Mark 13

Mark 13: Signs of the Second Coming

                Jesus speaks to His Apostles on the Mount of Olives, He explains that the great buildings of Jerusalem; “… shall not be one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2) Peter, James, John and Andrew ask Jesus in private what He meant by this?

Jesus explains to them that there shall come a time; “…when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.” (Mark 13:7-8) Jesus goes on to explain that those who follow Him, especially His Apostles, would be brought before rulers, kings and tribunals to testify against them. But, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to spread throughout the world, and published among all nations!

Jesus tells His Apostles; “…ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13) Jesus explains the end of the world as spoken of by Daniel, the prophet.

“…let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house.” (Mark 13:15) – Because of Flooding?

The world will experience darkness as the sun will stop giving light, the stars shall fall from the heavens and the powers in heaven will be shaken. After all this is done, the world will see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Jesus reminds His Apostles that they should not worry, for these things will just have to happen. But that they shouldn’t worry about when it will come; “…of that day and that hour no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” (Mark 13:32-33)

Jesus explains that the Son of Man  [Jesus Christ] is as a “…man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants…” (Mark 13:34) Essentially Jesus is saying that He must soon depart, but He has left His Authority with His Apostles and from there they will have to carry about the work, but that He would one day return for the Second time.

Summary of Daniel

Summary of Daniel:

Chapter by Chapter:

Daniel 1-2: Daniel/Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Daniel 3-4: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego/Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Daniel 5-6: Daniel interprets the words/Daniel and the Lion’s Den

Daniel 7-8: The saint will receive the kingdom/Daniel sees a vision of two nations

Daniel 9-10: Daniel prays for Israel/Daniel sees the Lord

Daniel 11-12: The Second Coming of Christ/The wise shall know the signs of the end

 

Daniel, probably most famous for the story of “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” is a book made up of six court tales and four apocalyptic visions set in the time of the Babylonian captivity. The tales of chapters one through six contain detailed accounts of the Daniel and his three companions in the courts of Babylonian and Medo-Persian kings. They survive death threats, and mortal trials. Daniel interprets royal dreams and visions, foretelling both the individual punishment of the Babylonian kings and the overthrow of the entire empire they possess. In the four visions of chapter’s seven to twelve, Daniel himself experiences strange revelations. These all culminate in frightening depictions of a powerful king who, like the Babylonian rulers, attacks Israel, and defiles the Holy Temples.

Daniel, or the author (no one is sure who wrote the book) describes the end times when Jesus Christ would come to the earth.

Daniel 11-12

Daniel 11-12

Chapter 11: The Second Coming of Christ

Daniel sees successive kings and their wars. Three kings shall arise in Persia and a fourth king shall be wealthier than them all, this king will fight against Greece. Daniel explains that a mighty king’s empire will be divided into four parts at his death, and the southern part shall become the strongest.

Joined by a marriage, the kings of the North and South will be allies for a while, but the arrangement will not last. From the South, an army will defeat the kingdom of the North. The sons of the kings of the North will continue the battle until one of the sons will conquer the Holy Land which stood as a buffer between the kings of the South and the kings of the North. The king of the South will gain an upper hand over the king of the North, who will occupy the Holy Land. The king of the South will give his daughter to the king of the North and because of this the king of the North shall stumble and fall. The reign of the succeeding king of the North will be brief and in his place shall rise a vile king, who will use flattery and intrigue, and fail to conquer the king of the South. He will take away daily sacrifices, and place the abomination of desolation in the temple. He will exalt himself and speak blasphemies, worshipping a god of fortresses. The king of the North and the king of the South shall form an alliance to attack him. Many countries will be overthrown, but news from the east and the north shall trouble him. When he comes to his end, no one will help him.

Chapter 12: The wise shall know the signs of the end

In the last days Michael shall stand up at a time of trouble. Those of Israel whose names can be found written in the book, shall be saved. The dead will be resurrected, some to everlasting life, some to everlasting contempt. The righteous and wise shall shine like the stars. Daniel is told to “…shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4). It is interesting to note that towards the last days, ‘knowledge will be increased’ – Today in the last days we are blessed to have not only the Old and New Testaments of the Bible that teach of Christ, but also ‘Another Testament of Jesus Christ’ known as the Book of Mormon. Daniel goes on to tell of two resurrections, those who are wise and righteous shall know the end is near.

