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Olivet Discourse pt.1: Birth Pains

Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Mark 13:1–13 ESV
1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Fascination with the future

Destruction is Coming

Destruction is Coming

Movies about the future
Books about the future
Kids ask questions about the future
Cosmological studies in eschatology
And of course millions of dollars have been made with end times fiction books in christian publishing
Well, we are not the only ones who have an interest in the future, Jesus disciples were also very interested in what the future would hold.
Turn with me if you would to and we will begin looking as what has come to be known as the Olivet Discourse.

The Fate of the Temple

Destruction is Coming

Mark 13:1–4 ESV
1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
Mark 13:1–3 ESV
1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Mark 13:1–4 ESV
1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
mark 13 1-4
So here the disciples are asking about

The Fate of The Temple

The disciples heard Jesus say that the templed would be overthrown, and now they are truly curious about the fate of the temple.
But, lets start in verse 1
Mark 13:1 ESV
And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”
And as he came out of the temple
And as he came out of the temple
This is a powerful phrase when reading in the context of the OT.
You see, This is the last time Jesus is in the temple. He is never to return again. He has left the temple for the final time.
We know that Jesus is the physical manifestation of God’s glory
Hebrews 1:3 ESV
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Hebrews 1:3 ESV
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Hebrews 1:1–3 ESV
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
In the OT the glory of God is manifested in the Holy of Holies. The Shekinah glory, that is the glory that dwells with man.
And wherever the tabernacle went, so went the glory of God.
And when the temple was built the glory of God decended upon the temple and the shekinah glory rested in the Holy of Holies.
In we find the glory of God, God’s dwelling glory, depart form the temple not to return until Jesus himself walks into the temple as a boy.
And now, as Jesus leaves the temple the glory of God likewise leaves never to return again.
Mark 13:1 ESV
1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”
Now, Herod’s temple is still under construction during the time of Jesus.
The temple had the reputation of being the most glorious building on earth.
It was certainly the largest building for hundreds of miles.
And as they are walking out of the temple the disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings”
“Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings”
The disciples were very impressed by the magnitude of the temple. the glory of the temple. and the architecture of the temple.
And Jesus responds in a way that was shocking to the disciples. Rather than admiring the temples grandure, Jesus responds with an apocalyptic pronouncement.
Mark 13:2 ESV
2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
I like when Jesus talks like this. He doesn’t sugar coat it, he doesn’t qualify it, he just speaks the truth.
No doubt that this apocalyptic statement caused the disciples to really think.
some were probably embarrassed wondering if people might have over heard him.
Some maybe even afraid because to say such a think was punishable by death.
In fact this is part of the charge brought against Jesus in his trial - that he said he would destroy the temple.
So as Jesus and his disciples left the temple they went and sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple.
Mark 13:3–4 ESV
3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
Mark 13:3 ESV
3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
So four of Jesus disciples came to him and asked him what for many people is the most important question - when will these things take place?
And four of his disciples
We live in a world that wants to be prepared for anything
Y2K - when the computers were going to all shut down
generators
heaters
food and water
community support
Terror attacks
We have answer readily available
End times
We have food that can be served to us within minutes of ordering
preppers
Binge watching TV shows fit our lifestyles because won’t have to wait a whole week for the next episode to come out - and there are limited to no commercials .
The disciples are no different, they hear about the destruction of the temple and they want to be prepared. They want to know whats going to happen.
One of the main strategies of marketing is to assure the customer that their product will streamline your life. there will be less waiting
I think we can all affirm the words of Inigo Montoya, “I hate waiting”
Well, the disciples likewise were restless about Jesus words and asked him the big question,
Mark 13:4 ESV
4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
What Jesus is about to tell them is his longest teaching in Mark’s gospel.
Matthew and Luke likewise have this sermon recorded and it has come to be known as the Olivet Discourse because he gives this sermon while on the mount of Olives.
