According to Matthew 24:1-51

24  Now as Jesus was departing from the temple, his disciples approached to show him the buildings of the temple.  In response he said to them: “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, by no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.”+  While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives,+ the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence+ and of the conclusion of the system of things?”+  In answer Jesus said to them: “Look out that nobody misleads you,+  for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.+  You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for these things must take place, but the end is not yet.+  “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom,+ and there will be food shortages+ and earthquakes in one place after another.+  All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.  “Then people will hand you over to tribulation+ and will kill you,+ and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name.+ 10  Then, too, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. 11  Many false prophets will arise and mislead many;+ 12  and because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold.+ 13  But the one who has endured to the end will be saved.+ 14  And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,+ and then the end will come. 15  “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place+ (let the reader use discernment), 16  then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains.+ 17  Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house, 18  and let the man in the field not return to pick up his outer garment.+ 19  Woe to the pregnant women and those nursing a baby in those days!+ 20  Keep praying that your flight may not occur in wintertime nor on the Sabbath day; 21  for then there will be great tribulation+ such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.+ 22  In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.+ 23  “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’+ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it.+ 24  For false Christs and false prophets+ will arise and will perform great signs and wonders so as to mislead,+ if possible, even the chosen ones. 25  Look! I have forewarned you. 26  Therefore, if people say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.+ 27  For just as the lightning comes out of the east and shines over to the west, so the presence of the Son of man will be.+ 28  Wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.+ 29  “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened,+ and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.+ 30  Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief,+ and they will see the Son of man+ coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.*+ 31  And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.+ 32  “Now learn this illustration from the fig tree: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near.+ 33  Likewise also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors.+ 34  Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen. 35  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.+ 36  “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows,+ neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.+ 37  For just as the days of Noah were,+ so the presence of the Son of man will be.+ 38  For as they were in those days before the Flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,+ 39  and they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away,+ so the presence of the Son of man will be. 40  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other abandoned. 41  Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken along and the other abandoned.+ 42  Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.+ 43  “But know one thing: If the householder had known in what watch* the thief was coming,+ he would have kept awake and not allowed his house to be broken into.+ 44  On this account, you too prove yourselves ready,+ because the Son of man is coming at an hour that you do not think to be it. 45  “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?+ 46  Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so!+ 47  Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings. 48  “But if ever that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’+ 49  and he starts to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, 50  the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know,+ 51  and he will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his place with the hypocrites. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.+

Footnotes

Or possibly, “with great power and glory.”
Or “at what time of night.”

Study Notes

Truly: Greek, a·menʹ, a transliteration of the Hebrew ʼa·menʹ, meaning “so be it,” or “surely.” Jesus frequently uses this expression to preface a statement, a promise, or a prophecy, thereby emphasizing its absolute truthfulness and reliability. Jesus’ use of “truly,” or amen, in this way is said to be unique in sacred literature. When repeated in succession (a·menʹ a·menʹ), as is the case throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus’ expression is translated “most truly.”​—See study note on Joh 1:51.

Truly: See study note on Mt 5:18.

by no means will a stone be left here upon a stone: Jesus’ prophecy was remarkably fulfilled in 70 C.E. when the Romans demolished Jerusalem and its temple. Apart from a few sections of the wall, the city was completely leveled.

end: Or “complete end.” The Greek word used here (teʹlos) is different from the Greek word rendered “conclusion” (syn·teʹlei·a) at Mt 24:3.​—See study note on Mt 24:3 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

end: Or “complete end; final end.”​—See study notes on Mt 24:3, 6.

Mount of Olives: Located E of Jerusalem and separated from the city by the Kidron Valley. From this vantage point, Jesus and his disciples “Peter, James, John, and Andrew” (Mr 13:3, 4) could view the city and its temple.

presence: The Greek word pa·rou·siʹa (in many translations rendered “coming”) literally means “being alongside.” It refers to a presence covering a period of time rather than simply a coming or an arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” At Php 2:12, Paul used this Greek word to describe his “presence” in contrast to his “absence.”

conclusion: Rendered from the Greek word syn·teʹlei·a, meaning “joint end; combination end; ending together.” (Mt 13:39, 40, 49; 28:20; Heb 9:26) This refers to a time period during which a combination of events would lead to the complete “end” mentioned at Mt 24:6, 14, where a different Greek word, teʹlos, is used.​—See study notes on Mt 24:6, 14 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

the system of things: Or “the age.” Here the Greek word ai·onʹ refers to the current state of affairs or features that distinguish a certain period of time, epoch, or age.​—See Glossary, “System(s) of things.”

