What is the Seal of the 144,000?

Just as there is speculation about what the Mark of the Beast is, there is also speculation about what the seal of the 144,000 is:

Revelation 7:3 — Don’t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the servants of our God on their foreheads.

In a previous post, I debunked the SDA theory that the Mark of the Beast is Sunday-Keeping. At the same time, I should have covered a side belief that goes along with this one. If someone believes that the Mark of the Beast is (sinful, pagan) Sunday worship, it’s natural that they believe that Sabbath-keeping is also mentioned in Revelation, but in a positive way.

One such teaching is that the seal given to the 144,000 is “keeping of Adonai’s appointed Sabbath”—even though the Sabbath is not mentioned anywhere in connection with them let alone the entire Book of Revelation.

Torah Required On Everyone Today?

Where does this idea come from then? Just like the Sunday Mark idea, it comes from an underlying assumption that the Sabbath is required today. In fact, not just Sabbath, but that all of the Torah is required on everyone. Here’s a few verses used to support this assertion:

Matthew 5:17-19 (NKJV) 17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Revelation 12: 17 (NKJV) 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.

Because Jesus said the Law and Prophets would not pass away until the earth does, some people read this as saying that the Torah has never stopped being required as well, down through history after the Old Covenant was broken. Additionally they believe it expanded its jurisdiction beyond the people it was given to, ancient Israel, to everyone. Naturally, under that understanding putting these two verses together makes it seem like the commandments that the righteous (as represented by the Woman and 144,000, cf. Rev 14:12) are keeping in the end times are the Torah, including Sabbath.

What Are the Commandments of God Today?

The problem with this thinking is this. Matthew 5 refers to the Millennial Kingdom of Heaven when the Torah will be taught to all and all will keep it (Isa 66:23; Zech 14:16). But that’s future and the Torah has not been taught or commanded by a prophet of God since before the exile of Israel and Judah. Even in Jesus time the leaders did not teach and keep Torah but their own religion (John 7:19).

Further, if the commandments of God referred to in Revelation 12 are Torah, then we’re all in trouble because the Torah was an all or nothing proposition with punishments when it was given and will be again (Zech 14:17-19).  Today we can’t keep most of it (with no judges, priests, Levites, temple, altar, etc.) and like Judah and Israel would be guilty and punished for noncompliance.

Instead, what best fits the “commandments of God”  in context is the commands that apply to a person in that time; in this case, the end times. What are the commandments of God we have today? They are expressed in the last six of the Ten Commandments included in the Torah, or “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:36-40). This was Jesus’ teaching on how to have eternal life (Lk 10:28), which was not the purpose and mission of the Torah was (i.e. wisdom, national greatness – Dt 4:6-7). By loving your neighbor for God, you are loving and pleasing God.

By the way, these commandments are the same ones that existed and were taught long before the Torah listing them was ever given to ancient Israel. And they never went away like the Torah for Israel when they broke the covenant. Further, unlike the Sabbath commandment, you are made aware of their necessity to this day by just being alive in a society of people. Not just from the government authority, but people around you are quick to teach you when you violate them (steal, kill, bear false witness, adulterate, disrespect elders). You don’t need a Torah or a Bible to learn how to love your neighbor. You can deduce that doing this must please God who made and loved them first, without a Bible. (Although a Bible can be needed in our times now to counteract such commonly taught errors such as Evolution.)


With that out of the way, it’s easy to see the correct interpretation of what the seal of the 144,000 is. The seal of the 144,000 is something that the angels do (for protection). It’s definitely not something the 144,000 are doing to be protected, and certainly nothing in the text says they are keeping Sabbath. (Yes, they must be righteous to be sealed, but the Woman is also righteous and not sealed in the same way.)  It even tells us what it is: God’s name on their forehead.

Revelation 7:3 (HCSB)  Don’t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.

Revelation 14:1 (HCSB) Then I looked, and there on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads.

Sabbath & Feasts ‘Nailed To The Cross’?

Tim, I have been reading your site for a while now and now have a question i hope you could help me with. I was raised in a church that taught we are to keep all of gods holy days and Sabbath (WCG). I still believe in Sabbath keeping, but not sure about holy days. Are we still to keep them? or were they nailed to the cross?

I don’t belong to this church anymore, they have split into many different churches now. I am really confused about holy days if you have any way to explain this subject to me it would be very welcome. Thank You for your time.

Feasts Nailed To The Cross?

