1 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people putting their gifts into the collection box.
2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two pennies.*1
3 "I assure you," he said, "this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them.
4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has."
5 Some of his disciples began talking about the beautiful stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said,
6 "The time is coming when all these things will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another."
7 "Teacher," they asked, "when will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time?"
8 He replied, "Don't let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name, claiming to be the Messiah* and saying, `The time has come!' But don't believe them.2
9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don't panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow immediately."
10 Then he added, "Nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other.
11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and epidemics in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs in the heavens.
12 "But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will be accused before kings and governors of being my followers.
13 This will be your opportunity to tell them about me.
14 So don't worry about how to answer the charges against you,
15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply!
16 Even those closest to you--your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends--will betray you. And some of you will be killed.
17 And everyone will hate you because of your allegiance to me.
18 But not a hair of your head will perish!
19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.
20 "And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived.
21 Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Let those in Jerusalem escape, and those outside the city should not enter it for shelter.
22 For those will be days of God's vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled.
23 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for mothers nursing their babies. For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.
24 They will be brutally killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be conquered and trampled down by the Gentiles until the age of the Gentiles comes to an end.
25 "And there will be strange events in the skies--signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And down here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides.
26 The courage of many people will falter because of the fearful fate they see coming upon the earth, because the stability of the very heavens will be broken up.
27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man arrive on the clouds with power and great glory.*3
28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand straight and look up, for your salvation is near!"
29 Then he gave them this illustration: "Notice the fig tree, or any other tree.
30 When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near.
31 Just so, when you see the events I've described taking place, you can be sure that the Kingdom of God is near.
32 I assure you, this generation* will not pass from the scene until all these events have taken place.4
33 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.
34 "Watch out! Don't let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled with the worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware,
35 as in a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth.
36 Keep a constant watch. And pray that, if possible, you may escape these horrors and stand before the Son of Man."