1 As Jesus left the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, "Teacher, look at the kind of stones these buildings are made of "
2 And Jesus responded to him, "Do you see these huge buildings? There will not be one stone left on another here that will not be thrown down."
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, over near the Temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 "Tell us, when will these things [you just spoke of] happen? And what will be the sign [that indicates] when all these things are about to be fulfilled?"
5 Then Jesus began saying to them, "Pay attention so that no one leads you astray [i.e., from the truth]. 6 [For] many [false teachers] will come, claiming to be me, and saying, 'I am [the Christ] and they will lead many people astray. 7 And when you hear of wars [going on] and rumors of [other] wars [pending], do not worry, for such things must necessarily happen. But the end has not yet come. [Note: By "end" here Jesus probably alludes to the downfall of Jerusalem in AD 70, with its attending destruction of the Temple buildings]. 8 For nations will wage war against one another, and kingdoms will attack one another. And earthquakes will happen at various places [in the world], and there will be famines. These things are [only] the beginning of terrible times.
9 "But pay attention to yourselves, for people will turn you over to [Jewish] councils [i.e., for judgment] and you will be beaten in synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings for being loyal to me. [This will afford you an opportunity] for witnessing to them. 10 And the good news must first be preached to people of all nations. 11 And when they lead you into court, and hand you over [to be judged], do not worry ahead of time about what you will say, but [just] say whatever you are told [i.e., by God] when the time comes. 12 And [at that time] a person will turn his brother over to be killed, and the father will do the same to his child. And children will rebel against their parents and will turn them over to be killed. 13 You will be hated by all people because you belong to me, but the person who holds out [i.e., remains faithful to God] until the end [i.e., the end of this time of severe persecution] will be saved [from destruction].
14 "But when you see that disgusting thing that causes total destruction [i.e., the Roman army. See Luke 21:20] standing where it ought not to be [i.e., surrounding the besieged city of Jerusalem], (let the reader understand [what is meant by this]), then those of you in Judea are to run away into the [nearby] mountains. 15 Also the person who is on a housetop [Note: This was a flat area where people retired for rest, prayer, etc., with its stairway on the outside] should not go down into his house to take anything out [when he flees]. 16 The person who is in a field [i.e., doing farm work] should not return [to his house] to get his coat [even]. 17 [It will be] too bad for those who are pregnant and those who are nursing babies in those days. 18 And pray that [your flight] will not be in the winter. 19 There will be great trouble during those days, such as had never been from the beginning of God's creation until the present, or even will be [in the days to come]. 20 And if the Lord had not kept those days as short as they were, no one would have been saved [i.e., from the devastating destruction]. But for the sake of the elect [i.e., God's people], whom He chose, He kept those days short.
21 And then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is Christ,' or 'Look, there He is,' do not believe him. 22 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and they will perform [miraculous] signs and [supernatural] wonders in order to lead astray [even] the elect, if possible. 23 But pay attention, for I have told you [all this] ahead of time.
24 "But after those days of terrible trouble [i.e., the next major event on God's calendar will be], the sun will become dark, and [therefore] the moon will not [be able to] shed its [reflected] light, 25 and the stars will be falling from the sky and the forces of the heavens will be shaken. [Note: From the description of these same events in Luke 21:25-26, it is possible that this is figurative language for great calamities happening on earth].
26 And then they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. 27 And He will send out His angels and gather His elect [i.e., God's people] from all directions, from the farthest part of the earth to the farthest part of the sky [i.e., from throughout the whole world].
28 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree. When its tender sprouts appear and its leaves begin to develop, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way also, when you see these things happening, you [should] know that He [i.e., Jesus] is as near as your [front] door. 30 Truly I tell you, the people of this generation will not [all] die off before all these things [i.e., mentioned above] happen. 31 Although the sky and the earth will pass away [See II Pet. 3:10], my words will not pass away [i.e., they will certainly come true].
32 But no one knows when that day or that hour will come; not even the angels in heaven or the Son of God know, but only the Father does. 33 "You should pay attention; be alert and pray, for you do not know when the time will come [i.e., for the Lord to return]. 34 It is like a man who left his house on a trip to another country. [Before leaving] he put his servants in charge of his affairs, giving each one a [particular] job to do, then he ordered the gatekeeper to stay alert [i.e., while he was gone]. 35 So, be alert, because you do not know when the owner of the house will return, whether [some] evening, at midnight, at dawn, or at [mid-] morning. 36 [Be alert], for he might come unexpectedly and find you asleep. 37 And what I am telling you, I am telling everyone. Be alert "