Translation Chapter 21

The poor widow’s donation

21 ‘Īsā looked up and noticed some rich people putting their gifts into the collection chest in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. 2 Then he saw a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all the rest of them. 4They all gave out of their riches, but she, out of her poverty, gave all she had to live on.’     

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem

5 Some of the disciples were talking about al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts devoted to Allah. ‘Īsā said, 6 ‘The time will come when all that you’re looking at will be torn down. There won’t be one stone left on another.’

7 They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will this take place? And what will be the sign that it’s about to happen?’

8 ‘Īsā replied, ‘Watch out! Don’t be led astray. Many will come using my name, saying, “I am the one!” and “The time has come!” Do not go after them. 9When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end[1]will not come straight away.’            

10 Then he said to them, ‘One nation will rise up against another, and one kingdom against another. 11 There will be severe earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places. There will be terrifying events and great signs from heaven.     

12 ‘But before all this, they’ll get their hands on you and persecute you. They’ll hand you over to synagogue authorities, and put you in prisons, and you’ll be brought to trial before kings and governors. And all of this will be because of my name. 13 This will give you opportunity to bear witness about me. 14 But make up your mind not to prepare beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom which none of those opposing you will be able to resist or refute. 16Even parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends will betray you, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everybody will hate you because of my name. 18 But not a single hair of your head will be destroyed. 19 Stand firm, and you will gain your lives[2].

20 ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies[3], then know that its destruction will soon take place. 21 At that time, those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those who are in the city must get out, and those who are in the country must not enter the city. 22For these are the days of punishment, when all that has been written will be fulfilled[4]. 23 How awful it will be in those days for pregnant women and those nursing babies! For there will be terrible distress in the land and anger against this people. 24 Some will fall by the sword, and others will be led away as captives to every nation. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the (pagan) nations until the times of the (pagan) nations are brought to an end.

25 ‘There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be distressed in their confusion at the roaring and surging of the sea. 26People will faint from fear and dread of what is coming to the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory[5].28 When these things start to happen, stand up and lift your heads high, because your redemption is near.’  

29 ‘Īsā told them a parable. ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and you know that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of Allah[6]is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have taken place[7].33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away[8].           

34 ‘Be careful that your hearts are not weighed down with wasteful living, drunkenness, and the worries of daily life. Then that day may catch you unawares35 like a trap. For it will come suddenly upon everyone who lives on the face of the whole earth. 36 Keep watch and pray at all times that you will be able to escape all that’s going to happen, and that you will be able to stand before the Son of Man.’          

‘Īsā al-Masīh‘s activity in Jerusalem

37 ‘Īsā spent those days teaching in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas, and each evening he would go out of the city to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. 38 All the people got up early in the morning to go and hear him in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas.

 

[1]Some scholars think that ‘the end’ mentioned here in v9 refers to the end of this age at the day of qiyāmat, while other scholars think that it refers to the end of al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas mentioned in v6. Even if it does refer to the end of al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas (which happened in AD 70), the Injīl in other places does clearly teach that there will be a future day of judgement and qiyāmat, when al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)will re-appear. For example, see, Injīl, John 5:28-29, Romans 2:5-11, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55.

[2]In the light of v16 where Sayyidnā ‘Īsā (hpbuu)says, ‘some of you will be put to death’, when he says, ‘you will gain your lives’, he seems to be referring to life in the age to come, after the qiyāmat.

[3]The siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies took place in 67AD, about 37 years after al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)delivers this prophecy.

[4]For example,Book of the ProphetDaniel 9:26; The people of the ruler who is coming will destroy the city and al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. See also, Taurāt, Leviticus 26:31-33, 1stBook of Kings 9:6-9.

[5]Son of Man’ is a title ‘al-Masīh Īsā (hpbuu)often used for himself (Also in v36). His use of ‘Son of Man’ here refers toBook of the ProphetDaniel 7:13-14, where the Prophet Daniel (pbuh)recounts a vision he received from Allah:

‘In the visions of the night, I saw one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He came to the Ancient of Days (a title of Allah) and was presented before him. He was given dominion, honour and kingship; all peoples, nations and languages will serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom will never be destroyed.’

The coming of one like a son of man with the clouds in Prophet Daniel’s vision is a coming tothe presence of Allah (the Ancient of Days). Thus, when al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)uses this language, he may be speaking about when Allah will take him up to heaven. In other words, when these prophecies of Prophet ‘Īsā (hpbuu)are fulfilled, it will be a sign that ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)is reigning in the presence of Allah in heaven. However, some scholars understand ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)to be speaking in v27 about his own return to earth at the qiyāmat.

 See Appendix E, ‘The Title: “the Son of Man”‘.

[6]Or, ‘reign of Allah’. Also in 22:16, 18, 29-30. See Appendix D, ‘The Kingdom of Allah’.

[7]Al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas and Jerusalem were destroyed by the Roman armies in AD 70, about 40 years after al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)delivered this prophecy, ie, when many of that generation were still alive.

[8]Prophet ‘Īsā (hpbuu)is claiming great authority and eternal significance for his own words. Compare ‘Īsā al-Masīh’s comment on the Taurāt in Injīl, Luke 16:17;

‘It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for a single pen-stroke to drop out of the Taurāt.’