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Matthew 24

24
The Signs of the End
1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him. They wanted him to admire the temple buildings. 2“Do you see all this?” Jesus asked. “Truly I tell you, there won’t be one stone left here on top of another. Every building will be torn down, to the last stone.”
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately and asked, “Tell us, when will this happen? And what will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered, “Don’t let anyone trick you! 5Many people will come claiming to be me and saying, ‘I’m the Messiah!’ They’ll get many people to follow them. 6You’ll hear about wars, and you’ll hear people saying there are going to be wars. Don’t be afraid. Those things will happen, but that won’t be the end. 7Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom will fight against kingdom. People won’t have enough food, and there will be earthquakes in many places. 8But all of this will be only the beginning of the birth pains.
9“Then people will hand you over to be oppressed and killed, and all nations will hate you because of me. 10At that time, many will turn away from the faith. They will hate one another and hand each other over to their enemies. 11Many false prophets will appear, and they will trick many people. 12Wickedness will increase and many people’s love will grow cold. 13But anyone who remains strong in the faith will be saved. 14This good news of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.
15“The prophet Daniel spoke about ‘the detestable thing that brings desolation.’ One day you’ll see it standing in the holy place.” (Let the one who reads this be sure to understand.) 16“When that happens, those who are in Judea should escape to the mountains. 17No one who’s on a housetop should go down into the house to take anything out. 18No one who’s out in the field should go back home to get their coat. 19How awful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that you won’t have to run away in the winter or on a Sabbath day. 21There will be terrible suffering in those days, worse than any other time from the beginning of the world until now, and there will never be anything like it again.
22“If that time were not cut short, no one would survive. But because of God’s chosen people, it will be shortened. 23At that time someone may say to you, ‘Look! Here’s the Messiah!’ Or, ‘He’s over there!’ Don’t believe it. 24False messiahs and false prophets will appear, and they’ll do great signs and miracles. They’ll even try to trick God’s chosen people if they can. 25See, I’ve told you ahead of time.
26“So if anyone tells you, ‘He’s out in the desert,’ don’t go out there. And if anyone says, ‘He’s deep inside the house,’ don’t believe it. 27Lightning that comes from the east can be seen in the west. It will be the same when the Son of Man comes. 28You know where a dead body is when you see vultures circling in the sky.
29“Right after the terrible suffering of those days,
“ ‘The sun will go dark,
the moon won’t shine,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the planets will be shaken.’
30“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven. Then all the peoples of the earth will mourn, when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his chosen people from the north, south, east, and west—from one end of the sky to the other.
32“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33In the same way, when you see all these things happening, you’ll know that the end is near, right at the door. 34Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Time Are Not Known
36“But no one knows what day or time this will happen. The angels in heaven don’t even know, and the Son doesn’t know either—only the Father knows. 37When the Son of Man comes, it will be the same as it was in the days of Noah. 38In the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, getting married and arranging marriages, right up to the day when Noah entered the ark. 39They didn’t know anything about what was going to happen until the flood came and took them all away. That’s how it will be when the Son of Man comes. 40Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken and the other will be spared. 41Two women will be grinding together with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other will be left.
42“So keep watch, because you don’t know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the robber was coming, he would have kept watch. He wouldn’t have let his house be broken into. 44So you must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at a time when you aren’t expecting him.
45“Suppose a master puts one of his slaves in charge of the other slaves and tells him to give them their food at the right time. The master would want to choose a faithful and wise slave to do that. 46It will be good for this slave if the master finds him doing his job when he returns. 47Truly I tell you, the master will put that slave in charge of everything he owns. 48But suppose the slave is a bad person and he says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time. I can do whatever I want.’ 49Suppose he then starts to beat the other slaves and to eat and drink with people who drink too much. 50The master of that slave will come back on a day when he isn’t expecting him and at a time when he isn’t watching. 51Then the master will cut him to pieces and send him to the same place where hypocrites go, where people will weep and grind their teeth.
24
The temple will be destroyed
(Mark 13.1,2; Luke 21.5,6)
1After Jesus left the temple, his disciples came over and said, “Look at all these buildings!”
2Jesus replied, “Do you see these buildings? They will certainly be torn down! Not one stone will be left in place.”
Warning about trouble
(Mark 13.3-13; Luke 21.7-19)
3Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him in private and asked, “When will this happen? What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?”
4Jesus answered:
Don't let anyone fool you. 5Many will come and claim to be me. They will say that they are the Messiah, and they will fool many people.
6You will soon hear about wars and threats of wars, but don't be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn't the end. 7Nations and kingdoms will go to war against each other. People will starve to death, and in some places there will be earthquakes. 8But this is just the beginning of troubles.
