1 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!“
2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately,
4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,‘ and will deceive many.
7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.
8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.
9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.
10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.
11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
14 “So when you see the ‘ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house.
16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter.
19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.
20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it.
22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.
28 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors!
30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.
34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.
35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—
36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.
37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
There is an extensive list of things that must be endured if there is to be salvation. It’s interesting that there is no emphasis given to an inevitable outcome of triumph apart from our participation. The opposite is actually the case, with a dire warning that these things will threaten much more than just a temporal earthly existence. How can we make it through a time of tribulation and persecution when it seems that the world is crashing down? The fixation Jesus emphasizes is an intense looking toward Him and His coming. It’s almost like Jesus is simply ensuring that we’re not impressed and discouraged by events and circumstances that arise, no matter how bad they may seem. It’s not that He’s stirring up a bunch of anxiety and trepidation over impending darkness and that we should be watching for it. What He is giving as a way through it is to stay awake to the reality of His coming, remaining steadfast to what really matters in inevitable salvation for the enduring. As the ominous calamities arise, there can be great encouragement from the recognition of them as signs heralding His soon return. Like a driver proceeding over a precarious mountain road, each hairpin turn around a perilous dropoff can be simply seen as progress towards the summit as long as the focus remains on the road ahead and not on what could happen in a fall. This requires remaining awake to each one of the warning signs of what is coming, but always with an awareness that the potential is never the inevitable if the focus can only be kept on the destination. It is incredibly essential, though, that there not be even the slightest nodding off or diverted attention. To make it through, there can never even be a glance from this answer in Him, and definitely not a long snooze, as if sleeping through it could help in any way.
We have access to the presence of the Master that will bring hope and peace to the present like nothing in the world can begin to touch. Beholding His glory and receiving of His Spirit is the encounter of life that the world can never counter. It’s in this treasure we have right here and right now that we also have power to make it through any threats this life may endure. As the storms roar and the earth shakes, there is great safety for the ones who will stay awake to what matters in the kingdom of God, satisfied only in the Father’s love and Christ’s body into which they’ve been joined for strength and safety. Where the heart has truly been ensconced in His glory, there will be not even the slightest concern for the greatest of earth’s rumblings. It will remain steadfast, immoveable, and at peace, skillfully navigating every turn with a watchful eye on the Master.