The Abomination Of Desolation
This Olivet Discourse Deception study is about the Abomination Of Desolation that is foretold by Messiah in Matthew 24.
This end times deception study will focus on the ‘Abomination of Desolation‘ that so many teachers incorrectly attribute to an end-time Antichrist desecrating a Jewish temple.
When people don’t understand how a prophecy has been fulfilled, they speculate that it must occur in the future.
The 70 Weeks Of Daniel Deception study disproved the concept of the 7-year tribulation, the 7-year peace agreement with Israel, and the need for a rebuilt temple where the Antichrist would supposedly commits the Abomination of Desolation.
Let’s look at Scripture to see how the prophecy of the ‘Abomination of Desolation‘ has already been fulfilled.
The context of the ‘Olivet Discourse was about the pending desolation of Jerusalem and the Jews, NOT about the end times.
In Luke 19:41-44, Messiah and His disciples approached Jerusalem and He told them that the Jews enemies (the Romans) would surround them, and level them and the temple.
“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
The 70 Weeks of Daniel prophecy told the Jews the exact year that their Messiah would come.
But because they didn’t understand the prophecy, they rejected Messiah and delivered Him up to be killed; so He told them that their enemy (the Romans) would surrounded them and level them.
In Matthew 23, Messiah condemned the Scribes and Pharisees and told them that all of the righteous blood that they had shed would come on them.
“Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ “
Messiah was leaving the temple for the last time, and He called it “your house“, meaning that He and the Father had abandoned it.
Because the Jews killed the prophets, Messiah and His disciples; they were forsaken, and sentenced to utter destruction.
In Luke 21:6, Messiah was leaving Jerusalem and as He looked back upon the temple, He said “These things which you see–the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
They went to the Mount of Olives and the disciples asked Him when that would happen. Their questions were recorded in three of the Gospels.
Matthew 24:3 – “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Mark 13:2 – “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
Luke 21:7 – “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”
They were asking Messiah when the coming destruction of the temple would take place, and what sign should they look for, before the desolation of Jerusalem and the Jews.
His purpose in this discourse was not to give His people signs of His second coming, but to warn that generation of believers of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and to give to them a sure sign, so that they could secure their safety by fleeing the land and city.
Matthew 24:15-16 – “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.”
Mark 13:14 – “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ ; spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
Luke 21:20-21 – “But 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.”
Matthew and Mark recorded similar words, but Luke gave us more details, which define what is the sign of the ‘Abomination of Desolation‘.
The word rendered “abomination” means, according to the Hebrew and Greek lexicons, anything that is peculiarly loathsome or detestable.
The abomination was the detestable enemies of the Jews, the Romans; who would surround Jerusalem, and stand in the holy land to make the place a ‘desolation‘.
Luke 21:24 confirms that this section of Messiah’s Olivet Discourse would be fulfilled in 70 A.D., not in the end times.
“And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Very clearly, the above-mentioned desolation of the temple, refers to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., at the hands of the Romans less than four decades or within one generation after Messiah’s death. NIGEL
These verses can’t be applied to an end times Antichrist desecrating a rebuild Jewish temple, as they refer to the Gentiles trampling Jerusalem, which has occurred since Jerusalem was desolated by the Roman armies in 70 A.D.
Messiah was referring to the ‘70 Weeks of Daniel’ prophecy, which foretold the destruction of Jerusalem by the ‘people of the prince‘.
When the Jews were about to be released from their captivity in Babylon, Elohim gave them 70 prophetic weeks (490 years) to repent, to reconcile with Him, to rebuild the temple and city, and to accept their coming Messiah.
It told the Jews that their Messiah would come during the 70th week of Daniel, which started in 27 A.D., the very year when Messiah was baptized and anointed.
Messiah preached the Gospel to the house of Israel for 3 1/2 years, offering them a new covenant.
Those that accepted Messiah and His new Covenant were saved.
Those that rejected the Messiah were desolated.
The ‘people of the prince‘ in Daniel 9:26 was the Roman army that Messiah sent, who poured into the city as a flood in 70 A.D.
