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13 As Jesus left the temple later that day, one of the disciples noticed the grandeur of Herod’s temple.

Disciple: Teacher, I can’t believe the size of these stones! Look at these magnificent buildings!

Jesus: Look closely at these magnificent buildings. Someday there won’t be one of these great stones left on another. Everything will be thrown down.

They took a seat on the Mount of Olives, across the valley from the temple; and Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Jesus to explain His statement to them privately.

Peter, James, John, and Andrew: Don’t keep us in the dark. When will the temple be destroyed? What sign will let us know that it’s about to happen?

Jesus: Take care that no one deceives you. Many will come claiming to be Mine, saying, “I am the One,” and they will fool lots of people. You will hear of wars, or that war is coming, but don’t lose heart. These things will have to happen, although it won’t mean the end yet. Tribe will rise up against tribe, nation against nation, and there will be earthquakes in place after place and famines. These are a prelude to “labor pains” that precede the temple’s fall.

Be careful, because you will be delivered to trial and beaten in the places of worship. Kings and governors will stand in judgment over you as you speak in My name. 10 The good news of the coming kingdom of God must be delivered first in every land and every language. 11 When people bring you up on charges and it is your time to defend yourself, don’t worry about what message you’ll deliver. Whatever comes to your mind, speak it, because the Holy Spirit will inspire it.

12 But it will get worse. Brothers will betray each other to death, and fathers will betray their children. Children will turn against their parents and cause them to be executed. 13 Everyone will hate you because of your allegiance to Me. But if you’re faithful until the end, you will be rescued.

14 You will see that which desecrates our most holy place[a] [described by Daniel the prophet][b] out of place.

Let the one who reads and hears understand.

Jesus: On the day you see it, whoever is in Judea should flee for the mountains. 15 The person on the rooftop shouldn’t reenter the house to get anything, 16 and the person working in the field shouldn’t turn back to grab his coat. 17 It will be horrible for women who are pregnant or who are nursing their children when those days come. 18 And pray that you don’t have to run for your lives in the winter. 19 When those days come, there will be suffering like nobody has seen from the beginning of the world that God created until now, and it never will be like this again. 20 And if the Lord didn’t shorten those days for the sake of the ones He has chosen, then nobody would survive them.

21 If anyone tells you in those days, “Look, there is the Anointed One!” or “Hey, that must be Him!” don’t believe them. 22 False liberators and prophets will pop up like weeds, and they will work signs and perform miracles that would entice even God’s chosen people, if that were possible. 23 So be alert, and remember how I have warned you.

24-25 As Isaiah said in the days after that great suffering,

    The sun will refuse to shine,
        and the moon will hold back its light.
    The stars in heaven will fall,
        and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.[c]

26 Then you will see (as Daniel predicted) “the Son of Man coming in the clouds,”[d] clothed in power and majesty. 27 And He will send out His heavenly messengers and gather together to Himself those He has chosen from the four corners of the world, from every direction and every land.

The disciples can’t help but notice that something is in the air during this week between His entry into Jerusalem and His crucifixion. Surely the moment when Jesus is to reveal Himself as the Anointed can’t be far off. By repeatedly calling Himself the Son of Man, Jesus has told people His kingdom will be divinely instituted like the one described in Daniel 7. They are also thinking of promises about the coming Anointed One. But for Jesus, everything now is connected to His imminent death and resurrection. Even as He predicts the temple’s fall—an event that will occur about 40 years later—and speaks of His second coming, He is still thinking about His death. After all, resurrection can’t happen without death. And the old world must die before the world is made new.

Jesus: 28 Learn this lesson from the fig tree: When its branch is new and tender and begins to put forth leaves, you know that summer must be near. 29 In the same way, when you see and hear the things I’ve described to you taking place, you’ll know the time is drawing near. 30 It’s true—this generation will not pass away before all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth may pass away, but these words of Mine will never pass away.

32 Take heed: no one knows the day or hour when the end is coming. The messengers in heaven don’t know, nor does the Son. Only the Father knows.

33 So be alert. Watch for it [and pray,][e] for you never know when that time might approach.

34 This situation is like a man who went on a journey; when he departed, he left his servants in charge of the house. Each of them had his own job to do; and the man left the porter to stand at the door, watching. 35 So stay awake, because no one knows when the master of the house is coming back. It could be in the evening or at midnight or when the rooster crows or in the morning. 36 Stay awake; be alert so that when he suddenly returns, the master won’t find you sleeping.

37 The teaching I am giving the four of you now is for everyone who will follow Me: stay awake, and keep your eyes open.


  1. 13:14 Literally abomination of desolation, Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11
  2. 13:14 The earliest manuscripts omit this portion.
  3. 13:24–25 Isaiah 13:10; 34:4
  4. 13:26 Daniel 7:13
  5. 13:33 Some manuscripts omit this portion.

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