Immediately after the Antichrist is revealed at the “abomination of desolation,” Jesus urges the residents of Judea to flee to the mountains. The urgency of this departure is so pressing that he even says that they should leave without even putting a coat on. See the location of Judea below:
This situation is further seen in Revelation 12, where the ten horned dragon (Satan) pursues Israel into the desert. However, the Jews get away and are protected by God for 1260 days (3.5 years on Jewish calendar). This makes sense in light of the fact that the Abomination of Desolation happens halfway into a seven-year deal with Israel. 3.5 years is half of seven years, so the timing of this fleeing corresponds with the revealing of the Antichrist.
15"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. (Matthew 24:15-18)Division of Jerusalem
This raises the question as to what causes the need for such a sudden departure. Zechariah 12 & 14 describe a time when all nations will gather against Jerusalem and Judah (Judea) and go to war with it. They will cut Jerusalem in half and exile half of the city, while leaving the residents of the other half. Revelation 11 reveals that the Gentiles will control the holy city (Jerusalem, specifically the eastern half, for 42 months (3.5 years). Many Jews will be killed, raped, and captured during this siege.
2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. (Zechariah 14:2)Israel's Flight and the Second Coming
Though the Jews suffer intense persecution and immense distress due to this attack, God does not abandon them. Zechariah 14 describes how the Lord himself will descend on the mount of Olives, enabling the Jews to flee by a mountain valley he creates.
3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake [a] in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:3-5)Furthermore, in Luke 17, Jesus says that on the day he is revealed, people should flee their homes so fast that they should not even wear a coat. His phrasing directly parallels his instructions regarding the Abomination of Desolation. The only other times in the Bible that this phrasing is used is in reference to the abomination of desolation. This seems to indicate that the day of the second coming, people should be still fleeing the Abomination of Desolation. Therefore, these events are very close together.
15"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. (Matthew 24:15-18)Compare to:
30"It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. (Luke 17:30-31)Furthermore, Ezekiel 38-39 describes an attack on the “mountains” of Israel (Judea Samaria), while Israel is living in a time of peace and safety and recovering from war. A northern alliance of many nations attacks them, however, God reveals himself from heaven and destroys the invading armies.
18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.' (Ezekiel 38:18-23)Protection in the Desert
Revelation 12 indicates that once the Jews have made it to the desert, they will be protected by God for 1,260 days (3.5 Jewish years). This is the exact same length of time 3 other important events take place:
- For 3.5 Jewish years:
- The Gentiles trample on the holy city
- The Antichrist has worldwide domination and blasphemes God
- The two witnesses have the power to stop the rain and strike the earth with any kind of plague whenever they want