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THE PROPHECY CONCERNING THE
(Matthew xxiv. 1-44.)
WHEN Jesus was come out, and was going away from the temple, his disciples came to him, to shew him the buildings of the temple. 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."
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, his disciples came unto him privately, saying, "Tell us when these things shall be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age. Jesus answered and said unto them, "Take heed that no man deceive you; for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And ye will 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.
"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. Yet all these are but the beginnings of sorrows. For they will deliver you up to be afflicted, and will kill you; and ye will be hated by all nations on my account. And then will many fall off from their faith, and betray one another, and hate one another. Many false teachers also will arise and deceive many. And because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he that endureth to the end, shall be saved. And these good tidings of the kingdom of heaven shall be proclaimed throughout all the world, for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
"When therefore ye shall see the abomination of desolation,* spoken of by the
* This means the desolating Roman armies, or perhaps the Roman standards, which had images at the top of them abominated by the Jews, because worship was sometimes paid to them.
prophet Daniel, standing on holy ground," (whoso readeth, let him attend!) "then let them that are in Judæa flee into the mountains. Let him that is on the house top, not come down to take any thing out of his house, neither let him that is in the field, return back to take his clothes. And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, nor on the Sabbath-day, for then will be great tribulation, such as hath not been since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be. And unless those days shall be shortened, not a soul shall be left alive; but for the sake of the elect (that is, the Christians,) those days shall be shortened.
"Then, if any man shall say unto you, "Lo, here is the Christ! 'or there!' be
*The Jewish houses had flat roofs, fit for walking on; and they had also stairs on the outside of them from the ground to the top, so that a person who was on the roof, and wished to make his escape, might do so by means of these stairs, without going into the house at all.
lieve it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false teachers, who shall work great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you before. 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. For, as the lightning cometh out of the East, and shineth even to the West, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together."
[The meaning of the two last sentences is, that the ruin would extend throughout all the land, and that, wherever the Jews were to be found, there would the destroying armies of the Romans follow and overtake them.]
"Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the land mourn, when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And
he will send his messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other.
"Now learn a parable of the fig-tree. When its branch is become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh. So likewise, when ye shall see all these things, know that the Son of Man is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no one, no, not even the angels in heaven, but my Father only.
"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as, in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not, till the flood came and