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Chapter 2:

The Antichrist and the Abomination of Desolation

In the first chapter we examined the Bible’s most important prophecy, which provides evidence for a future seven-year period that must be fulfilled before the Second Coming of the Messiah. This time will involve the abomination of desolation, a rebuilt Jewish Temple and a future Roman leader, all of which are subjects that are very important in understanding the end-times.

First, we will examine that curious object known as the abomination of desolation. It is an object that represents the pinnacle of the end-times rebellion of mankind against the Creator of the universe. Here again is how Daniel describes this object,

"He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." 1

Daniel tells us that the abomination of desolation is an object that will be set up by a future Roman ruler, at the midpoint of a future seven-year period. Jesus Christ, within His famous Olivet Discourse, refers specifically to the prophecies of Daniel and to the abomination,

"So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel [let the reader understand] then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again." 2

According to Jesus, the abomination of desolation will stand in the Holy Place of the Temple. This is the outer room of the Temple that contains within it the inner room, the Most Holy Place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. The abomination will be placed in the outer room of the Temple, and not the inner room.

Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks was given specifically concerning the Jews, and Jesus’ statement of "Pray that your flight will not take place… on the Sabbath" confirms this fact, because only Orthodox Jews would choose to die rather than flee and break their strict Torah laws that limit travel on the Sabbath day.

Jesus goes on to say that the abomination will bring with it the most terrible time of distress that the world has ever seen, or will ever see in the future! Clearly the world has not experienced this kind of hardship yet, and so we know from Jesus’ words that the abomination of desolation is something that will be fulfilled in the future. With these words Jesus is confirming that the 70th Week of Daniel will be fulfilled at the very end of the Age, immediately prior to His Second Coming.

Revelation is the book that ties all of the Bible’s prophecies together and it helps to reveal the answers to a number of questions. Chapter thirteen introduces the Antichrist and his lackey the False Prophet and it also reveals what the abomination of desolation is,

"And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed." 3

Chapter thirteen of Revelation describes two beasts: the first is commonly known as the Antichrist, and the second is referred to elsewhere in Revelation as the False Prophet. 4  The above text begins with a description of the False Prophet and of the great deceiving miracles that he will perform. At a certain point he will order that an image be made of the Antichrist, the first beast. This blasphemous idol is the very same object that was described by Daniel and Jesus as the abomination of desolation. This idol represents the pinnacle of mankind’s rebellion against God because all men who reject Jesus Christ and take the Mark of the Antichrist will also worship the image of the Antichrist. Revelation does not describe where this idol will be set up, but Daniel and Jesus both tell us that it will be set up in the Temple. The Apostle Paul confirms this fact within one of his letters. The following passage refers specifically to the Antichrist,

"He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God." 5

By allowing his own image to be set up in the Temple, the Antichrist will be making a blasphemous claim to be God. Paul word’s here are closely related to another description that the prophet Daniel gave of the Antichrist,

"The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place." 6

This passage continues saying that the Antichrist will "invade the Beautiful Land" and then "pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain." He will invade Israel and then make his headquarters on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea.

Revelation also mentions the terrible blasphemies that will be uttered by this false Messiah,

"The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies… He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven." 7


In summary, the prophecies of Daniel, the words of Jesus and of Paul, and the book of Revelation all teach that the abomination of desolation will be the singular event that will be the main focus of the end-times Tribulation period, and the pinnacle of man’s Antichrist-led rebellion against God.


A New Jewish Temple

The abomination of desolation will be an idol made in the Antichrist’s image that will stand in the holy place of the Jewish Temple. In addition to the texts in the section above there are others that show that a Jewish Temple will once again stand in Jerusalem.

