What is the Abomination of Desolation?
by Tony Warren
Abomination: a.bom.i.na'shan, the act of abominating. a.bom'i.nat, v.t. --abominated, abominating. [L. abominor, abominatus, to deprecate, as an ill omen--ab, from, and omen, an omen.] Abomination, (1)Something extremely hated or despised; (2)that which is abhored; (3)something detestable; (4)the state of being loathed. (5)something that produces a strong aversion, as disgust.
Desolation: des'o.la'shan, n. [L.L. desolatio(n-).] (1)Being in a state of ruin; (2)Destitute of consolation; (3)forsaken; (4)Devastated; deprived of inhabitants; (5)barren or waste; (6)dreary or dismal. (7)depravation of companionship or comfort; --des.o.late.ly, adv.--des.o.late.ness, n.
By definition, the Abomination of Desolation is something abhorrent to God that will bring to ruin or devastation. And when we search the Bible diligently, comparing scripture with scripture (the correct form in Biblical hermeneutics), we find that in almost all instances where the pertinent Hebrew word translated abomination [shiqquwts] is found, it is dealing in some way with God's people falling away to serve the gods of the heathen nations. In other words, it clearly illustrates apostasy and spiritual idolatry of the Lord's people in turning away from Him to serve false gods. It is in this context of the word that we find that the abominable and disgusting thing that God hates, is His people forsaking Him for false gods. It is this abomination that will leave their house in ruins or desolated. The holy scriptures are replete with examples of this abomination.
2nd Chronicles 15:8
Here we see that the false gods in Judah that Asa turned God's people away from, were abominable [shiqquwts] to God. In other words, this was a horribly detestable thing in God's sight. Asa restored the altar of God to bring about a reformation of sorts, in turning the Lord's people away from false doctrines towards reverent obedience to God. And this isn't an isolated incident, this abomination so defined is consistently seen illustrated throughout God's word.
- "And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the Prophet, he took courage, and put away the Abominable idols out of the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord."
1st Kings 11:5
Here again, Solomon had fallen into the detestable practice of going after false deities, an abomination [shiqquwts], or that which was hateful and unclean unto God. These false gods, and the people's servitude thereof, are "consistently" what God defines in scripture as an abomination to Him. It is not difficult to understand why this act is that which is most detestable or abhorrent to the sovereign God who created all things for His glory.
- "For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites."
Here again we see this word [shiqquwts] or abomination as an illustration of the unclean disgusting practice of God's people forsaking the true Deity to serve the gods of men. By doing so they are making the Lord's house unclean and detestable. They are polluting His dwelling place, which is most abhorrent to a holy God. And He is not silent concerning these abominations, He warns His people that those who do such things in the Lord's house will be left in "desolation." That will be their judgment.
- "for the children of Judah have done evil in My sight, saith the Lord: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to pollute it.
- and they have built the high places to Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of hunnon, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into My heart."
"Desolation" is the judgment that the Lord has decreed upon His people who go after the false gods or idols of the unbelievers. And that Hebrew word translated "desolation" is [shamem], the exact same word used in the Daniel's prophesy of the "Abomination that makes desolate." It means brought to ruin or devastated. Clearly this abomination of God's people in going after false gods, would bring His judgment upon them leaving them destitute or destroyed. Thus the Biblical precedent is set in Leviticus, and is carried out all through the scriptures. This abomination, and the judgment thereof, is clearly and frequently identified in the word. And this principle is not only seen in Old Testament testimony, it continues into the New Testament. Abomination standing in God's house will make it desolate, a forsaken place that is deprived of God's blessings. When Christ spoke in Matthew chapter twenty-four of the coming fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel, note carefully the context. It is of Him warning of these very same abominable things in God's house that would bring it to ruin. Namely, the coming of false prophets to deceive, and who obviously serve false gods. The context of Matthew 24 is of prophecy of God's people falling away from God, to serve false gods in the holy place. And whosoever reads that prophesy should understand very clearly that the only "Holy Places" that could be subject to future prophesy after the cross, are:
- "And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
- And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
- And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it."
There were no other Holy Places that are eligible to be Holy Places of God after He judged Israel by His death on the cross. A Jewish temple inner room in the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 did not any longer qualify to be the Holy Place of God that would have abomination stand in it. For that place in the physical Temple of Jerusalem was no longer holy, nor was it God's Dwelling place 30 plus years after the cross. In Matthew twenty-four Christ speaks of a future event when many false prophets would rise and deceive many. It is in this context that the "Holy Place" would have abomination stand in it and God's people would have to flee. The context is that this takes place in the midst of great trial and tribulation for the true believers that are besieged by these false prophets and false Christs. The Holy Place thus isn't a Jewish temple, but the corporate or visible Church.
- The body of believers
- The visible Church
Many question "when" this abomination of desolation must take place. But the answer is right in the context of the chapter. It is obviously speaking of the time of iniquity abounding, and of this "great tribulation," and the time clue is that this period will be very unique. A.D. 70 simply doesn't qualify without all sorts of exegetical and hermeneutical gymnastics attempted in order to get around clear grammatical text.
- "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:"
God informs us that this is a time of tribulation like none before, and like none ever will be again. Thus it could not be speaking of a time that was past, or the period of A.D. 70. Neither period qualifies as tribulation for believers greater than the world has ever seen, nor ever will see. For such a period will not occur until after Satan is loosed to gather his world armies against them. So this abomination that makes desolate is a prophecy of the latter days, not the immediate time of the Apostles or A.D. 70. And this is also confirmed by cross-referencing this in the books of Luke and Daniel. Luke chapter 21 mirrors Matthew, but speaks of Jerusalem as being the point of attack and desolation.
- "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Matthew speaks of the Holy place as where the abomination that makes desolate stands, and Luke tells us that when we see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then we know that its desolation is nigh. Thus we see that Jerusalem, the Holy Place, and Judaea, are all synonymous terms signifying the corporate Church. In other words, they are all figures or types of the dwelling place of the Lord's people. Judaea because it means "of Judah", the Lion's whelp from which the King and deliverer was to come (Genesis 49:9-11). Just as Christ is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) because He is the fulfillment. Thus the Church is the family or tribe of Judah. Likewise they are pictured as Jerusalem because it "represented" the Holy and beloved city of God. God's word declares that we have "spiritually" come unto Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God's people.
- "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
- Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto."
Not an earthly Jerusalem, but a spiritual heavenly Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a word picture, a synonym for the holy assembly of God, the same holy city of the New Testament that is called to spread the gospel to the world.
- "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
- To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"
Jesus equates the Church spiritually to a city set on a hill so that everyone all around it can see it's light. This city is spiritually Jerusalem. The holy city of God from the New Testament perspective dispensation is the congregation, the light of the world. We are the Holy City, the spiritual Jerusalem that the corporate or external Church "represents." The house of God is the Church.
