Daniel is telling us that the regular (sacrifice) is to be abolished and the abomination of desolation is to be set up and that there will follow 1290 days. At which point something presumably of great import will happen regarding the abomination of desolation, much like what happened in 70 AD, not long after the first coming of Christ, only this time it will most likely be just prior to the second coming of Christ, as Verse 12 would seem to be a reference to the end of the age, at day 1335. In other words...what had been in continuum is to be done away with and a new controversial way commenced, possibly by the person responsible for the abomination, which could be the end time Antichrist (Man of Lawlessness), who will then be eliminated by the breath of Christ..2 Thessalonians 2:8. One should not be envisioning a 3rd Temple in Jerusalem here. When Paul makes reference to the temple of God in 2 Thess, 2:4, I think we are talking symbolism.
In the book of Daniel, the word תָּמִיד (tamid) occurs just five times, Dan 8:11, 12, 13, 11:31, 12:11. It is always associated with the apostate power that removed this "continual" from the sanctuary.
The same word occurs almost 100 times in the rest of the OT. In the annex below I list (for completeness) the Brown-Driver-Briggs entry for this word, meaning "continually". It is associated with various things in the sanctuary such as:
- The shew bread which was to be on the table continually, Ex 25:30, Lev 24:8, Num 4:7, 16, 2 Chron 2:4
- The menorah which was to burn continually, Ex 27:20, Lev 24:2-4
- The High Priests breast plate as a continual memorial, Ex 28:29, 30
- The High priests blue ribbon attached to his turban as a continual reminder of the presence of God, Ex 28:37, 38
- The morning and evening sacrifice of a burnt offering (a lamb) on the sanctuary altar, Ex 29:41, 42, Num 28:3-6, 10, 15, 23, 24, 31, 29:6, 11, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 1 Chron 16:37, 40, 2 Chron 24:14, Ezra 3:5, Neh 10:33, Ps 50:8, Eze 46:15
- The burning wood in the altar of offering, continually, Ex 30:8, Lev 6:13
- Offering of fine flour was to be continual, Lev 6:20, Neh 10:33, Eze 46:14
- The continual presence of the cloud over the sanctuary, Num 9:16
- The blowing continually of trumpets, 1 Chron 16:6
- The ceremonies of the sanctuary general that operated continually, 1 Chron 16:37, 23:31.
Note two important things about this survey:
- There is MUCH more than just the continual (morning and evening) burnt offering of a lamb associated with the word תָּמִיד (tamid); however, that is the most common. תָּמִיד (tamid) is also associated shew bread, the light (menorah), the High Priests' breast plate, the blue ribbon, fire on the altar, grain offering, trumpeting, services generally.
- All the features associated with the תָּמִיד (tamid), "continual" are taken up in the NT as symbols of the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest both here and in heaven, Heb 4:14-16, 7:23-28, 8:1, 2, 9:1-28, 10:1-18. Note the following:
- Jesus was the fulfilment of what the sanctuary/temple typified, John 2:19-21, Heb 9:1-28, 10:1-18
- Jesus represented the foundation of the temple as well, 1 Peter 2:4-8 (Compare Isa 28:16, Ps 118:22)
- Jesus was the bread of life, John 6:35, 41, 48 (compare Ex 25:23-30, Lev 24:8).
- Jesus was the light of life, John 8:12, 9:5 (compare the lampstand Ex 25:31-39, Lev 24:3, 4, Isa 53:11, Ps 56:13, etc)
- Jesus was the Passover Lamb and thus the promised Messiah, John 1:29, 1 Cor 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19 (compare Ex 12:1-14).
- Jesus is the High Priest of the New Covenant in fulfilment of the Levitical covenant, Heb 4:14-16, 7:23-28, because He was “pure, blameless, set apart” exactly as the Levites were. See also Heb 9:15, 12:24.
- Even the blue cord signifying the presence of God wa fulfilled in and of Jesus, John 14:10, 11, etc.
- Jesus provided the blood of the new covenant of which the communion ceremony was to be a memorial, Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, Heb 13:20, 1 Peter 1:19 (compare Ex 24:5, 8).
Now back to Daniel and his תָּמִיד (tamid). many of the English versions add "sacrifice" after "continual" - is this valid? Yes and no! "Yes" if we understand it refers to the sanctuary ceremonies generally; "no" of we understand it refers to the sacrifices exclusively. I believe that Daniel is alluding to all that pointed to Jesus and His perfect ministry as our intercessor (1 Tim 2:5, Heb 8:6, 12:24, etc).
