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Chapter 24

The Destruction of the Temple Foretold. [a](A)Jesus left the temple area and was going away, when his disciples approached him to point out the temple buildings. [b]He said to them in reply, “You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

The Beginning of Calamities. As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives,[c] the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?” [d]Jesus said to them in reply, “See that no one deceives you.

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Footnotes

  1. 24:1–25:46 The discourse of the fifth book, the last of the five around which the gospel is structured. It is called the “eschatological” discourse since it deals with the coming of the new age (the eschaton) in its fullness, with events that will precede it, and with how the disciples are to conduct themselves while awaiting an event that is as certain as its exact time is unknown to all but the Father (Mt 24:36). The discourse may be divided into two parts, Mt 24:1–44 and Mt 24:45–25:46. In the first, Matthew follows his Marcan source (Mk 13:1–37) closely. The second is drawn from Q and from the evangelist’s own traditional material. Both parts show Matthew’s editing of his sources by deletions, additions, and modifications. The vigilant waiting that is emphasized in the second part does not mean a cessation of ordinary activity and concentration only on what is to come, but a faithful accomplishment of duties at hand, with awareness that the end, for which the disciples must always be ready, will entail the great judgment by which the everlasting destiny of all will be determined.
  2. 24:2 As in Mark, Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple. By omitting the Marcan story of the widow’s contribution (Mk 12:41–44) that immediately precedes the prediction in that gospel, Matthew has established a close connection between it and Mt 23:38, “…your house will be abandoned desolate.”
  3. 24:3 The Mount of Olives: see note on Mt 21:1. The disciples: cf. Mk 13:3–4 where only Peter, James, John, and Andrew put the question that is answered by the discourse. In both gospels, however, the question is put privately: the ensuing discourse is only for those who are disciples of Jesus. When will this happen…end of the age?: Matthew distinguishes carefully between the destruction of the temple (this) and the coming of Jesus that will bring the end of the age. In Mark the two events are more closely connected, a fact that may be explained by Mark’s believing that the one would immediately succeed the other. Coming: this translates the Greek word parousia, which is used in the gospels only here and in Mt 24:27, 37, 39. It designated the official visit of a ruler to a city or the manifestation of a saving deity, and it was used by Christians to refer to the final coming of Jesus in glory, a term first found in the New Testament with that meaning in 1 Thes 2:19. The end of the age: see note on Mt 13:39.
  4. 24:4–14 This section of the discourse deals with calamities in the world (Mt 24:6–7) and in the church (Mt 24:9–12). The former must happen before the end comes (Mt 24:6), but they are only the beginning of the labor pains (Mt 24:8). (It may be noted that the Greek word translated the end in Mt 24:6 and in Mt 24:13–14 is not the same as the phrase “the end of the age” in Mt 24:3, although the meaning is the same.) The latter are sufferings of the church, both from within and without, that will last until the gospel is preached…to all nations. Then the end will come and those who have endured the sufferings with fidelity will be saved (Mt 24:13–14).

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