The “nailed to the cross” phrase is from Colossians 2:14. Paul used a metaphor of a debt note from the Roman culture. ESV Study Bible Notes explains:

In the Greco-Roman world, the “record of debt” (Gk. cheirographon) was a written note of indebtedness. Paul uses this as a word picture to characterize each person’s indebtedness to God because of sin. God himself has mercifully resolved this problem for all who put their faith in Jesus by taking this note and nailing it to the cross, where Jesus paid the debt. The image comes from the notice fastened to a cross by the Roman authorities, declaring the crime for which the criminal was being executed (see John 19:19-22).

Thus this “certificate of debt” illustration does not refer to the Torah. It refers to the guilt from sinning against God. Jesus came to cancel that debt, not to do away with Torah. Taking away the Torah would not remove the guilt it had already brought. To be sure, Jesus said he came to fulfill the Torah, not to destroy it (Mt 5:17). He could not destroy it as the Torah would not fade away until heaven and earth passed away (Mt 5:18). Before that time, when the Kingdom comes, the Torah would be required again and be taught by the rulers in the kingdom (Mt 5:19).

In other words, the Torah is prophetic. It must all be fulfilled. My site’s main article talks about this whole topic.

Sabbath And Not Feasts Required Today?

For the second question, it is important to remember that the Torah is an all or nothing proposition. It is not an “a la carte” cafeteria offering. When Israel and Judah were neglecting land Sabbaths and worshipping idols, God did not say good job on the 99% you do right, I’ll overlook the rest. He kicked them out of the land. James and Paul express this principle:

James 2:10-11 (HCSB) 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of ⌊breaking it⌋ all. 11 For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder., So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker.

Galatians 3:10 (HCSB) 10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed.

The Sabbath is commanded first in Exodus 16. It’s later repeated in Exodus 20 in the Ten Commandments. The Feasts are in Leviticus 23. They are all part of the same Torah, even if Sabbath  is listed in the Ten Commandments and Feasts are not. Also, Leviticus 23 groups both the Sabbath and feasts together as “my appointed times”.

All or Nothing

This is where the problem comes in when people say you have to keep any part of the laws given to Ancient Israel under the Old Covenant such as tithing, Sabbath, feasts, unclean meats, etc. They are “all for one and one for all.” You cannot say one is required without acknowledging the rest as required.

I used to always wonder how the WCG could teach requirements of unclean meats, feasts, tithing and Sabbath but ignore the sacrifices, stoning of idolaters, witches and disobedient children, laws of niddah, wearing tassles, build sukkahs/tabernacles, and so many other laws. How did they know which ones were for today and which ones were not? Well, I see now they obviously did not know. They were picking and choosing and modifying where needed (hotels = temporary dwellings = sukkahs/tabernacles).

All this to answer your question: if you are convicted you need to keep Sabbath, then according to the Bible you should be convicted as well that you need to keep the annual feasts days.

This, I admit, may be not the kind of “help” you wanted as it opens up a can of worms! How are you going to do commanded sacrifices or tithe crops with no temple or Levites and priests around? Or how many men have the funds to travel to Jerusalem three times per year to keep the feasts in the one place where God “placed his name” (Dt 14:23; 16:2; 26:2)? The answers are: You can’t and indeed very few have the funds to keep Torah.

Anyway, this is what the Bible literally teaches on this question and it is up to each of us to determine for ourselves what to do with it. There are no prophets, judges, Levites or priests today with authority over us in these matters to guide us, unlike what Ancient Israel had as part of the Old Covenant to make Torah “not too difficult” (Dt 30:11-14).

Sabbath Day/Year Commandments – Six Days/Years of Work/Sowing Required?

People are surprised that I take the time to answer their emails. Yes, I am busy with a young family and living in Costa Rica makes everything take longer to accomplish. For example, yesterday I had to hit a few places to find a replacement NVidia video card with the HDMI connector I needed. Not complaining…I enjoyed walking in the warm sunny weather in between the stores. It just takes longer.

But what readers do not know is that I love answering questions. I love the blessings that come from questions. One big one is the provision of new insights through the Socratic method. Questions force you to think, something we all tend to avoid whenever we can =). But in thinking you can mine some great discoveries from even old elementary topics you thought you mastered long ago.

