Now when the Antichrist is installed in the Temple, the “Great Tribulation” period will commence (v. 21). The Antichrist will persecute both the Jews and Christ-followers. Terrible suffering will come to them in that time period. The need to escape the great tribulation is urgent.
Jesus said, “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matt. 24:16). Those in Judea should flee to the mountains. They are to leave the city of Jerusalem. They are to run to the mountains. There in the mountains, people will be safe.
Jesus added, “Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house” (Matt. 24:17). When you see the Antichrist sitting on the Temple, there will be no more time to go down and get your things. You might wonder what the guy is doing on the housetop. Well, he’s relaxing there. The housetops in Jesus’ time were flat. People would go up to the flat housetop and relax there. But Jesus urges that you need to escape immediately. You will have no more time to gather your possessions.
Jesus warned, “And let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak” (Matt. 24:18). The field worker will have no time to get his clothes. There will be no time to go home from the office and get your things. Not only will you have no time to pack your gear. You will also have a hard time escaping, esp. if you’re pregnant. “And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days” (Matt. 24:19)! It will be a hard time to be pregnant or nursing a baby.
Jesus then said, “Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath” (Matt. 24:20). Their escape should not be in winter or on a Sabbath. In winter, the flooded rivers and muddy hills will be dangerous. The cold nights will be very hard for escaping. On a Sabbath, the gates are closed, making escape hard. (Hagner) Jewish Christians will not travel on the Sabbath.
When the abomination of the Antichrist will be installed in the Temple, people must escape Jerusalem and run as fast as possible!