The book of Revelation contains John’s descriptions of what he saw in the future,

"I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, ‘Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months…’ " 8

John saw that the Temple would be standing and that worshipers would be present. Some scholars conclude that the area of the outer court, which John was told not to measure, is the area where the Muslim’s Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands. It is believed by some that the Temple will be rebuilt on the Temple Mount, but that the Mosque will remain standing alongside the Temple in the area that was in the past occupied by the outer court. 9

The prophet Isaiah wrote down a message to Israel concerning the Temple, which is God’s house according to Judaism,

"This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?" 10

After the Lord asks for the house that will be built for Him the Lord gives his attitude towards the sacrifices that will take place in that future Temple,

"But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig's blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations."

The Lord says that any animal sacrifices or offerings made in that Temple will be considered as abominations. God will reject them as an insult because the perfect and final sacrifice was made almost 2000 years ago when the Son of God was crucified on our behalf. These irrelevant sacrifices are the same sacrifices that the future Roman ruler will stop at the midpoint of the final seven-year period, at the same time that he sets up the image of the Beast.

Scripture is clear that there will be a future Jewish Temple. It will be rebuilt, but it will not include the outer court. The ancient practice of offering animal sacrifices will be renewed, but God will not accept them. A future Roman leader will then stop these sacrifices and at the same time the abomination of desolation will be set up. This object will be an image of the Antichrist that will stand in the Holy Place of the Temple. Jesus warns that when this abomination is seen people should drop what they are doing and flee into the wilderness to hide from the unparalleled tribulation that will follow.


The Roman Ruler of Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks

"The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary… He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." 11

The people of the ruler destroyed the city and the Temple ages ago, but the ruler himself, the "ruler who will come," is someone who will appear in the future, and as Daniel implies he will come from Rome. He will be the one to confirm the covenant that marks the beginning of the final seven-year period prior to the Second Coming. Then, three and a half years after the start of this covenant he will put a stop to the sacrifices and the offerings that will be offered in the Jewish Temple. In place of them he will set up the abomination of desolation, the image of the Antichrist that is described in the thirteenth chapter of Revelation.

So just who is this future Roman ruler? Many scholars believe that he must be the Antichrist, and that this proves that the Antichrist will come from Rome. After all, it is his image that is set up in the Temple. In spite of this widespread belief, it is possible that this future Roman ruler will in fact be the False Prophet. Daniel writes that the future Roman ruler will set up the abomination of desolation, and Revelation is clear that it is the False Prophet who will directly bring about the setup of the image of the Antichrist,

"Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He [the False Prophet] ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed." 12

Revelation is clear that the False Prophet is responsible for having the image of the beast set up, so the Roman ruler described by Daniel, who sets up the abomination, must then be the False Prophet. This is a very simple logical deduction and this conclusion is reinforced by the terms that Daniel uses to describe the Antichrist throughout his book:

In all of the prophecies within the book of Daniel, the prophet consistently refers to the Antichrist as a "king," using the Hebrew word "melek." Twice in Daniel 7, once in Daniel 8, and at least twice in Daniel 11 he refers to the Antichrist with this title. However, within Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks he refers to the future Roman ruler as a "nagiyd," which is interpreted in English as "leader," "ruler" or "prince." A prince is subservient to a king, and the future False Prophet will be subservient to the Antichrist. It is very possible that this ruler, the leader from Rome who initiates the final seven years of this age by confirming a covenant with Israel, will in fact be the False Prophet. Revelation describes him as a great spiritual leader who is able to lead the world to worship the Antichrist. 13  It will be left to the reader to speculate who this future spiritual leader might be, but the choices are few and the answer is obvious.

The next chapter will examine how the book of Revelation revolves around the 70th Week of Daniel and it will be shown how Revelation makes many references to both the first and the last halves of that final seven-year period.

 

Footnotes

1. Daniel 9:27 (all NIV)

2. Matthew 24:15-21

3. Revelation 13:13-15

4. Revelation 19:20

5. 2 Thessalonians 2:4

6. Daniel 11:36

7. Revelation 13:5-6

8. Revelation 11:1-2

9. Hal Lindsey, "Planet Earth – 2000 A.D." 1996, p.167.

10. Isaiah 66:1,3

11. Daniel 9:26-27

12. Revelation 13:14-15

13. Revelation 13:12

 

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