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God’s Provision In His Providence

SUFFERING KING: THE BOOK OF MARK:
God’s Provision In His Providence: Mark 13:14-23
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday March 14, 2021

Not only will they be hated because of the name of Christ but those who endure to the end will be saved.  This is how we ended last week.  The complete salvation of Christ.  Whom He saves He saves completely.

V14

14 “Now when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be—let the reader understand—then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

Jesus goes on with more warnings, in greater detail.  This is something different and of a different kind than the previous warnings.  Jesus is moving past the immediacy of the apostles and is going into the future; building upon v10 – that the Gospel must be preached to all nations.  And when this has occurred then, at some point the abomination of desolation will be standing where it should not stand.

Mark 13:10 (NASB95)

10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.

The writer adds, ‘let the reader understand’.  Those that are reading this letter, it is important that they listen to what is being said.  The same language is used in Matthew 24.  Let us understand too.  We need to spend some time here.

What is the abomination of desolation and where is it standing?  And when is it standing? To give us a little more background, we need to turn to Matthew 24:15-16, where Matthew adds that Jesus said that this ‘spoken through the prophet Daniel.’

Matthew 24:15-16 (NASB95)

Perilous Times

15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place—let the reader understand—

16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

This is key information.  We find that the abomination is noted first in Daniel 9.  But first, we see that Daniel has been perplexed by the prophecy that he has heard.  He has understood, by studying the prophet Jeremiah 25:11, that the Babylonian exile will last 70 years.  Yet the prophecy he has received from God indicates that four nations will rise.  For these nations to rise, but in his study of Jeremiah the exile would be over in 14-18 months, how could this all happen in such a short time.  Notice Daniel’s reaction in 8:26 and 27.  It pertains to the future and v27, Daniel was exhausted and sick for days.   He was astounded and could not understand it and there was no one to explain it to him.

Jeremiah 25:11 (NASB95)

11 This entire land will be a place of ruins and an object of horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.

Daniel 8:26-27 (NASB95)

26 And the vision of the evenings and mornings

Which has been told is true;

But as for you, keep the vision secret,

Because it pertains to many days in the future.”

27 Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up and carried on the king’s business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was no one to explain it.

Because of his trouble with this he turns to God.  In chapter 9, we see his prayer.  From v1-19, he is confessing sin, both his own and the nation of Israel.  He is pleading with God.  And then v20 and 21 happen, the angel Gabriel comes to him.  He was exhausted in prayer.  Gabriel says that when Daniel started to entreat God, that God sent Gabriel to him.  And what does v23 say?  That Gabriel would help him gain understanding of the vision.  And v24-v27 is the key to understanding the abomination of desolation in Mark 13.

Daniel 9:1-23 (NASB95)

Daniel’s Prayer for His People

1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans—

2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

3 So I gave my attention to the Lord God, to seek Him by prayer and pleading, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed, and said, “Oh, Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and faithfulness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,

5 we have sinned, we have done wrong, and

acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances.

6 Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our leaders, our fathers, and all the people of the land.

7 “Righteousness belongs to You, Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You.

8 Open shame belongs to us, Lord, to our kings, our leaders, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

9 To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, because we have rebelled against Him;

10 and we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.

11 Indeed, all Israel has violated Your Law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has gushed forth on us, along with the oath which is written in the Law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against Him.

12 So He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great disaster; for under the entire heaven there has not been done anything like what was done in Jerusalem.

13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our wrongdoing and giving attention to Your truth.

14 So the Lord has kept the disaster in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.

15 “And now, Lord, our God, You who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and made a name for Yourself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked.

16 Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the wrongdoings of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become an object of taunting to all those around us.

17 So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his pleas, and for Your sake, Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.

18 My God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our pleas before You based on any merits of our own, but based on Your great compassion.

19 Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Gabriel Brings an Answer

20 While I was still speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God,

21 while I was still speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.

22 And he instructed me and talked with me and said, “Daniel, I have come now to give you insight with understanding.

23 At the beginning of your pleas the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, because you are highly esteemed; so pay attention to the message and gain understanding of the vision.

It is the description of the seventy seven.  What we don’t want to do is to get bogged down in the numbers of Daniel but these numbers are important to understanding what Jesus is prophesying to them about.  All in relation to the nation of Israel.

V24 tells us that the reason that Daniel is having difficulty is that there are time frames that are overlapping and time frames that much bigger and separated.  The seventy weeks are not seventy weeks of days but seventy weeks of years.  In other words, seventy weeks of years would be 490 years, not 490 days.  And that six things will happen at the end of the 70 weeks; the inauguration of God’s kingdom, the new heaven and the new earth.  Quickly, we find that the transgression is finished, there is an end of sin, make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.

Daniel 9:24 (NASB95)

Seventy Weeks and the Messiah

24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the wrongdoing, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.

