Jesus and the End Time | Matthean End Time Discourse Texts
Introductory Notes

This is Part 1 of 2 of the Matthean End Time discourse page of the Bible prophecy website titled "Jesus and the End Time". This End Time or Olivet discourse shows and discusses the King James Bible passages ("texts" for short) which appear in chapters 24 and 25 of the Gospel of Matthew. This discourse and its Markan and Lukan counterparts, the Markan End Time discourse (Mark 13:1-37) and the Lukan End Time discourse (Luke 21:5-37), are singled out for special treatment for the reasons given on the Introduction page of this website. The most important of these is that these discourses include the longest and most complete descriptions of the End Times teachings of Jesus that can be found in the Gospels in which they appear. As a result, these discourses can reasonably be regarded as together comprising the single most important set of Biblical texts that a person can use to understand the Eschatology of Jesus as it is described in the King James Bible (or KJV Bible).

While the KJV Bible shows the Matthean End Time discourse* as a single, long sequence of verses that occupies almost all of chapters 24 and 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, the writer has divided this discourse into two parts and used Matt. 24:36 as the dividing line between them. One reason he has used Matt. 24:36 as this dividing line is that this verse is located at one of this discourse's main literary and logical break points, namely, the point at which the Matthean discourse finishes describing teachings of Jesus about the End Times that generally parallel those described in the Markan and Lukan discourses. Another is that this verse lies at the point after which the Matthean discourse begins a second, longer description of the teachings of Jesus about the coming of the Son of man and the End Time Kingdom that culminates in a description of the End Time Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46), an event also known as the Day of Judgment, Judgment Day or simply "the Judgment". Thus, the use of Matt. 24:36 as the dividing line between Parts 1 and 2 of the Matthean discourse greatly facilitates a study of the similarities and differences between the three End Time discourses.

Arguably the most important of the differences between the Matthean discourse on the one hand and the Markan and Lukan discourses on the other is the fact that v. 46 of Jesus' description of the End Time Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46) is the first and only verse of the KJV Bible that uses the words everlasting punishment as such. This, in turn, makes a clear understanding of the possible interpretations of the teachings of Jesus about everlasting punishment and hell a matter of the utmost importance. Accordingly, the writer discusses the most plausible interpretations of these teachings at length in a special set of Notes titled "Notes on Everlasting Punishment" that he includes both at the end of the full-length PDF version of this page and among the Main End Time Files of the Table of Contents and Home Pages of this website.

* Special Note on Alternative Names or Terms:
Persons who write books and articles for the popular apocalyptic literature, or who create Bible prophecy websites, often refer to this and other End Time discourses using names other than those preferred by the writer. Some examples of these other names include: the Olivet discourse of Matthew (or Matthew's Olivet discourse), the apocalyptic discourse of Matthew (or Matthew's apocalyptic discourse), the End Time discourse of Matthew, the Little Apocalypse of Matthew and the Eschatological discourse of Matthew. These persons also often use terms that are synonyms or alternatives for "End Time", such as End-Time, Endtime, End Times, End-Times, Endtimes, end of the world, End of Days, Last Days and the Eschaton. Other terms of these kinds are discussed on the Introduction page of this website.

The End Time Discourse of Matthew – Part 1

Matt. 24:1-22
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. P And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
V. 1-22 above generally correspond to Mark 13:1-20 and Luke 21:5-24 of the Markan and Lukan discourses.
The words "there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." in v. 2 above are repeated, almost word for word, in v. 2 of Mark 13:1-20 and v. 6 of Luke 21:5-24. These words seem to be an abbreviated form of the words spoken by Jesus in v. 44 of Luke 19:41-44. See also v. 38 of Matt. 23:29-39.
V. 2 is clearly a prophecy of Jesus. This is not only because it describes a future event, but also because it begins with words ("verily I say unto you") that are similar to prophecy introducing phrases like "Thus saith the Lord". Less clear is whether v. 2 is one of the End Time prophecies of Jesus. This is because v. 4 describes Jesus speaking about the end of the world only after he is asked about it in v. 3, a verse which suggests the passage of a period of time that is not described.
While the last part of v. 3 describes the disciples asking Jesus "what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?", its Markan counterpart, v. 3-4 of Mark 13:1-20, describe four named disciples asking him "when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?". The most nearly similar Lukan passage, v. 7 of Luke 21:5-24, describes persons who may or may not be disciples asking him "when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?".
The "sign" that disciples ask about in v. 3 may correspond to "the sign of the Son of man in heaven" that Jesus speaks about in v. 30 of Matt. 24:29-36. In the Markan and Lukan counterparts of the latter, Mark 13:24-32 and Luke 21:25-37, only Luke describes Jesus speaking of "signs" (Luke 21:25), and describes them as signs in the sun, moon and stars.
The first part of the question that the disciples ask Jesus in v. 3 above seems to generally parallel the question that one saint asks another in v. 13 of Dan 8:5-14. Interestingly, both v. 2 and v. 11 of Dan. 8:5-14 make statements about the temple (or sanctuary) being thrown (or cast) down. In addition, the abomination of desolation that Jesus speaks about in v. 15 above may correspond to the "transgression of desolation" that one of the saints speaks about in v. 13 of Dan. 8:5-14. Finally, the falling of the stars that Jesus speaks about in v. 29 of Matt. 24:29-36 below may be related to the casting down of the stars mentioned in v. 10 of Dan. 8:5-14.
