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Matthew 24:3--25:46

Context
Signs of the End of the Age

24:3 As 1  he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things 2  happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 24:4 Jesus answered them, 3  “Watch out 4  that no one misleads you. 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ 5  and they will mislead many. 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 6  24:7 For nation will rise up in arms 7  against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines 8  and earthquakes 9  in various places. 24:8 All 10  these things are the beginning of birth pains.

Persecution of Disciples

24:9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations 11  because of my name. 12  24:10 Then many will be led into sin, 13  and they will betray one another and hate one another. 24:11 And many false prophets will appear and deceive 14  many, 24:12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 24:13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved. 15  24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, 16  and then the end will come.

The Abomination of Desolation

24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation 17  – spoken about by Daniel the prophet – standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 24:16 then those in Judea must flee 18  to the mountains. 24:17 The one on the roof 19  must not come down 20  to take anything out of his house, 24:18 and the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 24:19 Woe 21  to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! 24:20 Pray 22  that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 24:21 For then there will be great suffering 23  unlike anything that has happened 24  from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen. 24:22 And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ 25  or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. 24:24 For false messiahs 26  and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 24:25 Remember, 27  I have told you ahead of time. 24:26 So then, if someone 28  says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ 29  do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him. 24:27 For just like the lightning 30  comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 24:28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures 31  will gather. 32 

The Arrival of the Son of Man

24:29 “Immediately 33  after the suffering 34  of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 35  24:30 Then 36  the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, 37  and 38  all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They 39  will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven 40  with power and great glory. 24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven 41  to the other.

The Parable of the Fig Tree

24:32 “Learn 42  this parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 24:33 So also you, when you see all these things, know 43  that he is near, right at the door. 24:34 I tell you the truth, 44  this generation 45  will not pass away until all these things take place. 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 46 

Be Ready!

24:36 “But as for that day and hour no one knows it – not even the angels in heaven 47  – except the Father alone. 24:37 For just like the days of Noah 48  were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 24:38 For in those days before the flood, people 49  were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 24:39 And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. 50  It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. 51  24:40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left. 52  24:41 There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; 53  one will be taken and one left.

24:42 “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day 54  your Lord will come. 24:43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief 55  was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. 24:44 Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 56 

The Faithful and Wise Slave

24:45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, 57  whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves 58  their food at the proper time? 24:46 Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work 59  when he comes. 24:47 I tell you the truth, 60  the master 61  will put him in charge of all his possessions. 24:48 But if 62  that evil slave should say to himself, 63  ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 24:49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with drunkards, 24:50 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, 24:51 and will cut him in two, 64  and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

25:1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 25:2 Five 65  of the virgins 66  were foolish, and five were wise. 25:3 When 67  the foolish ones took their lamps, they did not take extra 68  olive oil 69  with them. 25:4 But the wise ones took flasks of olive oil with their lamps. 25:5 When 70  the bridegroom was delayed a long time, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 25:6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is here! Come out to meet him.’ 71  25:7 Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 25:8 The 72  foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ 25:9 ‘No,’ they replied. 73  ‘There won’t be enough for you and for us. Go instead to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 25:10 But while they had gone to buy it, the bridegroom arrived, and those who were ready went inside with him to the wedding banquet. Then 74  the door was shut. 25:11 Later, 75  the other virgins came too, saying, ‘Lord, lord! Let us in!’ 76  25:12 But he replied, 77  ‘I tell you the truth, 78  I do not know you!’ 25:13 Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour. 79 

The Parable of the Talents

25:14 “For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves 80  and entrusted his property to them. 25:15 To 81  one he gave five talents, 82  to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 25:16 The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work 83  and gained five more. 25:17 In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. 25:18 But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it. 25:19 After 84  a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. 25:20 The 85  one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, 86  you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 25:21 His master answered, 87  ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 25:22 The 88  one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ 25:23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 25:24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, 25:25 so 89  I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 25:26 But his master answered, 90  ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? 25:27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, 91  and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 92  25:28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. 93  25:29 For the one who has will be given more, 94  and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 95  25:30 And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Judgment

25:31 “When 96  the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 25:32 All 97  the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 25:33 He 98  will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, 99  ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 25:38 When 100  did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 25:39 When 101  did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 25:40 And the king will answer them, 102  ‘I tell you the truth, 103  just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters 104  of mine, you did it for me.’

