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Perilous Times

15 “So when you see the [a]abomination of desolation [the appalling sacrilege that astonishes and makes desolate], spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place (let the [b]reader understand),(A) 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains [for refuge]. 17 Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things that are in his house [because there will not be enough time]. 18 Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his coat. 19 And woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 Pray that your flight [from persecution and suffering] will not be in winter, or on a Sabbath [when Jewish laws prohibit travel]. 21 For [c]at that time there will be a great tribulation (pressure, distress, oppression), such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will [again].(B) 22 And if those days [of tribulation] had not been cut short, no human life would be saved; but for the sake of the elect (God’s chosen ones) those days will be shortened. 23 Then if anyone says to you [during the great tribulation], ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and they will provide great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones). 25 Listen carefully, I have told you in advance. 26 So if they say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out there, or, ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms [of a house],’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming [in glory] of the Son of Man [everyone will see Him clearly]. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the [d]vultures will flock together.(C)

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 24:15 I.e. the Antichrist (2 Thess 2:4), “the prince who is to come” who will make a covenant with Israel, then break it in the middle of the tribulation (the seven-year period of Dan 9:27).
  2. Matthew 24:15 I.e. the reader of the book of Daniel (cf 24:15). Jesus is indicating that the final fulfillment of this prophecy is yet to come.
  3. Matthew 24:21 The most obvious sign during the tribulation, prior to the second coming of Jesus, is when the abomination that causes desolation (the Antichrist) sets his image in the temple.
  4. Matthew 24:28 The Greek for “vultures” can also be translated “eagles,” but the reference is most likely to the vulture, which the Greek word includes with eagles as a class. The meaning of this much discussed verse is either that the corpse represents the returning Christ, whose appearance will attract the attention of the entire world, that is, the vultures; or that the corrupt world is the corpse, about to be judged by the returning Christ (Rev 19:18).

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