Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Mark 12-13
Quick Note: In Mark 12:11, Messiah is quoting Psalm 118:22-23.
Last week we talked about some key bullet point differences between the three factions primarily in power at this point, the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes. Click here to review those notes. Today we see the Sadducees asking about the resurrection.
Recall that they were a faction who did not believe in resurrection. In fact, they believed that when the body died, the soul died. That was it. Now I know this seems like a minor thing to us but it was a significant point of contention between them and the Pharisees. In fact, the Pharisees even made it law that anyone who didn’t believe in resurrection would not have eternal life. This infighting between the two was so serious that many believe the Essenes were simply people who broke away from both factions out of disgust for their bickering and formed their own faction instead. After witnessing the behavior of believers bickering back and forth in our time over things like masks, politics, and the like, I have a great appreciation for the Essenes today. I imagine the Father did as well.
We see right off the bat that the Sadducees were trying to entrap Messiah by asking Him a question about the resurrection – when they did not even believe in the resurrection. Now theirs is an interesting question because it assumes things that are clearly against Scripture (Mark 12:18-23). There is no correct way to answer the question because the question itself is flawed.
In their arrogance to try to make those who believe in the resurrection out to be foolish, they ended up exposing their own lack of Scriptural knowledge. Messiah first called out the flaw in the question itself and then pointed out that the question was flawed due to they themselves knowing neither Scripture nor the power of YHWH. Honestly, this happens more often than not today.
9 times out of 10, when I am challenged on my faith, it is by someone who has little knowledge of Scripture and therefore the points they are challenging me on are points they themselves have not studied out. In essence, they’re showing up with a knife to a gunfight. In this case the knife represents opinions about the Bible and the gun is what the Bible actually says, the word of YHWH. If you ever find yourself in a situation like that, before you answer one of those silly questions, stop and ask yourself if it is a valid question to begin with (which means that it does not assume the Bible says things it does not) and if the person asking is actually seeking to learn or if they are merely asking out of sarcasm or arrogance. And then, and this is key, no matter how you respond, do it in kindness. Don’t be baited into any futile arguments based on opinion, and also resist the temptation to belittle or condemn them for their lack of knowledge. In most of these situations, there is a path we can take that will leave them curious and possibly encouraged to read the Word for themselves. When we seek daily relationship with Him, the path to the correct response will be shown to us by the Father when we need it. But I can promise you that it will never be found with arrogance, anger, belittling, or defamation. These are fruits of the flesh, not fruits of the spirit.
Mark 12:28-34 finds Messiah reciting the Shema yet again. You can watch my video explaining the Shema and some fascinating history connected to it by clicking here. Of course, this incident is also the one I reference in my paper Did Messiah Replace The Ten Commandments With Just Two?
I’m going to skip ahead to Mark 13 where Messiah warns about the end of the age and cautions us not to let anyone lead us astray. A lot of people seem to think we’re living in the end times now and I’ve seen folks get so obsessed with that thought that they lead themselves astray from the Word to focus on other things. I don’t bother speculating over end times as I believe we have far better ways to spend our time as Believers – namely studying His word and encouraging others to do the same.
What good does it do to speculate? What use is it to take time to chase conspiracy theories or argue that this or that is the mark of the beast if we’re not doing what we need to do in order to have the mark of the Father on our life?
And so, I don’t study end times prophecy much because I’ve only read this whole Bible a few times at this point and there is still so much for me to learn. And I know, if I’m studying this precious book and ordering my heart to do what it says, I’ll not only be ready for the next steps the Father takes in this world, but I’ll also be focused enough on Him to take note when He is moving.