- "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid."
All of us are living stones or bricks in the house of God, which is the New Testament Church. When Matthew 24 prophecies of future happenings in the Holy Place, it of necessity speaks of the New Testament Holy Temple, not the Old. The Holy Place in the Old Testament Temple merely "represented" the way to the righteousness of God, signifying that it was through Christ (Hebrews 10:19-20). Thus this Holy Place where abomination stands in the New Testament dispensation, can only be in the Holy Temple, which is the visible Church.
- "For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
- And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
- But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."
So what is the Abomination of desolation? Judah, Jerusalem, and the Holy Place are all synonyms, spiritual pictures representing the Lord's congregation. So when abomination stand in this Holy place, it is standing in the Lord's congregation. The saints are commanded to flee from this detestable or abominable thing we see. For Satan is coming against God's people. We see similar language in Revelation chapter 20 as God speaks of the beloved city (Spiritually Jerusalem), the camp of the saints. When Satan is loosed in that chapter, he gathers the armies of the nations (Gentiles) to compass this beloved camp of the saints, and that represents the Church being persecuted. Likewise, God is using metaphorical language in Matthew and Luke to signify the place or habitation of His people. i.e., it is the Holy place where He said He would dwell with them. In fact, it is God's dwelling there that made the Church a holy place. Just after the cross, God's judgment upon the nation of Israel where He took the Kingdom from them (Matthew 21:43), made their physical building no longer a Holy Temple, and no longer the holy place. And the New Covenant Church then qualified as the Holy Place. Israel had made the temple of heresy, and of unbelieving Priests, Scribes and Pharisees. So this Temple (over thirty years after Christ's death) does not in any way qualify as a "Holy Place" of prophesy.
Moreover, we should note that God declares the Lord's people shall "see" this abomination stand in the Holy Place. And so we know that God's servants are meant to note and "recognize" this abomination so that they may flee. It's not a warning meant for unbelieving Jews, it is a warning meant for the Church to protect their spiritual well being. Surely we would not think that Christ was merely addressing a few saints who were physically in literal Jerusalem in A.D. 70? Instead, Christ is warning the saints of a coming time of persecution of them (rather than the Jews). warning of the arrival of great iniquity, false prophets and false Christs. Warning that these will bring reviling and hatred of these saints, not of the apostates. Many theologians have turned this chapter all around so that the emphasis is all about the unbelieving Jews, when it is really about the Church, their enduring in this time of great tribulation. When they observe this prophesied abomination standing in the holy place, they are to flee from Judaea to the mountains. This does not mean that believers should go hide in the rocks when they see Romans in a city in A.D. 70, rather it is illustrating believers should flee from the abomination that would accompany the apostasy in God's New Testament Holy Temple. It is illustrating that there is security only in the Holy mountains of God. And believe God, that is not the hills around Jerusalem in the middle east, no matter what Josephus, or any other man says. the mountains reference God's protection, not earthly geography.
In this example we see that God "likens or equates" Himself to protecting mountains that are around His people. He is declaring that the children of God can only have "true" protection in Him, not in physical mountains. And this is the same picture God is painting to those He speaks to in Matthew 24. Because "these Mountains" are the only ones that can protect the saints in time of trouble when great tribulation from false prophets abound. Certainly physical mountains are no protection from such trials of faith.
- "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever."
Often people ignore the fact that God represents Himself using mountains as a metaphor. But the scriptures are full of these earthly examples or figures that illustrate this very "spiritual" truth. In Matthew chapter 24 God says the faithful are to flee from the Holy Place because at this time it has become an abomination. And in this time these saints are to flee to the only refuge that will protect them from the deceiving, the hatred, and the persecution. The mountains are where the feet of God dwell symbolically, not literally. The Holy Place in the Old Testament dispensation was inside the Old Testament Holy Temple. Thus the Holy Place in the New Testament dispensation is in the New Testament Holy Temple, which can only be the Church. The Church is the only New Testament holy place that can have abomination stand within it. And we know that the Holy Place is used synonymously with the Holy Temple because it's illustrated that way in scripture. For example, in Acts, when they spoke of Christ declaring they would destroy the temple, and He would raise it up in three days.
Here, the Jews unambiguously refer to the Temple at Jerusalem as the "holy place," as that is what they called it when they bore false witness against Christ concerning His prophecy of the Temple of His body. Again the Jews who stirred up the people against Paul spoke of the Holy place "as" the Temple.
- "And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
- For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us."
So clearly, the holy place is used synonymously in speaking of the Holy Temple. And carefully note that the unbelieving Jewish people forever think that this building made with hands "is" the Holy Temple. While God reveals to the elect that the Church or congregation of the Lord is the New Testament representation of the Holy Temple. These are two distinct views of two distinct groups of people. Spiritual people understanding spiritual things, and natural, carnal or worldly people look to the earthly or physical, neglecting the deeper spiritual truths. Unfortunately, many theologians today choose to blur these lines of distinction.
- "Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
- (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)"
1st Corinthians 2:13-14
On the New Testament side of the cross, future prophecy concerning the Holy Temple "must" refer to either Christ, the elect or the corporate Church. Never the physical building of the Jews that were blinded and cut off. You cannot have future prophecy regarding an Old Testament Temple building that foreshadowed and represented Christ, in the New Testament dispensation. Because Christ has already came as the anti-type of that Temple. And the only mountains that the servants of God can flee to that will bring security from abomination standing in the "New Testament" Holy Temple, is to God. He is the true Mountain Retreat of the true children of God, and the only refuge where the saints find peace and safety. Thus, they are to flee this place of abomination to this place of true righteousness and security, which only God's spiritual mountains can provide.
- "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
- But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Here God likens His righteousness, the preservation of man, to the great mountains. These are the mountains to which the child of God should flee when he sees the abomination stand in the holy place. The place of abomination contrasted with the place of righteousness. And mountains in the plural because God is surrounding the saints as their spiritual defender and protector.
- "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast."
So we should not be surprised that God tells us that those in Judaea are to flee to the "mountains" for their security in this time of trial. Nor that Judaea is used here in a figurative and metaphorical sense, and doesn't refer to a physical nation, but to the New Covenant congregation of God that is "spiritually" Judaea (of Judah). Using scripture as our guide and interpreter, we can understand that when we see Abomination stand in this holy place, when we see false prophets arising and deceiving many so that iniquity abounds, when we see the love of God waxing cold, we are to flee to the mountains for our security. For they are the only sure refuge in this time of trouble and great tribulation. And in fact, even the very context illustrates that these mountains are figures of God's righteous protection, for they are our footing, wherein we cannot be moved.
