Mark 13:5-8: Truth and boots

“5 Jesus said to them: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, “I am he,” and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth-pains. ” NIV UK

The truth will set you free. But first, it will make you mad! Perhaps that’s why people can find lies so appealing.

We have seen over the last couple of days that if we are to live safely in these last days:

  1. We must not rely on anything – however substantial it may seem;
  2. We must walk with Jesus (3,4). It’s now time to add a third thing:
  3. We must know the ‘signs of the times’ (5-8). We can be so immersed in the Bible as a whole that we have an alertness towards history as it unfolds. We understand the times. This is something the Lord wants for us. He doesn’t want us to get into wild, hysterical speculation. That’s not healthy. Some people waste a lot of time trying to work out details of prophetic fulfillment before it happens. We so often get it wrong. But people who live deeply in God’s Word will have an insightful perspective on current affairs. Another important point to emphasise about them is that they will not be easily deceived (5). The best way to spot a counterfeit bank note, I’m told, is not to study the fraud but to know the genuine article well. People with deep roots in Scripture are less likely to be led astray. Jesus did not answer the chronology question put to Him in (4). Instead, He gave a stern warning about deception. Because Jesus said this first in the list here, I believe it is more important than we may think. As the end approaches, I think deception will intensify, culminating in the appearance of antichrist. There is some thing in human nature that loves – maybe even prefers? – a lie. As Mark Twain observed: ‘A lie will travel half way round the world while the truth is still getting its boots on!’ So we could be in great danger. Let’s give full attention to Jesus.