The news just seems to get worse. Two weeks ago we began describing the great deception and chaos as signaling the fulfillment of Jesus' prophesies. Last week Jesus continued this time promising His Holy Spirit and salvation for those who endure. Today, Jesus speaks of the appearance of the "abomination that causes desolation" (Mark 13:14; see also Dan. 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11).

We've seen it in history, in various regions of the world, and to different degrees, the things Jesus has described so far in Mark 13:5-13. But now Jesus is speaking of a time future to us - a time we have not yet seen in our history.

The documented history of the world has shown us how Christians have survived what Jesus predicted and what the disciples and those who followed endured, and the power of His promises. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has reached nearly every human being on earth! Yet this Great Commission remains to be completed. As that time nears, more false Christs and false prophets will appear. They're here now and have been since the beginning. They counsel us with their bestselling books and on TV and radio. Even those long-dead influence many today.

And amidst the fear of the unknown, Jesus gives us encouragement to prepare to succeed, just as His disciples and previous generations did. "For the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short - otherwise, no one would survive" (Mark 13:20). He also reminds us as He did in Mark 13:5, "Don't be deceived"; and "be on your guard" (Mark 13:21-23).

We can learn from those who went before us - the disciples, the martyrs, and the bold men and women of God - who have survived to tell their stories. We can follow them into this unknown future just as the disciples followed Christ and generations of Christians followed them. By taking heed to Jesus' advice: "Be on your guard" (Mark 13:23).