SEPTEMBER 16 (Year One)
Jesus left the Temple area and was walking away. But his followers came to him to show him the Temple’s buildings. He asked them, “Are you looking at these buildings? The fact is, they will be destroyed. Every stone will be thrown down to the ground. Not one stone will be left on another.”
Later, Jesus was sitting at a place on the Mount of Olives. The followers came to be alone with him. They said, “Tell us when these things will happen. And what will happen to prepare us for your coming and the end of time?”
Jesus answered, “Be careful! Don’t let anyone fool you. Many people will come and use my name. They will say, ‘I am the Messiah.’ And they will fool many people. You will hear about wars that are being fought. And you will hear stories about other wars beginning. But don’t be afraid. These things must happen before the end comes. Nations will fight against other nations. Kingdoms will fight against other kingdoms. There will be times when there is no food for people to eat. And there will be earthquakes in different places. These things are only the beginning of troubles, like the first pains of a woman giving birth.
“Then you will be arrested and handed over to be punished and killed. People all over the world will hate you because you believe in me. During that time many believers will lose their faith. They will turn against each other and hate each other. Many false prophets will come and cause many people to believe things that are wrong. There will be so much more evil in the world that the love of most believers will grow cold. But the one who remains faithful to the end will be saved. And the Good News I have shared about God’s kingdom will be told throughout the world. It will be spread to every nation. Then the end will come.
“Daniel the prophet spoke about ‘the terrible thing that causes destruction.’ You will see this terrible thing standing in the holy place.” (You who read this should understand what it means.) “The people in Judea at that time should run away to the mountains. They should run away without wasting time to stop for anything. If they are on the roof of their house, they must not go down to get anything out of the house. If they are in the field, they must not go back to get a coat.
“During that time it will be hard for women who are pregnant or have small babies! Pray that it will not be winter or a Sabbath day when these things happen and you have to run away, because it will be a time of great trouble. There will be more trouble than has ever happened since the beginning of the world. And nothing as bad as that will ever happen again.
“But God has decided to make that terrible time short. If it were not made short, no one would continue living. But God will make that time short to help the people he has chosen.
“Someone might say to you at that time, ‘Look, there is the Messiah!’ Or someone else might say, ‘There he is!’ But don’t believe them. False messiahs and false prophets will come and do great miracles and wonders, trying to fool the people God has chosen, if that is possible. Now I have warned you about this before it happens.
“Someone might tell you, ‘The Messiah is there in the desert!’ But don’t go into the desert to look for him. Someone else might say, ‘There is the Messiah in that room!’ But don’t believe it. When the Son of Man comes, everyone will see him. It will be like lightning flashing in the sky that can be seen everywhere. It’s like looking for a dead body: You will find it where the vultures are gathering above.
“Right after the trouble of those days, this will happen:
‘The sun will become dark,
and the moon will not give light.
The stars will fall from the sky,
and everything in the sky will be changed.’
“Then there will be something in the sky that shows the Son of Man is coming. All the people of the world will cry. Everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in the sky. He will come with power and great glory. He will use a loud trumpet to send his angels all around the earth. They will gather his chosen people from every part of the earth.
“The fig tree teaches us a lesson: When its branches become green and soft, and new leaves begin to grow, then you know that summer is very near. In the same way, when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time is very near, already present. I assure you that all these things will happen while some of the people of this time are still living. The whole world, earth and sky, will be destroyed, but my words will last forever.
“No one knows when that day or time will be. The Son and the angels in heaven don’t know when it will be. Only the Father knows.
“When the Son of Man comes, it will be the same as what happened during Noah’s time. In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving their children to be married right up to the day Noah entered the boat. They knew nothing about what was happening until the flood came and destroyed them all.
“It will be the same when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field. One will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding grain with a mill. One will be taken and the other will be left.
“So always be ready. You don’t know the day your Lord will come. What would a homeowner do if he knew when a thief was coming? You know he would be ready and not let the thief break in. So you also must be ready. The Son of Man will come at a time when you don’t expect him.
“Who is the wise and trusted servant? The master trusts one servant to give the other servants their food at the right time. Who is the one the master trusts to do that work? When the master comes and finds that servant doing the work he gave him, it will be a day of blessing for that servant. I can tell you without a doubt, the master will choose that servant to take care of everything he owns.
“But what will happen if that servant is evil and thinks his master will not come back soon? He will begin to beat the other servants. He will eat and drink with others who are drunk. Then the master will come when the servant is not ready, at a time when the servant is not expecting him. Then the master will punish that servant. He will send him away to be with the hypocrites, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.