49 Year Jubilee Cycle Objection:
Six Years of Planting Required?

Case in point is a discussion I had over the Jubilee year cycle with someone who doubts my conclusion that it is 49 years long.  He saw the good points I had but he still saw it as unclear. His final objection that leaned him towards a 50 year Jubilee cycle was this:

I still lean towards the 50 year cycle because if Israel goes back to work right after the jubillee Sabbath year, they will be breaking the command to work 6 years and rest the 7th, since they will then be only working 5 years and resting the 6th year after the jubilee year.

I had never heard such an objection to a 49 year Jubilee cycle. I had to stop and think about it. He was right that a 49 year Jubilee cycle “broke” the six years of planting mentioned in the Sabbath year command. You ended up with only five following a Jubilee year before the next Sabbath year.

I had to admit that I had not thought of the Sabbath year command as requiring Israel to plant for six years on their fields. Was he right? I decided to give it a chance and to think it through.

Six Days of Work Required, Too?

If this was true about the Sabbath year command then it must be true about the Sabbath day command as well. By this line of interpretation, the Sabbath day commandment would require Israel to work six days just as much as they were commanded to not work on Saturday by it.

But immediately I saw a problem with this. What about when you are sick? By this interpretation you still must work. What happens when you want to take a vacation for a week? You cannot or you are breaking the 4th Commandment, “Six days you must work.” Or is that what the 4th Commandment says?

Exodus 20:9 (HCSB) 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You must not do any work—

The interesting part here is “do all your work”. Not God’s work. God has not commanded average Israelites to do any work in particular during the week days. That would be God’s or “my work”. Instead he tells Israel to do “all your work.” If Israel had no work to do then they did not have to do anything for six days. If an Israelite had enough money to provide for his own, then the Sabbath commandment is not telling him to make busy work for show. If he wanted to take a vacation, then there was no prohibition on that.

The intent of the Sabbath day command is obvious when you think it through. The intent was for Israel to not overwork themselves seven days per week. They would keep Saturday set apart to reconnect with their family and God.

Six Years of Planting Not Required, Either

Once I realized the above, I knew the same applied to the Sabbath year commandment. What if an Israelite bought a field and did not have the money to plant it. Was he breaking the Torah in doing nothing with his field for six years? No. As long as he did not decide at last to plant in the 7th year when all Israel was keeping field fallow, then he was in compliance with the intent of this command. Failure to leave fields fallow causes agricultural yields to diminish eventually. Then farmers resort to unnatural means to coax the field into producing what it used to. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The people eating the food pay the price for that in their health through the modern diseases we have today (not that toxins and poorer nutrition from food is the only cause of disease).

The passage supports that the planting is optional during the six years. It says “may”, not “must”.

Leviticus 25:3 (HCSB) 3 You may sow your field for six years, and you may prune your vineyard and gather its produce for six years.

What About Six “Planting Optional Years” Before a Sabbath Year?

You still might wonder if a 49 year Jubilee year cycle does not at least break Scripture. Does not the Sabbath year have to follow six “planting-optional years?” Is that not the intent?

Once again, I believe we must think it through to get the true intent. The true intent is to establish a seven year cycle. The commandment names six years and one year. Six plus one equal seven. That’s a seven year cycle.

Now we must understand that commandments of the Torah can override each other. We see this with the Sabbath Day commandment. Jesus pointed out that the priestly duties were done on Sabbath, “profaning it” (Mt 12:5). This was their main work, yet they did it on Sabbath. They had a special case that overruled the general blanket command of ceasing from labor on Sabbath.

That is what is happening here with the the Jubilee command. It is overriding the detail that there are six years available for planting before a Sabbath year. It is saying that the first year of the 8th (15th, 22nd, 29th, etc.) Sabbath year cycle is not going to be for planting, but will be a special Jubilee of no planting (among other things) following the preceding Sabbath year of no planting making two years of no planting in a row.


The 49 year Jubilee cycle maintains the strict seven year cycle for Sabbath years just like the Torah gives for Sabbath days every seven days. The objection that having the Jubilee year be one of the six planting years of a Sabbath year cycle breaks Scripture does not hold. When you properly understand the intent and focus of the Sabbath year on preventing overwork of fields, you can see that it does not require planting in any year or for any number of years. The Sabbath year command simply forbids Israel to plant in the special seventh year, just as the Sabbath day command simply forbids Israel from working on Saturday.

Mark of the Beast: Literal or Sunday Worship?

Why People Fail to Understand Revelation (or the Bible)

When I was younger, I struggled to understand the Book of Revelation. It was so fascinating that I longed to crack its sealed language. But I could not, and nobody could help me.

