Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Abomination of Desolation

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"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 (2 Kings 21:2-7; 2 Kings 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 Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11, in Matthew 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 1 Maccabees 1:54; 1 Maccabees 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 (Matthew 24:28; Revelation 17:3; Revelation 17:16). 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 Matthew 4:5; John 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 (Zechariah 11:16-17; Zechariah 11:12; Zechariah 11:13; Zechariah 11:14; 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.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Abomination of Desolation'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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