The Abomination of Desolation
"Therefore when you see the*abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand)," Matthew 24:15 (NKJV).
*(abomination: Grk. bdelugma; "a detestation, that is, (specifically) idolatry" (Strong’s Exh. Conc.). "Of idols and things pertaining to idolatry." Thayer’s)
It has been believed by many, and generally taught, that the abomination of desolation is the infamous Antichrist. It is said that he will make a covenant of peace which he will break after 3 ½ years. The present political and economic situations have set such a stage that some have come to believe our new president is the Antichrist; if so, he would supposedly be the fulfillment of Daniel 11 & 12, Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Many have become very concerned over all this, and a foreboding fear has gripped their hearts. Some believe that the newly elected president, Barack Obama, might be that abomination. More than a few feel that all might be lost, including their freedom. People are stockpiling food, money, guns, and ammunition. People are saying that the greatest depression this nation has ever known is on the horizon. And then there are others that believe he is the answer to all their fears, that all will be well, or become well, under his watch. He is looked upon as their savior, that he will save the day. However, although God set him in this position, I do not see this as a part of His curriculum.
Notwithstanding, Daniel recorded this for us: "This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdoms of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." Daniel 4:17.
Paul said this about it: "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God." Romans 13:1-2. There are times when the powers that He places over nations for bringing about blessings and abundance, especially when their foundations are grounded in Him, and we have seen such with this nation, Canada, and western Europe; but the right hand of blessing is showing signs of being withdrawn, and there is no wonder. If we look at the signs of the weather in the field of politics, economics, religion, and morality, it certainly appears that there will be a flood of unprecedented hardships and evil to sweep over this nation and the world, even as the Psalmist wrote: "The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves." Psalm 93:3. However, let us not fret, fear, or forget that "The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever." Psalm 29:10.
So what is there to fear, brethren? Even if this young man is a cunning serpent and brings the U.S. to her knees, along with the world, as many believe will happen — the most High, the Lord rules in all the kingdoms of the world. It may be true that God’s plan is to use a chastening rod called Barrack Hussein Obama with the help of the 535 members of the House and Senate, the 9 Supreme Court justices, the 42,000 or so special-interest lobbyists, not to mention the banking system along with the feds. Even if this is so, can we not say, Praise God; for can we not also see that this could very well be a part of what will set the stage for the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ and His many-membered body?
Although to some, this new president may be their messiah/savior, which would make him an antichrist according to the word’s definition, instead of Christ, this does not make him the Antichrist which many are expecting and believe is already here. Frankly, and no doubt to the surprise of many, there is no place in the Bible that singles out one man as "the Antichrist." Moreover, there was more than one man, Titus and his army, who were involved in Jerusalem’s destruction, and they were collectively called the abomination of desolation of which Daniel and Jesus spoke. Paul’s reference to him was the man of sin, the son of perdition.
Our friend, Royce Kennedy wrote a significant amount concerning this man, of which we include a portion:
"Here is a brief account of an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings lying round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy.’ All of this was in direct violation of Jewish law, and was spoken of by Daniel the prophet. Their sacrifices, their ensigns, and the fact that these ungodly, heathen Romans were on ‘holy ground’ was deemed by Daniel to be an abomination before God, and they were there to bring desolation upon the Jews and upon the city itself.
"Josephus said: Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege, eleven hundred thousand [1,100,000], the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation, but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by the army.
"The destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D.70 is, by now, a well established fact; but we will need to revisit the Book of Daniel to certify if the prophet did actually foretell a worldwide tribulation and a future rise of the Anti-Christ as being propagated by notable bible scholars and religious leaders today. We will have to do diligence to observe who said what, to whom, and to what intent. We study these biblical truths so as to add a better understanding to the times we live in, and to have a better knowledge of what is likely to happen next. We need not look into a crystal ball or consult a palm reader; for as Daniel himself noted, ‘the wise shall understand.’"(When Shall These Things Be? Part 1
Luke gave this account of what Jesus said: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Luke 21:20 (NKJV). You see, the uncircumcised army of Titus with their idolatrous banners was not the only one to have defiled the holy place. Among others, there was one we hear little about. By noting history, we can see that what Luke wrote about was also the Roman general, Cestius Gallus and his army. This was the first part of the abomination of desolation which occurred in A.D.66. His army surrounded the city of Jerusalem, which was considered by the Jews as the holy city, i.e., the holy place, and it was defiled by this abomination of idol worshipers.
There were many notable men who maintained that both Luke 21 and Matthew 24 were speaking of the armies of Rome being the abomination that defiled and ultimately destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, which was the end of that age. Clearly, it was not a prophecy for the latter days of this age. To list a few of these scholars of the past:
"For this it seems to me that the abomination of desolation means the army by which the holy city of Jerusalem was made desolate." (St. John Chrysostom of Antioch (347-407), The Ante-Nicene Fathers).