Today, I do understand it much, much better and now know why I failed to understand before. I had not learned back then that most of the Bible is more literal than we ever imagined. To read literal passages allegorically will lead you to wrong conclusions every time.

But it gets worse. These wrong conclusions will cloud your understanding of still other passages, kind of like a spreading infection. The false views you hold constantly contradict any true interpretations you think of or come across. Because you view truths as wrong, you reject or disregard them. As a result, you are unable to truly understand any of the deeper teachings or mysteries of the Bible properly. This includes the mysterious Book of Revelation.

The Mark of Beast and the Mark of Torah

Revelation’s Mark of the Beast is a good and instructive example in this regard.

Revelation 13:16-17 (HCSB) 16 And he requires everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name.

This seems straightforward. A mark consisting of a name or number on either your forehead or right hand. The mark will serve kind of like a credit card does today. Without it you cannot buy or sell everything you want. For example, you cannot rent a car or good hotel room without a credit card.

However, how does your view of Revelation 13’s mark change when you incorporate these verses:

Exodus 13:9 (HCSB) Let it serve as a sign for you on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead, so that the Lord’s instruction may be in your mouth; for the Lord brought you out of Egypt with a strong hand.

Deuteronomy 6:8 (HCSB) Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.

It is because of these commands that Orthodox Jews put phylacteries or little Torah scroll boxes and straps on their forehead and hands. That’s a literal interpretation. Yet, most instead see this verse as an injunction by God to make his instructions tied to your thought and your actions always.

Mark of the Beast: Spiritual Mark?

Don’t these verses sound similar to Revelation? They associate God’s commands with the forehead and hand. This can cause you to question your literal view of Revelation’s mark. Perhaps it is not a literal mark, but it is a spiritual mark. Perhaps the mark really represents obeying the commands of the Beast in place of God’s commands?

At least that’s what the Seventh Day Adventist church teaches. They consider the mark of the beast to be symbolic. The symbolic meaning to them is a law to keep Sunday, or “Sunday Law”. Of course, they are the biggest Christian group that believes we are required to keep a Saturday Sabbath. They believe keeping Sunday instead of Sabbath is a  serious sin before God.

The SDA interpretation looks reasonable especially with its “let the Bible interpret the Bible” methodology. Yet we will see that it is no accident they spiritualize the mark as they do. Their Sabbath view helps them to gloss over some important differences between the marks of Revelation and Exodus.

Mark of the Beast: Literal Mark

Here’s the main problem with equating Exodus 13:9 with Revelation 13:16. Exodus is taking an abstract thing (God’s instructions) and asking them to be “frontlets,” a “sign” or a “memorial” between the eyes and the hand. The most reasonable way to view this is figuratively as a command to always think and do according to God’s instructions. It is not practical or useful to fit a tiny Torah scroll on those body parts and go around with them in the way all the time.

Revelation, on the other hand, is taking a physical thing (a mark on the skin) and specifying where it can be located on the body. Indeed, all incidences of “mark” in the contexts of Revelation treat it as a physical and visible thing that you receive from the False Prophet. Visibility is required for the mark to work in commerce. One cannot look at you and tell if you kept Sunday when deciding whether to sell you food.

Notice also that Exodus 13:9 does not says “right” hand. Exodus does not specify which hand because it would be odd to do this when either hand is associated with work or action.

Further, in Revelation the mark is always a “mark” on the skin. It is not sometimes a sign, a frontlet, or a “mark” like God’s commandments are characterized by the Torah itself. Revelation 13 even specifies the mark as the name or number of the beast. Names and numbers are commonly written down. They would even fit on a person’s forehead or skin. The definition of the mark as the name or number of the Beast hurts the SDA view. This plain explanation of the mark contradicts assigning any other explanation to it. Their case would be better if the mark was left ambiguous by Revelation. But it is not.

Thus, when we allegorize the mark as “deciding to rest on Sunday instead of Saturday,” we are choosing to ignore the most natural and reasonable interpretation of the mark of the beast. The mark is defined as a mark on the skin consisting of the name or number of the beast.

So why choose to allegorize a text that makes perfect sense naturally as written? There must be some other benefit to choosing a less-defensible interpretation. For SDA’s this “Sunday mark” theory supports their Sabbath day doctrine. It puts additional importance and fear behind their teaching that we must and should keep Sabbath. I can imagine them thinking that by keeping Sabbath today, they are antichrist-proofing themselves later.