“..the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
So the ‘prince‘ in the 70th week of Daniel is NOT an end-times Antichrist. It was Messiah, the prince who was mentioned in the previous verse of Daniel 9:25.
And since it does not apply to an end-time Antichrist, the foundation for the 7-year tribulation is invalid.
Because of the Jews abominations against Elohim, He made them desolate.
Because of all of the Jews abominations, including delivering Messiah up to be killed, and then killing His disciples, Messiah poured out His wrath on the Jews, through the Roman army.
The fulfillment timeline:
The first approach of the Roman army under Cestius surrounded the city in 66 A.D., which was the “abomination of desolation” that Messiah warned the disciples about.
Note: The abomination of desolation had to be something that the disciples could see. An idol placed in the temple would not be seen except by the priests.
Jewish historian Josephus records that Cestius made such rapid progress that the city was on the point of being captured.
The seditious element fled in large numbers, and the peaceable inhabitants were about to throw open the gates to the Romans, when a remarkable thing took place, so unaccountable from any natural standpoint that it can only be attributed to the direct intervention of God, and for the fulfillment of the word of Christ.
Josephus tells how the people were about to admit Cestius as their benefactor, when he suddenly recalled his soldiers and retired from the city without any reason in the world.
Had he not withdrawn when he did, the city and the sanctuary would, of course, have been spared; and Josephus says it was, I suppose, owing to the aversion God already had towards the city and the sanctuary that he (Cestius) was hindered from putting an end to the war that very day (II 19:6).
This happened because Messiah promised His disciples a way of escape, that ‘when they should see the abomination of desolation’ (the idolatrous Roman armies, with the images of their idols in their ensigns) ready to lay Jerusalem desolate, ‘stand where it ought not,’ ‘in the holy place‘ of Jerusalem; they should then ‘flee to the mountains‘.
Eusebius refers to a miraculous event in which the voice of angel was distinctly heard by the Jerusalem Christians in their temple meeting place, saying, “Let us remove from here quickly.”
Followers of Messiah heeded His warning and escaped Judea before the destruction, and there is not one documented death of a Christian by the Romans.
The Jews were emboldened by the Roman army leaving, so they stayed in the city; and were desolated by the next division of the Roman army led by Titus.
This passage was, to the Lord’s disciples then in Jerusalem and Judea, the most important of the entire prophecy; for it gave the sign whereby they were to know that the desolation, predicted in Daniel 9:26, was at hand, and upon seeing which they were to flee. Luke describes the sign in plain language. The encompassing of Jerusalem by armies was to be the warning that its desolation was nigh. (PM)
We have already pointed out that the word abomination means any hateful or detestable thing. It would most fittingly apply to the Roman armies on their mission of destruction. Indeed the descriptive words, of desolation, fix the meaning definitely. (PM)
Manifestly the setting up of an idol in the inner sanctuary could not be a Sign to the Lord’s people to flee. That would be a thing which only the priests could see. And it could not possibly be a sign to them that be in Judea. Whereas the invading armies would be a sight which all could see. (PM)
Furthermore, the setting up of an idol in the sanctuary is a thing which could not be done until the city and temple were taken by the enemy, which would be at the end of the siege. Hence it could not possibly serve as a sign to the disciples to save themselves from the horrors of the siege by timely flight. (PM)
The Roman army desolated the people and the city.
Historians record that none of the wicked Jews (who rejected Jesus and who slew the messengers He sent to them) understood what was coming.
Up to the very day of the capture of the temple by the Romans in 70 A.D., they were deceived by false prophets, and were fatuously looking for a miraculous intervention on their behalf.
But abundant documentation reveals that before the destruction of Jerusalem, all the believers inside the city were able to flee to the mountains and found refuge. Not one believer perished in the siege, because they saw the sign that Messiah revealed to them.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast foretold that Messiah would send an army to destroy the Jews and Jerusalem.
Matthew 22:1-7 says, “And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ‘ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”
Messiah’s New Covenant was offered to the house of Israel and the house of Judah, as promised in Jeremiah 31:31, but most of them rejected Messiah and had Him crucified.
