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Sabbath School Lessons on Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 38 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 10: Predictions of the End *
Introduction: If I could tell your future, would you want to hear it?
Would you prefer to know the general outline instead of specifics?
This week our study is one of the most interesting and perplexing in
the Bible. Jesus tells His disciples about the future. There is
little doubt that they did not correctly understand it at the time.
I'm not so sure we can get it right today, but let's jump into our
study and see what we can learn!
- Read Mark 13:1. Why do you think Jesus' disciple made this
remark to Him? (The temple of Jerusalem was one of the
wonders of the world. I recently read Josephus' The Jewish
Wars and his description of the temple is just
astonishing. When the sun reflected off the gold of the
temple, Josephus says that it looked like fire. Josephus
describes some of the massive stones in Jerusalem. He also
discussed some of the parks, fountains and waterworks. As
I considered Josephus' description, I thought "What a
wonderful city. I would like to be there." This was not
- Read Mark 13:2. Put yourself in the place of this
disciple, when Jesus said this, what would you think? (I
live just outside Washington, D.C. If I were told that
"not one stone here will be left on another," I would
conclude that the United States would likely be destroyed.
Add to this thought that Jerusalem was the center for the
worship of God. The catastrophe for your nation, your God,
your religion, is almost beyond belief.)
- Do you think the disciples at this time believed in a
"last days" and the resurrection? (They had just
heard Jesus speak of the resurrection and heaven.
( Mark 12:25) It is logical that Jesus had taught the
disciples what He taught Martha - who clearly
believed in a resurrection at "the last day." John
- What relationship do you think the disciples saw
between the destruction of Jerusalem and the "last
day?"(Read Matthew's account of this question.
Matthew 24:3 shows that they believed the destruction
of Jerusalem and the "end of the age" were the same
- Read Mark 13:3-4. Why would they come to Jesus privately?
(We have seen a pattern of this. Jesus' disciples do not
want to look foolish asking questions in front of the
crowds. Since they can come to Him privately, they do. See
- What do they want to know? (When this will happen and
how can they have advance notice.)
- Are these things on your mind too when it comes
to the time of the end?
- Instructions and Warnings
- Read Mark 13:5. Jesus is coming down to the end of His
life here on earth, and He is giving His final
instructions about the coming tribulation. What is His
very first advice? (Watch so that you will not be
deceived. Friend, this is invaluable advice. So many
people think they know precisely how things will happen.
The fact that the Jewish leaders missed Jesus' first
coming is a stark warning against religious arrogance.
That fact is all the proof we need (as if we needed any)
of the critical importance of Jesus warning for us to
- We know from Matthew 24:3 and history that the
disciples had the wrong assumption - that the world
would end when Jerusalem was destroyed. Why didn't
Jesus say to them "You are already confused. Let me
straighten this out for you - then watch so you do
not get confused or deceived again?"
- Read Mark 13:6. What are we watching for? (Deception about
Jesus' Second Coming.)
- Read Mark 13:7-8. What does Jesus say about these signs?
(The are the beginning of a tribulation period. The time
of trouble begins with these signs.)
- Read Mark 13:9, 11. Is Jesus talking about the Second
Coming here? (No. He is talking about Jewish courts and
- Read Mark 13:10. Is Jesus talking about the Second Coming
here? (It seems He is.)
- Read Mark 13:14-16. Is Jesus talking about the Second
Coming here? (Leaving immediately was important advice.
Josephus' The Jewish Wars tells us that after the Romans
laid siege to Jerusalem, the Jewish leaders would kill
anyone who tried to leave the city. Our lesson (Tuesday)
points to Josephus' account of the Christians escaping
Jerusalem before its destruction based on their
understanding of Mark 13:14 and obedience to Jesus'
instructions. When Jesus refers to "those who are in
Judea" He is talking about Jerusalem.)
- Read Daniel 9:26-27. How does this text relate to Mark
13:14? (Jesus is quoting Daniel!)
- What is Daniel discussing? (Daniel is giving us a
prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem by the
- Notice Daniel 9:27. The NIV does something that most
other translations do not do. It inserts "of the
temple" after "wing." (The brackets show us it was
added.) Just leaving the Greek as it is ("on a wing
he will set up an abomination that causes
desolation") makes sense to me. The Roman standard
was the eagle. It had prominent wings. Josephus tells
us that there was a tremendous dispute when the
Romans mounted their eagle standard to the outside of
the temple. Whether we are talking about the symbol
of the Roman empire, or the empire itself, Rome was
the abomination that caused the desolation of
- Read Mark 13:17-19. Is this a reference to the Second
Coming or the destruction of Jerusalem? (Josephus recounts
what happened in Jerusalem just before and during its
destruction. The account is horrific. None of what Jesus
predicts is worse than what Josephus says happened.
However, I am not sure this is a "Jerusalem only"
- Read Mark 13:24-26. Is this the destruction of Jerusalem
or the Second Coming? (Obviously, Mark 13:26 is the Second
Coming. Somewhere between Mark 13:19-23 Jesus is making a
transition. Mark 13:24 says "following that distress" and
then discusses the sun being darkened. That seems to refer
to a period of time after the destruction of Jerusalem.
Although I recall that Josephus recorded that during the
seige of Jerusalem the sun was darkened one day.)(Note to
the reader. I listened to an unabridged recording of The
Jewish Wars. Thus, I have not given page references.)
- Is it appropriate to try to draw the lines that we have
been making between the Second Coming and the fall of
Jerusalem? (Perhaps not. Mark 13:24 starts out "But in
those days," referring to the verses that seem to describe
the fall of Jerusalem. Mark 13:26 adds another time link
"At that time." Jesus ties these together, but is not
giving us a bright time-line.)
- As another example, read Isaiah 13:9-11. Jesus quoted
this text in Mark 13:24-25. To what time period does
this refer? (Isaiah clearly says this deals with the
Second Coming ("the day of the Lord"). See also, Joel
- Is there some other approach that you think is more
appropriate than trying to sort out which prophecy
applies to which event? (Some Bible prophecies have
more than one fulfillment. See, for example,
Zechariah 8:4-8, which referred to the first
rebuilding of Jerusalem and which could also apply
(in part) to the New Jerusalem.)
- Bottom Line
- Read Mark 13:32-34. How much should we depend on what we
studied in this lesson to determine when Jesus will come
again? (After talking about specifics, Jesus says that we
should not depend on them. What we should depend upon is
being on guard and being alert.)
- Read Mark 13:35-36. What is the most important advice that
Jesus gives us about His Second Coming? (Watch! Jesus ends
this discussion on the same note as He began the
discussion: Mark 13:5 "Watch.")
- Friend, I find Mark 13 confusing. But, I think that is
Jesus' point. Jesus is telling us, to give us comfort,
that He knows the kinds of terrible events that are
coming. The lesson for us is to be constantly alert, and
not be arrogant about our understanding of prophecy or our
predictions based on Jesus' statements. He knows our
future and we need to know our task: Watch!
- Next week: Betrayed and Arrested.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.