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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 Jesus left the temple area and was going away,
when his disciples approached him to point out the temple buildings.
2 He said to them in reply, "You see all these
things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone
upon another stone that will not be thrown down."
As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, 3
the disciples approached him privately and said, "Tell us, when will this
happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the
4 Jesus said to them in reply, "See that no
one deceives you.
For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am
the Messiah,' and they will deceive many.
You will hear of wars 5 and
reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen,
but it will not yet be the end.
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place.
6 All these are the beginning of the labor
7 Then they will hand you over to persecution,
and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name.
And then many will be led into sin; they will
betray and hate one another.
Many false prophets will arise and deceive
and because of the increase of evildoing, the
love of many will grow cold.
But the one who perseveres to the end will be
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached
throughout the world as a witness to all nations, 8 and then
the end will come.
9 "When you see the desolating abomination 10
spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader
then those in Judea must flee 11
to the mountains,
12 a person on the housetop must not go down to
get things out of his house,
a person in the field must not return to get
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in
13 Pray that your flight not be in winter or on
14 for at that time there will be great
tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now,
nor ever will be.
And if those days had not been shortened, no
one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened.
If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the
Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it.
False messiahs and false prophets will arise,
and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were
possible, even the elect.
Behold, I have told it to you beforehand.
So if they say to you, 'He is in the desert,'
do not go out there; if they say, 'He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe
For just as lightning comes from the east and
is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will
16 "Immediately after the tribulation of
those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and
the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then the sign of the Son of Man 17
will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they
will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great
And he will send out his angels 18
with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from
one end of the heavens to the other.
19 "Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When
its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see all these things,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you, this generation 20
will not pass away until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words
will not pass away.
21 "But of that day and hour no one knows,
neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, 22 but the Father
23 For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will
be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In (those) days before the flood, they were
eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah
entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and
carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man.
24 Two men will be out in the field; one will be
taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill; one
will be taken, and one will be left.
25 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on
which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house had
known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared, for at an
hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
26 27 "Who, then, is the
faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his
household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his
arrival finds doing so.
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge
of all his property.
28 But if that wicked servant says to himself,
'My master is long delayed,'
and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat
and drink with drunkards,
the servant's master will come on an unexpected
day and at an unknown hour
and will punish him severely 29
and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and
grinding of teeth.
[1-⇒ 25:46] The discourse of the fifth book, the
last of the five around which the gospel is structured. It is called the
"escha tological" discourse since it deals with the coming of the new
age (the eschaton) in its fullness, with events that will precede it, and with
how the disciples are to conduct themselves while awaiting an event that is as
certain as its exact time is unknown to all but the Father
(⇒ Matthew 24:36). The discourse may be divided
into two parts, ⇒ Matthew 24:1-44 and
24:45-⇒ 25:46. In the first, Matthew
follows his Marcan source (⇒ Mark 13:1-37) closely.
The second is drawn from Q and from the evangelist's own traditional material.
Both parts show Matthew's editing of his sources by deletions, additions, and
modifications. The vigilant waiting that is emphasized in the second part does
not mean a cessation of ordinary activity and concentration only on what is to
come, but a faithful accomplishment of duties at hand, with awareness that the
end, for which the disciples must always be ready, will entail the great
judgment by which the everlasting destiny of all will be determined.
2  As in Mark, Jesus predicts the
destruction of the temple. By omitting the Marcan story of the widow's
contribution (⇒ Mark 12:41-44) that immediately
precedes the prediction in that gospel, Matthew has established a close
connection between it and ⇒ Matthew 23:38, ".
. . your house will be abandoned desolate."
3  The Mount of Olives: see the
note on ⇒ Matthew 21:1. The disciples: cf
⇒ Mark 13:3-4 where only Peter, James, John, and
Andrew put the question that is answered by the discourse. In both gospels,
however, the question is put privately: the ensuing discourse is only for those
who are disciples of Jesus. When will this happen . . . end of the age?:
Matthew distinguishes carefully between the destruction of the temple (this)
and the coming of Jesus that will bring the end of the age. In Mark the two
events are more closely connected, a fact that may be explained by Mark's
believing that the one would immediately succeed the other. Coming: this
translates the Greek word parousia, which is used in the gospels only here and
in ⇒ Matthew 24:27, ⇒ 37,
⇒ 39. It designated the official visit of a ruler
to a city or the manifestation of a saving deity, and it was used by christians
to refer to the final coming of Jesus in glory, a term first found in the New
Testament with that meaning in ⇒ 1 Thes 2:19. The
end of the age: see the note on ⇒ Matthew 13:39.