Therefore, I suggest that the prophecies in Dan 8:11, 12, 13, 11:31, 12:11, and the associated abomination of desolation, have a dual application to both the destruction of the literal temple in 70 AD, which was a type of what would happen spiritually at the end of time when something would happen to interrupt the continual ministry/mediation of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. (Stay with me on this.)
Clearly, no power on earth can change what is going on in heaven. The abomination of desolation is clearly the work of a power that manages to divert people's attention from Christ for a significant period so that they feel or believe that Christ has been replaced by something else. Hence the blasphemy involved.
For completeness I include a quick survey of the "Abomination of Desolation" as found in Scripture listed below as Annex 2.
Annex 1 - תָּמִיד (tamid)
תָּמִיד noun masculineDaniel 12:11 continuity (perhaps originally extent; Late Hebrew as Biblical Hebrew, Ecclus תמיד Ecclesiasticus 45:14); — ׳ת always absolute; —
1 earliest and oftenest as adverb, continually: a. of going on without interruption = continuously, Hosea 12:7; Jeremiah 6:7; Nahum 3:19; Isaiah 21:8; Isaiah 49:16; Isaiah 51:13 (+ כָּלהַֿיּוֺם), Isaiah 52:5 (+ id.), Isaiah 60:11 ("" יַוֺמָם וָלַיְלָח, Isaiah 62:6 (+ כָּלהַֿיּוֺם וְכָלהַֿלַּיְלָה), Isaiah 65:3; Obadiah 16; Habakkuk 1:17; Deuteronomy 11:12; 1 Kings 10:8 2Chronicles 9:7; 1 Chronicles 16:11,37; especially (sometimes hyperbole) in Psalms : Psalm 16:8; Psalm 25:15; Psalm 34:2 ("" בְּכָלעֵֿת), Psalm 35:27; compare Psalm 40:17; Psalm 70:5; Psalm 38:18; Psalm 40:12; Psalm 50:8; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 69:24; Psalm 71:6; Psalm 71:14; Psalm 72:15; Psalm 73:23; Psalm 74:23; Psalm 105:4; Psalm 109:15; Psalm 109:19; Psalm 119:44 (+ וֶָ˜עך׃ לְעוֺלָם), Psalm 40:109; v
b. of regular repetition: meals 2 Samuel 9:7,10,13; 2 Kings 25:29 = Jeremiah 52:33; journeys 2 Kings 4:19; compare Numbers 9:16; Psalm 71:3; of ritual: sacrifice, לַיּוֺם תָּמִיד Exodus 29:38; compare 1 Chronicles 16:40; 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2Chronicles 24:14.
2 as substantive: a. of uninterrupted continuity, ׳אַנְשֵׁי ת Ezekiel 39:14 men of continuity, i.e. men continually employed for the purpose; ׳לֶחֶם הַתּ Numbers 4:7 the bread of continuity, i.e. the bread that is always there, so ׳מַעֲרֶכֶת ת2Chron 2:3, and perhaps ׳חֲצֹצְרוֺת ת 1 Chronicles 16:6.
b. of regular repetition ׳אֲרֻחַת מ 2 Kings 25:30, i.e. a regular allowance, = Jeremiah 52:34; especially of ritual: ׳קְטֹרֶת ת Exodus 30:8 (P); most often ׳עֹלַת ת Ezekiel 46:15 (every morning), Exodus 29:42 (morning and evening, so) Numbers 28:6; Ezra 3:5, so read also Numbers 28:3 (Di) for ᵑ0 ׳עוֺלָה ת (לַיּוֺם); ׳עֹלַת הַת Numbers 28:10,15,23,24,31; Numbers 29:6,11,16,19,22,25,28,31,34,38; Neh Nehemiah 10:35; rarely ׳מִנְחַת ת Numbers 4:16 (P), Nehemiah 10:34; as appositive, ׳מִנְחָה ת Leviticus 6:13 meal-offering as a regular observance (compare Ges§ 131, 2 (b) DaSynt.§ 29 (b); on text see Di, NowArchaeology ii. 124 f.), (and Numbers 28:3 ᵑ0, but see above)
c. (late) ׳הַת alone = daily (morning and evening) burnt-offering (NowArchaeology ii. 222 f.) Daniel 8:11,12,13; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11 (so Talmud, even in plural תְּמִידִין).
