon, Rev. 9:11); he will do much destroying (Dan. 8:13, 23-25; 9:27).
The abomination of desolation will stand where it should not be. According to Matthew 24:15, it will stand in the holy place, that is, within God’s temple (Psa. 68:35; Ezek. 7:24; 21:2).
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