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Mark 13:15-23 Unless The Lord Shortens That Time

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 1, 2013


Mark 13:15-23 NLTse A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. (16) A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. (17) How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. (18) And pray that your flight will not be in winter. (19) For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. (20) In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days. (21) “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. (22) For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. (23) Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!

 

Jesus told His disciples about hatred in the world which led to His warning about the desecration standing in the temple. Jesus led His disciples back to both personal experiences He took them through and scripture. The two combined with the power of the Spirit would be a large part of what the disciples needed in the future. First they had to learn to leave their preconceived ideas behind. Jesus realized getting them to unlearn what they believed in can be more difficult than teaching them about the tools they would need to be successful. If only they paid more attention to lessons and illustrations Jesus used little children to illustrate. Jesus taught them the key to worshiping God with an open, understanding, and dedicated heart, then emphasized how quickly the change must take place. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. Real belief requires action.

 

Changes to accepted forms of worship had to come quick. There must be no chance of compromise. Abraham compromised with his wife, which began a succession of compromises in marriage lasting generations. Israel not only continued, but added other compromises. After 430 years in Egypt, God took them out, beginning a forty year journey to the promised land. The nation of Israel was told never to compromise with nations they were sent to displace. Little by little outside influences crept in. Once Israel divided, the southern kingdom quickly fell, claiming separation from the temple was too much for them. The northern kingdom of Judah vacillated between following God and pagan worship, often mingling the two. Seventy years of exile in Babylon taught them little. After returning to Jerusalem it did not take long to redevelop the form of self reliance responsible for their exile to Babylon. At first it began as a dedication to God’s commandments. It looked good at the beginning, but turned into a form of worship God never intended. They dedicated themselves to God, pledging to keep His commandments. They never realized the impossible task they were attempting to take credit for. They convinced themselves they were the only people in the world able to achieve their goal. They called themselves God’s chosen race. Looking at the lives they led, guilt began to build. To overcome guiltily feelings, they began comparing themselves to others, measuring their idea of perfection to greater sins they saw in other races. Once again the answer seemed to be separation. They blamed their lack of perfection on influence from others. If they sent them away, they could reach their goal. Little did they know, God never expected them to achieve perfection on their own. That was never the plan of salvation.

 

Once again Jesus used the symbol of a new birth. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. The change in worship with appear as something new, but in fact points back to the birth of this world. A one on one relationship with God, when He created man and woman in His perfect image. Mankind never had, and never will have the ability to create anything perfect on their own.

 

Jesus wanted them to know, their role was not going to be easy. Everyone choosing to follow Jesus will be tested. Jesus hoped they learned a lesson from Job. The LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless–a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” (Job 1:8 NLTse). Satan’s goal has always been to destroy everyone drawing close to God. Jesus’ goal was to prepare His disciples. “Pray that your flight will not be in winter. For there will be greater anguish in those days than at anytime since God created the world. And it will never be so great again.” Jesus wanted them to know their life was not going to be a walk on a summer day, but more like fleeing in the winter. After all, He compared wars to the beginning of birth pains they were about to experience. Satan feared nothing more than seeing a path to God’s throne reopened to mankind. It was a door he fought hard to close and wanted locked at any cost. Anyone approaching that open door was in for a battle. The most severe battles at any city take place at the gates. The closer you get to the Kingdom of Heaven, the more severe the attacks will be.

 

“In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.” Jesus never wanted them to forget, they were not in this battle alone. The priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees did not want to fight the Lord’s battle. Instead they waged their own war, drew up their own declaration, served their own purpose, and called it God’s battle. They drew battle lines between themselves and the world, instead of joining forces with God to fight the devil. Looking back on history will show how God shortened those days.

 

“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time! How many times will Jesus have to warn His disciples? How many times will they have to warn the world? God sent His people, the religious leaders in the courtyard and His disciples their ancestors to warn them. God sent Moses, Joshua, judges, his messengers the prophets, and now His Son. Will the world ever listen?

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