Signs of Christ’s Return
1Jesus left the temple area and was going on His way when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to the [magnificent and massive] buildings of the temple. 2And He said to them, “Do you see all these things? I assure you and most solemnly say to you, not one stone here will be left on another, which will not be torn down.”
3While Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, and said, “Tell us, when will this [destruction of the temple] take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?”
4Jesus answered, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. 5For many will come in My name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. 6You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].
9“Then they will hand you over to [endure] tribulation, and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me] and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another. 11Many false prophets will appear and mislead many. 12Because lawlessness is increased, the love of most people will grow cold. 13But the one who endures and bears up [under suffering] to the end will be saved. 14This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come.
15“So when you see the abomination of desolation [the appalling sacrilege that astonishes and makes desolate], spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place (let the reader understand), 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains [for refuge]. 17Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things that are in his house [because there will not be enough time]. 18Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his coat. 19And woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20Pray that your flight [from persecution and suffering] will not be in winter, or on a Sabbath [when Jewish laws prohibit travel]. 21For at that time there will be a great tribulation (pressure, distress, oppression), such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will [again]. 22And if those days [of tribulation] had not been cut short, no human life would be saved; but for the sake of the elect (God’s chosen ones) those days will be shortened. 23Then if anyone says to you [during the great tribulation], ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and they will provide great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones). 25Listen carefully, I have told you in advance. 26So if they say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out there, or, ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms [of a house],’ do not believe it. 27For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming [in glory] of the Son of Man [everyone will see Him clearly]. 28Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will flock together.
The Glorious Return
29“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not provide its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30And at that time the sign of the Son of Man [coming in His glory] will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth [and especially Israel] will mourn [regretting their rebellion and rejection of the Messiah], and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliance and splendor]. 31And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet and they will gather together His elect (God’s chosen ones) from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Parable of the Fig Tree
32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its young shoots become tender and it puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33so you, too, when you see all these things [taking place], know for certain that He is near, right at the door. 34I 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. 35Heaven and earth [as now known] will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
36“But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son [in His humanity], but the Father alone. 37For the coming of the Son of Man (the Messiah) will be just like the days of Noah. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the [very] day when Noah entered the ark, 39and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be [unexpected judgment]. 40At that time two men will be in the field; one will be taken [for judgment] and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken [for judgment] and one will be left.
Be Ready for His Coming
42“So be alert [give strict attention, be cautious and active in faith], for you do not know which day [whether near or far] your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: If the head of the house had known what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44Therefore, you [who follow Me] must also be ready; because the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.
45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom his master has put in charge of his household to give the others [in the house] their food and supplies at the proper time? 46Blessed is that [faithful] servant when his master returns and finds him doing so. 47I assure you and most solemnly say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But if that servant is evil and says in his heart, ‘My master is taking his time [he will not return for a long while],’ 49and begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards; 50the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he is not aware, 51and will cut him in two and put him with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].