Luke 17:30-31 NIV

30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.

In two similar narratives in Mark and Matthew it seems these warnings were referring to the impending destruction of Jerusalem rather than the coming of Christ.

Matthew 24:15 18 NIV

15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 [h]Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 18 [i]Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak

Mark 13:14-16 NIV

14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’[a] standing where it[b] does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.

How then does Luke say these warnings were referring to the coming of the Lord?

  • Probably because of the similarity between the violent events that precede them, one being a foreshadowing of the other.
    – Lucian
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 9:36

2 Answers 2


This is an effect seen throughout the prophetic writings of the Hebrew scriptures and also in the apostolic writings, particularly in the apocalypse.

The effect can be seen in the writings of all the prophets in regard to progressive events in Israel and the eventual coming of Messiah. From their stance, the coming event most in focus blurs to some extent with the more distant, less sharp background of the later - and increasingly more important - prophecy.

With our privileged stance, looking back in time to the destruction of Jerusalem, and looking forward in time - to the end of time - we see them distinctly.

Prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, however, they who stood on earth at the time, and needed to be instructed of that which was to come, looked through the more immediate future to the long-term future. Necessarily, some matters remained unresolved after the first occurrence and shall not be fully resolved until the second.

Nor can those persons be granted full revelation before the appropriate time, in the unfolding purposes of God. All things must be revealed in due time and in due order.

So in the revelation given to them at the time, there will appear to be a merging, to some extent, of things soon to come and things which will come later.

To answer, more precisely, the question 'was Luke referring to the coming of Christ or the destruction of Jerusalem ?' : it is hard to tell, to be honest. There is a degree of merging because of the similarity of events (as mentioned in comment by @Lucian).

But, clearly, both are being alluded to, without any inappropriate prior information being given aforehand.



It is called "multiple fulfillment" or "dual fulfillment".

It is so common and expected throughout Scripture that New Testament authors don't explain it, they simply presume it.

So, we must presume the same with any prophecy to understand the scope that any Bible passage's meaning could extend into.


One professor in college argued in our class, for example, that Jesus was referring to the AD 70 destruction, and therefore not the second coming, as his argument for a pre trib rapture, but this was a mistake in his part. I give this as an example of how this hermeneutic of multiple fulfillments comes up elsewhere.

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