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Mark 13:5

ESV And Jesus began to say to them, "See that no one leads you astray.
NIV Jesus said to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you.
NASB And Jesus began to say to them, 'See to it that no one misleads you.
CSB Jesus told them, "Watch out that no one deceives you.
NLT Jesus replied, 'Don’t let anyone mislead you,
KJV And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
NKJV And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you.

What does Mark 13:5 mean?

"See" is from the Greek root word blepo. It doesn't merely mean to casually observe. Rather it implies discerning what is going on when the situation is not obvious. Jesus uses blepo five times in this chapter (Mark 13:2, 5, 9, 23, 33). Once (Mark 13:2), He tells the disciples to note the temple and its grounds. Four times, He tells them to be on guard or take heed. He does not say to take heed of the signs of His coming or even to watch for Him. Those are more passive observations (Mark 13:14, 29). Jesus wants His audience to take heed of themselves: to watch their own understanding so they won't be fooled by false teachers (Mark 13:5, 21), to keep at their work for God's kingdom (Mark 13:34–37), and to remember that the tribulation will be horrible, but it will be very short (Mark 13:29–30).

Ever since those earliest days, there have been those obsessed with end-times prophecies. For some, that's driven by the promise of relief from hardships. Others just think it's exciting. Mark 13:6–8 and Mark 13:32–37 indicate that we cannot know, specifically, when Jesus will return. Popular internet resources list nearly two hundred doomsday prophecies, none of which have come true. Most puzzling are "prophets" who live to see their first prophesied date come up empty, only to revise their schedule and try again.

Studying end-times prophecy is fine. For believers, behind the horror is the hope of God's ultimate triumph over evil. But false teachers will use that excitement and add an element of fear. Once we are afraid of some part of the end times, we can quickly be made afraid of things in our present time, if they hint at the fears to come. Fears about the mark of the beast are twisted into paranoia over bar codes and the possibility that the government will implant chips under our skin. Fear of the Antichrist becomes an easy outlet for vilifying public figures, even those who don't fit any biblical criterion for the Antichrist. Fears of the natural disasters promised in Revelation lead to paranoia that every earthquake, eclipse, or weather change heralds the end of the world.

Jesus isn't saying that a vote for the wrong political party is what ignites the tribulation. According to the premillennial interpretation, Christ-followers in the church will be taken at the rapture and won't experience the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 1 Corinthians 15:50–54). Jesus is saying that we need to compare what we experience with what the Bible says. Rest in the fact that God has a plan that will not be thwarted. And concentrate on what He has called us to do: namely to preach the gospel, even if we're persecuted for it (Mark 13:11).
What is the Gospel?
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