1. Jesus then left the Temple area and was going on His way when His disciples came up to Him and began to discuss the buildings of the Temple, and how imposing and impressive they thought the architecture to be.
2. But He said to them, "You may be rightfully impressed with what you see before you...the Temple is, indeed, something to behold. But the truth is, there is not one stone in that magnificent building that is not going to end up in a pile of rubble."
3. Later, as He was sitting alone on The Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, His disciples came to Him and said, "Tell us more about the destruction of the Temple that you mentioned before. When are these things going to happen? Will that be the sign of Your fully coming into power, and of the completion and consummation of this age and era?”
4. Jesus said to them, “Be careful that no one deceives or misleads you on these points…understand these beginning events, marking the period between My resurrection and the Temple’s destruction…
5. For during this time many will come in falsehood, claiming, ‘I, alone, am the Christ’, and they will lead many away from the truth of Who and what the Christ is, in reality.
6. Also, during this time you will hear of wars and rumors of wars…see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place…wars will come and go as they always have…but the end of the age is not yet.
7. And nation will fight nation…ruler will fight ruler…famines and earthquakes will occur in various places, as they always have.
8. These events are a part of the natural order of things...but, in another sense, they are also the birth pangs of the destruction that is coming on this nation.
9. And they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation, and even put you to death…you should know this now, a period of time is coming when you will seemingly be hated by all nations because you carry My name.
10. In fact, the conflict will become so intense that many will be offended and repelled, and will stumble and fall away from My truth, even betraying one another and pursuing one another with hatred because of My testimony.
11. And in all the confusion, false prophets will rise up in opportunism, and deceive a lot of gullible people.
12. And, worse yet, the love of the majority of people will grow cold because of the multiplied chaos and iniquity.
13. But whoever endures until the end of this period of time will find that their salvation is real, durable, and fully intact.
14. And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached throughout the entire, known world as a testimony to all the nations (Colossians 1:5, 6, 23; Romans 1:8, 10:18), and then will come the end of the age…the end of the Temple, and its sacrificial system…the consummation of the Law…the end of the covenant nation of Israel…in a word, the end of the world as you now know it.
15. So when you see the sacrilege and the appalling abomination spoken of by the prophet Daniel…the desecration set up in the Temple sanctuary, when armies come to destroy both Jerusalem and the Temple…let the one who has read the prophecy take notice and realize that this is its fulfillment.
16. And if you're living in Judea at the time, you’ll need to run for the hills.
17. If, at that time, you’re up on the roof of your house, or working in your yard, don't even go into the house to get anything
18. If you're out in the field, don't go back to get your coat.
19. Unfortunately, pregnant and nursing mothers will have it especially hard during this time of persecution.
20. Even though this is inevitable, you should pray that it won't happen during the winter or on a Sabbath.
21. Seriously…what’s about to happen to this Temple…this city…this nation... will be on a scale beyond what the known world has ever seen, or will see again.
22. In fact, if this Great Tribulation…these dark days of destruction…were left to run their course, nobody would survive. But on account of the ones that God has chosen, the trouble will actually be cut short.
23. But, if during this period anyone says to you, ‘Look…this person right here is the Christ!’ or ‘That man over there is the Christ!’…do not believe it for a second.
24. For after my resurrection and ascension, the Christ will no longer be manifested and revealed as an individual person…so when these singular false Christs and false prophets arise, be aware of what’s really happening. And don’t be deceived by their tricks, for some of them will show great signs and wonders so as to lead many astray, and to cause many to view them as an individual Christ. In fact, if it were possible, they would attempt to deceive even the ones that God has chosen as the first-fruits of salvation.
25. Now, see and remember…I have warned you of all of this beforehand.
26. So, if they say to you, ‘Look…He’s out there in the wilderness’, don’t even bother to go out there and look. And if they tell you, ‘He’s in some secret place’, do not believe it."
27. This revelation...the true appearing of the Son of Man...isn't something you can go somewhere to see. On the contrary, it comes to you as fast as lightning!
28. But, in the same way that a gathering of vultures indicates that there is a carcass nearby, so these signs will reveal that the end of an era is near.
