Entering the promised land, 11:1-16:20

3. Prophecies concerning the kingdom of Israel, 13:1-37

iv] All will be fulfilled within this generation


In this fourth section of Mark's "little apocalypse", Jesus explains when all "these things" will happen.


"These things" will be fulfilled within "this generation."


i] Context: See 13:1-13.


ii] Structure: All will be fulfilled within this generation

A parabolic illustration, v28-29,

A saying, (stitched by the catchword "these things"), v30-31.


iii] Interpretation:

Having described the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which destruction serves as a paradigm for the end of the age, Jesus now explains when this will occur. All "these things" will occur within "this generation." Jesus also explains that as the coming of spring is easily recognised in the sprouting of leaves on a deciduous tree, so the "coming of the Son of Man" is easily recognised. Confronted by this reality, Christ's disciples must "endure, persevere" / hold fast to their faith.

Given that v14-23 are often interpreted as a word about the destruction of Jerusalem, and v24-27 a word about the end of the world, then Jesus' claim that "these things" will occur within "this generation", can cause some difficulty. Yet, the passage itself clearly states that "all these things" will occur within Jesus' own generation, so. France. As already indicated, Jesus' words express the now / not yet reality of Biblical eschatology. In the eyes of Jesus the prophet, "these things" were for his generation, the now, but they are also for an age to come, the not yet.

[prophetic perspective]

As already indicated, a word of prophecy, whether from the lips of Jesus, or any of the Old Testament prophets, is not just a word to their own generation. Jesus' prophetic words are multi-layered, ie., the destruction of the temple serves as a paradigm for the final judgment of this age. "The abomination that causes desolation" took place when Jerusalem came under siege by pagan forces and the apple of God's eye was affronted, yet an even greater abomination awaits those who are alive at the revelation of the anti-Christ and his attack upon the body of Christ, the church. The cosmic signs depicting the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem in v24-25, will become a visible reality in the day of Christ's return. In that day, all the powers of this age will be brought to heel before the enthroned Son of Man, v26-27.

So, chapter 13 is not just a word for the disciples who were alive in the first century, it is a word for us as well. We therefore, as with the disciples of old, must be prepared for the coming day; we too must "endure /persevere" - hold fast to faith.


vi] Synoptics:

Matt.24:32-35, Lk.21:29-33.

Text -13:28

i] The lesson of the fig tree, v28-29. When we see a fig tree come into leaf we know that spring is upon us. In the same way, when we see "these things" (the significant events associated with the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem outlined by Jesus in v14-23, (eg. "the abomination that causes desolation" = the surrounding of Jerusalem by pagan armies???, v14) then we know (can read the signs) that "it" (the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem depicted in v24-25) is upon us. According to tradition the early believers read the sign of "abomination" in the Jewish revolt against Rome, and left Jerusalem for Pella across the Jordan before the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 70AD.

maqete (manqanw) aor. imp. "learn" - [from the fig tree] learn. What we learn from the fig tree, which is deciduous and so flushes with leaves in spring, is that the destruction of the temple (now) and the great tribulation (then) comes with discernible signs.

thn parabolhn (h) "this lesson" - the parable. Accusative direct object of the verb "to learn." Used here of "an illustrative example", France. The illustration requires a deciduous tree, and given chapter 11 and the cursing of the fig tree as a symbol of judgment on the temple, the fig tree serves as a suitable prop. "Let the fig tree serve you as a simile teaching you a lesson", Cassirer.

o{tan hdh + subj. "as soon as" - when by that time [the branch of it has become tender and it puts forth the leaves]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause with the sense "as soon as / when."

oJti "that" - [you know] that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception, expressing what we know.

egguV adv. "near" - [summer is] near. Predicate adverb of place.


ou{twV "even so" - thus, in this way [and = also you]. Comparative with a modal edge; "So [ye] in like manner", AV.

o{tan + subj. "when [you see]" - whenever [you see]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause.

tauta "these things" - these things. Accusative direct object of the verb "to see." As already noted, "these things" refer to the significant events associated with the destruction of the temple. When we observe "these things" then we know that "it" (the destruction of the temple) is upon us. "When you see these events", Barclay.

ginomena (ginomai) pres. part. "happening" - becoming. The accusative participle serves as the complement of the direct object "these things, standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object. "When you see these things coming about", Cassirer.

ginwskete (ginomai) pres. ind./imp. "know" - know. In v28 this verb is obviously indicative, but here it is usually treated as imperative; "you too must realise ...", Barclay.

oJti "that" - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what we can realise / know.

estin "it is [near]" - it is [near]. Of course, the subject can be he/she/it, so some opt for "it" = the end (destruction of the temple, Jerusalem, world ...), the coming, the kingdom, the signs (Cranfield) ... or "he" = Jesus, the Son of Man. Given that the adverb egguV, "near", is used, "it" is obviously intended. Given that the destruction of the temple is the focus of the disciples' question, the "it" is obviously the destruction of the temple, so France.

epi "at [the door]" - upon [door]. Spatial, "upon" = "at". An idiomatic figure of speech denoting immediate nearness, standing in apposition to the predicate adverb "near".


ii] Saying, v30-31. Jesus declares that his own generation will witness the fulfilment of "all these things", ie., the events associated with the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem. These two verses have been a problem for those who read v24-27 as futuristic. Numerous solutions are proposed, eg., Shifting v30-31 to after v23, reading "this generation" as Jews, disciples in general, ... cf. Cranfield's list of possibilities. Yet, as already noted, the destruction of the temple serves as a paradigm for another more serious "abomination" at the end of the age, cf. Edwards.

amhn legw uJmin "I tell you the truth" - truly I say to you. This header indicates the importance of the following saying. "To you" serves as a dative of indirect object.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech / stating, expressing what Jesus wants to tell us.

hJ genea (a) "this generation" - this generation. Obviously "the contemporaries of Jesus", Lane, but there are other suggestions, eg., those who do not accept Jesus during the time his disciples remain true to him, etc., cf., 8:12, 9:19.

ou mh + subj. "certainly not" - no no = by no means [may pass away]. A subjunctive of emphatic negation. Note that Schweizer pressed the view that Jesus (or Mark) believed that the realisation of the kingdom would occur within his own lifetime / generation, but that he was mistaken. This view has little support. "Will not come to an end", BAGD.

mecriV ou| + subj. "until" - until of which = until which time. Here introducing an indefinite temporal clause with the sense "until that time in which", TH / Moule IB.

tauta panta "all these things" - all these things [become, happen]. Nominative subject of the verb "to become." As already noted, the phrase is taken up from the words of the disciples in v4 and refers to the events associated with the destruction of the temple, and not "the whole drama of the end time", Anderson, etc.


oJ ouranoV kai hJ gh "Heaven and earth" - heaven and earth [will pass away]. Nominative subject of the verb "to pass away." "Heaven" refers here to the canopy over the earth rather than the domain of God, thus "the whole created universe", TH. The impermanence of the created order is a dominant idea in scripture, as opposed to the permanence / eternity of God.

oiJ ... logoi mou "my words" - [but/and] the words of me. The Law is "inviolate till heaven and earth pass away ... but Jesus' words ... will never pass away", Cranfield.

ou mh + fut. "never" - not not, certainly not [will pass away]. Again an emphatic negation, this time with the future tense rather than the more common subjunctive. The future indicative is used to emphasise future action.


Mark Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]