4 [4-14] This section of the
discourse deals with calamities in the world (⇒ Matthew
24:6-7) and in the church (⇒ Matthew
24:9-12). The former must happen before the end comes
(⇒ Matthew 24:6), but they are only the beginning of
the labor pains (⇒ Matthew 24:8). (It may be noted
that the Greek word translated the end in ⇒ Matthew
24:6 and in ⇒ Matthew 24:13-14 is not the
same as the phrase "the end of the age" in ⇒ Matthew
24:3 although the meaning is the same.) The latter are sufferings of
the church, both from within and without, that will last until the gospel is
preached . . . to all nations. Then the end will come and those who have
endured the sufferings with fidelity will be saved (⇒ Matthew
5 [6-7] The disturbances mentioned
here are a commonplace of apocalyptic language, as is the assurance that they
must happen (see ⇒ Daniel 2:28 LXX), for that is the
plan of God. Kingdom against kingdom: see ⇒ Isaiah
6  The labor pains: the
tribulations leading up to the end of the age are compared to the pains of a
woman about to give birth. There is much attestation for rabbinic use of the
phrase "the woes (or birth pains) of the Messiah" after the New
Testament period, but in at least one instance it is attributed to a rabbi who
lived in the late first century A.D. In this Jewish usage it meant the distress
of the time preceding the coming of the Messiah; here, the labor pains precede
the coming of the Son of Man in glory.
7 [9-12] Matthew has used
⇒ Mark 13:9-12 in his missionary discourse
(⇒ Matthew 10:17-21) and omits it here. Besides the
sufferings, including death, and the hatred of all nations that the disciples
will have to endure, there will be worse affliction within the church itself.
This is described in ⇒ Matthew 24:10-12, which are
peculiar to Matthew. Will be led into sin: literally, "will be
scandalized," probably meaning that they will become apostates; see
⇒ Matthew 13:21 where "fall away" translates
the same Greek word as here. Betray: in the Greek this is the same word as the
hand over of ⇒ Matthew 24:9. The handing over to
persecution and hatred from outside will have their counterpart within the
church. False prophets: these are Christians; see the note on
⇒ Matthew 7:15-20. Evildoing: see
⇒ Matthew 7:23. Because of the apocalyptic nature of
much of this discourse, the literal meaning of this description of the church
should not be pressed too hard. However, there is reason to think that
Matthew's addition of these verses reflects in some measure the condition of
8  Except for the last part (and
then the end will come), this verse substantially repeats ⇒ Mark
13:10. The Matthean addition raises a problem since what follows in
⇒ Matthew 24:15-23 refers to the horrors of the
First Jewish Revolt including the destruction of the temple, and Matthew,
writing after that time, knew that the parousia of Jesus was still in the
future. A solution may be that the evangelist saw the events of those verses as
foreshadowing the cosmic disturbances that he associates with the parousia
(⇒ Matthew 24:29) so that the period in which the
former took place could be understood as belonging to the end.
9 [15-28] Cf ⇒ Mark
13:14-23; ⇒ Luke 17:23-24,
⇒ 37. A further stage in the tribulations that will
precede the coming of the Son of Man, and an answer to the question of
⇒ Matthew 24:3a, "when will this (the
destruction of the temple) happen?"
10  The desolating abomination: in
167 B.C. the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the temple by
setting up in it a statue of Zeus Olympios (see ⇒ 1 Macc
1:54). That event is referred to in ⇒ Daniel
12:11 LXX as the "desolating abomination" (NAB
"horrible abomination") and the same Greek term is used here; cf also
⇒ Daniel 9:27; ⇒ 11:31.
Although the desecration had taken place before Dn was written, it is presented
there as a future event, and Matthew sees that "prophecy" fulfilled
in the desecration of the temple by the Romans. In the holy place: the temple;
more precise than Mark's where he should not (⇒ Mark
13:14). Let the reader understand: this parenthetical remark, taken
from ⇒ Mark 13:14 invites the reader to realize the
meaning of Daniel's "prophecy."
11  The tradition that the
Christians of Jerusalem fled from that city to Pella, a city of Transjordan, at
the time of the First Jewish Revolt is found in Eusebius (Ecclesiastical
History, 3, 5, 3), who attributes the flight to "a certain oracle given by
revelation before the war." The tradition is not improbable but the
Matthean command, derived from its Marcan source, is vague in respect to the
place of flight (to the mountains), although some scholars see it as applicable
to the flight to Pella.
12 [17-19] Haste is essential, and the
journey will be particularly difficult for women who are burdened with unborn
or infant children.
