“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16)
Best efforts notwithstanding, the reader has not understood at all when it comes to the ‘Abomination of Desolation.’ The popular end-time scenario depicts an idol standing in a Jewish temple thereby desecrating it; however two questions beg to be asked:
- First, how can it happen if there is no temple in existence?
- Second, if a temple is built in the future, how can it be desecrated if it has not been anointed in the first place?
This last question is most pertinent because God does not anoint what he has replaced, and replaced he surely has when it comes to the temple! Indeed, this is what the book of Hebrews is all about, if not the entire New Testament, so what holy thing is there to abominate?
The purpose of this article is to offer a scriptural and credible alternative to the prevailing theories, and we would do well to start by noticing how the Abomination of Desolation is ‘telescoped’ through more than one fulfilment. Therefore, when Bible commentators describe Antiochus Epiphenes and the sacrifice of swine on a Jewish altar as the ‘abomination’ (168 BC, Dan 11:31, 1 Maccabees 1:54) they are quite right insofar as a precursor is concerned, but it was not the final one. The latter part of the same prophecy goes beyond Antiochus’ description and anticipates future events. (Daniel 12)
Actually, the earlier precursive event provides the clue to later abominations; that is to say, they would relate to the temple, and to the altar and to the sacrifice done upon that altar. Therefore, when Daniel speaks of another abomination, separate to the one in chapter 11, we can expect it to have something to do with the altar, and something to do with what was performed on it.
When Daniel speaks of another abomination, this time during the ‘seventieth week,’ we can expect it also to have something to do with the altar, and something to do with what was performed on it. It would happen, the prophecy indicated, at the same time as sacrifice was abolished. Accordingly, the ‘seventieth week’ came between AD 27 – 34 and sacrifice ceased in the middle year, (AD 30)
“Jesus cried out again with a loud voice (it is finished) and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” (Matt. 27:50-51, John 19:30)
The sun was darkened, the earth shook, and the curtain separating man from God was torn to the ground! In other words, Calvary was (as far as God was concerned) the final offering! It is not known how many days it took to stitch up the massive curtain and re-commission the temple in defiance of his, “it is finished,” but we do know the resumption of animal sacrifice contradicted Christ’s atoning blood.
So, the question has to be asked, did an abomination occur in the middle of the seventieth week? The answer is yes, but it did not cause the sacrifice to cease as so often taught. Rather, it was God who abolished the sacrifice, and the abomination was the continuation of animal sacrifice after God had declared it complete! In other words, the sacrifice itself became the abomination of desolation – the blood of bulls and goats like that of unclean flesh.
We shouldn’t be offended at this. Be shocked rather that when Messiah was being nailed to the cross, the same priests who sent him there were preparing the morning sacrifice. Not only that, they were slaughtering for the great fifteenth day of Nisan – two bulls, one ram, seven lambs and a male goat to make atonement for the people. These were meant to be the conclusion. It was the morning of the fifteenth day of the first month at about the time the cross was being raised off the ground. What could be a greater abomination than to reject the Son of God, simultaneously performing the rituals of atonement in place of God’s lamb?
Animal blood continued to contradict Messiah’s finished atonement throughout the New Testament period. Older translations of Daniel 9:27 speak of an ‘overspreading,’ referring to the ongoing nature of this abomination, spreading as it did over a span of forty years. The original word can be translated ‘overspreading’ or ‘wing’ or ‘extremity’, all of which means an outspread wing that spanned a period of time until it reached its limit. Unfortunately, modern English language thinks of a ‘wing’ as part of a building, and some translators have even worded the prophecy as if a statue will be erected in a ‘wing’ of a future temple. This is not how it was meant to be understood.
Please look again at the source reference and let the reader unhook their mind from previous explanations long enough to reconsider.
“He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27 NKJV)
We have assumed this abomination would be a short term event like the Antiochus one was. However, it was an “overspreading abomination.” The same verse with explanatory notes might have read:
“He (Messiah) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week (3½ years after his revealing) He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations (ongoing sacrifices) shall be one who makes desolate, (Titus destroys temple) even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate. (Judgement on Jerusalem)” (Daniel 9:27 with notes)
We have seen here how the ‘Abomination of Desolation’ has already happened twice. Does that mean there will be no more fulfilment?
(continued next post)