when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel
the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),"
- Matthew 24:15
We have now
reached the midpoint of the tribulation in the chronological progress of this
passage. Christ mentions the key
event upon which the entire passage turns when He speaks of the abomination of
desolation. What is He speaking
The Abomination of
The key passages
in Daniel that mention the term " abomination of desolation" are Daniel 9:27,
11:31 and 12:11. This is a
technical term, which means that it has a precise and consistent meaning in all
three passages. The phrase refers
to an act of abomination that renders, in this case, the Temple, something
unclean. Daniel 11:31 speaks of an
act that was fulfilled in history before the first coming of Christ. Dr. John Walvoord explains:
Daniel 11:31, a prophecy was written by Daniel in the sixth century b. c. about a future Syrian ruler by
name of Antiochus Epiphanes who reigned over Syria 175-164 b. c., about 400 years after
Daniel. History, of course, has
recorded the reign of this man. In
verse 31, Daniel prophesied about his activity: " . . . they shall pollute the
sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall
place the abomination that maketh desolate." This would be very difficult to understand if it were not
for the fact that it has already been fulfilled. Anyone can go back to the history of Antiochus Epiphanes and
discover what he did as recorded in the apocryphal books of 1 and 2
Maccabees. He was a great
persecutor of the children of Israel and did his best to stamp out the Jewish
religion and wanted to place in its stead a worship of Greek pagan gods. . . .
of the things he did was to stop animal sacrifices in the temple. He offered a sow, an unclean animal, on
the altar in a deliberate attempt to desecrate and render it unholy for Jewish
worship (cf. 1 Macc. 1:48). First
Maccabees 1:54 specifically records that the abomination of desolation was set
up, fulfilling Daniel 11:31. In
the holy of holies Antiochus set up a statue of a Greek god. . . . In keeping with the prophecy the daily
sacrifices were stopped, the sanctuary was polluted, desolated and made an
Dr. Randall Price
agrees: " In my own study of the
phrase in the context of Temple desecration I discovered the phrase served as a
technical reference to the introduction of an idolatrous image or an act of
pagan sacrilege within the Sanctuary that produces the highest level a of
ceremonial impurity, Temple profanation." 
This passage sets
the pattern and provides details about what the abomination of desolation
consists of. The Daniel 9:27
passage says that this abomination is to take place in the middle of a seven
year period. The passage says, " in
the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and
on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate." " In other words, the future prince will
do at that time exactly what Antiochus did in the second century b.c."  But Daniel goes on to say that the one
who commits this act will be destroyed three and a half years later. Daniel 12:11 provides " the precise
chronology."  The text says, " And from the time that the regular sacrifice
is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days."
In addition to
the three passages in Daniel, the two references by our Lord in Matthew and
Luke, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 13:14-15 also have this event in
view. Therefore, the abomination
of desolation, which the reader is to understand, includes the following
1. It occurs in
the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (Daniel 11:31; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
2. It involves a
person setting up a statue in place of the regular sacrifice in the holy of
holies (Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Revelation 13:14-14).
3. This results in
the cessation of the regular sacrifice (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11).
4. There will be a
time of about three-and-a-half years between this event and another event and
the end of the time period (Daniel 9:27; 12:11).
5. It involves an
individual setting up a statue or image of himself so that he may be worshipped
in place of God (Daniel 11:31; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:14-15).
6. The image is
made to come to life (Revelation 13:14).
7. A worship
system of this false god is thus inaugurated (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation
8. At the end of this
time period the individual who commits the act will himself be cut off (Daniel
Kenneth Gentry believes that the famous " abomination of desolation" in Matthew
24:15 (cf. Mark 13:14) was fulfilled in the first century destruction of
Jerusalem. Even though there are similarities
between the past destruction of Jerusalem and a future siege, there are enough
differences to distinguish the two events.
specific information about the abomination of desolation, Dr. Gentry identifies
it as simply the Roman invasion and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in a.d. 70. Rather than going to Daniel for an
understanding of what our Lord wanted the reader to understand, Gentry goes to
Luke 21:20-22, with a little help from Josephus, to conclude that Christ is
warning of Jerusalem' s devastation by military assault, not just the temple' s
desecration by profane acts" . Let's see if this interpretation
measures up to the Biblical explanation concerning the abomination of
An Answer To Preterism
does refer to the a. d. 70
destruction of Jerusalem.
