Original Research

The question of Mark 13 as an apocalypse

Marius Nel
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2837 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2837 | © 2023 Marius Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 March 2023 | Published: 21 November 2023

About the author(s)

Marius Nel, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Many researchers accept that the Gospel of Mark is apocalyptic, which necessitates the need to determine whether Mark 13’s eschatological discourse represents an apocalypse.

Setting: The question of whether the early church utilised an apocalyptic worldview is widely discussed in scholarly circles.

Methods: The article utilises a form-critical and syntactical analysis of the text of Mark 13.

Results: Mark 13 is deliberately written in a mode displaying several apocalyptic features. The text engages the present crisis situation when Roman authorities quelled Roman resistance by destroying parts of Jerusalem, including the Temple, in response to the question of whether the present crisis indicates the end of the present aeon and the introduction of a new world.

Conclusion: The Markan Jesus emphasises that the current situation introduces further suffering and persecution for believers but that does not indicate the end in itself. The time of the end is unknown, even to him. The discourse hence serves anti-apocalypse to discourage believers from overheated end-time expectations of an imminent end. Christians do not know when the end is coming, but they know who they expect to return.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The research findings contribute to Old and New Testament studies into apocalypticism.


Keywords

apocalypse; apocalyptic; eschatology; parousia; overheated end-time expectations; imminent end

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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