The four Gospels describe Jesus using the phrase "the end of the world" as such only three times, in v. 39 of Matt. 13:36-43, v. 49 of Matt. 13:47-50 and v. 20 of Matt. 28:16-20. In spite of this, v. 6, 13 and 14 seem to describe Jesus using the words "the end" as an abbreviated way of referring to the end of the world. The Markan and Lukan discourses also seem to describe Jesus using the words "the end" in this way. See v. 7 and 13 of Mark 13:1-20 and v. 9 of Luke 21:5-24.
V. 4-5 above seem to make generally the same point as v. 23-24 of Matt. 24:23-28 below. In addition, v. 5 and 11 seem to be differently worded forms of a warning about the coming of deceivers.
V. 4-5 are repeated, in almost the same words, in v. 5-6 of Mark 13:1-20 of Mark's End Time discourse. These verses are also generally similar to v. 8 of Luke 21:5-24 of Luke's End Time discourse, except that the latter adds the words "the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.".
V. 6 and 14 seem to complement one another. This is because v. 6 says when the end will not come, i.e., that "the end is not yet.", while v. 14 says when the end will come, i.e., when "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world...then shall the end come.". These statements correspond to the generally similar statements made in v. 7 and 10 of Mark 13:1-20 of the Markan discourse. While the Lukan discourse includes a verse (Luke 21:9) that corresponds to the first of these statements (Matt. 24:6 and Mark 13:7), it does not include a verse that corresponds to the second.
V. 6-8 above are very similar to v. 7-8 of Mark 13:1-20 of the Markan discourse. They are also roughly similar to v. 9-11 of Luke 21:5-24 of the Lukan discourse, except that the latter also mentions fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
Although v. 7 describes Jesus using the word "kingdom", it seems to describe him using this word in a common, general earthly sense in which has little to do with the kingdom that the writer refers to as the End Time Kingdom (or kingdom of the End Times). In the Auxiliary Sense File titled "Senses of the Word Kingdom", the writer describes the senses in which the Bible uses the word "kingdom" and gives examples of KJV Bible verses that use it in these senses. 
The last part of v. 9, "...ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." is repeated, almost word for word, in the first half of Mark 13:13 and in Luke 21:17. Surprisingly, the words "But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.", which appear in the second half of Mark 13:13, appear word for word in v. 13, but do not appear anywhere in the Gospel of Luke. In addition, the two parts of Mark 13:13, which appear separately in v. 9 and 13, appear together and are repeated, almost word for word, in v. 22 of Matthew's account of the sending out of the twelve, Matt. 10:5-23.
V. 9-10 use general words like "they" and "many" to describe those who will afflict and kill followers of Jesus before the end comes (v. 14). While the Markan and Lukan discourses also use such words, e.g., Mark 13:9 and 11 and Luke 21:12, they also use more specific words like "parents" and "friends", e.g., Mark 13:12 and Luke 21:16.
V. 11 above seems to be repeated, with some differences in wording, in v. 24 of Matt. 24:23-28 and in v. 22 of Mark 13:21-23. V. 11 also seems to be a differently worded reiteration of the words spoken by Jesus in v. 5 above.
The words spoken by Jesus in v. 13 are repeated, word for word, in the last part of Mark 13:13, but do not appear anywhere in the Gospel of Luke or John. In Mark 13:13, however, these words are preceded by the words that appear in the last part of v. 9 above. In spite of this, the words of Mark 13:13 are repeated, almost word for word, in Matt. 10:22.
V. 14 is the first verse of the Matthean discourse in which Jesus uses the term "the kingdom" in a sense in which it may refer to an End Time Kingdom, such as the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven (or a shortened synonym for it like his kingdom, thy kingdom, etc). In the Auxiliary Sense file titled "Senses of the Word Kingdom" the writer describes the senses in which the Bible uses the word "kingdom" and gives examples of verses that use it in these senses.
The importance of the sense in which Jesus uses the word "kingdom" in v. 14 is clear from the fact that he also uses it in v. 34 of Matt. 25:31-46 to refer to the place where the Son of man (or King) invites "ye blessed" to come.
The words "this gospel of the kingdom" that Jesus uses in v. 14 seem to refer to the same thing as the words "the gospel of the kingdom" that Matthew describes him preaching in Matt. 4:23-24 and Matt. 9:35. It also seems to refer to the same thing as "the gospel of the kingdom of God" that Mark describes him preaching in Mark 1:14-15. Surprisingly, the Gospel of John never uses the word "gospel", and uses the word "kingdom" only three times, in John 3:3and 5 and John 18:36.
V. 14 describes Jesus saying, "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world…then shall the end come.". The most nearly similar part of the Markan discourse, Mark 13:10, describes him saying only that "the gospel" must be published among all nations "first". In the Lukan discourse, Jesus uses the words "the end" only in Luke 21:9 and says nothing about the gospel being preached in all the world. Luke does, however, describe him preaching repentance and the remission of sins among all nations at his ascension, i.e., at Luke 24:47. See also Mark 16:15-16 and Acts 1:8.
By using the word "then" in v. 14, Jesus seems to suggest that the end will come soon after "this gospel of the kingdom" is preached in all the world. If this is correct, then v. 14 may convey an idea like that conveyed by v. 28 of Matt. 16:24-28 and v. 34 of Matt. 24:29-36. See also the Notes included with Matt. 13:24-30 and Matt. 13:47-50 concerning the time of harvest and the time when the net is full. Finally, consider the use of the word "immediately" in v. 29 of Mark 4:26-29.
In the 1989 edition of the NRSV published by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., the words "abomination of desolation" in v. 15 are rendered into English as "desolating sacrilege".