Daniel 9-10

Daniel 9-10

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

I learned two VERY important principles from Daniel 9-10. First in Daniel chapter 9, I learned that bad things happen to us, because we need to learn from those experiences to help us change our evil ways. It is like an alcoholic who gets a DUI and spends time in jail… that might make that person change. God does the same thing, if his people misbehave, bad things will happen until they turn from those evils and walk in his path.

The second thing I learned was that the moment we decide to not do evil and follow in God’s commandments, that is the same day he will listen to us and help us! “…for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understanding… thy words were heard…” (Daniel 10:12)

Chapter 9: Daniel prays for Israel

Daniel fasts, confesses and prays for all Israel, confessing the sins of the people. Daniel knows from Jeremiah that the Babylonian exile will last seventy years. The curses in the Law of Moses (towards the end of Deuteronomy) have come to pass. Daniel asks that God forgive and restore Jerusalem.

“…all this evil is come upon us… that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.” (Daniel 9:13) Essentially, when we ask God, ‘why did this have to happen?’ we need to ask ourselves, what did we do to bring this upon ourselves?

As he prays, Daniel is visited by Gabriel. Gabriel says that in seventy weeks (meaning seventy sets of seven years, ie, 490 years), reconciliation will be made for iniquity, everlasting righteousness will be brought in, and the Most Holy anointed. From the command to restore Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah, there will be seven weeks and sixty weeks ((7+62) x 7 years = 483 years). The Messiah will be cut off, but for the sake of others, not for himself. This is when Jesus will come and be crucified, so that he can atone for our sins through his blood. The people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. There will be a flood, and desolations are determined until the end of the war. The coming prince will make a covenant with Israel for the final unit of seven years, completing the seventy weeks prophesied for the Jewish people and Jerusalem. The covenant will be broken in the middle of this final seven year period. On the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, until the consummation is determined.

Chapter 10: Daniel sees the Lord

Daniel sees the Lord and others in a glorious vision. Daniel’s vision occurs in the third year of Cyrus’ reign. Daniel has been mourning for three weeks on the banks of the Tigris, Daniel sees a glorious man clothed in linen, girded with a golden belt; his face was like lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet were like burnished bronze, and his voice like that of a multitude. Daniel’s companions do not see the vision – but they are terrified nonetheless, and flee. The glorious man says he has faced opposition from the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and was helped by the prince Michael. Daniel feels overwhelmed by weakness, but is reassured and told to be strong. The glorious person says he must fight the prince of Persia and then the prince of Greece. Michael assists him. He has confirmed and strengthened Darius.

Daniel 7-8

Daniel 7-8

Chapter 7: The saint will receive the kingdom

Daniel has a vision in the first year of Belshazzar’s reign: he sees four beasts coming from the sea, which represent the kingdoms of men.

  • The first beast: Daniel sees as representing the Babylonian Empire, which was like a lion with eagle’s wings. Its wings were plucked off, it was lifted up and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
  • The second beast: Daniel sees as representing the Medes Empire, which was like is a bear with three ribs between its teeth – it is commanded to devour much flesh.
  • The third beast: Daniel sees as representing the Greek Empire, which was like a leopard with four heads and four bird’s wings on its back. It is given dominion.
  • The fourth beast: Daniel sees as representing the Greek Empire, which had iron teeth, and ten horns, which are then replaced by a single conspicuous horn. There are a man’s eyes in his horn, and a mouth speaking pompous words. This beast is then slain and burnt.

At the end of the vision, Daniel sees the Son of Man come with the clouds of heaven. He comes in the Last Days, and is given everlasting dominion. We learn that the four beasts are four kings, who are conquered by God, and their kingdoms are given to the people of God. The ten horns of the fourth beast (which made war on the saints) represent ten kings, to be succeeded by another, who shall subdue three kings, before being defeated by the Most High. The Saints will be the victors in the last days, before Jesus Christ comes for the Second time.

Chapter 8: Daniel sees a vision of two nations

Daniel has another vision in the third year of Belshazzar’s reign. In his vision he sees: by the river Ulai, there is a ram (Mede and Persia), with two horns, one larger than the other. It pushes in all directions, and cannot be overpowered. Another male goat (Grecia) with a large horn between its eyes challenges and conquers the ram. The goat becomes great in power, but its horn is broken, and replaced by four others. One horn grows great towards the south, east and Glorious Land. The horn takes away daily sacrifices, and casts down the place of God’s sanctuary. The transgression of desolation will last 2300 days, and then the sanctuary will be cleansed. This cleansing will happen when a fierce king will come in the Last Days to destroy that great nation. Gabriel explains to Daniel that the vision refers to the time of the end. Daniel responds to the vision with fainting and sickness.

