Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Mark 13:14 New International Version (NIV) 14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."

First off, is this meant figuratively or literally? I lean towards believing it is literal. But then it specifically mentions that it is those in Judea that should flee... is this also literal Judea? What about those of us in the nations, now?

I do not like Jehovah's Witnesses' explanation that they are the symbolic mountains and that by joining them we are already 'safe'; I believe there is more to it than that. For instance it is only when we see the abomination causing desolation that we are meant to flee, so that does not make sense if you compare it to joining a religious group.

And what of people living far from any mountains? This is where it is difficult to believe that it is literal, yet the detail of the rest of the verses in Mark do suggest that actual fleeing is necessary.

I'm a little stumped. What does "fleeing to the mountains" actually mean in this context?

share|improve this question
3  
Um, get the heck out of Dodge? –  Affable Geek Aug 2 '13 at 14:54
    
Is this question better off in BH.SE? –  Adrian Keister Aug 2 '13 at 17:34
    
you should cross-reference Matthew 24 –  warren Aug 5 '13 at 16:39
add comment

4 Answers 4

You get the sense of literal fulfillment by reading the verses before and after. Jesus is not switching back and forth between the two in the chapter when He talks about what will happen in the last days. When Jesus told His disciples that the temple will be torn down (13:1-2), the disciples wanted to know when that would happen, and what the sign will be for it's fulfillment (13:4). In other words, Jesus was talking about a real temple (the one they were looking at, that Herod built), and real, discoverable signs concerning its end.

The events in the verses immediately after that are easily discoverable in our literal world and relationships. In verse 14, Jesus starts answering the second part of the disciple's question about signs of the fulfillment. That sign refers to an event mentioned in Daniel 9:27, from which Jesus gets the phrase, "abomination that causes desolation." Some pretribulation groups claim that this event will take place when an antichrist figure will set himself up as a god to be worshiped (taking their text as 2 Thess. 2:3-4). When the Jews see that literal sign, they are to flee out of Judea, which is surrounded by hilly, mountainous terrain. Read again verses 15-18; Jesus indicates in these verses that the fleeing is literal, and extremely urgent. If you are on your housetop, don't stop to pick up stuff on your way out (v15), if you are in the field, don't stop to pick up your garment (v16); if you are pregnant or care for little ones, it will be hard for you (v17); and "pray that your flight may not be in winter" (v18). All of these details emphasize the literalness of the event in question, of the urgency of fleeing when the sign is seen.

The literalism comes to an end in the chapter when Jesus deliberately injects a parable, and says He does so ("Now learn this parable from the fig tree"). Once the brief parable is over, He goes back to using terms that can be understood literally.

In some cases of prophecy, they have a near fulfillment and far fulfillment. It is so with this prophecy. In its near fulfillment, the temple was indeed torn down as He said it was, in 70 A.D. by the Roman armies of Titus, and those Jews who fled when they saw the armies surrounding the city (a detail recorded in Luke's version of this chapter of Mark, Luke 21:20-21) escaped to safety, and were spared the grievous horrors suffered by the Jews left behind recorded by Josephus.

However, the Abomination of Desolation was not set up at that time. That will be left for a future day, which must take place after another literal temple is built in Jerusalem. After that event, according to the sequence of events in Mark 13:24-27, Jesus will come again.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The fleeing is both literal and figurativeThe first century jews at Jerusalem where told to literally flee from the that city when the roman armies surrounded it. *Luke 21 20"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near*

When jesus Christ destroyed the temple by means of the Roman empire.(John 2 19. Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.")

He then replaced it with a new type of worship.Christ becoming the temple and king and high priest (Hebrews 7 17.For it is declared: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.") and his followers also becoming living temples.

The symbolism of the literal fleeing is for the call for jewish nation to repent and get out of the soon to be redundant jewish system, which was the old covenant.This was to be replace by the new covenant.(Jeremiah 31 33. "This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.)

The majority of jews rejected Christ and would not benefit from the promises of this new covenant at that time.Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.

Today.any religious system or organisation that resembles the jewish system in the first century really can be a likened to Babylon the Great or the type of rulership which originated with Nimrod.There is a distinct difference between Man rule and Gods Rulership.Mans rulership demands a strict hierarchy, which governs through many written laws from a select leadership.Gods rulership at this time is through Jesus Christ.Christ being the head of every believer, with God writing his laws upon our hearts by means of the Holy spirit. 1 Tim. 2:5, 6. There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.”

I would just like to let you know at this point.When I stumbled across this web site and felt impelled to answer the original question from one of your members.

I did not realise and now have noticed that you as the moderator seems to lean towards catholic tradition.This worries me a little because, as a Jehovahs Witness who has recently come to an understanding that the watchtower society can not claim to be Gods one and only true organisation.I do not want to get into endless debates with a member of another religious organization which regards itself in a similar way.I apologies beforehand,I dont want to make the presumption that everyone is the same!

