Flee to the Hills
23 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 24:15-25 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
15 “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) 16 “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 17 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. 18 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. 19 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. 20 And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. 22 In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones. 23 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 25 See, I have warned you about this ahead of time. (Matthew 24:15–25 NLT)
Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:26-27; 11:30-31) had been fulfilled in 168 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the Temple altar. Jesus prophesies it will again be fulfilled in the lifetime of many of those present that day, as it was when the Romans besieged Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in AD 70. Jesus specifically warns “those in Judea” and not those in Galilee, Samaria, the Decapolis, or the region of Jericho, as the Roman siege would focus on Jerusalem. Let’s not miss the immediate point of Jesus’ words of warning. They would soon see “the last days” of Israel as a nation, and of the Temple as God’s house in their generation.
Keep this thought in mind as you consider these prophetic words of Jesus and other prophecies recorded in the writings that became our Bible: All of the Bible was written for us, but not all the Bible was written to us. Jesus, in giving these warnings, telescopes the present, the near future, and the far future, just as the Old Testament prophets often did. It requires unhelpful mental gymnastics and contortions of truth to try to force every prophecy into a particular time-frame or place in history. Let’s let the Bible be the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to make application to our world and our lives as he sees fit!
Father, We love your Word! Thanks for Jesus, the Living Word, and for the Holy Spirit who leads us into the truth of your word for each of us in our own lives and each generation’s place in history! Teach us your ways and we will walk in your paths. Amen!