The teachings of Jesus about the abomination of desolation described in v. 15 are similar to those described in v. 14 of Mark 13:1-20 of the Markan discourse. This abomination seems to correspond to the "abomination that maketh desolate" that Daniel speaks of in v. 11 of Dan. 12:8-13. Note, for example, that the parenthetical phrase "(whoso readeth, let him understand:)" seems to correspond to v. 10 of the latter text. Other possibilities exist, however, including Dan. 8:13, Dan. 9:27 and Dan. 11:31. Of these, Dan. 8:13 is of special interest because it includes the asking of a question similar to that described in v. 2-3 above. Importantly, while these verses include some variations in wording (e.g., "the transgression of desolation" appears in v. 13 of Dan. 8:5-14), they all appear in contexts that involve some supremely grave violation of the first and second commandments, such as worshipping the image of a foreign god, especially an image of this kind that has been placed in the temple of God in Jerusalem.
The correctness of the interpretation of the abomination of desolation discussed in the preceding Note seems to be confirmed by the fact that, after the time in which the book of Daniel is set, a foreign ruler who fits the description Daniel gives him, the king (or prince) of Grecia, Antiochus IV "Epiphanes" (= manifestation of God), put an image of Zeus in the temple and had a pig sacrificed on its altar. See v. 21 of Dan. 8:15-27 and v. 20 of Dan. 10:5-21. Contrary to what Daniel says in v. 26 of Dan. 9:24-27, however, the temple was not destroyed, but only polluted and later purified and rededicated, an event Jews still celebrate as Hanukkah.
Daniel's description of the entity Jesus refers to as the abomination of desolation (v. 15) can reasonably be regarded as patterned after a roughly similar prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah. In the Old Testament Auxiliary Files, the writer shows in full the parts of this prophecy that are of interest for present purposes, but divides it into parts that correspond to its KJV Bible paragraph breaks, namely, Jer. 7:8-16, Jer. 7:17-28 and Jer. 7:29-34. In this prophecy, Jeremiah uses the word "abomination" to describe the making of offerings to foreign gods (Jer. 7:10) and setting them up in God's temple (Jer. 7:30), and says that God will punish his people by doing to the temple what he did to Shiloh (Jer. 7:14) and leave the land desolate (Jer. 7:34). Unlike the prophecy of Daniel, however, the persons who commit these abominations are the people of God, and the prophecy is fulfilled when the temple is destroyed by the Babylonians. The idea that Daniel's prophecy was influenced by Jeremiah is suggested by the fact that Daniel attributes some of his ideas to things he learned from books "whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah"; see Dan. 9:2.
The KJV Bible includes a number of texts which suggest that the teachings of Jesus about the abomination of desolation were influenced by the ideas of both Daniel and Jeremiah. The most explicit of these include his reference to Daniel as a prophet in v. 15 above, and his use of similar terminology. One suggestion of the influence of Jeremiah is the last part of Mark 11:17, in which Jesus' statement about the house of God being a den of thieves seems to be based on Jeremiah's similar statement about its being a den of robbers in v. 11 of Jer. 7:8-16. More generally, there is the fact that Matthew describes a situation in which the priestly authorities want to put Jesus to death for prophesying the destruction of the temple, while the book of Jeremiah describes a situation in which the priestly authorities want to put Jeremiah to death for making a similar prophecy. See in this connection Jer. 26:4-16.
The question of whether events that occurred after the time of Jesus represent fulfillments of his prophecy about the destruction of the temple is interesting, but controversial. One of these was the attempt of the Roman emperor Caligula to place in the temple a statue of Zeus that had been modified to show his own head, an attempt that would likely have succeeded, if the statue had been finished before Caligula was assassinated in 40 AD. Another was the desecration, plun­dering and destruction of the temple during the first Jewish revolt of 66-73 AD. Still another was the erection on the site of the temple of a new temple in which the emperor Hadrian placed statues of Roman gods after the end of the Second Jewish revolt of 132-135. Many contemporary Christians, however, believe that the real fulfillment will be in our future, after a third Jewish temple is built in the city of Jerusalem as it exists today.
Although the abomination of desolation mentioned in v. 15 is also mentioned in v. 14 of Mark 13:1-20, it is not mentioned anywhere in the Gospel of Luke. Instead, in the part of the Lukan discourse where Luke would be expected to mention it, just before v. 21 of Luke 21:5-24 ("Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains;"), Luke includes v. 20, which says, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.", words that seem to be an abbreviated reiteration of the words spoken by Jesus in v. 43 of Luke 19:41-44.
V. 16 describes Jesus saying, "Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:". This statement appears, in almost the same words, in the last part of v. 14 of Mark 13:10-20 and in the first part of v. 21 of Luke 21:5-24. All of these statements seem to be based on v. 5 of Zech. 14:1-11. Unlike its Matthean and Markan counterparts, however, Luke 21:21 includes two more statements, a first that urges those in the midst of it [Judaea] to "depart out;", and a second that advises those "in the countries" not to "enter thereinto.".
The things Jesus says about persons on the housetop and in the field in v. 17-18 above closely parallel the things he says about them in v. 15-16 of Mark 13:1-20 of the Markan discourse. While Jesus does not say anything about these persons in the Lukan discourse, he does say similar things about them in v. 31 of Luke 17:26-37.
The things Jesus says in v. 19-20 lamenting the fate of those who are with child and give suck in those days (v. 19), and urging prayer that their flight not be in winter (v. 20), appear in the same order and in almost the same words in v. 17-18 of Mark 13:1-20 of Mark's discourse, although only v. 20 above refers to the sabbath day. In Luke's discourse, Jesus says similar things about those who are with child in those days (Luke 21:23), but says nothing about the Sabbath or winter.