The Olivet Discourse has been one of the center texts for some major end times debate.
This entire discourse is full of apocalyptic language - echoing much of the OT
Many assume that the Olivet Discourse is talking about the future of the world.
in fact, this is the most popular view to hold. And it has been made popular through dispensational theology and most recently the Left Behind series
This view has promoted a dooms day sort of eschatology where the world will undergo some of the worst plagues and tribulations in human history.
Where demonic activity will be at its highest
And Satan and he legions will unmask themselves and try and rule the world.
So when we read verse 7
Mark 13:7 ESV
7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet.
We have been trained to think that this is referring to the end of the world
or when we read
Mark 13:8 ESV
8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
I was good friends with a man in Colorado who had an earthquake app on his phone and he would check for earthquakes daily on his phone convinced that end of the world was near because of an uptick in earthquakes
Believing the world was coming to an end was a big part of his theology.
or perhaps we read
Mark 13:12 ESV
12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death.
12
We think of martyrdom
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimates that more than 70 million Christians have been martyred over the last two millennia. More than half of these were in the 20th century under fascist and communist regimes.
Thus the 20th century is the bloodiest century for Christian martyrs in the history of the church - therefore the end must be near.
Or we read
Mark 13:19 ESV
19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.
Here we hear about the great tribulation that is coming after the rapture of the church.
Where after God’s people have been raptured away from the world a seven year tribulation comes that will be the greatest the world has ever seen.
This view has been made popular by dispensational thinkers such as John Nelson Darby, CI Scolfield, Charles Ryrie, and the Left Behind series.
Or we read
Mark 13:24–25 ESV
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Mark 13:24 ESV
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,
Cleary this fits our imaginative predictions of the great tribulation that is to come so therefore this is speaking of a day in the future when all hell breaks loose on earth.
Mark 13
We then go to the book of Revelation trying to figure out when all this will happen
when will the anti-christ show up?
when will the beast and the false prophet make their appearance?
What role does the USA play in the end of the world events?
when will the rapture happen?
What about the mark of the beast?
are they computer chips that can be embedded into our skin?
what about a one world currency?
You see all these questions and speculation comes from a strange, NEW interpretation of the bible.
This sort of eschatology was completely void for the first 1800 years of the church.
And to be honest this sort of theology has done great damage to the mission of the church.
Ideas don’t exist in silos. Ideas affect other ideas. And ideas often lead to action.
theology (how you read the bible) determines mission.
If your theology says that this world is going to hell in a hand-basket and we are looking forward to getting off this demon infested rock - than our mission is not going to be one that seeks to advance the kingdom of God on earth.
Rather than seeking to bring all things into submission to King Jesus we tend to go into our bunker mentality just waiting to either die or get raptured.
The vision of Exodus Church is this,
Exodus Church exists for the Redeeming, Renewing and Restoring of all things to Christ
our vision is the vision of the bible - That God is redeeming, renewing and restoring all things to himself.
That all things will be brought into submission to King Jesus
That all things will be reconciled to Christ
We believe that when Jesus prays, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” that his prayer will be answered. And that is the Christian hope - that Jesus in time and space is actually redeeming, renewing, and restoring all things to Christ.
So in other words, we have a very optimistic view of the future, that God’s kingdom will continue to advance on earth and that the gates of hell will not be able to stand up against the onslaught of the kingdom.
So if we hold to this sort of view of the future - what do we do with passages like the Olivet Discourse that tells us that things are going to get worse and worse until finally the rebellion is complete and God raptures his church and sends the great tribulation on the earth?
Well, it is chapters like this that give me great confidence that our future is not one of great tribulation because the great tribulation mentioned here has already taken place.
So when coming to this chapter we should be asking the same question as the disciples,
Mark 13:4 ESV
4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
An d we should listen to Jesus’ answers

What we find is that Their future is our past.

