And except the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he has chosen, he has shortened the days.
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Augustine of Hippo
De Con Evan, ii, 77: Matthew says, standing “in the holy place;” but with this verbal difference Mark has expressed the same meaning; for He says “where it ought not” to stand, because it ought not to stand in the holy place.
Epist., cxcix, 9: But Luke, in order to show that the abomination of desolation happened when Jerusalem was taken, in this same place gives the words of our Lord, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. "It goes on: “Then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.”.
But some persons more fitly understand that the calamities themselves are signified by days, as evil daysare spoken of in other parts of Holy Scripture; for the days themselves are not evil, but what is done in them. The woes themselves therefore are said to be abridged, because through the patience which God gave they felt them less, and then what was great in itself was abridged.
When we are challenged to understand what is said, we may conclude that it is mystical. But it may either be said simply of Antichrist, or of the statue of Caesar, which Pilate put into the temple, or of the equestrian statue of Adrian, which for a long time stood in the holy of holies itself. An idol is also called abomination according to the Old Testament, and He has added “of desolation” because it was placed in the temple when desolate and deserted.
That is, they whose wombs or whose hands, overladen with the burden of children, in no small measure impede their forced flight.
The only refuge in such evils is, that God who gives strength to suffer, should abridge the power of inflicting. Wherefore there follows: “And except that the Lord had shortened those days.”.
Or else; these words, “In those days shall be affliction,” properly agree with the times of Antichrist, when not only tortures more frequent, and more painful than before are to be heaped on the faithful, but also, what ...
This may be explained in a more general sense of the persecution of Antichrist, which will be dreadful beyond description, and executed in every part of the world. The time however allowed to him and his wicked agents to tread under foot the holy city, (Apocalypse xi. 2.) i.e. the Church of Christ, will not extend beyond forty-two months, or three years and a half. This space of time Christ has set apart to purify his Church, and try his servants; and therefore he allows them to fall under the power of this merciless tyrant; and it was given unto him, says St. John, speaking of this event, to make war with the saints, and overcome them. (Apocalypse xiii. 7.) We are admonished of the same by the prophet Daniel: (vii. 21.) I beheld, says he, and lo that horn (Antichrist) made war against the saints, and prevailed against them; and he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall crush the saints of the Most High . and they shall be delivered into his hand until a time, and times, an...
After speaking of the things which were to happen before the destruction of the city, the Lord now foretells those which happened about the destruction itself of the city, saying, “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not,(let him that readeth understand).”.
Or rather went out of their own accord, being led by the Holy Spirit. It goes on: “And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house;” for it is a desirable thing to be saved even naked from sucha destruction. It goes on: “But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days.”.
Again, after having mentioned this double impediment to flight, which might arise either from the desire of taking away property, or from having children to carry, He touches upon the third obstacle, namely, that coming from the season; saying, “And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.”
For our flight is to the mountains, that he who has mounted to the heights of virtue may not go down to the depths of sin.
“Pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on the sabbath day,” that is, that the fruit of ourwork may not be ended with the end of time; for fruit comes to an end in the winter and time in the sabbath.
But the tribulation shall be great, and the days short, for the sake of the elect, lest the evil of this time should change their understanding.
Or He means by “the abomination of desolation” the entrance of enemies into the city by violence.
And well does He say, “Who are in Judaea,” for the Apostles were no longer in Judaea, but before the battle had been driven from Jerusalem.
But it seems to me, that in these words He foretells the eating of children, for when afflicted by famine and pestilence, they laid hands on their children.
That is, lest they who wish to fly should be impeded by the difficulties of the season. And He fitly gives the cause for so great a necessity for flight; saying, “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.”.
That is, if the Roman war had not been soon finished, “no flesh should be saved;” that is, no Jew should have escaped; “but for the elect’s sake, whom He hath chosen,” that is, for the sake of the believing Jews, or who were hereafter to believe, “He hath shortened the days,” that is, the war was ...