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Jehovah’s Witnesses

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

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.+


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

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.”Joh 1:51.

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, apart from a few sections of the wall, completely leveled it.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 Israelite 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 helps us understand 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.

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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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.