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Jehovah’s Witnesses

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Mark 13:1-37

13  As he was going out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him: “Teacher, see! what wonderful stones and buildings!”+  However, Jesus said to him: “Do you see these great buildings? By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.”+  As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives with the temple in view, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately:  “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are to come to a conclusion?”+  So Jesus began to tell them: “Look out that nobody misleads you.+  Many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and will mislead many.  Moreover, when you hear of wars and reports of wars, do not be alarmed; these things must take place, but the end is not yet.+  “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom;+ there will be earthquakes in one place after another; there will also be food shortages.+ These are a beginning of pangs of distress.+  “As for you, look out for yourselves. People will hand you over to local courts,+ and you will be beaten in synagogues+ and be put on the stand before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them.+ 10  Also, in all the nations, the good news has to be preached first.+ 11  And when they are taking you to hand you over, do not be anxious beforehand about what to say; but whatever is given you in that hour, say this, for you are not the ones speaking, but the holy spirit is.+ 12  Furthermore, brother will deliver brother over to death, and a father a child, and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.+ 13  And you will be hated by all people on account of my name.+ But the one who has endured+ to the end+ will be saved.+ 14  “However, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation+ standing where it should not be (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains.+ 15  Let the man on the housetop not come down nor go inside to take anything out of his house;+ 16  and let the man in the field not return to the things behind to pick up his outer garment. 17  Woe to the pregnant women and those nursing a baby in those days!+ 18  Keep praying that it may not occur in wintertime; 19  for those days will be days of a tribulation+ such as has not occurred from the beginning of the creation that God created until that time,* and will not occur again.+ 20  In fact, unless Jehovah had cut short the days, no flesh would be saved. But on account of the chosen ones whom he has chosen, he has cut short the days.+ 21  “Then, too, if anyone says to you, ‘See! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘See! There he is,’ do not believe it.+ 22  For false Christs and false prophets will arise+ and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen ones. 23  You, then, watch out.+ I have told you all things beforehand. 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 out of heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26  And then they will see the Son of man+ coming in the clouds with great power and glory.+ 27  And then he will send out the angels and will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from earth’s extremity to heaven’s extremity.+ 28  “Now learn this illustration from the fig tree: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near.+ 29  Likewise also you, when you see these things happening, know that he is near at the doors.+ 30  Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.+ 31  Heaven and earth will pass away,+ but my words will by no means pass away.+ 32  “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father.+ 33  Keep looking, keep awake,+ for you do not know when the appointed time is.+ 34  It is like a man traveling abroad who left his house and gave the authority to his slaves,+ to each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to keep on the watch.+ 35  Keep on the watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming,+ whether late in the day or at midnight or at dawn or early in the morning,+ 36  in order that when he comes suddenly, he does not find you sleeping.+ 37  But what I say to you, I say to all: Keep on the watch.”+


Lit., “until the present time; until now.”

By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone: Jesus’ prophecy was remarkably fulfilled in 70 C.E. when the Romans demolished Jerusalem and, apart from a few sections of the wall, completely leveled it.

with the temple in view: Or “across from (opposite) the temple.” Mark explains that the temple could be seen from the Mount of Olives, an explanation that would not have been necessary for most Jewish readers.—See “Introduction to Mark.”

come to a conclusion: Rendered from the Greek verb syn·te·leʹo, related to the Greek noun syn·teʹlei·a, which means “joint end; combination end; ending together” and occurs in the parallel account at Mt 24:3. (The Greek word syn·teʹlei·a also occurs at Mt 13:39, 40, 49; 28:20; Heb 9:26.) This “conclusion” refers to a time period during which a combination of events would lead to the complete “end” mentioned at Mr 13:7, 13, where a different Greek word, teʹlos, is used.—See study notes on Mr 13:7, 13 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

I am he: That is, the Christ, or Messiah.—Compare the parallel account at Mt 24:5.

