January 8, 2016

Dear Brethren,

(15)  “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
(16)  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
(17)  Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
(18)  And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.

(19)  But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
(20)  And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. (Matthew 24:19-20)

I’m planning to give a sermon tomorrow on the subject of “Fleeing, and the Place of Safety”. Tonight, I’m sending out a Worldwide Church of God Correspondence Department letter written in the 1980’s on this subject. This will be an “introduction” to tomorrow’s sermon.

Please have a wonderful Sabbath!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

 

Dear Friend: 

     Thank you for your question concerning Matthew 24:19-20. 

     These verses are part of a prophecy that was fulfilled in TYPE in A.D. 69 when Christians fled just before the final siege of Jerusalem began, prior to its destruction in A.D. 70. Christ knew that those with small children and nursing babies would have it especially hard. (The “woe” in verse 19 is said compassionately, while in Matthew 23:13 it is said as a thing deserved.) Perhaps we can best understand why Christ said to pray that their flight from Jerusalem be not in the winter or on the Sabbath (verse 20) by noting what occurred in A.D. 70. 

     According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Jerusalem was then divided into SEVERAL warring factions. One faction wanted to surrender to the Romans and avoid destruction. Another faction was determined to fight the Romans no matter how hopeless the outcome seemed. Those who were determined to fight would not allow the rest to go out of the city to surrender. The only way one could get out was to go out in the afternoon with hoes, rakes, and the like, as if to carry on regular daily duties in the fields. One could not take extra clothing, other belongings, or small children without being noticed and captured. 

     On the Sabbath or in winter, people would not be going out of the city to work in the fields. If the time to flee came then, few if any could escape. Thus, Christians were to pray that the time to flee would not fall in the winter or on the Sabbath. 

     The time is coming again, during the Great Tribulation, when Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies. Christians will again have to flee to a place of safety to avoid the terrible bloodshed that is prophesied to occur.

PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT

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