In v. 21 Jesus speaks about a "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, ". This verse seems to correspond to v. 19 of Mark 13:1-20, in which Jesus speaks about a time of "affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation...unto this time,". In the most nearly similar Lukan verse, v. 22 of Luke 21:5-24, Jesus says, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. ". The Lukan phrase "days of vengeance" seems to allude to the "day of vengeance" mentioned in v. 2 of Is. 61:1-11, part of which Jesus quotes in v. 19 of Luke 4:16-21. See also v. 4 of Is. 63:3-9 and v. 10 of Jer. 46:9-12.
In v. 21 Jesus seems to allude to the middle part of v. 1 of Dan. 12:1-4, which speaks about "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:". Another possibility, however, is v. 7 of Jer. 30:4-17, a possibility that is supported by the apparent End Time significance of Jer. 30:18-24.
The words "no flesh be saved:" in v. 22 above and its Markan counterpart, Mark 13:20, seem to echo the words "end of all flesh" in v. 13 of Gen. 6:1-13. See also v. 17 of Gen 6:17-18. This idea seems to be confirmed by the fact that v. 37-39 of Matt. 24:37-51 and v. 26-27 of Luke 17:26-37 describes Jesus comparing these days to those of Noe. Unlike Matthew, however, Luke expands this comparison by adding three verses, Luke 17:28-30, which compare "the day when the Son of man is revealed." to the days of Lot, when "it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.".
V. 22 and its Markan counterpart, Mark 13:20, both include statements about "those days" being shortened "for the elect's sake", although Mark adds, "whom he hath chosen,". The most nearly corresponding verse of the Lukan discourse, Luke 21:24, does not use any clearly similar words and says only that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.", words that seem to be a differently worded reiteration of the words spoken by Jesus in Luke 21:20 and Luke 19:43-44.
V. 22 is the first of only three verses in which Jesus uses the word "elect" in the Gospel of Matthew, the other two being Matt. 24:24 and 31. Similarly, Jesus uses the word "elect" in only three verses in the Gospel of Mark, i.e., in Mark 13:20, 22 and 27. In the Gospel of Luke, on the other hand, Jesus uses the word "elect" only once, in v. 7 of Luke 18:6-8.
In spite of differences in wording, the events Jesus describes in v. 16 and 22 and their Markan and Lukan counterparts seem to parallel parts of the "day of the Lord" prophecy of Zech. 14:1-11. The flight to the mountains Jesus speaks about in v. 16, Mark 13:14 and Luke 21:21, for example, seems to parallel that mentioned in Zech. 14:5, while the desolation (or treading down) of Jerusalem he speaks of in Luke 21:20 and 24 seems to parallel that mentioned in Zech. 14:2. Similarly, the shortening of the days Jesus speaks about in v. 22 and Mark 13:20, and the fulfilling of the "time of the Gentiles" he speaks about in Luke 21:24, seem to involve a divine intervention like that mentioned in Zech. 14:3. Finally, Zech. 14:1-11 describes these events as associated with the coming of the Lord (Zech. 14:5) and the establishment of the Lord's kingship (or kingdom?) "over all the earth:" (Zech. 14:9), events that seem to parallel the coming of the "it" or kingdom of God that Jesus speaks about in v. 33 of Matt. 24:29-36, v. 29 of Mark 13:24-32 and v. 31 of Luke 21:25-37.

Matt. 24:23-28
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.   [end par.]
V. 23-24 seem to repeat, with some variations in wording, the things Jesus says in v. 4-5 and 11 of Matt. 24:1-22 above. See also v. 5-6 of Mark 13:1-20 and v. 8 of Luke 21:5-24.
The warning Jesus gives in v. 23-25 generally corresponds to the warning he gives in v. 21-23 of Mark 13:21-23, except that Mark's version of this warning is not followed by a reference to lightning or to a carcase where eagles gather. The warning Jesus gives in v. 23-25 also roughly corresponds to the warning he gives in v. 22-23 of Luke 17:20-25. Unlike Matthew, however, Luke speaks about a body where eagles gather, in a different context, in v. 37 of Luke 17:26-37.
V. 24 is the second of only three verses in which Jesus uses the word "elect" in the Gospel of Matthew. The other two verses are v. 22 of Matt. 24:1-22 and v. 31 of Matt. 24:29-36. Similarly, Jesus uses the word "elect in only three verses in the Gospel of Mark, i.e., Mark 13:20, 22 and 27. In the Gospel of Luke Jesus uses "elect" only once, in Luke 18:7.
V. 27 is the first verse of the Matthean discourse in which Jesus uses the words "the Son of man" in a sense that is of End Time significance. In the accompanying Auxiliary Sense file titled "Senses of Phrases Like Son of Man" the writer describes the senses in which the KJV Bible uses phrases of this kind (a son of man, the son of man, etc.) and gives examples of Bible verses that use them in these senses.
The Son of man that Jesus speaks about in in v. 27 seems to correspond to the "one like the Son of man" that Daniel speaks about in v. 13 of Dan. 7:9-14. This person may also correspond to the "the likeness of the appearance of a man" that Ezekiel speaks about in v. 26 of Ezek. 1:26-28.
The words of Jesus comparing the coming of the Son of man to lightning in v. 27 seem to include an allusion to v. 14 of Zech. 9:9-17, especially since the latter also includes Zechariah's prophecy about Jerusalem's King entering it while riding on an ass. Other possibilities exist, however, including v. 13-14 of Ezek. 1:13-17 and v. 5-6 of Dan. 10:5-21.
V. 23-28 are immediately followed by Matt. 24:29-36, in which Jesus describes the coming of the Son of man, and then by Matt. 24:37-51, in which he compares the coming of the Son of man to the days of Noe. In the most nearly similar Lukan texts, Luke 17:20-25 and 17:26-37, Jesus compares the days of the Son of man both to the days of Noe and to the day fire destroyed Sodom. In Luke, however, Jesus describes the coming of the Son of man only much later, in Luke 21:25-36 of Luke's End Time discourse.
