Fleeing the Roman army

Matthew Bible Background

02.06.2017 – New Testament: Matt 24.19–20

To read the Bible in a year, read Exodus 39–40 on February 6, In the year of our Lord 2017

By Don Ruhl

As Jesus pictured the destruction of Jerusalem, He gave His followers signs that would notify them of the invading army and that all hope for Jerusalem’s redemption had passed. The Romans would approach the city and without mercy wipe it out. Therefore, when Christians saw the signs coming to pass, all of them could know that it was time to get out, but He warned that travel could be difficult,

“But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath” (Matthew 24.19–20). 

The Roman armies would not stroll on their way to Jerusalem, especially when they got in sight of the city, nor would they be courteous and let people escaping just go by. No, so for that reason, the followers of Jesus would have to leave immediately and in a hurry. Pregnant and nursing women could not travel quickly, and winter conditions would hamper travel, and if someone got caught on the Sabbath still in the city when the Romans arrived, the Jews would close the gates, (a holdover from previous generations, Neh 13.19), to keep people from violating the Sabbath. Therefore, they would be caught in the middle of the battle.

Questions:

  • Why would Christians have waited until the last minute to leave Jerusalem?
  • Do you know of any army that attacks with hesitation?

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