13  On the sabbath: this addition
to in winter (cf ⇒ Mark 13:18) has been understood
as an indication that Matthew was addressed to a church still observing the Mosaic
law of sabbath rest and the scribal limitations upon the length of journeys
that might lawfully be made on that day. That interpretation conflicts with
Matthew's view on sabbath observance (cf ⇒ Matthew
12:1-14). The meaning of the addition may be that those undertaking
on the sabbath a journey such as the one here ordered would be offending the
sensibilities of law-observant Jews and would incur their hostility.
14  For the unparalleled distress
of that time, see ⇒ Daniel 12:1.
15 [26-28] Claims that the Messiah is
to be found in some distant or secret place must be ignored. The coming of the
Son of Man will be as clear as lightning is to all and as the corpse of an
animal is to vultures; cf ⇒ Luke 17:24,
⇒ 37. Here there is clear identification of the Son
of Man and the Messiah; cf ⇒ Matthew 24:23.
16  The answer to the question of
⇒ Matthew 24:3b "What will be the sign of your
coming?" Immediately after . . . those days: the shortening of time
between the preceding tribulation and the parousia has been explained as
Matthew's use of a supposed device of Old Testament prophecy whereby certainty
that a predicted event will occur is expressed by depicting it as imminent.
While it is questionable that that is an acceptable understanding of the Old
Testament predictions, it may be applicable here, for Matthew knew that the
parousia had not come immediately after the fall of Jerusalem, and it is
unlikely that he is attributing a mistaken calculation of time to Jesus. The
sun . . . be shaken: cf ⇒ Isaiah 13:10,
17  The sign of the Son of Man:
perhaps this means the sign that is the glorious appearance of the Son of Man;
cf ⇒ Matthew 12:39-40 where "the sign of
Jonah" is Jonah's being in the "belly of the whale." Tribes of
the earth will mourn: peculiar to Matthew; cf ⇒ Zechariah
12:12-14. Coming upon the clouds . . . glory: cf
⇒ Daniel 7:13 although there the "one like a
son of man" comes to God to receive kingship; here the Son of Man comes
from heaven for judgment.
18  Send out his angels: cf
⇒ Matthew 13:41 where they are sent out to collect
the wicked for punishment. Trumpet blast: cf ⇒ Isaiah 27:13;
⇒ 1 Thes 4:16.
19 [32-35] Cf ⇒ Mark
20  The difficulty raised by this
verse cannot be satisfactorily removed by the supposition that this generation
means the Jewish people throughout the course of their history, much less the
entire human race. Perhaps for Matthew it means the generation to which he and
his community belonged.
21 [36-44] The statement of
⇒ Matthew 24:34 is now counterbalanced by one that
declares that the exact time of the parousia is known only to the Father
(⇒ Matthew 24:36), and the disciples are warned to
be always ready for it. This section is drawn from Mark and Q (cf ⇒ Luke
17:26-27, ⇒ 34-35;
22  Many textual witnesses omit
nor the Son, which follows ⇒ Mark 13:32. Since its omission
can be explained by reluctance to attribute this ignorance to the Son, the
reading that includes it is probably original.
23 [37-39] Cf ⇒ Luke
17:26-27. In the days of Noah: the Old Testament account of the flood
lays no emphasis upon what is central for Matthew, i.e., the unexpected coming
of the flood upon those who were unprepared for it.
24 [40-41] Cf ⇒ Luke
17:34-35. Taken . . . left: the former probably means taken into the
kingdom; the latter, left for destruction. People in the same situation will be
dealt with in opposite ways. In this context, the discrimination between them
will be based on their readiness for the coming of the Son of Man.
25 [42-44] Cf ⇒ Luke
12:39-40. The theme of vigilance and readiness is continued with the
bold comparison of the Son of Man to a thief who comes to break into a house.
26 [45-51] The second part of the
discourse (see the note on ⇒ Matthew
24:1-⇒ 25:46) begins with this parable of
the faithful or unfaithful servant; cf ⇒ Luke
12:41-46. It is addressed to the leaders of Matthew's church; the
servant has been put in charge of his master's household
(⇒ Matthew 24:45) even though that household is
composed of those who are his fellow servants (⇒ Matthew
27  To distribute . . . proper
time: readiness for the master's return means a vigilance that is accompanied
by faithful performance of the duty assigned.
28  My master . . . delayed: the
note of delay is found also in the other parables of this section; cf
⇒ Matthew 25:5, ⇒ 19.
29  Punish him severely: the Greek
verb, found in the New Testament only here and in the Lucan parallel
(⇒ Luke 12:46), means, literally, "cut in two."
With the hypocrites: see the note on ⇒ Matthew 6:2.
Matthew classes the unfaithful Christian leader with the unbelieving leaders of
Judaism. Wailing and grinding of teeth: see the note on
⇒ Matthew 8:11-12.
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