New English Translation
The Destruction of the Temple
24 Now[a] as Jesus was going out of the temple courts and walking away, his disciples came to show him the temple buildings.[b] 2 And he said to them,[c] “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth,[d] not one stone will be left on another.[e] All will be torn down!”[f]
Signs of the End of the Age
3 As[g] he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things[h] happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered them,[i] “Watch out[j] that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’[k] and they will mislead many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come.[l] 7 For nation will rise up in arms[m] against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes[n] in various places.[o] 8 All[p] these things are the beginning of birth pains.
Persecution of Disciples
9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations[q] because of my name.[r] 10 Then many will be led into sin,[s] and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will appear and deceive[t] many, 12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved.[u] 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations,[v] and then the end will come.
The Abomination of Desolation
15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation[w]—spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place” (let the reader understand),[x] 16 “then those in Judea must flee[y] to the mountains. 17 The one on the roof[z] must not come down[aa] to take anything out of his house, 18 and the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 19 Woe[ab] to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! 20 Pray[ac] that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great suffering[ad] unlike anything that has happened[ae] from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’[af] or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. 24 For false messiahs[ag] and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 Remember,[ah] I have told you ahead of time. 26 So then, if someone[ai] says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’[aj] do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him. 27 For just like the lightning[ak] comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures[al] will gather.[am]
The Arrival of the Son of Man
29 “Immediately[an] after the suffering[ao] of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken.[ap] 30 Then[aq] the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven,[ar] and[as] all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They[at] will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven[au] with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven[av] to the other.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
32 “Learn[aw] this parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also you, when you see all these things, know[ax] that he is near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth,[ay] this generation[az] will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.[ba]
36 “But as for that day and hour no one knows it—not even the angels in heaven[bb]—except the Father alone. 37 For just like the days of Noah[bc] were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 38 For in those days before the flood, people[bd] were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39 And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away.[be] It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man.[bf] 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left.[bg] 41 There will be two women grinding grain with a mill;[bh] one will be taken and one left.
42 “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day[bi] your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief[bj] was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.[bk]
The Faithful and Wise Slave
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave,[bl] whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves[bm] their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work[bn] when he comes. 47 I tell you the truth,[bo] the master[bp] will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if[bq] that evil slave should say to himself,[br] ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with drunkards, 50 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, 51 and will cut him in two,[bs] and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 24:1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
- Matthew 24:1 sn The Jerusalem temple was widely admired around the world. See Josephus, Ant. 15.11 [15.380-425]; J. W. 5.5 [5.184-227] and Tacitus, History 5.8, who called it “immensely opulent.” Josephus compared it to a beautiful snowcapped mountain.
- Matthew 24:2 tn Grk “answering, he said to them.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokritheis) is redundant in English and has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:2 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Matthew 24:2 sn With the statement not one stone will be left on another Jesus predicted the total destruction of the temple, something that did occur in a.d. 70.
- Matthew 24:2 tn Grk “not one stone will be left here on a stone which will not be thrown down.”
- Matthew 24:3 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:3 sn Because the phrase these things is plural, more than the temple’s destruction is in view. The question may presuppose that such a catastrophe signals the end.
- Matthew 24:4 tn Grk “answering, Jesus said to them.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.
- Matthew 24:4 tn Or “Be on guard.”
- Matthew 24:5 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.
- Matthew 24:6 tn Grk “it is not yet the end.”
- Matthew 24:7 tn For the translation “rise up in arms” see L&N 55.2.
- Matthew 24:7 tc Most witnesses (C Γ Δ Θ 0102 ƒ1,13 700 1241 1424 M) have “and plagues” (καὶ λοιμοί, kai loimoi) between “famines” (λιμοί, limoi) and “earthquakes” (σεισμοί, seismoi), while others have “plagues and famines and earthquakes” (L W 33 lat). The similarities between λιμοί and λοιμοί could explain how καὶ λοιμοί might have accidentally dropped out, but since the Lukan parallel (Luke 21:11) has both terms (and W lat have the order λοιμοὶ καὶ λιμοί there too, as they do in Matthew), it seems more likely that scribes added the phrase here. The shorter reading does not enjoy overwhelming support ([א] B D 892 sa, and other Greek and versional witnesses), but it is nevertheless significant; coupled with the internal evidence it should be given preference.
- Matthew 24:7 sn See Isa 5:13-14; 13:6-16; Hag 2:6-7; Zech 14:4.
- Matthew 24:8 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:9 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “nations” or “Gentiles”).
- Matthew 24:9 sn See Matt 5:10-12; 1 Cor 1:25-31.
