Lesson 17- “Mt Olivet Discourse”-Mark 13:1-37
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context: Read Mark 12:41-14:2 to help understand the context of this passage. Read Mark 13:1-37 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use.
As you read note the first (5b) and last (37) word, notice how many imperative verbs (commands) there are, and watch for allusions to the Old Testament. Review Micah 7:6 (v. 12), Daniel 8:13; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; Daniel 9:27 (v. 14), Isaiah 13:9-10; Joel 3:15; Zephaniah 1:15 (v. 24), Isaiah 13:9-10 (v. 25), Daniel 7:13-14 (v. 26), and Isaiah 40:8 (v.31) for your study.
This passage has been a challenge to interpret. Let’s maintain a gracious spirit and not get tangled up in those interpretive details so deeply that we miss or run out of time for some of the clearer applications for us today.
1. ID: (13:1-4) What was the setting for this discourse (who, where, when, etc.)? What startling statement did Jesus make about the Temple buildings? What questions did the disciples ask about that statement (cf. Matt. 24:1–3; Luke 21:5–7)? (Understanding what Jesus talking about and what questions he is answering is important.)
2. ID: (2:5-13) What deception should be expected? What should Christ’s followers expect? How should they respond? What might them to be worried? What do you think is the main point of this section?
3. CR: (13:14-18) To what does the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel refer? (Daniel 8:13; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; Daniel 9:27) What did Jesus say people should do when they see it?
4. CR/ID: (13:24-27) Verses 24-25 have several allusions to the Old Testament. How do they help your understanding of this section? (Isaiah 13:9-10; Joel 3:15; Zephaniah 1:15 (v. 24), Isaiah 13:9-10 (v. 25), Daniel 7:13-14 (v. 26)) Can you think of other passages that might add some clarity to these verses? (Refer to a study Bible or other cross reference tool.) What is the main point of this section?
5. ID: (13:28-31) What are we to learn from the parable of the fig tree? What are the “these things” of verses 29 & 30? What remains even in tumultuous times
6. ID/WS: (13:32-37) Watch out / take heed / be on Guard (v. 33 “and pray”) is a call to vigilance repeated throughout the discourse (cf. vv. 9, 23, 33; v. 35 has a different verb). What were they (are we) to watch out for? Why were they (we) to watch? Is this exhortation specific only to the Disciples?
The WALK: What should I do?
1. Do wars and rumors of wars, etc. trouble you? Why should they not trouble us? (What reasons does this chapter give?) What specific statements of comfort and encouragement did you find in this chapter?
2. In what areas of your life do you need to be on guard? In what practical ways can we be alert for Jesus’ return? (1 Corinthians 16:13-14; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:8)?
3. Why is prayer associated with being vigilant? What do we pray about when we are “watching out?”
4. Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response? Have your sins been forgiven?
Going Beyond: What areas of theology are touched on in this passage? q The Bible q God q God the Father q Jesus Christ q The Holy Spirit q Man q Salvation q The Church q Angels & Satan q Future Things
Henry Virkler and Karelynne Ayayo have written an excellent book on hermeneutics, Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation. If you want to sharpen your Bible interpretation skills, it would be a great resource. In it they highlight four areas of consideration when we look at apocalyptic material in the Bible
Principles for Interpreting Prophecy and Apocalyptic Literature
Historical-cultural analysis. The wide variety of theories concerning the end times arise not so much from a disagreement concerning principles of prophetic interpretation as from differences in applying those principles. Almost all commentators agree that a careful historical and contextual analysis is a prerequisite for accurate understating of prophecy. Determination of the identity of all proper names, events, geographical references, and so on remains a crucial first step. Even when such references are used symbolically, such as the city ofBabylon provides important clues about its symbolic meaning. Careful historical also remains the only way of determining whether a prophecy has already been fulfilled. An analysis of relevant cultural customs is no less important.often is, a knowledge of the historical city of
Lexical-syntactical analysis. A careful study of the context sometimes reveals whether an author intended his words to be understood literally, symbolically, or analogically. For instance, when John speaks of the seven lampstands in his vision and then declares, “The seven lampstands are the seven churches” (Rev. 1:20), it is clear both that his words are symbolic and that they are symbolic of the seven churches. In many cases, however; the task of interpreting may still be difficult, as Robert Girdlestone observes:
“[What] makes the language of prophecy so vivid and yet so difficult is that it is always more or less figurative. It is poetry rather than prose. It abounds in peculiar words and expressions which are not usually to be found in prose writings of the same date. It is rich with allusions to contemporary life and to past history, some of which are decidedly obscure. The actions recorded in it are sometimes symbolical, sometimes typical. The present, the past, and the future, the declaratory and the predictive, are all combined and fused into one. The course of individuals, the rise and fall of nations, the prospects of the world at large, are rapidly portrayed in realistic language.”
Theological analysis. For the student examining any given prophecy, there are usually several parallel passages that should be consulted. Sometimes such passages occur within the same book, as when prophecy is given in cycles. Frequently other prophets have spoken about the topic, filling in additional details not contained in the passage under study. The index to Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy contains an alphabetical listing of subjects in prophecy together with references to relevant biblical passages and discussions of those passages.
Literary analysis. Once it has been determined that a passage is prophetic or apocalyptic literature, the probability of symbolic and analogical allusions increases. The concepts of progressive prediction, developmental fulfillment, and prophetic telescoping can be incorporated into the understanding of the text as appropriate.
In interpretation of prophecy, as in other types of biblical literature, comparison of one’s work with that of others is important. The complexity of the topics, the wide range of parallel passages, and the multitude of unusual allusions make it imperative to draw from the wealth of knowledge of scholars who have studied this area in depth.
Virkler, Henry A., and Karelynne Gerber Ayayo. Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007.
Here are some perspectives on this passage.
Free Bible Commentary on Mark 13 by Bob Utley
Notes on Mark by Thomas Constable
Lesson 17: Mark 13
· This passage has been a challenge to interpret. Let’s maintain a gracious spirit and not get tangled up in those interpretive details so deeply that we miss or run out of time for some of the clearer applications for us today.
· I encourage you to include the “Parallel Harmony from Matthew, Mark, and Luke” in an e-mail to your men. If you are not sending one each week, I would suggest that you do. The men will probably find this lesson will take a little more time than usual.
1. While what Mark chooses to include in his account is important, the cross references should be helpful in establishing what questions Jesus is answering in chapter 13.
3. There are two perspectives to approach the “abomination of Desolation” from. One is more of a dictionary definition and the other is a historical event.
6. This question is, in my mind, the one that we really want to give attention to. Mark emphesizes the importance of watching. The last words, “I say to all, ‘ in verse 35 drives the point home to us today. This isnot just abstract concepts about the distant future and the past for the twelve.
1. Amid all the uncertianty of election year politics and world affairs, what should keep us comforted and encouraged? Talk about what our hope is and who it is in.
2-3. These questions are designed to help flesh out what it means to have a watchful and prayerful attitude through our daily routines.
I have included an excerpt about the apocalyptic genre from the excellent book, Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation and a links to a study guide and commentary that could be helpful.