Only a Sabbath-keeping religion would come up with the idea that the mark of the beast will be “keeping Sunday instead of Saturday.” This interpretation presupposes that Sabbath is required by God and by not keeping it you are sinning before God. However, the Sabbath was part of the Old Covenant made with the nation of Ancient Israel. SDAs rip this single command out of its original national context and transplant it upon believers today scattered outside the land of the Torah. Ignoring the context of a verse is not the way to to get to “the truth no matter what it says”, as our goal should be.

This goes back to my original point. When you have even one wrong doctrine (e.g. “Sabbath is required”), it will lead you to reject the true meanings of other verses (e.g. the mark is the name or number of the beast) and create even more wrong doctrines (e.g. “the mark is keeping Sunday”). And all of these errors are based on not accepting the Bible for what it plainly says (e.g. the Torah is for the nation of Israel in the land of Israel, not for Gentiles today – Acts 15).

In covering this example, I have not meant to pick on the SDAs. Other groups come up with other meanings that break the literalness of the mark of the beast, too. Indeed, we all fall into allegorizing verses that were meant literally. Hopefully, the next time you catch yourself thinking a verse does not mean what it plainly says you will stop and ask yourself two questions.

  1. What doctrine do I hold that is causing me to think this verse is not literal?
  2. Have I proven through diligent study that that doctrine itself is really correct?

See also: Can you Take the Mark of the Beast Today?

See also: What is the Seal of the 144,000?

“Pray that your flight not be…on the Sabbath day”?

A reader of my book asked me this very good question that many Christians wonder about when reading Matthew’s version of the Olivet Discourse:

IF the Sabbath is no long in effect (Acts 15) how do we file away this:
Matthew 24:20 – But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:

Is this a Hint for Christians To Keep Sabbath?

Some Christians find Jesus’ mention of the Sabbath in this passage disturbing. It almost seems to be advising us to be careful to avoid trampling the Sabbath.  For Christians, the Sabbath is a command they associate with the lost legalistic Pharisees of Jesus’ day and the non-believing Orthodox Jews today. Therefore the statement is problematic for them.

On the other hand, Sabbath-keeping Christians often cite this verse as proof of their position that God expects all believers to rest on Sabbath today. “Why would Jesus tell us to pray to not have to leave on the Sabbath unless it was still a day of rest for all believers?” they ask.

Well, that’s an excellent question. They probably are not going to like hearing what the most likely answer is. Yet most Christians will be glad to see how this verse’s plain meaning is in harmony with the rest of the Bible. The exercise will illustrate how many of these verses are best resolved through attention to grammatical, historical and whole Bible context.

Here’s the problem with the common interpretation of this verse. Under the Old Covenant Torah, there was no prohibition against fleeing or even fighting for your life on Sabbath. The only requirement given in the Torah after Israel had entered the land was to rest from your occupational work. (When they were still in tents wandering for 40 years, they had the additional requirement of not even leaving their place; probably only to not be tempted to gather manna – Ex 16:29. See Dt 23:12-13). Therefore, the mention of the Sabbath day causing hardship has nothing to do with believers keeping Sabbath or Sabbath forbidding travel.

A More Probable and Congruent Meaning

To understand the statement, we have to understand what it meant to Jesus’ audience who he spoke it to. In Jesus’ day, their culture was to keep Sabbath. They did this not because it was required by the Old Covenant. They had broken that already. Plus, when it was in effect, prophets continually warned Israel and Judah to stop trampling on it. Yet, those prophets and their warnings ceased with the exile of Israel and Judah (similar to how the shekinah glory left the temple then in Ezekiel 10:18). Instead, they were keeping it as part of their cultural tradition and religion of Judaism that developed out of the Babylon exile. You are probably familiar with some of the many things Orthodox Judaism prohibits on Sabbath, such as ripping toilet paper, carrying money, or turning on a light switch.

They had such embellishments back in Jesus’ day, too, which in several Gospel incidents Jesus is seen in conflict with them on. Examples include the washing of hands, healing or gleaning of grain in fields left for the poor on Sabbath.

They even had a “Sabbath’s day journey” limit on travel (referenced in Acts 1:12 as a distance measurement). Therefore, when Jesus mentioned avoiding Sabbath in the context of the prescribed speedy flight, Jesus’ audience knew immediately what he was talking about. Travel on Sabbath was already problematic back then with the cultural restrictions.