25:41 “Then he will say 105  to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 25:44 Then they too will answer, 106  ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ 25:45 Then he will answer them, 107  ‘I tell you the truth, 108  just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ 25:46 And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

1 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

2 sn Because the phrase these things is plural, more than the temple’s destruction is in view. The question may presuppose that such a catastrophe signals the end.

3 tn Grk “answering, Jesus said to them.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.

4 tn Or “Be on guard.”

5 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.

6 tn Grk “it is not yet the end.”

7 tn For the translation “rise up in arms” see L&N 55.2.

8 sn See Isa 5:13-14; 13:6-16; Hag 2:6-7; Zech 14:4.

9 tc Most witnesses (C Θ 0102 Ë1,13 Ï) have “and plagues” (καὶ λοιμοί, kai loimoi) between “famines” (λιμοί, limoi) and “earthquakes” (σεισμοί, seismoi), while others have “plagues and famines and earthquakes” (L W 33 pc lat). The similarities between λιμοί and λοιμοί could explain how καὶ λοιμοί might have accidentally dropped out, but since the Lukan parallel has both terms (and W lat have the order λοιμοὶ καὶ λιμοί there too, as they do in Matthew), it seems more likely that scribes added the phrase here. The shorter reading does not enjoy overwhelming support ([א] B D 892 pc, as well as versional witnesses), but it is nevertheless significant; coupled with the internal evidence it should be given preference.

10 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

11 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “nations” or “Gentiles”).

12 sn See Matt 5:10-12; 1 Cor 1:25-31.

13 tn Or “many will fall away.” This could also refer to apostasy.

14 tn Or “and lead many astray.”

15 sn But the person who endures to the end will be saved. Jesus was not claiming here that salvation is by works. He was simply arguing that genuine faith evidences itself in persistence through even the worst of trials.

16 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “nations” or “Gentiles”).

17 sn The reference to the abomination of desolation is an allusion to Dan 9:27. Though some have seen the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in the actions of Antiochus IV (or a representative of his) in 167 b.c., the words of Jesus seem to indicate that Antiochus was not the final fulfillment, but that there was (from Jesus’ perspective) still another fulfillment yet to come. Some argue that this was realized in a.d. 70, while others claim that it refers specifically to Antichrist and will not be fully realized until the period of the great tribulation at the end of the age (cf. Mark 13:14, 19, 24; Rev 3:10).

18 sn Fleeing to the mountains is a key OT image: Gen 19:17; Judg 6:2; Isa 15:5; Jer 16:16; Zech 14:5.

19 sn On the roof. Most of the roofs in the NT were flat roofs made of pounded dirt, sometimes mixed with lime or stones, supported by heavy wooden beams. They generally had an easy means of access, either a sturdy wooden ladder or stone stairway, sometimes on the outside of the house.

20 sn The swiftness and devastation of the judgment will require a swift escape. There will be no time to come down from the roof and pick up anything from inside one’s home.

21 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

22 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

23 tn Traditionally, “great tribulation.”

24 sn Suffering unlike anything that has happened. Some refer this event to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. While the events of a.d. 70 may reflect somewhat the comments Jesus makes here, the reference to the scope and severity of this judgment strongly suggest that much more is in view. Most likely Jesus is referring to the great end-time judgment on Jerusalem in the great tribulation.

25 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.

26 tn Or “false christs”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

27 tn Or “Pay attention!” Grk “Behold.”

28 tn Grk “they say.” The third person plural is used here as an indefinite and translated “someone” (ExSyn 402).

29 tn Or “in the desert.”

30 sn The Son of Man’s coming in power will be sudden and obvious like lightning. No one will need to point it out.