the Christ: Greek, ho Khri·stosʹ. The title “the Christ” is equivalent to “the Messiah” (from Hebrew ma·shiʹach), both meaning “Anointed One.” Jewish historian Josephus indicates that in the first century C.E., some who claimed to be prophets or liberators arose, promising relief from Roman oppression. These may have been viewed by their followers as political Messiahs.

conclusion: Rendered from the Greek word syn·teʹlei·a, meaning “joint end; combination end; ending together.” (Mt 13:39, 40, 49; 28:20; Heb 9:26) This refers to a time period during which a combination of events would lead to the complete “end” mentioned at Mt 24:6, 14, where a different Greek word, teʹlos, is used.​—See study notes on Mt 24:6, 14 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

end: Or “complete end.” The Greek word used here (teʹlos) is different from the Greek word rendered “conclusion” (syn·teʹlei·a) at Mt 24:3.​—See study note on Mt 24:3 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

all the inhabited earth . . . all the nations: Both expressions emphasize the scope of the preaching work. In a broad sense, the Greek word for “inhabited earth” (oi·kou·meʹne) refers to the earth as the dwelling place of mankind. (Lu 4:5; Ac 17:31; Ro 10:18; Re 12:9; 16:14) In the first century, this term was also used in reference to the vast Roman Empire, where the Jews had been dispersed. (Lu 2:1; Ac 24:5) In its general sense, the Greek word for “nation” (eʹthnos) refers to a group of people who are more or less related to one another by blood and who have a common language. Such a national or ethnic group often occupies a defined geographic territory.

nation: The Greek word eʹthnos has a broad meaning and can refer to people living within certain political or geographical boundaries, such as a country, but can also refer to an ethnic group.​—See study note on Mt 24:14.

rise: Or “be stirred up; be roused up.” Here the Greek word conveys the idea “to move against in hostility” and could also be rendered “rise up in arms” or “go to war.”

pangs of distress: The Greek word literally refers to the intense pain experienced during childbirth. While it is used here to refer to distress, pain, and suffering in a general sense, it may suggest that like birth pains the foretold troubles and suffering will increase in frequency, intensity, and duration in the time period before the great tribulation mentioned at Mt 24:21.

name: The personal name of God, represented by the four Hebrew letters יהוה (YHWH) and commonly rendered “Jehovah” in English. In the New World Translation, the name occurs 6,979 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (For information on the use of the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, see App. A5 and App. C.) In the Bible, the term “name” at times also stands for the person himself, his reputation, and all that he declares himself to be.​—Compare Ex 34:5, 6; Re 3:4, ftn.

on account of my name: In the Bible, the term “name” at times stands for the person who bears the name, his reputation, and all that he represents. (See study note on Mt 6:9.) In the case of Jesus’ name, it also stands for the authority and position that his Father has given him. (Mt 28:18; Php 2:9, 10; Heb 1:3, 4) Jesus here explains why people of the world would do things against his followers: because they do not know the One who sent him. Knowing God would help them to understand and acknowledge what Jesus’ name stands for. (Ac 4:12) This would include Jesus’ position as God’s appointed Ruler, the King of kings, to whom all people should bow in submission in order to gain life.​—Joh 17:3; Re 19:11-16; compare Ps 2:7-12.

on account of my name: In the Bible, the term “name” at times stands for the person who bears the name, his reputation, and all that he represents. (See study note on Mt 6:9.) In the case of Jesus’ name, it also stands for the authority and position that his Father has given him. (Mt 28:18; Php 2:9, 10; Heb 1:3, 4) Jesus here explains that people would hate his followers because of what his name represents, that is, his position as God’s appointed Ruler, the King of kings, the one to whom all people should bow in submission in order to gain life.​—See study note on Joh 15:21.

they began to stumble because of him: Or “they took offense at him.” In this context, the Greek word skan·da·liʹzo refers to stumbling in a figurative sense, meaning “to take offense.” It could also be rendered “they refused to believe in him.” In other contexts, the Greek word includes the idea of falling into sin or causing someone to fall into sin.​—See study note on Mt 5:29.