Daniel 5-6

Daniel 5-6

Chapter 5: Daniel interprets the words

Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar, (who is now apparently king even though nothing is mentioned about the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign) makes a great feast, with the gold and silver vessels taken from the temple at Jerusalem. Those attending the feast drink wine, and praise false gods. During this feast and party, a hand writes a message on a wall. Belshazzar is troubled, and wishes to have the writing read and interpreted. The queen recommends Daniel, who had been so good at interpreting before. So Daniel is called in, and upon arriving Daniel sees the writing “MENE, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” on the wall; Daniel says that Belshazzar has not humbled his heart like Nebuchnezzar. This is the interpretation given by Daniel: God has numbered your kingdom, you have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting and your kingdom is to be given to the Medes and the Persians. Belshazzar honors Daniel, but that night he is slain, and the kingdom falls to Darius the Median.

Chapter 6: Daniel and the Lion’s Den

Now that Darius the Median has taken control over the kingdom, Darius decides to make Daniel one of three presidents over 120 princes in the region. Darius decides that Daniel should probably just be ruler over them all, this of course does not set well with the other 2 presidents or other 120 princes. So they decided to find fault in Daniel to remove him from power. However, Daniel was righteous and no faults could be found, so they devise another plan; “…We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” (Daniel 6:5)

So the Presidents, and the Princes gather together and tell the king; “All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask any petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O kin, he shall be cast into the den of lions.” (Daniel 6:7)

Essentially, these leaders hatched up a plan to persuade the king to sign a decree saying that anyone petitioning a god or man other than Darius will be thrown into a den of lions. King Darius signs this decree and sets it into law.

When Daniel hear that the law was in effect; “…he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Daniel 6:10) Report reaches Darius that Daniel has prayed to his God. Even though Darius does not want Daniel to die, he is bound by law and has no other choice but to follow the law he signed. So Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den; Darius tells Daniel that his God will protect him. The King seals the den and goes home and fasts all night long, and is not entertained by musicians or does he sleep. King Darius awakes early the next morning and runs to see if Daniel is still alive. Daniel is found alive and yells to the king; “…O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me…” (Daniel 6:21-22) Darius calls Daniel the servant of the living God.

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Darius was angered at the situation and called for those who had accused Daniel and has them, their wives and children thrown into the Lion’s Den. “…and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.” (Daniel 6:24) Darius decrees that all must honor the God of Daniel. Daniel prospers.

 

Daniel 3-4

Daniel 3-4

Chapter 3: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego

Nebuchadnezzar creates a large golden statue and commands all men in the region to worship it, when they hear “…the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music…” (Daniel 3:5). Those who choose not to worship the golden statue that was made by Nebuchadnezzar “…be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” (Daniel 3:6). A few Chaldeans came down to Nebuchanezzar and accused some of the Jews of not worshiping the statue, mainly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

Nebuchadnezzar was furious and commanded that the men come before him and he asked them; “…Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?” (Daniel 3:14)

The three men responded to King Nebuchadnezzar; “… O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:16-17)

                This enraged Nebuchadnezzar and commanded that all three men be placed in the midst of the fiery furnace. Now because Nebuchadnezzar rushed them to the furnace, they did not have time to cool the furnace enough to get the men into the furnace safely without hurting the guards. The furnace however was so hot that upon shoving the men into the furnace one of the guards died from the heat! All three men (Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego) fell into the midst of the furnace, but to everyone’s astonishment, they were still alive and walking around the furnace!

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                “…Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no urt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:24-25)

                Nebuchadnezzar commands that the men be taken out of the furnace and again to everyones surprise there was not burnt clothing, burnt smell, or even singed hair! They were perfectly fine… Nebuchadnezzar promoted the men in the land of Babylon and commands anyone who says anything against the God of these men, to be put to death.

Chapter 4: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Nebuchadnezzar’s decree: “How great are his [God’s] signs! and how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3) Nebuchadnezzar recounts a dream of a mighty tree, which a watcher from heaven orders to be chopped down, and its stump bound with a band of iron and bronze. It is to be made wet with dew, and be with grazing beasts. Daniel interprets this dream: Nebuchadnezzar will be humbled, and eat grass like oxen. Daniel’s interpretation if fulfilled that very hour: Nebuchadnezzar is driven from men and eats grass. His hair grows like eagle’s feathers, and his nails like bird’s claws. He falls into madness, but learns that the Most High rules and sets the rules of men over earthly kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar is finally restored to power, and praises God.

