Matthew ◦ Chapter 24
1 As Jesus was walking away from the temple, his disciples caught up to him and pointed with great admiration toward the beauty and majesty of the temple.2 Jesus said to them, "Do you see this entire temple complex? I tell you now, not one stone will remain upon another. The entire complex will be turned to rubble."3 Later, when Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives alone, the disciples came to him and asked, "Tell us, when will the temple be destroyed and what will be the warning signs of your return and of the end of this age?"4 Jesus answered: "Be careful to think for yourselves so that no one fools you,5 for over the years, there will be many people who arise claiming they come from me, or represent me, or even claiming they are 'the Messiah, Christ returned.' And many who don't think for themselves will be taken in by their charisma.6 Before the end, there will be wars and murmurings of war, but don't be afraid: such things will happen; but the end comes later.7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom will war against kingdom. Nature will suffer as famines, earthquakes, and other natural disasters occur around the world;8 but just as a woman in labor experiences birth pains that increase in intensity and frequency right up until delivery, so too these events are just the beginning of the labor pains.9 "You will be abused, rejected, tortured and executed, and you will be hated throughout the world because of me.10 During the time of persecution, many will lose heart and reject me and my methods, and even betray and hate each other and their family and friends.11 Many false teachers and fraudulent spokespersons of God will appear and deceive vast numbers of people.12 Because selfishness and wickedness will increase, the love of most people will grow cold,13 but all those who stay faithful, practicing my methods of truth and love until the end, will be saved.14 And the good news of the kingdom of love will be preached throughout the entire world — to all peoples — to provide evidence of God's true character and methods; and then the end will come.15 "So when you see 'the abomination that causes desolation,'-spoken of by Daniel-occupying the holy place, understand16 Those who are in Judea should flee to the mountains.17 Don't waste time trying to gather your things, but leave immediately.18 If you're outside, flee; don't even go inside for a coat.19 It will be a horrible time, especially for pregnant women and nursing mothers!20 Pray that you will not have to flee in the winter or on the Sabbath,21 for that time of trouble will be the worst the world has ever seen, or will ever see.22 If God didn't intervene to stop it, no one would live through it; but for the sake of those who have partaken of the Remedy, God will shorten those troubled times.23 At that time in history, if anyone proclaims, 'Look, the Messiah or Savior is here!’ or 'There is the Savior!' — don't believe it,24 for false messiahs and false apostles will appear around the world–some even performing miraculous signs in order to deceive those who don't think for themselves. Their counterfeit will be so close to the true that it will almost dupe those who have partaken of the Remedy.25 So remember that I have warned you before it happens: Be prepared!26 If anyone tells you, 'The Messiah is in wilderness near Palestine,' don't go there; or 'The Savior can be found in secret meetings,' or 'His coming is a secret event' — don't believe it.27 For the coming of the Son of Man will be visible to the entire world, just like sunlight dawns in the east and shines to the west, covering the entire planet.28 You can be certain that you will not find the Son of Man where people seek to speak with the dead. Think of vultures eating corpses, for that is what's happening there.29 "As soon as those days of trouble are over, 'light from the sun and moon will no longer be seen as evidence of God's creatorship, but their light will be darkened by evolutionism. The stars in heaven will be disregarded as evidence of the Creator, and the power of heaven will be shaken out of the land and out of the hearts of people.' 2This rendering is clearly interpretive, intended to cause the reader to think. Which sign would be more helpful to God’s people on earth: a single day on which in one small section of the globe the sun and moon darken and some years later there is a meteor shower (as some Christian groups suggest), or a global change in the minds of people, in which God’s celestial beacons marking His Creatorship are cast aside? But for those preferring a more traditional reading, this is an alternative rendering: "As soon as those events are over, ‘the sun and moon will not give their normal light, stars will fall from the sky, and the power of heaven will be shaken.' "30 "At that time, the Son of Man will appear in the sky: Everyone will see him, and all the nations of this selfish world will be grief-stricken. They will see the Son of Man arriving amongst the clouds of the sky, with the unveiled power and splendor of infinite love and truth.31 And with the loud blast of a trumpet, he will direct his angels to gather all those who have partaken of the Remedy, from the entire world — from one end of the globe to the other.32 "So apply what you know about the fig tree: When the buds form and leaves sprout, you know that summer is near.33 Likewise, when all of these things transpire, realize that the end is very near — the Son of Man is right at the door.34 I tell you the truth, this sinful race will not pass away until all these things happen.35 This atmosphere and the earth's surface will pass away, but what I have said will not be passed by.36 "No one knows the day or hour when the end will occur: not the angels in heaven, not even the Son; only the Father knows.37 When the Son of Man returns, the condition on earth will be similar to that at the time of Noah.38 When the world was about to be destroyed by flood, people ignored all the warning signs: they were caught up in their routines — working to put food and drink on the table, marrying and planning for their families' future — right up until Noah entered the ark and the door was shut.39 They were so focused on themselves and their routines that they were unaware of what was about to happen, until the flood came and swept them all away. That is how people will be when the Son of Man returns.40 There will be two men working at their job: one will have taken the Remedy and be ready to go to heaven, the other–won't.41 Likewise, there will be women who work together: some will have taken the Remedy and be ready to go to heaven, while others will not.42 "Therefore stay vigilant. Don't become complacent, because you do not know the day your Lord will return.43 You do understand that if a homeowner knew when a thief was going to break into their home, they would be ready and not caught unaware.44 So, you too must keep alert, stay aware and be ready, because the Son of Man will return at a time when he is least expected.45 "Who then is qualified to share the Remedy and nurture the master's staff? Whom will the master trust with this duty? An aide who understands the situation, loves the master, and faithfully carries out their responsibilities.46 It will be the most awesome experience for that aide when the master returns to find them reliably doing so.47 Truly, that aide will be trusted with all of their master's possessions.48 But what if one of the master's aides is self-centered and says to themself: 'The master has been gone a long time; who knows when he will return?'49 and rather than nurturing the staff, they berate, abuse and mislead them, and then go and use the master's resources to party with gluttons and drunkards?50 That aide will be totally surprised — caught completely unaware — on the day their master returns.51 The master will let that wicked aide go: their relationship shredded, that aide will be outcast with all the other counterfeits and frauds who have peddled false remedies. For them, there is only pain, suffering, and death.