Mark 13:6-10

Mark 13:6 (KJB)
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

(Luke 21:8 KJV) And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.  Jesus knows that as the day approaches and Luke records that as “…and the time draweth near…” Any time there is an impending event with possible cataclysmic results, there are always going to be people with a messianic complex who believe they are Christ and that they have the power to lead the people out of harm’s way. As the time approaches 70 A.D for the destruction of Jerusalem, there will be those who will claim to be Christ returned and will deceive the very naïve as they do today. Some may even come proclaiming that Jesus is Christ and that they are His prophets sent to lead the people. This happened many times in the first century in Israel. The Bible lists Theudas and Judas of Galilee. According to Origen, Dositheus the Samaritan had pretended to be the Christ attaching Deuteronomy 18:15 to himself. (Deu 18:15 KJV) The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; These kind of people always crop up when there seems to be trouble on the horizon.

Mark 13:7 (KJB)
And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.

Not only will there be those pretending to be the Messiah, but there is going to be wars and rumors of wars. These are not signs of the end because wars have always been around. The disciples are not to be troubled when the war drums sound or if they hear a rumor that some type of war is coming. (Luke 21:9 KJV) But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Luke adds to the scenario with the words “but the end is not by and by” which means the end is not immediate. I remember when the Gulf war of 1990 happened, everyone was looking for the return of Christ. Every time Israel gets into a war, the prophecy pundits sell more books. War is not a sign of the end today as it was not a sign of the end in the time of the disciples. In fact the text even states that it is necessary for these things to happen. The great signs of the second coming are yet to happen and we will see what they are in a few verses.

Mark 13:8 (KJB)
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

In the time leading up to the fall of Jerusalem, Jesus had predicted some natural events as well as some man made events. Jesus wants the disciples to know that these things have been around and just because He had predicted the end of Jerusalem, He did not want the disciples and Christians in general to begin to look at worldly unrest as a sign of the end. We can have earthquakes all of our lives but as soon as someone predicts the end, then when those earthquakes continue, we change our thinking from a regularly occurring event to a sign of the end and this is what Jesus wanted to prevent.

Nation against Nation - The word “nation” in the Greek is “ethnos” which may also be understood as “a race of people, ethnicity.” The Jewish revolt against Rome began in 66 A.D. leading to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Then there was the Jewish-Syrian war in 60 A.D. which was over who had rights to the city and about 20,000 Jews were slain.

Kingdom against Kingdom - In A.D. 69, after the death of Nero, there were four who claimed the title of Emperor and as a result, the kingdom of Rome was fighting against itself as each of these four men Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian had vied for the throne of Rome. Vespasian had won in July of 69 A.D.

Famines - During the reign of Claudius Caesar who reigned from 41-54 B.C. (Acts 11:28 KJV) And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. In fact the historical record states that there were four major famines during this 13 year period. Both Josephus and Tacitus record these famines.

Troubles - This word can also be understood as “tumults, disturbances, or stirring up.” It has to do with the people being stirred up against something. It also includes murders and other evils. During the early days of the church the Apostles like Paul had stirred up the people wherever he went. Stephen was also murdered by the Jews for telling the truth. The Jews were pleased when Herod had James put to death. The word “troubles” in this verse gives a very important sign of the beginning of the end of time. It speaks of a “stirring up (of something or people), disturbance, or tumult.” We see this occurring in every country in the world. It does not necessarily mean an entire country is being stirred up but certain groups within the countries are being stirred up. In the USA we see groups like animal activists, political groups, environmental groups, global warming groups, the main stream media and groups like these who are stirring up the people and causing troubles among them. Terrorists abound in many countries and are stirring up the people by killing. These things are a sign that we are in the end times. (Luke 21:25 KJV) And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; One of the major signs of the end times is that nations are going to be in perplexity. It means filled with uncertainty or puzzlement, full of difficulty. I don’t think there is one country in this world which does not fit that description.

Earthquakes in divers places - Josephus, Tacitus, Seneca and other historians record earthquakes in many different places such as Rome (51 A.D.), Crete (46-47 A.D.), Laodicea (60 A.D.) , Campania (62 A.D. - a region in southern Italy which contains the city of Naples and Salerno. It is also a very densely populated area.), Apamaea in Phrygia (53 A.D.) There are earthquake zones in the Mediterranean Sea and throughout the middle east. These earthquakes would not just be in Israel but would be in many different places.

These things are only the beginning of sorrows. When a woman is ready to give birth, the birth pangs are not so bad but the closer that she gets to delivery, the more intense and steady is the pain. This is what Jesus is saying that opposition will start out small and sporadic but eventually they will become more organized and widespread such as the ten Roman persecutions. As the time gets closer to the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem, the situations there will become much more intense.

Mark 13:9 (KJB)
But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.

Not only would their be natural calamities and wars but there would be persecution on an individual basis. The Jewish leaders would bring the followers of Jesus into the synagogues and question them. Then they would find them guilty and would have them lashed 39 times. (Acts 5:40-41 KJV) And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. {41} And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. The followers of Jesus would enter times of tribulation which would lead to their martyrdom. Stephen and James were two of the earliest martyrs. Persecution and hatred of the Christian would finally escalate into a full blown pogrom by the Roman Empire. It would start in Jerusalem with the Sanhedrin desiring to kill all Christians and would culminate in ten major Roman persecutions ending around 330 A.D.. The first one began in 64 A.D. with Nero and the Apostle Paul had died in this first persecution. The Roman Empire had stretched to Northern Europe, North Africa, and Asia. This vast area contained many small countries and provinces where Christians were persecuted. Jesus wants His followers to be ready for the coming persecutions and He wants them to use it as a testimony against them. When these evil rulers stand before the Lord on Judgment day, they will have no defense against what they did because they will have been told the truth.

Mark 13:10 (KJB)
And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

This verse carries with it two prophecies. The first prophecy is that the Gospel is to be preached in all the world, that is, the known world at that time. (Rom 1:8 KJV) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Whenever there is a persecution and people are scattered, it makes new areas where the Gospel is to be preached. (Acts 8:1 KJV) And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. In Acts 8:1, a persecution happened against the church and they left Jerusalem and went to all the different areas around preaching the Gospel. The second prophecy of this verse is the fact that the gospel must be preached to all nations of the entire world because God will have His Elect in every single country in the world and it is through the hearing of the Gospel that people are saved. Never before in history has the Gospel been in every country in the world via the Internet. No longer does one have to wait weeks or months for Christian material because it is now available instantly. Just a personal testimony about my Scion of Zion website. According to the United Nations, there are 196 countries in the world today. My website is viewed in about 180 countries every month. So the Gospel has been published among all the nations but now it is just a matter of how long it will be published before the last day.