Abomination Of Desolation

ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION – “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand” (Matthew 24:15). The word abomination is typically associated with pagan idolatry and its detestable practices (Deuteronomy 29:16–18; 2 Kings 16:3–4; 23:12–14; Ezekiel 8:9–18). The phrase “the abomination of desolation” likely refers to the presence of an idolatrous person or object in the temple that is so detestable that it causes the temple to be abandoned and left desolate. (1) The reference to the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24 is an allusion to Daniel 9:27. There are three potential events that fit the description of “the abomination that causes desolation.”

Before Christ’s 1st Advent – Historically, the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophetic use of the expression was likely the desecration of the temple in 167 BC by the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes. He erected an altar to the pagan Greek god Zeus over the altar of burnt offering and sacrificed a pig on it (1 Maccabees 1:41–64; 6:7; and Josephus The Antiquities of the Jews 12. 5. 4). (2)

After Christ’s Ascension – Josephus, who lived through the war of 66–70 AD, thought the “abomination of desolation” happened in 66 AD, when Zealots shed the blood of priests in the temple. Others date the abomination of desolation three and one-half years later, in 70 AD. The Jews considered it a sacrilege when the Roman standards, which bore the image of the emperor (graven image of a worshipped emperor), were brought into Jerusalem. But in 70 AD, when the temple was destroyed, the Romans went even further when they erected these standards over the desolated site of the temple. Both of these views very well could be fulfillments of Jesus’ prophecy. (3)

Christ’s 2nd Advent – It is possible that the events of 167 BC and 70 AD are also “types” that foreshadow a final fulfillment of Daniel’s and Jesus’ words that will occur just prior to Christ’s Second Advent (Mark 13:24–27). Language used by Mark suggests that “the abomination” is a future person “standing where he does not belong.” This could very well be the end-time anti-Christ (Daniel 7:23–26; 9:25–27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4, 8–9; Revelation. 13:1–10).

He is expected to make a covenant with the Jewish people at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period preceding Christ’s second coming (Daniel 9:27). The temple will also likely be rebuilt and worship reestablished (Revelation 11:1). In the middle of this period (after 3½ years) the anti-Christ is expected to break his covenant, put a stop to temple sacrifices, desecrate the temple (Daniel 9:27), and proclaim himself to be God (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4; Revelation 11:2).

Next Up – The final installment of Chapter 1, “Studies In Revelation” entitled Putting It All Into Perspective.

  1. Grassmick, J. D. (1985). Mark. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 169). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Grassmick, J. D. (1985). Mark. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 169). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  3. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Mk 13:14). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s