FROM: 10/20/02 Radio Program
Please comment on Matthew 24:19-20. What does this passage mean?
To begin, let us read Matthew 24:19-20. "And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in
those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day."
In context, we find that Jesus has been showing His disciples the Temple, and has proclaimed that, "There shall
not be left here one stone upon another..." (Matthew 24:1-2). A little later, in this same context, Christ promises
"This generation shall not pass until all be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34). So, what is Jesus talking about in this text?
He is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem which was to happen around 70 A.D. .
In this section, Christ gives signs concerning what is about to happen, and among other things says "woe" to
those "with child" or nursing at that time. Why? Because in such hard times as they were to experience in 70 A.D.,
to be pregnant, or caring for an infant was a great burden and hindrance to them. Under the circumstances, a family
with infants, etc., would be under even greater distress than one who was single, or a married couple with no
Furthermore, He says pray that your flight be not in winter or on the Sabbath day. Why? Because the wintertime
is no time to be traveling! One would never make it far like one could in the spring or summer. Remember, most if
not all were traveling on foot, and therefore would have a great chance of dying of exposure, starvation, etc., during
the winter if they attempted to flee Jerusalem (as well as their children - see above!). Why pray that their flight not
be on the Sabbath? Because it was on this day that the gates were closed (Nehemiah 13:19). If the Romans decided
to start their siege on the Sabbath, then whoever was inside was stuck! They had no open doors through which to
flee the city, for on the Sabbath they were shut.
In light of the coming siege and destruction of Jerusalem, Christ stated the words of Matthew 24:19-20.
* Related Articles *
Back to Radio Program Questions - Answers