Things to Come
1As He was coming out of the temple [grounds], one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2Jesus replied to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left on another which will not be torn down!”
3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be fulfilled?” 5Jesus began to say to them, “Be careful and see to it that no one misleads you. 6Many will come in My name [misusing My name or claiming to be the Messiah], saying, ‘I am He!’ and will deceive and mislead many. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed (frightened, troubled); these things must take place, but the end is not yet. 8For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These things are the beginning of the birth pangs [the intolerable anguish and suffering].
9“But be on your guard; they will turn you over to courts, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand [as accused] before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. 10The gospel [that is, the good news regarding the way of salvation] must first be preached to all the [Gentile] nations. 11When they take you and turn you over [to the court], do not worry beforehand about what to say, but say whatever is given to you [by God] in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit [who will speak through you]. 12Brother will betray brother to [be put to] death, and a father [will hand over] his child; and children will rise up and take a stand against parents and have them put to death. 13You will be hated by everyone because of [your association with] My name, but the one who [patiently perseveres empowered by the Holy Spirit and] endures to the end, he will be saved.
14“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing [in the temple sanctuary] where it ought not to be (let the reader understand) then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15Whoever is on the housetop must not go down [to enter the house], or go inside to take anything out of his house; 16whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his coat. 17And woe to those women who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18Pray that it will not occur in winter, 19for at that time there will be such tribulation as has not occurred, from the beginning of the creation which God made, until now—and never will [be again]. 20And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose [for Himself], He shortened the days. 21Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it; 22for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will provide signs and wonders in order to deceive, if [such a thing were] possible, even the elect [those God has chosen for Himself]. 23But be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance.
The Return of Christ
24“But in those days, after [the suffering and distress of] that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory [in royal majesty and splendor]. 27And then He will send out the angels, and will gather together His elect [those He has chosen for Himself] from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
28“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: as soon as its branch becomes tender and it puts out its leaves, you recognize that summer is near. 29Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, know [for certain] that He is near, right at the door. 30I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this generation [the people living when these signs and events begin] will not pass away until all these things take place. 31Heaven and earth [as now known] will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 32But of that [exact] day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son [in His humanity], but the Father alone.
33“Be on guard and stay constantly alert [and pray]; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. 34It is like a man away on a journey, who when he left home put his servants in charge, each with his particular task, and also ordered the doorkeeper to be continually alert. 35Therefore, be continually on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36[stay alert,] in case he should come suddenly and unexpectedly and find you asleep and unprepared. 37What I say to you I say to everyone, ‘Be on the alert [stay awake and be continually cautious]!’ ”