Why does it matter when the end comes? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We’re looking at the Olivet Discourse and seeing what timeframe it best fits into. This time, we’re going to be looking at verse 20. I have been contending that this whole passage fits best into a first-century format. The next verse after this will have some people thinking back to a futurist mindset, but we will get to that next time. For now, let’s look at verse 20.
“Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.”
Note that this is talking about a flight. It’s an escape. It doesn’t make sense to say “Pray that the rapture doesn’t take place in a winter or a Sabbath.” Why would that be? Would winter be by because if Jesus zaps you off and your clothes are Left Behind, per the movie, then you will be freezing in the weather?
Yet if we look at this in the first-century and think it describes an escape to the mountains, once again, it’s a great fit. Winter travel is harder period. Not only is the cold painful, but it is also harder to find food to eat as animals can be hibernating and plants are rare. You didn’t exactly have suitcases and thermoses and other ways you could carry food long term and keep it from spoiling.
What about the Sabbath? What difference does it make if you are traveling to the mountains if it’s the Sabbath? Note that this is talking about one time in particular when you are to run. In Jerusalem, and this is specific for Jerusalem, the gates would be closed on a Sabbath day as in Nehemiah. Business was not to be done on those days. While that could still be going on today, it would be much easier to escape Jerusalem today than it would be back then.
In the first century, if you needed to escape, you would not be able to get through the gates. It would be that much more difficult to get out and survive. One would have to work around and find other means and if time is of the essence such that you can’t even get into your house and Roman soldiers could be coming around at any moment as well as Jewish agitators who might attack you, then you’re in trouble.
Now as I said, these recent verses do easily fit, but next time, we’re going to have a very extreme statement from Jesus that convinces many readers we are talking about a futuristic scenario. I will be showing from the case of Scripture why I do not think Jesus’s words are to be understood that way.