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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

According to Luke 21:1-38

21  Now as he looked up, he saw the rich dropping their gifts into the treasury chests.+  Then he saw a needy widow drop in two small coins of very little value,+  and he said: “Truly I say to you that this poor widow put in more than they all did.+  For all of these put in gifts* out of their surplus, but she, out of her want,* put in all the means of living she had.”+  Later, when some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with fine stones and dedicated things,+  he said: “As for these things that you now see, the days will come when not a stone will be left upon a stone and not be thrown down.”+  Then they questioned him, saying: “Teacher, when will these things actually be, and what will be the sign when these things are to occur?”+  He said: “Look out that you are not misled,+ for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The due time is near.’ Do not go after them.+  Furthermore, when you hear of wars and disturbances,* do not be terrified. For these things must take place first, but the end will not occur immediately.”+ 10  Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation,+ and kingdom against kingdom.+ 11  There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences;+ and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs. 12  “But before all these things happen, people will lay their hands on you and persecute you,+ handing you over to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and governors for the sake of my name.+ 13  It will result in your giving a witness. 14  Therefore, resolve in your hearts not to rehearse beforehand how to make your defense,+ 15  for I will give you words and wisdom that all your opposers together will not be able to resist or dispute.+ 16  Moreover, you will be handed over* even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death,+ 17  and you will be hated by all people because of my name.+ 18  But not even a hair of your heads will perish.+ 19  By your endurance you will preserve your lives.+ 20  “However, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies,+ then know that the desolating of her has drawn near.+ 21  Then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains,+ let those in the midst of her leave, and let those in the countryside not enter into her, 22  because these are days for meting out justice in order that all the things written may be fulfilled. 23  Woe to the pregnant women and those nursing a baby in those days!+ For there will be great distress on the land* and wrath against this people. 24  And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations;+ and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.+ 25  “Also, there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars,+ and on the earth anguish of nations not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation. 26  People will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.+ 27  And then they will see the Son of man+ coming in a cloud with power and great glory.+ 28  But as these things start to occur, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is getting near.” 29  With that he told them an illustration: “Notice the fig tree and all the other trees.+ 30  When they are budding, you see it for yourselves and know that now the summer is near. 31  Likewise also you, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32  Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all things happen.+ 33  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.+ 34  “But pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking+ and anxieties of life,*+ and suddenly that day be instantly upon you 35  as a snare.+ For it will come upon all those dwelling on the face of the whole earth. 36  Keep awake,+ then, all the time making supplication+ that you may succeed in escaping all these things that must occur and in standing before the Son of man.”+ 37  So by day he would be teaching in the temple, but by night he would go out and lodge on the mountain called the Mount of Olives. 38  And all the people would come to him early in the morning to hear him in the temple.

Footnotes

Or “contributed to the gifts.”
Or “poverty.”
Or “disorders; uprisings.”
Or “betrayed.”
Lit., “earth.”
Or “anxieties over livelihood; worries of daily life.”

Study Notes

sacred treasury: This term may refer to the portion of the temple called “the treasury” at Joh 8:20, apparently located in the area called the Court of the Women, where there were 13 treasury chests. (See App. B11.) It is believed that the temple also contained a major treasury where the money from the treasury chests was brought.

treasury chests: Ancient Jewish sources say that these contribution boxes, or receptacles, were shaped like trumpets, or horns, evidently with small openings at the top. People deposited in them various offerings. The Greek word used here also occurs at Joh 8:20, where it is rendered “the treasury.” That expression apparently refers to an area located in the Court of the Women. (See study note on Mt 27:6 and App. B11.) According to rabbinical sources, 13 treasury chests were placed around the walls of that court. It is believed that the temple also contained a major treasury where the money from the treasury chests was brought.

needy: Or “poor.” The Greek word pe·ni·khrosʹ used here may denote a person who lacks the basic necessities of life or someone for whom life is a great struggle. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, it is used only here.

two small coins of very little value: Lit., “two lepta,” the plural form of the Greek word le·ptonʹ, meaning “something small and thin.” A lepton was a coin that equaled 1/128 of a denarius and was evidently the smallest copper or bronze coin used in Israel.—See Glossary, “Lepton,” and App. B14.

two small coins of very little value: Lit., “two lepta,” the plural form of the Greek word le·ptonʹ, meaning “something small and thin.” A lepton was a coin that equaled 1/128 of a denarius and was evidently the smallest copper or bronze coin used in Israel.—See Glossary, “Lepton,” and App. B14.

all the means of living she had: As shown in the study note on Lu 21:2, the coins that the widow put in the treasury chest were “two lepta,” the equivalent of 1/64 of a day’s wage. The lepton was the smallest coin used in Israel at that time. According to Mt 10:29, for an assarion coin (the equivalent of eight lepta), a person could purchase two sparrows, which were among the cheapest birds used for food. So this widow had only half the amount needed to buy one sparrow, hardly enough for a single meal.

I am he: That is, the Christ, or Messiah.—Compare the parallel account at Mt 24:5.

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 note on Mt 24:6.

