“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place…Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains…But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (Matthew 24:15-20)
QUESTION 1: Who is Jesus instructing to pray?
PWP ANSWER: Jesus would only instruct Christians to pray! “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (John 9:31; see also Proverbs 15:29, Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 1:15). Plus, Matthew 24 is a message to believers …take heed that no man deceive you …you will be hated for my name’s sake …you know not what hour your Lord does come …therefore be ye also ready.
QUESTION 2: When is Jesus instructing Christians to pray?
PWP ANSWER: Before the start of the 70th week! Since Antichrist will set up the abomination of desolation mid way through the week, then once the seven-year period has begun, the date for the abomination of desolation is fixed. As such, once the 70th week begins, it will be of no use to pray that our flight “be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.” Even for those who come to faith during the 70th week, by the time they do, the date for the abomination of desolation will be set …it will not change.
WHY DOES IT MATTER: If Christians are being instructed to pray about their future flight into the mountains (on the day Antichrist is revealed), they will obviously be living on the earth during the 70th week and for at least part of the great tribulation. In other words, according to Matthew 24:20, the pre-tribulation rapture cannot be possible …the rapture must occur after the abomination of desolation!