V. 23-28 are shown as a separate part of the Matthean discourse, not so much because of what they themselves say, but rather because they appear between two highly distinctive parts of the Matthean discourse, Matt. 24:1-22 and 29-36, just as Mark 13:21-23 appears between two highly distinctive parts of the Markan discourse, Mark 13:1-20 and 13:24-32.

Matt. 24:29-36
P 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. P 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
V. 29-36 above generally correspond to Mark 13:24-32 and Luke 21:25-37 of the Markan and Lukan discourses.
The teachings of Jesus about the darkening of the sun and moon in v. 29 is repeated, almost word for word, in v. 24 of Mark 13:24-32. This darkening seems to refer to that mentioned in v. 10 of Is. 13:6-15, v. 7 of Ezek. 32:3-10, v. 10 of Joel 2:1-11 and v. 15 of Joel 3:9-21. The corresponding teaching in the Lukan discourse, v. 25 of Luke 21:25-37, is worded more broadly and states, "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; ". As a result, the Lukan version of this teaching may refer not only to the last-cited texts, but also to v. 23 of Is. 24:17-23, v. 30-31 of Joel 2:28-32, v. 9 of Amos 8:7-10 and v. 6 of Zech. 14:1-11.
V. 29 is the first verse of the Matthean discourse in which Jesus uses the words "heaven" and "heavens". These words may have any of the meanings they have when they are used in longer phrases like the God of heaven, the host of heaven, the heaven of heavens and kingdom of heaven, and apparent contractions thereof like heaven, the heaven and the heavens. In the accompanying Auxiliary Sense file titled "Senses of the Word Heaven", the writer describes the senses in which the KJV Bible uses words of this kind and gives examples of Bible verses that use them in these senses.
The prophecy of Jesus that the stars shall fall from heaven in v. 29 parallels his prophecy that the stars of heaven shall fall in v. 25 of Mark 13:24-32. No similar prophecy appears in the Lukan discourse. These prophecies of Jesus seem to be related to the prophecies about the falling of the host of heaven that appear in v. 4 of Is. 34:1-12 and v. 10 of Dan. 8:5-14.
The prophecy of Jesus that the powers of the heavens shall be shaken in v. 29 parallels his prophecy that the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken in v. 25 of Mark 13:24-32, and his prophecy that the powers of heaven shall be shaken in v. 26 of Luke 21:25-37. These prophecies of Jesus all seem to be related to a shaking of the kind prophesied in v. 13 of Is. 13:6-15, v. 10 of Joel 2:1-11, v. 16 of Joel 3:9-21, v. 6 of Hag. 2:1-9 and v. 21 of Hag. 2:20-23.
The sign that Jesus speaks about in v. 30 may be the sign that Matthew describes the disciples asking him about in Matt. 24:3 above. While Mark and Luke also describe disciples asking Jesus about a sign early in their discourses (Mark 13:4 and Luke 21:7), only Matthew and Luke seem to describe Jesus answering their question. Unlike Matthew, however, Luke seems to describe Jesus answering their question by prophesying great signs from heaven (Luke 21:11) or signs in the sun, moon and stars (Luke 21:25).
V. 30's description of the teachings of Jesus about coming of the Son of man is repeated, almost word for word, in v. 26 of Mark 13:24-32 and v. 27 of Luke 21:25-37. See also v. 31 of Matt. 25:31-46. All of these descriptions of his teachings on this subject seem to generally correspond to the description of the coming of "one like the Son of man" that appears in v. 13 of Dan. 7:9-14. One or both of these references to the Son of man may be related to the reference to "the likeness as the appearance of a man" that appears in v. 26 of Ezek. 1:26-28.
The teachings of Jesus about the Son of man that are described in v. 30, v. 26 of Mark 13:24-32, v. 27 of Luke 21:25-37 and v. 31 of Matt. 25:31-46 all seem to be related to the teachings of Jesus described in v. 28 of Matt. 16:24-28, v. 38 of Mark 8:34-9:1 and v. 26 of Luke 9:23-27. See also v. 41 of Matt. 13:36-43, v. 27 of Matt. 24:23-28, v. 37 and 39 of Matt. 24:37-51 and v. 26-30 of Luke 17:36-37. See also, however, v. 23 of Matt. 10:5-23.
The words spoken by Jesus in v. 30 are similar to those spoken by him in v. 64 of Matt. 26:62-66 and v. 62 of Mark 14:60-64, i.e., during his trial before the high priest, except that he there adds, "sitting on the right hand of power,". In the most nearly similar Lukan account of his Jewish trial, Luke 22:66-71, Jesus does not mention cloud(s), and says only that the Son of man shall "sit on the right hand of the power of God." (Luke 22:69).
Examples of Bible verses that illustrate how it couples the words "right hand" with references to God include 1Kings 22:19 and 2Chron. 18:18, and the following verses from Psalms: Ps. 16:11; 20:6; 63:8; 80:17; 110:1 and 5; 138:7 and 139:10. Among the latter, Ps. 110:1 is of special interest because all three Synoptic Gospels describe Jesus discussing the meaning of this verse with the Pharisees and scribes. See Matt. 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44.
