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21. THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS (Mark.13:14-32)

BACKGROUND: In this passage, Jesus is talking simultaneously about two events: the destruction of Jerusalem (which happened about 40 years later, A.D.70), and the time immediately before his second coming (the time we are living in now).
  1. Some scientists say that if the history of mankind were put in a 24-hour day, with the end of the world at midnight, then it's now 23:55. What do you think about this idea?
    • Would you like Jesus to come back to earth while you are still living? Give your reasons.
  2. The "abomination that causes desolation" (vs.14) refers in the book of Daniel to Antiochus Epiphanes, who the year 168 BC raised an altar for the Greek god Zeus inside the temple of Jerusalem. Jesus is prophesying that the same thing will happen again in the end times. What do you think will be the abomination that causes desolation in the temple of God, that is, in the Christian church of the end times?
    • In 70 A.D. the Christians remembered the words of Jesus, fled the siege of Jerusalem and were saved. What could these words mean in the end times? What will Christians have to flee from (vs.14-18)?
  3. Why doesn't Jesus clearly say what will be plaguing humankind at the time of the great distress (verses 19-20)?
  4. According to this passage, what is the religious situation in the church before the second coming of Jesus (vs.21-23)? (In light of this text, what do you think about the worldwide revival that some Christians believe is coming in the last days?)
    • How can we know who is proclaiming the real Christ and who is not (vs.21-23)?
    • How can the prophets of the false Christ perform signs and miracles?
    • Probably the prophets of the false Christ believe themselves to be right. What causes them to err so badly?
    • Is it possible for part of the real Christians to be deceived during the great distress? Give your reasons.
  5. What could cause the atmosphere and space to change in the way described in verses 24-25? Think of different reasons?
  6. What will happen to the elect when Jesus comes back? What about the others (vs.26-27)?
  7. What does Jesus want to say to us today with his parable of the fig tree (vs.28-29)?
  8. Liberal theologians claim that Jesus was mistaken when prophesying the time of his return (vs.30). What do you think about their claim? (What would happen to the Christian faith if Jesus turned out to be a fallible human being?)
    • What do you think verse 30 really means?
  9. What does the Word of God mean to the believers of the last days (vs.31)?
    • What does the Word of God mean to you personally today?
  10. Why must the date of Jesus' second coming be a secret until the end (vs.32)?

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