31 tn The same Greek term can refer to “eagles” or “vultures” (L&N 4.42; BDAG 22 s.v. ἀετός), but in this context it must mean vultures because the gruesome image is one of dead bodies being consumed by scavengers.

sn Jesus’ answer is that when the judgment comes, the scenes of death will be obvious and so will the location of the judgment. See also Luke 17:37.

32 tn Grk “will be gathered.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in English.

33 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

34 tn Traditionally, “tribulation.”

35 sn An allusion to Isa 13:10, 34:4 (LXX); Joel 2:10. The heavens were seen as the abode of heavenly forces, so their shaking indicates distress in the spiritual realm. Although some take the powers as a reference to bodies in the heavens (like stars and planets, “the heavenly bodies,” NIV) this is not as likely.

36 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

37 tn Or “in the sky”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context.

38 tn Here τότε (tote, “then”) has not been translated to avoid redundancy in English.

39 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

40 sn An allusion to Dan 7:13. Here is Jesus returning with full authority to judge.

41 tn Or “of the sky”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context.

42 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

43 tn The verb γινώσκετε (ginwskete, “know”) can be parsed as either present indicative or present imperative. In this context the imperative fits better, since the movement is from analogy (trees and seasons) to the future (the signs of the coming of the kingdom) and since the emphasis is on preparation for this event.

44 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

45 sn This is one of the hardest verses in the gospels to interpret. Various views exist for what generation means. (1) Some take it as meaning “race” and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away. But it is very questionable that the Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning. Two other options are possible. (2) Generation might mean “this type of generation” and refer to the generation of wicked humanity. Then the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it. Or (3) generation may refer to “the generation that sees the signs of the end” (v. 30), who will also see the end itself. In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession.

46 sn The words that Jesus predicts here will never pass away. They are more stable and lasting than creation itself. For this kind of image, see Isa 40:8; 55:10-11.

47 tc ‡ Some important witnesses, including early Alexandrian and Western mss (א*,2 B D Θ Ë13 pc it vgmss Irlat Hiermss), have the additional words οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός (oude Jo Juios, “nor the son”) here. Although the shorter reading (which lacks this phrase) is suspect in that it seems to soften the prophetic ignorance of Jesus, the final phrase (“except the Father alone”) already implies this. Further, the parallel in Mark 13:32 has οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός, with almost no witnesses lacking the expression. Hence, it is doubtful that the absence of “neither the Son” is due to the scribes. In keeping with Matthew’s general softening of Mark’s harsh statements throughout his Gospel, it is more likely that the absence of “neither the Son” is part of the original text of Matthew, being an intentional change on the part of the author. Further, this shorter reading is supported by the first corrector of א as well as L W Ë1 33 Ï vg sy co Hiermss. Admittedly, the external evidence is not as impressive for the shorter reading, but it best explains the rise of the other reading (in particular, how does one account for virtually no mss excising οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός at Mark 13:32 if such an absence here is due to scribal alteration? Although scribes were hardly consistent, for such a theologically significant issue at least some consistency would be expected on the part of a few scribes). Nevertheless, NA27 includes οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός here.

48 sn Like the days of Noah, the time of the flood in Gen 6:5-8:22, the judgment will come as a surprise as people live their day to day lives.

49 tn Grk “they,” but in an indefinite sense, “people.”

50 sn Like the flood that came and took them all away, the coming judgment associated with the Son of Man will condemn many.

51 tn Grk “So also will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

52 sn There is debate among commentators and scholars over the phrase one will be taken and one left about whether one is taken for judgment or for salvation. If the imagery is patterned after the rescue of Noah from the flood, as some suggest, the ones taken are the saved (as Noah was) andthose left behind are judged. The imagery, however, is not directly tied to theidentification of the two groups. Its primary purposein context is topicture the sudden, surprisingseparation of the righteous and the judged (i.e., condemned) at the return of the Son of Man.

53 tn According to L&N 46.16, this refers to a hand mill normally operated by two women.

