New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:4 the sign. The great prophetic discourse given by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives is recorded in all three synoptic gospels. However, each account contains some material not included in the other two. Consequently, one must carefully study all three accounts (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21) simultaneously to get the entire discourse. The account in Matthew is the most complete, and most of the study notes have therefore been placed there.
13:5 Take heed. Note the fourfold warning in Christ’s prophetic discourse here to “Take heed!” In the context of the last days especially it is important not to: (1) be a victim of religious deception (Mark 13:5); (2) be discouraged because of persecution (Mark 13:9); (3) be impressed with “signs and wonders” (Mark 13:23); and (4) attempt to “set dates” for Christ’s return (Mark 13:33).
13:8 and troubles. The parallel verse in Matthew 24:7 speaks of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes.” Mark adds “troubles” instead of “pestilences.” The Greek word for “troubles” is used only this once, and probably refers to human riotings.
13:10 the gospel. See note on Matthew 24:14.
13:14 spoken of by Daniel. See Daniel 9:27.
13:19 beginning of the creation. In Matthew’s parallel account, he translated the Aramaic of Jesus’ discourse simply by “the beginning of the world” (Matthew 24:21), whereas Mark rendered it by “the beginning of the creation which God created.” Evidently the two phrases are synonymous, both expressing accurately the intent of Jesus’ words. Since “world” is kosmos in the Greek, the beginning of the creation refers not just to the human creation but to the earth as a whole, including its atmospheric heavens (compare II Peter 3:3-6). Thus when Mark used the same phrase, “beginning of the creation,” in reporting Christ’s words about the making of Adam and Eve (Mark 10:6), it is obvious that the human creation took place at essentially the same time as the earth’s creation, not more than four billion years later, as evolutionists claim. This claim is on the authority of Jesus Christ Himself—the Creator (Colossians 1:16).
13:20 shortened those days. As described in Revelation 6, 8, 9, 13 and 16, both the persecutions of the Antichrist against believers and the plagues unleashed by God against unbelievers in the coming tribulation period would result in depopulating the entire world if they continued indefinitely. But God has ordained that the whole period will only last seven years (see on Daniel 9:25), with the most intense destruction in the last half of that period (Daniel 9:26; Revelation 11:2; 13:5).
13:20 elect’s. The “elect” are the same as the ones “whom He hath chosen” in this passage. Even during the awful tribulation period, God will preserve a remnant of believers alive to enter the great millennial kingdom age following the tribulation. Matthew used only the single word “elect” in reporting this promise of Christ, but Mark indicated further that, in the context of the tribulation, “elect” and “chosen of God” are synonymous terms.
13:32 neither the Son. This limitation obviously must apply only to Christ in His humanity. When He became a man, leaving His outward attributes of deity in heaven, “in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17), except, of course, for sin. As a babe, He “increased in wisdom and stature” like any other human (Luke 2:52). Though, as a man, He acquired great wisdom in the Scriptures and the plan of God, the time of the end depends in some degree on human activity (e.g., Matthew 24:14), and only God in His omniscience can foresee this. In no way, however, does this compromise the deity of Christ. The problem is that we, in our finite understanding, can never comprehend fully the mystery of the divine/human nature of Christ, nor of the tri-unity of the Godhead. On some occasions, Christ clearly manifested His deity, on others His humanity.
13:35 Watch ye therefore. See note on Matthew 25:13.
13:37 Watch. The frequent injunction of Christ “unto all” to “watch” for His return seems to make it clear that it could come at any time. We do not need to watch first for certain other events to take place, but only to watch continuously for Him. This is a great incentive to godly living and evangelism.