Jesus—His Life and Message: Prediction About the Temple (Part 2)
February 23, 2021
by Peter Amsterdam
Jesus—His Life and Message: Prediction About the Temple (Part 2)
In the previous article, we saw that Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Jesus about events which He had predicted, and what sign there would be that these things were about to happen.
Jesus began by warning them that many would come in His name and lead people astray. He added that there would be wars and rumors of wars, that nation would rise against nation, and that there would be earthquakes and famines. He then added: These are but the beginning of the birth pains.1
Jesus continued with His warning:
Be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them.2
He was foretelling the persecution that would occur after His death. He wasn’t warning the disciples so that they would seek to escape persecution, but rather to prepare them for what was ahead. Within the books of Acts and the Epistles, we find the fulfillment of Jesus’ predictions.
When they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.3
When the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.4
The apostle Paul wrote:
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned.5
We read of Paul and Silas being seized and dragged to the marketplace before the rulers:
The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.6
Throughout the first few centuries AD, Christians were severely persecuted and often faced death. Emperor Nero in AD 64 blamed Christians for the fire which destroyed most of the city of Rome, and this resulted in many Christians being killed. In the third century AD, Roman emperors ordered intensive persecution of believers, and persecution of Christians continued until Emperor Constantine signed the Edict of Milan in AD 313, which brought about a general acceptance of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.
The gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.7
It is likely that Mark is making the point that before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the gospel would spread throughout the known world of the time. This point will be covered in more detail in the next article. One author writes:
In the mind of the NT writers, the concern of Jesus to bring the gospel to all nations began already in the ministry of Jesus and could be said to have been accomplished already at the time Mark wrote his Gospel.8
The apostle Paul writes that the gospel has been “made known to all nations.”9 In the book of Colossians, we read:
Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.10
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.11
I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”12
Back to the passage in Mark:
When they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.13
Jesus picked up with what He was saying in verse 9. The disciples were given a promise of support, along with encouragement. This was likely of comfort to the disciples, who were academically untrained men. In the book of Acts, we read: When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.14
Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.15
The persecution Jesus was speaking of was not just political and social, but included opposition from personal family as well. In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we find similar statements:
I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.16
Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.17
Jesus’ reference to all in you will be hated by all doesn’t mean by every human being, but rather by people in all segments and elements of society—rulers, religious leaders, citizens, slaves, criminals, philosophers, and one’s own family.18 Jesus’ words allude to Micah 7:6, which states: The son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.
While all of this sounds terrible, with even families betraying one another, Jesus spoke a word of encouragement as He made a promise. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. The word “end” here does not mean the end when “all of these things come about,” or the end mentioned in Mark 13:7, when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. It is, rather, referring to the end of the believers’ lives. Those who persevere in their faith throughout their lives “will be saved.”
Throughout the book of Revelation, similar promises are made to those who persevere.
To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.19
Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.20
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.21
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.22
(To be continued.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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1 Mark 13:8.
2 Mark 13:9.
3 Acts 5:40.
4 Acts 22:19–20.
5 2 Corinthians 11:24–25.
6 Acts 16:22–23.
7 Mark 13:10.
8 Stein, Mark, 600.
9 Romans 16:26.
10 Colossians 1:5–6.
11 Romans 1:8.
12 Romans 10:18.
13 Mark 13:11.
14 Acts 4:13.
15 Mark 13:12–13.
16 Matthew 10:35–36.
17 Luke 12:51–53.
18 Stein, Mark, 601.
19 Revelation 2:7.
20 Revelation 2:10.
21 Revelation 3:5.
22 Revelation 3:21.