Daniel 1-2

Daniel 1-2

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

There is a lot I have learned from these two chapters. First is the character of Daniel, who refused the kings meat and wine. Can you imagine doing that? Having the audacity to challenge the king? Daniel was brave and because he was brave he earned the trust of the king! We learn that by not taking the kings meat and wine that Daniel and those who participated in eating grains and water were better off. Why is that? God has a commandment on our health, for our own benefit. He knows what our bodies need to survive. This is one of the earlier examples of the Lord telling his people about eating healthy.

In the LDS Church we have a strict commandment on what we can and cannot consume. This commandment was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in February of 1833, which is known as the “Word of Wisdom” and is the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants (a canonized book of LDS Scripture); “…strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies…. Tobaccos is not for our bod, neither for your belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill…. Hot drinks are not for the body or belly… all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly… all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience… shall receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones… shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint…” (Doctrine and Covenants 89: 7-12, 18, 20)

                Besides eating healthy and learning of the brave nature of Daniel, we learn about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation of that dream. Why is this dream important? Because the last kingdom, the one that shall never be destroyed… is now! That kingdom is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ that is on the earth now!

In Doctrine and Covenants we also read what Joseph F Smith wrote about all of the prophets of ancient times and the events leading to the latter days; “Noah, who gave warning of the flood… Isaiah who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound…Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of dry bones, which were to be clothed upon with flesh, to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls; Daniel who foresaw and foretold of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people… The Prophet Joseph Smith… Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fullness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, Including the building of the temples…” (Doctrine and Covenants 138: 41-44, 53-54)

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Chapter 1: Daniel

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, who was the king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to siege Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, certain Hebrew including Daniel are trained in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. These children are “…skillful in all wisdom… cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…” (Daniel 1:4) The children are all given meat and wine, but David did not want the kings meat or wine; “…Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8)

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                Daniel then goes to Melzar (who was basically over the children) and asks him to only feed the children “pulse” which are foods made of seeds and grains. Daniel says; “…I beseech thee, ten days; let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee… at the end of the ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did ear the portion of the kings meat.” (Daniel 12-13, 15)

                Daniel and the fourt other children with him are given “…knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17). These gifts came from God.

Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that troubles his spirit, so he calls all the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers to help interpret his dream. When the “wise” men come before Nebuchadnezzar they tell him that they can interpret the dream, if Nebuchadnezzar will explain his dream to them. Well Nebuchadnezzar explains that he can no longer remember the dream and that anyone who is unable to tell of the dream and its interpretation will be destroyed!

The wise men all tell Nebuchadnezzar that this task is impossible and only the gods would be able to tell of his dream. This angers Nebuchadnezzar and he commands that all the wise men through the land be killed, this of course would include Daniel and his peers to be killed.

Daniel goes to Arioch (the kings captain) and ask for a little of King Nebuchadnezzars time to interpret his dream. Before going to the king, Daniel stops off at his house and explains to his companions that they need to ask God for help to be saved from death. With their prayers the secret of Nebuchadnezzars dream is revealed to Daniel. Daniel praises the Lord; “…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his… he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings and sitteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:20-21).

Daniel goes before the king and explains that only God in heaven can reveal his dream and for that purpose Daniel was sent before Nebuchadnezzar, to explain his dream:

“Thou , O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the ion, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:31-35)

Daniel then goes on to explain the interpretation of the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar is the golden head, and the other parts of the image’s body are subsequent kingdoms (Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman). When the fourth kingdom, represented by the feet, is destroyed all other kingdoms will be destroyed along with it. The iron and clay of the feet indicates that the kingdom is partly strong, and partly weak. The fourth kingdom will be divided into ten smaller kingdoms, each represented by a toe. Daniel explains that the kingdoms reprented as “half iron and half clay” will be kingdoms whoe mingle the seed of men to the point where they don’t mix, like Iron and Clay do not mix. At that time God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed (represented by the stone).

                “…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break into pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

Upon hearing Daniels interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped Daniel and gave him whatsoever he wanted. Daniel is appointed as ruler over all the province of Babylon and sets Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego over the affairs of Babylon.