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This same question was asked by the disciples to Jesus, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). Jesus responded: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Luke 21:20, 21). He added, “Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house” (Matthew 24:17).
Jesus blended in His answer to the disciples’ question events leading up to “the end” of the Jewish nation as God’s chosen people and “the end” of the world. Thus, the discourse was also given for the benefit of those who should live amid the last scenes of earth’s history. Matthew 24:4–14 primarily points to the fall of Jerusalem and some of them secondarily to our time, but verses 21–30 quite exclusively point to events leading up to the Savior’s second coming.
The sign for fleeing from Jerusalem was the setting of the abomination of desolation. “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20). The event foretold is obviously the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, at that time the symbols of pagan Rome were set up in a sacred area.
Likewise, a time is coming when Christians living at the end of time must flee from society. But what will be the signal to run? When the secular powers “surround” God’s people forcing them to keep false religious laws that openly violate God laws, which are listed in Exodus 20:3-17, and restricting religious liberty. That will be the sign to flee and seek shelter. And God promised that He will take care of His children (Isaiah 33:16).
But until then, Christians can worship and proclaim God’s truth without fear. Like Nehemiah and Paul, they should be careful to not allow the devil to make them withdraw from ministering to the world. God has called His children to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) to evangelize the world, and spread the gospel to every nation (Matthew 24:14). Let us make the most of this time.
In His service,