Zion is the spiritual city of God, the place of God's feet, the spiritual Jerusalem. The holy mountains signify where God's foundation is, and that there dwells the righteousness and protection of God's people. Mountains are also used to signify God's all encompassing nature, as when God pointed out that He was the "mountains" that were all round about Jerusalem (Psalms 125:2). In other words, there is no breach point, God is as "many mountains" surrounding the Children of God that they are secure and protected completely. He is the Retreat or Refuge for those fleeing this abomination in the house of the Lord.
- "His foundation is in the holy mountains.
- The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
- Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah."
Thus when we flee from Judaea to the mountains, it is a figure of our taking refuge from this abomination in the Lord's house, within the only place where the wicked cannot hurt or destroy. This is where our help will come from. Not from physical mountains or fortifications against worldly armies, but from spiritual mountains and fortifications that only our Lord can provide.
- "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
- Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
- God is known in her palaces for a refuge."
That word translated hill is [har], the same word translated mountain. As in the prophesy of "har megeddon," or the mountain of megiddo. The mountains are from where our help will come. The saints are in spiritual warfare, and when abomination stands in the holy place, then that is a place where believers can no longer stand. For what agreement has light with darkness? This abomination ruling in God's house will bring the corporate Church to desolation, and that is why the faithful remnant are to depart out when they see it. For judgment starts (Ezekiel 9:6) at the house of the Lord.
- "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
- My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."
These are days of vengeance, days of the judgment of God against this people. These are not physical armies doing battle with nations, Jewish people, or Christians as some suppose, but a spiritual army that comes against a spiritual Jerusalem. This is metaphorically Jerusalem, because it is the New Testament encampment of the saints, not the Old. These are the saints, the beloved city that is the representation of Jerusalem from above (Galatians 4:26), on earth. Revelation chapter 20 calls this the camp of the saints because the Church is the Lord's spiritual army. By contrast, these armies gathered from the four quarters of the earth are the spiritual forces of the kingdom of Satan. The New Testament Church is the holy place, the spiritual Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22; Galatians 4:25-26; Revelation 3:12, 21:2) that is being attacked and devastated by these forces of evil. It is this spiritual warfare against this spiritual Jerusalem, and not literal war within the nation of Israel. We must reiterate, lest we forget, after the cross, the New Testament external covenant Church is the dwelling place of God, not national Israel. The only holy place where abomination "could" stand in after the resurrection of Christ is the New Testament Congregation. It can't stand in God (the Holy Temple), and it can't stand in the true believer (the Holy Temple), but it can stand in the external or visible Church (the holy Temple). For we collectively are built up a spiritual house, the Holy Temple of God.
- "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
- Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
- For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."
The corporate or external Church and holy Temple of God is built with "precious" stones of Gold, silver and precious Jewels, and also of stones made of wood, hay and stubble. The wood, hay and stubble symbolizing unsaved people, that in God's sight are not precious. When God talks about the true Temple, He is speaking of only those in Christ. But when God speaks of the external Covenant body, there are those within it who are not truly saved. It all depends on what perspective God is speaking of that we know of whom He is speaking. Where two or three are gathered together in Christ's name, there is He in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20), making them collectively the holy place. Christ abides in the midst of the Church, in the midst of the candlesticks 9revelation 1). When a Church apostatizes, then abomination is standing where it ought not.
- "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit".
In the whole context of the passages of Matthew and Mark that address this period is of false Christs' and false prophets, it clearly warns believers to be careful not to be deceived by them. It's not a context of an invasion by nations, or of Romans killing Jews, but of persecution "for the sake of Christ." i.e., there is abomination in the Church which would deceive even the very chosen (elect) if that were possible. But it's not possible because by grace of God the elect "keep" the word of God faithfully, and thus are not deceived by these wolves coming in sheep's clothing. Those who will endure in this time of tribulation will be those of wisdom and knowledge, with the "faith of Christ," who will take heed to the warnings and flee to the Lord's holy mountain retreat.
This is the mountain refuge, and only the knowledgeable (Colossians 3:10) of God will know that the only place where the elect will have security is in this holy mountain. The elect know God, and are known of God, and thus know the true peace and safety of assurance of Salvation.
- "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."
These are the mountains that publish peace and bring safety. There is no true peace and safety in national Israel or any other earthly nation. When the man of sin (lawlessness) is seated in the Holy Temple ruling "as if" he was God (abomination), this is the only safe place the elect can flee to. Because man's action of lawlessness in the holy Temple will leave it desolate.
- "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
We look to the former literal buildings in Jerusalem as merely a "type" that looked forward to the true Holy Temple, Christ. With the coming of Christ, it fulfilled that type. Which means, we could never go back to having prophecy of the "type" again. When the veil in the Holy Temple that separated the holy place from the holiest was ripped from top to bottom, that ended the physical Temple being considered the Holy Place. And this disenfranchisement took place the instant that Christ died (Mark 15:37-38). Christ fulfilled the type, therefore there is now no possibility that the type (the physical temple) would be the Holy Place of abomination prophesied, as in A.D. 70. That theory is a product of theologians looking to secular historians, rather than to scripture as the authority and interpreter. While it is true that the holy place before the cross "was" the holiest in the literal Temple separated by a veil, that temple is passed away in prophecy. When Christ died, he brought the shadow of the literal temple to it's completion (fulfillment). That Temple pointed to Christ, just as the animal sacrifices and offerings therein pointed to His ultimate sacrifice. But that holy Temple "after the cross" could no more house the holy place, than the continued sacrifices therein by the Jews could be a Godly practice. On the contrary, it would be a denial of Christ's fulfillment. Likewise, the literal temple was no longer the place of the veil separating the holy place. The Biblical "facts" are, the veil between the Holiest of Holiness was ripped from top to bottom at Christ's death on the cross, signifying that the way into the holy place was no longer pictured in that physical Temple, but was now in it's fulfillment in the New Testament dispensation.
This signified that the Old Testament Temple and all it's ceremonial laws and practices were completed in Christ. This veil was destroyed when Christ died because it represented His flesh. With the sacrifice of His own flesh, this could no more be considered the separator between the holiest of holiness, and man. This Temple made with hands cannot be the object of future prophesy because it has been fulfilled, completed, or brought to it's end in Christ.
- "Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
- And, Behold, the veil of the Temple was ripped from top to the bottom; and the earth did quake."
- "But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;"
That literal temple made with hands was just a figure or shadow that prefigured the true Temple, which was Christ. He is the perfect Temple not made with hands, and it is through His flesh that man enters into the holy place, having been reconciled to God. The Priests who served in the literal temple before the cross were merely looking forward to the ultimate High Priest who would come and fulfill this office. The perfect tabernacle replaced the imperfect tabernacle made by man. So despite some theologian's protests, after the death of Christ, the veil was no longer in that literal temple building located in Jerusalem because it was no longer the Holy Place. The only veil separating man from the holy at this time is in Christ's flesh, and it is represented in the New Covenant Church dispensation.