stumbling blocks: The original meaning of the Greek word skanʹda·lon, rendered “stumbling block,” is thought to have referred to a trap; some suggest that it was the stick in a trap to which the bait was attached. By extension, it came to refer to any impediment that would cause one to stumble or fall. In a figurative sense, it refers to an action or a circumstance that leads a person to follow an improper course, to stumble or fall morally, or to fall into sin. At Mt 18:8, 9, the related verb skan·da·liʹzo, translated “make stumble,” could also be rendered “become a snare; cause to sin.”

will be stumbled: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek word skan·da·liʹzo refers to stumbling in a figurative sense, which may include falling into sin or causing someone to fall into sin. As the term is used in the Bible, the sin may involve breaking one of God’s laws on morals or losing faith or accepting false teachings. In this context, the term could also be rendered “will be led into sin; will fall away from the faith.” The Greek word can also be used in the sense of “to take offense.”​—See study notes on Mt 13:57; 18:7.

lawlessness: The Greek word rendered “lawlessness” includes the idea of violation of and contempt for laws, people acting as if there were no laws. As used in the Bible, it suggests disregard for God’s laws.​—Mt 7:23; 2Co 6:14; 2Th 2:3-7; 1Jo 3:4.

the greater number: Referring not just to “many” in a general sense as some Bibles render this but to “the majority” of those who have been influenced by “false prophets” and “lawlessness,” as mentioned at Mt 24:11, 12.

end: Or “complete end.” The Greek word used here (teʹlos) is different from the Greek word rendered “conclusion” (syn·teʹlei·a) at Mt 24:3.​—See study note on Mt 24:3 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

end: Or “complete end; final end.”​—See study notes on Mt 24:3, 6.

has endured: Or “endures.” The Greek verb rendered “to endure” (hy·po·meʹno) literally means “to remain (stay) under.” It is often used in the sense of “remaining instead of fleeing; standing one’s ground; persevering; remaining steadfast.” (Mt 10:22; Ro 12:12; Heb 10:32; Jas 5:11) In this context, it refers to maintaining a course of action as Christ’s disciples despite opposition and trials.​—Mt 24:9-12.

end: See study notes on Mt 24:6, 14.

Kingdom: First occurrence of the Greek word ba·si·leiʹa, which refers to a royal government as well as to the territory and peoples under the rule of a king. Of the 162 occurrences of this Greek word in the Christian Greek Scriptures, 55 can be found in Matthew’s account and most of them refer to God’s heavenly rule. Matthew uses the term so frequently that his Gospel might be called the Kingdom Gospel.​—See Glossary, “God’s Kingdom.”

the good news: First occurrence of the Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on, rendered “gospel” in some English Bibles. A related Greek expression eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ, rendered “evangelizer,” means “a proclaimer of good news.”​—Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11, ftn.; 2Ti 4:5, ftn.

the Kingdom of God: Throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures, the good news is closely linked with God’s Kingdom, the theme of Jesus’ preaching and teaching. The expression “the Kingdom of God” appears 32 times in Luke’s Gospel, 14 times in Mark’s Gospel, and 4 times in Matthew’s Gospel. However, Matthew used the synonymous expression “the Kingdom of the heavens” some 30 times.​—See study notes on Mt 3:2; 24:14; Mr 1:15.

preaching: The Greek word basically means “to make proclamation as a public messenger.” It stresses the manner of the proclamation: usually an open, public declaration rather than a sermon to a group.

witnesses of me: As faithful Jews, Jesus’ early disciples were already witnesses of Jehovah, and they testified that Jehovah is the only true God. (Isa 43:10-12; 44:8) Now, though, the disciples were to be witnesses of both Jehovah and Jesus. They were to make known Jesus’ vital role in sanctifying Jehovah’s name by means of His Messianic Kingdom, a new feature of Jehovah’s purpose. With the exception of John’s Gospel, Acts uses the Greek terms for “witness” (marʹtys), “to bear witness” (mar·ty·reʹo), “to bear thorough witness” (di·a·mar·tyʹro·mai), and related words more times than any other Bible book. (See study note on Joh 1:7.) The idea of being a witness and bearing thorough witness about God’s purposes​—including his Kingdom and Jesus’ vital role​—is a theme that runs through the book of Acts. (Ac 2:32, 40; 3:15; 4:33; 5:32; 8:25; 10:39; 13:31; 18:5; 20:21, 24; 22:20; 23:11; 26:16; 28:23) Some first-century Christians bore witness to, or confirmed, historical facts about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection from their firsthand knowledge. (Ac 1:21, 22; 10:40, 41) Those who later put faith in Jesus bore witness by proclaiming the significance of his life, death, and resurrection.​—Ac 22:15; see study note on Joh 18:37.

