4

I have seen that this remark is a redaction, but most reliable sources say that it was included in the original texts sometime in the 1st Century, most likely 66-70 CE. Commentaries over the direct meaning of this text vary widely, depending on which eschatological viewpoint you hold.

My question is simple: what is it that the reader must understand? Is there a textual association that should 'steer' us towards it's correct interpretation, or do we 'sit and wait' for some visible fulfillment?

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  • 1
    I see no need to "sit and wait" since the desecration of the Temple prophesied here (most likely that committed by Antiochus Epiphanes) has already occurred. But there are other interpretations. You can read them in a variety of biblical commentaries (available both commercially and for free online), then draw your own conclusion. Sep 15, 2013 at 16:39
  • 2
    What do you mean by "redaction"? Something more than an 'editorial' comment by the author at the time of writing, or just that? Sep 15, 2013 at 20:16
  • An editorial comment, one that is made by the editor(redactor). It is not clear whether it was the original author, yet it was included as part of the text.
    – Tau
    Sep 15, 2013 at 21:42
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    @user2664 I edited this to correct some minor grammatical/spelling issues, be sure to roll back my edit if you feel it changes the meaning or intent of your post in any way. Also, you mention sources but provide none. Who says that this is a redaction? Who says it was included in the original texts? I would encourage you to back up these assertions.
    – Dan
    Sep 16, 2013 at 1:57
  • 1
    @PatFerguson, Jesus prophesied about a future abomination. So, I see no possibility that Jesus was referring to something that had already happened.
    – user862
    Sep 16, 2013 at 18:14

4 Answers 4

-2

I think you are correct when asking," is there a textual association that should steer us towards it's correct interpretation." In Daniel 9 v 24 we read concerning the end time,"He will confirm a covenant with many for one "seven".In the middle of the "seven" he will put an end to sacrifice and offering and on a wing of the temple,he will set up an abomination that causes desolation. When you read Daniel 9,you will find that 69 sevens have past so we are waiting for "one Seven" In Revelation the two periods of 1260 days equal "one seven year period" on a 30 day month. Revelation 11 v 2 says "The Gentiles will trample on the holy city for a period of 42 months(1260 days) which is the same as a Time,Times and half a Time*(3 and one half years)* as spoken about in Daniel 12 v 7,when the power of the holy people has been finally broken.

Regarding your comment about the gentiles

.The "Time,Times and half a Time are the Times of the gentiles being fulfilled.Hope this steers you to more interpretation.


What the reader must understand is that the Abomination will not be standing inside a place that has been constructed with bricks and Mortar.

Daniel 9 v 27

And on the wing of the temple,he will set up the abomination that causes desolation

Revelation 12 v 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle,so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert,where she would be taken care of for a time,times and half a time,out of the serpents reach.

Here the woman represents Christs Church or Christs Temple and it will probably be on this temple that the Abomination that causes the End of the World will be set up.

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  • @user2572-Hi user2572, and thank you for your comment! I agree with everything you have written; you will get my best answer vote if you can tell me "what the reader must understand".
    – Tau
    Sep 15, 2013 at 16:06
  • "What the reader must understand is that the Abomination will not be standing inside a place that has been constructed with bricks and Mortar"user2572 I whole heartedly agree; the 'Temple' will not be the place where this 'Abomination' will be seen. But I have difficulty switching to a 'figurative' Temple(ie:Church) for 1 reason: the next verse(16) tells us "let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains". How would they know to 'flee' if they didn't 'see' what they are fleeing from? Is there something about 'Temple' that we're not seeing?
    – Tau
    Sep 15, 2013 at 21:58
  • @2664, am i correct in understanding that you are taking the view,that the Church of Gods people is in no way connected to the setting up of the abomination.(ie:as in the persecution of saints).
    – Bagpipes
    Sep 15, 2013 at 22:50
  • @user 2479 you asked Re: v 16 "How would they know to flee,if they didn't know what they were fleeing from?I would say with- out doubt,that they are "fleeing from the rebellion."
    – Bagpipes
    Sep 17, 2013 at 12:11
  • @user2572-2 Comments: I don't believe the church is connected in any way: 1) Christ does not 'desolate' his own body(Dan. 9:27), and 2) The 'rebellion' happens earlier in history(you can see my remarks on 2 Thess 2:3). What I am wondering (aloud) is whether a 21st Century Jew/or Christian living in Jerusalem could witness an event which doesn't call for a physical rebuilding of the Temple and yet fulfil what a 1st century Jew would call the Abomination that Desolates?
    – Tau
    Sep 19, 2013 at 8:25
4