- "For Christ is not entered into the Holy Places made with hands, which are a figure of the True, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:"
A new and living (as opposed to inanimate) way to enter into the Holiest Holy Place! Christ is now the way into the Holy Place. The physical veil in the physical Temple was a type of Christ's flesh, which type now has been fulfilled by the anti-type. Thus the New Covenant veil was not a bit of cloth in a temple building in A.D. 70, it was in the body of Christ, and represented by the New Testament Church. Clearly, that literal temple building had no more significance "in prophesy" after they pierced His flesh, because it was fulfilled (completed) in His death. The literal prefigured God's elect would enter into the holiest through the work of the ultimate High Priest, who sacrificed Himself.
- "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
- by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His Flesh!"
Any prophesy by Christ of action in a Holy Temple (after the cross) has to be either speaking of Christ Himself, the believer's body, or the Church. Those are the only Holy Temples' of God that qualify for prophesy in the New Testament period. God would no more prophesy of a fulfilled Temple building "as if" it were unfulfilled, than He would prophesy of Elijah coming again. Because that prophesy (which typified John the Baptist) had already been completed. The whole idea of this prophecy being of the physical Jewish Temple is fatally flawed. To continue prophecy of Old Testament shadows would imply that they are not yet fulfilled. These structures commanded built by God were examples for us. And with their fulfillment, they cannot come back.
- "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself."
The tabernacle made with hands was merely a "figure" or representation of the true tabernacle Christ. Only the sacrifice of Christ ended the significance of animal sacrifices therein. Of course I'm well aware that there are many misguided souls prophesying about literal sacrifices that they surmise are going to be practiced again in a literal temple in Jerusalem. But I'm sorry to say that they do not have a firm grasp of the scriptures, nor of God's view of eschatology. They certainly do not understand God's concept of fulfilled "types" in scripture. i.e., it would be confusion to teach such future prophecy. And God is not the author of confusion, man is. The only Holy Temple in new testament times where abomination could stand, is the external or visible Covenant Church.
- "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
- Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;"
So what is the Abomination of Desolation? As stated before, since abomination cannot stand in Christ or the body of a true believer (for God dwells there and Satan cannot co-habitant him), it can only be the Corporate or Covenant Church. The very same Holy Temple that "God says" is built with alive stones signified by Gold, Silver and Precious Jewels (true believers), and also wood, hay and stubble (professing believers). This is the Only Holy Temple (1st Corinthians 3:10-13) which qualifies in the New Covenant age for this prophecy. The physical Temple of A.D. 70 was neither "Holy," nor any longer a "Temple" of God. The abomination the prophet Daniel and Matthew spoke about as resident, was of the Holy Temple after Christ's death.
Here we see the mirror verse of Matthew chapter twenty-four, and God tells us this abomination spoken of by Daniel is standing where it "ought not," or where it "should not be standing." This is the same as the verse in Matthew chapter twenty-four saying it's standing in the holy place. That's where abomination ought not, or should not be standing. And again, God instructs the saints that when they see it, they should flee to the mountains. This is the over spreading or wing of abomination Daniel prophesied about. A great spiritual harlotry or spiritual whoredom that would take place near the end of the world and spread over the Churches. In Church history, it was often spoken of as "the Apostasy," because of its illustration in 2nd Thessalonians chapter two.
- "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."
2nd Thessalonians 2:3
This also is the same event spoken of as the abomination standing where it should not. It is the man of sin, or literally, lawless man ruling in the Holy Temple of God. The antichrist is the spirit of Satan (1st John 4:3), and through man he comes to rule in God's house. The lawless man, or man of sin, is the antithesis of the man of God. The man of sin is anyone who Satan rules over and uses to accomplish his purposes, which is to rule in the Church as if he were God. What God is illustrating here is the falling away, or literally an [apostasia] or separating from God by man. This time was foretold, and its period is near the second coming of Christ, when man will be deceived by Satan and forsake God's laws. Sinful man will sit or rule in the Spirit of Satan in the Holy Temple as if he was God. In other words, Satan has subjugated man in the Church to forsake God's word and judge by what seems right in his own eyes. The authority of God will be forsaken for the authority of man, led by the spirit of Antichrist.
- "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that 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."
This principle of God is unchanged. Abominations in God's house will not go unpunished, God will cut them off and leave them desolate. Christ pointed out to His disciples that this prophecy of Daniel concerning the "abomination of desolation" was a future event. The only question is, how far into the future was it. I believe that a serious and studious examination of the Abomination of Desolation will bring us to no other conclusion but that it speaks concerning the troubled times just before Christ's second advent. And it speaks of man's transgressions (lawlessness) in the Church or Holy Temple, which will leave it desolate.
- "He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
- I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD."
Here we see quite plainly that this abomination that makes desolate comes forth from the little horn. When we discover when the little horn comes forth, we can discern the timing of the abomination of desolation to give the "Lord's sanctuary" to be trodden under foot. Some theologians say that this speaks of Alexander the great, when his power was broken. But clearly that is an untenable conclusion, because Christ Himself speaks of this prophecy of Daniel, as future. Careful consideration reveals that the "little horn" refers to the power of Satan to rule a little season when he is loosed near the end of the world/age. It is the time that he goes up against the camp of the saints (revelation 20:3, 7, 9) causing great tribulation. In Revelation chapter 20 God says Satan is to be loosed a "little season." This is the power (horn=power) to work a little time. That's what the "little horn" symbolizes, his little power, or power for a little season or time. And clearly what he comes against is the beloved city. That is what Daniel speaks of as the sanctuary being trodden under foot. So the abomination that makes desolate is at the end of the world (Daniel 12:8-10). The Host is Christ, and the Sanctuary is the Church or Holy Temple wherein the Host dwells. This again is showing the abomination standing in the Holy place, a transgression (lawlessness) in God's House that the wise "shall see" and understand that they must flee these transgressions. And the end of the matter is Christ's second coming on the clouds of glory. All scripture points to this one inescapable conclusion. Again, look at the declaration in Daniel chapter 9.
- "And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
- And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.
- Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his 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 practiced, 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?"
Christ confirmed the Covenant. In the Hebrew that word translated confirm is literally to "made strong" or strengthen the Covenant. And He did that by His death on the cross (Hebrews 9:17). This is the establishment of the New Covenant, and so we know that the abomination must take place after the cross. Again, this is supporting Biblically that the spreading of this abomination will leave it desolate. And at this point the oblation, or the gift and sacrifice, ceases. Not the literal giving of gifts or the physical sacrifice of animals as some have supposed, but the gift of salvation, and the sacrifice for sin ceases.
