Our first instinct probably ought to be to equate "these things" and "all these things" in verse 4, by way of Hebraic parallelism, since the text provides only one antecedent for the both: the destruction of the temple complex ("these great buildings"). This equation works pretty well, with the first question emphasizing the destruction itself and the second question emphasizing the sign that will mark its occurrence.
Our first instinct for verses 29-30, therefore, probably ought also to be to equate "these things" and "all these things." But this maneuver actually backfires, since verse 29 has two parts: (A) "these things" which we are to see and (B) something or someone (it is unclear in the Greek) which is at the gates when those things are seen to happen. In other words, "these things" cannot both be the sign leading up to the person or thing at the gates and be inclusive of the person or thing at the gates, whereas "all these things" virtually by definition has to refer to everything under consideration. So "all these things" literally covers more ground than "these things." The two cannot be equivalent in verses 29-30 as they are able to be in verse 4.
"These things" + the person or thing at the gates = "all these things." So who or what is at the gates? My suggestion is to ignore verse 4 for the time being and to connect "when you see these things happening" in verse 29 back to "when you see the abomination of desolation" in verse 14, with the tribulation inaugurated by the abomination of desolation being part of "these things." In this case, then, "all these things" in verse 30 would naturally include the coming of the son of man, as well, and of course then, quite naturally, it is either the son of man himself or his coming which is at the gates. The sense is this: when you see "these things" which have to do with the abomination of desolation happening, know that he (the son of man) or it (the coming itself) is near, at the gates; "all these things," including both "these things" and the coming of the son of man (as well as the beginning of the birth pangs in verses 7-8), will happen within this generation.
But what does this interpretation do to verse 4? Well, the first question is fine; "these things" refer back to the destruction of the temple buildings, as expected, to which, in the final redaction of this chapter, the abomination of desolation corresponds. But "all these things" in the second question have no actual antecedent unless they mean exactly the same thing and extend exactly as far as "these things," which would create an imbalance between verse 4 and the obviously parallel verses 29-30, in which (as we have seen) "these things" and "all these things" are not coextensive. My suggestion, then, is that verse 4 was modeled upon verses 29-30, with its meaning already squarely in mind, and our author or editor either did not notice or did not care that he or she had forgotten to create an antecedent for "all these things" in verses 1-2. As Ken Olson has written:
Exactly so. The phrase "all these things" gives latitude for whatever may happen during the rest of Mark 13; to my mind, then, it was composed with the rest of the chapter already in mind, and it is, in fact, the rest of the chapter that provides the "antecedent" for "all these things," albeit awkwardly, after the fact. The intent was to create an inclusio, but an antecedent for part of the first frame of the inclusio was forgotten along the way.Ken Olson wrote: ↑Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:37 pmThe disciples' question has two parts: 13.4 "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished?" The second part of the question doesn't seem to have a referent in what Jesus had said in 13.1-2, but it does seem to give latitude for an answer on the scale of the Little Apocalypse that follows.
There is more. In the final redaction of this chapter, at least, it seems to me that "that day or hour" in verse 32 may well be referring back specifically to the coming of the son of man. The purpose would be to make the coming of the son of man an immediate exception to the statement that "all these things" would happen within a living generation of Jesus' own time. Essentially, "all these things" are going to happen within that time span, with the single exception of the coming of the son of man (compared to a returning master in verses 33-37), of which the timing is unknown. This strategy of carving out an exception to the generational prophecy was very effective from an apologetic point of view, and is still in use today.
So now I present the entirety of Mark 13 with these observations in mind. The color coding is meant to distinguish which parts of the chapter are being referred to by which phrase ("these things" or "all these things"). Both the phrase "these things" and anything referred to by it are boldfaced and colored red. Anything not covered by "these things" is boldfaced and colored blue. Red + blue = purple, so the phrase "all these things" is boldfaced and colored purple. I have not boldfaced verses 5-6 and 21-23, since I am not sure how they fit into the chapter yet. Nor have I boldfaced verses 9-13, since verse 10 I believe to probably be an early scribal harmonization from Matthew and verses 9 and 11-13 I tend to regard as intrusive. But I have colored verses 5-6 and 9-13 blue, since those passages would all hypothetically belong to what is not being referred to by "these things." The single phrase "after that tribulation" I have chosen not to boldface, either, because I regard it as being a possible gloss. Verse 20, however, though I regard it, too, as being a possible gloss, has to be colored red, since it is part of the tribulation period being referred to by "these things." The same goes for verses 21-23. "That day or hour" and the coming of the son of man I have enclosed in a double tilde (~) to mark their correspondence. Finally, I have fully colored only the parts in between the horizontal lines, since those parts are the ones which carry the chronology, such as it is, forward from the beginning ("of the birth pangs") to the end; the parts outside of those horizontal lines are introduction and conclusion, and are meant to comment on what is going on with the predictions themselves. Besides, verses 32-37, as mentioned above, I regard as an addition, one meant to blunt the force of the generational prediction.
Here is the chapter:
I did my level best to coax this structure out of the text itself, without caring whither the investigation might lead. Every exegetical move was meant to be the most natural one available to me. Reaching a dead end meant stepping back and trying a different route.
I know I have a lot of passages and phrases marked out as possible additions or glosses, but I think my exegesis of "these things" and "all these things" actually works even if those passages are considered original. For example, it is possible that a single author composed the generational prophecy, apparently including everything already discussed under its chronological umbrella, before immediately turning around and undermining that prophecy with the motif of the unknown hour. I myself think that two different hands are at work here (either that or the same hand at two very different times), but my interpretation of the structure of the chapter, based on "these things" and 'all these things," is well and truly independent of that hypothesis of mine, and can work even if it is incorrect.