I have come to realise that the average Jehovahs Witness can only defend their position as a member of that group.Loyalty to that organisation and its teachings are paramount to each member.This causes a great deal of bias when reading bible texts.

The original poster made a comment. “I do not like Jehovah's Witnesses' explanation that they are the symbolic mountains and that by joining them we are already 'safe”. What the poster has noticed about the watchtower society is that it attempts to promote a sense of security to those who are its members by claiming to be Gods organization.

I was trying to convey in my answer that security or salvation was assured through the new covenant and being a member of it.The redundant jewish system with its priesthood mediator-ship was no longer necessary. To get out and flee is a clear enough instruction.to get out of that system is the symbolic equivalent.

So to clarify.Any religious system or individual that does not promote and strictly adhere or teach that all true believers are to be a holy priesthood through Jesus Christ by means of the new covenant are to be avoided.If you are in such a system, get out and flee,

John 14 6.Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

share|improve this answer
3  
Hi, welcome to the site. This answer needs a few fix-em ups. 1. I don't see the "two things" mentioned in the first sentence; 2. The Jews being told to flee when Romans came fact should be sourced; 3. The Bible quotes have no context. (hope this helps) –  Peter Turner Aug 2 '13 at 12:26
    
Thanks.Can I replace (Fleeing to the mountains means two things} with(It is both literal and figurative} –  mark Aug 2 '13 at 19:28
    
oh yeah that definitely improves it, otherwise it's hard to know which two things you mean. (Catholics have 4 things!) Literal, Metaphorical, Anagogical and the other one... Moral, that's right. –  Peter Turner Aug 2 '13 at 19:36
    
I will get back to you on fix-em-ups 2. and 3.And yes it helps –  mark Aug 2 '13 at 19:37
    
Hi, I’ve incorporated some of the scripture into my original comment hopefully to give them some context. In response to your statement2. The Jews being told to flee when Romans came fact should be sourced.I would just like to rephrase that part of my comment.The jews where told to flee when the roman armies had surrounded Jerusalem Luke 21 20"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.This is a simple instruction to flee. –  mark Aug 3 '13 at 13:04
add comment

The story is both figurative and in a sense literal. It actually has dual applications. First off, when the ancient city of Jerusalem was surrounded in 68-69 A.D. by the Romans...the Christians feared for their lives. They remembered the prophecy uttered by Christ some 40 years earlier that when Jerusalem was surrounded by the 'abomination of desolation' that its destruction would be near.

Unexpectedly...the Roman armies which were representative of this abomination that 'makes desolation' withdrew. The Jews rejoiced that they had stayed the mighty hand of pagan Rome. The Christians knew that Roman would not allow this to stand and when the Roman armies withdrew...the Christians fled just as they were warned to the city of Pella which was found in the mountains outside of Jerusalem. Rome came back and in 70 A.D. sacked the city. It was surrounded, and then starved. Any one that came out trying to escape was put to a horrible death.

Inside the city...chaos reigned. Gangs took by force the few resources that remained. Mothers soon turned on their children and actually killed them for food. Soon the temple was burned and razed to the ground. Over a million Jews are believed to have been killed. The few that survived were scattered abroad as slaves or taken to Rome and killed. In the last days...God's holy people that keep all his commandments (not just 9 but all 10 including the 7th day Sabbath) will be surrounded by worldly governments that Satan has seized control of with the purpose of exterminating once and for all the truth from the Earth.

The abomination of desolation in our day is corrupt Protestantism in bed with the corrupt State prosecuting the people of God. Read the Great Controversy by Ellen White and the bible and I'm sure you will be blown away.

share|improve this answer
2  
Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. I have a hard time believing this answer, because there are obvious technical errors - there weren't a million people in Palestine in 70 AD, period. –  Affable Geek Oct 15 '13 at 0:55
add comment

It is both literal and figurative. On the one hand Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 AD and the people fled to the mountains. It is also something that is foretold to happen in Revelation that was prefigured in the Book of Maccabees.

  • "Abomination" is a similar word to mockery or sacrilege
  • "Desolation" means emptiness, a place where no one is present

It is the emptiness of the New Mass. It is a mockery of the Tridentine Mass. God is not present because the sacrament is not confected. It was cursed by Pope St. Pius V.

Pope St. Pius V, Quo Primum Tempore, July 14, 1570:

“Now, therefore, in order that all everywhere may adopt and observe what has been delivered to them by the Holy Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of the other churches, it shall be unlawful henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than this Missal published by Us… Accordingly, no one whosoever is permitted to infringe or rashly contravene this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, direction, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Should any venture to do so, let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

share|improve this answer
3  
This is an interesting perspective which I hadn't seen before. From your profile information I am guessing that what you've written is very close to your heart. But I'd be a lot happier about this answer if it was written less like "this is the truth" and more like "this is how (a certain named group) interpret it". Also, your answer is mostly about the abomination and not really about the mountains, which is what the question is asking. –  James T Aug 2 '13 at 15:32
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.