As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at these massive stones in the walls!”
“Do you see these great buildings?” said Jesus. “They will all be completely destroyed. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
Later, as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us when these things are going to happen. What will be the sign they’re about to be fulfilled?”
“Don’t let anyone mislead you,” said Jesus. “Many people will come in my name, saying, ‘I’m the Messiah’ and they will deceive many, too. And when you hear of wars, and the threat of war, but don’t worry. These things must take place, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the beginning of the birth pains.
“Be on your guard! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings as witnesses to me. For the gospel must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say whatever you are given at the time, for it isn’t you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
“Brother will betray brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because of me. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
“When you will see the abomination that causes desolation standing where it should not be …” (let whoever can understand this) “…then let those who are in Judea flee to the hills. Anyone who is up the roof of their should not go back inside to pack. And anyone out in the field should not go home to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. Pray, therefore, that your flight won’t take place during winter, for there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since the beginning of the world. And it will never be equalled again. In fact, unless the Lord had decided to shorten that time of calamity, not a single person would survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.
“So, if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe them. False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders that would deceive, if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones. So watch out! I’ve warned you in advance!
“At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from the farthest ends of the earth to the farthest ends of heaven.
“Now you need to learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the end is very near – even right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
“However, nobody knows either the day or the hour when these things are going to happen – no, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. So, since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
“The coming of the Son of Man is like a man going on a long trip. Before he leaves home, he gives each of his servants instructions about the work they are to do, and he tells the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the owner of the house will return. It may be in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. If he comes without warning, don’t let him find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”