The "Abomination of Desolation"
Here is a question we were asked in our current sermon series
"ask your questions"...
"What is the Abomination of Desolation" that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24?
Answer: Chapter 24 of Matthew is titled - "The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times". It seems to be almost a given that we would have some questions about how to interpret this piece of Scripture.
Verse 15 in particular stands out because of the peculiar phrase Jesus uses. First Jesus mentions that the temple will be destroyed (v1&2). When the disciples ask him when this will happen (the destruction of the temple), and what will be the signs of His return, and the end of the age; Jesus mentions the the Abomination of Desolation. Most scholars divide the discussion in two general directions.
These being; which verses exactly are speaking about future events and which are speaking about the disciples time. So, when is Jesus saying that this thing which is horribly detestable to God (ie: an abomination), that will utterly and totally destroy (ie: desolation), happen?
Well, it already did.
Jesus was quoting Daniel (9:27, 11:31, 12:11) when he used the phrase. Between Daniel's prophecy and Jesus time the temple was destroyed in an Abomination of Desolation sort of way. King Antiochus Epiphanes laid waste to the temple and set up a statue of Jupiter or Zues on the altar (which he believed to be himself). The people consequently stopped sacrificing to God at the temple, and sacrificed pigs there instead.
So the prophecy had already been fulfilled.
But wait a minute... this gets crazy enough to blow your mind (if you actually take the time to think about it and see the implications).
Jesus was also talking about something that would happen in near/present time. That's right! As we know, the Romans had their turn destroying and desicrating the temple in 70AD by emperor Titus.
So ultimately, the unfolding of events that God weaves throughout the millennia of the Old AND New Testament speaks to His sovereignty and majesty. Gods word is profound and miraculous. He predicts things that will happen in the future (things that actually come true) and then come true again! A second time!
I dare you to accurately predict something in precise detail... Now what are the chances that occurrence would happen twice!?
Or a third time?
In Matthew 24 Jesus speaks of the destruction of the temple, but then continues to speak of his second coming (which by the way; hasn't happened yet). It's very easy to see that the prophecy came true the first two times because hindsight is 20/20. But could there be a third time? A couple of passages make this seem likely. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 and Revelations 13:5-6.
What do you think? Will there be another temple built in Jerusalem?
Could this prophecy come true again in a way that doesn't actually require another temple in Jerusalem? More personally- What does it mean for you - to be in the midst of a story like this with God as the author?
Do you get a bit of a glimpse from this of God's sovereignty as the author of History? He is writing real life, even as we speak. I think that is profound. It blows my mind.
Author: Tim Stanley