In Matthew 24 Jesus’ disciples come to him and ask what the signs of his return and of the end of the age will be. The first thing Jesus says is, “Watch out that no one deceives you” (Mt 24:4), and then proceeds to talk about the signs and events that will take place. However, in Mt 24:15-16 Jesus tells us there is also something we have to do… “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
Which mountain do we have to flee to? What is the holy place? What is the abomination that stands in the holy place? If we don’t understand these things how are we going to be able to do what is required of us?
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 sheds some more light on the matter. “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ … Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
Here we see that before the day of the Lord comes, there will be a man of lawlessness who sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. God’s temple is the holy place, and therefore the man of lawlessness is like the “abomination that causes desolation” referred to in Mt 24. In Revelation 13 we are told how the beast from the sea enters God’s dwelling place (v.6). Where is God’s dwelling place on earth? His temple, which is the holy place. And therefore, the beast from the sea is the same as the “man of lawlessness” that sets himself up in God’s temple (the holy place) in 2 Thes 2.
Mt 24:15-16, 2 Thes 2:1-4, and Rv 13 are all connected. We have to understand what we are being told, otherwise we will not be able to carry out the correct actions. So what is the mountain that we have to flee to when all this takes place?
Psalm 43:3 says, “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.”
And Isaiah 2:2 says, “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.”
God’s dwelling place on earth is his temple, the place where his revealed truth is taught and proclaimed. In the above verses God’s dwelling place, or temple, is compared to a mountain. Mountains are used figuratively to describe a temple or church. In the last days, the mountain of God’s temple will be established as “chief among the mountains” (Is 2:2). From this we can understand that there are other mountains as well, not only the one that belongs to God.
God’s holy mountain is Mt Zion (Micah 4:1-2; Heb 12:22), the place where God’s word of truth is taught. We must follow God’s word, his light, so that we can find his holy mountain, the chief among the mountains, the city of the living God. Then we can also be a part of God’s kingdom, a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb 12:28), and which will endure forever (Dan 2:44).
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