The Abomination That Causes Desolation


The abomination of desolation is a phrase out of the Book of Daniel that refers to a sacrilege that would be so detestable that it would cause the temple to be abandoned by the people of God, Daniel 8:13 / Daniel 9:27.

Now, most of it was fulfilled and it probably was partially fulfilled during the time that we call the Maccabean period. A Syrian ruler named Antiochus Epiphanies, had come to Jerusalem and took a pig into the temple and sacrificed it on the holy altar. And all the Jews said, “That was the abomination of desolation,” but Jesus comes along and says, ‘That’s not its complete fulfilment.’

There is still an abomination of desolation still to come predicted by Daniel.

Now, what is that?

People have gone everywhere suggesting what that will be and many think it will happen in this tribulation period. But I think the Bible tells us very, very clearly what Jesus is talking about. In the Jewish Gospel, Matthew says the abomination of desolation and so does the Gospel of Mark, Matthew 24:15-16 / Mark 13:14.

But in the Gospel of Luke, you have the exact words right until those verses, you have the same exact words after those verses. But in Luke, he doesn’t say watch out for the abomination of desolation. Look what he says in Luke 21:20 ‘When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.’

Now there’s Luke’s interpretation of what abomination of desolation means. And the present tense is used there. ‘When you see Jerusalem in the process of being surrounded.’

So, what is the warning of Jesus?

It’s very clear. Matthew 24:16-20. Basically, He’s saying, ‘You get out of that city before it becomes encircled by that Roman ring of steel. Run across the rooftops, don’t go back down to get your cloak, help the pregnant women, pray it’s not in winter, and hope it’s not a Sabbath day. “You get yourself out of that town, the moment you see that army and don’t waste time doing it.’

Now Josephus who was a Jewish historian and Eusebius a Christian historian tell us that’s exactly what happened. What did most of the Jews do when the Roman army under Titus came? They did the exact opposite of what Jesus said. When the Roman army showed up, they all gathered their belongings and ran into Jerusalem for safety.

And what followed was, one of the most horrific accounts of suffering and desolation ever recorded. Josephus writes about things that happened when that city was surrounded, that are so abominable, that I won’t mention them in this study. But it’s hard to describe how gruesome the suffering was, as one million Jews eventually lost their lives.

The Romans came in and literally like Jesus said, the gold in the temple was burned and melted into the cracks. They took stone by stone of that temple and that city apart and then they totally blazed the place. Josephus said, ‘When they were through, you couldn’t believe that anybody had ever lived there.’

But the Christians according to Eusebius, when they saw that army, they remembered Jesus’ words and they ran quickly out of town.

Remember Jesus said, ‘run to the mountains’? They ran through the city up to the Transjordan Mountains called ‘Pella’, and the Christians were saved. Now you cannot imagine how the fall of Jerusalem was to Jews and Christians all over the world, it made all the headlines. I mean to a Jew the fall of Jerusalem, that’s like the end of an age, if Jerusalem falls, God must be dead.

Now there are about 40 years between the death of Jesus and the fall of Jerusalem. And I believe this was because Jesus was going to give the Gospel a chance to be preached all over the world to prepare Jews and Gentiles for what was coming. In fact, look at the verse right before verse 15 the abomination of desolation, what does he say?

‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’ Matthew 24:14

Such a proclamation was going to let the world know of God’s justification for the destruction of Jerusalem. The Gospel is going to go into all the world, the story of how the Jews rejected and killed their own Messiah was going to go into all the world.

Now did that happen?

Well, I believe it did. Acts 2:5 says, ‘That on the day of Pentecost there were, Jews from every nation under heaven had heard the gospel.’

Paul said in Romans 1:8 ‘That your faith is heard of all over the world.’ He said in Colossian 1:6 ‘That this gospel is growing and bearing fruit all over the world.’ He said in Colossians 1:23 ‘The gospel has been preached to every creature under heaven.’

And so, in one generation’s time, everywhere, especially in the cities where Jews live, the Gospel was preached and people were prepared for what God was about to do.

I believe that Jerusalem’s destruction signalled that the fuller dispensation was over and would never return. God was going to raise up a new Israel, consisting of the elect of every nation on earth.



"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."