Abomination of Desolation -- what is it according to the Bible?
The physical temple of the past was “sacked” three different times by Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon 586 BC), Antiochus Epiphanes (Greek Empire 167 BC), and Titus (Roman Empire 70 AD) but only because the “Shekinah” presence of GOD had vacated the temple. GOD left – not in fear of those armies (that would be silly) but because of the behavior of the priests and the Israelites – they had defiled the temple with their abominable behavior. HIS leaving made the temple vulnerable to attack. This behavior, which caused GOD to leave the temple, is reported clearly in Ezekiel chapters 8 through 11. We see GOD leaving the temple in stages – first the inner court – then the outer court – then the threshold. And GOD finally actually departs the entire city in Ezekiel 11:23 (“And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city”). But the ABOMINATION was the behavior of the priests and the people NOT what those armies did to the building itself -- as defiling as those things were. It was the abominations of the people that caused the desolation. Desolation means – nothing there! God was gone!
The prime fulfillment of this “abomination” in our day occurs in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with the introduction of doctrinal apostasy brought in by “wolves in sheep’s clothing” causing the final break-up of the dynamic work of the larger Church of God movement in the 20th century (1930 to 1995). This Church of GOD movement had successfully restored the observances and teachings of the church prior to the Nicaean Council of 325 AD. The abomination is also reflective of the lax attitude of True Christians toward obedience -- and in particular -- the observance of the True Sabbath. Christ separates himself from them by vomiting them out Rev 3:16. It is clearly not about something happening to a building in the Middle East overseen by people who have rejected CHRIST! GOD would not honor a building built and staffed by people who have rejected the King of Kings. This final fulfillment is clearly spiritual not physical! The message of Revelation 3 is bold that in the end time the people (the spiritual temple) become poor, blind, and naked and it goes on to say they are completely unaware of their own weaknesses and shortcomings – they are “clueless”!
The warning given by Christ in Matthew 24 is, first of all, about the very real physical danger that was just ahead with the coming invasion of Jerusalem by Titus of Rome in 70 AD when the temple would indeed be sacked a third and final time. This was to occur not long after the death of Christ and would happen in the very lives of those present when HE spoke these words. Clearly, he was warning them about this coming physical danger, but also, HE was prophesying what would spiritually happen to the Church (the end time temple) in the last days --- our day!
One of the definitive signs of the end times certainly is this abomination of desolation which is a "defilement" of the present day temple i.e. the church in our day.This final spiritual abomination is a true sign of the end. We are much closer than some think!
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