Destruction of the Temple
All three synoptic Gospel accounts of this passage begin with the phrase ‘when you see’. Both Matthew and Mark cite the 'Abomination of Desolation’, prophesied by Daniel, as the thing to watch for, while Luke mentions the city of ‘Jerusalem surrounded by armies’.
During the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Roman army had surrounded the city before breaching the city wall on the north side. As the army moved southward toward the Temple complex, they raised their banners on the ramparts to signal their impending victory. The residents throughout the city could easily see the Roman standards flying over their city.
Some Bible scholars suggest the Roman banners as the fulfillmentof the ‘Abomination of Desolation’. If so, then Jesus’ advice to ‘flee’, ‘leave’ and ‘not turn back’ would be good advice indeed. (Special mention concerning pregnant women being at a disadvantage adds to the severity of the situation.) The city was lost at that point and the best course of action would have been to escape the impending massacre. Christians were a group that heeded Jesus' warning with many surviving the onslaught of the city.
The apostle Paul taught that the “Abomination of Desolation’ will also precede the coming of Christ ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4. In the most blatant desecration of the Temple, the ‘man of lawlessness’ will stand in the Temple and proclaim himself to be ‘God’, before the true God appears and puts him in his rightful place! Zechariah 14:2-3 says that the surrounding nations will come against Jerusalem and ravage the city until Christ comes to destroy them. Only God could have foretold 2400 years in advance that Israel, a nation that had been non existent for nearly 1900 years, would reappear and be surrounded by nations who have vowed to destroy her!
Luke adds an interesting postscript, that Jerusalem will be under Gentile control until their time is fulfilled. 1967, the year the Israeli army took control of East Jerusalem during the Six Day War, marked the first time in more than 2000 years that all of Jerusalem had not been under the control of a Gentile nation. That part of the prophecy, at least, has been fulfilled.