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Chapter 24

Jesus tells what will happen to the *Temple 24:1-2


v1 Then Jesus left the *Temple. He was walking away when his *disciples came up to him. They wanted him to notice all the *Temple buildings. v2 But Jesus replied to them. Yes, you see all these buildings. And I am telling you the truth. Not one stone here will remain in its place in the building. Soldiers will throw down every stone. Verses 1-2 The *disciples admired the *Temple. They thought that it was very beautiful. They were astonished at what Jesus said because the stones were enormous (Mark 13:1; Luke 21:5). Jesus could see that the *Temple was beautiful. But it had no value unless sincere people went there to *worship God. Jesus knew that the *Jews would oppose the *Romans later. And the *Romans would deal with the *Jews then. There would be war and the *Romans would destroy Jerusalem. They would destroy the *Temple itself completely. Jesus words came true in *AD 70.

Troubles will come in the future 24:3-8


v3 Later, Jesus was sitting on the hill called the Mount of Olives. His *disciples came to him in private. Tell us, they said, when will all this happen? What will be the evidence that you will return? What will be the evidence that this age is ending? v4 Jesus answered them. Be careful! Do not let anyone make you believe lies. v5 Many men will say that they have come on my behalf. I am the *Messiah! they will say. So, many people will think that is true. v6 You will hear about wars. And you will hear news about other wars. Make sure that you do not become worried. These things must happen. But they do not mean that the end has come. v7 Nations will fight each other. One kings men will fight against another kings men. People will be hungry and the earth will tremble in many places. v8 Pain comes before a child is born. And all these events are like those pains. Verses 3-4 The *disciples wanted to know when the *Temple would end in that way. They also asked Jesus about when he would return. Matthew used the *Greek word parousia for when Jesus will return. It became a special word. It referred to the time when Jesus would return to earth. And that would happen when this age is ending. Jesus answered both questions in the next verses (verses 5-44). Verse 5 Jesus warned the *disciples that there would be many false *Messiahs in the future. They would tell people that God had sent them. Many people said that they were the *Messiah after Jesus died. And there are false *Messiahs even today. Verses 6-8 Jesus spoke about wars and terrible natural events. Such events might make people think that the worlds end was near. But Jesus said that these troubles were only like the beginning of the new age. They are like the pains that happen before a babys birth.

Jesus warns that people will suffer 24:9-14


v9 Then people will hand you over to the authorities, Jesus continued. They will punish you and they may kill you. People in every nation will hate you because you trust me. v10 At that time many people will turn away from believing me. They will hand each other over to their enemies and they will hate each other. v11 Many false teachers will tell you lies about the future. They will make many people think that they really have a message from God. v12 Because evil things will increase, many people will stop loving me. v13 But God will save anyone who believes him to the end. v14 *Disciples will teach people all over the world about where God rules. They will tell this good news to people in all the nations. Then the end will come. Jesus warns his *disciples about four things: 1. Verse 9 *Disciples must expect that people will hate them. The *disciples will suffer wherever they go to tell the good news. They will suffer because they belong to Christ. People will oppose them and they will attack them. People will really hurt them and they may even kill them. 2. Verse 10 There will be confusion in society. People will stop believing God. They will not be able to trust each other, so they will help each others enemies. 3. Verse 11 False teachers will say that they are giving Gods messages. But they will only teach their own ideas, because they want to make themselves important. 4. Verse 12 Many people will love God less and less. They will see all the evil things that are happening in the world. And they will allow those evil things to destroy the good in their lives. Then they will stop believing God. Jesus made two important promises: 1. Verse 13 God will say, Welcome! to people when they enter where he rules. But those people must believe him until the end of their lives (Revelation 2:10). To the end may also mean until God has finished his work here on earth. Some people will still be alive when Jesus returns. 2. Verse 14 The good news about where God rules will spread through the whole world. *Disciples should share this good news in all nations and then the worlds end will come.

