Matthew 24:17

ESV Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house,
NIV Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.
NASB Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house.
CSB A man on the housetop must not come down to get things out of his house,
NLT A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack.
KJV Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
NKJV Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.

What does Matthew 24:17 mean?

The disciples have asked Jesus when certain events will happen (Matthew 24:3). In part, they are asking about His prediction of a destroyed temple (Matthew 24:2), as well as the moment in time when He will return to set up His earthly kingdom. Part of His answer involved a terrible moment, referred to in the prophecies of Daniel (Daniel 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). Some terrible violation of God's holiness and law, an abomination, would be brought into the temple and the desolation of the temple would follow (Matthew 24:15).

Scholars of Jesus' day often thought this event occurred in 167 BC, when an evil ruler sacrificed pigs in the temple. However, Jesus is speaking of an event which had not yet happened. This has led to speculation that fulfillment happened when priests were murdered in the temple as part of a Jewish rebellion against Rome in AD 70. That ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the obliteration of the temple. However, the context of the end times (Matthew 24:14) and the world-threatening level of danger this event signals (Matthew 24:21–22) implies this is an event which will occur very near to the second coming of Christ (Revelation 19:11–15).

Those who see this event are told to run for their lives. The danger of this moment is underscored in how urgently Jesus frames this advice. Rooftops of this time were flat and used as outdoor livings spaces. Someone could easily jump down from a low roof or perhaps run from rooftop to rooftop to move quickly through the city, rather than go down into the house to gather belongings.
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