Besides, I actually think He’s told us when it will happen and even knowing that, I’m content simply remaining in His Word. More on that in a minute…
Mark 13:14 The Abomination of Desolation –
14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter.* 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. 20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. Mark 13:14-23
What is the Abomination of Desolation? This is a wonderful rabbit trail that I first took years ago and seem to constantly come across nuggets of knowledge to add to what I’ve already gathered. One of our primary texts that details an event referred to as the Abomination of Desolation has been removed from the Bible but it was included in the canon until fairly recently (from a historical standpoint) and some denominations still have this book in their Bibles. That book is the book of Maccabees. If you’d like to take this rabbit trail, here are some verses to get you started: Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11, Matthew 24:15, and 1 Maccabees 1. Note: Biblegateway does contain the book of Maccabees but you’ll need to switch to a translation that contains that book in order to find it. CEB, NRSV, and GNT are some of these translations but I’m sure there are more. The incident that happened in Maccabees is something that I do think it would be helpful to study at some point in your walk. Please know that I do not take lightly sending you outside of the Bible you hold in your hand.
*When this same incident is shared in Matthew 24:20 Messiah says “Pray that it may not happen in winter or on the Sabbath.”
Okay, now we’re getting into some heavy lifting.
A great deal of YHWH’s Word is built on the hope that we won’t just read His word but DO His Word. When we set our intent to be followers of the Most High and the Most High then gives us instructions on how to live, He is not out of line to expect us to follow those directives.
We can read this book all day every day for the rest of our lives but if we don’t do what it says we are wasting our time.
So back when we first studied the Biblical Feasts (also called Moedim or or appointed times) of our Father, we saw where He said they were forever and we’ve continued to read about YHWH’s people keeping them. We will see folks doing this moving forward as well.
Remember I told you that these feasts were set up as teaching tools? There are Spring Feasts and there are Fall Feasts. Now, part of this teaching tools is that they not only taught YHWH’s people about their own past and the things He had done for them (us) but they also teach and foretell of future events. In fact, I’ve seen these described as dress rehearsals for the days to come.
Passover foretold the coming of Messiah, First Fruits told of His resurrection. Shavuot told of the giving of the Holy Spirit. Now, keep in mind that these feasts were celebrated long before the coming of Messiah. The fascinating thing is that the events these Feasts foretold actually took place on the events. We read about Yeshua being crucified right at Passover, rising right at FirstFruits and we know that the giving of the Holy Spirit took place at Shavuot, the Greek name of which is Pentecost (which is also when the Ten Commandments were given). The Spring Feasts have been fulfilled (not done away with of course, but the events they foretold have taken place) but the Fall Feasts are yet to be fulfilled. So let’s talk about those.
The three remaining appointed times, yet to be fulfilled are:
- Day Of Atonement
- Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)
Trumpets tells of the day that Messiah returns. Day of Atonement tells of the final judgement, and Sukkot foretells the time in which the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth.
Now, there is only one appointed time that begins at the new moon, and that is the Feast of Trumpets, (Levitucus 23:23-25). It is to begin on the first day of the month and the Hebrews determined the beginning of the month by the appearance of the new moon. However, if the new moon was not visible, the month does not begin until the next evening, or when it is visible. Because of this, the Feast of Trumpets is the one feast that we can’t really pinpoint on our calendar. We can’t know what day or hour it will take place and so we have to be a little flexible, as to the exact day as we won’t know until the new moon is sighted in Israel. Because of this, Trumpets is known as the appointed time in which “no one knows the day or hour.” And when a Hebrew heard that phrase, they automatically associated it with Trumpets.
Now, what does trumpets foretell? The return of our Messiah. With this insight, you may find our reading even more fascinating today as many believe that Messiah was sharing a lot more information for those who would have ears to hear, as has proven to be His pattern.
Isaiah 46:10 tells us that YHWH declared the end from the very beginning and Malachi 3:6 reminds us that He is God and He does not change. Further, Paul states:
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thess 5:1-6
How does this relate to our reading today? Check out Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32. My preference is to click here to see multiple translations. Keep in mind what Trumpets foretells.
Am I suggesting that Messiah was giving clear information (or confirmation of what has already been put in place) that might only be understood by those who knew the Word of YHWH and lived according to it? He’s plainly stated that He has done just that on more than one occasion so I guess we’ll see.
Leave your rabbit trails in the group discussion. Let us go forth and represent YHWH well!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!