The Terrible Last Days: A Survey of Mark 13 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

Matthew 24:3-31, Mark 13:3-27, Luke 21:7-30,1 Thessalonians 4:13-18,1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Summary: Mark 13, Matthew 24, and Luke 21 are all dedicated to the prophetic warning given by the Lord Jesus to His disciples as to what to expect regarding the spread of the Gospel and the increasing evil of the world.

Apostate Judaism has had its last chance. Jesus had finished with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and others who had challenged His authority, teachings, and miracles. He will again face them on the day of His crucifixion. He had shed tears over Jerusalem and had pronounced judgment upon it. The apostles are fixated not on these events but upon the symbol of their faith, the ornate and beautiful Temple that sat in the center of the city. While it was a wonder of the ancient world and a sight to behold, it was now nothing more than a whitewashed tomb that reeked with the stench of religiosity and spiritual corruption.

The apostles pointed out what is to them a symbol of spiritual greatness, but Jesus replied to their comments with stern criticism, telling them that the Temple would soon be destroyed. As they crossed the Kidron Valley and headed to the Mount of Olives, the apostles asked Him when this would happen and what would be the signs to expect. Jesus then presented His longest and most detailed teaching on what will happen to the world as the days draw nearer to the end of life as they knew it.

Jesus started by warning them that false Messiahs and Deliverers would appear throughout history to deceive and lead people away from the truth of the Gospel. From the origins of Romanism to the rise of the cults that have burst upon the scenes in the past centuries — Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Christian Science, Seventh-Day Adventists, the Worldwide Church of God (Herbert W. Armstrong) along with progressive and leftist theology and biblical interpretations, the rise of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, the New Age movement, and the growth and acceptance of devil worship worldwide — all show that false religions would arise as the days drew nearer to the return of the Lord.

Wars and conflicts will increase and be more common as the days approach for Jesus’ return. Right now, the world is experiencing increased chaos in nations, civil wars, riots, the rise of violence and the spirit of murder, with the last century being the bloodiest and most brutal in terms of war. There was World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, continual conflict between Israel and Iran and the proxy governing powers such as Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, and others that have continually kept the Middle East in a state of turmoil. There is not a single nation on Earth now that is not involved in some type of conflict, and it will worsen.

There will be an increase in natural disasters, such as constant and growing numbers of earthquakes in places not known for such activity. Hurricanes and tornadoes are occurring in places such as the UK, China, Russia, and parts of Europe that had never had these types of weather extremes. There are increases in floods, landslides, droughts, and intense heat in places where nothing like it has ever happened, such as 100-degree temperatures in western Canada and the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon).

The dark culprit seems to always be “Climate change,” primarily caused by humanity, greenhouse gases, and occasional gas from the backend of farm animals, according to some politicians. The book of Revelation shows us that we are only witnessing the start of what the LORD will do to unregenerate humanity as He brings judgments upon this wicked and rebellious world.

Because of natural disasters and our insistence on rewiring the genetic makeup of plants and animals, we are now having to deal with the reality of food shortages and famines. We have witnessed the backlog of goods that needed to be sent to stores and other retailers but were kept from doing so because of the COVID-19 situation, where whole nations came to a standstill. Many states and countries faced empty shelves in grocery stores and shortages of necessities that were in stock a short time ago.

This country has not had to deal with the idea of a famine as other countries have, but we will find ourselves in just such a situation sooner than we think. There are calls from food supply companies to purchase their product and be prepared for hard times to come, and it will not get better once that reality hits us.

As the end times get closer, Jesus warned His apostles and all who would follow Him in the times to come that they will be hated, slandered, mocked, hunted down, blamed for the world’s troubles, boycotted, and killed for their faith in Him.

The twentieth century alone saw more people being killed for their faith In Christ than at any other time in history, and even now, the persecution is getting worse around the world and here in America. Churches are being burned down in Canada, and the government does nothing to stop it. More fanatics are entering places of worship here and killing everyone inside. The Columbine shootings of the 1990s saw teenagers who died confessing Christ as the demonically driven gunmen mowed them down. ISIS terrorists produced videos of Christians in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria being decapitated, sold into slavery, their babies being crucified, and children raped and tortured in order for them to recant their faith in Christ as the rest of the world basically stood by and did nothing.