end: Or “complete end.” The Greek word (teʹlos) used here is different from the Greek noun rendered “conclusion” (syn·teʹlei·a) at Mt 24:3 and is different from the Greek verb rendered “come to a conclusion” (syn·te·leʹo) at Mr 13:4.—See study notes on Mt 24:3; Mr 13:4 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

nation: The Greek word eʹthnos has a broad meaning and can refer to people living within certain political or geographical boundaries, such as a country, but can also refer to an ethnic group.—See study note on Mr 13:10.

rise: Or “be stirred up; be roused up.” Here the Greek word conveys the idea “to move against in hostility” and could also be rendered “rise up in arms” or “go to war.”

pangs of distress: The Greek word literally refers to the intense pain experienced during childbirth. While it is used here to refer to distress, pain, and suffering in a general sense, it may suggest that like birth pains the foretold troubles and suffering will increase in frequency, intensity, and duration in the time period before the “days of a tribulation” mentioned at Mr 13:19.

local courts: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek word sy·neʹdri·on, here used in plural and rendered “local courts,” is most often used with reference to the Jewish high court in Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin. (See Glossary, “Sanhedrin,” and study notes on Mt 5:22; 26:59.) However, it was also a general term for an assembly or a meeting, and here it refers to local courts that were attached to the synagogues and had the power to inflict the penalties of scourging and excommunication.Mt 10:17; 23:34; Lu 21:12; Joh 9:22; 12:42; 16:2.

all the nations: This expression shows the scope of the preaching work, letting the disciples know that it would extend beyond preaching to fellow Jews. In its general sense, the Greek word for “nation” (eʹthnos) refers to a group of people who are more or less related to one another by blood and who have a common language. Such a national or ethnic group often occupies a defined geographic territory.

the good news: The Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on is derived from the words eu, meaning “good; well” and ag·gelʹlos, “one who brings news; one who proclaims (announces).” (See Glossary.) It is rendered “gospel” in some English Bibles. The related expression rendered “evangelizer” (Greek, eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ) means “a proclaimer of good news.”Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11, ftn.; 2Ti 4:5, ftn.

taking you: The Greek verb aʹgo is here used as a legal technical term meaning “to arrest; to take into custody.” It can imply the use of force.

has endured: Or “endures.” The Greek verb rendered “to endure” (hy·po·meʹno) literally means “to remain (stay) under.” It is often used in the sense of “remaining instead of fleeing; standing one’s ground; persevering; remaining steadfast.” (Mt 10:22; Ro 12:12; Heb 10:32; Jas 5:11) In this context, it refers to maintaining a course of action as Christ’s disciple despite opposition and trials.Mr 13:11-13.

end: Or “complete end; final end.”—See study note on Mr 13:7.

Judea: That is, the Roman province of Judea.

on the housetop: The roofs of Israelite houses were flat and were used for many purposes, including storage (Jos 2:6), rest (2Sa 11:2), sleep (1Sa 9:26), and festivals for worship (Ne 8:16-18). That is why a parapet was required. (De 22:8) Generally, an external stairway or ladder allowed a householder to leave the rooftop without having to enter the house, which helps us understand the urgency of Jesus’ warning to flee.

in wintertime: Heavy rains, flooding, and cold weather during this season would make it difficult to travel and difficult to find food and shelter.Ezr 10:9, 13.

Jehovah: Although Greek manuscripts use the word Kyʹri·os (Lord) here, there are good reasons for using the divine name in the main text. The context shows that Kyʹri·os is used with reference to God, since Jesus was explaining to his disciples what his Father will do during the great tribulation. A number of Bible translations use such renderings as Jehovah, Yahveh, יהוה (YHWH, or the Tetragrammaton), LORD, and ADONAI in the main text or in footnotes and marginal notes to indicate that this is a reference to Jehovah God. (See App. C.) The wording of Jesus’ prophecy here is similar to that of prophetic statements in the Hebrew Scriptures where the divine name is used. (Isa 1:9; 65:8; Jer 46:28 [26:28 in the Septuagint]; Am 9:8) In these four prophetic verses where the Hebrew text contains the Tetragrammaton, existing copies of the Septuagint use Kyʹri·os without the definite article where one would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. Similarly, scholars have noted the unexpected lack of a definite article before Kyʹri·os at Mr 13:20. This may be another indication that Kyʹri·os is used as a substitute for the divine name.

