The chapter of Matthew 24 is one of the most misunderstood chapters in the Bible. Most believe that this chapter has to do with our wars, day and age however this is not the case. In fact Billy Graham use to say, “Matthew 24 is knocking at your door.” When trying to understand scripture you must be careful how you apply the message. Trying to make everything in the Bible to fit to these days and times will surely get you into trouble. In this article we will be discussing the first part of the chapter which deals with the destruction of Jerusalem that happened around 70 AD; several years before the United States was a country. It was written by Matthew about the events that would happen in the apostles’ future. It would be helpful for you to read the first part of the chapter in Matthew 24 to understand the article.
The ministry of Christ was in full force. Some Jews believed and began following Jesus however most didn’t. Even the ones that thought it might be possible that Christ was their expected Messiah still went against him. Christ forewarned the apostles and all those present, when you see the abomination of desolation as spoken by the prophet Daniel, meant it was time for them to get out. See Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. The abomination that causes desolation. (cf. Lk 21:20.). The abomination would be the order that came from the Emperor to place statues in the temples of themselves to be worshipped. The temple would be desolate, as there will be no more worship in it. It would be the end of the Jewish state.
Fleeing to the mountains would be a great place to hide but if it’s a nuclear attack in the United States it wouldn’t matter if you hid in the mountains. The rooftops were flat in those days and often traveled on by foot making escaping easier. There was not time to come down from the roof top to get your things. Some also slept on the rooftops in those days and if they did it would be easier to get up and flee. Do not go back and get your clothes. Get out of dodge. Mothers with children would make it even harder to leave. It would be better for the war not to take place in the winter as the rivers would be frozen and impassible. With modern day transportation we can get anywhere in the winter so what would it matter if the attack happened in the winter? So then it doesn’t make any sense when you apply it to the 21st century. Hopefully the Romans didn’t make their attack on a Sabbath because the city gates of Jerusalem would be closed as always on a Sabbath. Neh. 13:19. The darkened moon and falling stars are signs that a nation has fallen or great political change. This figurative language is used in the same way with the fall of other nations. Is. 13:10; 34:4-6; 51:5-6 Jer. 4:1-6; 23-28; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 3:15-16; Nin. 1:1-5; Amos 8:1-2, 9. The destruction of Jerusalem was predicted by the Old Testament prophets. Micah 3:12; Zech. 14:4. There was about to be a great change in the law that would change their lives and the lives of the Jews forever. Why the war?
First off we cannot forget the mighty hand of God. The Jews for years had been going against God. They wouldn’t listen to God anymore and many Jews were committing murders, persecutions and idolatry. Any nation that forgets about God will be its demise. Prov. 14:34; Ps 9:17. Because of the Jews defiance and rejection of their own Messiah, the war happened just as the prophets predicted it would. Is. 53:3.
The Jews hated the Roman Empire and this is the reason they started the war. As far as they knew they weren’t thinking about the hand of God. The Jews wanted political and religious liberty. Rome wanted to have control over everything. Rome wanted to oversee the day to day life of the Jews. The Romans would come in and steal from the temple as well as the procurators who would collect all the taxes for the entire empire. In collecting the tax whatever they collected over the amount due and would line their pockets with the rest. The political tension and religious expectations grew. Finally in 70 AD Titus led the revolt to siege Jerusalem and later became emperor. Some were killing themselves in a suicide battle as it would be better to be dead then to be taken and sold into slavery. What happened to the Christians?
Eusebius and his book Ecclesiastical History, wrote that the Christians fled to Pella. Pella is located in the modern day Jordan, which is about two and a half miles east of the Jordan River. He also said they fled because of divine revelation in which they received. This would mean the warning that is recorded by Matthew in chapter twenty-four as well as the other gospels. Jesus did say that some would be put to death, (Lk 21:16) but this he says would happen before the siege of Jerusalem. It is possible that not many perished because they remembered and heeded the warnings given by the Lord.