Gabriel then gives the description of how this will happen and this is specific to Israel.

V25 says that there will be a rebuild of Jerusalem and the temple.  The city will be restored and the temple rebuilt.  This will occur in the 62 weeks of years plus the 7 weeks of years or 483 years.  The starting point is the decree of Artaxerxes, Ezra, for the rebuild of Jerusalem (458 BC), and with 483 years this brings us right into the last week of Christ’s earthly ministry.

Daniel 9:25 (NASB95)

25 So you are to know and understand that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until Messiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with streets and moat, even in times of distress.

V26 says that after these 69 weeks (note that 69 weeks is wrapped up in the 62 weeks – doesn’t add the plus 7 weeks as it does not need to be said again).  The Messiah will be cut off, the crucifixion.  And then the people of the people of the prince to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.  This is the fall of Jerusalem.  The fires melted the gold on the outside to the point that it ran down between the stones which were upturned to loot the gold.  Not a stone was left, one on another.

Daniel 9:26 (NASB95)

26 Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

27 And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come the one who makes desolate, until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, gushes forth on the one who makes desolate.”

We have now dealt, quickly, with these two verses and the 69 years.  But the prophecy said 70 years.  It is important to note that as the prophets saw these visions it was a stream of prophecy that did not necessarily mean that it would occur consecutively.  Notice how Gabriel’s explanation ends in v26 – that even to the end there would be war and desolations.

He is drawing a divide between the 69 years that leads to the messiah being cut off and the final week of years – 7 years.  There is no indication of the time frame between the 69 weeks and when the last week will occur.  Jesus says, like Daniel, that it will be identified by the antichrist.

This last week of years is the one that concerns us in Mark (and Matthew).  Based on this prophecy we see that the temple is restored and that sacrifices again are made; all because of a covenantal relationship with the man, who will be the antichrist.  This relationship will last for 3 ½ years.  Until the antichrist breaks the covenant and establishes himself as the one, who is to receive the worship in the temple.  This is the abomination of desolation, who is standing in the place where he should not be.  The temple.  That place that represents the holiness of the only true God is now defiled by the actions of this one who is the antichrist.  The one who is the opposite of everything that represents God.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NASB95)

Man of Lawlessness

1 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,

2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit, or a message, or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

3 No one is to deceive you in any way! For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

Again this is an end times prophecy, not a near time prophecy.  When certain things have occurred in history people have sometimes tried to place them within this prophecy. We see shadows of this abomination in Daniel 11:31.  Here Daniel tells us about Antiochus Epiphanes IV, a Seleucid king who persecuted the Jews in and about 168-167 BC.  Who profaned the temple by sacrificing pigs on the altar and forcing the priest to eat them.  Then, he erected a statue of Zeus in the temple.  This was not the abomination of desolation that Daniel prophesied about, and we can see that since Jesus points to it occurring at a later date.  And as we spoke earlier it is not the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD, which we will address as we continue.

Daniel 11:31 (NASB95)

31 Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.

Closing out v14 of Mark all who will be in Judea, with the new temple in the future, are told to flee when this occurs.  The next few verses will add more color to the depth of the destruction that will be occurring in the last 3 1/2 – this is the time in Revelation 6-19.

As an aside the rapture will have occurred before this happens.  This last ‘week’ is the beginning of the tribulation.  The witnesses as noted in Revelation 11 will be preaching the Gospel.  The remnant is being called.

V15

15 Whoever is on the housetop must not go down, nor go in to get anything out of his house.

Because of the destruction that is occurring because of this antichrist, those who are on their rooftops are to flee.   To leave via running rooftop to rooftop to reach the outer gate or, more than likely, to descend via the outer stairs and run for the hills.  Their possessions should be the least of their concerns.  They won’t have time to look or take inventory.  Revelation 13 tells us he makes war and kills.  There is no place for safety found in the city.  RUN!

V16

16 And whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.

If they are working in the field they won’t be able to turn and get their outer cloak.  They would have taken it off to work.  They would have left it on the side of the field or the gate where they entered.  There is such an urgency, and immediacy that they must leave that they can’t turn back.  They can’t look around, they must GO!

V17

17 But woe to those women who are pregnant, and to those who are nursing babies in those days!

And woe to those who are pregnant or have children.  Why?  Because they will hinder the ability of these people to flee.  It will be difficult for them to escape the onslaught.  The destruction is so bad – just read Revelation 6-19 that it will be especially horrible for those with small children and who are pregnant to escape.

V18

18 Moreover, pray that it will not happen in winter.

Pray that this does not happen in the wintertime.  When the rivers, the wadis are overflowing.  When it makes escape even more difficult.  When travel is hard for those on foot.  When the destruction is catching up with them.  When the travel is perilous without the tribulation.

