(Matthew 24:15-28) – Part 2
The last days will be difficult times and a time of tribulation such as has not ever been seen before. Jesus says that when we see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place that those in Judea should flee to the mountains. I believe this is a warning for those who live in the region of Jerusalem and Judea to get out of that place and go to higher ground, and to do so quickly. The prophet Daniel was shown that from the time the continual burnt offering is taken away and the desolating sacrilege is set up there would be 1,290 days. (Daniel 12:11) I believe these are actual days and not prophetic days where a day often means a year. Daniel is then told, “Blessed is he who waits and comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty five days.” (Daniel 12:12) This is a difference of forty-five days.
It is my opinion that the reason these people who wait the additional forty-five days are blessed because they will see the coming of the Lord. I believe the blessing referred to by the angel speaking to Daniel is the end of the age and the returning of the Lord. If that is so, then Jesus’ advice for those in Judea and Jerusalem to flee to the mountains makes sense when they see the desolating sacrilege set up in the holy place.
The only place ever referred to as the “holy place” was in the temple in Jerusalem. No other place from a biblical perspective has ever been called the holy place. So that is the place where this desolating sacrilege will be erected, whatever it may be. But why would Jesus tell his people to flee to the mountains at this time? The fact that the man of sin referred to in Daniel and Revelation will set himself up in the temple proclaiming to be God may be justification enough, but he will have been there for several years prior to this time. But it is when the desolating sacrilege is set up that Jesus tells his people to get out of the place and move to higher ground.
I believe the answer is in Zechariah 14. When Jesus was taken up from the earth after he was resurrected and had appeared to the apostles and disciples, he told them that he would return in the same way that he had left. (Acts 1:11) When Jesus was taken up from the earth at that time he had left from the Mount of Olives also known as Olivet. (Acts 1:12) So when he returns we can expect that he will return in the same way and come back to the same place, that is, the Mount of Olives. This is where the scriptures in Zechariah are important.
Zechariah 14:4-5 says, “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that half of the Mount shall withdraw northwards, and the other half southwards. And you shall flee by the valley of the Lord’s mountain, for the valley between the mountains shall reach to Azal; and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.”
So when the Lord’s feet touch the earth at the Mount of Olives on his return, which is where he left the earth some 2,000 years ago, the Mount of Olives will split in two. There will be a great earthquake when the Lord returns that will split the mountain in two from east to west as the mountain is split to the north and south. At that time the great chasm formed by the earthquake will be filled with water for it will split as far as the Dead Sea in the west and the Mediterranean sea in the east. We see this prophesied in Zechariah 14:8, “On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter.”
Again I preface this section by stating that these are my opinions and I am happy to hear any other views on this matter for my own learning and information. Looking at this from a geological perspective we could say that in effect Jerusalem may become a seaport as the waters flow from the Mediterranean, living waters, to the Dead Sea in which no life can exist because of the high salt content. In addition we see that living waters will flow out from Jerusalem to the east and the west. There are significant fresh water aquifers beneath Jerusalem and the surrounding areas at depths of between 500-650 metres. When the great earthquake occurs and the landscape changes according to the prophesy of Zechariah, it is feasible that these aquifers of fresh water will hit the surface and flow from Jerusalem to the east and the west following the crack in the fault line caused by the earthquake.
It is interesting to note also that Zechariah prophesied this earthquake, which God had made known to him. Today we know there is a significant fault line passing through Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives. This fault line runs all the way from Africa through to Syria and is alternately called the “Dead Sea Transform” or the “Syrian-African Rift.” There is no way that Zechariah could have known about this geological fault line and the length and directions it follows. This then provides a proof of the accuracy and more importantly the source of prophecy in the Bible. This knowledge could only have come from God.
So we shall see in these last days at the time of the return of the Lord that there will be great tribulation. But he has pre-warned his people and told us when the clock will start on the countdown to his return. The key is hen we see the continual burnt offering removed and the desolating sacrilege is set up in the holy place. At that time those who are his people in the regions of Jerusalem and Judea should flee to the hills if they are to survive the great earthquake and devastation in the area that will occur upon his return.