The Coming...Great Abomination

12 12 2014

Christ specifically WARNS that we must understand this disturbing future prophetic event…

Jesus Christ describes this abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15-20. Beginning in verse 15 we read: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ [a vile image], spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place… then let those who are in Judea [today known as the modern state of Israel] flee to the mountains.” The people in Judea are instructed, when they see this terrible abomination of desolation, to flee to the mountains.

Also, Luke 21:20 states, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near”.

Christ’s stern warning about an “abomination of desolation” means, literally, “the abomination of the desolater”. An “abomination” is something God hates, and comes from the Hebrew word shakaz, for an idol–something, or someone who is worshiped in place of the true God. Prophecy is clear– Jerusalem is again to be surrounded by armies (Zechariah 12:2) and an idol– some type of image, will be set up in a holy place.

Notice Jesus Christ urges those who are in Judea to quickly flee when this desecration takes place. “Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes” (Matthew 24:17-18). So dire is Christ’s warning, that if you linger and wait, it will be too late to escape destruction. Christ also warns–“But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath [God’s people will be keeping the Sabbath] (verses 19–20).

The key to understanding this warning is to understand what Daniel wrote in his prophetic book. The mention of the abomination of desolation is taken from the book of Daniel. They shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31). This describes a complete desecration of the temple, prefigured by Antiochus Epiphanies.

Now we take a look at the model, template or blueprint of history to see more clearly this future end-time event regarding the “Abomination”.

Some 160 years before the First Coming of Christ (168/167 BC), a Greek, Syrian king named Antiochus Epiphanes came to power he did great harm to the Jewish nation—all Jews of Christ day knew about this man— as far as the Jews were concerned he was the Hitler of that era.

Antiochus Epiphanes was a despicable, cruel king of the Northern Seleucid (Syiran) dynasty (Daniel 8:9-14). He came to the throne when his brother Seleucus was murdered and a son of the dead king (Demetrius 1 Soter) who might succeed him, was held hostage in Rome, Antiochus took advantage of the leadership vacuum, to take control of Syria. Soon afterwards, Antiochus developed an alliance with an Egyptian ruler named Ptolemy VI Philometer. Using this alliance (feigning friendship), he then moved to gain greater power in Egypt. Using deceit and subterfuge, Antiochus then made a play to take over Egypt—with a small force of people (Daniel 11:23), he conquered much of Egypt, including Memphis all the way down to Alexandria.

It was during this time period that the Jews began to rebel under the rule of Antiochus. Antiochus controlled the Holy Land and was determined to force the Jews to obey his laws.

The Abomination

The apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees, although not Scripture, reveals the history of the period:

“The king then issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people, each nation renouncing its particular customs. All the gentiles conformed to the king’s decree, and many Israelites chose to accept his religion, sacrificing to idols and profaning the Sabbath.”

“The king also sent edicts by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country, banning burnt offerings, sacrifices and libations from the sanctuary, profaning Sabbaths and feasts, defiling the sanctuary and everything holy, building altars, shrines and temples for idols, … so that they should forget the Law and revoke all observance of it. Anyone not obeying the king’s command was to be put to death” (1 Maccabees 1:41, 44-50, New Jerusalem Bible). Punishment was swift and vicious. Women who had had their sons circumcised were killed and their babies hung around their necks (verses 60-61). Anyone continuing in faithful obedience to God’s law was executed (verses 62-64).

Antiochus then set-up a bearded image of the pagan deity [Zeus] upon the Temple altar. Greek soldiers and their lovers performed licentious heathen rites in the very Temple courts. Swine were sacrificed on the altar.

Josephus also explains how Antiochus profaned the altar. “Now Antiochus was not satisfied either with his unexpected taking the city, or with its pillage, or with the great slaughter he had made there… he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcised, and to sacrifice swine’s flesh upon the altar” (Wars of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 1, Sections 1–2).
Antiochus further profaned the temple. He erected a statue of Zeus in the temple and directed everyone to worship it.

This abomination, referred to in chapters 8 and 11 of Daniel’s prophecy, was a model of an end-time event. This is what Jesus meant when he said: “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”

In the near future sacrifices will again be instituted before Christ’s return, (Daniel 12:9-13) describes the abomination of desolation as occurring at “the time of the end.” Once again sacrifices will be initiated at Jerusalem; armies again will surround Jerusalem, and the sacrifices will be cut off—this time for 1,290 days.

An End Time “Antiochus”

A powerful leader will play a pivotal role in end-time events. He will be against God’s laws and will persecute those who keep the Commandments of God. Antiochus Epiphanes, who engineered the original abomination of desolation, is the forerunner of this end-time Dictator. “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up…” (Daniel 12:11); clearly there will be daily sacrifices once again being performed on the Temple Mount!

Jesus encouraged His followers to “watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). We watch Israel, anticipating the time when:

• Leaders in Israel moves to reintroduce daily sacrifices.
• The rise of a European Dictator who will move troops into the Middle East (Daniel 11:40-44).
• Geopolitical events that will lead to armies amassing around Israel and Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2; Luke 21:20).

Steven LeBlanc

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