1 As he was making his way out of the temple area one of his disciples said to him, “Look, teacher, what stones and what buildings!”
Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down.”
2 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple area, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately,
“Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be when all these things are about to come to an end?”
Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one deceives you.
Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many.
When you hear of wars and reports of wars do not be alarmed; such things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.
Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes from place to place and there will be famines. These are the beginnings of the labor pains.
“Watch out for yourselves. They will hand you over to the courts. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will be arraigned before governors and kings because of me, as a witness before them.
But the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 3
When they lead you away and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say. But say whatever will be given to you at that hour. For it will not be you who are speaking but the holy Spirit.
Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
“When you see the desolating abomination standing 4 where he should not (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains,
(and) a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house,
and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days.
Pray that this does not happen in winter.
For those times will have tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of God’s creation until now, nor ever will be.
If the Lord had not shortened those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect whom he chose, he did shorten the days.
If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah! Look, there he is!’ do not believe it.
False messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders in order to mislead, if that were possible, the elect.
Be watchful! I have told it all to you beforehand.
“But in those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
5 And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels and gather (his) elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'”
1 [1-2] The reconstructed temple with its precincts, begun under Herod the Great ca. 20 B.C., was completed only some seven years before it was destroyed by fire in A.D. 70 at the hands of the Romans; cf ⇒ Jeremiah 26:18; ⇒ Matthew 24:1-2. For the dating of the reconstruction of the temple, see further the note on ⇒ John 2:20.
2 [3-37] Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the temple (⇒ Mark 13:2) provoked questions that the four named disciples put to him in private regarding the time and the sign when all these things are about to come to an end (⇒ Mark 13:3-4). The response to their questions was Jesus’ eschatological discourse prior to his imminent death. It contained instruction and consolation exhorting the disciples and the church to faith and obedience through the trials that would confront them (⇒ Mark 13:5-13). The sign is the presence of the desolating abomination (⇒ Mark 13:14; see ⇒ Daniel 9:27), i.e., of the Roman power profaning the temple. Flight from Jerusalem is urged rather than defense of the city through misguided messianic hope (⇒ Mark 13:14-23). Intervention will occur only after destruction (⇒ Mark 13:24-27), which will happen before the end of the first Christian generation (⇒ Mark 13:28-31). No one but the Father knows the precise time, or that of the parousia (⇒ Mark 13:32); hence the necessity of constant vigilance (⇒ Mark 13:33-37). Luke sets the parousia at a later date, after “the time of the Gentiles” (⇒ Luke 21:24). See also the notes on ⇒ Matthew 24:1-⇒ 25:46.
3  The gospel . . . to all nations: the period of the Christian mission.
4  The participle standing is masculine, in contrast to the neuter at ⇒ Matthew 24:15.
5  Son of Man . . . with great power and glory: Jesus cites this text from ⇒ Daniel 7:13 in his response to the high priest, Are you the Messiah? (⇒ Mark 14:61). In ⇒ Exodus 34:5; ⇒ Lev 16:2; and ⇒ Numbers 11:25 the clouds indicate the presence of the divinity. Thus in his role of Son of Man, Jesus is a heavenly being who will come in power and glory.