Jesus Warns About the Future
(Matthew 24:1-44; Luke 21:5-33)
1 Jesus was leaving the Temple area. One of his followers said to him, “Teacher, look how big those stones are! What beautiful buildings!”
2 Jesus said, “Do you see these great buildings? They will all be destroyed. Every stone will be thrown down to the ground. Not one stone will be left on another.”
3 Later, Jesus was sitting at a place on the Mount of Olives. He was alone with Peter, James, John, and Andrew. They could all see the Temple, and they said to Jesus, 4 “Tell us when these things will happen. And what will show us it is time for them to happen?”
5 Jesus said to them, “Be careful! Don’t let anyone fool you. 6 Many people will come and use my name. They will say, ‘I am the Messiah,* the Messiah Literally “the one,” meaning the chosen one sent by God. See “Messiah” in the Word List and Matthew 24:5.’ and they will fool many people. 7 You will hear about wars that are being fought. And you will hear stories about other wars beginning. But don’t be afraid. These things must happen before the end comes. 8 Nations will fight against other nations. Kingdoms will fight against other kingdoms. There will be times when there is no food for people to eat. And there will be earthquakes in different places. These things are only the beginning of troubles, like the first pains of a woman giving birth.
9 “You must be careful! There are people who will arrest you and take you to be judged for being my followers. They will beat you in their synagogues. You will be forced to stand before kings and governors. You will tell them about me. 10 Before the end comes, the Good News must be told to all nations. 11 Even when you are arrested and put on trial, don’t worry about what you will say. Say whatever God tells you at the time. It will not really be you speaking. It will be the Holy Spirit.
12 “Brothers will turn against their own brothers and hand them over to be killed. Fathers will hand over their own children to be killed. Children will fight against their own parents and have them killed. 13 All people will hate you because you follow me. But those who remain faithful to the end will be saved.
14 “You will see ‘the terrible thing that causes destruction.’† ‘the terrible thing … destruction’ See Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. You will see this thing standing in the place where it should not be.” (Reader, I trust you understand what this means.) “Everyone in Judea at that time should run away to the mountains. 15 They should run away without wasting time to stop for anything. If someone is on the roof of their house, they must not go down to take things out of the house. 16 If someone is in the field, they must not go back to get a coat.
17 “During that time it will be hard for women who are pregnant or have small babies. 18 Pray that these things will not happen in winter, 19 because those days will be full of trouble. There will be more trouble than has ever happened since the beginning, when God made the world. And nothing that bad will ever happen again. 20 But the Lord has decided to make that terrible time short. If it were not made short, no one could survive. But the Lord will make that time short to help the special people he has chosen.
21 “Someone might say to you at that time, ‘Look, there is the Messiah!’ Or another person might say, ‘There he is!’ But don’t believe them. 22 False messiahs and false prophets will come and do miracles and wonders,‡ miracles and wonders Here, amazing acts done by Satan’s power. trying to fool the people God has chosen, if that is possible. 23 So be careful. Now I have warned you about all this before it happens.
24 “During the days following that time of trouble,
‘The sun will become dark,
and the moon will not give light.
25 The stars will fall from the sky,
and everything in the sky will be changed.’§ See Isaiah 13:10; 34:4.
26 “Then people will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 He will send his angels all around the earth. They will gather his chosen people from every part of the earth.
28 “The fig tree teaches us a lesson: When its branches become green and soft, and new leaves begin to grow, then you know that summer is very near. 29 In the same way, when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time* time The time Jesus has been talking about when something important will happen. See Luke 21:31, where Jesus says that this is the time for God’s kingdom to come. is very near, already present. 30 I assure you that all these things will happen while some of the people of this time are still living. 31 The whole world, earth and sky, will be destroyed, but my words will last forever.
32 “No one knows when that day or time will be. The Son and the angels in heaven don’t know when that day or time will be. Only the Father knows. 33 Be careful! Always be ready. You don’t know when that time will be.
34 “It’s like a man who goes on a trip and leaves his house in the care of his servants. He gives each one a special job to do. He tells the servant guarding the door to always be ready. And this is what I am telling you now. 35 You must always be ready. You don’t know when the owner of the house will come back. He might come in the afternoon, or at midnight, or in the early morning, or when the sun rises. 36 If you are always ready, he will not find you sleeping, even if he comes back earlier than expected. 37 I tell you this, and I say it to everyone: ‘Be ready!’ ”
†13:14 ‘the terrible thing … destruction’ See Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.
‡13:22 miracles and wonders Here, amazing acts done by Satan’s power.