Jesus Prophesies the Destruction of the Temple
1As Jesus was leaving the temple courts, his disciples came to him and pointed out the beautiful architecture of the temple. 2And Jesus turned to them and said, “Take a good look at all these things, for I’m telling you, there will not be one stone left upon another. It will all be leveled!” # 24:2 This prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled by the Roman prince Titus, who, in the Roman war of AD 67–70, destroyed the temple. In about AD 135 the emperor Hadrian completely destroyed the city of Jerusalem and built a new city on its foundations and named it Aelia Capitolina.
3Later, when they arrived at the Mount of Olives, his disciples came privately to where he was sitting and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what sign should we expect to signal your coming # 24:3 Or “presence” (Gr. parousia). and the completion of this age?” # 24:3 Although it is possible to translate this “the end of the world,” the Hebraic mind-set of the end of days is a transition into a new age of the Messiah’s coming when all things will be restored.
4Jesus answered, “At that time deception will run rampant. So beware that you are not fooled! 5For many will appear on the scene claiming my authority or saying about themselves, ‘I am the Anointed One,’ and they will lead many astray.
6“You will hear of wars and revolutions on every side, with more rumors of wars to come. Don’t panic or give in to your fears, for the breaking apart of the world’s systems is destined to happen. But it won’t yet be the end; it will still be unfolding.
7“Nations # 24:7 Or “ethnic group.” See 2 Chron. 15:6; Isa. 19:2. will go to war against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms. And there will be terrible earthquakes, horrible epidemics, # 24:7 Although missing from a few Greek manuscripts, “horrible epidemics” is found in the Hebrew Matthew, the Aramaic, and the majority of Greek texts. and famines in place after place. 8This is how the birth pains of the new age will begin!” # 24:8 The Passion Translation is aware of distorted use of the words “new age”; however, true believers in Christ anticipate the coming of a new day (age) dawning, with Christ and his bride ruling the nations. See Joel 2; Rev. 3:21.
Persecution of Believers
9“You can expect to be persecuted, even killed; for you will be hated by all the nations because of your love for me. # 24:9 Or “because of my name.” 10Then many will stop following me and fall away, # 24:10 Or “Many will stumble” (or take offense). and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11And many lying prophets will arise, deceiving multitudes and leading them away from the path of truth. 12There will be such an increase of the sin of lawlessness that those whose hearts once burned with passion for God and others will grow cold. 13But hold your hope # 24:13 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “endure.” firmly to the end and you will experience life and deliverance.
14“Yet through it all, the good news of heaven’s kingdom will be proclaimed all over the world, providing every nation with a demonstration of the reality of God. And after that the end of this age will arrive.”
The Detestable Idol That Brings Misery
15“When you witness what Daniel prophesied, ‘the disgusting destroyer,’ # 24:15 Or “the abomination [sin] that brings desolation [desecration].” See Dan. 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. Jesus is saying that Daniel’s prophecy was not yet fulfilled in Jesus’ time. Many see the fulfillment of this prophecy in AD 70, when Titus, the Roman prince, went into the temple and sacrificed animals to Jupiter. taking its stand # 24:15 The Aramaic is “the defiling sign of desolation piling up (setting up) in the Holy Place.” in the Holy Place [let the reader learn], # 24:15 These parenthetical words were added by Matthew to encourage us to seek the Lord for the understanding of this mystery. Jesus, speaking in the role of the True Prophet, gives us truth to ponder in veiled language. 16then those in the land of Judah must escape to the higher ground. # 24:16 See Jer. 16:16; Zech. 14:5; Luke 21:20–22. 17On that day, if you happen to be outside, # 24:17 Or “on the roof.” don’t go back inside to gather belongings. 18And if you’re working out in the field, don’t run back home to get a coat. 19It will be especially hard for pregnant women and for those nursing their babies in those days. 20So pray that your escape will not be during the winter months or on a Sabbath. 21For this will be a time of great misery beyond the magnitude of anything the world has ever seen or ever will see. Unless God limited those days, no one would escape. 22But because of his love for those chosen to be his, he will shorten that time of trouble.
23“And you will hear reports from some, saying, ‘Look, he has returned,’ ‘The Messiah is over here,’ or ‘The Messiah is over there!’ Don’t believe it. 24For there will be imposters falsely claiming to be God’s ‘Anointed One,’ and false prophets # 24:24 The Aramaic is “prophets of lies.” will arise to perform miracle signs to lead astray, if possible, those God has chosen to be his. 25Remember this, for I prophesy it will happen! 26So if someone says to you, ‘Look, the Anointed One has returned! He’s in the desert,’ don’t go chasing after him. Or if they say to you, ‘Look, he’s here in our house,’ # 24:26 Or “in the inner rooms.” don’t believe it. 27The appearing # 24:27 Or “presence” (Gr. parousia). of the Son of Man will burst forth with the brightness of lightning shining from the eastern sky to the west. 28How do birds of prey know where the dead body is? # 24:28 Or “Wherever you find the corpse, there the eagles will gather.” This peculiar verse is best understood as a parallel of vultures knowing where the carcass is (for example) to how instinctively believers will know when Jesus has appeared. They just know instinctively, and so you will know when I appear.”
