And Jesus continues…
"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again." (Matthew 24:15-21)
Again, the question the disciples asked was "when is the end of the age?" Jesus continues His description of what's to come. Doesn't sound real fun, does it?
I think there are few things we need to know before we jump to conclusion.
1.) The word Abomination often refers to 'idols' in the 1st Century Hebrew text.
2.) Most Rabbis have concluded that the abomination that causes desolation refers to the desecration of the temple.
3.) Some rabbinic teachings tell us this was the erection of Zeus, others see it as a reference to Manasseh, and still others refer to graven images that were in the temple thereby making it a mockery of God.
4.) When Jesus talks of the dreadful days, most scholars think He was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
5.) But there is a small contention of people who think He's referring to a future event when the temple will be built, and an anti-christ will stand in the temple and set himself up for God.
I can see the first four are easy to relate to history. The facts line up, and if you sit in this discourse as a first century Jewish listener, then it tends to make sense. There were armies surrounding Jerusalem in 70AD. People would have rushed for the hills. Jews were scattered all over the earth. And gods were erected for the Romans to worship.
If you find truth in the future prophecy, then we can rest assured that the end of the age is a long time away.
For, if the original temple has to be built, anti-Christ stand in the middle and make himself the idol to be worshiped, then…
a.)the dome on the rock has to be moved or destroyed
b.)the sacrificial system has to be implemented
c.)there has to be some sort of public movement to recognize the temple as sacred
d.)there has to be a rise of power by one man at just the right time
e.)that person has to create a political alliance with the Jews, who will be on point to protect the temple in light of history
It just doesn't make sense that Jesus would be telling the disciples, "Be looking for this" and "oh by the way, it won't take place for like 2000 plus years." I think there are other places to help us see the coming of the end of the world, but I'm not sure He's referring to the end of time here to point to the end of the age.
But I'm not an eschatological scholar, so what do you guys think? Anybody got any good biblical reading to help us understand this?
I'm excited to rest easy in a God who knows what's going to happen. Whether it's 70AD or 7000AD, We serve a God in control. Now, that's the deal!