29. Then, speaking to them in poetic, prophetic vocabulary, or in a symbolic language of prophecy that his audience understood from their familiarity with the Law and the Prophets (Genesis 1:14 - 16; Isaiah 13:9, 10; 34:4; Amos 8:9; Ezekiel 32:7, 8), He said, "Immediately after this Great Tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (In this way He used the same imagery that the Prophets of old had employed to speak of the downfall of earthly authorities and governors).
30. And He went on to say, "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, or in the heavenly realm...the sign indicating that this destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple means He is now enthroned in heaven, ruling over the whole earth...this cataclysmic series of events will show that the Kingdom has been taken away from a visible nation, and given to an invisible one...that the destruction of the natural Temple has made way for a Temple of the Spirit to be built in the heavenlies." And, once again using the imagery of the Prophets of old (Psalms 104:3; Isaiah 19:1; Nahum 1:3), He said, "And all the tribes of the earth will repent with great emotion when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven (an almost commonplace Scriptural symbol for His presence, judgment and salvation) with power and great glory!
31. And He will send out His messengers...ministers of the gospel who will sound out His good news like a loud trumpet call...and they will gather His chosen ones...the ones He has chosen in Him from the foundation of the world...they will call them in from the four winds...from every part of the earth...into His New Temple in His New Nation...His New Synagogue of the Spirit...from one end of the universe to the other.
32. From the fig tree learn this lesson...as soon as its young shoots become soft and tender, and it starts to put out leaves, you know for a fact that summer is near.
33. And so it is with you...when you see all these things coming to pass, you'll know the full revelation of Him is at the door.
34. I'm telling you the truth, so do not take this lightly, or assume that this is some far-off, futuristic prophecy that has no relevance to you. I'm not saying all this for some generation that will live hundreds of years from today. This is for all of you who are alive right now! And this era continues until all these things take place.
35. Count on the validity of these words...the sky and the earth will fade away before any of my words do, because my words are eternally and absolutely true.
36. I've told you these things to prepare you for the imminent judgment coming on this nation...but concerning the full revelation of the Son of Man, and when, exactly, it will occur...no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
37. But I can tell you what I do know about it...this great, global revelation of the Son will take place in times like Noah's.
38. It will be just as it was in those days before the flood...there were no signs...nothing out of the ordinary happening...everyone was carrying on as usual, eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah went into the ark.
39. The population, at large, knew nothing of God's intention until the flood hit and swept everything that was unrighteous away...only the righteous were left behind. The revelation of the Son of Man will be like that, only this time it will be a flood of grace.
40. As the darnel will be separated from the wheat in you...as the catch in the dragnet will be divided in you...so 'two men', as it were, will be working in the field...one will be taken, one left behind. The full revelation of the Son of Man will take away from you the man that needs to be purged, and will leave behind the real you...the righteous you...the man that He has chosen.
41. In the same way, 'two women' will be grinding at the mill...one will be taken in the Son of Man's flood...the part of that woman that is subject to His judgment...but one...the real one...will be mercifully left behind, safe in the ark of His redemption.
42. Even so...regardless of the promise that the real you will ultimately be left behind...you should stay awake and alert. You have no idea when this revelation will come, so, until it does, you should make every effort to live righteously.
43. In fact, you should be as vigilant as a homeowner looking out at all times for a burglar.
44. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to be revealed, so you should live in a prepared state of expectation at all times, simply because you want to please Him.
45. Who is a faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time?
46. Blessed, indeed, is that servant whom, when his master comes, he will find so doing.
47. Without a doubt, he will set him over all his possessions.
48. But if that servant acts wickedly and says to himself, 'My master is delayed, and is going to be gone a long time...and besides, he's always going to take care of me, regardless of what I do',
49. And begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat up all the food that should be going to the hungry, and stays drunk all the time,
50. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour in which he has let down his guard, and is clueless,
51. And will judge him harshly, cutting him off from what he should have been paid as a steward, and will put him out of the house, along with the other pretenders...outside in the cold, where his teeth will chatter as he weeps over what he has lost."