Continuing on in Matthew 24, in my last post (part 2) I pointed out that in verse 13 that Jesus said, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” So it is clear that there is going to be an end to the tribulation and the age.
In verse 15, Jesus said, “when ye, therefore, shall see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand”.) So let’s make sure that we do in fact understand clearly what this scripture means.
Wikipedia gives us the biblical definition: It is mainly used to denote idolatry; and in many other cases it refers to inherently evil, things such as illicit sex, lying, murder, deceit, etc.; and for unclean foods.” Simply put, abomination refers to anything that is a major covenant breaker. It causes desolation, which simplified means “it causes ruin.”
How does this work?
In 175 B.C., Antiochus IV, a Syrian King, took the name Theos Epiphanes which means “God Manifested.” He marched through the Holy Land, down to Egypt. (He tried this once before in 170 B.C. and was turned back.) He was angry and he took it out on Israel. He entered the Holy of Holies and offered a pig on the altar there. Then he forced the Jewish people to eat that meat and to bow down to him. (Jewish culture does not allow eating anything with a cloven hoof. They consider it unclean.) 80,000 Jews refused to bow down to him and they were all murdered in the streets of Jerusalem. This is a prime example of abomination causing desolation. Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled then and will be fulfilled again in the end.
Back to Matthew 24.
Verses 16-18 tell us “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” We know that mountains represent strength and high places, housetops are high places as well. Housetops speak of the Upper Room where the disciples first met and received the Holy Spirit. In verse 18 Jesus warns those who are “in the field”, meaning anyone serving God, not to return to get his clothes. In other words, when you see these things taking place, don’t go back to your old ways, covering yourself, but stay in God, clothed and covered by His Spirit.
Then in verse 19-20, Jesus said, “Woe to them that are with child and who give suck in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.” We must understand that Jesus is not admonishing pregnant women. His warning is more of compassion than denunciation. Notice he used the word “flight”, and in verse 16, “flee”. The implication here is not that you can take your sweet time, but rather that it will be a hurried trip. Being pregnant or having a baby during this time would definitely slow the mother down, and could mean that her and her child would perish. Verse 21 holds a similar connotation. To make a trip like this in the winter would also slow a person down. And having to do it on the Sabbath day would be detrimental. Why? Because Jewish laws prohibited Jews to journey more than 2,000 cubits at a time on the Sabbath.
Now in verse 21-22 Jesus says, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
When Jesus said the tribulation will be greater than anything else since the beginning of the world, we must remember that that includes the great flood that destroyed all life except for the eight who were in the ark. However, jumping ahead to verse 37 he said, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Knowing what he said about the elect in verse 22, and his return being like the days of Noah, we can take great comfort in knowing that we have the option of getting into the Ark and being saved! Jesus IS the New Testament Ark and we are given a free ticket to ride until the door closes. We are told in Psalm 91: 9-10 “BECAUSE thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall no plague come near thy dwelling.” Remember that Jesus told us in Matthew 24:22 that except those days be shortened no flesh would be saved, BUT, for the elect’s sake he would shorten those days.
He is a good Shepherd and he promises to protect his sheep.
Proverbs 4:18 – “The path of the just is like the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”