V19

19 For those days will be such a time of tribulation as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will again.

Jesus completes the warning here.  That this is the final tribulation.  That this is the event before His second coming.   That His glorious return is imminent.  That He is telling them these things because they will come to pass.  And He is telling us too.

The last sheep will be called to the fold and the end will come.

The next three verses are about God’s provision during the time of judgment

V20

20 And if the Lord had not shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.

That had not God allowed the days, or planned for the days to be only for this period of time, none would be saved.  Yet, because of His provision, because of His love He has set the time that those who will be saved will be saved.  Remember, Jesus is a complete Savior, not a partial Savior.  There are those, who right now, are far off, waiting to respond to the voice of the only true shepherd.  And they will hear Him and they will come.  Not one whom the Father gives Him will be lost.

Remember this – Jesus Saves Completely

V21, 22

21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Look, there He is’; do not believe it;

22 for false christs and false prophets will arise, and will provide signs and wonders, in order to mislead, if possible, the elect.

False prophets and false messiahs will abound from now till the end.  Then Jesus will come as He has described it and in no other way.  Rev 19 starting in v11 gives a detailed description of His descent back to the earth; of the heavens opening up.

Revelation 19:11-21 (NASB)

The Coming of Christ

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.

13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.

15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great feast of God,

18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, both free and slaves, and small and great.”

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse, and against His army.

Doom of the Beast and False Prophet

20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire, which burns with brimstone.

21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

That these false christs will even be able to produce signs and wonders in an effort to lead people astray.  In order to increase the devils fold.  To take those who are Christians in name only away.  This is one of the things to watch out for.  They will do things that seem Christlike, yet they are false messiahs.

Their whole goal is to kill and deceive.  Like robbers who enter the sheep pen.  They don’t come through the gate, they come over the fence.  They cut the throats of the sheep and toss them out the pen to devour them.

Yet, they do it in the name of Christ.  Woe be to those who take the Lord’s name and prophet from it, give false teaching, or lead people to destruction.

There false teaching is so effective that were it possible, don’t miss this, were it possible that even the elect might be led away.  Jesus is not saying that the elect can be led away.  For God will always preserve those whom He has chosen.  What Jesus is telling them is that the teaching of these antichrists, these false prophets, is so convincing that one must constantly be on the lookout.  Scripture gives us the means to identify the false teachers.

And they must be called out.

V23

23 But beware; I have told you everything in advance.

But you blepete, watch out!  Jesus has not left them (or us) in the lurch.  He has provided all that we need to know.  They know His voice.  They know the one who has called them into the true fold.  They know the voice of the Shepherd, the complete Savior.  The one who sets the captives free.  He has told them these things so that they don’t hold to this life too tightly.  So that they can recognize what is happening around them.  So that they can have confidence in God’s sovereign redemptive plan.

  • Why is Jesus talking about this?
  • What is Rome supposed to hear?
  • What are we supposed to hear?

This was so important that it was preached by Peter and recorded by Mark

It was important that they hear this

Yet it is so far in the future

Both the disciples and the believers in Rome

An end times which neither they nor the disciples would see

So why was it important for them to hear this?

Remember the words of Joshua last week

All the words of the Lord will come true and come to pass

These words too

God’s providence is being displayed

All of time is running towards the precipice of the God’s judgment

That means that in God’s providence, we have a finite period of time to call upon the name of the Lord and to be known by Him

That the hour-glass is constantly running

The grains are dropping until the final one falls

Then all hope is gone for those who don’t believe

These passages are meant to build up hope for those that believe

And terror for those that are found apart from Christ

Jesus is a complete savior

Look at v20

God preserves the ones He saves

And yet this is a periscope of judgment

Of the pouring out of God’s wrath on unbelievers

We as believers need to show people the way the truth and the life

Because everyone we meet is a never dying soul going to a never-ending eternity

There is only heaven and hell

There is no waiting room

There is no purgatory

There is no way to work your way to heaven

There is only entrance by the blood of Christ

We should read these verses with God’s providence in mind

Jesus has told them what would happen

That the coming of the wrath of God’s judgment will be at hand

Here are the signs

Therefore, be like Paul to the church in Thessalonica

1 Thes 1:5 – giving them the gospel that they might be saved

1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NASB95)

5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sakes.

That they might be of the elect

That they may know the truth of the true savior

That they might turn away from idols to serve the living God v9

1 Thessalonians 1:9 (NASB95)

9 For they themselves report about us as to the kind of reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,

That we should be imitators of the apostles

That we should be imitators of Paul

That we should be imitators of Jesus

Preaching the Good News, even in the face of opposition and hatred

Telling people about their status before a righteous and holy God without Christ

Standing in the breach

Pleading with them to repent and believe in the only true, complete Savior – Jesus Christ

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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