The Abomination of Desolation

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The abomination of desolation is a Hebrew term that many Christians don’t understand. It is defined by the placing of an idol to worship in place of YAHWEH, which is set up in the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The final setting up of an idol will take place in the future when the antichrist, the man of sin, will declare himself God in the rebuilt temple, placing himself up as an idol and demanding worship from the world.

Matthew 24:15
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Mark 13:14
But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

As we can see from this passage, to understand the abomination of desolation, we must jump into the Old Testament. Where did Daniel speak of the abomination of desolation?

Has it happened before?

Daniel wrote of the abomination of desolation in several places. In fact, this event has happened before in history, although not to the specifications in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and 2 Thessalonians 2, and almost two centuries before Yeshua walked the earth as a man. Chanukkah is the Jewish celebration of the rededication of the temple after the abomination of desolation caused by the Syrian king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 165 BC. The story of Chanukkah can be found in 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees.

Daniel 8:11-14
Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Historical

In Daniel 8:1-10, he has the vision of the ram with two horns and the he goat with a notable horn. Horns represent kings in Bible prophecy and this is the story of Alexander the Great conquering the Medo-Persian Empire. When the he goat’s notable horn is broken, fall of Alexander the Great, four notable horns replace it. His four generals divided his kingdom upon his death. The one magnifying himself in verses 11-14 is from one of those generals, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. His abomination of desolation in 167 BC led to the rededication of the temple 2,300 days later celebrated today as Chanukkah. From the beginning of the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus in 171 BC to the rededication was 2,300 days! Link | What Is Chanukah? | Chanukkah

Daniel 11:31
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. Historical

Daniel 11:1-35 can be seen represented historically as well. However, Daniel 11:36-45 doesn’t have the historic fulfillment and describes the attributes of the future man of sin after ending with Antiochus IV Epiphanes. In this way I believe scripture highlights the relationship of these two figures as a type for the future fulfillment and to show the similarities to help us understand the future.

Looking To The Future

But Matthew 24:15-22 is regarding a yet future abomination of desolation found here in Daniel the prophet’s writings:

Daniel 9:27
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Daniel 12:11
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Chart

I find it interesting that the abomination of desolation is always mentioned with the stopping of the daily sacrifice. It seems that the taking away of the daily sacrifice always comes before an abomination of desolation when mentioned in scripture. As evidenced in history, the daily sacrifices won’t be carried out by the Jews if an idol is set up in the Holy of Holies until it is cleansed. So I believe, regardless of time, anytime the abomination of desolation is set up, the daily sacrifice stops even if it isn’t forcibly stopped.

The abomination of desolation is an act of defiance against God for the sole purpose of desolating God’s temple and hatred of His chosen people. Then, to set up an idol for worship in the Holy of Holies is defying God and the first commandment.

There are also some events that will transpire in relation to the abomination of desolation.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except
  1. there come a falling away first, and that
  2. man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

From these scriptures, it is pretty clear what the abomination of desolation is. It is tied to a specific time when the man of sin declares himself God in the rebuilt Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, the Holy of Holies. It is also shown to be one of the precursors to Christ’s coming to catch up His bride, the church, in the harpazo -- before the day of the Lord. The time around this event is chaotic and deadly for those in Judea.

Zechariah 13:8,9
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

From my study of Bible prophecy and current news, I believe that the Magog invasion precedes and is the precursor to the rebuilding of the third temple. From the faith built seeing God intervene on their behalf, I think Israel will rebuild the temple and reinstate the daily sacrifice only to come to sudden destruction brought about by the antichrist when he stops their sacrifices and declares himself God, placing Himself as an idol to be worshipped. The Bible is clear that this time begins the time of Jacob’s trouble and the great tribulation.

Matthew 24:15-22
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Daniel 12:1
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Jeremiah 30:4-7
And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

Here’s how I believe this may happen in my own words

Some background is required here. I believe Michael the archangel is the restrainer. When He “stands up” and goes to heaven for the war with Lucifer, the man of sin will no longer be restrained from revealing himself and taking the power given him by the dragon.

The antichrist declares himself god in the Jewish temple that has been rebuilt at that point. Having witnessed God’s protection over them at the Gog/Magog invasion, Israel will no longer be profaning the Lord. Israel today is mostly a secular state governing a population of Jews and others. I believe they will try to become more like their forefathers after this monumental event they have prophesied and will understand when it happens. They will genuinely want to obey God, but they’re blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles, so they’re worshipping the only way they know, how their fathers did.

So when the man of sin performs the abomination of desolation, the Orthodox Jews will be up in arms about it. We have the evidence of this from the Maccabean revolt, which was the result of Antiochus IV Epiphanes performing the abomination of desolation in Daniel 11. What I believe will happen, is that some Jew will assassinate the antichrist and give him that mortal head wound.

Revelation 13:3-9
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear.

We see in Revelation 12 that Michael and his angels cast Lucifer out and he immediately goes after Israel realizing his time is short. This is the point at the abomination of desolation where he heals the mortal wound and the world now has a reason to wonder at this man who would claim to be god. This recent assassination attempt empowers the antichrist even more to apply his policy of peace and security by wiping out religious fundamentalism that doesn’t line up with worship of himself. His evidence for the need will be that they just tried to kill him. Seeing his authority from the dragon, many in the world will agree. That’s when I believe we see Joel 2:1-10 and the armies that go through and kill 2/3 of Israel. Zechariah 13:8-9 I think this scenario explains the head wound and the continued policy of conquering by peace, even after the abomination of desolation.