conclusion: Rendered from the Greek word syn·teʹlei·a, meaning “joint end; combination end; ending together.” (Mt 13:39, 40, 49; 28:20; Heb 9:26) This refers to a time period during which a combination of events would lead to the complete “end” mentioned at Mt 24:6, 14, where a different Greek word, teʹlos, is used.​—See study notes on Mt 24:6, 14 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

end: Or “complete end.” The Greek word used here (teʹlos) is different from the Greek word rendered “conclusion” (syn·teʹlei·a) at Mt 24:3.​—See study note on Mt 24:3 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

this good news: The Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on is derived from the words eu, meaning “good; well” and ag·gelʹlos, “one who brings news; one who proclaims (announces).” (See Glossary.) It is rendered “gospel” in some English Bibles. The related expression rendered “evangelizer” (Greek, eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ) means “a proclaimer of good news.”​—Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11, ftn.; 2Ti 4:5, ftn.

the Kingdom: That is, God’s Kingdom. Throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures, the “good news” (see preceding study note on this good news in this verse) is closely linked with God’s Kingdom, the theme of Jesus’ preaching and teaching work.​—See study notes on Mt 3:2; 4:23; Lu 4:43.

preached: Or “publicly proclaimed.”​—See study note on Mt 3:1.

all the inhabited earth . . . all the nations: Both expressions emphasize the scope of the preaching work. In a broad sense, the Greek word for “inhabited earth” (oi·kou·meʹne) refers to the earth as the dwelling place of mankind. (Lu 4:5; Ac 17:31; Ro 10:18; Re 12:9; 16:14) In the first century, this term was also used in reference to the vast Roman Empire, where the Jews had been dispersed. (Lu 2:1; Ac 24:5) In its general sense, the Greek word for “nation” (eʹthnos) refers to a group of people who are more or less related to one another by blood and who have a common language. Such a national or ethnic group often occupies a defined geographic territory.

for a witness: Or “for a testimony,” that is, an assurance that all the nations would hear the good news. The Greek word mar·tyʹri·on (witness; testimony) and related Greek words often refer to a recounting of the facts and events related to a subject. (See study note on Ac 1:8.) In this case, Jesus says that there would be a worldwide testimony of what God’s Kingdom would accomplish and a recounting of events related to that Kingdom. Jesus indicates that the global Kingdom-preaching work itself would be an important feature of “the sign of [his] presence.” (Mt 24:3) The fact that all the nations would receive this witness does not mean that all the nations would convert to true Christianity​—only that they would hear the testimony.

end: Or “complete end; final end.”​—See study notes on Mt 24:3, 6.

the Festival of Dedication: The Hebrew name of this festival is Hanukkah (chanuk·kahʹ), meaning “Inauguration; Dedication.” It was held for eight days, beginning on the 25th day of the month of Chislev, close to the winter solstice, (see study note on wintertime in this verse and App. B15) to commemorate the rededication of Jerusalem’s temple in 165 B.C.E. Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes had shown his contempt for Jehovah, the God of the Jews, by desecrating His temple. For example, he built an altar on top of the great altar, where formerly the daily burnt offering had been presented. On Chislev 25, 168 B.C.E., to defile Jehovah’s temple completely, Antiochus sacrificed swine on the altar and had the broth from its flesh sprinkled all over the temple. He burned the temple gates, pulled down the priests’ chambers, and carried away the golden altar, the table of showbread, and the golden lampstand. He then rededicated Jehovah’s temple to the pagan god Zeus of Olympus. Two years later, Judas Maccabaeus recaptured the city and the temple. After the temple was cleansed, the rededication took place on Chislev 25, 165 B.C.E., exactly three years after Antiochus had made his disgusting sacrifice on the altar to Zeus. The daily burnt offerings to Jehovah were then resumed. There is no direct statement in the inspired Scriptures indicating that Jehovah gave Judas Maccabaeus victory and directed him to restore the temple. However, Jehovah had used men of foreign nations, such as Cyrus of Persia, to carry out certain purposes as regards His worship. (Isa 45:1) It is reasonable to conclude, then, that Jehovah might use a man of his dedicated people to accomplish His will. The Scriptures show that the temple had to be standing and operating in order for the prophecies regarding the Messiah, his ministry, and his sacrifice to be fulfilled. Also, the Levitical sacrifices were to be offered until the time when the Messiah would present the greater sacrifice, his life in behalf of mankind. (Da 9:27; Joh 2:17; Heb 9:11-14) Christ’s followers were not commanded to observe the Festival of Dedication. (Col 2:16, 17) However, there is no record that Jesus or his disciples condemned the celebrating of this festival.