Their Future is Our Past

Clearly the disciples have not yet experienced the signs nor the realities of what Jesus says concerning the future.
So for us, we must hear these words as the disciples heard these words
And to do this, we must remember the context

Remember the context

Jesus and his disciples are walking out of the temple and Jesus responds to the disciples awe of the temple by saying, “There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (mark 13:2)
So when the disciples ask Jesus about when these things will happen they are asking him about when will the temple be thrown down.
So in the disciples minds they are not asking about the future of the world, rather they are asking about the future of the temple
Which, in a very real way was their whole world
If the temple is destroyed, then their entire world would be destroyed.
The entire Old Covenant practices would be done away with.
no more priests
no more sacrifices
no more temple worship
no more feasts
Everything would change
no more
The old world would be put to death -
One of the beautiful themes in the bible is one of death and resurrection
We see a move from the old worlds to the new world
in fact, Jesus has this in mind in verse 8
Mark 13:8 ESV
8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
these are the beginning of the birth pains
the tribulation that is coming for the disciples is the beginning of the birth pains - but what is being born?
The new covenant - the New creation - The new Kingdom!
You see, the old covenant is going away with the destruction of the temple, yet there is a new covenant that is being born to take its place
We see this pictured in , , among other places.
We call ourselves born again christians because of this reality - we are born into the new covenant
Another contextual verse to keep in mind is one we will look at in two weeks
Mark 13:30 ESV
30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
Here Jesus is still in the same discourse and he tells his disciples that this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
Therefore, this passage cannot be talking about the end of the world, but must be talking about events that will take place in their lifetime.
Well,
So when is the time Jesus is talking about?
Jesus is talking about that moment until the destruction of the temple in AD 70
Everything in the Olivet Discourse takes places between Jesus apocolyptic pronouncement and AD 70 when the temple is finally thrown down by the romans.
In two weeks we will get into this in more detail.
But now, lets look at verse 5-13 with this lens - that Jesus is talking to his disciples about the birth pains of the New Covenant.
Look with me at
Mark 13:4–13 ESV
4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Mark 13:4-1

Birth Pains

So here are some of the birth pains that come with the death of the Old Covenant and the birth of the new.
And again, we will look at this in more detail in two weeks
Mark 13:5–6 ESV
5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.
mark 13
Jesus starts off by warning his disciples to make sure no one leads you astray.
Though this is contextual for that generation, how much do we need to likewise be on guard that no one leads us astray.
There are so many voices, so many attractions, so many schemes and devices aimed at us to lead us astray.
And though we don’t “often” have people coming and claiming to be God or claiming to be Jesus - we do have a plethora of people and things that claim to be worthy of our worship, worthy of our affections, worthy of our love.
And we, like the disciples, need to be warned not to be led astray by those people or things that would take our affections and love away from Christ
But the disciples did have people coming claiming to be the Christ - but were in fact anti-Christs
Look at
1 John 2:18 ESV
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
Last hour - John is getting older and he knows that Jesus words would be fulfilled in his generation.
John is writing on the precipice of the temple being destroyed. and already he notes how many anti-christs have come.
Jesus goes on...
Mark 13:7–8 ESV
7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Mark 13:7-8
All of these things are attested to either in the NT or in the writings of ancient Jewish histories.
Wars and rumors of wars
Rome went to war against Jerusalem when they destoryed the temple
And Jesus warns them not to be alarmed because these things MUST take place for the end to come.
The kingdoms waging war, the earthquakes, the famines all happened in that first century before the destruction of the temple.
The rest of the section goes on to talk about...
Mark 13:9–13 ESV
9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
9-
Again, everything in this Olivet Discourse is about events that occur within the generation of the apostles
being delivered over to councils and being beaten in synagogues and standing before kings to bear witness for Jesus - we find this happening time and time again in the book of Acts
Jesus says they will be flogged in the synagogues (v. 9), a form of persecution that was only experienced in the early history of the Church before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Jesus says they will be flogged in the synagogues (v. 9), a form of persecution that was only experienced in the early history of the Church before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Further, He speaks of testifying before governors and kings, which we find amply fulfilled in the book of Acts. Nothing in such statements hints that Jesus is trying to speak to people not yet born. He is giving His disciples warning about what they will experience. Jesus’ warning is specific to those living in Judea who will be able to escape the wrath to come if they flee to the mountains (Mk. 13:14). This could not be said of the Final Judgment. Earthquakes, famines (v. 8), and false messiahs (v. 6) are already showing up in the book of Acts (Acts 4:31; 5:36–37; 11:28; 16:25). What Jesus is discussing will happen within that generation (Mk. 13:30).

