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?

  • 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 '13 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 '13 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 '13 at 21:42
  • 1
    @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 '13 at 1:57
  • @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 '13 at 18:14

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.

  • @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 '13 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 '13 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 '13 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 '13 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 '13 at 8:25

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.


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)


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.

  • 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 '13 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 '13 at 9:05

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