Matthew 24

Jesus talks about the temple

1 Jesus left the temple. While he was leaving, his disciples came to him. They began to talk to him about the buildings of the temple. 2 So Jesus said to them, ‘Yes, you can see all these beautiful buildings now. But I tell you this: Enemies will completely destroy them. Not even one stone will remain on top of another stone.’

24:2Jesus is talking about when the Romans would destroy Jerusalem in the year AD 70.

3 After that, Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives. While he was alone, his disciples came to him. They said to him, ‘Please tell us when all these things will happen. Also tell us what will show us that you will soon return? What will show us that the world will soon end?’

4 Jesus said, ‘You must be careful! Some people will tell you things that are not true. Do not believe them. 5 Many people will say that they have come on my behalf. They will say, “I am the Messiah.” Many people will believe their false words. 6 You will hear about wars. You will hear reports about wars in other places. But you must not be afraid. Those things must happen first, but it is not yet the end of everything. 7 People in one country will attack the people in another country. Kings and their armies will fight against other kings and their armies. In some places, people will be hungry, with no food. The ground will shake in many different places. 8 All those things will be like the first pains that a mother has before her baby is born.

9 Then people will take hold of you and they will give you pain. They will even kill some of you. People in every country will hate you because you are my disciples. 10 At that time, many people who believe in me will stop believing. They will put some of my disciples in the power of their rulers. They will hate each other. 11 Also at that time, many people will say that they are prophets from God. Their message is false, but many people will believe them. 12 More and more people everywhere will be doing very bad things. Because of this, many people will no longer love each other in the way that they did before. 13 But God will save the person who remains strong until the end. 14 People will tell the good news about God's kingdom to people all over the world. People in every country will hear the true message from God. Then God will cause the world to come to an end.

15 Long ago, God's prophet Daniel wrote in the Bible about something that would happen. He said that one day people would put a disgusting thing that causes trouble in the temple. You will see it in the holy place. (When you read this, you must understand what it means.) 16 At that time, people in Judea must run away to the hills to hide.

17 A person who is on the roof of his house must not go down into his house. He must not stop to get anything from his home to take with him. 18 People who are outside in their fields must not go back to their homes. They must not even go to fetch their coats. 19 That will be a bad time for women who are soon to have a baby! It will also be a bad time for those women who have little babies! 20 You must pray to God about this time when you have to run away quickly. Pray that this time of trouble will not happen in winter. Pray that it will not happen on your day of rest. 21 Great troubles will happen to people at that time. Nothing as bad has ever happened before, since the beginning of the world. Nothing as bad will ever happen again. 22 God will cause those days of great trouble to be not so many. If he did not do that, there would be nobody still alive. But God will cause those days to come to an end. He will do that to help the people that he has chosen. 23 At that time, someone may say to you, “Look, here is the Messiah.” Or they may say, “There he is!” When they say that, do not believe them. 24 Some people will say to you, “I am the Messiah!” Other people will say, “I am a prophet from God.” But their words will be false. They will do strange and powerful things for people to see. If possible, they would even deceive the people that God has chosen. 25 So be careful! I have told you about these things before they happen.

24:17At that time, people often sat on the roof of their house after they had finished their work. The roof was flat, and it was cool there. People told each other news across the roofs. There were steps outside the house up onto the roof.

26 Some people may say to you, “Look, the Messiah is out there in the wilderness.” But do not go out to see who is there. Some people may say to you, “Look, the Messiah is hiding in that secret room.” You must not believe these people. 27 Lightning shines quickly and it lights up the whole of the sky from one side to the other. It will be like that when the Son of Man returns. 28 If the dead body of an animal is lying somewhere, vultures will come together in that place.

24:28People know if there is a dead animal on the ground. When they see vultures flying in the sky, they know. In the same way, people will see the things happening that Jesus talked about. Then they will know that he will soon return.

29 Then after all these bad things have happened,

“The sun will become dark.

The moon will not shine any more.

Stars will fall out of the sky.

And the powerful things in the sky will shake.”

30 Then people will see a powerful thing in the sky. This will show them that the Son of Man is coming. All the families of people in the world will cry because they are very sad. Then they will see the Son of Man. He will be riding on the clouds in the sky. He will have great power and bright glory. 31 People will hear the sound of a loud trumpet. The Son of Man will send out his angels. They will go in every direction. They will bring together all the people that God has chosen from every part of the earth and from every part of the sky.’

Jesus tells a story about a fig tree

32 ‘Here is a lesson for you to learn about the fig tree. When the new branches on the tree start to grow, the leaves appear. Then you know that the summer will come soon. 33 In the same way, you will see all these strange things happening. Then you will know that the Son of Man will come very soon. He will be like someone at the door who is ready to come in. 34 I tell you this: The people who are alive now will not all die until all these things happen. 35 One day, the earth and the sky will have an end. But my words will be there for ever.’

Nobody will know when the Son of Man will return

36 Jesus then said, ‘Nobody knows the day or the hour when all these things will happen. Only God the Father knows when they will happen. The angels who are in heaven do not know. Even the Son does not know. 37 Remember what happened when Noah was alive. It will be like that when the Son of Man returns to the earth. 38 In Noah's time, in the days before the flood, people were eating their meals every day. Men married women and women married men. They continued to do all these things until the day that Noah went into his big boat. 39 The people did not know what would happen. Then rain fell for a long time and all these people died in the deep water. When the Son of Man returns, it will happen quickly in the same way. 40 At that time, it will be like this: Two men will be working in a field. God will take one man away, but he will leave the other man behind. 41 Two women will be preparing food together in the same place. God will take one of them away, but he will leave the other woman behind.

24:37We can read the story about Noah in Genesis 6. God sent the flood very quickly when the people were not thinking about it. Jesus will also return quickly when people are not thinking about it.

42 So you must watch carefully! You do not know the day when your Master will come back. 43 You can be sure about this. The master of a house does not know at what time of night a man would come to rob him. If he knew the time, he would watch his house more carefully. He would not let the robber come into his house and take away his things. 44 So you must also be ready. The Son of Man will come at a time when you are not thinking about it.’

Jesus tells a story about two servants

45 Jesus then said, ‘You should be like a wise servant. Be someone that the master can trust. The master will choose a man like that. He will say to him, “Rule over my house and all my other servants. Give everyone their food to eat at the right time.” 46 That servant will be very happy when his master comes home. His master will see that he has done everything well. 47 Yes, I tell you this: The master will give that servant authority to rule over everything in his house. 48 But another servant might be bad. He might say to himself, “My master will not come yet.” 49 Then he begins to hit the other servants. He eats too much and he drinks too much. He meets with other people who become drunk. 50 Then the master of that servant will come home and he will surprise the servant. He did not think that his master would come home on that day or at that time. 51 Then the master will punish him a lot. He will put the servant with those people who do not obey him. The people in that place will cry and they will bite their teeth together.’