The ruin of Jerusalem and the end of the world
1 Jesus left the Temple and as he was walking away, his disciples came to him and boasted about the imposing Temple buildings.
2 But he said, ¡°You see all this? Truly I say to you: not one stone will be left upon another here. All will be thrown down.¡±
3 Later when Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and asked, ¡°Tell us when this will take place. What sign will be given us before your coming and the end of history?¡±
4 Jesus answered, ¡°Be on your guard and let no one mislead you.
5 Many will come, claiming my title and saying: ¡®I am the Messiah,¡¯ and they will mislead many people.
6 You will hear about war and threats of war, but do not be troubled, for these things must happen, but it is not yet the end.
7 Nations will fight one another, and kingdom oppose kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in several places,
8 but all these are only the beginning: the first pains of childbirth.
9 Then they will arrest you, and they will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you for you bear my name.
10 In those days, many will stumble and fall; they will betray one another and become enemies.
11 False prophets will appear and mis lead many people,
12 and be cause of such great wickedness, love will grow cold in many people.
13 But the one who holds out to the end will be saved.
14 The Good News of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world for all the nations to know; then the end will come.
15 When you see what the prophet Daniel foretold: the idol of the invader set up in the Temple (may the reader understand!),
16 then let those in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 If you are on the housetop, do not come down to take anything with you.
18 If you are in the field, do not turn back to fetch your cloak.
19 How hard it will be for pregnant women and mothers with babies at the breast!
20 Pray that it may not be in winter or on a sabbath that you flee.
21 For there will be great tribulation such as was never known from the beginning of the world until now, and is never to be known again.
22 And if that time were not to be shortened, no one would sur vive. But God will shorten it for the sake of his chosen ones.
23 Then, if anyone says to you: ¡®Look! The Messiah is here! He is there!¡¯, do not believe it.
24 For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders so great that they would deceive even God¡¯s chosen peo ple, if that were possible.
25 See, I have told you everything ahead of time.
26 So, if anyone tells you: ¡®He is in the desert,¡¯ do not go. If they say: ¡®He is in such a secluded place,¡¯ do not believe it.
27 For the coming of the Son of Man will instead be like lightning which flashes from the east even to the west.
28 ¡®Wherever the body is, the vultures will gather.¡¯
The coming of the Son of Man
29 For later, after that distress, the sun will grow dark, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the skies, and the whole universe will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven: as all the nations of the earth beat their breasts, they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with divine power and the fullness of Glory.
31 He will send his angels to sound the trumpet and gather the chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the earth to the other.
32 Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches grow tender and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.
33 In the same way, when you see all that I have told you, know that the time is near, even at the door.
34 Truly, I say to you, this gene ration will not pass away until all these things have happened.
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
36 But as for that Day and that Hour, no one knows when it will come, not even the angels of God nor the Son, but only the Father.
37 At the coming of the Son of Man it will be just as it was in the time of Noah.
38 In those days before the Flood, people were eating and drinking, and marrying, until the day when Noah went into the ark.
39 Yet they did not know what would happen until the flood came and swept them away. So will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.
40 Of two men in the field, one will be taken and the other left.
41 Of two women grinding wheat together at the mill, one will be taken and the other left.
Be on the alert
42 Stay awake, then, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
43 Just think about this: if the owner of the house knew that the thief would come by night around a certain hour, he would stay awake to prevent his house to be broken into.
44 So be alert, for the Son of Man will come at the hour you least expect.
45 Imagine a capable servant whom his mas ter has put in charge of his household to give them food at the proper time.
46 Fortunate indeed is that servant whom his master will find at work when he comes.
47 Truly, I say to you, his lord will en trust that one with everything he has.
48 Not so with the bad servant who thinks: My mas ter is delayed.
49 And he begins ill-treating his fellow servants while eating and drinking with drunkards.
50 But his master will come on the day he does not know and at the hour he least expects.
51 He will dismiss that servant and deal with him as with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Comments Mathew, Chapter 24
• 24.1 With reference to this great discourse see commentary on Mark 13.
In this discourse the Gospel uses the style of apocalyptic books (see the Introduction to Revelation). In this kind of literature signs announced great events. Hence the ques tion of those closest to Jesus: ¡°What will be the sign of your coming at the end of time?¡±
The discourse that follows comprises words pronounced by Jesus in very diverse circumstances. Jesus refuses speculation and reminds us that Christian history is one of persecution; he en courages us to be faithful.
In paragraph 24:4-28 Jesus speaks of the days of trial (vv. 21 and 29) that will conclude with the destruction of Jerusalem that Jesus¡¯ listeners will witness. It will be possible to run away before the disaster occurs (vv. 15-20).
The idol of the invader. The Gospel re peats an expression of Daniel (9:27) to indicate on this occasion, the taking over of the Temple by the Roman troops (see commentary on Mk 13:14).
It will be a time for evangelization, a time for persecutions and for Christians¡¯ testimony before the Jewish and pagan worlds (vv. 9-14). The Jewish people who did not recognize Jesus as their Savior, will let other saviors, or messiahs, stir them up against the Romans.
In paragraph 26-28, Jesus shows that this general confusion about the true savior is very far removed from what will happen when he returns at the end of time.
In paragraph 29-31 Jesus talks about his glorious coming. Then Jesus again asserts two things: the events and signs that refer to the end of Jerusalem will take place in the present generation (vv. 32-35). The day of Jesus (vv. 36 and 42) will come much later.
The comparison of the two men (or wo men) working to gether means that, upon the coming of Jesus, the Judgment will take place, and there might be a separa tion within the same social or family group: some headed towards the Lord, others to be condemned (vv. 37 and 41).
Why is it that the Gospel draws a parallel with the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of time? Simple, because Matthew addresses Christians who have just experienced the first event and are awaiting the second. It is the moment when there emerges the Christian vision of the history of these two great stages.
First, we have the time of the Old Testa ment. God taught the people of Israel and nurtured their development in order that their history and experiences be enlightening for other peoples. At the end of this period, Jesus came during a national crisis to give them the full knowledge of their mission as a people of God. A minority believed, but the nation did not convert and crashed.
The message is then presented to other nations, and thus began the time of the New Testament. The Church teaches all peoples who must mature as nations and Christians. The Bible implies that New Testament times are leading up to a universal crisis where the Gospel will more than ever be a reality: ¡°Believe or you will die.¡± It is then that both the New Testament and history will end.