The Great Escape
A Biblical Pattern for the Second Exodus.
Matthew 24:15-22 (NKJV)
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
Notice what is happening in these verses. Something of great importance is going to be recognized by those who are awake, ready and watching. Most of the world will not be paying attention. Many congregations will be cold, lukewarm, or simply not paying attention. Yeshua (Jesus) mentions a time – yet to come – when His followers will be required to flee. Those in Judea are told to flee to the mountains. The pattern here is to move quickly. Don’t take anything out of your house. Don’t go back for your clothes. Yeshua is warning us that these will be perilous times. There will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time.
Since God does not change, does Scripture give us examples as how we are to respond to these instructions? Of course He does. This scenario is repeated over and over again throughout Scripture. The problem is that many reject the Hebrew Scriptures as an indication of what lies ahead for God’s people. I hear it time and time again that God is going to do a new thing. If that were true then why has He given examples over and over again as to what His plans are for the future? Why has He given us Scripture if we are not to learn from them? If God is truly going to do a new thing that statement is in direct violation of what His words say in Ecclesiastes 3:15.
That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past.
With that in mind, pay close attention to what Yeshua said in Luke 21:34-36.
34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Would Yeshua say there is an escape, for those who are watching and praying, if there is no escape? Wouldn’t that make Him a liar? Yeshua is telling us something extremely important and many are not paying attention. They do so to their own destruction. Unfortunately, many are running to their own destruction with their fingers in their ears and their eyes glued to their cell phones. What are some of these examples that God has given us in Scripture that show us what is going to happen just before the great tribulation? Let’s begin by looking at Genesis chapter 7, but particularly verses 4,5 and 13-16.
4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him.
13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark— 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.
Notice four important details here. Noah was privy to when the rain would begin. He was given prior notice when to move into the safety of the ark. He did all that the Lord commanded Him and the Lord shut him in. It is the Almighty Himself who will shut the door at the end of the age.
Let’s look at another example of God protecting His people in Genesis 19:15-17.
15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that they said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”
Notice the parallels here with Yeshua’s warnings which we read in the opening Scriptures of this teaching. Yeshua warns us to move quickly. Lot lingered. Then the angels took him, his wife and daughters by the hand (the Lord being merciful to him) and brought them outside the city. There they gave them instructions of what they were to do. In these verses it is important to notice that here the Lord was merciful with Lot. In the next group we will see a warning to listen and act.
Now let’s look at the first Exodus and find some things which are familiar with the second.
Exodus 23:20-21 (NET)
“I am going to send an angel before you to protect you as you journey and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. 21 Take heed because of him, and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in him.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
I hope by now you can see the parallels between the first Exodus and the second. There is no mention of flying off into heaven for the protection of God’s elect. However there is a place of hiding and protection for those who have made themselves ready. For those who were playing church (so to speak) there is great tribulation. They will have to face Satan’s wrath and many will be killed for the sake of the Good News. This is in agreement with the whole of Scripture. Particularly Daniel 12:9-10. and Revelation 20:4.
And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
However, like the verses given above, we also see that there is a deliverance for those who have made themselves ready. Daniel 12:1 says:
“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Everyone who is found written in the book.
It is my heartfelt prayer that you would awaken out of your slumber and get serious with your relationship with the Living God. Time is getting short. Matthew 25 is a great example of those who made themselves ready and those who did not. When God shuts the door, will you be ready to enter in, or will you not be ready. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and enter in. For those who are not ready, I pray that you will find the strength to endure unto the end. There will be persecution unto death for many. The choice is yours.
Barry W. Gaugler