Matthew 24:16

ESV then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
NIV then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
NASB then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
CSB "then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
NLT Then those in Judea must flee to the hills.
KJV Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

What does Matthew 24:16 mean?

Jesus has warned of a moment when His followers will see something called "the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place" (Matthew 24:15). This imagery comes from the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). Speaking in response to questions about the end times (Matthew 24:3), Jesus has pointed to this event as one of the clearest signs. The meaning of this and its connection to Old Testament prophecy is not immediately obvious, which is why both Matthew (Matthew 24:15) and Mark (Mark 13:14) add a footnote encouraging future readers to clearly understand it.

Historians of Jesus' day likely thought this prophecy had been fulfilled in 167 BC. At that time, Antiochus IV Epiphanes set up an altar to Zeus in the temple and defiled it. That included sacrificing unclean animals, such as pigs, on the Jewish people's holiest site. Christ, of course, is speaking of something which had not yet happened during His earthly ministry.

Some modern interpreters think this was fulfilled when the temple was burned to the ground and the standards of the Roman "god" Caesar were set up over its remains, in AD 70. The most likely meaning, however, is that this will happen as part of the very end of days, immediately before the coming of Christ (Matthew 24:14).

In any case, Jesus warns those in Jerusalem who see this happen to run for safety. The terrain around Jerusalem, especially the mountains to the north, had offered protection for those on the run throughout Israel's history. Christ emphasizes in the following verses that there will be no time to spare.
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