People will suffer in Jerusalem 24:15-22


v15 Jesus continued to speak to them. Long ago Gods special servant Daniel spoke about the thing that people hate which destroys everything. You will see it standing in the holy place, he said. (The reader should understand what this means.) v16 You people live here in Judea. When you see this, you should escape to the mountains immediately. v17 If anyone is outside their house at that time, they should not take time to go back inside. They should not take anything from the house. v18 If anyone is in the field, they should not go home to get their coat. v19 In those days it will be terrible for women who are expecting babies! And it will be terrible for mothers who are feeding young babies! v20 Pray that you will not have to escape in winter. And pray that you will not have to escape on Gods rest day. v21 People will suffer terrible things in those days. It will be worse than anything that has ever happened before. And there will never be anything like it again. v22 If God does not make the time shorter, nobody will be alive afterwards. But God has decided to make the time shorter. That is because he pities the people that he has chosen. Verse 15 The thing that people hate which destroys everything is a description from Daniel 9:27. Everywhere people recognised that the *Temple was the *Jews most *holy place. So rulers who defeated the *Jews put something there to represent their own gods in Gods holy place.

The reader should understand what this means. Matthew probably wanted his readers to think about the reference from Daniel. It described a dangerous situation. So, people should be prepared for a bad time like that. Foreign kings had tried to destroy the *Jewish religion. And by the time when Matthew wrote, the *Romans were already fighting a war with the *Jews. Verses 16-18 When the first signs of trouble come, people must escape quickly. They must not spend time to try to collect any goods. They must escape as fast as possible. Jesus advised them to escape to the mountains. This was practical advice because the caves there could provide shelter for the people. Eusebius, a writer, said that Christians left Jerusalem when the *Romans attacked it later. Christians crossed the River Jordan, and they found safety in a city called Pella. The *Jewish writer called Josephus describes other peoples actions. They thought that they would be safe. So they stayed in Jerusalem because the city had strong walls. The *Jews believed that the *Temple would protect them. But Titus, the *Roman leader, camped outside the city for five months. He waited for the people to starve and die. Verse 19 When this happened, some women would be expecting babies. Other women would have very small children. Jesus warned that it would be terrible for them. Mothers would suffer when they could not feed their children. Josephus said that people in Jerusalem were very hungry during the *Roman attack. One mother even killed her baby and ate it. Verse 20 In the winter, it was difficult to travel. The weather was bad and the paths were muddy. The river would have filled with water. People could escape only slowly. And *Jews believed that they should travel only a short distance on Gods rest day. Verse 21 The *Jewish writer Josephus tells how terribly people suffered in Jerusalem. Thousands of *Jews died while the *Romans were fighting them. Their dead bodies were all still in Jerusalem when the *Romans entered the city. (This was 70 years after Christ was born. It happened in the year *AD 70). And they hated the sight of all the dead bodies. Thousands more *Jews became slaves when the *Romans took them as prisoners. The *Romans took many prisoners to other countries. Verse 22 God controls the events in the world. He does not want people to suffer for a long time. He will not allow anyone to destroy the people that he has chosen. The *Jews were the people that he had chosen. So these words may refer to when the *Romans defeated the *Jews in Jerusalem. But Christians are the people whom God has chosen also. So the words may refer to other times when people suffer too. Many such bad times will happen before the world ends.

Jesus warns about false *Messiahs 24:23-28


v23 At that time someone may speak to you, Jesus said. Look! Here is the Christ! he might say. There he is! someone else might say. Do not believe them. v24 False Christs and false teachers who announce events will appear. They will do great signs and *miracles. They would persuade Gods people to believe wrong ideas, if they could. v25 Take notice! I have told you this before it happens. v26 Someone may tell you, He is far out in the desert. But do not go out there. Or someone may say, He is hiding inside the house. But do not believe them. v27 When lightning flashes in the east, people in the west can see it. It will be very bright like that when the Son of Man comes. v28 The vultures (large birds) will always go to the place where there is a dead body.