9You will be arrested, punished, and even killed. Because of me, you will be hated by people of all nations.#Mt 10.22. 10Many will give up and will betray and hate each other. 11Many false prophets will come and fool a lot of people. 12Evil will spread and cause many people to stop loving others. 13But if you keep on being faithful right to the end, you will be saved.#Mt 10.22. 14When the good news about the kingdom has been preached all over the world and told to all nations, the end will come.
The Horrible Thing
(Mark 13.14-23; Luke 21.20-24)
Jesus continued:
15Some day you will see that “Horrible Thing” in the holy place, just as the prophet Daniel said. Everyone who reads this must try to understand!#Dn 9.27; 11.31; 12.11. 16If you are living in Judea at that time, run to the mountains. 17If you are on the roof#24.17 roof: In Palestine the houses usually had a flat roof. Stairs on the outside led up to the roof, which was made of beams and boards covered with packed earth. of your house, don't go inside to get anything.#Lk 17.31. 18If you are out in the field, don't go back for your coat. 19It will be a terrible time for women who are expecting babies or nursing young children. 20And pray that you won't have to escape in winter or on a Sabbath.#24.20 in winter or on a Sabbath: In Palestine the winters are cold and rainy and make travel difficult. The Jewish people were not allowed to travel much more than a kilometre on the Sabbath. For these reasons it was hard for them to escape from their enemies in the winter or on a Sabbath. 21This will be the worst time of suffering since the beginning of the world, and nothing this terrible will ever happen again.#Dn 12.1; Rev 7.14. 22If God doesn't make the time shorter, no one will be left alive. But because of God's chosen ones, he will make the time shorter.
23Someone may say, “Here is the Messiah!” or “There he is!” But don't believe it. 24False messiahs and false prophets will come and perform great miracles and signs. They will even try to fool God's chosen ones. 25But I have warned you beforehand. 26If you are told that the Messiah is out in the desert, don't go there! And if you are told that he is in some secret place, don't believe it!#Lk 17.23,24. 27The coming of the Son of Man will be like lightning that can be seen from east to west. 28Where there is a corpse, there will always be vultures.#24.28 Where there is a corpse, there will always be vultures: This saying may mean that when anything important happens, people soon know about it. Or the saying may mean that whenever something bad happens, curious people gather around and stare. But the word translated “vulture” also means “eagle” and may refer to the Roman army, which had an eagle as its symbol.#Lk 17.37.
When the Son of Man appears
(Mark 13.24-27; Luke 21.25-28)
Jesus continued:
29Straight after those days of suffering,#Is 13.10; Jl 2.10,31; 3.15; Rev 6.12; Is 13.10; Ez 32.7; Jl 2.10; 3.15; Is 34.4; Rev 6.13.
“The sun will become dark,
and the moon
will no longer shine.
The stars will fall,
and the powers in the sky#24.29 the powers in the sky: In ancient times people thought that the stars were spiritual powers.
will be shaken.”
30Then a sign will appear in the sky. And there will be the Son of Man.#24.30 And there will be the Son of Man: Or “And it will be the Son of Man.” All nations on earth will weep when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.#Dn 7.13; Zec 12.10-14; Rev 1.7. 31At the sound of a loud trumpet, he will send his angels to bring his chosen ones together from all over the earth.
A lesson from a fig tree
(Mark 13.28-31; Luke 21.29-33)
Jesus continued:
32Learn a lesson from a fig tree. When its branches sprout and start putting out leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time has almost come.#24.33 the time has almost come: Or “he (that is, the Son of Man) will soon be here.” 34I can promise you that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all this happens. 35The sky and the earth won't last for ever, but my words will.
No one knows the day or time
(Mark 13.32-37; Luke 17.26-30,34-36)
Jesus continued:
36No one knows the day or hour. The angels in heaven don't know, and the Son himself doesn't know.#24.36 and the Son himself doesn't know: These words are not in some manuscripts. Only the Father knows. 37When the Son of Man appears, things will be just as they were when Noah lived.#Gn 6.5-8. 38People were eating, drinking, and getting married right up to the day that the flood came and Noah went into the big boat. 39They didn't know anything was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man appears.#Gn 7.6-24.
40Two men will be in the same field, but only one will be taken. The other will be left. 41Two women will be together grinding grain, but only one will be taken. The other will be left. 42So be on your guard! You don't know when your Lord will come. 43Homeowners never know when a thief is coming, and they are always on guard to keep one from breaking in.#Lk 12.39,40. 44Always be ready! You don't know when the Son of Man will come.
Faithful and unfaithful servants
(Luke 12.35-48)
Jesus continued:
45Who are faithful and wise servants? Who are the ones the master will put in charge of giving the other servants their food supplies at the proper time? 46Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job. 47You may be sure that a servant who is always faithful will be put in charge of everything the master owns. 48But suppose one of the servants thinks that the master won't return until late. 49Suppose that evil servant starts beating the other servants and eats and drinks with people who are drunk. 50If that happens, the master will come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. 51That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the ones who only pretended to serve their master. There they will cry and grit their teeth in pain.