It may have simply been the author’s comment. A redaction is an edit or revision to an original text. Meyer comments,1

Parenthetical observation by the evangelist, to impress upon his readers the precise point of time indicated by Jesus at which the flight is to take place upon the then impending (not already present, Hug, Bleek) catastrophe.

This is a synoptic parallel shared among the three Synoptic Gospels, i.e. Matthew, Mark, and Luke. However, you did not cite the one which occurs in Luke.

In Luke 21:20–21, it is written,

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. NKJV, ©1982

Thus, it’s reasonable to conclude that the abomination of desolation occurs very soon after armies surround Jerusalem, something which happened in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was encompassed and conquered by the Romans, as Eusebius testified,2

3 But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come thither from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men.

4 But the number of calamities which everywhere fell upon the nation at that time; the extreme misfortunes to which the inhabitants of Judea were especially subjected, the thousands of men, as well as women and children, that perished by the sword, by famine, and by other forms of death innumerable,—all these things, as well as the many great sieges which were carried on against the cities of Judea, and the excessive. sufferings endured by those that fled to Jerusalem itself, as to a city of perfect safety, and finally the general course of the whole war, as well as its particular occurrences in detail, and how at last the abomination of desolation, proclaimed by the prophets, stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old, the temple which was now awaiting its total and final destruction by fire,—all these things any one that wishes may find accurately described in the history written by Josephus.3

Josephus also wrote the following,4

And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy.

Tertullian wrote the following with respect to the Roman signum or “standard”:5

The entire Roman camp religion worships the standards, swears by the standards, sets the standards over all gods.

Religio Romanorum tota castrensis signa veneratur, signa iurat, signa omnibus deis praeponit.


Footnotes

1 Meyer, p. 415
2 Eusebius, Book 3, Ch. 5, §3–4 (Migne, p. 221, 224; McGiffert, p. 138)

Γʹ ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦ λαοῦ τῆς ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ἐκκλησίας κατά τινα χρησμὸν τοῖς αὐτόθι δοκίμοις δι' ἀποκαλύψεως ἐκδοθέντα πρὸ τοῦ πολέμου μεταναστῆναι τῆς πόλεως καί τινα τῆς Περαίας πόλιν οἰκεῖν κεκελευσμένου, Πέλλαν αὐτὴν ὀνομάζουσιν, ἐν ἧ τῶν εἰς Χριστὸν πεπιστευκότων ἀπὸ τῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ μετῳκισμένων, ὡς ἂν παντελῶς ἐπιλελοιπότων ἁγίων ἀνδρῶν αὐτήν τε τὴν Ἰουδαίων βασιλικὴν μητρόπολιν καὶ σύμπασαν τὴν Ἰουδαίαν γῆν, ἡ ἐκ θεοῦ δίκη λοιπὸν αὐτοὺς ἅτε τοσαῦτα εἴς τε τὸν Χριστὸν καὶ τοὺς ἀποστόλους αὐτοῦ παρηνομηκότας μετῄει, τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἄρδην τὴν Δʹ ἐκείνην ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀφανίζουσα. ὅσα μὲν οὖν τηνικάδε κατὰ πάντα τόπον ὅλῳ τῷ ἔθνει συνερρύη κακά, ὅπως τε μάλιστα οἱ τῆς Ἰουδαίας οἰκήτορες εἰς ἔσχατα περιηλάθησαν συμφορῶν, ὁπόσαι τε μυριάδες ἡβηδὸν γυναιξὶν ἅμα καὶ παισὶ ξίφει καὶ λιμῷ καὶ μυρίοις ἄλλοις εἴδεσι περιπεπτώκασιν θανάτου, πόλεών τε Ἰουδαϊκῶν ὅσαι τε καὶ οἷαι γεγόνασιν πολιορκίαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁπόσα οἱ ἐπ' αὐτὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ ὡς ἂν ἐπὶ μητρόπολιν ὀχυρωτάτην καταπεφευγότες δεινὰ καὶ πέρα δεινῶν ἑοράκασι, τοῦ τε παντὸς πολέμου τὸν τρόπον καὶ τῶν ἐν τούτῳ γεγενημένων ἐν μέρει ἕκαστα, καὶ ὡς ἐπὶ τέλει τὸ πρὸς τῶν προφητῶν ἀνηγορευμένον βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως ἐν αὐτῷ κατέστη τῷ πάλαι τοῦ θεοῦ περιβοήτῳ νεῷ, παντελῆ φθορὰν καὶ ἀφανισμὸν ἔσχατον τὸν διὰ πυρὸς ὑπομείναντι, πάρεστιν ὅτῳ φίλον ἐπ' ἀκριβὲς ἐκ τῆς τῷ Ἰωσήπῳ γραφείσης ἀναλέξασθαι ἱστορίας·