- Matthew 24:10 tn Or “many will fall away.” This could also refer to apostasy.
- Matthew 24:11 tn Or “and lead many astray.”
- Matthew 24:13 sn But the person who endures to the end will be saved. Jesus was not claiming here that salvation is by works. He was simply arguing that genuine faith evidences itself in persistence through even the worst of trials.
- Matthew 24:14 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “nations” or “Gentiles”).
- Matthew 24:15 sn The reference to the abomination of desolation is an allusion to Dan 9:27. Though some have seen the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in the actions of Antiochus IV (or a representative of his) in 167 b.c., the words of Jesus seem to indicate that Antiochus was not the final fulfillment, but that there was (from Jesus’ perspective) still another fulfillment yet to come. Some argue that this was realized in a.d. 70, while others claim that it refers specifically to Antichrist and will not be fully realized until the period of the great tribulation at the end of the age (cf. Mark 13:14, 19, 24; Rev 3:10).
- Matthew 24:15 sn This parenthetical comment is generally regarded as a command by the author made directly to the readers, not as part of Jesus’ original speech. For this reason the statement is not placed within quotation marks.
- Matthew 24:16 sn Fleeing to the mountains is a key OT image: Gen 19:17; Judg 6:2; Isa 15:5; Jer 16:16; Zech 14:5.
- Matthew 24:17 sn On the roof. Most of the roofs in the NT were flat roofs made of pounded dirt, sometimes mixed with lime or stones, supported by heavy wooden beams. They generally had an easy means of access, either a sturdy wooden ladder or stone stairway, sometimes on the outside of the house.
- Matthew 24:17 sn The swiftness and devastation of the judgment will require a swift escape. There will be no time to come down from the roof and pick up anything from inside one’s home.
- Matthew 24:19 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:20 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:21 tn Traditionally, “great tribulation.”
- Matthew 24:21 sn Suffering unlike anything that has happened. Some refer this event to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. While the events of a.d. 70 may reflect somewhat the comments Jesus makes here, the reference to the scope and severity of this judgment strongly suggest that much more is in view. Most likely Jesus is referring to the great end-time judgment on Jerusalem in the great tribulation.
- Matthew 24:23 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.
- Matthew 24:24 tn Or “false christs”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
- Matthew 24:25 tn Or “Pay attention!” Grk “Behold.”
- Matthew 24:26 tn Grk “they say.” The third person plural is used here as an indefinite and translated “someone” (ExSyn 402).
- Matthew 24:26 tn Or “in the desert.”
- Matthew 24:27 sn The Son of Man’s coming in power will be sudden and obvious like lightning. No one will need to point it out.
- Matthew 24:28 tn The same Greek term can refer to “eagles” or “vultures” (L&N 4.42; BDAG 22 s.v. ἀετός), but in this context it must mean vultures because the gruesome image is one of dead bodies being consumed by scavengers.sn Jesus’ answer is that when the judgment comes, the scenes of death will be obvious and so will the location of the judgment. See also Luke 17:37.
- Matthew 24:28 tn Grk “will be gathered.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in English.
- Matthew 24:29 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:29 tn Traditionally, “tribulation.”
- Matthew 24:29 sn An allusion to Isa 13:10; 34:4 (LXX); Joel 2:10. The heavens were seen as the abode of heavenly forces, so their shaking indicates distress in the spiritual realm. Although some take the powers as a reference to bodies in the heavens (like stars and planets, “the heavenly bodies,” NIV) this is not as likely.
- Matthew 24:30 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:30 tn Or “in the sky”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context.
- Matthew 24:30 tn Here τότε (tote, “then”) has not been translated to avoid redundancy in English.
- Matthew 24:30 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:30 sn An allusion to Dan 7:13. Here is Jesus returning with full authority to judge.
- Matthew 24:31 tn Or “of the sky”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context.
- Matthew 24:32 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 24:33 tn The verb γινώσκετε (ginōskete, “know”) can be parsed as either present indicative or present imperative. In this context the imperative fits better, since the movement is from analogy (trees and seasons) to the future (the signs of the coming of the kingdom) and since the emphasis is on preparation for this event.
- Matthew 24:34 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Matthew 24:34 sn This is one of the hardest verses in the gospels to interpret. Various views exist for what generation means. (1) Some take it as meaning “race” and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away. But it is very questionable that the Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning. Two other options are possible. (2) Generation might mean “this type of generation” and refer to the generation of wicked humanity. Then the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it. Or (3) generation may refer to “the generation that sees the signs of the end” (v. 30), who will also see the end itself. In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession.
- Matthew 24:35 sn The words that Jesus predicts here will never pass away. They are more stable and lasting than creation itself. For this kind of image, see Isa 40:8; 55:10-11.