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.”

pestilences: Or “widespread diseases; epidemics.” Of the three Gospel writers who recorded Jesus’ great prophecy about the time of the end, only Luke mentions this feature of the composite “sign.” (Lu 21:7; Mt 24:3, 7; Mr 13:4, 8) The three accounts are complementary. The only other Biblical occurrence of the Greek word for “pestilence” is at Ac 24:5, where it is used figuratively about a person who was perceived to be “a pest,” one who causes problems, a troublemaker or public menace.

fearful sights: Derived from the Greek verb pho·beʹo, meaning “to fear,” this word appears only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It evidently refers to terrifying events.

words: Or “forceful speech.” Lit., “a mouth.” Here the Greek word stoʹma is used synonymously for speech or the power of speech.

endurance: The Greek noun hy·po·mo·neʹ is used in the Scriptures to denote courageous, steadfast, or patient “endurance” that does not lose hope in the face of obstacles, persecutions, trials, or temptations. The related verb hy·po·meʹno, rendered “to endure,” 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.

preserve your lives: Or “acquire (gain) your lives (souls).” The meaning of the Greek word psy·kheʹ, traditionally rendered “soul,” has to be determined by the context. (See Glossary, “Soul.”) It often refers to a person’s life, present or future. In this context, it has been rendered “your future lives” or “your real life.”

her: That is, the city of Jerusalem. In this context, the name Jerusalem in Greek is a feminine noun, though in some other contexts, it is neuter.

her: That is, the city of Jerusalem. In this context, the name Jerusalem in Greek is a feminine noun, though in some other contexts, it is neuter.

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.—See App. B10.

her: That is, the city of Jerusalem.—See study note on Lu 21:20.

days for meting out justice: Or “days of vengeance,” that is, divine vengeance and judgment. On an earlier occasion, in the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus quoted part of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 61:1, 2) and applied it to himself, but the record does not say that he quoted the part concerning “the day of vengeance of our God.” (Lu 4:16-21) However, on this occasion, Jesus did proclaim “days of vengeance,” foretelling that Jerusalem would be surrounded by encamped armies. God’s vengeance was among the things written in the Hebrew Scriptures. The same Greek word here rendered “meting out justice” or “vengeance” occurs in the Septuagint at De 32:35; Jer 46:10 [26:10, LXX]; and Hos 9:7. In these scriptures, the corresponding Hebrew terms are rendered “vengeance” or “reckoning.”

appointed times of the nations: Or “times of the Gentiles.” The Greek word kai·rosʹ (here the plural form is rendered “appointed times”) may refer to a point of time or a fixed or definite period of time or a “season” marked by certain features. (Mt 13:30; 21:34; Mr 11:13) It is used of “the appointed time” for Jesus’ ministry to begin (Mr 1:15) and the “appointed time” of his death (Mt 26:18). The term kai·rosʹ is also used with reference to future times or seasons within God’s arrangement or timetable, particularly in relation to Christ’s presence and his Kingdom. (Ac 1:7; 3:19; 1Th 5:1) In view of how the word kai·rosʹ is used in the Bible text, the expression “appointed times of the nations” evidently refers, not to a vague or indefinite time, but to a fixed period of time, one having a beginning and an end. The term “nations” or “Gentiles” translates the plural form of the Greek word eʹthnos, which was often used by the Bible writers to refer specifically to the non-Jewish nations.

the inhabited earth: 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.

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.

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.

in a cloud: Clouds tend to obstruct vision rather than facilitate it, but observers can “see” with eyes of understanding.Ac 1:9.

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.

standing: In the Bible, this term is sometimes used to indicate that an individual or a group holds a favored or approved position with someone who has authority. (Ps 1:5; 5:5; Pr 22:29; Lu 1:19) For example, at Re 7:9, 15, a great crowd is shown to be “standing before the throne and before the Lamb,” indicating that they are favorably recognized by God and by Jesus.

lodge on the mountain: During the last four days of his earthly life, Jesus was active during the daytime in Jerusalem. At night, he and his disciples would leave the city to lodge in the village of Bethany on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, doubtless at the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.—Mt 21:17; Mr 11:11.

Media

Judea Capta Coin
Judea Capta Coin

In his great prophecy about what would happen to Jerusalem and its temple, Jesus foretold that the inhabitants of Judea would “be led captive into all the nations.” (Lu 21:21, 24) The coin shown here is a striking testimony to the fulfillment of Jesus’ words. Such coins commemorating the capture of Judea were first minted in 71 C.E. One side of the coin contains an image of Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian. Titus completed the conquest of Judea that Vespasian had begun. The other side shows a palm tree flanked by a captive Judean male with his hands tied behind his back and a seated Jewish woman in mourning. The inscription reads “IVDAEA CAPTA,” meaning “Captive Judea.”

Roman Sword
Roman Sword

Jesus foretold that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea would “fall by the edge of the sword.” (Lu 21:24) The 2,000-year-old sword shown in the photograph likely belonged to a soldier serving in the Roman infantry that was stationed in Jerusalem in 66 C.E. when the revolt against the Romans erupted. The sword is about 60 cm (24 in.) long, and the remains of its leather scabbard, or sheath, are still attached. This sword was recently found (reported in 2011) when archaeologists were excavating a drainage channel between the City of David and the archaeological garden near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. This channel evidently served as a hiding place for residents of Jerusalem during the turbulent time preceding Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 C.E.