3 Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Books 5–6
4 id., Book 6, Ch. 6 (§316–317) (Niese, p. 555; Whiston, p. 681)

Ῥωμαῖοι δὲ τῶν μὲν στασιαστῶν καταπεφευγότων εἰς τὴν πόλιν, καιομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ τε τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ τῶν πέριξ ἁπάντων, κομίσαντες τὰς σημαίας εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ θέμενοι τῆς ἀνατολικῆς πύλης ἄντικρυς ἔθυσάν τε αὐταῖς αὐτόθι καὶ τὸν Τίτον μετὰ μεγίστων εὐφημιῶν ἀπέφηναν αὐτοκράτορα.

5 Apologetic, Ch. 16 (Migne, p. 367–368)

References

Eusebius. “Church History.” A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Trans. McGiffert, Arthur Cushman. Ed. Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry. Vol. 1. New York: Christian Literature, 1890.

Eusebius. «ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣΤΙΚΗΣ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑΣ» (“Ecclesiastical History”). Patrologiæ Cursus Completus: Series Græca. Ed. Migne, Jacques Paul. Vol. 20. Petit-Montrouge: Imprimerie Catholique, 1857.

Flavius Josephus. Flavii Iosephi Opera. Ed. Niese, Benedictus. Vol. 6. Berlin: Weidmann, 1894.

Flavius Josephus. The Complete Works of Flavius-Josephus the Celebrated Jewish Historian. Trans. Whiston, William. Chicago: Thompson, 1901.

Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospel of Matthew. Trans. Christie, Peter. Ed. Crombie, Frederick; Stewart, William. New York: Funk, 1884.

Tertullian. “Apologeticus” (“Apology”). Patrologiæ Cursus Completus: Series Prima. Ed. Migne, Jacques Paul. Vol. 1. Petit-Montrouge: Imprimerie Catholique, 1844.


The author of this answer is Der Übermensch, formerly user862.

2
  • Hi Hbr3wHamm3r81 and thank you for your answer! This is certainly 1 view; and it tends to fall into the Covenant position. I have several problems with it: 1) It defines what happened in 70AD as the Abomination of Desolation, something a Jew at that time would know refers to the the removing of the daily sacrifice and placing an idol(abomination) that 'desolates' the Temple(Dan. 11:31) This happened during Antiochus Epiphanes in 167BC; I don't find any historical accounts of this happening in 70AD-although the Temple was certainly sacked and destroyed by Titus.
    – Tau
    Sep 15, 2013 at 8:46
  • The 2nd reason is that it presumes Christ's immediate return (Matt. 24:29) which we can with certainly say did not happen right after 70AD. Preterists say it does-but they are hard pressed to explain why there is no great valley (Zech. 13:4) when His feet touch the Mt. of Olives. Luke does give us the caveat "...until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled"(vs 24). But is that THE Abomination that Desolates-which signals His imminent return?
    – Tau
    Sep 15, 2013 at 9:05
0