- Matthew 24:36 tc ‡ Some significant witnesses, including early Alexandrian and Western mss (א*,2b B D Θ ƒ13 it vgmss Irlat Hiermss), have the additional words οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός (oude ho huios, “nor the Son”) here (so NA28). Although the shorter reading (which lacks this phrase) is suspect in that it seems to soften the prophetic ignorance of Jesus, the final phrase (“except the Father alone”) already implies this. Further, the parallel in Mark 13:32 has οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός, with almost no witnesses lacking the expression; significantly, Mark does not add “alone” to the Father. It is thus doubtful that the absence of “nor the Son” is due to pious scribal motives. In keeping with Matthew’s general softening of Mark’s harsh statements throughout his Gospel, it is more likely that the absence of “nor the Son” is part of the autographic text of Matthew, being an intentional change on the part of the author. Further, this shorter reading is supported by א2a as well as L W Γ Δ ƒ1 33 565 579 700 1241 1424 M al vg sy co Hiermss. Although the external evidence is not as impressive for the shorter reading, it best explains the rise of the other reading (in particular, how does one account for virtually no mss excising οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός at Mark 13:32 if such an absence here is due to scribal alteration? Although copyists were hardly consistent, for such a theologically significant issue at least some consistency would be expected on the part of a few scribes). Further, although some have claimed that the doubled οὐδέ is “necessary on internal grounds” (Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament [New York: OUP, 1993], 92; see also Daniel J. Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew, SP 1 [Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1991], 342: “…the syntax of the sentence (‘neither the angels … but the Father alone’) demands it.”), this is hardly the case. Indeed, apart from one quotation from the LXX, Matthew never elsewhere uses the correlative οὐδέ construction. Thus, on a redactional, intrinsic, and source-critical basis, the shorter reading is to be strongly preferred. See D. B. Wallace, “The Son’s Ignorance in Matthew 24:36: An Exercise in Textual and Redaction Criticism,” Studies on the Text of the New Testament and Early Christianity: Essays in Honour of Michael W. Holmes, ed. Daniel Gurtner, Paul Foster, and Juan Hernández (Leiden: Brill) 182–209.
- Matthew 24:37 sn Like the days of Noah, the time of the flood in Gen 6:5-8:22, the judgment will come as a surprise as people live their day to day lives.
- Matthew 24:38 tn Grk “they,” but in an indefinite sense, “people.”
- Matthew 24:39 sn Like the flood that came and took them all away, the coming judgment associated with the Son of Man will condemn many.
- Matthew 24:39 tn Grk “So also will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
- Matthew 24:40 sn There is debate among commentators and scholars over the phrase one will be taken and one left about whether one is taken for judgment or for salvation. If the imagery is patterned after the rescue of Noah from the flood, as some suggest, the ones taken are the saved (as Noah was) and those left behind are judged. The imagery, however, is not directly tied to the identification of the two groups. Its primary purpose in context is to picture the sudden, surprising separation of the righteous and the judged (i.e., condemned) at the return of the Son of Man.
- Matthew 24:41 tn According to L&N 46.16, this refers to a hand mill normally operated by two women.
- Matthew 24:42 tc Most later mss (L 0281 565 579 700 1241 M lat) have here ὥρᾳ (hōra, “hour”) instead of ἡμέρα (hēmera, “day”). Although the merits of this reading could be argued either way, in light of the overwhelming and diverse early support for ἡμέρᾳ (א B C D W Δ Θ ƒ13 33 892 1424, as well as several versions and fathers), the more general term is surely correct.
- Matthew 24:43 sn On Jesus’ return pictured as a thief, see 1 Thess 5:2, 4; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15.
- Matthew 24:44 sn Jesus made clear that his coming could not be timed, and suggested it would take some time—so long, in fact, that some will not be looking for him any longer (at an hour when you do not expect him).
- Matthew 24:45 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.
- Matthew 24:45 tn Grk “give them.”
- Matthew 24:46 tn That is, doing his job, doing what he is supposed to be doing.
- Matthew 24:47 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Matthew 24:47 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the master) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Matthew 24:48 tn In the Greek text this is a third class condition that for all practical purposes is a hypothetical condition (note the translation of the following verb “should say”).
- Matthew 24:48 tn Grk “should say in his heart.”
- Matthew 24:51 tn The verb διχοτομέω (dichotomeō) means to cut an object into two parts (L&N 19.19). This is an extremely severe punishment compared to the other two later punishments. To translate it simply as “punish” is too mild. If taken literally this servant is dismembered, although it is possible to view the stated punishment as hyperbole (L&N 38.12).