"Luke to show that the abomination spoken of by Daniel will take place when Jerusalem is captured, recalls these words of the Lord in the same context: When you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is at hand (xxi. 20). For Luke very clearly bears witness that the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled when Jerusalem was overthrown." (Augustine's commentary on Matthew 24:15 The Abomination of Desolation (379) vol. 6, pg. 170).
"This portion of our Saviour's words appears to relate solely to the destruction of Jerusalem. As soon as Christ's disciples saw ‘the abomination of desolation,’ that is, the Roman ensigns, with their idolatries,‘stand in the holy place,’ they knew that the time for their escape had arrived; and they did flee to the mountains."
( C.H. Spurgeon (1888), Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom, pg. 215).
"The abomination of desolation means the Roman army and is so explained by Lu, xxi. 20. The Roman army is further called the abomination on account of the images of the emperor, and the eagles, carried in front of the legions, and regarded by the Romans with divine honours." (Albert Barnes (1949), Matthew pg. 254).
Quoting Flavius Josephus, Phillip Schaff, in his History of the Christian Church, vol. 1 pp. 397-398, gives us a vivid picture of the destruction of Jerusalem:
"‘Titus (according to Josephus) intended at first to save that magnificent work of architecture, as a trophy of victory, and perhaps from some superstitious fear; and when the flames threatened to reach the Holy of Holies he forced his way through flame and smoke, over the dead and dying, to arrest the fire. But the destruction was determined by a higher decree. His own soldiers, roused to madness by the stubborn resistance, and greedy of the golden treasures, could not be restrained from the work of destruction. At first the halls around the temple were set on fire. Then a firebrand was hurled through the golden gate. When the flames arose the Jews raised a hideous yell, and tried to put out the fire; while others, clinging with a last convulsive grasp to their Messianic hopes, rested in the declaration of a false prophet, that God in the midst of the conflagration of the Temple would give a signal for the deliverance of his people. The legions vied with each other in feeding the flames, and made the unhappy people feel the full force of their unchained rage. Soon the whole prodigious structure was in a blaze and illuminated the skies. It was burned on the tenth of August, A.D. 70, the same day of the year on which, according to tradition, the first temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. No one can conceive a louder, more terrible shriek, than arose from all sides during the burning of the temple. The shout of victory and the jubilee of the legions sounded through the wailing of the people, now surrounded with fire and sword, upon the mountain, and throughout the city. The echo from all the mountains around, even to Perea, increased the deafening roar. Yet the misery itself was more terrible than this disorder. The hill on which the temple stood was seething hot, and seemed enveloped to its base in one sheet of flame. The blood was larger in quantity than the fire, and those that were slain were more in number than those that slew them. The ground was nowhere visible. All was covered with corpses; over these heaps the soldiers pursued the fugitives.
"‘The Romans planted their eagles on the shapeless ruins, over against the eastern gate, offered their sacrifices to them, and proclaimed Titus Imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy.’ Thus was fulfilled the prophecy concerning the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place." — End quote.
"Although many commentators hold that Matthew here portrays not just the Fall of Jerusalem but also the Great tribulation before Antichrist comes, the details in vv. 16-21 are too limited geographically and culturally to justify that view." (Frank Gaebelein, The Expositors Bible Commentary).
A summary by another of the destruction of Jerusalem:
"In 66 AD, the Jews, greatly troubled by the procurator of Judea, Florus, revolted against Rome. In that same year, Cestius Gallus, came upon Jerusalem to end the revolt, but for some reason withdrew and nearly lost his troops to the retaliating Jews.
"In 67 AD, the Roman Emperor, Nero, sent General Vespasian to end the uprising once and for all. Giving time for civil war in Jerusalem to weaken Jewish forces, Vespasian marched through Galilee, where the leader of the revolt in that region, Josephus, surrendered. Convincing the general to spare his life, Josephus later accompanied the Roman army as it laid siege to Jerusalem.
"In 68 AD, Nero committed suicide, and civil war ensued as four emperors took the throne between June 68 AD and December 69 AD. It was during this time that Vespasian, the fourth and final emperor of 69 AD, was proclaimed Caesar by the army, and so decided to head for Rome, leaving the problems in Judea to his son, Titus. It was Titus who laid siege to the city, and ultimately destroyed it, along with the temple. In perfect harmony with the words of Jesus, Josephus attributes this desolation to the unwillingness of the wicked Jews to surrender." (Jeff Randolph, Brief Summary of the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD).
