“When you see the abomination that causes desolation standing where it does not belong … then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains”.
Mk 13:14 NIV
It has happened in history that unbelievably cruel things have taken place causing horror, fear and suffering on an unimaginable scale. The holocaust in Germany in World War II was one such event. It affects international relations to this day. The dropping of the atom bomb leading to mass destruction in Japan was an event of equal magnitude.
For the Jews of Christ’s day there had been one of these terrible events in 168 B.C. A foreign army had invaded Israel in the course of a number of wars and battles. It was led by a ruler called Antiochus Epiphanes who was obsessed with hatred for the Jewish people and their culture. He ordered his troops to enter the Temple in Jerusalem and set up an altar to the Greek God Zeus on the Jewish altar of sacrifice. He then forced Jewish people to take part in heathen festivities and put to death any people found to be in possession of the book of the Law – or Ten Commandments. For the Jewish people it was the ultimate insult and barbarity. Antiochus Epiphanes’ cruelty and hatred knew no bounds. It was an attempt to exterminate the Jewish religion. It became known as “The Abomination of Desolation”.
In warning the people of his day about the possible arrival of unparalleled evil Jesus reminds them of this event and says, “If anything of that scale and severity happens again, know that things are really bad and anything might happen.
Christians need to be aware that terrible things might happen at any time today. Look for, and trust in God when they do.
Lord, protect and shield us from all harm.