The Appearing of the Son of Man
29“Then immediately this is what will take place: ‘The sun will be darkened and the moon give no light. The stars will fall from the sky and all the cosmic powers will be shaken.’ # 24:29 See Isa. 13:10; 34:4; Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9. This can also be viewed as a Hebraic metaphor of the lights of the natural realm being shut off and replaced with heaven’s glory—lights out on the old order. Sun, moon, and stars are also representative of the governmental structures failing with great calamity. A new order, a new glory, is coming to replace the fading glories of this world. 30Then the sign announcing the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn over him. # 24:30 See Zech. 12:10–14; Rev. 1:7. And they will see the Son of Man appearing in the clouds of heaven, revealed with mighty power, # 24:30 The Hebrew Matthew is “mighty warriors.” great splendor, and glory. 31And he will send his messengers with the loud blast of the trumpet, # 24:31 There is always a deeper meaning to the literal understanding of the text of the Bible. This deeper meaning does not negate the literal, but gives a fuller comprehension. Clouds are metaphors of God’s presence among his people. The trumpet blast is symbolic of the universal announcement that will be heard by all. and with a great voice # 24:31 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew, which can also be translated “with a great shout.” This is also found in the Latin Vulgate translated by Jerome, who is believed to have had access to the manuscript of the Hebrew Matthew. they will gather his beloved chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other!”
A Parable of the Fig Tree
32“Now learn the lesson from the parable of the fig tree. When spring arrives and it sends out its tender branches and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So it will be with you, for when you observe all these things taking place, you will know that he is near, even at the door! 34I assure you, the end of this age # 24:34 Or “generation.” will not come until all I have spoken comes to pass. 35The earth and sky will wear out and fade away before one word I speak loses its power or fails to accomplish its purpose.”
Live Always Ready for His Appearing
36“Concerning that day and exact hour, no one knows when it will arrive, not even the angels of heaven # 24:36 A few Greek manuscripts add “nor the Son.” However, that phrase is missing in many Greek texts and is not found in the Hebrew Matthew, the Aramaic, or the Latin Vulgate. —only the Father knows. 37For it will be like it was in the days of Noah when the Son of Man appears. # 24:37 Or “so it will be in the Lord’s presence” (Gr. parousia). 38Before the flood, people lived their lives eating, drinking, marrying, and having children. # 24:38 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew, which is literally “being fruitful and multiplying” (having children). The Greek is “marrying and giving in marriage.” 39They didn’t realize the end was near until Noah entered the ark, and then suddenly, the flood came and took them all away in judgment. It will happen the same way when the Son of Man appears. 40At that time, two men will be working on the farm; one will be taken away in judgment, the other left. 41Two women will be grinding grain; one will be taken away in judgment, the other left. # 24:41 One of the three manuscripts of the Hebrew Matthew, known as Shem-Tob, includes additional text: “This is because the angels at the end of the age will first remove the stumbling blocks [the wicked] from the world and will separate the good from the evil.” This passage is not speaking of what is known as the “rapture,” for as it was in the days of Noah, the evil were “taken” and the righteous were “left.” 42This is why you must stay alert: because no one knows the day your Lord will come.
43“But realize this: If a homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would come to rob his house, he would have been alert and ready, and not let his house be robbed. 44So always be ready, alert, and prepared, because at an hour when you’re not expecting him, the Son of Man will come.”
The Wise and Faithful Servant
45“What would qualify a servant to manage his master’s house? He would be a wise servant who is both faithful and dependable. The master would commission him to oversee others, for he would lead them well and give them food at the right time. 46What joy and blessing will come to that faithful servant when the master comes home to find him serving with excellence! 47I can promise you, the master will raise him up and put him in charge of all that he owns.
48“But the evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master delays his coming, and who knows when he will return?’ And because of the delay, the servant mistreats those in his master’s household. Instead of caring for the ones he was appointed to serve, 49he abuses the other servants and begins to party with drunkards. 50Let me tell you what will happen to him. His master will suddenly return unexpectedly, and he will remove the abusive, selfish servant from his position of trust. 51And the master will cut him in two # 24:51 Most likely hyperbole. The Greek word dichotomeō could also mean that God “will separate him from himself” (soul and body). and assign him to the place of great sorrow and anguish # 24:51 Or “gnashing of teeth.” along with all the other hypocrites.”