24 Jesus left the temple. As He was walking away, His disciples came up to Him and asked what He thought about the temple buildings.
Jesus: 2 Look around you. All of it will become rubble. I tell you this: not one stone will be left standing.
3 Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately.
Disciples: We don’t understand Your predictions. Tell us, when will these things happen: When will the temple be destroyed? What will be the sign that You are returning? How will we know that the end of the age is upon us?
In this, the last of the five major sermons, Jesus focuses on prophetic and apocalyptic themes of judgment and the end times. The disciples have been listening to the prophetic judgment Jesus has issued on the religious leaders. They have images of collapsing temple buildings, of prophets pursued from town to town, of floggings, and of blood-soaked garments. They can imagine themselves blood-soaked. When will this all happen, and what does it mean?
Jesus: 4 Take care that you are not deceived. 5 For many will come in My name claiming they are the Anointed One, and many poor souls will be taken in. 6 You will hear of wars, and you will hear rumors of wars, but you should not panic. It is inevitable, this violent breaking apart of the sinful world, but remember, the wars are not the end. The end is still unfolding. 7 Nations will do battle with nations, and kingdoms will fight neighboring kingdoms, and there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But these are not the end. These are the birth pangs, the beginning. The end is still unfolding.
9 They will hand you over to your enemies, who will torture you and then kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. 10 And many who have followed Me and claimed to love Me and sought God’s kingdom will turn away—they will abandon the faith and betray and hate one another. 11-12 The love that they had for one another will grow cold because few will obey the law. False prophets will appear, many will be taken in by them, and the only thing that will grow is wickedness. There will be no end to the increase of wickedness. 13 But those who do not waver from our path and do not follow those false prophets—those among you will be saved. 14 And this good news of God’s kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, a testimony to all people and all nations. Then, beloved, the end, the consummation of all things, will come.
15 You will remember that the prophet Daniel predicted this—predicted the abomination that causes desolation[a]—when you see the prophesied desolation of the holy place. (Reader, take notice; it is important that you understand this.) 16 When you see this, let those in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 If you are relaxing on your rooftop one evening and the signs of the temple’s destructions come, don’t return to your house to rescue a book or a pet or a scrap of clothing. 18 If you are in the field when the great destruction begins, don’t return home for a cloak. 19 Pregnant women and nursing mothers will have the worst of it. 20 And as for you, pray that your flight to the hills will not come on the Sabbath or in the cold of winter. 21 For the tribulation will be unparalleled—hardships of a magnitude that has not been seen since creation and that will not be seen again. 22 Indeed the Lord God your merciful judge will cut this time of trial short, and this will be done for the benefit of the elect that some might indeed be saved—for no one could survive the depravity for very long.
23 I cannot say this clearly enough: during this time, someone will say to you, “Look, here is the Anointed One!” or “Aren’t you relieved? Haven’t you seen the Savior down there, around the bend, over the hill and dale?” Do not believe them. 24 False liberators and false prophets will appear, and they will know a few tricks—they will perform great miracles, and they will make great promises. If it were possible, they would even deceive God’s elect. 25 But I am warning you ahead of time: remember—do not fall for their lies or lines or promises. 26 If someone says, “He’s out there in the desert”—do not go. And if someone says, “He’s here at our house, at our table”—do not believe him. 27 When the Son of Man comes, He will be as visible as lightning in the East is visible even in the West. 28 And where the carcass is, there will always be vultures.
29 And as the prophets have foretold it: after the distress of those days,
The sun will grow dark,
and the moon will be hidden.
The stars will fall from the sky,
and all the powers in the heavens will be dislodged and shaken from their places.[b]
30 That is when the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. All the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming; they will see Him powerful and glorious, riding on chariots of clouds in the sky. 31 With a loud trumpet call, He will send out battalions of heavenly messengers; and they will gather His beloved faithful elect from the four corners of creation, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 Now think of the fig tree. As soon as its twigs get tender and greenish, as soon as it begins to sprout leaves, you know to expect summer. 33 In the same way, when you see the wars and the suffering and the false liberators and the desolations, you will know the Son of Man is near—right at the door. 34 I tell you this: this generation will see all these things take place before it passes away. 35 My words are always true and always here with you. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.
36 No one knows the hour or the day, not even the messengers in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. 37 As it was at the time of Noah, so it will be with the coming of the Son of Man. 38 In the days before the flood, people were busy making lives for themselves: they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, making plans and having children and growing old, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39 Those people had no idea what was coming; they knew nothing about the floods until the floods were upon them, sweeping them all away. That is how it will be with the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be plowing a field: one will be taken, and the other will be left in the field. 41 Two women will be somewhere grinding at a mill: one will be taken, and the other will be left at the mill.
42 So keep watch. You don’t know when your Lord will come. 43 But you should know this: If the owner of a house had known his house was about to be broken into, he would have stayed up all night, vigilantly. He would have kept watch, and he would have thwarted the thief. 44 So you must be ready because you know the Son of Man will come, but you can’t know precisely when.
45 The trustworthy servant is the one whom the master puts in charge of all the servants of his household; it is the trustworthy servant who not only oversees all the work, but also ensures the servants are properly fed and cared for. 46 And it is, of course, crucial that a servant who is given such responsibility performs his responsibility to his master’s standards—so when the master returns he finds his trust has been rewarded. 47 For then the master will put that good servant in charge of all his possessions. 48 But imagine that the master’s trust was misplaced, that the supposedly responsible servant is actually a thief who says to himself, “My master has been gone so long, he is not possibly coming back.” 49 Then he beats his fellow servants and dines and drinks with drunkards. 50 Well, when the master returns—as certainly he will—the servant will be caught unawares. The master will return on a day and at an hour when he isn’t expected. 51 And he will cut his worthless servant into pieces and throw him out into darkness with the hypocrites, where there is weeping and grinding of teeth.