- "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 Abomination He shall make it desolate, even UNTIL THE CONSUMMATION, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
The sacrifice for sin in view is speaking of the chance for salvation, not that there can be no more physical sacrifices in the Holy Temple. When sacrifice and offering ceases, it is speaking of the cessation of the Spirit of God in the midst of the corporate Church. Or as 2nd Thessalonians 2 says, when He that letteth (restraineth) is removed from the midst of the Church. Christ is He that restrains iniquity, and that is in the midst of the Churches. When He is removed from the midst, iniquity abounds and the love of God grows cold. There remains no more sacrifice and offering.
- "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,"
This agrees perfectly with the rise of abomination in God's house. And note carefully that Daniel says that it is not until the midst of the covenant week that He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. Thus it is not at the beginning of the week when Christ confirmed or gave the covenant strength by His death, it is in the midst of this covenant week that sacrifice and offering ceases. Consequently, the second half of the covenant week is in this time of abomination that makes desolate. This is the hour or time of darkness, wherein no man can work because the gift and daily (continual) sacrifice and offering has ceased. Moreover, Daniel 9:27 declares very plainly that this "end of sacrifice and offering" lasts until the consummation. In other words, this abomination that makes desolate will last until the end of days, and until the second advent of Christ when all things will be completed or consummated. This is also why we read in Revelation chapter seven that the judgment that God will loose upon the earth, could not be done "until" all the servants of God had first been sealed in their foreheads. In other words, not until all Israel has been sealed (saved or secured) can the sacrifice and gift cease. For the sacrifice and oblation was for this sealing of the tribes of Israel. They are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and that is synonymous with being baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is only after all Israel has been sealed that Satan can be loosed a short season as the little horn "as judgment" upon the unfaithful. When this happens, the desolation or ruin of the Holy Temple is inevitable.
God's Holy Sanctuary on earth "after the cross" is not a building made with hands in Jerusalem, it is the New Covenant Church. It is important to understand that the Old Testament temple "cannot" be the Holy Temple of God in the New Testament dispensation. That is an impossibility. After it's veil was torn from top to bottom by God, signifying it's fall, it became insignificant in prophesy. Now the Holy Temple of God is the assembly of saints who are called Christ. We are Built a Holy Temple individually (our body), but also collectively, as the assembly of Christ. Thus, where two or three are gathered together in Christ's name, He is there "in the midst" of them (Matthew 18:20; Revelation 1:13, 1:20). That is the external Covenant Church, the New Testament habitation of God.
- "And arms shall stand on His part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of His strength, and shall take away the [u]daily[/u], and they shall place the Abomination that maketh desolate.
Rather than speculate, we see clearly that collectively, the Church is built together, a habitation of God, and is the New Testament Holy Temple, not any building in the middle east. And what if some should come in among us that are spurious? That would not change the fact that this is still the Holy Temple of God, "unless" the whole Church were overrun of those of Satan. Until this spiritual house becomes an abomination unto God by it's lawlessness, it is still the Holy Temple of God where we reside. For no external (local) covenant Church is perfect. There are unbelievers in every Church. But when the time comes when we see the abomination of the man of sin stand in this holy Place, then we are to flee from this place, spiritually called Judaea, so that we are not partaking of those sins. The Old Testament congregation was called the sanctuary because it represented the body of Christ. The New Testament congregation is the sanctuary because it now represents the body of Christ. This is that sanctuary that Daniel prophesied of. This Church is the corporate sanctuary that becomes so polluted by man's abominations that it will be left Desolate.
- "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an Holy Temple in the Lord,
- in whom ye also are builded together for Habitation of God through the Spirit."
Again, in the prophecy of Daniel concerning the abomination of desolation that Christ spoke of, the daily is taken away. The "daily" is a synonym for the light of salvation instituted in the ceremonial law that was commanded to burn daily or "continually" in Israel. For example:
- "And from the time that the daily shall be taken away, and the Abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days."
This word translated "continually" is the Hebrew word [tamiyd], and is the exact same word translated "daily," that is prophesied taken away in Daniel. It signifies the taking away of the light from the Church, the "true" continual sacrifice and light of the world. The Church is established to be this lamp that spreads the light of Christ to the world continually. And when this is taken away, it is symbolized by this daily or continual ceasing.
- "Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually."
1st John 1:5
Take God from the Church, and you take away the light of the Church that was commanded to burn continually. Take away the light and you take away sacrifice and offering. You take away all restraint of sin and you have lawlessness. You then have abomination standing in God's Holy Place. In 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2, God speaks about this time and says He that restrains iniquity (the Spirit of Christ) in the Holy Temple is taken out of the way (literal Greek, midst). It is the job of the Holy Spirit to restrain iniquity by being a light that shines in darkness. When He is taken from the midst of the Holy Temple, the man of sin replaces the man of God in the Churches. Thus man will rule in the Holy Place of God's house "as if" he were God himself. And this is the abomination that makes this place desolate. But God assures us in Daniel 12:11 that those saints who patiently wait upon the Lord in this time of tribulation, are the blessed. They shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, and they shall not be as those who are deceived by the spirit of Antichrist. They endure by the Spirit of Christ "in them." These are those spoken of as blessed, who will wait and endure to the consummation because they have root in Christ, who strengthens them.
- "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."
What is in view in these prophetic illustrations is that the unfaithful congregation will fall away or apostatize, separating themselves from God by their lawlessness in the sanctuary. When God's people turn away from Him, he assigns to them the picture of spiritual harlotry (as an adulterous wife who would go after another men). By man ruling in the sanctuary instead of God, he has gone from the man of God to the man of sin. From the Church ruled by the lawful man of obedience to it being ruled by the lawless man of disobedience. This is man ruled by the spirit of Satan rather than of God.
The spirit of disobedience is the spirit of the man of sin, and by it he rules lawlessly in the Holy Temple. This is an abomination in the Holy Place. This is spiritual harlotry. It is the same as God pictured the Old Testament congregation of Israel as a whore when they were disobedient to Him. e.g., as God spoke about Jerusalem saying:
- "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
This is the spiritual harlotry of God's people in their disobedience. It is equated with a woman serving other men, rather than her husband. Likewise, the Church, as the bride of Christ, in following after the words of men rather than the word of God, is committing spiritual harlotry. The Church that forsakes God's laws and lusts after the traditions of men is spiritually just like a woman without virtue. A woman who is married to one man, but then goes after the words of another. Hence, the term whore and harlotry that God uses for His unfaithful congregation (Ezekiel 16:2, 16:8, 16:15-17, 16:22-28). In this imagery, the congregation is practicing spiritual fornication by seeking another head to rule as her authority. And this is an abomination to God.
- "But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!"
