When you see the abomination that causes desolation standing where it doesn’t belong, then let those in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one come off his roof to enter the house for belongings. Let no one in the field go and get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Pray that this will not take place in the winter, because these will be days of distress unequaled from the creation of the world until then and never to be repeated again. If the Lord had not cut short those days no one would have survived but for the elects sake they have been shortened. (Mark 13:14-20 NIV)
This is the passage so many use to describe what is called the seven year tribulation. Again, going with the flow of this entire passage and looking at world events today you might be convinced. But upon further analysis a different picture begins to take form. Jesus starts off with the abomination that causes desolation. To play along with the prevailing view of today this is to take place when the antichrist sets in the Temple of Jerusalem claiming to be God. But Jesus says elsewhere in the Gospels, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies then know its DESOLATION is at hand.”
Again, if we believe he is speaking to a first century audience then we must look for a First century application. What better then Roman legions sacking Jerusalem between 68 & 70 AD? The abomination would simply be unclean elements whether people or things inside the Temple court.
In the books of Moses we read that Gentiles (non-Jews) and those made unclean by some element of Jewish law were not allowed to enter the Temple. It was an abomination if they did. So think of yourself as a Jew living in first century Palestine and seeing legions of non-Jewish troops coming into the Temple courts. You would be crying “abomination” at the sight.
We read Christ’s words about fleeing to the mountains when this happens. If we hold to a seven year tribulation period and believe this is referring to world-wide tribulation, what good would it do to flee to the mountains? It wouldn’t matter where you went. Same thing if you were pregnant and nursing, or if it was winter or summer. This has to be speaking to a first century audience and to a regional event.