54 tc Most later mss (L 0281 Ï lat) have here ὥρᾳ ({wra, “hour”) instead of ἡμέρα (Jemera, “day”). Although the merits of this reading could be argued either way, in light of the overwhelming and diverse early support for ἡμέρᾳ ({א B C D W Δ Θ Ë13 33 892 1424, as well as several versions and fathers}), the more general term is surely correct.

55 sn On Jesus pictured as a returning thief, see 1 Thess 5:2, 4; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15.

56 sn Jesus made clear that his coming could not be timed, and suggested it would take some time – so long, in fact, that some will not be looking for him any longer (at an hour when you do not expect him).

57 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.

58 tn Grk “give them.”

59 tn That is, doing his job, doing what he is supposed to be doing.

60 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

61 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the master) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

62 tn In the Greek text this is a third class condition that for all practical purposes is a hypothetical condition (note the translation of the following verb “should say”).

63 tn Grk “should say in his heart.”

64 tn The verb διχοτομέω (dicotomew) means to cut an object into two parts (L&N 19.19). This is an extremely severe punishment compared to the other two later punishments. To translate it simply as “punish” is too mild. If taken literally this servant is dismembered, although it is possible to view the stated punishment as hyperbole (L&N 38.12).

65 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

66 tn Grk “Five of them.”

67 tn Grk “For when.” Here γάρ (gar) has not been translated.

68 tn The word “extra” is not in the Greek text but is implied. The point is that the five foolish virgins had only the oil in their lamps, but took along no extra supply from which to replenish them. This is clear from v. 8, where the lamps of the foolish virgins are going out because they are running out of oil.

69 tn On the use of olive oil in lamps, see L&N 6.202.

70 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

71 tc ‡ Most witnesses have αὐτοῦ (autou, “[with] him”) after ἀπάντησιν (apanthsin, “meeting”), a reading which makes explicit what is already implied in the shorter text (as found in א B 700). The translation likewise adds “him” for clarity’s sake even though the word is not considered part of the original text. NA27 has αὐτοῦ in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

72 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

73 tn Grk “The wise answered, saying, ‘No.’”

74 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

75 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

76 tn Grk “Open to us.”

77 tn Grk “But answering, he said.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.

78 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

79 tc Most later mss (C3 Ë13 1424c Ï) also read here “in which the Son of Man is coming” (ἐν ᾗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται, en |h Jo Juio" tou anqrwpou ercetai), reproducing almost verbatim the last line of Matt 24:44. The longer reading thus appears to be an explanatory expansion and should not be considered authentic. The earlier and better witnesses ({Ì35 א A B C* D L W Δ Θ Ë1 33 565 892 1424* lat co}) lack this phrase.

80 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.

81 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

82 sn A talent was equal to 6000 denarii. See the note on this term in 18:24.

83 tn Grk “traded with them.”

84 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

85 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

86 tn Grk Or “Lord; or “Master” (and so throughout this paragraph).

87 tn Grk “His master said to him.”

88 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

89 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

90 tn Grk “But answering, his master said to him.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.

91 tn For the translation “deposited my money with the bankers,” see L&N 57.216.

92 sn That is, “If you really feared me you should have done a minimum to get what I asked for.”

93 tn Grk “the ten talents.”

94 tn Grk “to everyone who has, he will be given more.”

sn The one who has will be given more. Faithfulness yields great reward (see Matt 13:12; also Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18, 19:26).

95 sn The one who has nothing has even what he seems to have taken from him, ending up with no reward at all (see also Luke 8:18). The exact force of this is left ambiguous, but there is no comfort here for those who are pictured by the third slave as being totally unmoved by the master. Though not an outright enemy, there is no relationship to the master either.

96 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

97 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

98 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

99 tn Grk “answer him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

100 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

101 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

102 tn Grk “answering, the king will say to them.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.

103 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

104 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelfoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited). In this context Jesus is ultimately speaking of his “followers” (whether men or women, adults or children), but the familial connotation of “brothers and sisters” is also important to retain here.

105 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

106 tn Grk “Then they will answer, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

107 tn Grk “answer them, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

108 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”



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