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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


The Abomination of Desolation

July 7, 2013

“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong — 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 or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak.” (Mark 13:14-16, NIV)

The disciples asked Jesus two questions (v. 3) that precipitated His outline of the future: (1) When will these things happen? (2) What will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?

Instead of answering immediately, Jesus provided an overview of the course of human history following His time on earth (vv. 4-13). He then comes to the crux of their question. Earlier that day He said of the temple that not one stone would be left standing on another. They wanted to know when that would happen and how that would be linked to the end.

Jesus takes them back to Daniel 9:26,27 that prophesied a future anti-God ruler coming to the temple and setting up “an abomination that causes desolation.”

Clearly, the early Christians took Jesus’ warning seriously. When the Roman army began to encircle Jerusalem less than 40 years later, they fled. In A.D. 70, Rome sacked the city and destroyed the temple.

However, that was not the end to human history. It was a precursor to a later fulfillment that comes at the end of time. Thus, Jesus’ words give direction to the first and last generations of Christians. The first generation witnessed a foreshadowing of what was to come. The last generation will witness the Antichrist desolating the Holy Place (that is, the temple).

After A.D. 70, the temple was never rebuilt. Today Muslims consider the temple mount their third most holy site, with the Dome of the Rock and two mosques built on the former temple grounds.

At some point in the future, the Antichrist is going to set up an abomination where the temple stood; or if rebuilt, where the temple will stand. Jesus warns those alive at the time — get away from Jerusalem.

So urgent is the need to flee that Jesus gives two urgent instructions: If you are on the house roof, don’t go back inside to take anything; and if you are out in the field, don’t go back to get your cloak.

A friend of mine was in a commercial airliner that crashed. When the plane hit the ground, skidded, broke in two, and fire raced down the aisle, the man still took a precious moment to grab his briefcase. The momentary delay almost cost him his life.

What a lesson for us! There is coming a time when we will not be able to take anything with us. Have we become so preoccupied with our possessions, our leisure time, and our work that we’re not ready when it’s time to leave? The ongoing lesson for all disciples, in every era, is that we not treasure things above our own lives.

I well realize in this passage Jesus talks to end-time saints about a terrible time when the Antichrist is revealed in Jerusalem. Jesus tells them not even to try to stand their ground, but to get out of town. Flee! There are occasions then and now where we don’t have to try to be a hero.

A prayer of response

Lord Jesus, help me to balance prudence with courage, to know when to take a risk or avoid it, to discern real danger from false alarm, and to be more concerned about saving my life than my things.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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