The Son of man that Jesus describes as coming in the clouds of heaven in v. 30 seems to correspond to the "one like the Son of man" that v. 13-14 of Dan. 7:9-14 describe as coming with the clouds of heaven to "the Ancient of days" and being given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom. While Daniel does not explicitly describe the Son of man as the judge of the Day of Judgment, Jesus does seem to do so in Matt. 25:31-46 of the Matthean discourse, although he there refers to the judge as "the King". Mark, on the other hand, does not describe the Son of Man as the judge of the Day of Judgment, even though he refers to this Day as such in v. 11 of Mark 6:7-13. In addition, Luke suggests that the Son of man will be this judge, but does not explicitly say so. See v. 22 of Luke 19:11-27 and v. 36 of Luke 21:25-37.
Surprisingly, while v. 30 and the corresponding parts of the Markan and Lukan discourses describe the Son of man coming in the clouds (or in a cloud) with power and great glory, none describes him coming in or with his kingdom, like Matt. 16:27-28 does. One possible explanation is that his coming in his kingdom (or in his kingship) is implied by the words "with power and great glory" in v. 30. Another is that v. 29-36 do describe the Son of man coming in his kingdom, but describe him doing so by means of a parable in v. 32-34, rather than by implying it in v. 30. See in this connection the discussion of the meaning of the words "summer" and "it" that appears in a Note included with v. 32-34 below.
In v. 30 Jesus describes the persons who see the coming of the Son of man as "all the tribes of the earth" and says that they will mourn. In Mark 13:26 of the Markan discourse Jesus describes these persons only as "they" and says nothing about their reaction. In Luke 21:26-27 of the Lukan discourse Jesus also describes these persons as "they" and says that their hearts will fail them for fear. Of these, v. 30 is of special interest because it seems to echo v. 5 of Is. 40:1-11, which speaks of the glory of the Lord and says, "all flesh shall see it together:". Notice in this regard that John the Baptist quotes from v. 3 of the latter text in v. 3 of Matt. 3:1-6, v. 3 of Mark 1:1-11 and v. 4 of Luke 3:1-9, and that v. 6 of Luke 3:1-9 even describes John adding, "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.".
In v. 31 Jesus describes the Son of man sending his angels to gather his elect from the four winds. See also v. 27 of Mark 13:24-32. It is not clear, however, how this gathering is related to the gathering of all nations before the Son of man that he speaks about in his description of the End Time Judgment, Matt. 25:31-46. In the corresponding part of the Lukan discourse, Luke 21:25-37, Jesus does not mention either of these gatherings and says only that the day of the Son of man shall come as a snare on "all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.".
The gathering angels that Jesus speaks about in v. 31 seem to be the same as the angels he speaks about in v. 41 of Matt. 13:36-43 and v. 49 of Matt. 13:47-50, except that the latter verses suggest that the angels will gather the wicked first, especially when these verses are considered in conjunction with v. 30 of Matt. 13:24-30.
The angels Jesus speaks about in v. 31 may correspond to the angels he describes as ascending and descending on the Son of man in v. 51 of John 1:49-51. See also v. 27 of Mark 13:24-32. In the corresponding part of the Lukan discourse, Luke 21:25-37, Luke does not describe Jesus saying anything about angels. This silence is surprising because Luke does describe Jesus speaking about the Son of man coming in the glory of the holy angels in v. 26 of Luke 9:23-27.
V. 31 is the last of three verses in which Jesus uses "elect" in the Gospel of Matthew. See Matt. 24:22 and 24 above.
Interestingly, the summer (or "it") referred to in the fig tree parables of v. 32-34 above and Mark 13:28-30 is called the kingdom of God in Luke 21:29-32, a fact which clearly suggests that all of these parables relate to the kingdom of God. In addition, the similarities between the description of the coming of the Son of man included in v. 30-31 and those included in Mark 13:26-27 and Matt. 16:27-28 suggest that the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the Son of man are either one and the same or closely related. However these kingdoms may be related, what is important for present purposes is that they both seem to relate to a kingdom associated with the End Time or, in other words, to an End Time Kingdom.
The previous Note leaves open the question of how the kingdom of God that Jesus speaks of in Luke 21:29-32 is related to the kingdom of the Son of man that Jesus speaks of in Matt. 16:28. One possibility is that Jesus thought that the Son of man would sit on the throne of the kingdom of God or, in other words, have God as his kingly overlord* or suzerain. See in this connection v. 32 of Luke 1:26-33 in conjunction with v. 5 of 1Chron. 28:2-8. This possibility may also help explain the meaning of the things Jesus says about the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power (or the power of God) at his Jewish trial. See, for example, v. 64 of Matt. 26:62-66, v. 62 of Mark 14:60-64 and v. 69 of Luke 22:66-71 in conjunction with v. 1 of Ps. 110:1-7. * Special Note: V. 7 of 2Kings 16:5-12 is an example of a verse in which a Jewish king, Ahaz, acknowledges the overlordship of another king, Tiglath-pileser, by speaking of himself as his son.

The meaning of all these things and this generation

The things Jesus says in v. 33-34 are similar to the things he says in their Markan and Lukan parallels, Mark 13:29-30 and Luke 21:31-32. With the possible exception of Luke 21:32, all of these verses suggest that Jesus taught that the Son of man would come in the way described in v. 30 before the passing away of the generation of people that lived when he spoke these words. This idea seems to be confirmed by Matt. 16:28, Mark 9:1 and Luke 9:27, which describe Jesus saying that some standing here shall "not taste of death" till they "see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matt. 16:28), "have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1) or "see the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:27). Because the Son of man did not come in this way before the passing away of that generation of people, these verses have long presented interpretation difficulties for Christians who believe that Jesus will come in this way in the future. Because it is impossible to thoroughly discuss these difficulties in a writing of this kind, the writer will here include only a few basic Notes that discuss how the Gospels describe Jesus using the key words or phrases used in these verses. The most important of these include: (1) "all these things", (2) "this generation" and (3) "till all these things be fulfilled".