Matthew 24:15

Beginning with verse 15, it needs to be carefully studied. Why? Because Jesus stopped at this point as well to make sure it was understood, the writers picked up on this and divinely led, they added the phrase. The following "abomination of desolation" verses in the books of Matthew and Mark are about an entire subject, in and of itself.

In Matthew and Mark we are prevented from plowing right on through our study by being cautioned by them, "whoso readeth, let him understand". It also gives us a specific prophet to study, so we should have a good understanding of Daniel's 1290 "days" as it relates to the abomination of desolation. What the two verses are about.

THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION IN MATTHEW is a thing that we can expect to stand in the holy place:

Matthew 24:15 & 16 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand :) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.”

The Dome of the Rock was "set up", near where the temple was, in the Court of the Gentiles. The Dome of the Rock blasphemes God's name by changing Yahweh, or the “I AM”, to Allah. The founding inscription and mosaic writing that encompass the building both inside and out have blasphemed God the Most High, with the repeated theme that God has no Son. All this on the only mount that truly matters to God.

For over 1300 years this symbol has stood representing antichrist Islam. The most important fundamental in Islam is "shirk" - that God has no Son. This is specifically "that spirit of antichrist”. Islam, from the year 639AD when their armies surrounded Jerusalem during the first Jihad, unto today is in the center of the subject of the "end of the world", the description of which begins with verse 15.

Islam has been at war against the non-Islamic world, and has butchered, Christians and Jewish Christians from Mohammed's day unto today. The Dome of the Rock was "set up", near where the temple was torn down.

Daniel 12:11 “And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days”.

(Tanach) - Daniel 12:11 And from the time the daily sacrifice was removed and the silent abomination placed, is one thousand, two hundred, and ninety.

Jesus makes reference to “Daniel” and the “abomination of desolation” and Daniel references the “abomination that maketh desolate” with “1,290 days”.

Calculating Daniel's 1290 days, mathematically, using the day=year language of prophecy (Which is explained just below.), we find God's symbol in prophecy for the "end of the world" is the Dome of the Rock. Christians and Jews cannot deny that it is an "abomination" that was "set up" (in 688AD, an excepted date by historians as it took 20 years to build from 685-705ad) and "stands" "in" the "holy place". Over the course of 1300 years Islamization spiritually desolated Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The Dome of the Rock was built in the temple’s "Court of the Gentiles" that the Lord instructed to "measure it not" because He gave it unto the Gentiles. Muslims are gentiles.

Revelation 11:2: “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty [and] two months.”

In other similar words: Jesus told us that from the time the sacrifices would be abolished to the time of the abomination of desolation there would be 1,290 prophetic years when converted to solar years from Hebrew’s 360 day calendar there are 1,271, a perfect fit…then, coming from the future back we can also calculate what the angel said to John in Revelation. He clarified the importance by making sure we stopped and understood.

It was 42 prophetic months, employing the language of "each day for a year", from 688 to 1967 when the Israeli's regained control of Jerusalem from the Gentiles and Muslims are Gentiles. Islam is center stage again today. Another perfect fit! Let’s take a closer look at prophetic days=years.

Prophetic Days

Numbers 14:34 “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.”

Ezekiel 4:5 “For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.”

Ezekiel 4:6 “And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”

These are the Words of God: “I have appointed thee each day for a year.” God’s Words.

The Jews used a 360 day calendar while our history is written in solar years of 365.24 days, so we need to convert Old Testament prophecy times to fit our records.