Rather than ask, "What is the Abomination of Desolation," after a circumspect study of the issue, we should ask, what is its judgment of the lawless Church that has spiritually become as Babylon. In the Church's unfaithfulness, even likened unto a whore, what is her end? And the answer is that God will send an army against her to burn her with fire and make her spiritually naked. Nakedness in scripture is a synonym for being unsaved by not having a 'sacrificial' covering for her sins. It is the imagery of a woman lacking the covering robe of Christ's righteousness. When the daily is removed, this harlot will be brought to desolation because she will then lie in darkness. There will be no free gift and no daily or continual sacrifice because this Church will have had it's candlestick removed out of it's place (Revelation 2:5). A place where there is no oil for the lamps. For a Church that will not repent of its lawlessness is a Church destined for desolation. It is written judgment must, "begin at My Sanctuary," and "Judgment must begin at the house of God." God Judged Israel (Old Testament congregation) for the abominations that she practiced in going after other gods, so God will judge the New Testament congregation for those same indiscretions. There is no respect of persons with God. The Gentiles are not able to boast against Jews, for they are branches that can be broken off from the "same" Olive Tree Israel as the Jews were. i.e., the New Testament Church can go into spiritual harlotry and apostasy the same as the Old Testament congregation did. Because the visible Church is a lot different from the indivisible Church which cannot fail. And this slide into abomination will bring the judgment of God. We are no better than Israel was, and like those of Israel, we stand only by Grace, that no one can say it cannot happen to this people.
- "and upon her forehead was a name written, mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots and Abominations of the earth."
Shall the churches today also pass their children through the fire in "spiritual idolatry" and think that the Lord God will not require it? If they believe that, then they are clearly delusional. The Lord will judge, and He will not hear the wicked, and He will not give water or bread. He will instead feed this people with wormwood. He will give them blood to drink, because they are guilty of the blood of the saints by their generation, and are thus worthy as of the same family of which it shall be required. For Christ's sake, the saints are killed all the day long. In the true understanding of these prophecies, the Lord's servants are those who will not worship the Beast, will not bow down to the image of this spirit. And those false Christians who are lawless will hate those saints because of this. The faithfulness of God's elect to the truth of scripture torments those who don't want to hear of obedience. Thus in their delusion, their plan is to silence the witness of the faithful Church and end the torment (Rev 11:10). Their methodology is to kill the witnesses in the Church by trampling the word under foot as something worthless. In the prophecy, their abominations will flood or overspread the congregation that there is a great famine of hearing the word of God. This will ultimately leave them desolate, just as it did Israel. Only a remnant of the Church, those who have root in the law of Christ, will endure to the end. And only this election shall be saved. The rest will fall as the great harlot Babylon fell, and shall not rise again.
- "Wherefore say ye unto the House of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? And commit ye Whoredoms after the manner of their Abominations?
And so we see that in simple terms, the abomination of desolation is the prophesied detestable (abominable) thing unto God, standing in the Holy Temple. And in this context Christ warns us that there will be many false Christs and false prophets abounding. He warns that their deception will be so great that it would even deceive the elect (chosen), if that were possible. Satan is that great deceiver who will fool many, and it is important to understand that it is in "this context" that many are deceived and will depart from the faith, and where iniquity abounds, and when the saints hated, and the love of God grows cold. These are the signs of apostasy as false teachings are promulgated in the Churches. This is the abomination that will ultimately leave the Holy Temple desolate. And it is not insignificant that Christ tells us that those who discern the signs (Matthew 16:3) of this apostasy will understand and flee this abomination. In fact, in the very verse in question, we are alerted that this requires understanding.
[anaginosko noeo], or he that reads should understand. In other words, the reader should not just superficially read this, but should "think this out" that he rightly divides or understands what he is reading. As a workman he should be studious to show himself approved of God, rightly proportioning or judging the word of truth. Matthew 24 is exhorting us to examine this carefully to perceive or comprehend exactly what is meant by this phrase. Christ made this remark to direct the attention of the reader particularly to the meaning of the prophecy of Daniel. We should read the words of Daniel the prophets with the gift of spiritual understanding, not just as a historical narrative. We should discern the full extent of what Christ was talking about in addressing abominations standing where they should not. We should understand the symbols prefiguring the spiritual desolation of the last days during the great manifestation of the spirit of antichrist. We should understand God says this time of great deception and falsehoods is greater than the world had ever seen before, and greater than the world "will" ever see again. Again, A.D. 70 doesn't qualify. The reason it will be greater than it ever will be again is because it occurs preceding the Lord's second advent when Satan is loosed specifically for that purpose. Satan wasn't loosed in A.D. 70. This loosing will be a time of trial or testing before Christ returns on the clouds of glory, as the context of Matthew 24 also shows. It is a time of trouble and of great trials and tribulation. A time of confusion and deception to those who refuse to receive the love of truth. Those who have an earnest desire to do the will of God have the love of God and thus receive the love of truth. They are those who are watching (Matthew 24:42-44) and so "see" the signs of this abomination. Those not watching are those who are spiritually lazy, lawless, snared by traps that the false prophets have set. Spiritually speaking, those who see this abomination shall flee to the Mountain Retreat. It is their Spiritual mount Zion, the habitation of God, from where their help will come from.
- "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:"
There are many suppositions, theories, and private interpretations about what the abomination of desolation could be. It is espoused to be everything from what secular and unreliable historians like Josephus tells us occurred in A.D. 70, to the rebuilding of a literal temple in the middle east before it's subsequent desolation. But these interpretations all look to outside sources as the arbiter of truth and fulfillment. They are extrabiblical interpretations, rather than Biblical interpretations. God has postulated that the "Bible alone," through the Spirit of Christ, is the interpreter of scripture. When that is not the method of interpretation, you will have unbiblical, inconsistent, contradictory, and just plain unjustifiable interpretations. The only Biblically validated understanding of abomination standing in the Holy Temple, on the New Testament side of the cross, is abomination in the "Church." Comparing scripture with scripture we see that it is the New Testament Temple, and it's abomination identical to previous abominations in the house of God. We're not looking for a new form of abomination, but the same old abominations that have plagued God's house from the start. Abominations characterized by man's lawlessness or sin, where he is exalting man as ruler in God's house, rather than God. By making his own laws and forsaking the law of God, he has gone from the man of law to the man of lawlessness. Just as those before him who brought their abominations into God's house.
Interpreting God's word, by God's word, we need look no further than the examples in scripture to discern what "God means" by the prophesy of abomination in the Holy Place. The Children of God bring in damnable heresies into His house, making a house of prayer, a spiritual den of thieves. When the spirit of antichrist corrupts the people, they pollute God's Holy Place, and this is the same as it's always been. For man has always been a backsliding being. Sound hermeneutics is the system of comparing scripture with scripture. It is not in a system that defines God by secular historians, the fate of nations, national, political, economical or current worldly events. We come to understand by the Spirit through familiarity with the scriptures.
- "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."
