How do Bible scholars explain the abomination of desolation?


By BibleAsk Team

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), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains”.

Matthew 24:15, 16

In this verse, Jesus was responding to this question from His disciples: “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and f the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). Christ then spoke of this abomination and said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as had not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Verse 21).

Some scholars have identified Christ’s reference as a fulfilled prophecy – when Antiochus Epiphanes stopped the temple sacrifices between 168 and 165 BC. They believe the pig he offered on the alter was the abomination. But this can’t be the case because that event happened more than 100 years before Jesus’ birth – and Jesus put this event in the future. Others see the abomination as the temple in Jerusalem overthrown by the antichrist.

The truth is that Jesus pointed us to the book of Daniel for the answer. There, we find three aspects of this abomination:

The first involved the destruction of the temple in Daniel’s time.

The second relates to the desolation in Jesus’ time (involving the second temple).

The third speaks of the abomination of desolation at the end of the time ( which involves the whole church).

The first abomination happened when Nebuchadnezzar took the vessels of the house of God and carried them to the temple of a false god (Daniel 1:1,2). Then, Solomon’s temple was burned to the ground.

The second abomination relates to the time when Jesus expressed His displeasure of the evils that took place in God’s temple. This led to the destruction of the second temple by the Romans in Ad 70. This is why, when Jesus left that temple for the last time and saw with prophetic eyes its coming demolition, He said, “See Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23: 38). Jesus spoke of the destruction of the temple, when the Romans would not leave one stone upon another (Matthew 24: 1,2), He said, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her” (Luke 21:20,21).

The third and final desolation, spoken by Daniel (8:13; 11:31;12:11), speaks of the rise of a false religious power, or antichrist, that will, at the end of time, bring defilement and desolation into God’s spiritual temple – His church – by mingling paganism with Christianity.

Just as God gave the early Christians a warning to flee Jerusalem before its desolation, so at the end of time, the Lord will give us a similar warning that when a corrupt church unites with worldly powers to enforce its decrees, we know the time of the end is at hand. Today, we must flee Babylon (corrupt churches) so that we don’t receive of her plagues. “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues…For in one hours she is made desolate’” (Revelation 18:4, 19).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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