holy city: Refers to Jerusalem, which is often called holy because it was the location of Jehovah’s temple.​—Ne 11:1; Isa 52:1.

the disgusting thing that causes desolation: Daniel foretold that “disgusting things” would be associated with desolation. (Da 9:27) Jesus here indicates that “the disgusting thing that causes desolation” had not yet appeared; it was to come in the future. And 33 years after Jesus’ death, Christians witnessed the initial fulfillment of this prophecy when they did catch sight of a disgusting thing standing in a holy place. The parallel account at Lu 21:20 reads: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near.” In 66 C.E., pagan Roman armies surrounded “the holy city,” Jerusalem, a place that the Jews viewed as holy and that was the center of the Jewish revolt against Rome. (Mt 4:5; 27:53) Discerning Christians, who recognized that the Roman army with its idolatrous banners was “the disgusting thing,” took it as the final signal to “begin fleeing to the mountains.” (Mt 24:15, 16; Lu 19:43, 44; 21:20-22) After the Christians fled, the Romans desolated both the city and the nation. Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 C.E., and the last Jewish stronghold, Masada, fell to the Romans in 73 C.E. (Compare Da 9:25-27.) The detailed initial fulfillment of this prophecy provides a solid basis for trusting that the greater fulfillment will also take place, culminating with Jesus’ “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Mt 24:30) Many ignore Jesus’ statement that Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled after Jesus’ day, and they follow Jewish tradition in applying the expression “the disgusting thing that causes desolation” to an event in 168 B.C.E. when Syrian King Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) profaned Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. Antiochus attempted to stamp out the worship of Jehovah, even building an altar over the great altar of Jehovah and sacrificing pigs as an offering to the pagan god Zeus of Olympus. (See study note on Joh 10:22.) The apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees (1:54) uses an expression similar to the one found in the book of Daniel (associating disgusting things with desolation) and applies it to the event in 168 B.C.E. However, Jewish tradition and the account in 1 Maccabees are human interpretations, not inspired revelations. Certainly, Antiochus provoked feelings of disgust by desecrating the temple, but his attack did not result in the desolation of Jerusalem, the temple, or the Jewish nation.

holy place: Referring in the initial fulfillment of this prophecy to Jerusalem with its temple.​—See study note on Mt 4:5.

(let the reader use discernment): Readers should always use discernment when studying God’s Word, but there is apparently a special need to be alert to the application of this portion of Daniel’s prophecy. Jesus was cautioning his hearers that the fulfillment of this prophecy was not in the past but was yet future.​—See the study note on the disgusting thing that causes desolation in this verse.

Judea: That is, the Roman province of Judea.

to the mountains: According to fourth-century historian Eusebius, Christians in Judea and Jerusalem fled across the Jordan River to Pella, a city in a mountainous region of the Decapolis.

on the housetop: The roofs of houses were flat and were used for many purposes, including storage (Jos 2:6), rest (2Sa 11:2), sleep (1Sa 9:26), and festivals for worship (Ne 8:16-18). That is why a parapet was required. (De 22:8) Generally, an external stairway or ladder allowed a householder to leave the rooftop without having to enter the house, which emphasizes the urgency of Jesus’ warning to flee.

in wintertime: Heavy rains, flooding, and cold weather during this season would make it difficult to travel and difficult to find food and shelter.​—Ezr 10:9, 13.

on the Sabbath day: In territories like Judea, restrictions associated with Sabbath law would make it difficult for a person to journey great distances and to carry loads; also, city gates remained closed during the Sabbath day.​—See Ac 1:12 and App. B12.

