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Matthew 24:3-28

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 

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.



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