Therefore, when verse 20 says, " when you see Jerusalem surrounded by
armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand," it is describing in
clear language the destruction of Jerusalem. This is vindicated by the language of the rest of the
passage, especially verse 24: " and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and
will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled
underfoot." In context, the
desolation is the destruction of Jerusalem; it is not a technical term relating
to the Temple, as Dr. Gentry suggests.
In contrast, the
Matthew 24:15 passage has a context of its own which differs from the Luke account. Matthew says, " when you see the
abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet (not
Luke), standing in the holy place." Comparison of the description in
Matthew and Daniel with the passage in Luke yields differences, which prove
that they are two separate events.
the a.d. 70 destruction of
Jerusalem there was . . .
• no image set up
in the holy place.
• no worship of
the image was required.
three-and-a-half year period of time between that event and the coming of
Christ. This is especially true
since the destruction of Jerusalem occurred at the end of the siege by
Rome. It was over in a matter of
days. D. A. Carson notes, " By the
time the Romans had actually desecrated the temple in a.d. 70, it was too late for anyone in the city to flee." 
• no image came to
life and beckoned men to worship it.
Josephus tells us
that Titus did not want the Temple burned. However, the Roman solders were so upset with the Jews that
they disobeyed his orders and burned the temple anyway. All Titus was able to do was to go in
and tour the holy place shortly before it burned. This does not comport with the biblical
picture of the image to be set up on the altar in the middle of Daniel's
seventieth week, resulting in cessation of the regular sacrifice and a rival
worship system set up in its place for three-and-a-half years. Dr. Stanley Toussaint says,
Because Christ specifically related the prophecy of the
abomination of desolation to Daniel's prophecy, it seems best to see some
correspondence between the abomination of desolation committed by Antiochus
Epiphanes and that predicted by Christ.
If this is so it would entail not only defilement on the altar by
sacrifices offered with impure hearts, but also an actual worship of another
god using the Temple as a means for such a dastardly act. Those preterists who agree with this
take it to be the worship of the Roman standards in the Temple precincts. However, if this interpretation is
taken, Matthew 24:16-20 is difficult if not impossible to explain. By then it would be too late for the
followers of the Lord Jesus to escape; the Romans had already taken the city by
the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel 9:27 and 12:11 is
foreshadowed by Antiochus Epiphanes (11:31), it would be best to say it is a
desecration carried out by a person who sacrilegiously uses the Temple to
promote the worship of a god other than Jehovah. This is what is anticipated in 2 Thessalonians 2.
dissimilarity between Gentry' s preterism and Matthew 24 is that according to
Matthew " neither the city nor the temple are destroyed, and thus the two
situations stand in sharp contrast."  The Luke 21:20-24 reference does record the " days of
vengeance" which befell Jerusalem.
Let us look at some other details related to the fact that the future
fulfillment of Matthew 24 is one in which Christ delivers the Jews, rather than
destroying them, as in a.d. 70.
First, as Luke
shifts from the a.d. 70
destruction of Jerusalem in 21:20-24, to the second coming of Christ in
21:25-28, he tells them in verse 28 to " straighten up and lift up your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near."
This is the language of deliverance from the threat of the nations, not
destruction. This language of
deliverance is reflected in Zechariah 12- 14. These three chapters include three
important factors: 1) Jerusalem
surrounded by the nations who are seeking to destroy it (12:2-9; 14:2-7); 2) the
Lord will fight for Israel and Jerusalem and defeat the nations who have come
up to lay siege against the city (14:1-8); 3) at this same time the Lord will
also save Israel from her sins and she will be converted to Messiah- Jesus
Continued . . .)