The Roman armies were an abomination to the Jews, not only because they consisted of uncircumcised heathens, but as mentioned previously, because of the images of their gods that they had upon their ensigns. You see, images and idols were always an abomination to the Jews. Therefore, when the disciples of Jesus and followers (later to become Christians) were told by Jesus that when they saw the Roman armies compassing their holy city, that is, the holy place, with those idolatrous images of abominations flying on them, they should know that the city’s destruction was at hand. All three, Daniel, Jesus, and Paul were foretelling what would be the defilement and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and this would be at the end of that day by the son of perdition, the man of sin, the abomination of desolation. Those prophetic words were not a forewarning of an antichrist for our day. Since this plain truth was not seen by the dispensational Bible scholars, the scriptures pertaining to A.D. 70 have been so convoluted by theories, suppositions, and charts with a 2000 year break in their "middle of the week," it boggles the mind.
The simple fact is, the prophecies were fulfilled and became history when the Roman armies with their images and standards of false gods compassed the holy place of Jerusalem, and ultimately sacrificed to their idols on the Temple altar. And when Jesus said, "Whoever reads, let him understand," and Daniel wrote, the living may know, it was made clear that what was being said could be heard by those in Christ, but would not be understood by anyone else. He was drawing attention to those who could hear the true meaning of His words. Namely, when you see the abomination which makes desolation spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, standing in the holy place, trampling about, advancing into that which is forbidden, trespassing that which is holy, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, that is the sign of Jerusalem’s destruction. Again, His words were not warnings of the Antichrist that goes by the name of Barrack Hussein Obama. However, we will, no doubt, in the course of events be facing many hardships; even so, the warnings of Jesus were for that day and not ours. The predicted abomination of desolation, the man of sin, is a thing of the past. Both the written and anointed word of God must be rightly divided, or confusion will be the product.
Another thought to consider; abomination in the Hebrew and Greek has to do with idolatry, idol worship. Therefore, if this is speaking of President Obama, would it mean that he will be taking idols into some church and worshiping them; such as, in the Sistine Chapel, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, or perhaps the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (the largest Catholic church in the Americas)? Or would he impose a national law or draw up an executive order saying that all the people and every church in the U.S. would have to become idol worshipers of his choice, an abomination that would bring spiritual desolation upon on them? If indeed he is the abomination of desolation, prior to the idol worship mandate, would he make a covenant with the people of this nation and the churches promising them peace and safety, as well as an international peace pact in the Middle East guaranteeing Israel’s security, only to break the covenant after 3 ½ years which would bring about world-wide famine, plagues, wars, tumultuous weather conditions, et al?
Are we getting the picture? Such a notion is not in the realm of reality, and it is certainly not in the realm of scriptural truth.
For instance, generally when people teach on the Antichrist, two words in Daniel 9:27 that are in conjunction with the word covenant have been ignored and replaced by two others. They are the words, confirms the covenant, and the words used in dispensational teachings are, makes a covenant. This is one of the errors that helps to cloud the true meaning: "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 9:27. It is not, He shall make a covenant but He shall confirm the covenant, strengthen it, and it is the abominations that are made desolate in this verse. At the consummation of those abominations having been destroyed, that which is determined, Christ, will be poured out upon those having been desolated by the abominations.
We will quote again Brother Kennedy for clarity on this thought:
"We understand that we can only ‘confirm’ something
that is already in place, and the verse in Daniel 2:27 did not say ‘make a
covenant’ as we are told to believe. Messiah did ‘confirm the covenant with many
for a week.’ The issue is closed forever! The experts seemingly, have mistaken
Messiah for ‘antichrist’ and in so doing, have ran thousands into shipwreck.
Those deluded by this error will no doubt seek to invent their own
antichrist....There will always be curious minds busy at work, trying to create
a man to fit their off-the-wall beliefs. To confirm the latter part of Daniel
9:27, Jesus said: ‘The days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall
cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every
side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and
they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not
the time of thy visitation.’ Luke 19:43-44. This prophecy carries profound
ramifications, and totally underscores the words of Daniel quoted in the passage
above. Neither Daniel nor Jesus Christ inserted an antichrist in this lesson as
we can clearly see."
Jesus confirmed, made strong and unbreakable, the old covenant by His death. It caused the animal sacrifices to cease. His death stopped the abominations of the legalistic Pharisees and Sadducees by making them desolate. God’s determination of life and liberty for all in Christ was and shall be poured upon all the desolate souls of mankind. Is this not clear? If not, I need to take an English grammar course beyond my high school Language Arts education; or better, pray that the spirit of revelation is mercifully received by all who read these few pages.
Frankly, it is the hour for the minds of intellectual giants of the world and of Christendom to be pierced deeply by one of the five smooth stones of David’s sling. It is time for that huge head to be cut off by the anointed word of the Lord so God’s people can be made free from worry, fear, and intimidation. It is time to know that neither the antichrist of religious contrivance, nor the economic collapse, is a giant to fear. But rather, it is time to rejoice; for the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ is drawing near! Praise God!
Elwin R. Roach
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