Today in the land of Israel, buses don’t run on Sabbath due to these same traditions. Mostly only Arab-run taxis are available. Therefore, it’s just plain harder to travel in Israel from Friday sunset until Saturday sunset today just as it was back in Jesus’ day. At least in the religious area of Jerusalem, or Judea this was true when I visited. Interestingly, this is the specific area Jesus said we would be gathered to and needing to flee from in the end times (Lk 21:21).

Notice the context as well. Sabbath day is mentioned along with winter and pregnant and nursing women. What do they all have in common? Winter means cold and potentially bad weather that requires more clothing and preparation. It makes travel harder. Being pregnant or having small children means you must go slower or carry a child and stop to nurse him. This obviously makes emergency last minute travel much harder and slower. All these things, like the Sabbath day, present obstacles to fast, unencumbered  travel on short notice as will be required. This was the whole point of the context of the Abomination of Desolation warnings. If someone does not listen to the warning ahead of time about what it coming and instead waits until he sees the event happen before his eyes (“I’ll believe it when I see  it”), then he will need to move so fast that he cannot even stop for supplies (Mt 24:15-20). If time is of the essence, then Sabbath day travel friction is a concern.

Other reputable commentaries agree this is likely the meaning:

What Christian Commentaries Say

New American Commentary on Matthew:

This reference to the Sabbath is found only in Matthew’s account. It would be natural for Matthew to include it for his more Jewish audience, but he does not thereby imply, as is often alleged, that he envisions Christians still keeping the Jewish laws. G. N. Stanton (“ ‘Pray That Your Flight May Not Be in Winter or on a Sabbath’ [Matthew 24.20],” JSNT 37 [1989]: 17–30) surveys the various options for interpreting this verse and concludes that the best approach understands that fleeing on the Sabbath would have antagonized the Jews further and increased persecution of believers.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Matthew:

Although Palestinian winters are mild compared to those in many parts of the world, even slightly inclement weather could be a hindrance when the Antichrist begins his final aggression against God’s people. Therefore Jesus said, Pray that your fight may not be in the winter.

Those seeking to escape should also pray that they will not have to flee on the Sabbath, when legalistic Jews who are not fleeing might try to stone or otherwise impede those whom they believe to be profaning the Sabbath—just as their forefathers had sought to stone Jesus for breaking their Sabbath traditions.

Jesus’ point was that no possession would be worth the risk of retrieving and no hindrance could be considered small. Because of the imminent unmatched terror, single-minded, undeterred flight will be the only order of the day.

Abomination Happens on A Sabbath in the Winter

What Jesus is implying by his suggestion to pray about the timing of your flight is that those who make the mistake of waiting until the last minute will literally see the Abomination happen on a Sabbath day in the Winter.

That may sound like an outrageous leap, but we can already confirm the Winter season for the abomination using Daniel. Daniel tells us that the Abomination of Desolation happens 1290 days from the end of the Tribulation. We know the rapture happens on the Feast of Trumpets right after the Tribulation (Mt 24:39-31). The Feast of Trumpets is on Tishrei 1, or first day of the 7th month. If you go back 1290 days or 43 months from that you end up in the 12th month of Adar. That’s the Winter!

Was Jesus also telling us ahead of time that the Abomination of Desolation would happen on a future Sabbath day? I think so.

Those who pray and have the faith to flee before they see the Abomination will probably flee before Winter gets bad. They can pick a time that is not on a Sabbath day as well and have an easier time. But to do this will take faith since it means leaving when everything seems fine to the eye.


Whenever we read a cryptic passage like this, we have to resist the temptation to jump to the conclusion that fits in with our doctrinal view. We have to put our bias aside and put on our detective’s hat. The Bible requires clear thinking and careful research. If we start with what the passage would have meant to the person saying it and also to his audience, we have a much better chance of arriving at the correct answer.

Note: If you think that by writing this article it means I do not keep Sabbath or am against keeping Sabbath, then that conclusion would be just as shaky as the one this article argued against. =) This article is not making a statement for or against keeping Sabbath. The point is only to correct a common case of taking a verses out of its context, masking its true intended meaning.

For the record, according to Isaiah 58 the Sabbath is a delight and blessing to keep whether it is required or not. Committing to resting one day a week recharges your batteries, relieves stress, gives space to reflect on the important things in life, and reconnect with your family. Those who can use more blessings from God in their life might optionally try resting on Sabbath. =)