(Daniel’s days need to be converted to the solar years to fit. 1290 equate to 1271. Daniel knew only of Hebrew years as the solar calendar was future and not in practice yet. When applied: all BC years are calculated back in time in solar years. Solar years are 365.24 days whereas Hebrew years are 360 days.)

The prophetic days and times of 583BC (further explained below) as referenced by Daniel 12:11, 1271 for the 1290 days. 583 + 688 = 1271

From Revelation 11:2; 42 months of days for a year is 1279. 1967 – 688 = 1279

THE PARALLEL VERSE IN MARK EMBELLISHES ON WHERE, and we see it stands "where it ought not":

(Standing where it ought not = in the court of the Gentiles leave out)

Mark 13:14 “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:”

THE PARALLEL VERSE IN LUKE IS ABOUT “WHEN”:

Luke 21:20 & 21 “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh, Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.”

Luke's verse is about timing. It is the only verse of the three that allows us to continue into the next verse without warning us to "understand" the subject of the abomination of desolation, through the prophet Daniel, first. Luke will offer us yet another important time pin of "when" later in this study by telling us that the period of exceptional tribulation ends with the times of the Gentiles fulfilled in Jerusalem.

As has been shown, the "what" and "where" of Matthew and Mark, the book of Daniel pins the 1290 days - when used as prophetic years in the language of prophecy - to 688 AD, the founding year of the Dome of the Rock.

Daniel's math is precise and cross-confirmed to the year of 688 AD by John in the book of Revelation. The "where" the abomination of desolation sits, where it "ought not", is the temple mount in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Further confirmation: The children of Israel fell into idolatry so in 586 B.C. God allowed the temple to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon. Nevertheless, sacrifices continued at the site for three more years, until Nebuzaradan, captain of Nebuchadnezzar's guard, took all the priests captive to Babylon.

The date when sacrifices were abolished is recorded in the Bible!

Jeremiah 52:30 "In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons."

It was the final captivity of the Jews and the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign was 583 B.C. (586 – 3 = 583bc) Daniel now tells us what will happen to the temple mount after the priests could no longer sacrifice there:

Daniel 12:11 "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away,[583bc] and the abomination that maketh desolate set up [688ad]; there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days."

{1,290 = 1,271; 583bc + 688ad = 1,271 and remember there was no year 0. So you simply add the 583 on one side of the timeline with the 688 of the other side of the timeline to get your total of 1,271.}

The above verse 15 study of the abomination of desolation is one of the most controversial elements of Scripture. It contradicts a wide variety of end-time doctrines. Continuing:

Matthew 24:16 “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:” Also See Luke 21:20-21

And the “them” is Israel - the "woman" and from what time? 688AD, just as John describes in Revelation:

Revelation 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.

(688AD + 1260 (days=years) = 1948AD Israel, the woman, returned)

Matthew 24:17-20 “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:”

Even beyond Judea these instructions would aptly apply to all of the fallen cities and states where Christians and Jews were slaughtered and enslaved by Muslims. This, during the 152 years of the first Jihad that nearly conquered the whole world, until stopped in Tours, France by Charles Martel in the Battle of Tours 732AD. The significance of 732ad is that Daniel mentions the 1290 days but follows with – blessed are those who last to see the 1335 day which converts to 1315. It would have been blessed to those who saw, ran and survived the 688ad flee from Jerusalem to also see the stop of the Islam conquering army in 732ad, 1315 years since sacrifices stopped.

A footnote regarding the Dome of the Rock:

Declaration of the Bishop of Jerusalem

When Khalifah Omar entered Jerusalem in 639AD, he was met at the gates by Bishop Sophronius who ushered him through the city. Seeing the temple mount (then in ruins), Omar declared that he was going to build a memorial to Muhammad on the original site of the temple of God.

Sophronius exclaimed in horror, “Verily, this is the Abomination of Desolation as spoken of by Daniel the prophet, and it now stands in the holy place.” Though Sophronius was an old man of 80 years, Khalifah Omar put him in prison and to forced labor, the rigors of which killed him.

