The End of the Age - A study of Matthew 24 - Part Three

The End of the Age - A STUDY OF MATTHEW 24 - Part Three


Dempsey Collins

Verse 16 - “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” where there would be caves and other places of retreat.  “It is a remarkable but historical fact that Cestius Gallius, the Roman general, for some unknow reason, retired when they first marched against the city, suspended the siege, ceased the attack and withdrew his armies for an interval of time after the Romans had occupied the temple; thus, giving every believing Jew the opportunity to obey the Lord’s instruction to flee the city.  Josephus, the eye-witness, himself chronicles this fact and admitted his inability to account for the cessation of the fighting at the time after a siege had begun. And thus, it was left for Titus, the Roman general, to execute the siege, after the disciples left.” (Foy Wallace, God’s Prophetic Word, p. 252).

(The student should read Josephus Wars, Book II.6:7.  These events were also recorded by Eusebius History Eccles., lib. IIIc. 5, 6 and Epiphanius, who tells us that during this time, all who believed in Christ left the city and fled to Pella and other places beyond the Jordan so that no Christians perished in the siege.)

Verse 17 - “let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things that are in the house.”  “The houses of the Jews, as well as those of the ancient Greeks and Romans, were flat-roofed and had stairs on the outside by which persons might ascend and descend without coming into the house.  In the Eastern walled cities, these flat-roofed houses usually formed continual terraces from one end of the city to the other, which terraces terminated at the gates. He, therefore, who is walking on the housetop, let him not come down to take anything out of his house, but let him instantly pursue his course along the tops of the houses and escape out at the city gate as fast as he can.” (Clarke, p. 818)

Verse 18 - “And let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak.”  A man’s garments are hardly worth his life.

There is no way these words can be fulfilled in anything but the literal destruction of a city.  In this context, the city of Jerusalem. What nonsense it would be for Christ to encourage people to flee from Him at His final coming.  Do Premillenialists actually think there would be time for one to go into his house and get his cloak? The words of Jesus are also meaningless for those who believe in the Rapture.  If this was some kind of Rapture, why flee to the mountains? The warnings of Matt. 24 are for Christians.  If the doctrine of the Rapture is true, saints will not need to flee for they will be taken into heaven!  The words of Jesus only have meaning when we consider them in light of the destruction of Jerusalem.

Matthew Poppa