Bible Reading: Mark 13
Mark 13:31, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
We live in uncertain times. Things are changing fast. Efforts are ongoing to rewrite history and cancel important aspects of our culture. The changing tides of cultural norms are sweeping away much of what has held our society together. The world is becoming increasingly unstable, with nation rising against nation and wars and rumors of wars making the news. How are we to keep our bearings? How are we to distinguish between truth and error? What are we to believe?
It’s important to note the context of this verse. Jesus was speaking of the events that would accompany His second coming. The chapter warns of unprecedented times of trouble—wars, earthquakes, and great tribulation. The sun and moon will be darkened and “the stars will be falling from heaven” (Mark 13:25). But juxtaposed to this, Jesus’ words “will not pass away” (Mark 13:31).
Only a few things are eternal—God Himself, the souls of men (though their eternal destiny will vary depending on their response to the gospel; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10); and God’s eternal Word. All else, including this very planet on which we live, and the heavens we look up to, will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10).
The Apostle Peter wrote to persecuted Christians who likewise lived-in uncertain times. His counsel to them has relevance to us: “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). It has been said that the Bible offers to us “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth,” and that’s a good way to think about it, but Peter’s analogy leans more to that of a lamp. We are compelled to pay attention as we navigate our lives through a dark and hazard filled world making our way to our heavenly destination. The Word is like a lamp (Psalm 119:105). And as long as we pay attention to its instruction, promises, and warnings we will be kept safe along the way. We will be well served if we approach our reading and studying of the Word with an “as if our lives depend on it” way of thinking.
The story is told of Voltaire, a well-known French infidel, who said: “While it took 12 men to write Christianity up, I will show that it takes but one man to write it down!” He predicted that within 100 years of his time, Christianity would be swept away from existence and the Bible would pass into the obscurity of history. Yet 50 years after his death in 1778, the Geneva Bible Society used his house and printing press to produce stacks of Bibles! Voltaire’s house was used by the Geneva Bible Society as a distribution center for Bibles. Indeed, since Voltaire’s death, millions of copies of the Bible have been printed.
God’s eternal Word is trustworthy in all it says—every prediction proven, every truth confirmed, every prophesy fulfilled, every promise and warning upheld. We do well to “pay attention” to it, especially in these dark days.
Much in our world has changed and is changing fast, but God’s Word doesn’t change.
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
When looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he; then with a twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so, I thought, the anvil of God’s Word,
For ages, skeptics blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.