In “when do the birth pangs begin” you say… “When that happens the people in Judea (Israel) are to immediately flee for their lives.” Is that when they go to Petra and is it there that they have the revelation that Jesus is their Messiah?
Jesus told people in Judea to flee into the mountains when they see the Abomination of Desolation because its appearance will signal the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Since this warning appears only in the New Testament (Matt. 24:15-21) it’s likely that for the most part the people who heed the warning will already be believers. The closest mountains that would afford protection are across the Jordanian border in the area where Petra is located.
Zechariah 12:10 reveals that Israel will experience a national conversion in the last days. It appears this will happen somewhere near the end of the Great Tribulation and may be the event that triggers their official petition for the Lord’s return to rescue them (Hosea 6:1-2).