Matthew 24:15 (The Abomination of Desolation, Part 1)

Recall that upon forsaking the temple to those who would have their own worldly spirit fill it rather than God’s, Jesus predicted its destruction, prompting His disciples to come to Him on the Mount of Olives and ask Him for a sign for when such things would take place.  They were looking forward to His coming and the establishment of His kingdom in which they would share, but did not wish to be swept away in the judgment that would overtake His enemies.  In answer to their request Jesus warned first and repeatedly against being misled by false Christs and false prophets who would appeal to men’s desire for a worldly leader to provide a deliverance more in keeping with their love for the world than that of the true Christ who came to save men out of this world into His kingdom of righteousness.  By refusing to war after the world they would be hated by all the nations of the world and subjected to afflictions and tribulation.  This would tempt them to fall away from the truth that alone can save them in order to save their lives in this world.  But as Jesus repeatedly taught, whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for Christ’s sake will find it.  By enduring in such manner to the end, they would be saved, and in so doing they would also herald the gospel of His kingdom throughout the world as a testimony to all the nations.

Continuing now in answer to the main intent of their question, what sign does Jesus give by which they will know to flee and preserve their lives when He comes in judgment upon the enemies of His kingdom?  See Mat 24:15-16.  What is the abomination of desolation that was spoken of through the prophet Daniel?  See Dan 11:31, 12:11.  In regard to what was Daniel praying when the abomination of desolation was first mentioned to him?  See Dan 9:1-3,20-27, and note that the LXX in Dan 9:27 reads, “on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation”.  What was the regular sacrifice whose doing away with is associated with the abomination of desolation (cf. again Dan 9:27, 11:31, 12:11)?  See Exo 29:38-42, Num 28:1-8 and note that this refers to the daily burnt offering, made morning and evening; see also Dan 8:8-14 which was fulfilled in 167 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes set up an altar to Zeus in the temple of Jerusalem and sacrificed a pig on it; cf. 1Ma 1:41-63[1].  What does the regular sacrifice represent to us as Christians?  See Rom 12:1-2 and consider that it typifies the continual offering of ourselves wholly to God each day; the grain offering that accompanied the daily offerings represents God’s word that makes our sacrifice acceptable; the oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit that sanctifies and makes us holy; and the libation or drink offering represents the sound and sober doctrine of the gospel truth that is to fill us rather than the spirits of this age; cf. Phi 2:17, Eph 5:18.

1. 1 Maccabees 1:41 – 64  41 Then the king (Antiochus Epiphanes) wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,  42 and that all should give up their particular customs.  43 All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath.  44 And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land,  45 to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane Sabbaths and festivals,  46 to defile the sanctuary and the priests,  47 to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals,  48 and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane,  49 so that they would forget the law and change all the ordinances.  50 He added, “And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die.”  51 In such words he wrote to his whole kingdom. He appointed inspectors over all the people and commanded the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice, town by town.  52 Many of the people, everyone who forsook the law, joined them, and they did evil in the land;  53 they drove Israel into hiding in every place of refuge they had.  54 Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year (167 BC), they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah,  55 and offered incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.  56 The books of the law that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire.  57 Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death by decree of the king.  58 They kept using violence against Israel, against those who were found month after month in the towns.  59 On the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offering.  60 According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised,  61 and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers’ necks.  62 But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food.  63 They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.  64 Very great wrath came upon Israel.

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