Jesus talks about being put on trial
Further, He speaks of testifying before governors and kings, which we find amply fulfilled in the book of Acts.
he talks about family giving each other up because of the faith.
That they will even be handed over to death
And finally he tells the disciples that they will be hated by all
Nothing in such statements hints that Jesus is trying to speak to people not yet born. He is giving His disciples warning about what they will experience. Jesus’ warning is specific to those living in Judea who will be able to escape the wrath to come if they flee to the mountains (). This could not be said of the Final Judgment. Earthquakes, famines (v. 8), and false messiahs (v. 6) are already showing up in the book of Acts (; ; ; ). What Jesus is discussing will happen within that generation ().
Mark 13:13 ESV
13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Acts 14:13 ESV
13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.
And through it all, Jesus calls his disciples to endure to the end.
Now at this point the disciples might be regretting the fact that asked Jesus about what was going to happen.
How difficult it must have been for the disciples to hear Jesus words. The words of a prophet.
Jesus is telling them that they have to live a life of diligence, always being aware of those who are trying to lead you astray
That their world will be overturned by wars, earthquakes, and famines.
That they would be beaten for the gospel
that they would be put in jail for the gospel
that they would be put on trial for the gospel
that they would be betrayed by loved ones for the gospel
that they would be hated for the gospel.
that they would be put to death for the gospel.
This calling Jesus has put on their lives is indeed a calling to follow him to death, no matter what happens.
And you want to know the wonderful thing about this calling?
Jesus traveled this road before the disciples, and before the Christian martyrs, and before each one of us, and is now calling us from the other side.
You see, Jesus didn’t just lay out what its going to look like for the disciples in the years to come before the fall of the temple, but he prophesied once again his own fate, and the path he would travel.
Jesus was talking about what will lead up to the destruction of the temple in AD 70, but we also know that Jesus himself is the Temple.
Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the temple also foreshadows his own arrest, sufferings, and death.
Look with me at verse 9 again
Mark 13:9 ESV
9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them.
Jesus predicts that the Jews will deliver the apostles to the courts
but first Jesus is delivered to the courts
Jesus predicts that the apostles will be flogged in the synagogues
but first Jesus is flogged
Jesus warns the disciples that they will stand before governors and kings to testify;
but first Jesus stands before pilate the governor and before King Herod to testify.
Jesus warns the disciples that they will be betrayed by family
And Jesus himself was betrayed by Judas, a member of his new family.
In verse 19 Jesus predicts tribulation
Mark 13:16 ESV
16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.
Mark 13:19 ESV
19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.
He then suffers the greatest tribulation, sorrow and pain the world has ever seen.
He then suffers the greatest tribulation, sorrow and pain.
You see, Jesus never calls his people to walk through something he has not already walked through himself
There is no pain, there is no anguish, there is no sorrow that Jesus has called you to bear that he has not bore himself.
There is no stress that you cannot take to Jesus with complete confidence that he can bear on your behalf
Jesus has taken the weight of our sorrow and pain, he has bore the guilt and shame of our sin, and he has walked through the doors of death and has come out on the other side resurrected and glorified.
He now calls his people to walk faithfully that same path.
and at each step he is forming us into the image of himself - he is creating for himself a people who live a cruciform life.
“When you suffer, you’re on the cross - where Jesus was, and that’s where the living Jesus will meet you. You ask for relief, and He gives you more suffering, not only to work these virtues into you, but to make you a living witness to your crucified Lord. By your patient, joyful, persevering, honest suffering God demonstrates in your life that His power is made perfect in weakness. He makes your life a living witness to the power of the gospel. He proves in your life that the gospel is real.” - Peter Leithart
And my friends the cruciform life we are called to live is the most
righteous
glorious
peaceful
joyful
truthful
and Loving life we could possibly live
Lets Pray
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