Then they killed His disciples, as Messiah had foretold.
Elohim’s vengeance for all of the righteous blood came upon this generation, and Messiah had the Roman army destroy them and burn up Jerusalem.
Commentaries on the Abomination of Desolation of Matthew 24:15:
Smith’s Bible Dictionary:
“Abomination of Desolation, mentioned by our Saviour, (#Mt 24:15,) as a sign of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with reference to (#Da 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.) The prophecy referred ultimately to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and consequently the abomination must describe some occurrence connected with that event ….. Most people refer it to the standards or banners of the Roman army.”
F.N. Lee – The Olivet Discourse and The Destruction of Jerusalem in Prophecy:
Abomination of desolation = Roman Army. The abomination began in AD 66 with the desecration of Jerusalem by Roman ensigns (eagles=Roman military insignia, ie. Unclean vultures – cf. verse 28). The full desolation occurred 3.5 years later.
Many in the Late-Mediaeval Church, all of the Pre-Reformation’s Scholars, and all of the Protestant Reformers saw the Romish Papacy’s desecration of the Christian Church as the further continuation of Pagan Rome’s desecration of the Ancient Temple.
[Stand in the holy place = surrounding the City, called holy because of the Temple and its worship. The Roman armies first surrounded the City, then eventually breached it and literally stood in the Temple as they destroyed both the City and the Temple].
François-Joseph Heim – Study for Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans – Google Art ProjectMatthew 24:16-21 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
When Christ’s followers saw the Roman army, they were to flee for their lives. [Me – they did indeed do this, escaping to Pella. Here is Gill on Josephus:
When this signal is given, let it be taken notice of and observed; let them that are in the city of Jerusalem, depart out of it; or who are in any other parts of Judea, in any of the towns, or cities thereof; let them not betake themselves to Jerusalem, imagining they may be safe there, in so strong and fortified a place, but let them flee elsewhere; see Luke 21:21 and accordingly it is observed, that many did flee about this time; and it is remarked by several interpreters, and which Josephus (a) takes notice of with surprise, that Cestius Gallus having advanced with his army to Jerusalem, and besieged it, on a sudden, without any cause, raised the siege, and withdrew his army, when the city might have been easily taken; by which means a signal was made; and an opportunity given to the Christians, to make their escape: which they accordingly did, and went over Jordan, as Eusebius says (b), to a place called Pella; so that when Titus came a few months after, there was not a Christian in the city, but they had fled as they are here bidden to.
Mountain = mountain or other place of safety or refuge. Many flew to Mount Libanus.
The desolation was to be so sudden that believers were not to stop to gather anything but just flee for their very lives. They were to come down off their roofs by the outside ladders, not even going through their houses to escape lest they be caught and killed on the way. The workers in the fields laid their outer clothes on the sides of the fields while they worked. They were not even to turn back to grab them but just flee like Lot fleeing Sodom. That is how sudden and swift the desolation would be].
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
The abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel – This abomination of desolation, St. Luke, (Lu 21:20, Lu 21:21), refers to the Roman army; and this abomination standing in the holy place is the Roman army besieging Jerusalem; this, our Lord says, is what was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, in the ninth and eleventh chapters of his prophecy; and so let every one who reads these prophecies understand them; and in reference to this very event they are understood by the rabbins.
The Roman army is called an abomination, for its ensigns and images, which were so to the Jews. Josephus says, (War, b. vi. chap. 6), the Romans brought their ensigns into the temple, and placed them over against the eastern gate, and sacrificed to them there. The Roman army is therefore fitly called the abomination, and the abomination which maketh desolate, as it was to desolate and lay waste Jerusalem; and this army besieging Jerusalem is called by St. Mark, Mr 13:14, standing where it ought not, that is, as in the text here, the holy place; as not only the city, but a considerable compass of ground about it, was deemed holy, and consequently no profane persons should stand on it.
Albert Barnes Notes on the Whole Bible
The abomination of desolation. This is a Hebrew expression, meaning an abominable or hateful destroyer. The Gentiles were all held in abomination by the Jews, Acts 10:28. The abomination of desolation means the Roman army; and is so explained by Luke 21:20. The Roman army is farther 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.
