Mark 13:5-37 is commonly called the Olivet Discourse for the Lord spoke these words to His disciples on the mount of Olives. (Verse 3).  Parallel teachings are found in Matthew 24-25 and Luke 21:6-38.  In our portion here, the Lord leaves the temple and with His disciples marveling over its beauty, He speaks of its future destruction.  When Peter, James, John, and Andrew ask the Lord about the timing of the temple’s destruction, the Lord sits down and speaks to His disciples of future events.  We see the questions that were asked of the Lord in Matthew 24:3, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be THE SIGN OF THY COMING, AND OF THE END OF THE WORLD?”

It is vital to see what time frame that the Lord is speaking of with His response to the disciples’ questions. While Herod’s temple (sometimes referred to as the second temple) was destroyed in AD 70, the fulfillment of most of the Lord’s words go far beyond that time and refer to events that would happen during the seven-year Tribulation period and up to the time of the Lord’s physical return to the earth.  I strongly encourage you to read the entire chapter of Mark 13 to learn of many of the characteristics of the Tribulation period which will begin after the Rapture of the church.  It is at the end of this period that the Lord will return to the earth and set up His millennial kingdom. 

Let’s read the verse you asked about.  Mark 13:11 says, “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.”

During the Tribulation period, there will be great persecution on the earth.  Keep in mind that the church has been raptured by this time, and persecution for the Lord’s people increases greatly.  The Lord gives His people encouraging and comforting words for when they are arrested and brought before a God hating judicial system.  He tells His people to not be concerned about how they will answer their oppressors.  He assures them that He will give them the proper words to say so that they may respond truthfully and faithfully.  He promises them, “…for it is not ye that speak but the Holy Ghost.”  How gracious is the Lord to minister to the needs of His people at all times. 

  • The Lord promised Moses, “Now therefore go, and I WILL BE WITH THY MOUTH, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Exodus 4:12).
  • The Lord promised Jeremiah, “But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and WHATSOEVER I COMMAND THEE THOU SHALT SPEAK.” (Jeremiah 1:7).

What does the Lord say to us today about speaking to those who oppose the Gospel?  He instructs us in 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”  All believers should be students of the Word of God and fill our hearts and minds with the scriptures so that we will know what to say to those who oppose the truth.

As the Lord was with Moses and with Jeremiah, He also makes a priceless promise to us in Hebrews 13:5, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  We read from the psalmist in Psalm 118:6, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”

May we all learn to rest in the unbreakable promises of God to always be with us!  (CC)  (504.4)