Matthew 23-24 World English Bible

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Jesus Denounces the Scribes and Pharisees

23 1  Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, 2  saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sat on Moses’ seat. 3  All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don’t do their works; for they say, and don’t do. 4  For they bind heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help them. 5  But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries [1] broad, enlarge the fringes [2] of their garments, 6  and love the place of honor at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7  the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ by men. 8  But don’t you be called ‘Rabbi,’ for one is your teacher, the Christ, and all of you are brothers. 9  Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven. 10  Neither be called masters, for one is your master, the Christ. 11  But he who is greatest among you will be your servant. 12  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and as a pretense you make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 14  “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; for you don’t enter in yourselves, neither do you allow those who are entering in to enter. [3] 15  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much of a son of Gehenna [4] as yourselves. 16  “Woe to you, you blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’ 17  You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18  ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obligated?’ 19  You blind fools! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20  He therefore who swears by the altar, swears by it, and by everything on it. 21  He who swears by the temple, swears by it, and by him who was living in it. 22  He who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by him who sits on it. 23  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, [5] and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. 24  You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel! 25  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and unrighteousness. [6] 26  You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that its outside may become clean also. 27  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous, 30  and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn’t have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31  Therefore you testify to yourselves that you are children of those who killed the prophets. 32  Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33  You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Gehenna [7]?

34  Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city; 35  that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed between the sanctuary and the altar. 36  Most certainly I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Jesus Laments over Jerusalem

37  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not! 38  Behold, your house is left to you desolate. 39  For I tell you, you will not see me from now on, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” [8]

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs before the End

24 1  Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2  But he answered them, “You see all of these things, don’t you? Most certainly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down.” 3  As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”

4  Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. 5  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will lead many astray. 6  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you aren’t troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet. 7  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. 8  But all these things are the beginning of birth pains. 9  Then they will deliver you up to oppression, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name’s sake. 10  Then many will stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. 11  Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. 12  Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. 13  But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. 14  This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15  “When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, [9] which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17  Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house. 18  Let him who is in the field not return back to get his clothes. 19  But woe to those who are with child and to nursing mothers in those days! 20  Pray that your flight will not be in the winter, nor on a Sabbath, 21  for then there will be great oppression, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be. 22  Unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones, those days will be shortened. 23  “Then if any man tells you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There,’ don’t believe it. 24  For there will arise false christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25  “Behold, I have told you beforehand. 26  If therefore they tell you, ‘Behold, he is in the wilderness,’ don’t go out; ‘Behold, he is in the inner chambers,’ don’t believe it. 27  For as the lightning flashes from the east, and is seen even to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28  For wherever the carcass is, there is where the vultures [10] gather together.

The Coming of the Son of Man

29  But immediately after the oppression of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; [11] 30  and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31  He will send out his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

32  “Now from the fig tree learn this parable. When its branch has now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near. 33  Even so you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34  Most certainly I tell you, this generation [12] will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished. 35  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

No Man Knoweth the Day and Hour

36  But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37  “As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38  For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, 39  and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40  Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left; 41  two women grinding at the mill, one will be taken and one will be left. 42  Watch therefore, for you don’t know in what hour your Lord comes. 43  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44  Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don’t expect, the Son of Man will come.

The Unfaithful Servant

45  “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has set over his household, to give them their food in due season? 46  Blessed is that servant whom his lord finds doing so when he comes. 47  Most certainly I tell you that he will set him over all that he has. 48  But if that evil servant should say in his heart, ‘My lord is delaying his coming,’ 49  and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with the drunkards, 50  the lord of that servant will come in a day when he doesn’t expect it, and in an hour when he doesn’t know it, 51  and will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.

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Footnotes

[1] 23:5 phylacteries (tefillin in Hebrew) are small leather pouches that some Jewish men wear on their forehead and arm in prayer. They are used to carry a small scroll with some Scripture in it. See Deuteronomy 6:8.

[2] 23:5 or, tassels

[3] 23:14 Some Greek manuscripts reverse the order of verses 13 and 14, and some omit verse 13, numbering verse 14 as 13.

[4] 23:15 or, Hell

[5] 23:23 cumin is an aromatic seed from Cuminum cyminum, resembling caraway in flavor and appearance. It is used as a spice.

[6] 23:25 TR reads “self-indulgence” instead of “unrighteousness”

[7] 23:33 or, Hell

[8] 23:39 Psalm 118:26

[9] 24:15 Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11

[10] 24:28 or, eagles

[11] 24:29 Isaiah 13:10; 34:4

[12] 24:34 The word for “generation” (genea) can also be translated as “race.”

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