Matthew 24:1-31

When the Temple Will Be Destroyed and the Signs of the End

Jesus left the temple. He was walking away when his disciples came up to him. They wanted to call his attention to the temple buildings. “Do you see all these things?” Jesus asked. “What I’m about to tell you is true. Not one stone here will be left on top of another. Every stone will be thrown down.”

Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives. There the disciples came to him in private. “Tell us,” they said. “When will this happen? And what will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end?”

Jesus answered, “Keep watch! Be careful that no one fools you. Many will come in my name. They will claim, ‘I am the Messiah!’ They will fool many people. You will hear about wars. You will also hear people talking about future wars. Don’t be alarmed. Those things must happen. But the end still isn’t here. Nation will fight against nation. Kingdom will fight against kingdom. People will go hungry. There will be earthquakes in many places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then people will hand you over to be treated badly and killed. All nations will hate you because of me. At that time, many will turn away from their faith. They will hate each other. They will hand each other over to their enemies. Many false prophets will appear. They will fool many people. Because evil will grow, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who remains strong in the faith will be saved. This good news of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world. It will be a witness to all nations. Then the end will come.

“The prophet Daniel spoke about ‘the hated thing that destroys.’ (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11) Someday you will see it standing in the holy place. The reader should understand this. Then those who are in Judea should escape to the mountains. No one on the housetop should go down into the house to take anything out. No one in the field should go back to get their coat. How awful it will be in those days for pregnant women! How awful for nursing mothers! Pray that you will not have to escape in winter or on the Sabbath day. There will be terrible suffering in those days. It will be worse than any other from the beginning of the world until now. And there will never be anything like it again.

“If the time had not been cut short, no one would live. But because of God’s chosen people, it will be shortened. At that time someone may say to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ Or, ‘There he is!’ Do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear. They will do great signs and miracles. They will try to fool God’s chosen people if possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.

“So if anyone tells you, ‘He is a long way out in the desert,’ do not go out there. Or if anyone says, ‘He is deep inside the house,’ do not believe it. Lightning that comes from the east can be seen in the west. It will be the same when the Son of Man comes. The vultures will gather wherever there is a dead body.

“Right after the terrible suffering of those days,

“ ‘The sun will be darkened.
    The moon will not shine.
The stars will fall from the sky.
    The heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ (Isaiah 13:10; 34:4)

“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven. At that time, all the peoples of the earth will mourn. They will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. He will come with power and great glory. He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call. They will gather his chosen people from all four directions. They will bring them from one end of the heavens to the other.

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