Reference: Abomination Of Desolation
The idol (See ABOMINATION) of the desolator, or "the idol that causeth desolation." Abomination refers especially to such idolatry only as is perpetrated by apostates from Jehovah (2Ki 21:2-7; 23:13). Josephus (B. J., 4:6, sec. 3) refers to the Jews' tradition that the temple would be destroyed "if domestic hands should first pollute it." The Lord quotes Da 9:27; 11:31; 12:11, in Mt 24:15 "the abomination of desolation," as the sign of Jerusalem's coming destruction. Daniel makes the ceasing of the sacrifice and oblation the preliminary to it. Jewish rabbis considered the prophecy fulfilled when the Jews erected an idol altar, described as "the abomination of desolation" in 1Ma 1:54; 1Ma 6:7. This was necessarily followed by the profanation of the temple under the Old Testament antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes. He built an idolatrous altar on the altar of burnt offering to Jupiter Olympius, and dedicated the temple to him, and offered swine's flesh.
The divine law is that where the church corrupts herself, the world, the instrument of her sin, is made also the instrument of her punishment (Mt 24:28; Re 17:3,16). The bringing of the idolatrous, Roman, image crowned standards into the temple, where they were set over the E. gate, and sacrificed to, upon the destruction of Jerusalem under the Roman Titus, 37 years after Jesus' prophecy (A.D. 70), is not enough to meet the requirements of the term "abomination," unless it were shown that the Jews shared in the idolatry. Perhaps the Zealots perpetrated some abomination which was to be the sign of the nation's ruin. They had taken possession of the temple, and having made a profane country fellow, Phannias, their high priest, they made a mock of the sacred rites of the law.
Some such desecration within the city, "in the holy place," coinciding with Cestius Gallus' encampment without, "in a holy place," was the sign foretold by Jesus; noting it, the Christians fled from the city to Pella, and all escaped. The final fulfillment is probably future. The last antichrist, many think, is about to set up an idol on a wing of the restored temple (compare Mt 4:5; Joh 5:43) in the latter half of the last, or 70th, of Daniel's prophetic weeks; for the former three and a half days (years) of the prophetic week he keeps his covenant with the Jews; in the latter three and a half breaks it (Zec 11:16-17,12-14; Daniel 9; 11). The Roman emperor Hadrian erected a temple to Jupiter upon the site of the Jewish temple; but probably "the consummation to be poured upon the desolate" is yet future.
A term found only in Mr 13:14 and its parallel Mt 24:15. It is obviously derived, as St. Matthew indicates, from Da 11:31; 12:11; cf. Da 9:27. In these passages the most natural reference is to the desecration of the Temple under Antiochus Epihanes, when an altar to Olympian Zeus was erected on the altar of burnt sacrifices. As interpreted in the revision by St. Luke (Lu 21:20), the reference in the Gospel is to the encompassing of Jerusalem by the Roman army. It is very difficult, however, to adjust this interpretation to the expression of Mk. 'standing where he ought not,' and that of Mt. 'standing in the holy place.' Other interpretations would be: (1) the threatened erection of the statue of Caligula in the Temple; or (2) the desecration of the Temple area by the Zealots, who during the siege made it a fortress; or (3) the desecration of the Temple by the presence of Titus after its capture by that general. While it is impossible to reach any final choice between these different interpretations, it seems probable that the reference of Mr 13:14 is prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, because of its insistence that the appearance of the 'abomination of desolation' (or the 'abomination that makes desolate') is to be taken as a warning for those who are in Jud
This exact expression occurs only in Mt 24:15 and Mr 13:14, referring to what had been revealed to Daniel in Da 12:11, where it is connected with the great tribulation (ver. 1) spoken of by the Lord in those Gospels. Da 9:27 shows that the time of the abomination is in the last half of the last of the seventy weeks of Daniel named in Da 9:24. The person who makes a covenant with the Jews in those days and afterwards breaks it, we know to be the head of the future Roman empire. See SEVENTY WEEKS. Of this person an image will be made, and the people will be constrained to worship it, Re 13:14-15; but we do not read that it will be carried into the future temple; whereas our Lord says that the abomination will stand in the holy place. On the other hand we read that the Antichrist "exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2Th 2:4. The 'abomination of desolation' is evidently connected with the trinity of evil spoken of in Rev. 13 and will be the work of Satan, the Roman beast, and the false prophet. It will end in dire desolation. The desolator is the Assyrian, Isa 8:7-8; 28:2,18 the northern king who will then hold the territory of Assyria. Da 11:40.
Abomination of Desolation,
Mentioned by our Saviour,
as a sign of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with reference to
The prophecy referred ultimately to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and consequently the "abomination" must describe some occurrence connected with that event. It appears most probable that the profanities of the Zealots constituted the abomination, which was the sign of the impending ruin; but most people refer it to the standards or banners of the Roman army. They were abomination because there were idolatrous images upon them.