The Signs of the Times (21): Abomination

editor - 11 November 2018

‘…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… For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again…’

Matthew 24:15-21 (NIV)

First Jesus spoke about the general signs which have already accompanied mankind for 2000 years – but they seem to be coming to a climax in our days – and the two special signs which seem to be fulfilled in our days.

First: the return of the Jewish people back to the Promised Land from the Roman exile all over the world that lasted nearly 2000 years, the restoration of the fig tree.

And secondly the worldwide preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom through modern mass media communication. After that the Lord Jesus speaks about the final days of the End Times. About what will happen right before His coming in Glory.

We need all of the four written gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Together they show us the big picture. They complement each other and do not contradict one another. If you examine the so-called contradictions prayerfully, the Holy Spirit will lead you in all truth – historical truth as well as spiritual truth. That’s what I have been experiencing during the past fifty years of my life as a Christian, despite of all the arguments of the so-called Higher Biblical Criticism.

Matthew sees in the distant future in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount of Olives on things to come in a far future: a restored City of Jerusalem and an abomination in the holy place. Followed by a short period of great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now and after that never to be equalled again. Luke looks more at the near future: the approaching fall of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD, and the worldwide dispersion and the exile of the Jewish people among the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations of the world: the ‘Roman’ exile of almost 2000 years.

After many centuries of “signs of the times” (one can compare Matthew 24:3-14 with Revelation 6), the Lord Jesus then sees Jerusalem again, restored in the far future. There He sees an ‘abomination that causes desolation’ standing in ‘the holy place’ and a great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until then and never to be equalled again after that.

All of this has not been fulfilled at the capture of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Roman legions in 70 AD. There was no ‘abomination that causes desolation’ in the Temple at that time. No desecration comparable to that by Antiochus Epiphanesin 167 BC, when this Greek-Syrian ruler forbade the Jews all things Jewish. He forbade them to circumcise, forbade them to keep the Sabbath, and he had a swine slaughtered in front of the statue of the Greek God Zeus (Jupiter) that he had put up in the Temple. Slaughtering a pig on the altar in the Temple as a sacrifice to a pagan god was the ultimate desecration of the Temple. Serving the gods of man, instead of worshipping the one and only God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the God of Israel.

Jesus sees something happening again in the distant future. And this on the same ‘holy place’. He says not: Temple. Jesus says: holy place. That expression can mean ‘Temple’, but it also can mean: the place on which the Temple was built. Namely Mount Zion in the heart of Jerusalem.

What does He mean? A renewed and rebuilt new Temple that will be desecrated yet again? Or does He mean that something will be in the ‘holy place’ – so, on the Temple Mount, on Mount Zion on which the Temple was built – which is an abomination, and that in Israel and worldwide will lead to ‘…a great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now and [after this] never to be equalled again…’?

Looking at the two mosques that are standing there today, does it mean that this ‘abomination that causes desolation’ is already there, already for centuries? So that we do not necessarily have to wait until a new temple is being built over there to be defiled again? A desecration that will develop more and more and ultimately will lead to more and more distress and tribulation in such a way that the world has never seen or experienced so far, and after that will never experience again? Only time can tell.


The Signs of the Times
Many people are afraid of the future. Will the turmoil in the world lead to World War III? Or is there still hope? What do the ancient prophecies of the Bible teach us? Are we at the beginning of the end of this world? Or are we approaching a new beginning? Could Israel be a sign of hope? In this new series Rev. Willem Glashouwer looks at 52 of the many signs of the times that are mentioned in the Bible. The English edition of ‘The Signs of the Times’ will be published by Christians for Israel International in the coming months.

About the Author