Stand in the holy place. Mark says, “standing where it ought not,” meaning the same thing. All Jerusalem was esteemed holy, Matthew 4:5. The meaning of this is, when you see the Roman armies standing in the holy city, or encamped around the temple, or the Roman ensigns or standards in the temple. Josephus farther relates, that when the city was taken, the Romans brought their idols into the temple, and placed them over the eastern gate, and sacrificed to them there. Jewish Wars, book vi., chap. 6, 1.
Barton W. Johnson in The People’s New Testament:
When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation. This is the sign when Christians should flee from Jerusalem. See Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. Luke says, “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies” (Luke 21:20). This was, therefore, Christ’s explanation of the abomination of desolation. The Roman army, heathen, with heathen images and standards, ready to sacrifice to idols on the temple altar, working the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple, is what is meant.
In the holy place. Mark says, “Where it ought not” [Mark 13:14]; around “the holy city” [Matthew 4:5].
Coke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible
When ye therefore shall see, &c.— Whatever difficulty there be in these words, it may be cleared up by the parallel place, Luke 21:20-21. Whence it appears, that the abomination of desolation is the Roman army; and the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, is that army besieging Jerusalem. This, says our Saviour, is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, ch. ix. and xii. and so let every one who reads these prophesies understand them.
The Roman army is called the abomination, because its ensigns and images were so to the Jews, among whom every image of a man, and every idol, was called an abomination. After the city was taken, the Romans brought their ensigns into the temple, and placed them over against the eastern gate, and sacrificed to them there. The Roman army therefore is fitly called the abomination, and the abomination of desolation, as it was to desolate and lay waste Jerusalem: and this army’s besieging Jerusalem, is called standing in the holy place; the city, and such a compass of ground about it, being accounted holy.
“When therefore the Roman army shall approach to besiege Jerusalem, then let them who are in Judea consult their own safety, and fly into the mountains.” This counsel was wisely remembered, and put in practice by the Christians afterwards. When Cestius Gallus came with his army against Jerusalem, many fled from the city: After his retreat, many of the noble Jews departed from it; and when Vespasian was approaching it with great forces, a vast multitude, says Josephus, fled from Jericho into the mountainous country for their security.
At this juncture all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem, and removed to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; so that they all marvellously escaped; and we do not read any where that so much as any one perished in the destruction of Jerusalem: of such signal service was this caution of our Saviour to the believers!
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, From signs, Christ proceeds to the immediate cause of the destruction of Jerusalem; which was, “the abomination of desolation”, or the desolating abomination; or that abominable thing, which threatened and brought desolation upon the city, temple, and nation: by which is meant, not any statue placed in the temple by the Romans, or their order; not the golden eagle which Herod set upon the temple gate, for that was before Christ said these words; nor the image of Tiberius Caesar, which Pilate is said to bring into the temple; for this, if true, must be about this time; whereas Christ cannot be thought to refer to anything so near at hand; much less the statue of Adrian, set in the most holy place, which was an hundred and thirty years and upwards, after the destruction of the city and temple; nor the statue of Titus, who destroyed both, which does not appear: ever to be set up, or attempted; nor of Caligula, which, though ordered, was prevented being placed there: but the Roman army is designed; see Luke 21:20 which was the כנף שקוצים משמם, “the wing”, or “army of abominations making desolate”, Daniel 9:27.