false Christs: Or “false Messiahs.” The Greek word pseu·doʹkhri·stos occurs only here and in the parallel account at Mt 24:24. It refers to anyone who wrongly assumes the role of the Christ, or the Messiah (lit., “Anointed One”).—See study notes on Mt 24:5; Mr 13:6.

see: The Greek verb rendered “see” can literally mean to “see an object; look at; behold,” but it can also be used metaphorically, of mental sight, meaning “to discern; perceive.”Eph 1:18.

the clouds: Clouds tend to obstruct vision rather than facilitate it, but observers can “see” with eyes of understanding.Ac 1:9.

the four winds: An idiom referring to the four directions of the compass—E, W, N, and S—thus indicating “all directions; everywhere.”Jer 49:36; Eze 37:9; Da 8:8.

illustration: Or “parable; lesson.”—See study note on Mt 13:3.

Heaven and earth will pass away: Other scriptures show that heaven and earth will endure forever. (Ge 9:16; Ps 104:5; Ec 1:4) So Jesus’ words here could be understood as hyperbole, meaning that even if the impossible happened and heaven and earth did pass away, Jesus’ words would still be fulfilled. (Compare Mt 5:18.) However, the heaven and earth here may well refer to the figurative heavens and earth that are called “the former heaven and the former earth” at Re 21:1.

my words will by no means pass away: Or “my words will certainly not pass away.” The use of two Greek negatives with the verb emphatically expresses rejection of an idea, vividly emphasizing the permanence of Jesus’ words. Although some Greek manuscripts use only one of the two negatives, the emphatic reading used in the main text has strong manuscript support.

doorkeeper: In ancient times, doorkeepers, or gatekeepers, served at entrances to cities, temples, and sometimes private homes. Besides ensuring that gates and doors were shut at night, these individuals also served as watchmen. (2Sa 18:24, 26; 2Ki 7:10, 11; Es 2:21-23; 6:2; Joh 18:17) By likening a Christian to a doorkeeper of a house, Jesus emphasized the need for Christians to be alert and keep on the watch concerning his future coming to execute judgment.Mr 13:26.

Keep on the watch: The Greek term has the basic meaning “stay (keep) awake,” but in many contexts it means “be on guard; be watchful.” In addition to this verse, Mark uses the term at Mr 13:34, 37; 14:34, 37, 38.—See study notes on Mt 24:42; 26:38; Mr 14:34.

late in the day: In this verse, reference is made to the four watches of the night of about three hours each, running from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., according to the Greek and Roman division of the night. (See also following study notes on this verse.) The Hebrews formerly divided the night into three watches of about four hours each (Ex 14:24; Jg 7:19), but by Jesus’ day, they had adopted the Roman system. The expression “late in the day” in this verse refers to the first night watch, that is, from sunset to about 9:00 p.m.—See study note on Mt 14:25.

at midnight: This refers to the second night watch according to the Greek and Roman division, that is, from about 9:00 p.m. to midnight.—See study note on late in the day in this verse.

before dawn: Lit., “when the rooster crows.” According to the Greek and Roman division, this was the name given to the third watch of the night. It refers to the time from midnight to about 3:00 a.m. (See preceding study notes on this verse.) It was probably during this time that “a rooster crowed.” (Mr 14:72) It is generally agreed that roosters’ crowing has long been and still is a time indicator in the lands to the E of the Mediterranean.—See study notes on Mt 26:34; Mr 14:30, 72.

early in the morning: This refers to the fourth night watch according to the Greek and Roman division of the night, that is, from about 3:00 a.m. to sunrise.—See preceding study notes on this verse.


Stones From the Temple Mount
Stones From the Temple Mount

These stones, found on the southern part of the Western Wall, are believed to have been part of the structures on the first-century temple mount. They have been left here as a grim reminder of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the Romans.