Examining the current hatred being fostered in the Muslim dominated areas through their mosques, I believe that the coming of the 12th Mahdi as the false prophet of Bible prophecy may direct worship to the new global leader with signs and lying wonders. This new leader’s policy of the destruction of Israel will work well with Muslim fanatics’ desire to accomplish their stated goal of wiping Israel off the map. To them, this will be prophecy fulfilled and perhaps even rocks and trees will cry out there are Jews hiding behind them. The army of Joel 2:1-10 seems a supernaturally empowered group. Men’s faces will be pale. While this may seem incredible or impossible now, events are unfolding in the world that may cause this false peace to come about soon.

How does so much understanding of prophecy hinge on this event?

This is a pivotal event in understanding Bible prophecy because Daniel’s prophecies lay out in great detail, to the day, the time between main events of the 70th week. I created timelines in chart format from those passages that can be viewed here. Decoding these days all hinges around this event, the abomination of desolation. It is the revealing of the beast to the world and the beginning of his demand of worship from the whole world.

Click passages and definitions on image for more information:

Why 70 AD Was Not The Abomination Of Desolation

A often-confused portion of scripture is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10. This is the passage about the restrainer. Many people assume this restrainer to be the Holy Spirit. However, I believe Daniel 12:1 tells us the restrainer is Michael the archangel, who stands for the children of Israel. The “mystery of iniquity” would seem to be, from the original Greek, speaking to the silent wickedness that is already prevalent, the spirit behind what will bring about what is foretold. And the restrainer is holding (lettingG2722) until taken out of the way. The restrainers act of holding is so that the antichrist is revealed in God’s timing.

The focus of what the restrainer is restraining pertains to the revealing of the beast, or the antichrist. We know this because when the restrainer stops restraining, that’s what happens, that Wicked is revealed. Also...

2 Thessalonians 2:6
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

So the restrainer is not restraining all evil everywhere. This should be evident by the evil world we see daily on the news. Rather he is restraining the antichrist’s ability to reveal himself. Michael is fully capable of handling this task. Similar tasks have been given him before. Daniel 10:11-13 But that’s not the only reason I believe it’s Michael. My actual foundation is from the Bible.

What is the event in which the removal of the restrainer causes? The abomination of desolation, the revealing of the antichrist. This is the beginning of the great tribulation, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Daniel 12:1
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

The great tribulation starts with the abomination of desolation, the revealing of the man of sin. Now we see that Michael stands up. What’s even more interesting is that Daniel 12 is connected to Revelation 12 around this same subject, Michael, and same time-frame.

Revelation 12:7-9
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

It is the dragon which gives the beast his power. It would seem that Michael is currently holding back the revealing of the antichrist, but at some point in the future will be called to heaven to battle Lucifer. He will prevail over Satan and he will be cast to the earth. He then goes after the woman through the beast whom he gives power to.

I don’t think it’s coincidence that Michael is specifically mentioned as standing up right before the antichrist is revealed and we’re told in the New Testament that the restrainer must stop before the antichrist can be revealed. Not only that, but Michael is the defender of Israel and it’s Israel’s darkest time once Michael stands up and is seen fighting Satan in heaven. And the great tribulation of Matthew 24:15-22 is for Israel.

Who will be immediately affected by this event?

Given today’s technology and Bible prophecy, this will be an event viewed around the whole world. We know this event is the beginning of beast worship as he sets himself up to be above all that is called god. However, according to Yeshua and prophecy, the immediate after-effects of this event are localized to the region of Judea. (Matthew 24:16 | Mark 13:14) Currently, Israel is comprised of about 80% Israelis and 20% Palestinians with small minorities of others. Also, as of May 1, 2006, Israel has become the one country with the greatest concentration of Jews in the world. Clearly, the people being addressed when saying to run to the mountains are the Jews, Israel, living in Judea. But why are they told to run to the mountains? That answer can be found in scripture as well.

Zechariah 13:6-9
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. [Revelation 12:12-14]

Israel is destined for a time of great tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22 | Mark 13:14-20), when Michael stands up (Daniel 12:1), the time of Jacob’s trouble. (Jeremiah 30:4-7)

Do the stopping of the daily sacrifice and the abomination of desolation happen at the same time?

The abomination of desolation we are to look for is defined by Daniel according to Christ. Matthew 24:15-22 So we need only look there for our definition of this time.

Daniel 8:13
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

Daniel 9:27
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Daniel 11:31
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Daniel 12:11
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

Notice that they all associate the abomination of desolation with the stopping of the daily sacrifice. I believe Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 8:13 are referring back to Antiochus IV who performed the abomination of desolation previous to Christ’s initial arrival on the earth and resulted in the Maccabean revolt and subsequent celebration of Chanukah. However, it’s telling that even that time, separated by over 2,000 years from the end-times version, still associates the stopping of the daily sacrifice with the abomination of desolation.

If I say that it will be two weeks from the time I get my paycheck and cash it, does that mean that my getting the paycheck is separated by two weeks before I cash it? AND is a logic statement. If I say from something AND something are so many days, that means the two events together define the starting point of those days.

It would be completely different if scripture said, “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days, and then abomination that maketh desolate will be set up.” However, that’s not what it says.

The abomination of desolation is a pivotal event in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. There are many pivotal events in prophecy that are also tied to it, from the time of great tribulation and the time of Jacob’s trouble to the return of Christ.