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Before we examine the final Abomination of Desolation, let’s make a quick historical review to early abominations that led to Jewish desolations:
The first Abomination of Desolation
In Jeremiah 17, the prophet is told to prophesy upon Israel that if they would honor God’s seventh-day Sabbath, their city would remain forever (ch. 17:19-26). On the other hand, if they would not keep the Sabbath day holy, God would allow their city to be desolated. “But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then I will kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched” (v. 27).
Sadly, the Israelites chose to continue breaking God’s Sabbath and thus brought their own destruction and captivity. This led to the first destruction of the city and temple in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar.
The second Abomination of Desolation
After their release from Babylonian captivity and coming back and rebuilding the city and temple, the Jewish leaders erected many rules to protect them from repeating the sins that had led to their bondage. The fourth commandment’s seventh-day Sabbath became a special object of amendment. Over 500 rules concerning Sabbath keeping eventually was formed. Sadly, this only produced a system of legalistic empty religion.
Jesus said that in spite of their apparent religiosity they had only a superficial adherence to the Law “Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men… full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition… making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered” (Mark 7:6-13).
Jesus warned them, “For 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 19:41-44). He mourned, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:37,38).
As a result of not responding to Jesus’ warnings to turn from their abominations, the Jewish temple was to be desolated. This prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Roman armies of Titus burned the city and temple to the ground.
Because Israel rejected the Messiah they lost their calling. Jesus told them, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43).
Who would be the new nation to receive the kingdom of God and bring forth the fruits thereof? The apostle Peter gives the answer in a letter to the early Christian converts “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9,10). In the new dispensation, God bestows upon the converted Christians all the privileges and promises that had been made to the literal seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29). The Christian church becomes the new temple of God (Romans 2;28,29; Ephesians 2:11-13; 19-22; and 1 Peter 2:5).
The Final Abomination of Desolation
It is in the light of this New Testament principle of spiritual Israel that Daniel speaks of the abomination of desolation the third and final time. These references can be found in Daniel 8:13; 11:31; and 12:11. Prophetic students realize that these verses predict the rise of the Papacy. It is a fact of history that the Papacy brought into the Christian church the practices of paganism. Sun worship, was the universal religion of the pagan Roman Empire and it was observed on the first day of the week. In an effort to unite Christians and Pagans, “Constantine the Great made a law for the whole empire (321 A.D.) that Sunday should be kept as a day of rest in all cities and towns” Encyclopedia Americana, art. Sabbath states.
The Bible, in Daniel 7:25, predicted that the Papacy will change God’s law “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
A. How has the Papacy tried to change God’s laws?
In three different ways: In her catechisms she has (1) omitted the second commandment against veneration of images, and (2) shortened the fourth (Sabbath) commandment from 94 words to just eight. The Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) clearly specifies Sabbath as the seventh day of the week. As changed by the papacy, the commandment reads: “Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.” Written thus, it can refer to any day. And, finally, she (3) divided the tenth commandment into two commandments.
B. How has the Papacy attempted to change God’s times?
In two ways: (1) She has changed the time of the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day. (2) She has also changed God’s “timing” for the beginning and closing hours of the Sabbath. Instead of counting the Sabbath day from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night as God mandates (Leviticus 23:32), she adopted the pagan Roman custom of counting the day from midnight Saturday night to midnight Sunday night. God predicted these “changes” would be attempted by the beast, or Antichrist.
And most Protestant churches accede to the apostasy by continuing the practice of abominations that have their roots firmly fixed in ancient pagan religions, which were established to destroy God’s truth.
What is the sign that will tell us when the final desolation is near?
In Luke 21:20, Jesus told His disciples, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” When the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem, it was a sign that most of the city’s leaders and inhabitants had filled their cup of iniquity and God’s protection has left them. To the Christians living in the city, this was to be a sign that Jerusalem would soon suffer God’s judgment. As soon as the first opportunity arose, these Christians were to “flee to the mountains” (v. 21). In 66 A.D. when Cestius, the Roman general, surrounded the city, the Christians knew the promised sign had arrived and the time had come to flee. At their first opportunity to escape they did so, and not one Christian died in the horrible destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Just as God gave the early Christians a sign of when to flee Jerusalem, so He has given us a sign. He has made it possible for every Christian to know when this world’s probationary hour is nearing its close.
In Revelation 13 and 14 John records a list of omens that will tell us just how close we are to the end. The sign that will show this nation has filled its cup of iniquity will be when it makes an “image” to the Papacy (Revelation 13:15) by uniting church and state. How much more neatly could this be effected than by the passage of a national Sunday law commanding everyone to honor a pagan day of worship? Such an event will be a direct fulfillment of Revelation 13:15-17, and provide assurance that the end of this earth’s time is quickly approaching.
When the churches will apostatize in their abominations to such a degree that they will enact legislation of a religious law which displaces God’s seventh day Sabbath with a pagan Sabbath, it will be time to leave the cities, knowing that a time of trouble will be soon coming.
In His service,