Turning first to the phrase "all these things" in v. 33 and 34, it will be seen that Jesus seems to use this phrase simply to refer back to the things he just mentioned, including the darkening of the sun and moon (v. 29) and the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven (v. 30). This phrase may also include the things Jesus mentions earlier in the Matthean discourse, such as the standing of the abomination of desolation where it ought not (Matt. 24:15). Jesus also uses "all these things" or "these things" in the same way in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. Interestingly, while the Synoptic Gospels all describe Jesus using both of the phrases "all these things" and "these things", Matthew and Mark typically describe him using "all these things" while Luke typically describes him using "these things". As a result, it does not seem reasonable to conclude that these phrases alone are responsible for the above-mentioned interpretation difficulties.
The situation is less clear in the case of the longer phrase "till all these things be fulfilled." in v. 34. This is because, while v. 34 and its Markan and Lukan parallels (Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32) all begin with almost the same words, they end differently. Specifically, Mark's version ends with "till all these things be done", while Matthew's and Luke's versions end with "till all these things be fulfilled" and "till all be fulfilled". One possible explanation for these different endings is that they all mean essentially the same thing. Another, however, is that Luke intended the things Jesus said at this point to apply not just to the fulfillment of the things he mentions earlier in his discourse, but also to the fulfillment of all Biblical prophecies about the End Time. Unfortunately, while the former possibility is supported by the fact that both Matthew and Mark repeatedly describe Jesus saying "these things" and "all these things", the latter is supported by the fact that Luke elsewhere describes sayings of Jesus, such as v. 22 of Luke 21:5-24 and v. 44 of Luke 24:44-51, in which he refers to all of the things written in the Scriptures. One example of a prophecy that falls within the meaning of Luke's broader phrase, but not within the meaning of Matthew's and Mark's narrower phrases, is the prophecy of a restoration to Israel of a king of the house of David. See, for example, 2Sam. 7:12-16, Ps. 132:8-18, Is. 9:1-7 and Jer. 33:19-26, among others.
Turning next to the words "this generation" in v. 34, one encounters what is arguably the most problematic phrase in the End Time discourses. One reason is that v. 34 and its Markan and Lukan counterparts, Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32, all begin with almost the same words: "Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till...". Another is that Jesus' use of "you" with "This generation" suggests that he is using these terms to refer to the same people, i.e., the people to whom he is speaking. As a result, if v. 34 accurately reflects what Jesus said at this point and is interpreted literally, it seems to say that the Son of man will come in the clouds of heaven (v. 30) while at least some of those people are still alive, an idea that seems to be confirmed by the above-quoted parts of Matt. 16:28, Mark 9:1 and Luke 9:27. In order to deal with the difficulties associated with the fact that the Son of man has not yet come in this way, some Christians have proposed non-literal interpretations that avoid them. One is that "this generation" refers to the Jews as a people, regardless of when or where they live. Another is that "this generation" refers to the generation of people that will be alive when v. 29-31 are fulfilled. Rather than spend time discussing the relative merits of interpretations of these kinds, the writer will, in the Notes that follow, simply point out and discuss examples of other texts in which Jesus uses phrases like "this generation", especially if he uses them in the same verse with words like "you" and "ye".
To begin with, the three Synoptic Gospels make clear that the phrase "…I say unto you, This generation shall" in v. 34 is one example of a type of phrase in which Jesus uses the word "generation" with the words "you" (or "ye"), "this" and "O" when directly addressing a group of people. Examples of other verses of this type include: "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." (Matt 23:36), and "Why doth this generation seek after a sign? Verily I say unto you..." (Mark 8:12). Examples of verses of this type that do not use the word "this" include: "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?" (Matt. 12:34), and "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?" (Matt. 17:17). An example of a verse of this type that uses "we" rather than "you" or "ye" is Matt. 12:38-39: "... we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;". From these examples, it seems reasonable to conclude that, when Jesus uses "generation" in these ways, he uses it as a non-repetitious substitute for the word "you" (or "ye" or "we") that tactfully leaves open to interpretation when he is speaking narrowly about all of the persons who are then physically present, and when he is speaking broadly about some, many or all of the persons who are alive at that time, but who may or may not be then physically present.
One of the most interesting of the above-mentioned examples involves the similarities between v. 34 and v. 36 of Matt. 23:29-39. This is because these verses not only use many of the same words or phrases, but also combine the words "you", "this generation" and "all these things" in ways that support the idea that both of these verses apply directly to the persons to whom Jesus is speaking. This is also because, if this conclusion is correct, it means that the words "all these things" in v. 36 of Matt. 23:29-39 may include the damnation of hell that Jesus speaks about in v. 33 of that text.
In addition to including texts that use the word "generation" in the ways described in the previous Note, the Synoptic Gospels include texts that use it the same way we use it today. Examples of texts of this kind include Matt. 1:17: "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations", and Luke 1:50: "And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.". See also v. 8 of Luke 16:8-13: "...the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.". Curiously, however, the Gospel of John does not include even one verse that uses any form of the word "generation".
For the sake of completeness, the writer will close his discussion of the meaning of the word "generation" by including examples of Old Testament verses that use it. Examples of this kind that are shown in the accompanying "Old Testament Auxiliary Texts" files include v. 10 of Judg. 2:6-10: "and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord"; v. 18 of Ps. 102:13-28: "This shall be written for the generation to come:"; v. 8 of Is. 53:1-12: "and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living:" and v. 20 of Joel 3:9-21: "But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.".