This is the abominations in God's house. We need no exotic or political interpretations, we have the revelation of the Spirit, in the word. As there were in those days, there are today those who are uncircumcised in heart, and who have compromised and forsaken the laws of God. They judge by what seems right in their own eyes. And the modern Church not only tolerates these people, but it justifies this unequal yoking in the name of ecumenism, Christian fellowship, peace, and even love and compassion. This is the Holy Temple of God coming under attack by spiritual and wicked forces in high places. The camp of the saints is the only Holy city that qualifies as the place of God that can be polluted by abominations in the New Testament. Thus, when we see it, we should act accordingly.
- "In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations."
What is the Abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place? By the preponderance of evidence in scripture, the setting up of the abomination of desolation will be the beginning of the end. This event, which will cause God's elect to flee from the adulterous Church, precedes the return of Christ and our gathering together to meet Him in the air. The reason that the Church is brought to desolation is because of its abominable nature and its unfaithfulness. The growing apostasy in the Church will cause the house of God to be divided (mark3:25) and overcome by those with the spirit of antichrist. God expressly told us of these things before.
1st Timothy 4:1-2
When the people of the Churches take heed to seducing spirits of antichrist (1st John 4:3), and depart from obedience to the landmark doctrines of God, they become men of lawlessness. And this is the establishment of the sinful man ruling in the Holy Temple of God. The pastors are no longer teaching faithfully, and causes the Church to commit spiritual fornication in going after false doctrines. This is what will ultimately bring the house to desolation.
- "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
- Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
You cannot have a house where the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of antichrist dwell in peace. Because it is a house divided, and it must fall. The Church is to be the light of the world, and if that light were darkness, then the lawful man of God must flee from it. And this is how the unfaithful Church will fall. The lawless man, moved by the spirit of antichrist, comes professing the name of Christ. Yet his actions gives him away to the elect, whom he spiritually silences as the true witnesses (Revelation 11:7) in the Churches. They are thus rendered symbolically dead in the streets. The wolves in sheep's clothing will have deceived so greatly that the true doctrines and testimonies are silenced in the Church. The people there hate the faithful witness, which is akin to murder, because their faithfulness to the doctrines of Christ is like torment to these people. By rebuking and exhorting the Church to keep the laws of God faithfully, they offend many because those under Satan's deception don't want to hear of obedience to God's laws. They want to be ruled in accordance with the imaginations of their own heart, "as if" they were their own gods. They don't want God's word alone to be the authority, and so they silence the believer's testimony. This is spiritually speaking, killing them that they cannot work for Christ.
- "But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth".
The testimony of the witnesses (Acts 1:8) who received power of God is not finished until the time of the end, when all Israel has been sealed and Christ will return. When the faithful witnesses of the Church have finished their task of witnessing to the world, those led of that spirit, Satan, will silence them in the Church. The city where our Lord was crucified was Jerusalem, which again illustrates this is speaking about the Church. Note here that this city had become "Spiritually" as Sodom and Egypt. Again, a clear illustration that it was in apostasy.
- "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
- And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."
Jesus placed an extraordinary emphasis on the prophecy of the abomination, instructing that those who read should also "understand." This alerts us that Matthew 24 must be looked at carefully, in the light of other testimonies and the prophecy of Daniel. This is the only way that we will understand what God (not man) means by it. This is the same type language promoting understanding as can be read in Revelation chapter 13. There God says, "Let he who hath wisdom and understanding, count the number of the beast." Again, God is alerting us that this is not an easy prophecy to understand, so we have to understand this with the wisdom and understanding given of Christ. Certainly our finite minds are not able to interpret the infinite mind of God, thus scripture must interpret scripture. Let those who have the mind of Christ (1st Corinthians 2:14-16) through the Spirit of Christ, understand. By allowing the word of God to define and explain itself, we have the understanding God exhorts us to. Popular authors, political interpretations, or carnal and worldly ideas about the nation of Israel cannot be allowed to mislead us. Even if those interpretation "appear" right, appearances are deceiving (Mark 13:22; 2nd Corinthians 10:7; Revelation 13:11). Our understanding will come from the authority of scripture in the wisdom of the mind of Christ, as His Spirit witnesses with ours (Romans 8:16). We cannot do or follow whatever "seems" right in our own eyes. We follow, and are in obedience to, the authority of the word of God.
It is truly amazing that so critical an expression as, "abomination of desolation," has been so misinterpreted. Because these are words that have been used repeatedly and extensively in scripture. Abomination is almost exclusively used in scripture to signify "God's people" going after the false gods of the unbelievers. Likewise, Desolation is an unambiguous word. It illustrates their ruin and devastation. So why have these obvious truths been so neglected and ignored in many theological circles in favor of a political or physical understanding of the phrase? Could it be that the Biblically validated conclusion contradicts much of Judaic and Premillennial Church tradition? Nevertheless, the fact is, the Holy Temple after the cross is Christ, those in Christ, and the assembly of those saints (Church). Clearly, the stones of the Holy Temple were not in the building destroyed in A.D. 70. For in A.D. 70, the holy Temple, the Holy Place, the Jerusalem of God, was the Church.
Head stone for a rebuilding of the Holy Temple, not the pile of bricks destroyed in A.D. 70. The New Testament Holy Temple could not have been that building, nor have God call it a Holy Place where abomination would make it desolate at that time. It already was left desolate in God's eyes by the death of Christ. And the rebuilding of the Holy Temple had already commenced. If we read and understand as Christ instructs, then we must come to the knowledge that earthly Jerusalem was left desolate of God at the cross, not years later in A.D. 70. That is to say, according to the Biblical narrative. The judgment of God (blindness in part) had already occurred, and there is not a single word in scripture about a second judgment in A.D. 70. Yes, there are a few scriptures "privately interpreted" to mean that, but once examined in the light of the whole Bible, they don't hold up under that light. Christ spoke not of a temple (which wasn't of God or Holy) made of physical stones, He spoke of abomination in a Holy place. He spoke of something far more important than a pile of physical bricks falling in the middle east. He spoke of those who were spiritually bricks, and how many would be deceived and be brought to desolation. The countless examples of such judgments of God for such abominations are illustrated vividly in Old Testament Israel.
- "He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
- And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?"
When the saints flee to the mountains, we must interpret that by authority of scripture as God intended, not by secular records or by biased historians like Josephus. At this time of trial, the careless will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. Because they are deceived and are unaware that the Holy Temple is being defiled. Satan has deceived them so that they are spiritually "marked" as being part of the Beast, his kingdom who bow down to serve his likeness or image.
Here we see the characteristics of this time of the abomination of desolation. Many that are disobedient to break God's covenant are being deceived by flatteries. They pollute and profane the sanctuary, unconcerned with doctrine. In other words, by the pastors and teachers being praised for their unlawfulness, and then representing the Church favorably when they transgress, that is the Church being corrupted by flatteries. Pastors telling them things that they want to hear, instead of the truth.
