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The Book of Jesus

Chapter Sixteen

The New Amsterdam Publishing Company
Copyright © 1997

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The Destruction of the Temple

NARRATOR.
Jesus [got up] and [started] to leave the Temple with his disciples. Now the disciples had been talking about the Temple, remarking how it was decorated with fine stonework and votive offerings. Coming up to Jesus in an attempt to draw his attention to the Temple buildings, one of his disciples said to him:
DISCIPLE.
Look at the size of these stones! Master, look at the size of these buildings!
JESUS.
You see all these great buildings? All these things that you are staring at now, the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another, everything will be destroyed!
NARRATOR.
[Later], while sitting on the Mount of Olives facing the Temple; Peter, James, John and Andrew came up to Jesus privately and questioned him:
PETER, JAMES, JOHN and ANDREW.
Master, tell us; when is this going to happen?...What sign will there be that all this is about to take place and be fulfilled?... What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?

Matthew 24:1-3; Mark 13:1-4; Luke 21:5-7

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The Beginning of the Birthpangs

NARRATOR.
Jesus then began to tell them:
JESUS.
Be careful that you are not deceived by anyone because many will come using my name saying; "The time is near at hand" and claim, "I am the Christ, I am he." They will deceive many, refuse to join them! You will hear of wars, revolutions and rumors of wars; do not be alarmed or frightened, these are things that must occur, but the end will not be yet. For nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues in one place after another. There will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. These are only the beginning of the birthpangs. Be on you guard! But prior to all of this occurring; men will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the Sanhedrin and to the synagogues, where you will be beaten. They will imprison you and hand you over to be tortured and put to death. You will be hated by all the nations and be brought before kings and governors on account of my name and that will be your opportunity to bear witness before them since the Good News must be proclaimed to the nations first.
And when they lead you away to be handed over, do not worry about what you are going to say beforehand. Settle it in your hearts that you are not to prepare your defence in advance. I myself will give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. Instead, say whatever is given to you when the time comes, because it will not be you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. You will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. Many will then fall away and betray one another and hate one another. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends and some of you will be put to death. Brother will betray brother to death and the father his child. Children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. By your endurance, you will win your lives.
Many false prophets will arise and mislead many and with the increase of crime [lawlessness], the love in the majority of people will grow cold, but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. And the Good News of the Kingdom will be preached to the whole world as a witness to all the nations and then, the end will come.

Matthew 24:4-14; Mark 13:5-13; Luke 21:8-19

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The Great Tribulation of Jerusalem

JESUS.
When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you must realize that she will soon be laid desolate. And when you see the disastrous abomination of which the prophet Daniel spoke, set up in the Holy place, where it ought not to be [let the reader understand], then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains. Those in the city must leave it and those in the country districts must not take refuge in it. If a man is on the housetop, he must not come down and go into the house to collect any of his belongings. If a man is in the fields, he must not turn back to fetch his jacket, for this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled.
Alas for those with child or with babies at the breast when those days come. Pray that you will not have to escape in winter or on a Sabbath. For great misery will descend on the land and wrath on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into every pagan country. And Jerusalem will be trampled on by the pagans until the age of the pagans is completely over. For in those days, there will be great distress such as, until now, has been equalled since the beginning, when God created the world, there never has been nor ever will be again. And if the time had not been shortened [opt. by the Lord], no one would have survived. But He did shorten that time for the sake of the elect, for those whom He had chosen.

Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20; Luke 21:20-24

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The Coming of the Son of Man

JESUS.
And if anyone says to you then, "look here is the Christ" or "Look, he's there", do not believe it!. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and produce great signs and portents enough to even deceive the chosen, if that were possible. You must therefore be on your guard, I have forewarned you of everything. If then they say to you, "look, he's in the desert", do not go there or "look, he is in some secret location", do not believe it! For as the lightning, when it strikes in the East illuminates the sky even to the West, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there will the vultures gather together.
Immediately after the distress of those days, there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. The sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness and from the sky, the stars will fall come falling from heaven. On the earth, the nations will be in distress, bewildered by the roaring of the oceans and its' waves. And men, as a result of anticipating the things that are coming upon the earth will faint out of fear for the powers that are in heaven will be shaken. And then, the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven and all the peoples of the earth will beat their breasts and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and great glory. He will then send his angels, with a loud trumpet, to gather his chosen from the four winds; from one end of heaven to the other, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. When these things begin to take place, lift up your heads and look up because your liberation is near at hand.

Matthew 24:23-31; Mark 13:21-27; Luke 21:25-28

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Parable of the Fig Tree

JESUS.
Look at the fig tree and indeed all the trees. As soon as their twigs grow tender and you see them bud, and their leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you, when you see all these things occurring, know that the Kingdom of God is near and that He is near at the very gates. I tell you most sincerely, before this generation has passed away, all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But as for the day and hour, no one knows it! Neither the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, no one, but only the Father.