the Christ: Greek, ho Khri·stosʹ. The title “the Christ” is equivalent to “the Messiah” (from Hebrew ma·shiʹach), both meaning “Anointed One.” Jewish historian Josephus indicates that in the first century C.E., some who claimed to be prophets or liberators arose, promising relief from Roman oppression. These may have been viewed by their followers as political Messiahs.

false Christs: Or “false Messiahs.” The Greek word pseu·doʹkhri·stos occurs only here and in the parallel account at Mr 13:22. It refers to anyone who wrongly assumes the role of the Christ, or the Messiah (lit., “Anointed One”).​—See study note on Mt 24:5.

look!: The Greek word i·douʹ, here rendered “look!,” is often used to focus attention on what follows, encouraging the reader to visualize the scene or to take note of a detail in a narrative. It is also used to add emphasis or to introduce something new or surprising. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the term occurs most frequently in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and in the book of Revelation. A corresponding expression is often used in the Hebrew Scriptures.

presence: The Greek word pa·rou·siʹa (in many translations rendered “coming”) literally means “being alongside.” It refers to a presence covering a period of time rather than simply a coming or an arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” At Php 2:12, Paul used this Greek word to describe his “presence” in contrast to his “absence.”

Son of man: Or “Son of a human.” This expression occurs about 80 times in the Gospels. Jesus used it to refer to himself, evidently emphasizing that he was truly human, born from a woman, and that he was a fitting human counterpart to Adam, having the power to redeem humankind from sin and death. (Ro 5:12, 14-15) The same expression also identified Jesus as the Messiah, or the Christ.​—Da 7:13, 14; see Glossary.

presence: See study note on Mt 24:3.

Son of man: See study note on Mt 8:20.

the sign of the Son of man: This sign is not the same as “the sign of [Jesus’] presence” mentioned at Mt 24:3. The sign mentioned here is connected with the “coming” of the Son of man as Judge to pronounce and execute judgment during the great tribulation.​—See study note on coming in this verse.

beat themselves in grief: Or “mourn.” A person repeatedly beat his hands against his chest to express extreme grief or feelings of guilt and remorse.​—Isa 32:12; Na 2:7; Lu 23:48.

see: The Greek verb rendered “see” can literally mean to “see an object; look at; behold,” but it can also be used metaphorically, of mental sight, meaning “to discern; perceive.”​—Eph 1:18.

coming: The first of eight references in Matthew chapters 24 and 25 to Jesus’ coming. (Mt 24:42, 44, 46; 25:10, 19, 27, 31) In each of these occurrences, a form of the Greek verb erʹkho·mai, “to come,” is used. The term is here used in the sense of turning one’s attention to mankind, particularly to Jesus’ coming as Judge to pronounce and execute judgment during the great tribulation.

the clouds of heaven: Clouds tend to obstruct vision rather than facilitate it, but observers can “see” with eyes of understanding.​—Ac 1:9.

the four winds: An idiom referring to the four directions of the compass​—E, W, N, and S​—thus indicating “all directions; everywhere.”​—Jer 49:36; Eze 37:9; Da 8:8.

illustrations: Or “parables.” The Greek word pa·ra·bo·leʹ, which literally means “a placing beside (together),” may be in the form of a parable, a proverb, or an illustration. Jesus often explains a thing by ‘placing it beside,’ or comparing it with, another similar thing. (Mr 4:30) His illustrations were short and usually fictitious narratives from which a moral or spiritual truth could be drawn.

illustration: Or “parable; lesson.”​—See study note on Mt 13:3.

Heaven and earth will pass away: Other scriptures show that heaven and earth will endure forever. (Ge 9:16; Ps 104:5; Ec 1:4) So Jesus’ words here could be understood as hyperbole, meaning that even if the impossible happened and heaven and earth did pass away, Jesus’ words would still be fulfilled. (Compare Mt 5:18.) However, the heaven and earth here may well refer to the figurative heavens and earth that are called “the former heaven and the former earth” at Re 21:1.

my words will by no means pass away: Or “my words will certainly not pass away.” The use of two Greek negatives with the verb emphatically expresses rejection of an idea, vividly emphasizing the permanence of Jesus’ words.

presence: The Greek word pa·rou·siʹa (in many translations rendered “coming”) literally means “being alongside.” It refers to a presence covering a period of time rather than simply a coming or an arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” At Php 2:12, Paul used this Greek word to describe his “presence” in contrast to his “absence.”