(Excerpts from Jerry Landay’s, The Dome of the Rock, Newsweek, New York, NY, 1972, p. 18)

Somehow, we have managed to forget the truth for which Sophronius gave his life. The Dome of the Rock being the Abomination that maketh Desolate is not new theology.

This knowledge has been in the Church for over 1300 years!

The message of Jesus Christ continues…

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  • 1
    Thank you for your response! I have often considered Dome of the Rock=Abomination of Desolation. It answers the question of: What is the AOD, but it doesn't answer the question of "What must the Reader Understand?" That it will come in the future is a given, that it will be in the site of the Holy Mount is also a given. In both cases the Reader simply has to observe phenomenon. But it is asking the Reader to understand something-Why?
    – Tau
    Feb 3 at 21:57
  • 1
    @ Dave - In order to correctly and fully interpret a passage of scripture one must consider the time context both in the authorship and in the text itself. This interpretation presented here, failed to do either. Jesus Himself gave the Time of fulfillment for Matthew 24.: THIS GENERATION. That is the first century culmination in the Destruction of Jerusalem in 67-70 A.D. And that makes the Dome of the Rock scenario meaningless. In the future consider the Time Context. Keep studying the Bible; it's great for the soul!
    – ray grant
    Feb 4 at 0:11
0

What Does it Mean? The short answer is simply that it means that when Jesus pronounced this warning (vs. 15), He was being emphatic about a horrible event about to take place...which Daniel had prophesied about...and everyone should play close attention to it!!!

Jesus's referring to Daniel no doubt included, There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation up to this time! Daniel 12:1). Compare Matthew 24:21: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be.

Abomination Jesus included this warning in the middle of a paragraph that warned of the coming Abomination...and that it was a sign to flee post haste! From the synoptic comparison in Luke 21:20-21, we are informed that the Abomination was the Roman armies...who would encircle the city of Jerusalem. The disciples were not left to speculation or guesswork, or cultic explanations about the Abomination; the Gospels wrote it out for them to know. AND Jesus wanted all the disciples to KNOW it. Luke was clear.

Encircled? But how could the disciples flee Judea after the arrival of the Romans and the encircling of Jerusalem? Josephus, Providentially, supplied the answer, when he recorded the coming of General Cestius who surrounded Jerusalem, and then mysteriously retreated back. This "sign" of Jesus warned the disciple to flee--not just Jerusalem--but as Jesus said, "flee Judea!" The whole territory was overrun by the Romans, with village after village burned to the ground, and captive sent to the mines, gladiator games, or galley ships (remember Ben Hur movie?) After 3 1/2 year of pillaging, Jerusalem was finally attacked by 4 Legions of soldiers.

Whoso Reads, Let Him Understand! The tragedy was so overwhelming, the killing so horrific, the starvation so harmful, the hope so despairing--and the prophets so deceptive--that Jesus's warning was so vital. And notice that this was a prophecy, so it wasn't a reference to past Antiochus, nor was it a reference to alleged "end time" events thousands of years later (and still counting).

A couple of time Jesus specifically, and clearly, warned that all this was to happen in "that generation." (Matthew 23:36-37, 24:34; first century, culminating in 67-70 A.D. See also Luke 23:28-31) A Jewish disciple in the first century would have interpreted the vocabulary and reference to sun darkened, and moon... as common figurative speech, lifted from the Tanakh, and referring to the FALL OF A KINGDOM (nation). Christ was to come in Judgment on Israel in full power!

Conclusion Jesus's words, in the Olivet Discourse were as dramatic as one could be. LISTEN UP, FOLKS! Pay attention. Understand what I am saying...and what Daniel also warned about! Your lives depend on this. When you see my sign, get out and flee like a scared rabbit! (Or obedient disciple.)

1
  • @ tau - See new answer by ray grant. Your question opens a very interesting discussion and vital point that Jesus was trying to emphasize to His disciples in His Olivet Discourse.
    – ray grant
    Feb 5 at 20:29

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