Matthew 24:32-36; Mark 13:28-32; Luke 21:29-33

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Remain on the Alert

JESUS.
Watch yourselves at all times for fear that your hearts become weighed down with overeating and drinking, drunkenness and the cares of this life and that day arrives without your notice. For like a snare, it will come down on everyone living on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying constantly that you are strong enough to escape all these things that are going to happen and to stand erect, with confidence before the Son of Man.

Luke 21:34-36

For as it was in the days of Noah, so will the be coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage right up 'til the day that Noah entered into the ark. They suspected nothing at all until the flood came and swept them all away. So it will be when the Son of Man comes. At that time, two men will be in the fields; one will be taken and the other left. Two woman will be at the millstone grinding; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore, be on the lookout, because you do not know the hour that your master is coming. But you can be quite sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was going to arrive, he would have stayed awake and would not have permitted anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you also must be ready, because at an hour that you do not expect, the Son of Man is coming.

Matthew 24:37-44

Be on your guard, watch and pray because you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man taking a journey to a far off land leaving his house and placing his servants in charge, each having his own duties to perform and has instructed the doorkeeper to keep watch. So be on the alert, because you do not know when the master of the house is returning; in the evening, at midnight, when the cock crows or in the morning. He must not find you sleeping if he arrives unexpectedly. And what I say to you, I say to all. Keep on the watch!

Mark 13:33-37

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The Faithful and Wise Servant

JESUS.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them their food at the proper time. Happy is that servant if his master, when he arrives, finds him at the work he was assigned to do. I tell you most sincerely, he will place that servant over all of his possessions. But if that servant is dishonest and says to himself, "My master is taking his time and won't be here for a while", and begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. His master, on a day that he does not expect and at an hour he does not know, will come and cut him off and appoint that servant his portion with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

Matthew 24:45-51

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Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids

JESUS.
Then, the Kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and five of them were foolish. The five that were foolish took only their lamps, but did not bring any extra oil for their lamps. The five that were wise not only carried their lamps, but extra flasks of oil for their lamps. When the bridegroom was late, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, a cry went out: "Look, the bridegroom is coming, go out and meet him!" The bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish bridesmaids then said to the wise bridesmaids, "Let us have some of your oil, because our lamps have gone out." But the wise bridesmaids replied and said, "We can't. There may not be enough for us and for you. You better go to those who sell the oil and buy some for yourselves." While they were off buying more oil, the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went into the wedding hall and the door was shut. Later, the other bridesmaids returned and cried, "Lord, lord, open the door to us". But he replied, "I tell you most sincerely, I do not know you". So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour when the Son of Man will come!

Matthew 25:1-13

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Parable of the Talents

JESUS.
The Kingdom of Heaven could be compared to a man who was travelling to a far off land and summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and another one, each man in proportion to his ability. He then set out on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went out and traded them and made five more. Likewise, the man who had received the two talents made an additional two. But the man who had received the one talent went out, dug a hole in the ground and buried his master's money.
After a long time had passed, the master of the servants returned and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received five talents came forward with an additional five talents. "Sir, you entrusted me with five talents and look, I have added five more to the ones I had been given." His master then said, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have proved yourself trustworthy in small matters, I will entrust you with greater. Come, join in your master's joy." Likewise, the man who had received the two talents come forward and said, "Sir, you entrusted me with two talents and look, I have added two more to the ones I had been given." His master then said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have proved yourself trustworthy in small matters, I will entrust you with greater. Come, join in your master's joy."
Finally, the man who had received the one talent came forward and said, "Sir, because I know that you're a hard man, reaping where you haven't sown and gathering where you haven't scattered, I was afraid. So I went out and buried your talent in the ground. Here, take what you had given me back." His master then said to him in reply, "You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I have not scattered! You should have taken my money and deposited it with the bankers, so that when I returned, I would have had my money back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the man with the ten talents." For to every one who has, more will be given and he will have an abundance. But from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. "Throw this good-for-nothing servant out into the darkness." There, there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

Matthew 25:14-30

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The Separating of Mankind

JESUS.
When the Son of man comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him; then, he will sit on the throne of his glory and all the nations will be gathered and brought before him. He will then separate them, one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right hand; 'Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and came to see me.'
The righteous will then reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and gave you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and took you in or naked and clothed you? Or when did we see you sick or in prison and went to visit you?" The King will reply and say to them, 'I tell you most sincerely, in so far as you have done it to the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.' He will then also say to those on his left hand, 'Depart from me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you did not feed me. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe me, sick or in prison and you did not visit me.' They will then answer Him and say, "Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison and did not minister to you?"
He will then answer them and say, 'I tell you most sincerely, in so far as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And they will go away into everlasting punishment and the righteous, into eternal life.

Matthew 25:31-46

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