Mark 13:16-20

Mark 13:16 (KJB)
And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.

Then Jesus states that even those who are working in the field or anywhere must not go back to their house to get their garments. Basically, what is being taught is that wherever the people are or whatever they are doing, they must cease immediately and flee for their lives. The words “turn…again” is one word in the Greek and it is in the imperative mood making it a command of the Lord.

Mark 13:17 (KJB)
But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Then remember that the term “woe” is only spoken of to unsaved people. Here Jesus is stating that the unsaved Jewish women who will have children and those carrying children in their womb will be killed along with all the others. This is because they would have stayed behind instead of leaving Jerusalem and heading for safety. Of course, they would have been subject to their husbands and if their husbands stayed to fight the Roman army, then they would face the same mortal danger the fighters would. (Luke 23:27-30 KJV) And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. {28} But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. {29} For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. {30} Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

Mark 13:18 (KJB)
And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

Since speed would be necessary to leave, Jesus is telling them to pray that this does not happen in winter because weather conditions could actually be bad in Jerusalem complete with ice and snow. Matthew includes the Sabbath day. (Mat 24:20 KJV) But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: Then since the Pharisees were strict keepers of the sabbath, if they had to flee on the sabbath, they would only be allowed to go about one half mile because that would be a sabbath day’s journey. Their own observance of their traditions and ceremonies would be the death of many. Since Christ had gone to the cross about 37 years prior, the Mosaic law of keeping the sabbath day has been negated and no longer would there be any penalty. Their own stubbornness went right to the end of their lives and Jerusalem.

Mark 13:19 (KJB)
For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.

Once the armies of Rome begins to surround the city, then the razing of Jerusalem will begin. Jesus is now telling them that this is going to be a time of great tribulation. In fact, what will transpire in this part of the world was never seen before nor will it be seen after. (Mark 13:19 KJV) For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. One of the reasons that this tribulation is going to be bad is because it is divinely ordered. (Mat 22:7 KJV) But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. God Himself is going to send the army of Rome to completely destroy this city. In fact the destruction of Israel was over a seven year period from 66-73 A.D.

Israel was the place where God chose to place His name and where the temple and tabernacle were. Israel was delivered from bondage in Egypt and many times after that God had protected Israel from her enemies. The punishment now was going to fit the crime of their rebellion against God. God gave them the Scriptures, He sent prophets to them, and even His own Son came as the prophesied Messiah but their ways were so evil and corrupt that they killed the prophets and even killed their own Messiah. (1 Th 2:15 KJV) Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Even before the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, there was famine, cannibalism, and internal fighting in Jerusalem according to Josephus. The Romans had cut down every tree within a mile of the perimeter of Jerusalem so there would not be any cover for people to escape or to bring in supplies. (Luke 19:43-44 KJV) For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, {44} And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. This is why Jesus told the people that they would have to leave Jerusalem very quickly because the siege was like nothing which ever happened before. There were over a million Jews killed and there were so many of them being crucified that the Romans ran out of wood.

Mark 13:20 (KJB)
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

Right within the worst siege in history the mercy of God intervenes. God did not allow the siege to continue on until every single Jew was killed but had a left a remnant, probably because many of them surrendered and did not face capital punishment. If there was total resistance, then Rome would have ordered the complete annihilation of all the Jews in Jerusalem and in the surrounding areas. Now the elect are those who are born again in Christ. This is not referring to the unsaved Jews because no unsaved person is ever called the elect of God plus God states plainly, “whom he hath chosen.” Two scenarios may be in view here. First, the elect was no doubt making intercessory prayers on behalf of their fellow countrymen according to the flesh and God heard those prayers and answered. Secondly, among those who survived this siege were probably some who would become saved at a future date and they could not be killed until after God saved them. (2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.