presence: The Greek word pa·rou·siʹa (in many translations rendered “coming”) literally means “being alongside.” It refers to a presence covering a period of time rather than simply a coming or an arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” At Php 2:12, Paul used this Greek word to describe his “presence” in contrast to his “absence.”

the days of Noah: In the Bible, the term “day(s) of” is sometimes used with reference to the time period of a particular person. (Isa 1:1; Jer 1:2, 3; Lu 17:28) Here “the days of Noah” are compared to the presence of the Son of man. In a similar statement recorded at Lu 17:26, the expression “the days of the Son of man” is used. Jesus does not limit the comparison to the specific day when the Flood came as a final climax during Noah’s days. “The days of Noah” actually covered a period of years, so there is basis for the understanding that the foretold “presence [or “days”] of the Son of man” would likewise cover a period of years. Like Noah’s days, which climaxed with the Flood, “the presence of the Son of man” would culminate in the destruction of those who do not seek deliverance.​—See study note on Mt 24:3.

presence: See study note on Mt 24:3.

Flood: Or “deluge; cataclysm.” The Greek word ka·ta·kly·smosʹ denotes a large flood with destructive force, and the Bible uses the word with reference to the Deluge of Noah’s day.​—Mt 24:39; Lu 17:27; 2Pe 2:5.

ark: The Greek term can also be rendered “chest; box,” perhaps to denote that it was a large boxlike structure. In the Vulgate, this Greek word is rendered arca, meaning “box; chest,” from which the English term “ark” is derived.

be taken along: The Greek term rendered “taken along” is used in different contexts, often in a positive sense. For instance, at Mt 1:20, it is rendered “take . . . home”; at Mt 17:1, “took . . . along”; and at Joh 14:3, “receive . . . home.” In this context, it evidently refers to receiving a favorable standing with the “Lord” and being saved. (Lu 17:37) It may also correspond to Noah’s being taken into the ark on the day of the Flood and to Lot’s being taken by the hand and led out of Sodom. (Lu 17:26-29) To be abandoned would then mean to be judged worthy of destruction.

be taken along . . . abandoned: See study note on Lu 17:34.

keep on the watch: Lit., “stay awake.” Jesus had emphasized the need for his disciples to stay awake spiritually because of not knowing the day and hour of his coming. (See study notes on Mt 24:42; 25:13.) He repeats that exhortation here and again at Mt 26:41, where he links staying awake spiritually with persevering in prayer. Similar exhortations are found throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures, showing that spiritual alertness is vital for true Christians.​—1Co 16:13; Col 4:2; 1Th 5:6; 1Pe 5:8; Re 16:15.

Keep on the watch: The Greek term has the basic meaning “stay (keep) awake,” but in many contexts it means “be on guard; be watchful.” Matthew uses this term at Mt 24:43; 25:13; 26:38, 40, 41. At Mt 24:44, he connects it with the need to be “ready.”​—See study note on Mt 26:38.

steward: Or “house manager; house administrator.” The Greek word oi·ko·noʹmos refers to a person placed over servants, though he himself is a servant. In ancient times, such a position was often filled by a faithful slave who was placed in charge of his master’s affairs. Therefore, it was a position of great trust. Abraham’s servant “who was managing all [Abraham] had” was such a steward, or household manager. (Ge 24:2) This was also true of Joseph, as described at Ge 39:4. The “steward” in Jesus’ illustration is referred to in the singular, but this does not necessarily mean that the steward represented only one particular person. The Scriptures contain examples of a singular noun referring to a collective group, such as when Jehovah addressed the collective group of the Israelite nation and told them: “You are my witnesses [plural], . . . yes, my servant [singular] whom I have chosen.” (Isa 43:10) Similarly, this illustration refers to a composite steward. In the parallel illustration at Mt 24:45, this steward is called “the faithful and discreet slave.”

discreet: The Greek word used here conveys the idea of understanding associated with insight, forethought, discernment, prudence, and wisdom in a practical sense. The same Greek word is used at Mt 7:24 and 25:2, 4, 8, 9. The Septuagint uses this word at Ge 41:33, 39 regarding Joseph.

