“And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you.” (Mark 13:5)
In the account of Christ’s great prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives, as recorded in Mark 13, the Lord Jesus warns us no less than four times to “take heed!” This fourfold admonition (Mark 13:5, 9, 23, 33) must be important and demands our attention!
First of all, our text warns us not to be deceived by human claims of spiritual authority and prophetic insights, for there would come many deceptive teachers claiming to be the returning Christ. When Christ does return, all His saints will know beyond question, for they shall all “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
His second warning tells us to be prepared for persecutions (Mark 13:9), for “in the world ye shall have tribulation,” and “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12).
His third admonition warns of false Christs and false prophets who will even “shew signs and wonders” (Mark 13:22-23). Many will be deceived unless they remember that neither prophecies nor exorcisms nor other wonderful works suffice for acceptance by Christ if those who perform them are “work[ers of] iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).
The fourth “take heed” is a sober warning against trying to predict the time of His return. “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33). Such a warning is pointless if certain prophesied events must take place first, for then there would be no need to watch for Him. In the same discourse, as reported by Luke, Jesus gave a final such warning, speaking of this very danger. “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with . . . cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares” (Luke 21:34). HMM
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