Routine History

24 1-2 Jesus then left the Temple. As he walked away, his disciples pointed out how very impressive the Temple architecture was. Jesus said, “You’re not impressed by all this sheer size, are you? The truth of the matter is that there’s not a stone in that building that is not going to end up in a pile of rubble.”

Later as he was sitting on Mount Olives, his disciples approached and asked him, “Tell us, when are these things going to happen? What will be the sign of your coming, that the time’s up?”

4-8 Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming.

9-10 “They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name. And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other.

11-12 “In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes.

13-14 “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.

The Monster of Desecration

15-20 “But be ready to run for it when you see the monster of desecration set up in the Temple sanctuary. The prophet Daniel described this. If you’ve read Daniel, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’re living in Judea at the time, run for the hills; if you’re working in the yard, don’t return to the house to get anything; if you’re out in the field, don’t go back and get your coat. Pregnant and nursing mothers will have it especially hard. Hope and pray this won’t happen during the winter or on a Sabbath.

21-22 “This is going to be trouble on a scale beyond what the world has ever seen, or will see again. If these days of trouble were left to run their course, nobody would make it. But on account of God’s chosen people, the trouble will be cut short.

The Arrival of the Son of Man

23-25 “If anyone tries to flag you down, calling out, ‘Here’s the Messiah!’ or points, ‘There he is!’ don’t fall for it. Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better. But I’ve given you fair warning.

26-28 “So if they say, ‘Run to the country and see him arrive!’ or, ‘Quick, get downtown, see him come!’ don’t give them the time of day. The Arrival of the Son of Man isn’t something you go to see. He comes like swift lightning to you! Whenever you see crowds gathering, think of carrion vultures circling, moving in, hovering over a rotting carcass. You can be quite sure that it’s not the living Son of Man pulling in those crowds.

29 “Following those hard times,

Sun will fade out,
    moon cloud over,
Stars fall out of the sky,
    cosmic powers tremble.

30-31 “Then, the Arrival of the Son of Man! It will fill the skies—no one will miss it. Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven. At that same moment, he’ll dispatch his angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God’s chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.

32-35 “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.

36 “But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.

37-39 “The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah’s. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.

39-44 “The Son of Man’s Arrival will be like that: Two men will be working in the field—one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.

45-47 “Who here qualifies for the job of overseeing the kitchen? A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day. Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. It won’t be long before the Master will put this person in charge of the whole operation.

48-51 “But if that person only looks out for himself, and the minute the Master is away does what he pleases—abusing the help and throwing drunken parties for his friends—the Master is going to show up when he least expects it and make hash of him. He’ll end up in the dump with the hypocrites, out in the cold shivering, teeth chattering.”

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times(A)

24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another;(B) every one will be thrown down.”

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives,(C) the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming(D) and of the end of the age?”(E)

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.(F) For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.(G) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.(H) There will be famines(I) and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted(J) and put to death,(K) and you will be hated by all nations because of me.(L) 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets(M) will appear and deceive many people.(N) 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.(O) 14 And this gospel of the kingdom(P) will be preached in the whole world(Q) as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place(R) ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a](S) spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop(T) go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!(U) 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.(V)

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect(W) those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.(X) 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders(Y) to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning(Z) that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming(AA) of the Son of Man.(AB) 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.(AC)

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b](AD)

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn(AE) when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven,(AF) with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels(AG) with a loud trumpet call,(AH) and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door.(AI) 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.(AJ) 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.(AK)

The Day and Hour Unknown(AL)(AM)

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father.(AN) 37 As it was in the days of Noah,(AO) so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,(AP) up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.(AQ) 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.(AR) 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.(AS)

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.(AT) 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming,(AU) he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready,(AV) because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,(AW) whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.(AX) 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.(AY) 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.(AZ) 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.(BA)

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 24:15 Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11
  2. Matthew 24:29 Isaiah 13:10; 34:4
  3. Matthew 24:30 Or the tribes of the land
  4. Matthew 24:30 See Daniel 7:13-14.
  5. Matthew 24:33 Or he
  6. Matthew 24:36 Some manuscripts do not have nor the Son.

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