slave: The use of the singular form “slave” in Jesus’ illustration does not necessarily mean that the slave represented only one particular person. The Scriptures contain examples of a singular noun referring to a collective group, such as when Jehovah addressed the Israelite nation and told them: “You are my witnesses [plural], . . . yes, my servant [singular] whom I have chosen.” (Isa 43:10) In the parallel illustration at Lu 12:42, this slave is called “the faithful steward, the discreet one.”​—See study note on Lu 12:42.

his domestics: Or “his household servants.” The term applies to all individuals who work in the master’s household.

coming: The first of eight references in Matthew chapters 24 and 25 to Jesus’ coming. (Mt 24:42, 44, 46; 25:10, 19, 27, 31) In each of these occurrences, a form of the Greek verb erʹkho·mai, “to come,” is used. The term is here used in the sense of turning one’s attention to mankind, particularly to Jesus’ coming as Judge to pronounce and execute judgment during the great tribulation.

that slave: The slave mentioned here refers to the steward described at Lu 12:42. If “that slave” is faithful, he will be rewarded. (Lu 12:43, 44) On the other hand, if “that slave” is disloyal, he will be punished “with the greatest severity.” (Lu 12:46) Jesus’ words here are actually a warning directed to the faithful steward. Similarly, in the parallel illustration at Mt 24:45-51, when saying, “If ever that evil slave says in his heart,” Jesus is neither foretelling nor appointing an “evil slave” but is warning the faithful slave about what would happen if he were to start displaying the characteristics of an evil slave.

that evil slave: Jesus’ words here are actually a warning directed to the faithful and discreet slave, mentioned at Mt 24:45. Jesus is neither foretelling nor appointing an “evil slave” but is warning the faithful slave about what would happen if he were to start displaying the characteristics of an evil slave. Such a disloyal slave would be punished “with the greatest severity.”​—Mt 24:51; see study note on Lu 12:45.

hypocrites: The Greek word hy·po·kri·tesʹ originally referred to Greek (and later Roman) stage actors who wore large masks designed to amplify the voice. The term came to be used in a metaphoric sense to apply to anyone hiding his real intentions or personality by playing false or putting on a pretense. Jesus here calls the Jewish religious leaders “hypocrites.”​—Mt 6:5, 16.

gnashing of their teeth: Or “grinding (clenching) their teeth.” The expression can include the idea of anguish, despair, and anger, possibly accompanied by bitter words and violent action.

punish him with the greatest severity: Lit., “cut him in two.” This graphic expression is evidently not to be understood literally; rather, it conveys the idea of severe punishment.

hypocrites: See study note on Mt 6:2.

gnashing of his teeth: See study note on Mt 8:12.

Media

Stones From the Temple Mount
Stones From the Temple Mount

These stones, found on the southern part of the Western Wall, are believed to have been part of the structures on the first-century temple mount. They have been left here as a grim reminder of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the Romans.

Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives (1) is a chain of rounded limestone hills located on the eastern side of Jerusalem and separated from the city by the Kidron Valley. The summit across from the temple mount (2) is about 812 m (2,664 ft) at its highest point and is the one generally referred to in the Bible as the Mount of Olives. It was from a location on the Mount of Olives that Jesus explained the sign of his presence to his disciples.

Outer Garments
Outer Garments

The Greek word hi·maʹti·on, for “outer garment,” probably corresponds to the Hebrew word sim·lahʹ. In some cases, it appears to have been a loose robe, but more often it was a rectangular piece of material. It was easily put on and thrown off.

Fig Tree
Fig Tree

A fig tree branch in the springtime with leaves and early figs sprouting together. In Israel, the first fruit buds typically appear on the branches of the fig tree in February and the leaves appear in the final part of April or in May, indicating the approach of summer. (Mt 24:32) The trees produced two crops a year: the first ripe figs, or early figs, which mature in June or early July (Isa 28:4; Jer 24:2; Ho 9:10), and the later figs, which grow on the new wood and make up the main crop, generally maturing from August onward.

Hand Mill
Hand Mill

Two women generally operated this kind of rotary hand mill, which was one type of mill used in Bible times. (Lu 17:35) They sat facing each other, each placing one hand on the handle to turn the upper stone. With her free hand, one woman fed grain in small amounts into the filler hole of the upper stone while the other woman gathered the flour as it emerged from the rim of the mill and fell to the tray or the cloth spread beneath the mill. Women ground grain each day, rising early in the morning to prepare the flour needed for bread for the day.