Concluding Note on the meaning of this generation:
If the above-discussed literal interpretation of the phrase "this generation" is correct, it would be reasonable to think that the prophecies of Jesus about the coming of the Son described in Matt. 24:29-36 and similar texts failed to come to pass and, consequently, are false prophecies within the meaning of Deut. 18:22. Another possibility, however, is that these prophecies should not be taken literally, but rather idiomatically or as a parable. One interesting possibility of this kind is that, when "this generation" is used with the word "you" in its plural sense, they are a Hebrew parallelism that serves as an idiomatic, non-redundant substitute for the word "you" in its individual sense. If this is correct, then the prophecy of Matt. 24:29-36 may be true, not as a description of what will be experienced by a particular group of people at a particular time in the future, but rather as a description of what will be experienced by each individual at the time of his death.
The teachings of Jesus about the passing away of heaven and earth in v. 35 above are repeated, word for word, in v. 31 of Mark 13:24-32 and v. 33 of Luke 21:25-37. This passing away seems to correspond to that mentioned in v. 25-26 of Ps. 102:13-28, v. 4 of Is. 34:1-10, v. 6 of Is. 51:1-11, v. 17 of Is. 65:6-25 and v. 22 of Is. 66:15-24. Interestingly, the two last-cited verses from Isaiah speak about new heavens and a new earth. It is possible that this "new earth" is what Jesus had in mind when he described his teachings about the world to come in v. 32 of Matt. 12:31-32, v. 30 of Mark 10:28-31 and v. 30 of Luke 18:28-30, and his teachings about the regeneration in v. 28 of Matt. 18:27-30.
V. 35 is the last verse in which the words of the Matthean discourse generally parallel those of the Lukan discourse. This is because v. 35 and its Lukan counterpart, v. 33 of Luke 21:25-37, appear at the points after which the Matthean and Lukan discourses unfold very differently. Specifically, Luke 21:33 appears at the point after which Luke describes Jesus exhorting his listeners to be watchful and alert, providing additional information about the coming of the Son of man and then ending his discourse. V. 35, on the other hand, appears at the point after which Matthew describes Jesus pointing out similarities between the time of the coming of the Son of man and the days of Noe (v. 37-39 of Matt. 24:37-51), telling a long parable about wise and evil servants (v. 42-51 of Matt. 24:37-51), and then continuing through all of chapter 25 of his Gospel before ending his discourse.
Similarly, v. 36 is the last verse in which the words of the Matthean discourse generally parallel those of the Markan discourse. This is because v. 36 and its Markan counterpart, v. 32 of Mark 13:24-32, appear at the points after which the Matthean and Markan discourses unfold very differently. Specifically, Mark 13:32 appears at the point after which Mark describes Jesus telling a short parable about watchful servants and then ending his discourse. V. 36, on the other hand, appears at the point after which Matthew describes Jesus pointing out similarities between the time of the coming of the Son of man and the days of Noe (v. 37-39 of Matt. 24:37-51), telling a long parable about wise and evil servants (v. 42-51 of Matt. 24:37-51), and then continuing through all of chapter 25 of his Gospel before ending his discourse.
The teaching of Jesus in v. 36 that only my Father knows the day and hour when the Son of man will come highlights the importance of the fact that this time is unknown. Mark 13:32 includes a similar teaching, but uses the phrase "the Father" rather than "my Father", and includes "the Son" among those to whom this time is unknown. The most nearly similar Lukan verses are v. 40 and 46 of Luke 12:35-48, which only describe Jesus teaching that the Son of man will come at a time "when ye think not" (v. 40), or when he is not looked for (v. 46). See also v. 35 of Mark 13:32-37, v. 42, 44 and 50 of Matt. 24:37-51 and v. 13 of Matt. 25:1-13.
The writer has included v. 36 with v. 29-36 above in spite of the fact that Bibles that show paragraph symbols show it appearing after a paragraph break. He has done this in part because Jesus' use of the words "But" and "that day" in v. 36 suggests that Jesus intended this verse to complete the thoughts he expresses in v. 35 (among others), and in part because v. 36 seems to fit as well with the verses that precede it as it does with the verses that follow it.

Special Editorial Note on the Ending of Part 1 of the Matthean Discourse

As explained in the Introductory Notes included at the beginning of this web page, the writer has divided this discourse into two parts and used Matt. 24:36 as the dividing line between them. One reason he has used Matt. 24:36 as this dividing line is that this verse is located at one of this discourse's main literary and logical break points, namely, the point at which the Matthean discourse finishes describing teachings of Jesus about the End Times that generally parallel those described in the Markan and Lukan discourses. Another is that this verse lies at the point after which the Matthean discourse begins a second, longer description of the teachings of Jesus about the coming of the Son of man that ends with a description of the End Time Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46), an event also known as the Day of Judgment, Judgment Day or simply "the Judgment". While the difference between the two parts of the Matthean discourse on the one hand and the two parts of the Markan and Lukan discourses on the other is of some importance in its own right, its real importance is that it highlights the fact that Part 2 of the Matthean discourse contains the passages in which Jesus introduces into the Bible the idea of everlasting punishment. This, in turn, raises the question of why words with such important ramifications do not appear in the other End Time discourses or anywhere else in the KJV Bible. While others may take the cynical position that these facts suggest that the idea of everlasting punishment was invented and added by the Gospel writers or later copyists to make the Gospel message a more useful motivational tool, the writer does not. Instead, he takes the position that the words "everlasting punishment" have connotations in English translation that may not accurately reflect the idea that Jesus had in mind when he expressed himself in his native Aramaic, or that the Gospel writers had in mind when they wrote the original version of the New Testament in Greek. To explore this possibility the writer discusses this subject at length in a special set of Notes titled "Notes on Everlasting Punishment" that he includes both at the end of the full-length PDF version of this page and among the Main End Time Files of the Home Page of this website.

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