- "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.
- And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
- And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days."
They are in essence calling for sacrifice and offering to cease, causing the Holy One of Israel to cease from before them. They don't want to hear from the man of law, they want to hear the man of lawlessness. And the pastors give them what they want, and this is the flattery of abomination to God. The Church wants to hear that they can be saved by free will, that divorce is not a sin to God, that abortion can often be justified, that they can command God, that they can have power of tongues, that they can mix the world with the Church. They want to hear that our own faith "in" Christ saves us, not the faith of Christ. They want to hear that children are not really a blessing, but a burden. They want to hear that women can rule as pastors in the Church, that an earthly kingdom of Christ is coming, that the salvation of Israel was merely postponed, etc., etc. The rulers flatter the Church by telling them that all these abominations are not unlawful to God, they are simply non-essential doctrines. They prophesy smooth things, signs of salvation that are lies rather than the truth. Because that is what the unfaithful "want" to hear. In the prophesy of the man of lawlessness (sin) in the Holy Temple of 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2, God warns of this spirit of antichrist that deceives in the Temple.
- "That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
- Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
- Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us."
2nd Thessalonians 2:9-11
It is for this reason that God will judge the Church and bring it to desolation. What many Christians fail to fully understand is that Satan is the great deceiver. And if everyone could "see" this and knew his methods, then he certainly wouldn't be the great deceiver! That's the whole point of God describing him as this Deceiver, Liar, Seducer, Flatterer, etc. These are the deceptive ways that the spirit of antichrist comes in and fools people of the Church into thinking that the doctrines that they hold are the truth. Satan comes subtly as he did with Eve. He comes with a doctrine (1st Timothy 4:1) so mimicking the true gospel, that it would even deceive the elect of God, if that were possible. The "Man of Sin" is not Satan incarnate, he is not a supernatural being, he is not one political man to be born sometime in the future and rule, he is the man of transgression of the law. When the man of sin comes, he will come by great multitudes. Literally, the Greek phrase is "man of lawlessness" or lawless man. It's not a single person anymore than the man of righteousness is a single person. The man of lawlessness is antithetical to the man of lawfulness. e.g.,
- "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
- And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
- And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:"
- "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
- And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
- And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
- Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
The lawless man puts away his wife for any cause. The lawful man does not break the covenant of marriage, for he knows it is no longer two, but one flesh until death do them part. That's an example of the difference between the man of lawlessness led of the spirit of antichrist, and the man of lawfulness led by the Spirit of Christ. One is the dichotomy of the other. One looks to his own understanding of the word, his gratification, and needs, and the other looks to God's Word for understanding, God's will, and his need to please God in obedience. Everyone cannot and will not see the wiles of the devil in his evil and deceitful ways. Because he comes posing as a minister of righteousness to deceive.
2nd Corinthians 11:13-15
This is the way Satan comes revealing himself. And even more so in the latter times when God says He that retrains iniquity shall be taken out of the midst (2nd Thessalonians 2:7). Then will the elect see Satan come in the full power of the spirit of antichrist to deceive and overcome. Then will the man of sin rule in God's place.
- "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
- And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
- Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
The end of the matter is that those who receive Satan's spiritual mark (signifying their servitude), are those who are polluting the sanctuary of God with abominations that make desolate. They are the disobedient who cause the gift and offering to cease. It is their unfaithfulness that brings the Holy Temple to desolation. This is what the scriptures are "signifying" in telling the reader to understand. When you see this abomination, be aware that it is apostasy in the Church that will bring it to desolation. It's not a caveat against slaughtered pigs in the physical Jewish Temple, it's not a caveat against Jewish women who are with child, and it's not a caveat against Titus and the Romans. We are to understand this prophecy in accordance with sound Biblical hermeneutics. In their zeal for holding to Church tradition, so many Christians neglect these most basic of principles in proper interpretation. Sola Scriptura is simply the interpretation of God's word, by God's word, not by tradition. It's not an interpretation based on what appears to be right in my own observations of the world, nor of history. It's interpretation from comparing what is written in the Holy Bible, with what else is written in the Holy Bible. Because there is nothing new under the sun that we can't understand it in light of God's Word. The Bible is that which is profitable for doctrine, reproof, and instruction in righteousness. Popular books may titillate and intrigue, but they are neither authoritative, nor divinely inspired. And Church tradition is not the deciding factor, and neither are historians, no matter how faithful they may appear to be. The Word of God is the final authority on what the abomination of Desolation is, so let the reader both hear and understand what the Spirit says to the Churches concerning it.
The signs of Church degradation will be there for faithful Christians to "see" this abomination in God's house, and know that it's desolation is nigh. But as Christ said, we must be watching.
There is nothing more sacred to an honest mind than truth. It's true Christ will come as a thief in the night, but "not" for the faithful who are watching (1st Thessalonians 5:2-4 ). If we are not (spiritually speaking) watching, then our house will be broken up and the Lord will come in judgment upon us when we think not. But if we watch and pray, we will be accounted worthy to escape all these things that will befall the house of God, and to stand undefiled and righteous before God. The signs Christ spoke of in Matthew 24 are the spiritual precursors of His return. They are not people physically starving, or predictions of physical wars, which things we have with us always, and thus could never be signs of anything but normality. The signs are of spiritual declension where the love of God grows cold and iniquity (sin or lawlessness) abounds. Unbiblical and extrabiblical interpretations about an alleged Holy Temple in A.D. 70 have no validation in scripture. It's validated by secular historians "as if" that is a legitimate replacement for authority of scripture. But we cannot let indolence, tradition and bias cloud our love of the truth. The opinions, interpretations and suppositions of men cannot be allowed to conceal the truth of scripture concerning things that were, are, and will be. Eschatology is simply the revelation of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ of the last things. It entails Christ's promises, death, resurrection, our assurance and endurance, our hope, and His coming again. And thus it should never be looked upon as a non-essential. Consequently, the abomination of desolation is not an unimportant side note, it is the declaration of Christ, which He obviously wants us to read and understand. The Abomination of Desolation is the beginning of the end, and God does not give warning just to take up space in the Bible. For judgment must begin at the house of God. Are we really watching and ready? Will we be able to recognize abomination standing in the holy place, or will we chalk it up to a few weeds in the field? Do we really understand, or are we deceived into thinking Christ spoke of the relatively insignificant happenings in A.D. 70? Those are the questions that we need to be prepared to answer, and answer honestly and authoritatively.
- " Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
- But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
- Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
May the Lord who is Gracious above all, grant us the wisdom and knowledge in wide open eyes to see when abomination stands in the Holy place. May He bless us in the study of His Holy Word, and guide us into a clear understanding that His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are your ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8). We pray that God will grant us sound judgment in the mind of Christ, by His Word, through His Holy Spirit.
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Copyright ©1998 Tony Warren
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