13:14 the abomination of desolation. Dan. 11:31 predicts the coming of the king of the North who will desecrate the temple. That prediction was first fulfilled in 168 b.c. when Antiochus Epiphanes set up a pagan altar and sacrificed a pig in the Most Holy Place. In a.d. 70 the Old Testament text was definitively fulfilled when Titus, the Roman general (later emperor), sacked the temple.
let the reader understand. This phrase could either be an aside by Mark (indicating that he knew the destruction of the temple had already occurred), or Jesus’ own wish that His hearers, as readers of the Old Testament, would realize that He was citing Dan. 9:25–27 and 11:31 (cf. 2:25; 12:10, 26).
flee to the mountains. When the Romans on their way to Jerusalem in a.d. 69 sacked Qumran, the members of their community hid their manuscripts in caves high up in the mountains overlooking the Dead Sea. Eusebius, the fourth-century church historian, states that the Christians left Jerusalem at that time and founded the church at Pella, east of the Jordan and forty to fifty miles north of Jerusalem.