Is there any time to get anything? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Last time, we looked at Matthew 24:16 and I made the case that this verse makes more sense in a localized context. All I am trying to show is that the text fits better in the first-century than it does in the 21st or any other century. (And be assured, so many centuries have thought this text described their time.) Today I am going to argue that more of the same is going on with verse 17.
“Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, “
So if this is about the end of the world and a great cataclysm of that sort, then what point would there be in going back to your house? “Oh my! The world is coming to an end! Let me get my lamp from inside!” (In modern times, we might say iPhone or tablet) It does make sense in the ancient world and in the first century.
In that world, the rooftop was practically another room of the house. People would be there and would see the Romans and would also see them withdrawing. Why not wait? Because you don’t know how long they’ll be gone and you gotta get out of town. You didn’t have a car that you could drive in or an airport to fly out of. You had to hoof it or ride some animal.
Not only that, but there would be several people out in the streets. If this is a Roman invasion going on, everyone is going about doing something. Many Jews would be making military plans and in Jerusalem, there would likely always be traffic to and from the temple.
Jesus is telling people to not wait. Go. Go now. This is the hour that you need to escape. If you stay behind and the Romans catch you, it’s not going to go well for you.
Keep in mind that last time we covered this, I did say that many evangelicals will think that the more cosmic verses have to describe a more, well, cosmic event. I get that. I used to hold the same stance. I can’t anymore and I will explain when I get there. If you’re skeptical though, I hope you can at least see that these verses so far in this little section make the most sense with the kind of interpretation I am giving.
We shall continue next time.