The anti-God forces are growing rapidly, and right now, less than 50% of Americans even consider themselves religious as atheism permeates our schools and colleges and the whole of society. Those believers who are praying for a national revival may be doing so in vain.

Even in the midst of tragedies such as family breakup, betrayal, and worldwide calamity, Jesus tells His apostles that the message of the Gospel will be spread throughout the world before He returns. We witness this with the advent of radio, TV, the internet, personal evangelism, and the preaching of the Word and sound doctrine by pastors who will not bow to the demands of the world nor compromise the truth of Scripture. No one who goes to present the Gospel to their peers or others will need to worry about what to say because the Holy Spirit will tell them what to say.

The Gospel is God’s message of redemption to fallen humanity. It is nothing we can ever come up with nor promote in our own intellect or strength. He directs us to go to the lost and tell them what Jesus Christ has done in order that they may be redeemed from their sins and have eternal life. He is always with us and will guide us if we will but submit to His will and direction.

The troubles we experience now will be nothing in comparison to what will take place on the earth in the coming days. It will be a time of abject terror beyond our imagination, known in the Scriptures as the time of the “Great Tribulation.”

According to Bible prophecy experts and scholars who tend to interpret the events and teaching of the Word in a literal fashion without resorting to symbolism or theory, the coming troubles will begin with the event known as the “Rapture” of the church – the sudden “snatching away” of the true followers of Jesus Christ from the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 3:10). This will cause a time of chaos where people will be looking for answers as to why loved ones are gone, and others will say that phenomenon such as UFO’s, New Age “removal of the less enlightened,” mass disappearance by suicide, or something that will seem to make sense to many. And a few, realizing that the Bible is true, will surrender to Christ and be under the risk of martyrdom according to the book of Revelation.

Shortly after the chaos, a leader of great charisma, wisdom, and comfort with the ability to present a needed sense of order and structure will arise. This man will seem like a godsend but, in reality, will be the devil’s masterpiece known as the “Beast” (Revelation 13:1-7, 18; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4) or the Antichrist. He will provide the answers to the world’s problems, but at a price. Yet, millions will gladly follow and obey him regardless of his demands. He will make a treaty with Israel and her neighbors that is set to last seven years (Daniel 9:27) but will be broken in a short period of time by him in a deliberate attempt to kill every Jew and Christian who will not take his mark or swear allegiance to him.

The period of the Tribulation is going to be so horrendous and bloody, with billions dead from war, famine, disasters, demonic torment, heat, lack of water and food, that if the Lord Jesus would not return, there would be no one left alive.

Just at the time where it seems that all hope is gone, the greatest event in history to come will happen as the Lord Jesus Christ returns to Earth with His saints, with signs in the heavens such as the stars falling away and the entirety of heaven shaken. He destroys the Beast, his False Prophet, and all who have followed them, casting them into hell and throwing the devil into a bottomless pit for one thousand years. The angels will gather His elect who have somehow survived these years of horror, and will usher them and all the redeemed into the millennial period where Jesus will rule and reign as absolute King, with us being given positions of authority for a thousand years of peace, prosperity, and holiness.

The question is, when will all that Jesus has described take place in terms of history? He used a fig tree as a symbol to teach that just as the trees bloom with their fruit, sending the signal that summer is near, so is the certainty of the coming of the Son of Man, our Lord Jesus. The generation that is alive at that time will witness everything that is prophesied come to pass.

When does this happen? It is a date known only to God the Father. The important thing is to be ready when it does come, which can be at any time. The question you need to answer for yourself is whether you are ready for that time. You can be ready today by surrendering your life to Christ (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10). If you have already done so, then keep looking up because the day of our redemption is drawing near. Amen.

Join me for “The Reality City Daily Review” weekday mornings at 10:00 CST on YouTube (USA). It will then be posted on Facebook and on my website. My main area of discussion will be on the basics of the Christian faith but will also deal with prophetic issues and other topics as the Lord impresses upon me to handle.