“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
Picking up in the prophetic visions of Daniel, we have come to first mention of what is known as the abomination that causes desolation. This single future event is “the sign” that will trigger the beginning of the end. When the Apostles asked Jesus what signs would precede His return and the end of the age, Jesus pointed to the abomination of desolation “spoken of by the prophet Daniel.” This abomination is performed by the Antichrist — aka the “little horn” or the Beast.
Daniel explicitly mentions this pivotal event at least 4 times [Daniel 8:13, 9:26-27, 11:31, 12:11]. Jesus reminds us of the necessity to “let the reader understand” Daniel’s prophecies in order to recognize when the great tribulation will begin.
As I shared in my last post in this series — read here — part of the profile of the Antichrist will be to cause the daily sacrifices in the Temple to cease. As we await the inevitable reconstruction of the Third Temple, it is just a matter of time before the Jews reenlist the Levitical priesthood , reinstitute the sacrificial system, and resume animal sacrifices in Jerusalem.
Once the Antichrist intervenes and puts an end to the daily sacrifices, then he will proceed to desecrate the Temple with some type of abomination that triggers the time of Jacob’s trouble. The satanic wrath unleashed toward God’s people during the great tribulation will leave Israel and Jerusalem desolate. Let’s take a closer look.
Defining the Terms
In order to gain a better understanding of what the abomination of desolation will be, it is important to define the terms.
An abomination from a Biblical perspective is anything God declares evil, wicked, perverse, or shamefully vile; a detestable or profane behavior; an object or state that induces loathsome disgust and abhorrence. There are several categories identified by Scripture for abominations.
- Heathen gods, such as Ashtoreth (Astarte), Chemosh, Milcom, Baal, the “abominations” of the Zidonians (Phoenicians), Moabites, and Ammonites, respectively (2 Kings 23:13), and everything connected with the worship of such gods.
- Anything offered to or associated with the idol, all the paraphernalia of the forbidden cult, was called an “abomination,” for it “is an abomination to Yahweh thy God” (Deuteronomy 7:25, 26). For example, the Israelites participated in the abomination of offering of their own children to Molech in ritual child sacrifice.
- Everything akin to occult practices of magic or divination is an abomination; as are sexual transgressions (Deuteronomy 22:5; Deuteronomy 23:18; Deuteronomy 24:4), especially incest, homosexuality, and other unnatural offenses: “For all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you” (Leviticus 18:27; compare Ezekiel 8:15).
As noted before, the most significant historical prototype of the Antichrist was the Syrian tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes IV [175-164 B.C.], who prohibited worship of Yahweh, desecrated the Temple by erecting an altar and performing ritual sacrifices to the pagan god, Zeus. The foreshadowing of Antiochus provides the historical backdrop for the future abomination of desolation to be performed by the Antichrist.
Jesus, preaching some 200 years after Antiochus, would most certainly have this event in mind when prophesying about the final fulfillment of Satan’s blasphemous defiance.
When it comes to the the sign of the end, any combination of these abominations is on the table as far as I am concerned. After laying siege and conquering Jerusalem, I would expect nothing less from the Antichrist than to enter the Jewish Temple, erect an altar to Satan (the Dragon), perform occult ritual magic followed by child sacrifices, topping it all off with some form of grossly perverse sexual escapade.
This abomination apparently will performed publicly because Jesus says that when we “see” it, it’s time to flee because the desolation of Jerusalem has come. Daniel and Paul both share interesting details surrounding this critical event.
Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 33And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time. 36“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.“Daniel 11:31-36
“Let no one deceive you in any way, for [that day] will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness—the son of destruction—is revealed. He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
The word desolation is an interesting Hebrew word that carries the meaning to lay waste, destroy, depopulate, ruin, or to desert. It is imperative that we understand the connection between the abomination that “causes” desolation. It is the abominable act of the Antichrist that will lead to, or cause, the desolation of Jerusalem and the land of Israel.
This final invasion of Israel has been foreshadowed as well throughout history through the invasions of the Assyrians [722 B.C.], Babylonians [586 B.C.], Romans [70 A.D.], and Muslims [636 A.D.]. Like these brutal invasions by ruthless pagan kings, the abomination of desolation will lead to devastating war, bloodshed, captivity and total plundering of the Holy Land.
Nearly all of the prophets spoke of this day of final desolation. Jesus reminds us once again that this time of desolation is yet future.
““But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”Luke 21:20-24
The great tribulation will be a time of unparalleled desolation. There will be wars and revolutions and famines and earthquakes and great distress among the nations. There will violence and bloodshed and lawlessness. There will be demonic deception and intense persecution of God’s people — both Jews and Christians. There will be divine judgments poured out on the earth and divine provision for God’s people. This also will a time of great purification and refining for the saints, as precious metal is refined through the fire.
The Bible says that from the abomination that caused desolation is set up, there will 3.5 years for the Antichrist to exercise power and authority over the nations. It is the sign of the end of the age. Those who are wise must understand.
Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. 8I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”Daniel 12:6-13