Armies are called wings, Isaiah 8:8 and the Roman armies were desolating ones to the Jews, and to whom they were an abomination; not only because they consisted of Heathen men, and uncircumcised persons, but chiefly because of the images of their gods, which were upon their ensigns: for images and idols were always an abomination to them; so the “filthiness” which Hezekiah ordered to be carried out of the holy place, 2Ch 29:5 is by the Targum called, ריחוקא, “an abomination”; and this, by the Jewish writers1, is said to be an idol, which Ahaz had placed upon the altar; and such was the abomination of desolation, which Antiochus caused to be set upon the altar:
“Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;” (1 Maccabees 1:54)
And so the Talmudic writers, by the abomination that makes desolate, in Daniel 12:11 to which Christ here refers, understand an image, which they say2 one Apostomus, a Grecian general, who burnt their law, set up in the temple. Now our Lord observes, that when they should see the Roman armies encompassing Jerusalem, with their ensigns flying, and these abominations on them, they might conclude its desolation was near at hand; and he does not so much mean his apostles, who would be most of them dead, or in other countries, when this would come to pass; but any of his disciples and followers, or any persons whatever, by whom should be seen this desolating abomination,
spoken of by Daniel the prophet: not in Daniel 11:31 which is spoken of the abomination in the times of Antiochus; but either in Daniel 12:11 or rather in Daniel 9:27 since this desolating abomination is that, which should follow the cutting off of the Messiah, and the ceasing of the daily sacrifice. It is to be observed, that Daniel is here called a prophet, contrary to what the Jewish writers say3, who deny him to be one; though one of4 no inconsiderable note among them affirms, that he attained to the end, הגבול הנבואיי, “of the prophetic border”, or the ultimate degree of prophecy: when therefore this that Daniel, under a spirit of prophecy, spoke of should be seen,
standing in the holy place; near the walls, and round about the holy city Jerusalem, so called from the sanctuary and worship of God in it; and which, in process of time, stood in the midst of it, and in the holy temple, and destroyed both; then
whoso readeth, let him understand: that is, whoever then reads the prophecy of Daniel; will easily understand the meaning of it, and will see and know for certain, that now it is accomplished; and will consider how to escape the desolating judgment, unless he is given up to a judicial blindness and hardness of heart; which was the case of the greater part of the nation.
Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible
Mark saith, Mark 13:14, standing where it ought not. Here are two questions:
1. What is here meant by the abomination of desolation.
2. What text in Daniel our Lord refers to.
As to the latter, there are three places in Daniel which mention it: Daniel 9:27, for the overspreading of abominations, or, as it is in the margin, with the abominable armies he shall make it desolate. Daniel 11:31, They shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. Daniel 12:11, From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up. Mr. Calvin thinks that the text in Daniel here referred to is that of Daniel 12:11. Others say that it is that of Daniel 9:27, contending that those two other texts speak of Antiochus, which is the very reason given by others to the contrary.
It is of no great consequence to us to know which verse our Saviour refers to. Be it which it would, it was spoken of by Daniel the prophet; by which quotation our Saviour doth both give his testimony to that book, as a part of holy writ, and also lets his disciples know, that what he told them was but what was prophesied of, and so must have its accomplishment, and that the Jewish worship was to cease.
As to the second question, amidst the great variety of notions about it, I take theirs to be the best who understand the abomination of desolation to be meant of the Roman armies, which being made up of idolatrous soldiers, and having with them many abominable images are therefore called the abomination; those words, of desolation are added, because they were to make Jerusalem desolate; and so St. Luke, who hath not these words, possibly gives us in other words the best interpretation of them, Lu 21:20: And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
When, saith our Lord, you shall see the abominable armies stand in the holy place, that is, upon the holy ground, (as all Judea was), whoso readeth those prophecies of the prophet Daniel, let him understand, that as through the righteous judgment of God he once suffered the holy place to be polluted by the abominable armies of Antiochus, which he foretold, so he will again suffer the holy place to be polluted by the abominable armies of the Romans, who shall make the holy place desolate, which was prophesied by the prophet Daniel as well as the former. Therefore, saith our Saviour, when you see the Roman armies pitch their tents before Jerusalem, be you then assured God will give Jerusalem into their hands, and then all that I have foretold shall come to pass.
So now every time you hear someone teach that the ‘Abomination of Desolation‘ is by an end times Antichrist, you know that they’re teaching a wrong interpretation of prophecy.
To learn why the concept of the 7-year tribulation, the need for a rebuilt Jewish temple, an Antichrist who desecrates the temple, etc. are invalid, click on 70 Weeks Of Daniel
Next Olivet Discourse Deception Study: The Great Tribulation of Matthew 24