Mark 13:14 MEANING

Mark 13:14
(14-23) But when ye shall see.--See Notes on Matthew 24:15-28.

Standing where it ought not.--St. Mark substitutes this for "in the holy place" of St. Matthew. Of the two, the former seems, in its enigmatic form, more likely to have been the phrase actually used; the latter to have been an explanation. The words "spoken of by Daniel the prophet" are omitted in many of the best MSS.

Verse 14. - But when ye see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not. In the Authorized Version, after the word "desolation," the words "spoken of by Daniel the prophet," are introduced, but without sufficient authority. They were probably interpolated from St. Matthew, where there is abundant authority for them; and thus their omission by St. Mark does not affect the argument drawn from them in favor of the genuineness of the Book of Daniel, against those, whether in earlier or in later times, who reject this book, or ascribe it to some mere recent authorship. The "abomination of desolation" is a Hebrew idiom, meaning "the abomination that maketh desolate." St. Luke (Luke 21:20) does not use the expression; it would have sounded strange to his Gentile readers. He says, "When ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand." This reference to the Roman armies by St. Luke has led some commentators to suppose that "the abomination of desolation" meant the Roman eagles. But this was a sign from without; whereas "the abomination of desolation" was a sign from within, connected with the ceasing of the daily sacrifice of the temple. It is alluded to by the Prophet Daniel in three places, namely, Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11. We must seek for its explanation in something within the temple. "standing in the holy place" (Matthew 24:15) - some profanation of the temple, on account of which God's judgments would fall on Jerusalem. Now, Daniel's prophecy had already received one fulfillment ( B.C. 168), when we read (1 Macc. 1:54) that they set up "the abomination of desolation upon the altar." This was when Antiochus Epiphanes set up the statue of Jupiter on the great altar of burnt sacrifice. But that "abomination of desolation" was the forerunner of another and a worse profanation yet to come, which our Lord, no doubt, had in his mind when he called the attention of his disciples to these predictions by Daniel. There is a remarkable passage in Josephus ('Wars of the Jews,' 4:6), in which he refers to an ancient saying then current, that "Jerusalem would be taken, and the temple be destroyed, when it had been defiled by the hands of Jews themselves." Now, this literally took place. For while the Roman armies were investing Jerusalem, the Jews within the city were in fierce conflict amongst themselves. And it would seem most probable that our Lord had in his mind, in connection with Daniel's prophecy, more especially that at Daniel 9:27, the irruption of the army of Zealots and Assassins into the temple, filling the holy place with the dead bodies of their own fellow-citizens. The Jews had invited these marauders to defend them against the army of the Romans; and they, by their outrages against God, were the special cause of the desolation of Jerusalem. Thus, while St. Luke points to the sign from without, namely, the Roman forces surrounding the city, St. Matthew and St. Mark refer to the more terrible sign from within, the "abomination of desolation " - the abomination that would fill up the measure of their iniquities, and cause the avenging power of Rome to come down upon them and crush them. It was after these two signs - the sign from within and the sign from without - that Jerusalem was laid prostrate. Therefore our Lord proceeds to warn both Jews and Christians alike, that when they saw these signs they should flee unto the mountains - not to the mountains of Judaea, for these were already occupied by the Roman army (Josephus; lib. 3 cap. 12.), but those further off, beyond Judaea. We know from Eusebius (3:15) that the Christians fled to Pella, on the other side of the Jordan. The Jews, on the other hand, as they saw the Roman army approaching nearer, betook themselves to Jerusalem, as to an asylum, thinking that there they would be under the special protection of Jehovah; but there, alas, they were imprisoned and slain.

13:14-23 The Jews in rebelling against the Romans, and in persecuting the Christians, hastened their own ruin apace. Here we have a prediction of that ruin which came upon them within less than forty years after this. Such destruction and desolation, that the like cannot be found in any history. Promises of power to persevere, and cautions against falling away, well agree with each other. But the more we consider these things, the more we shall see abundant cause to flee without delay for refuge to Christ, and to renounce every earthly object, for the salvation of our souls.But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation,.... The Roman army encompassing Jerusalem, which was an abomination to the Jews, and an "impure sign" of their destruction, as the Syriac and Persic versions render it; and a desolating one to their nation, city, and temple:

spoken of by Daniel the prophet, in Daniel 9:27. This clause is omitted in the Vulgate Latin, and was not found by Beza, in two of his copies, and is thought to be transcribed from Matthew:

standing where it ought not; round about the city, in the midst of it, and even in the temple: in one of Beza's exemplars it is added, "in the holy place", as in Matthew; and so it is read in the Ethiopic version:

let him that readeth understand; either the passage in Daniel, or the citation of it by the evangelist, when he shall see this come to pass: this seems to be rather the words of the evangelist, than of Christ; since this was not written (and so not to be read), but spoken by Christ; and since his usual phrase was, "he that hath ears, let him hear": though indeed the same exhortation is in Matthew, and may be understood of Christ, as it may refer to the written prophecy in Daniel, and indeed to the Gospel, which might be read before this event came to pass: See Gill on Matthew 24:15.

Then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains; they that are in Jerusalem, or in any of the cities and towns of Judea, let them make their escape, as soon as possible, to the mountainous parts of the country; where they may be more safe from, the devastations of the Roman army; See Gill on Matthew 24:16.

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