Annex 2 - Abomination of Desolation
In the Greek NT, the phrase βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως (= “abomination of desolation”) has a pivotal occurrence in both first century events and apocalyptic events that overlap. The word ἐρημώσεως (eremoseos) is from the root word ἐρήμωσις (erémósis) which BDAG defines as, the “state of being made uninhabitable, devastation, destruction, depopulation”. This word/phrase only occurs in the following places in the NT:
- Matt 24:15, “abomination of desolation which was spoken by Daniel the prophet …”
- Mark 13:14, “abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be …”
- Luke 21:20, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.”
The “abomination of desolation” (or similar phrase) occurs elsewhere only in Daniel 8:13, 9:27, 11:31, 12:11. The phrase might be more helpfully translated, “depopulating sacrilege”. It is also alluded to in several other places as we shall see. Let us list the characteristics of the abomination of desolation from these references.
- It causes the cessation of the “daily” (Heb: Tamid) usually understood to be the daily (or continual) sacrifice (Dan 8:13), or more correctly, the sanctually services generally.
- It occurs because of rebellion (presumably of those supposed to be God’s people. Non-Christians and non-Jews cannot rebel because they have not declared loyalty to God.) (Dan 8:13)
- It ushers in a period (“times of Gentiles” according to Luke 21:20-24) where the sanctuary and God’s people will be trampled underfoot (Dan 8:13)
- It is associated with a coming ruler (not Messiah), presumably, the antichrist (Dan 9:27); in 2 Thess 2:1-12 he is called the “man of lawlessness”, and, “son of destruction”.
- Dan 11:31 appears to equate the King of the North with the one who would abolish the daily sacrifice (Heb: “Tamid”) and desecrate the temple fortress and thus depopulate the temple of worshipers.
- There are several time periods associated with the abomination of desolation: 2300 days until its end (Dan 8:13); 1290 days from its beginning (Dan 12:11); 42 months (Luke 21:20-24, Rev 11:2), 70 weeks (Dan 9:24-27).
- The abomination of desolation is to stand in the holy place (Hebrew idiom for either the temple or Jerusalem, Matt 4:5, 27:53, 24:15, Acts 6:13, 21:28) and is where this ruler does not belong (Mark 13:14). This is the signal for those in Jerusalem to immediately flee and the immanent depopulation of Jerusalem of Christians.
- The abomination of desolation was in Jesus’ time still future (Matt 24:15). (Therefore this could not have been Antiochus Epiphanes.)
It is immediately obvious that Jesus applied this prophecy (at least in part) to the destruction of the temple (which occurred in 70 AD) that temporarily despoiled and depopulated Jerusalem, in his famous “Synoptic Apocalypse”. But it is also obvious that Jesus intended far more than this from the numerous references in this sermon to the end of the world. The question that prompted this sermon is a two-fold question (Matt 24:3) about both the destruction of Jerusalem and Jesus’ Second Advent. Jesus’ response was to answer both questions simultaneously by giving a dual prophecy. The advantage we have is to learn lessons from the destruction of Jerusalem and apply these to the remainder of Christian history since. Thus, while some parts of Jesus’ final sermon are clearly apocalyptic, much has a dual application as we shall soon see.
In Jesus’ time, the abomination of desolation was fulfilled when the pagan Roman government (by its army) stood in Jerusalem and soon destroyed it by desecrating the temple and temporarily depopulating the city . Apocalyptically, Paul tells us what would happen in 2 Thess 2:3 & 4 - Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. This uses the same language as Jesus’ sermon. The “man of lawlessness” would precipitate the abomination of desolation by blasphemously trying to usurp the rights and prerogatives of God Himself by removing Christ from the heavenly sanctuary and the continual (Heb: “Tamid”) intercession He offers for us (1 Tim 2:5, Heb 4:14-16, 7:23-28, 8:1, 2, 9:1-28, 10:1-18) as our high priest.
Thus we find that the little horn of Daniel 7, the (latter part) of the little horn of Daniel 8, the (latter part) of the king of the north that causes the abomination of desolation, the “man of lawlessness” in 2 Thess 2, and the sea beast of Rev 13, are all prophecies about the same power that is blasphemous and sets itself against Jesus and His faithful people and persecutes Christ’s followers.