Jesus was leaving the temple. One of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher! What huge stones! What wonderful buildings!"
"Do you see these huge buildings?" Jesus asked. "Not one stone here will be left on top of another. Every stone will be thrown down."
Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, across from the temple. Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him a question in private.
"Tell us," they said. "When will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to come true?"
Jesus said to them, "Keep watch! Be careful that no one fools you.
Many will come in my name. They will claim, 'I am he.' They will fool many people.
"You will hear about wars. You will also hear people talking about future wars. Don't be alarmed. Those things must happen. But the end still isn't here.
Nation will fight against nation. Kingdom will fight against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many places. People will go hungry. All of those things are the beginning of birth pains.
"Watch out! You will be handed over to the local courts. You will be whipped in the synagogues. You will stand in front of governors and kings because of me. In that way you will be witnesses to them.
The good news has to be preached to all nations before the end comes.
You will be arrested and brought to trial. But don't worry ahead of time about what you will say. Just say what God brings to your mind at the time. It is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
"Brothers will hand over brothers to be killed. Fathers will hand over their children. Children will rise up against their parents and have them put to death.
Everyone will hate you because of me. But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
"You will see 'the hated thing that destroys.'#1(Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11)#2 It will stand where it does not belong. The reader should understand this. Then those who are in Judea should escape to the mountains.
No one on the roof should go down into his house to take anything out.
No one in the field should go back to get his coat.
How awful it will be in those days for pregnant women! How awful for nursing mothers!
Pray that this will not happen in winter.
"Those days will be worse than any others from the time God created the world until now. And there will never be any like them again.
If the Lord had not cut the time short, no one would live. But because of God's chosen people, he has shortened it.
"At that time someone may say to you, 'Look! Here is the Christ!' Or, 'Look! There he is!' Do not believe it.
False Christs and false prophets will appear. They will do signs and miracles. They will try to fool God's chosen people if possible.
Keep watch! I have told you everything ahead of time.
"So in those days there will be terrible suffering. After that, Scripture says, " 'The sun will be darkened. The moon will not shine.
The stars will fall from the sky. The heavenly bodies will be shaken.' #1(Isaiah 13:10; 34:4)#2
"At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds. He will come with great power and glory.
He will send his angels. He will gather his chosen people from all four directions. He will bring them from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
"Learn a lesson from the fig tree. As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see those things happening, you know that the end is near. It is right at the door.
What I'm about to tell you is true. The people living at that time will certainly not pass away until all those things have happened.
Heaven and earth will pass away. But my words will never pass away.
"No one knows about that day or hour. Not even the angels in heaven know. The Son does not know. Only the Father knows.
"Keep watch! Stay awake! You do not know when that time will come.
It's like a man going away. He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge. Each one is given a task to do. He tells the one at the door to keep watch.
"So keep watch! You do not know when the owner of the house will come back. It may be in the evening or at midnight. It may be when the rooster crows or at dawn.
He may come suddenly. So do not let him find you sleeping.
"What I say to you, I say to everyone. 'Watch!' "